Rate The Last Movie You Saw

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By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50235396

The Neon Demon - (2016)

I'm kind of unsure where I sit with this Nicolas Winding Refn effort - it's one of those good films that made me feel really bad. There's a dark sickness twisted into it, such as with the whole 'Lolita' bit at the hotel our protagonist Jesse stays at - but I like the weird stuff that might allude to things like the mountain lion which stows away in Jesse's room and the interesting eating habits of the faux-witches late in the piece. I generally have a negative vibe when it comes to modelling - the whole industry built off insecurity and exploiting young girls - but in a horror film with many in-built criticisms of the whole 'trading on your looks' theme this movie should sit very much right with me. I especially like dream-like imagery, and this is definitely one of those films that becomes more abstract and dream-like as it goes. I have a feeling that if I watch this again I might enjoy it more - but for now I'm not jazzed as I was when I saw Only God Forgives. Reminded me a little of Black Swan.

7/10


By CineMaterial, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59130336

A Separation - (2011) - Iran

My second go-around with this, and it's just great. From start to finish A Separation keeps you thinking and questioning yourself and the characters in it. Beautifully scripted with nuances and complexity - yet it's straightforward and filmed to near-perfection. Most films clearly illustrate good people and bad people, but here it's shades of good and bad which point more to the situations the characters find themselves in rather than something intrinsic inside of them. Through it all comes not just the one 'separation' between a husband and wife, but many separations in Iranian society - perhaps alluding to the ultimate philosophical concept that we're really all alone - and connecting with another person is an illusion. A simple and very real story about being wronged - depending on the point of view.

9/10


By http://membres.lycos.fr/jeanreno/films/nikita.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7816620

Nikita - (1990) - France

I was so tired when I watched this, but I still liked it - the story of a female gang member and hood who is convicted of murder and then turned into an assassin - getting a second chance but living a murderous false life she hates. Throughout the second half of the film you're on her side, but lets not forget she did kill someone without scruples earlier on. Best thing about this film are the missions - all carefully set up, they play out step by step and are exciting, taut and very well shot.

7/10


By www.affichescinema.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7816526

Subway - (1985)

Another Luc Besson film, this time set during around 24 hours in a Paris Subway with a thief (Fred - played by Christopher Lambert) making a getaway and coming into contact with a whole underground of petty criminals who live there. It doesn't have much of a plot - mainly characters spend the whole film looking for other characters, and it's the people themselves - their quirks and mannerisms - that make up the movie. Lambert is very charismatic in this, but I felt pretty lost without a story to follow.

6/10
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By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50235396

The Neon Demon - (2016)

I'm kind of unsure where I sit with this Nicolas Winding Refn effort - it's one of those good films that made me feel really bad. There's a dark sickness twisted into it, such as with the whole 'Lolita' bit at the hotel our protagonist Jesse stays at - but I like the weird stuff that might allude to things like the mountain lion which stows away in Jesse's room and the interesting eating habits of the faux-witches late in the piece. I generally have a negative vibe when it comes to modelling - the whole industry built off insecurity and exploiting young girls - but in a horror film with many in-built criticisms of the whole 'trading on your looks' theme this movie should sit very much right with me. I especially like dream-like imagery, and this is definitely one of those films that becomes more abstract and dream-like as it goes. I have a feeling that if I watch this again I might enjoy it more - but for now I'm not jazzed as I was when I saw Only God Forgives. Reminded me a little of Black Swan.

7/10
I liked, but did not love, this one. I will say that it plays well a second time around, and I think that it looks amazing. Reeves as the creepy motel owner and in particular that scene where
WARNING: spoilers below
he puts the knife in her mouth
made me profoundly uncomfortable in a way that I both appreciated and resented. I like the way that the film both explores and subverts the expectations about how the main character will be a victim of exploitation.



Yesterday, I saw Dune in the theater on the big screen and Last Night In Soho at someone's house on the TV. And I sincerely wish I could reverse that.




