The Resident Bitch's Movie Log - Volume 2

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Genocide (Arnold Schwartzman, 1982)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/14/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Withdrawn nomination for the 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I don't have a whole lot to say about this as I never really know how to review or rate documentaries. I think overall it did a fine job of stirring emotions but then what Holocaust film doesn't?

I was a little surprised to learn (or perhaps relearn? I can't recall it ever being covered in school) how many countries, including the U.S., turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Jews and refused to offer sanctuary to those who tried to flee Germany and the occupied nations. But aside from that and the requisite horrifying imagery of the dead and the nearly dead, and the haunting accounts from those who experienced it, there's not a whole lot that is noteworthy about the film. Which is not to say that it isn't well done. It is. What it does, it does quite well. It just doesn't stand out as being anything exceptional.

That said, I probably liked this a good deal more than I will like the film that took its place as a nomination in the Hall of Fame, Waco: Rules of Engagement

+



Donít discount Waco quite yet. 😜

Itís been awhile since Iíve seen Genocide, but I remember liking how, when it comes to blame, it doesnít necessarily point fingers at anyone in particular, but rather explains how The Holocaust was able to happen due to everyone turning a blind eye.
So, real talk: Iíve always been interested in the Subject since middle school due to when Eli Wiesel came to talk about us experiences. My mother, being a German and having been born in 1946 (one year after the war ended) was the first person I went to about asking questions. Unfortunately, she didnít want to talk too much about it and we both (my brother and I)suspect that her parents and their immediate family were Nazi Supporters.*Most Germans were so it makes since to draw that conclusion.
To this day she doesnít talk about her life in Germany much, and I never gathered her thoughts on it from her point of view other then ďI was too young to really know much about it.Ē
Regardless, the idea that my relatives from her side could have been a part of that often gives me pause. So yes, Iím often left wondering about their part in it, and how I have vowed to never follow in their foot steps. Itís like this big guilty conscience that, although sounds silly since it was a generation removed, still makes me consider the horrors her side could have carried out.
And thatís before I even consider my father served in Vietnam (And I have also delved into that as well, almost as much) and then it all adds to the existential guilt.





Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier, 2013)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/15/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


This is a pretty straight-forward film about a man forced to confront his past in order to exact revenge on the man who he believes murdered his parents. With such a premise it could have been something really great. It could have had a protagonist I could've really gotten behind and those acts of vengeance could've felt a whole lot more satisfying. Unfortunately, however, the protagonist we get is a traumatized shell of a man who is just too empty to garner more than a vague sense of sympathy from me.

I did appreciate though the casting choice. Star Macon Blair lends a sense of authenticity to the lead role as the somewhat dumpy-looking every man, Dwight - a man turned killer without any combat training or past experience. But, again, that emptiness of the character prevented me from ever being truly invested in him.

Overall, Blue Ruin is a solid film and it held my interest for its 90 minute run, but this is not something I'm likely to ever revisit and I've probably been a bit generous with my rating.






In Pursuit of Honor (Ken Olin, 1995)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/16/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I felt like it
Rewatch: Yes.


In Pursuit of Honor claims to be based on true events - how accurate that statement is, I neither know nor care. Thereís definitely some debate as to the authenticity of the claim, and from what I understand it also takes some liberties with the topography of Montana, but I donít watch movies to get lessons in history or geography and you shouldnít either.

What I do know is that the tale this film tells, whether true or not, is compelling. It may not be set in the old West, but it still carries many of the themes we see in classic Westerns. It tells a tale of the clash between old ways and new. It tells a tale of the clash between what a man is expected to do and what his conscience tells him is right. And itís a story of courage and camaraderie.

Though this is a made for TV movie, it is not lacking in quality. The cast are all quite solid with stars Don Johnson and Craig Sheffer turning in particularly good performances. Johnson is convincing as the weathered old cavalryman who puts honor above all else, staring down the demise of the life heís known when the Army decides to do away with horses in order to make room for tanks and modern weaponry. Sheffer also does well as the young lieutenant who must find the strength to lead men far older and more experienced than he as they commit mutiny and save the lives of the beasts that they regard as fellow soldiers.

