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Le Havre -


Jordan Belfort once stated that there is no nobility in poverty. What this movie presupposes is...maybe there is? Charming, funny and heartwarming in equal measure, it demonstrates that a community, even a small one, can make a difference. Are proud shoe shiner Marcel Marx (Wilms) and devoted wife Arletty (Outinen) modeled after Fargo's Marge and Norm Gunderson? I'm not sure, but they remind me of the couple in many ways. Marcel, like Marge, may never be rich, but he enjoys his job and he is good at it. Plus, his reason for enjoying it is adorable: in short, it's one of the few that lets him be close to people. As for his illegal immigrant ward, the fact that he's a child who just wants to make it across the English Channel so he can be with his mother should be enough, but the movie is still bound to penetrate the heart of even the most ardent immigration opponent. It's no coincidence that Idrissa (Miguel) is Gabonese, not to mention that Marcel's co-worker, Chang (not his real name), is Vietnamese, for starters. As of writing this, I have only seen a few of Kaurismaki's movies, but I've seen enough to say that it continues his tradition of showing the world from the perspective of the bakers, shopkeepers, barkeepers, etc., each of whom constitute Marcel's adorably merry band. They work together to hide and protect Idrissa in continuously amusing ways from police inspector Monet (Daroussin). A lesser movie would portray Monet as a moustache-twirling villain, but it even has the heart to make him just as human as those who he investigates. I also like how the movie manages to write a love letter to its titular city at the same time. Local blues legend Little Bob not only shows up to this party, but also performs, for instance.

This is the kind of movie that makes you smile a little wider and that makes the sun seem brighter after watching it. Again, it not only makes you believe that even a small band of friends of moderate means working towards a common cause can not only do some actual good, but also might perform a miracle. It will also give you hope that our impulse to help those in need no matter where they come from will remain intact. This is a sequel of sorts to La Vie en Boheme, which also features the Marcel character, but it's not necessary to watch it first, especially since Marcel summarizes who he was in that movie. Oh, and speaking of Little Bob, keep your eyes open and you may spot another legendary French entertainer.



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Le Havre -


Jordan Belfort once stated that there is no nobility in poverty. What this movie presupposes is...maybe there is? Charming, funny and heartwarming in equal measure, it demonstrates that a community, even a small one, can make a difference. Are proud shoe shiner Marcel Marx (Wilms) and devoted wife Arletty (Outinen) modeled after Fargo's Marge and Norm Gunderson? I'm not sure, but they remind me of the couple in many ways. Marcel, like Marge, may never be rich, but he enjoys his job and he is good at it. Plus, his reason for enjoying it is adorable: in short, it's one of the few that lets him be close to people. As for his illegal immigrant ward, the fact that he's a child who just wants to make it across the English Channel so he can be with his mother should be enough, but the movie is still bound to penetrate the heart of even the most ardent immigration opponent. It's no coincidence that Idrissa (Miguel) is Gabonese, not to mention that Marcel's co-worker, Chang (not his real name), is Vietnamese, for starters. As of writing this, I have only seen a few of Kaurismaki's movies, but I've seen enough to say that it continues his tradition of showing the world from the perspective of the bakers, shopkeepers, barkeepers, etc., each of whom constitute Marcel's adorably merry band. They work together to hide and protect Idrissa in continuously amusing ways from police inspector Monet (Daroussin). A lesser movie would portray Monet as a moustache-twirling villain, but it even has the heart to make him just as human as those who he investigates. I also like how the movie manages to write a love letter to its titular city at the same time. Local blues legend Little Bob not only shows up to this party, but also performs, for instance.

This is the kind of movie that makes you smile a little wider and that makes the sun seem brighter after watching it. Again, it not only makes you believe that even a small band of friends of moderate means working towards a common cause can not only do some actual good, but also might perform a miracle. It will also give you hope that our impulse to help those in need no matter where they come from will remain intact. This is a sequel of sorts to La Vie en Boheme, which also features the Marcel character, but it's not necessary to watch it first, especially since Marcel summarizes who he was in that movie. Oh, and speaking of Little Bob, keep your eyes open and you may spot another legendary French entertainer.

Good movie.. Kaurismaki is my favorite living director. I highly recommend checking out all the movies he made with Matti Pellonpää. Have you seen "Shadows In Paradise"?