By http://membres.lycos.fr/jeanreno/films/nikita.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7816620

Nikita - (1990) - France

I was so tired when I watched this, but I still liked it - the story of a female gang member and hood who is convicted of murder and then turned into an assassin - getting a second chance but living a murderous false life she hates. Throughout the second half of the film you're on her side, but lets not forget she did kill someone without scruples earlier on. Best thing about this film are the missions - all carefully set up, they play out step by step and are exciting, taut and very well shot.

7/10


By www.affichescinema.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7816526

Subway - (1985)

Another Luc Besson film, this time set during around 24 hours in a Paris Subway with a thief (Fred - played by Christopher Lambert) making a getaway and coming into contact with a whole underground of petty criminals who live there. It doesn't have much of a plot - mainly characters spend the whole film looking for other characters, and it's the people themselves - their quirks and mannerisms - that make up the movie. Lambert is very charismatic in this, but I felt pretty lost without a story to follow.

6/10
If you're digging into Besson, I'd suggest seeing The Last Battle if you haven't already. It's got his quirkier sensibilities but without the slickness of his later works, and with a strong silent comedy streak. Looks great too.















By CineMaterial, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59130336

A Separation - (2011) - Iran

My second go-around with this, and it's just great. From start to finish A Separation keeps you thinking and questioning yourself and the characters in it. Beautifully scripted with nuances and complexity - yet it's straightforward and filmed to near-perfection. Most films clearly illustrate good people and bad people, but here it's shades of good and bad which point more to the situations the characters find themselves in rather than something intrinsic inside of them. Through it all comes not just the one 'separation' between a husband and wife, but many separations in Iranian society - perhaps alluding to the ultimate philosophical concept that we're really all alone - and connecting with another person is an illusion. A simple and very real story about being wronged - depending on the point of view.

9/10
I'm a huge fan of A Separation.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Flipper's New Adventure (Leon Benson, 1964)
5.5/10
Outlaws AKA The Laws of the Border (Daniel Monzˇn, 2021)
- 6.5/10
Lust in the Dust (Paul Bartel, 1984)
6/10
The Meaning of Hitler (Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker, 2020)
6.5/10

Documentary about how Hitler and fascism rose in the 1930s and is rising again now.
A Bridge Too Far (Richard Attenborough, 1977)
6.5/10
The Challenge AKA It Takes a Thief (John Gilling, 1960)
6/10
Untamed Women (W. Merle Connell, 1952)
4+/10
The Beatles: Get Back (Peter Jackson, 2021)
7+/10

Paul McCartney and John Lennon rehearse a song for the Let It Be album and their rooftop concert.
The Long, Long Trailer (Vincente Minnelli, 1954)
6/10
Wonder Women (Robert Vincent O'Neil, 1973)
5/10
The Predator (Shane Black, 2018)
5.5/10
Lost in America (Albert Brooks, 1985)
6.5/10

Married couple Julie Hagerty and Albert Brooks decide to go Easy RIder and travel around looking for America in a Winnebago.
Urbania (Jon Shear, 2000)
6/10
David Copperfield (George Cukor, 1935)
6.5/10
High School U.S.A. (Rod Amateau, 1983)
6/10
A House on the Bayou (Alex McAulay, 2021)
5.5/10

Angela Sarafyan goes with her cheating husband and her daughter to vacation at a mansion on the bayou and are visited by a teenager and an old man who seem to have magical powers.
The Devil's Rain (Robert Fuest, 1975)
5/10
Spin (Manjari Makijany, 2021)
6/10
Crime Against Joe (Lee Sholem, 1956)
+ 5/10
The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951)
- 7/10

Alien spaceship lands in Washington, D.C. and robot policeman Gort shows some intergalactic enforcement against Earth's warlike behavior.
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tick..tick..BOOM
I give it a three out of five. The music was good. The lead actor was excellent. But the pacing was frenetic for most of the movie. Even people running out of time take a beat. It is even more important to pay attention to the pacing in a musical than other forms of entertainment. A ballad or two would have gone a long way to evening this flaw out. Of course the lead character who the composer and deceased now couldn't address this problem. I also didn't care for the way the death was handle. It is just flatly stated. And then there is a little addressing of the death but not in a satisfactory way.



