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Mank -


First of all, this movie is very much in my wheelhouse. I love anything associated with old Hollywood, Orson Welles and Citizen Kane. Still, a quality of good movies is that they make you invested in their subjects regardless of your interest level before you push play. If the equally impressed reaction of my fellow movie lover wife - who was indifferent to these subjects - is of any indication, it succeeds on that front. With that said, this is not just a making-of dramatization. It's a story, and a well-told one, about how hard it is for artists - even those who have Herman "Mank" Mankiewicz's clout - to convince their higher-ups to mean what they say.

With its clever "funnel" flashback structure, i.e. present and past begin far apart and eventually collide, we learn that Mank's inspiration for the Kane script was not only fueled by his issues with Hearst, but also those he had with MGM and California GOP head Louis B. Mayer. Brilliantly played by Arliss Howard, he's a man who's not beneath reneging on fully compensating his employees or producing fake campaign ads and is thus against everything for which the socialist and truth-loving Mank stands. He's not alone in his battle, though: while sequestered in the famous (and actual) Victorville ranch that was his writing den, Mank is visited by family and acquaintances, most notably brother Joseph and unlikely ally and Hearst mistress Marion Davies (a very good Amanda Seyfried), and each of them entertainingly encourage and remind him what he's up against. Speaking of the ranch, filming at it and other actual locations surely has a lot to do with this, but it's a beautiful movie, especially for how it captures a '30s-'40s look and feel that has just the right blend of romantic and authentic.

The movie is not without its flaws: like Anthony Hopkins in Nixon, Oldman is award-worthy as Mank, but I'm not sure if he was ideal for the role. I couldn't help but side-eye during moments like when he mentions that he's 43 or whenever he's with his wife, who I'm ashamed to have mistook for his daughter. Also, it's barely worth mentioning since it's an issue with nearly every historical drama, but the accuracy is questionable from time to time. While I appreciate what the movie taught me about Mank's involvement with Kane, the movie diminishes Orson Welles' contributions a bit. I still consider this to be one of 2020's best movies, especially for how it reminded me that Citizen Kane is not only a great movie for its story and innovations, but also for how and what it said about those who thankfully failed to quash it. Oh, and for all of you comic book fans out there, with his penchants for seeking the truth, standing up for the common laborer and, well, drinking, was Mank the Spider Jerusalem of his day? Whether he was or not, this may be the closest thing to a Transmetropolitan adaptation we're likely to get.



BREATHLESS
(1960, Godard)
A film from the Criterion Collection whose number includes the #4 (#408)





Breathless follows Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a small-time but dangerous criminal who is on the run after shooting a cop. Desperate, he seeks refuge with Patricia (Jean Seberg), a former love interest that is an aspiring journalist in Paris. Even though she doesn't know much about Michel, his past, or even that he's on the run, she still spends most of the film resisting his romantic advances or dancing around the idea of being with him, as they wander carefree around Paris.

Overall, I can appreciate Breathless place in film history as well as some of its technical aspects, and it's a good checkbox to tick off my list. But to be honest, if you ask me to say something nice about it, I don't know.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF3.
Aw man, I absolutely love Breathless. Another movie that made me feel like film could truly be High Art.
But I am a sucker for French New Wave.



Aw man, I absolutely love Breathless. Another movie that made me feel like film could truly be High Art.
But I am a sucker for French New Wave.


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It's very good comedy film - Fantozzi Succumbs Again (1983) - 8 / 10 !

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Excellent movie with an original storyline.
Love this one. Rewatched it recently. It really is original, and the film isn't afraid to take you into the dark, painful psyches of it's two antagonists.





The Miseducation of Cameron Post - (2018)

This film, about a gay conversion therapy center, wasn't bad. I only had two gripes, the first being the fact that in 2018 Boy Erased also came out and while the two films are slightly different, they're basically the same. What is it about films arriving in pairs all the time? The other gripe was about Chloë Grace Moretz and her character. She maintains a wall and gets through the abuse and loaded suggestions with a barely audible "okay" delivered with a stone, almost morose, face. Stonewalling's good tactic for getting through this and away, but it makes for a bland protagonist. Anyway, if you feel like watching a film skewer those gay conversion centers, and can't get your hands of Boy Erased, I'd certainly recommend The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

