The Resident Bitch's Movie Log - Volume 2

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After witnessing your public evisceration of The Matrix, I started a petition to have you removed from the forum. Apparently people actually like you on here (go figure!), so gathering signatures has been a difficult endeavor.

I wouldn't mind revisiting The Good, the Bad, the Weird before its inevitable appearance on the countdown. I found the movie exuberantly entertaining, but I can no longer recall many specifics. That's a shame about the animal abuse. I often feel bad for horses in westerns, especially during battle sequences where stuntmen pretend to take a bullet and jerk their horses to the ground. Usually the horses land on their side and immediately return to their feet, but sometimes they take awkward falls on their neck on rocky hillsides. I'm sure serious injuries are rare, but it's still gotta be painful for the animal. I recently watched Connery's last appearance as James Bond in Never Say Never Again, and there's an infamous stunt involving a horse falling from a large distance onto its back in the ocean. We later see the horse swimming away (assuming it's the same horse), and I'm sure the animal was fine, but while watching it, I thought to myself, "Man, that had to be highly traumatic for that poor horse." Hopefully it was a one-take deal.

The Last Picture Show is a borderline top-ten favorite, so it's been disappointing to read so many lackluster responses to it in the HOF. At least you and others have been fair in your assessment, praising the movie's strengths despite its themes not resonating with most of you personally. As for some of the other nominees, I'd argue that the emptiness of the MC in Blue Ruin and the unsatisfying vengeance is entirely the point. I'd never heard of Queen of Hearts or Shine, but the reviews have piqued my curiosity. I didn't quite love Mildred Pierce, but I thought it was very good and it's stuck with me pretty well. I'm losing hope that you're ever going to jive with the acting style of Old Hollywood. I, Daniel Blake was well acted and its intentions were noble, but it was all a little too obvious for me, muting the emotional impact of its tragedy. Looks like it might've been a . . mistake . . . to nominate State of Siege.
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Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)
Imdb

Date Watched: 06/20/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I felt like it
Rewatch: No



This film views to me like what would happen if Wes Anderson actually knew how to write people and made a film about something that actually matters. I donít think Iíve ever seen any of Waititiís other films, but if this one is any indication of his work then heís definitely someone Iím interested in seeing more from.

JoJo Rabbit is full of quirky characters that inhabit a bright, colorful world that pops off the screen. Its coming-of-age tale is whimsical and funny. It very much views like a Nazi Germany version of Moonrise Kingdom (only good. Did I mention I donít like Wes Anderson? Yeah, I donít like Wes Anderson), but it never forgets that itís a Holocaust movie. And it never lets the viewer forget it either and the laughs are interspersed with moments of terrible sadness.

Itís a truly unique and memorable film and though I donít love it now I think I very well could given time and rewatches.





Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Glad to hear you enjoyed Jojo Rabbit. I was a big fan of it. And if you're interested in checking out more of Taika Waititi's work I'd definitely suggest the delightful Hunt for the Wilderpeople as your first stop





Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
Imdb

Date Watched: 06/26/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I felt like it
Rewatch: Yes


Mad Max: Fury Road doesn't have a complex plot or particularly complex characters. It's not really all that interested in letting you know who these people really are deep down or in teaching you any lessons in morality or philosophy. This is not a film of great substance.

But with all that heart-pounding, nitro-boosted action, those crazy looking cars, crazy looking costumes, insane stunts, ridiculous dialogue, and that sexy motherf***er Tom Hardy, I don't give a damn. This is pure number one alpha prime entertainment.




Just realized I never logged this:



The Proposition (John Hillcoat, 2005)
Imdb

Date Watched: 06/30/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: It looked interesting
Rewatch: No


The Proposition is a very dark, very brutal film. But there is nothing over the top about it. This is not Tarantino kind of violence. This feels real.

But itís not just the violence that feels fully authentic. Guy Pierce, Ray Winstone, and Danny Huston all give life to their very multi-dimensional characters. These are men that are at once savage and merciless, manipulative, loyal, and intelligent. Each of these men seek their own - very much perverted - ideas of justice and each of them pays a terrible cost along the way. The film is peppered with quiet, sometimes even tender, moments that remind you of their humanity and at times I was lulled into allowing my sympathies to rest with each of them. But this was never a comfortable rest and I never fully forgot about their brutality.

And that discomfort and moral conflict are really what make watching this film such a powerful experience. But that said, I do have to dock its rating a little. As strong as this film is, it is devoid of humor and is relentlessly bleak, making its rewatchability questionable at best, and thus preventing me from loving it.






The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993)
Imdb

Date Watched: 07/11/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: ahwell's friend recommended it
Rewatch: No


Martin Scorseseís The Age of Innocence does a lot of things right. It is an absolute treat for the eyes with its sumptuous costumes and sets and its exquisite cinematography. It also boasts some fine performances and an intriguing story.