That said, this isnít really a feel good film. It is one that is meant to inspire, but itís actually a very tough watch, especially for an animal lover like me. There is a good amount of (simulated) violence and much of it is directed at the horses. I couldnít tell you how many times Iíve watched this movie. I first saw and loved it more than twenty years ago, but I can tell you that not once have I gotten through it without shedding many tears and I intend to have that same experience many more times to come.

As a side note, I voted for this old favorite at #25 on my MoFo Westerns ballot in order to get it on the One-Pointers List. If I'd been honest with its ranking, it would've been at least #11. Maybe even a little higher.

+



I have to ask, what's the appeal of the 1 pointer? Especially if you'd place a film so much higher?
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



I have to ask, what's the appeal of the 1 pointer? Especially if you'd place a film so much higher?
Itís the only way the movie had any hope of getting an official/semi-official shout-out during the countdown. I couldíve put it at #1 and it still wouldnít have had any hope of making the list proper. I canít speak for other people, but when thereís a countdown going on I read every single post from the countdown host. Other peopleís posts? Not so much. So I figure if Holden mentions the movie, everyoneís going to see the name and some might check it out. If I mention the movie, only some people are likely to even read my post at all.



OK. Thanks for replying so quickly. I guess it's just one of those things I don't see the point of that others do. Y'know, like kids or pets.





The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/17/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


While it was kind of neat to see so many familiar faces when they were young, the novelty of that wore off pretty quickly and the film didn't have a whole lot more to offer for me.

I disliked or was apathetic to nearly all of the characters, with Mrs. Popper being the one possible exception. But even then I didn't feel much and I had trouble sticking with the film.

Which is not to say that the film isn't well made or that it doesn't achieve what it aimed to achieve. It does well to set a mood of despair and longing and of the slow death of the characters' childhood. The black and white images and the constant nasal droning of old time country music also do well to evoke the time and place in which it is set.

The problem is I don't like that nasal droning. I find it irritating. And a whole lot of nothing really happens in the movie - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That sort of thing can work quite well when I'm invested in the characters. But I wasn't invested in them. I spent the entire film feeling nothing but detachment, which was maybe the point, I don't know, but it's not a film for me.

3 out of 5 out of respect for the things it does well. If I were giving it a rating based purely on my enjoyment, it'd get maybe a 2.

-





Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory) (Pedro Almodůvar, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/17/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Antonio Banderas
Rewatch: No


Leading up to awards season, I was vaguely aware of this film and of the accolades Antonio Banderas had been receiving for his performance in this semi-autobiographical Pedro Almodůvar flick. I didn't, however, know anything of Almodůvar's life and had previously seen only Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (which I was not especially fond of) and The Skin I Live In (which I loved).

I didn't really know what to expect, but I given the subjects of those other films, I was surprised to be treated to something so intimate and bittersweet. Banderas is excellent as the aging director, struggling through chronic health problems, drug addiction, and writer's block, while reflecting on his life. His performance is understated and infused with sadness and longing and just enough humor to help keep the film from sinking too far into melodrama.

The film is also beautifully shot, with gorgeous colors that lend even the poverty of the director's childhood a dreamlike quality. Every frame of the film views like a work of art, as any good film should.

And though the overall tone of the film is one of melancholy - emphasizing quite thoroughly the pain referenced in the title - it does not overlook the glory it also references and ends on a note that is hopeful and perhaps even triumphant.

+





Dronningen (Queen of Hearts) (May el-Toukhy, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/19/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


Dronningen makes for a really interesting companion piece to Jagten (The Hunt), which won the 21st Hall of Fame.

But whereas that other film showed us how false accusations can destroy peopleís lives when they are believed, this one shows us what happens when true accusations are thought to be lies. Both films are devastating in different ways, but Dronningen was a far more difficult watch.

Many times I had to fight the urge to turn the film off and I had to take breaks and watch the film in bits and pieces, not because it was ineffective but because it was perhaps too effective. My desire to stop watching is a testament to the quality of the film and to the performances therein. The things that were happening onscreen made me feel physically ill.

Which then makes the film VERY hard to rate. On the one hand, I never want to watch this again and kind of wish I could scrub my mind of it. On the other, its a powerful piece of filmmaking and I have immense respect for it, even if I also want to vomit right now. I guess Iíll sort of split the difference.