Good movie.. Kaurismaki is my favorite living director. I highly recommend checking out all the movies he made with Matti Pellonpää. Have you seen "Shadows In Paradise"?
Not yet, I've only seen The Man Without a Past and Fallen Leaves in addition to this one. I'll look for that one next. It looks similar to Fallen Leaves and has Kati Outinen, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it.

LOL, there's an action movie with Mark Dacascos, Armand Assante and Tom Sizemore with the same title. I wonder if that caused any hilarious mix-ups at video stores.



Not yet, I've only seen The Man Without a Past and Fallen Leaves in addition to this one. I'll look for that one next. It looks similar to Fallen Leaves and has Kati Outinen, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it.
You should also check out Kaurismäki's Ariel and Leningrad Cowboys Go America.

You can thank me later.



...
BTW, this is the first Bad Boys movie I've seen. OMG! I can hear you thinking. First Mad Max and now this! Man, this guy's got a lot of gaps in his cinematic knowledge! Yeah, yeah, yeah, guilty as charged. I'll just get into things on my own schedule, thank you very much...
Does Will Smith get to slap Martin Lawrence??..



I forgot the opening line.

By http://impawards.com/2009/invention_of_lying_ver2.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24198626

The Invention of Lying - (2009)

Ricky Gervais was the golden one at this high point in his career, and his directorial debut attracted some far-out stars like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill etc. etc., but the end product feels a little too neatly packaged despite some great ideas nearly blossoming into something. Gervais has an undeniably great comedic talent - even genius - but he's simply not a great filmmaker. People just assume that if you're that funny you can make a really outstanding comedic feature - but you still need to have skills in different areas if that kind of transition is going to come off. It's still a lot of fun though, to see one megastar after another show up for a moment or two of silliness in this forgettable disappointment. It's a shame because it starts to explore the invention of religion and how it's related to the invention of lying - and seeing that amazing moment of possibility fumbled, dropped and squandered really hurts. Also - where are all the damn laughs?

5/10


By [1], Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27150847

Certified Copy - (2010)

An examination of perception and how valuable it is when defining something as original or not - via two intelligent, vibrant people played by Juliette Binoche and opera singer William Shimell walking around Tuscany. Another amazing film from Abbas Kiarostami. Full review here, in my watchlist thread.

8/10
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The Structure of Crystals - 6/10
If you're going to invite me for a meal, don't serve me bones.

And I don't give a shit about crystals. Science is boring. Especially a lecture.

It's too bad, because he's made some good movies. "The Constant Factor" being the first one that comes to mind.




Yes, I couldn’t wait & forked over $20 to watch this.

LOVED IT! I knew Marisa Abela would shine in this (she’s great in Industry). As the movie progresses, she became even more like Amy. Couple of times Amy was singing but turned out it was Marisa (even though she had never sung before). She so looked like her too.

So frickin sad Amy died so young. Such a waste.

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2nd Rewatch...Pleasant remake of the 1950 Spencer Tracy classic which finds Steve Martin stepping into Tracy's shoes as the aggravated title character who is not so much upset about the expense and headaches involved in putting this wedding together as he is at the thought of losing his little girl. Martin is charming here and Diane Keaton brings a richness to the mother of the bride that was absent from the original. Martin Short is a little much as the wedding planner, but a small misstep in a solid remake.







5th Rewatch...This film has endless rewatch appeal for me and has become the film with my favorite Clint Eastwood performance (and his diection is nothing to sneeze at either). He plays a recently widowed war veteran who is one of the few caucasian residents in a racially charged Asian neighborhood who gets involved with a pair of Korean siblings and some dangerous Korean gangs. That scene at the neighbors' house where Walt is with a houseful of Koreans who don't speak English never gets old and the ending destroys me.







5th Rewatch...This film has endless rewatch appeal for me and has become the filmn with my favorite Clint Eastwood performance (and his diection is nothing to sneeze at either). H eplays a recentl;y widowed war veteran who is one of the few caucasian residents in a racially charged Asian neighborhood who gets involved with a pair of Korean siblings and some dangerous Korean gangs. That scene at the neighbors house where Walt is with a houseful of Koreans who don't speak English never gets old and the ending destroys me.
I should take another look at this.