Yesterday, I saw Dune in the theater on the big screen and Last Night In Soho at someone's house on the TV. And I sincerely wish I could reverse that.
What, first you don't like 2049, and now Dune too? For shame Wooley, for shame...



IDA
(2013, Pawlikowski)
A film from Poland



"What if you go there and discover there is no God?"

Set in 1960s Poland, Ida follows Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), a young, aspiring Catholic nun who is confronted with the reality of her past before taking her vows. Orphaned as an infant during World War II, Anna is sent out to meet her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), her only surviving relative, through which she learns about her Jewish parents. Both women set out on a trip into the Polish countryside to find out what happened to their family.

This is the second film I've seen from Pawlikowski, after Cold War, and as much as I liked that one, I loved this one even more. This film is, and I hope I can stress this enough, *gorgeously shot*. The framing and overall shot composition is superb, while the black and white cinematography conveys the lifelessness of the post-war world in which these women live, as well as the contrast within their mindset.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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What, first you don't like 2049, and now Dune too? For shame Wooley, for shame...
I liked Dune. I did. To be honest, I liked 2049 up until the third act.
But Soho was a visually striking film with a great soundtrack and a driving arc, it would have been fun to see and hear in the theater.
Dune plays more like a really good, high cinematic cost streaming show. I'm glad I saw it, I enjoyed the story and at least a couple/few of the characters (though the movie is mostly story), but it felt more like I was watching the first couple episodes of HBO's Dune. No arc whatsoever, very story-driven, little character-development outside of Paul, it was just story. And it's a bit drab, visually, not without its treats but very gray and brown and sandy with little other than one or two cool spaceships and a worm to catch the eye. And the soundtrack was mostly that horn sound from all the big CGI-action movie trailers these days.
So, while I definitely enjoyed it, and I did, look forward to the next one, it really felt like I could have watched that at home and hauled my cookies out for Last Night In Soho.





L'avant dernier (The Penultimate) - (1981)

Just thought I'd take a look at this Luc Besson short as it's his first film and precedes Le dernier combat (The Last Battle) - Two 'Knights' of an apocalyptic world come face to face in combat after one (Jean Reno) kills the other's blow-up sex doll. Very stylized, but his feature released two years later would make massive improvements on it. Runs for 11 minutes.


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15895159

Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) - (1983)

Full of quirky humour, pathos, imagination and wonderful imagery, this is a great first feature from Luc Besson. Set in the ruins of society after a cataclysmic apocalypse, where humanity has lost the ability to speak, a lone man must find the final components to his self-made plane and then set off in search of what turns out to be a beautiful young woman - one of the few left alive. On his way he comes across 'The Brute' - played by Jean Reno - a violent man trying to force his way into a makeshift hospital to plunder and rape. This is basically a black and white silent film and has a visual style that keeps things interesting from start to finish. Frequent Besson collaborator Eric Serra provides a dream-like ambience for our ears, which mixes well with the other-worldly ruin. Really liked this film.

8/10


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Under the Skin - (2013)

Had to watch this again - I'm a big fan of Under the Skin - a film that goes way off-novel but provides a lot of freaky imagery in relation to aliens who I'm supposing are inter-dimensional and process humans for their meat - ensnared by attractive women. They seem to have a constant problem though - they develop emotional connections with humanity meaning the 'lures' have a specific use-by date. Scarlett Johansson plays one - she's out for what's under our skin (the meat) but she also takes note of everything she experiences in the human world and finds there's a whole other meaning to the term.