Waco: The Rules of Engagement (William Gazecki, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/20/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I find documentaries to be a significant challenge for me to rate and review. In a normal film, I can talk about acting performances, cinematography, plot, dialogue, etc. But here? Iím not sure what to say or even really how I feel about it.

I didnít enjoy it. That much I know. While the subject matter had the potential to be interesting, this film seemed to linger too long on each point and goes a bit too deep into the minutiae of it all and I was quite bored with it.

I started this film knowing that the events at Waco involved a standoff between a religious sect and the ATF and that in the end a lot of people - including many children - lost their lives over it. I also knew that there was some dispute between the two parties as to who exactly was responsible for those deaths and how the events really unfolded. After 2 hours and 16 minutes of arguments, photographs, thermal video analysis, and interviews, I came away feeling like Iíd learned nothing more. I still donít know which side to believe (though I suspect that the real truth lies somewhere in the gap between both accounts). All I know for sure is that this is a tragic event in American history and that someone is to blame for all those innocent lives lost, but I knew that before I pressed play.






…tat de siŤge (State of Siege) (Costa-Gavras, 1972)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/22/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I donít even know what the hell to say about this movie. It took me a long damn time to get through it - much longer than its actual runtime - because I kept dozing off. I slept fine last night and I didnít feel particularly tired, I was just bored. Extremely bored.

Granted, political thrillers are not generally my cup of tea anyway, but this particular political thriller was severely lacking in character development and also lacking a story that held any interest for me. Not that there was a whole lot of story to speak of. Most of the first half was just a bunch of incessant talking. By the time things actually started happening, I was too disconnected to care.

Not that any of that is to say that this is a bad movie. It may very well be a great movie for someone who does care about the story. But I just couldnít. I also was not particularly impressed by any of the technical aspects of the film. I have no complaints about the cinematography, set design, score, etc., but have no praise either.

I think the only thing that could get me to rewatch this film would be a really bad bout of insomnia, and then only in the desperate hope of it making me fall asleep again.







Shine (Scott Hicks, 1996)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/23/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I should probably preface this review by stating that I am not a musician, nor am I a fan of the piano or of classical music in general.

I am, however, a sucker for a good biopic and for a story of someone who rises above adversity. Iím also just a little bit biased when it comes to performances from Geoffrey Rush. Now, Rush is not an actor whose work I actively seek out (mostly because Iím a shallow bitch who loves eye candy and he is definitely not eye candy), but in no performance Iíve seen has he ever failed to put his all into a role. Thatís true whether heís playing the Marquis de Sade (if you havenít seen it, go watch Quills!), an undead pirate captain, a speech therapist, or a prudish, uptight writer at the end of his rope who stumbles his way into a friendship with an ex-groupie who gives great hand jobs (check out The Banger Sisters for a decent laugh). Shine is no exception and Rush very much earned all the accolades he got for it.

But thereís more to it than just Geoffrey Rushís jaw-dropping performance. Thereís a very human story of abuse, mental illness, passion, and understanding. Ahwell posed the question of whose passion is it? Was it Davidís or was it his fatherís? The answer that I think is closest to the truth, or at least to the truth as the film presents it to be, is both. I think David and his father shared that passion but his father went beyond just molding and focusing Davidís drive to succeed and instead used it as a way to punish and imprison him.

As to the music, once again I know very little about classical piano, but I thought the repetition of Rach 3 and the focus on that as being the thing that drives Helfgott, was very fitting. That piece of music was a poignant representation of Helfgott. Itís passionate, itís complicated, and itís got a manic energy that is at once mesmerizing and a just a little intimidating.

The film though, of course, is not without its flaws. It does slide into cliche and it wraps up far more tidily than I would like, but with such a strong central performance these things are easy for me to overlook. And itís easy because when I watch a film, I ask only one thing of it: Make me care. Make me feel something. And Shine succeeds admirably.







Mildred Pierce (MIchael Curtiz, 1945)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/23/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I donít really have a whole lot to say about this one. I appreciated the portrayal of an independent woman, but there wasnít a whole lot else that I liked about it. Well, maybe Ida. She was kind of funny. Everybody else though was pretty s***ty, while not being s***ty enough to root against because they were mostly being s***ty to each other. They all deserved each other as far as I could see.