Bad Boys - Ride or Die



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RIP www.moviejustice.com 2002-2010
Created Equal: Clarence Thomas In His Own Words (2020, Michael Pack)



Solid, but not perfect, documentary about the life of perhaps the greatest and most tenured current United States supreme court justice. Aptly named, the documentary uses justice Thomas himself to narrative and explain and tell stories from moments in his life as well as digging into the foundations of his jurisprudence. The film spends a decent portion - the first half going through his childhood in fatherless home deep in poverty, to living with his grandparents, and then going onto college where he wrestled with far left radicalism before being taken up by libertarian Ayn Rand leanings until he finally settle into Reagan conservativism. What works is the thematic core and center of the film as each of the stories he relates gives insight into how his mind and decision making works and how despite being a victim of racism, he refused to be confined by it.

The second half largely focuses around his senate nomination hearing in 1991 and digs into the details and recounts the "high tech lynching" he had to endure during the process. Some great archival footage, as well as footage from films like The Fountainhead and To Kill a Mockingbird, where he saw comparisons between his own treatment to that of Tom Robinson in the novel and film.

I remember seeing this documentary show up on youtube and watched a few minutes of it a year or so ago, but never went back to watch the entire piece. Thomas has been in the news today quite a bit as a sole dissenter in a 2nd amendment case and seeing him be slandered in the media made think back to this documentary and piqued my interest and memory that I needed to watch the entire thing.

Now, whether a person loves or hates Clarence Thomas is beyond the point. The fact is, he is a man of convictions...again whether or not you agree with those convictions, there's no doubt he has them. There's also no doubt that Clarence Thomas will go down in the history books as one of the all time most prominent judges, so to hear such an individual outline their jurisprudence and allow their "mind to be picked" in documentary form is always welcome. The narrative is tight and the musical choices and reprisal of the "Moon River" score is delightful. How the documentary interviews Thomas to distill his values of family, his country, and God and connects it to his jurisprudence is well done.

The only real weakness of the documentary is that is does seem to exist in a very closed-off or contained form... he's interviewed, his wife is interviewed... but that's about it. I know the title says "In His Own Words," but I do wonder how much of this could have been improved by intermingling his words with those of his colleagues, legal minds, historians, etc. Also at times it does feel a bit rushed. For instance he mentions two individuals he had conversations with and acted as teachers and mentors to him early in the Reagan administration where he really began to dig deep into the founding documents and their meaning. Also for a documentary that does a sound job of exploring why he believes the way he does, it only very briefly skims over what he believes. Yes it mentions originalism, but it hardly goes deep into what originalist interpretation of the Constitution is and perhaps other historical justices that have also subscribed to it. This would have given the documentary more perspective into his jurisprudence. The ending does seem abrupt and rushes through the last 5-10 minutes once it is done covering the confirmation hearing and the Anita Hill debacle. The ending feels like it's missing something, and while it does a great job of tethering it all to the influence and teachings of his illiterate grandfather, it just fills like it is void of going back to the founding principles of the nation or the historical connection. If any film could benefit from discussion of the writings of Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Locke, or Tocqueville, this would be it, but it is void of such things sadly. Still, a wonderful, though flawed documentary about a great man.

Grade: B
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I forgot the opening line.

By impawards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10400679

Saints and Soldiers - (2003)

What this film does well is imbue each character with a layered personality, and develop relationships between them - so when this or that soldier dies in an horrific fashion, some emotions stir. It's amazing how many films fail at that. Other that that big critical plus this is a fairly middling World War II story set during the Ardennes offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) during the latter stages of the conflict. Five combatants (4 Americans and one British pilot) find themselves behind enemy lines, and must deliver some critical intelligence before the Germans capture one of the largest ammo dumps in the Western theater of operations. The cast are all unknowns (and the production company helmed by Mormons), but overall it's not a terrible war picture. I like that there's more drama than shooting and wanton destruction, but moments of tension and action do regularly heighten whatever is going on between these guys at any given time. There are plenty of big budget features that could learn a lesson or two from this more modest effort.

6/10







Inside Out 2


We all know Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Now meet the new emotions:


Fear
Sadness
Joy (but selfish)
And a third Fear


As my icon may tell you, I absolutely adore the original, but this one feels like a cash grab, with a direct to streaming level plot.


That said, the visuals are absolutely amazing. The amount of detail they put into the real world segments is some of the best CGI I've ever seen. I love the small details, like giving the teenagers small amounts of acne. Riley even has some faded acne scars on her cheek.


The plot does pick up a bit in the third act, and it still tugs at a few heartstrings, but it's an unnecessary rehash of the original, with "new emotions" that are really just slight variations of the originals.


"C+"





Civil War - (Alex Garland, 2024)

8.5/10. Jesse Plemons is everywhere it seems.... which is great, love this guy. Nick Offerman should have more screen time.
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