WARNING: spoilers below
She'll eventually meet the human equivalent of herself though.


From the film's first shot - the artificial construction of a human eye in some bizarre realm - we're treated to another world that I find fascinating. Apart from the deeper meanings behind everything, I can't get enough of bizarre scenes where men are put under a spell, led to a very unnatural submerged liquid zone and undergo their 'processing'. There are other scenes that shock and surprise - and as a whole I find Under the Skin a fascinating and sometimes upsetting film.

9/10


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Atlantis - (1991)

Luc Besson-directed doc with underwater wildlife set to music. Some pretty nice imagery - and if I ever needed a film to sooth me to sleep this would be the one.

6/10




Pure As Snow




SF = Z


[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it







It! The Terror from Beyond Space
- Low budget 1958 B&W scifi/horror. It stars Marshall Thompson as Col. Edward Carruthers, the commander of Challenge 141, the first manned expedition to Mars. That ship crash landed and a second mission has been sent to look for survivors. Carruthers turns out to be the sole survivor of the 10 man crew. He tells his rescuers that an unidentified creature had killed the rest of his crew during a Martian sandstorm. They don't believe him of course and make plans to get him back to Earth to face a court martial and execution. One of the crew leaves a bay door open long enough while disposing of debris for an unwanted hitchhiker to make it's way aboard.

This is low budget but not egregiously so. The so called "ship" is exclusively shown to be traveling in a vertical position (accompanied by wacky sound effects). That's probably due to how the set was built with each level separated by hatches. Plus I'm sure the budget didn't allow for weightlessness. This ties in directly to the plot though, with the survivors not only having to retreat to sequential levels but also adding to the claustrophobic feel.

It's a short one, clocking in at 69 minutes, but the story doesn't feel rushed. I didn't recognize any of the other cast outside of character actor Dabbs Greer. There are two female scientists on board, one a doctor and the other a geologist. Their first time onscreen however has them serving coffee to the male crew members like intergalactic waitresses. Outside of dated clunkers like that it does a reasonably good job with the thriller aspect of it's story. The remaining survivors throw everything they have at the creature which it mostly shrugs off. You, on the other hand, have to shrug off the fact that many of their attempts would have most assuredly led to hull integrity being compromised followed by catastrophic implosion. But then accuracy should never enter the equation when watching this kind of movie. It's actually not bad.

75/100



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?




Downfall (2004)
Say what you will about Hitler, but the man went out with a BANG Ha hahaha ha

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Regardless this is an exceptional film with far more gravitas on a far more expanded field than similar films I have seen on the final days as Russia invaded Berlin.
Starting with the POV/witness and our escort into the doomed Bunker, with actual footage of Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge, in both the opening and closing of this film. This perspective seemed to open the doors to many occurrences involving lower officers and staff along with Bruno Ganz's impressive multi-layered performance of Adolf Hitler. For all the parody fodder that erupted on youtube, I remained mesmerized by the Humanity and pathos contained throughout the Bunker and its privileged residents and the very streets of Berlin. The citizens, caught in the crosshairs of both Russian invaders and the cold disregard dealt with them by their leaders.

Even if this were not a Historical Piece, it would still be a compelling film with all that occurs within this finely crafted film of a very grim comeuppance and the devoted zealots who went down with the blazing ship.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

By http://membres.lycos.fr/jeanreno/films/nikita.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7816620

Nikita - (1990) - France

I was so tired when I watched this, but I still liked it - the story of a female gang member and hood who is convicted of murder and then turned into an assassin - getting a second chance but living a murderous false life she hates. Throughout the second half of the film you're on her side, but lets not forget she did kill someone without scruples earlier on. Best thing about this film are the missions - all carefully set up, they play out step by step and are exciting, taut and very well shot.

7/10
It has been FAR TOO LONG since I've watched this back in the nineties. This was my introduction to Luc Besson and I REALLY need to revisit this.