But what it does wrong, it does very wrong, at least for my tastes. Hereís the thing: I hate narration. Now, itís not necessarily a dealbreaker and it can be used effectively (such as in some of my personal favorite films like Mary and Max and Hedwig and the Angry Inch), but about the only thing that can do more damage to my investment in a film than narration is spontaneous song and dance. Mercifully, the film lacks that but every damn time Iíd get settled in and really start to give a s***, that f***ing narrator would start blathering again. I donít watch movies to be actually told a story. I want to see the events unfold. I want to know the characters' thoughts by their actions and their expressions, not be told them by some stupid voice over.

And so I spent this film detached from its characters and their fates and as such was unable to enjoy what could have been an otherwise fantastic movie watching experience.

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I just realized that I posted this on Letterboxd, but never copied it here:



Faustrecht der Freiheit (Fox and His Friends) (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975)
Imdb

Date Watched: 07/24/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Camo recommended it
Rewatch: No


I should probably preface my thoughts on this by saying that this film was not viewed under optimal conditions. It's summer here in northern California so it's hot as balls, the air conditioner can't keep up, and it's been f***ing miserable - which makes focusing on a film (especially a foreign film) a bit of a struggle.

Going into this, I didn't think I'd seen any of Fassbinder's other films, but I've seen The Marriage of Maria Braun (which I was fairly apathetic to). Regardless, I had no expectations and all I really knew was that it was German and gay.

Coming out of it, I don't really know what to think. Although I was invested in Franz's story by the end of it, it took a long damn time for me to get there. I rather disliked all of the characters and didn't have much sympathy for Franz's foolishness (though that probably has more to do with me being kind of a cold-hearted bitch than it has to do with the character). But then I suppose the audience isn't really meant to like these people so perhaps it was quite effective that way.

Overall a pretty solid film (probably a 6.5 out of 10) with good performances and an interesting story, but I don't have any other praise for it. Perhaps at some point I'll revisit it under better conditions and maybe it'll improve in my estimation then.






Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (Christiane F.) (Uli Edel, 1981)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/08/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by cricket
Rewatch: No


Christiane F is the tale of a young life almost wasted, thrown away to drugs and prostitution on Berlin's streets. It's a premise that is not all unique, but it is shockingly and heartbreakingly authentic.

The film glamorizes nothing. It also never stands in judgement of its characters and never comes across as preachy. It feels very raw and very real and it owes much of this credibility to the two lead actors, both of whom turn in remarkably convincing performances - especially considering that they were only teenagers when the film was released.

It's an impressive film and one I may well watch again. Sadly, with a HOF that is populated by so many strong contenders I don't think it's likely to rank very high in the voting. Still, I'm very glad to have been introduced to it.






Al-mummia (The Mummy, a.k.a. The Night of Counting the Years) (Chadi Abdel Salam, 1969)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/08/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by jiraffejustin
Rewatch: No


I don't think I've ever seen an actual Egyptian film before. Every film I've seen on the subject has been some Hollywood version, either glamorized like Cleopatra or else turned into action-adventure tripe like The Mummy series, so this was pretty refreshing.

It was also beautifully shot with a very brooding, moody atmosphere and speaks of the need for understanding one's past and of the value of knowing about our ancestors without plundering the artifacts they've left behind. It's very impressive in that way and I have nothing but respect for it.

However, respect can only take me so far and it was perhaps a bit too brooding and too slow-paced for my liking and after awhile I struggled a bit to stay with it. Still, I think its positives outweigh any issues and - though I doubt I'll watch it again - I'm glad to have seen it.

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I'm pleased to see some people discovering Christiane F and rating it well. I would say enjoying, but that's really not the right word for that film. I've only seen it twice, back in the 90's, but I remember it just knocked me on my arse both times. Such an emotionally raw and brutal film.
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5-time MoFo Award winner.





Stand By Me (Rob Reiner, 1986)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/09/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Sarge
Rewatch: Yes


Coming of age stories often feel a bit cliched. A bunch of friends get together for some sort of fun adventure/childish activity and along the way learn life lessons and confront the realities of the world. In that respect, Stand By Me doesn't really feel any different.

Though I acknowledge the fact that it came before some of the other such films I've seen, the premise of Stand By Me feels a bit tired and that dragged my enjoyment down somewhat. I also found myself rolling my eyes at some of the more childish scenes, especially Gordie's story about "Lardass." That said, I really enjoyed the more emotionally charged scenes and the film's greatest strength lies in some pretty superb performances, particularly by River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton. (I'll also admit to being pleasantly surprised by the appearance of a young John Cusack, who I'd forgotten was in this movie as Gordie's older brother.)

Overall it's kind of a mixed bag of really good and not-so-great, but still made for an enjoyable experience.






The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley, 1990)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/10/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by pahaK
Rewatch: No


I'd never heard of The Reflecting Skin before its title showed up in my Private Message inbox. A cursory search on the subject revealed that it might have something to do with vampires and that it starred Viggo Mortensen - and that's all I knew about it when I pressed play tonight.