6/10



Sounds promising-- especially with A. Hopkins. Will check it out when it's available.
It was quite a good one. I expected something weaker, since all the great actors accepted to play in all sort of action movies which sometimes are way below their level, but this one was quite acceptable.
A 7 in IMO.
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Two people per room with a hole in the middle. They are assigned to this room for a month. Once a day a table loaded with food drops down. You can eat as much as you want but there are rules you must obey, the biggest being you can't keep any of the food when the table begins to descend to the next floor. After a minute or two the table drops to the next level and down and down it goes. By the time it reaches the bottom the food is long gone so what are the two people on the bottom floors supposed to do? Hmmm? The entire film is a veeerrryyyy subtle dig at capitalism. It was interesting, would have like a little more cannibalism, that's always fun. Ovreall, not bad, it's interesting and moves along pretty good. For whatever reason it reminded me a little bit of Cube.



Professional horse shoe straightener



Excellent movie with an original storyline.
Zvyaginstev! Anything by him is worth a watch. Loveless is excellent.

The Return, The Banishment, Leviathan - all fantastic.



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Ship of Fools - 7/10
Movie centers around many people on this ship..Some characters were completely worthless. There's a lot of names, but I don't think they fit. I wonder how this would have been with different stars or better actors. It has propaganda, and a bit too preachy for me (very surfaced, nothing on a gut level), contrived, but that's Stanley Kramer for you. "Trendy Justice Whorior"





Re-watch. Very powerful. Surely the best thing Naomi Watts has ever done.



Excellent movie with an original storyline.
Yeah, loved 21 Grams,

Loveless now firmly on the list, really rated The Return and Leviathan.



I’ve never heard of yam-yams.

Being from the Black Country was considered, I suppose, as being rather low-class. I do know that the people I knew from there had terrifically strong accents. People would hide it & say they lived someplace else.

“The Black Country is an area of the English West Midlands, covering most of the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, and only some minor parts of Walsall and Wolverhampton. Dudley and Tipton are generally considered to be the centre. It became industrialised in the Industrial Revolution, with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills, producing a high level of air pollution.”

One thing I hope from Ray & Liz is that we all don’t go slumming with these people & caricature them in some negative way. I hope the movie is more than this.
"Yam" = "You are"
From "Yow am" or "Yowm".
This is the origin of "Yam Yams", a term designated by "Brummies" for the people from Wolverhampton who use this expression.

Stirchley, the film is autobiographical and pretty bleak but I don't think there is a piss take on the locals.



Zvyaginstev! Anything by him is worth a watch. Loveless is excellent.

The Return, The Banishment, Leviathan - all fantastic.
I remember watching The Return years ago and really liking it. I watched the trailers for the other three and I'm like 90% sure I've watched Loveless sometime in the past. Leviathan looks especially awesome.



The Travelling Players (1975) -


I stopped caring about the story about half an hour into this film and instead focused on the film's style. Angelopoulos seamlessly blends personal and political history in a number of sensually pleasing and inventive ways in just about every single sequence. And this is accomplished despite the film being almost four hours long! Throughout all the long takes in the film, Angelopoulos managed to drop my jaw a number of times. For one, he found all kinds of creative ways for the various political figures and set pieces to creep into the frame and intrude on or interrupt the characters lives. For example, the film sometimes showed the sounds of a patrol of Nazis or a political march in the distance get louder and louder until the characters eventually entered the frame. Also, sometimes when the characters would exit from the frame of a shot, it would linger in that location for a while until a soldier or a military vehicle would enter the frame, often indicating the film is jumping from past to present. This unconventional shooting style gave a sensually pleasing, poetic style to the film which I found quite mesmerizing and poetic. The way violence is shown in this film is also impressive, specifically in regard to which bits are shown onscreen and which are shown offscreen. A recurring aspect to the violence was that, right when a violent bit started, the characters would run away from the frame and the sounds of gunfire, explosions, or screaming could be heard in the distance, creating a strong sense of claustrophobia and (at times) fear of the unknown in the process. The main highlight to the violence is a lengthy sequence in the middle where the actors come across a gunfight between a patrol of Nazis and a group of resistance fighters while sneaking through a town at night. The way the violence and the military units in this sequence are framed (they're only shown through the gaps between various houses and stores), in addition to a dose of surrealism, is nothing short of perfect. This film's runtime is intimidating and will likely keep many people away (which is understandable as I initially thought the film would be a chore to sit through), but I'm glad I watched it. So far, it's my favorite first-time watch of this year.