And while it certainly is not the worst offender Iíve seen, my experience suffered even more so from the stilted acting that was common for the time. It takes me out of a movie anytime someone sheds obviously fake tears (that are not fake within the context of the story) or when two characters are talking and one suddenly stops then a unnatural space of silence happens before the other person starts talking and yet I as the viewer am supposed to believe that the first person was interrupted by the second. And thatís not even taking into account the annoying dialogue, especially between Monty and Mildred when they were at the beach house the first time. I also cringed anytime Butterfly McQueenís shrill voice was heard. Holy crap that woman is annoying.

But if Iím totally honest I was at least never bored of the film. Annoyed, yes. Absolutely. But not bored. So at least thereís that.






I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach and Laura Obiols, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/25/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I, Daniel Blake is a bleak film that stands as a searing indictment of a system that is ostensibly designed to help people but actually serves to degrade and humiliate them.

Dave Johns and Hayley Squires are both excellent as two people who form a friendship and bond over their shared troubles. Both are driven to desperate acts to survive and both do what they can to support each other. Both struggle to maintain their dignity.

There is some humor here, the pacing is good, and the film lacks much in the way of filler, but it is a very difficult watch emotionally and I often found myself in need of tissue to wipe my tears. But itís that sort of thing that makes for a moving and memorable experience and for that I highly recommend it.

As as an aside, the other thing I highly recommend is to turn on subtitles. As an American, I sometimes struggled to understand the dialogue.






Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/26/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes



I remember watching this movie in the theater with my mom. She HATED it. She was not okay with its rewriting of history. I, on the other hand, loved it instantly. With its potent combination of heart-pounding dread, tragedy, humor and one hell of a bloody and satisfying tale of revenge, Inglourious Basterds is a hell of a fun ride and not once in the countless times that I've watched it have I ever felt its lengthy runtime.

That said, it's not a perfect movie. Like others, I certainly could have done without Michael Fassbender's character and performance and I would have liked to have seen more from badass Stiglitz. However, these are pretty minor complaints. The contributions of the other actors (especially Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mťlanie Laurent, and Daniel BrŁhl) as well as the getting to watch history play out the way it should have, more than make up for any shortcomings.

+





Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/30/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: Yes



When I chose to nominate Joker for the Hall of Fame, I knew it would come with some backlash. It has generally been a divisive film and I knew too that some people would feel that it's too soon. I knew people would unfavorably compare it to Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. I knew people would complain that it dares to call itself Joker at all.

I was not, however, expecting someone to call it a "mistake" to nominate the film and the person who said that can shove those words right up his.... Anyway, there's no mistake about Joker. I knew what I was doing when I nominated it and while that person may think that the impact of the film is lost on rewatch, I have found the opposite to be true. And let me tell you, I have rewatched this film. Tonight was at least my fifth or sixth time seeing it and I love it more now than I did the first time. Perhaps even more than the last time I watched it.

I love that it strives for true darkness and realism and not that safe, sort-of realistic PG-13 darkness of Nolan's Batman films. I love that it's gritty. I love that it looks and feels dirty and that all that grime is rendered somehow beautiful by the colors, lighting, camerawork, and score. I love how immersed I feel in it. I love that things are not black and white. I love that there's no hero here. I love how each scene challenges me to decide whether to laugh or to cry. And I love that Oscar-winning (finally!!!) central performance.

People are always quick to point out Phoenix's physical transformation but, while there's no denying the impressive dedication that takes, weight loss alone does not make for a great performance. What makes it great is the range of emotions he makes me feel. I feel sympathy for him. I feel terrified of him. I feel a strange sense of triumph when he finally sheds the last of his former self and fully emerges as Joker (and then I question WTF is wrong with me for feeling that way...). But mainly, I am fascinated. I am mesmerized by the presence he brings to the screen and by how fully realized the character becomes in his capable hands. This is the thing that makes for a great performance. And a great performance like this is what makes for a great character study.

So no, nominating this was no mistake. The Hall of Fame is for films that we believe to be great. And that is exactly how I feel about Joker. Everyone else who signed up is free to disagree. I don't care and I have no regrets.





Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Great review; really got across the passion you have for it. I've still yet to see it but reading something like that makes me want to so I can have an opinion and jump into the fray