Now that I've seen the film and know what it's actually about, I don't know how I feel about it. The film presents a series of horrific events that have been filtered and distorted by the perspective of a child. But instead of the innocent youth we expect, we are given as our guide a boy who is cruel, unlikable, and unsympathetic. He is this way as the film opens and he remains that way when the credits roll. The adults and other children that surround him are just as loathsome and as such it's hard to invest in their fates.

But that's not to say that this is in any way a bad movie. It is certainly not. The performances are universally strong and the characters are equal parts confusing and fascinating. I also loved the juxtaposition of the gorgeous cinematography and the bright and idyllic looking scenes against the grim, tragic, and horrifying tale.

As I sit here trying to write this, I'm unsure how to express my thoughts because I don't really know what they are. The film is repulsive and yet I was transfixed throughout. The fates of its characters are no doubt tragic and yet I can't muster any sadness for them. Some part of me wants to watch it again and yet I don't know that I ever would. I just... don't know.

I don't know what the hell to rate it either, so I guess I'll tentatively give it a 3 out of 5.






The Great Mouse Detective (Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, and John Musker, 1986)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/11/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by rauldc14
Rewatch: Yes


I watched this movie for the first time back in 2015 and was thoroughly unimpressed. I was hoping that this rewatch would be an improvement. It wasn't.

I love animated movies and some of my favorite animated films are ones that other people don't consider to be all that great (and some of my least favorites are ones that other people consider great). But this? This to me just smacks of mediocrity. There's nothing especially bad about it (though I was rather annoyed at the clichťd and bullsh!t good mouse/bad rat dichotomy that I see in so much children's entertainment). But there wasn't anything good, either. The quality of the animation was unremarkable. The songs (though mercifully few) were forgettable and the characters were likewise forgettable. I don't have anything to say about the story, either.

And so I remain thoroughly unimpressed. I don't hate it, though. It's pretty innocuous. So I'll give it the same rating I gave it five years ago, which is pretty generous for what it is.






Le SamouraÔ (John-Pierre Melville, 1967)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/14/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: No


Le SamouraÔ is a film that oozes cool. From gorgeous Alain Delon's sharp-dressed lone wolf assassin, to the color palette, to the way the shots are framed, to the cars he steals, to the women he encounters. It's all very stylish and very pleasing to the eye.

Unfortunately however, it's so cool that it's rendered cold and the overwhelming feeling that I got by its conclusion was one of emptiness.






Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/16/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by MovieGal
Rewatch: No


I went into this movie knowing absolutely nothing about "The Troubles" or the hunger strike that the film is based upon, so I don't think I fully understood what was going on. Even so, I was fully engrossed in the story it was telling and invested in the fates of Bobby Sands and the other IRA prisoners.

Key to this engagement, of course, was the performance of Michael Fassbender - who transformed his usual fit physique into one that was skeletal and disturbing. And yet, even in such a horrific state, he still exuded a certain inner strength that perfectly fit with Bobby's determination to do what he felt was right. The supporting performances were also strong, with Liam Cunningham particularly good as Father Moran.

Hunger also features some interesting choices in terms of direction and story. Although the film ultimately focuses on Sands, the audience isn't even introduced to him until nearly 30 minutes in (about 1/3 of the entire runtime). The film is also pretty sparse in terms of dialogue, with the huge exception of course of the conversation between Sands and Father Moran, in which the camera stayed in one position for 17 uncut minutes and the whole scene takes up nearly another 1/3 of the runtime. But never in that whole 20+ minute scene did it ever feel to me like the film had stagnated and I never got bored with it.

That said, I'm not entirely sure how much my interest in the film was based on its actual merits and how much of it was more of a train-wreck kind of enthrallment - where I both don't want to see the grotesque sight before me and yet cannot look away.

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The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam, 1991)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/21/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by edarsenal
Rewatch: No


Things I tend not to be overly fond of: live-action comedies, Terry Gilliam movies, Robin Williams, and edarsenal's Hall of Fame nominations. I do, however, tend to like Jeff Bridges and stories of redemption and I was hoping that those two things would tip the balance in my favor. They did not.

Throughout the movie, I kept being distracted by the nagging thought that the pony-tailed douche Jack would be better played by Val Kilmer (though I suppose the ten year age difference between him and Bridges meant Kilmer was too young for the part) and by the vague familiarity of the actress playing Lydia (she was also "Honey Bunny" in Pulp Fiction). And that's about as engaged with the film as I ever got.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is a bad film. In fact, it might just be a very good film but my cold little bitchy heart just wasn't feeling it. Had the movie not been a comedy and had it gone a more dramatic route, I might have been more invested in the goings on. If Jack had been less of a douche - or at least had lost his douche-iness a little sooner - I might have been more invested in it. But neither of those things happened and I just don't really like the majority of live-action comedies, I don't like Terry Gilliam films (except 12 Monkeys), I don't really care for Robin Williams, and somehow, as much as edarsenal usually loves my picks, I just can't get into the vast majority of his nominations (sorry, ed! Love you!) and The Fisher King is no exception to any of that. I do suspect that it won't be at the bottom of my ballot, at least.

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