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Movie Tab II

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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)




I felt that the Joker was actually one of the more honest characters in the movie. Even if he changed the story of his origin depending exactly on who he was talking to, and he does deliver one baldfaced lie, it appears to all be within the realm of his believing in having fun by playing games. Batman seems to force himself to have to believe in what he stands for, but the Joker has no problem whatsoever in letting you know that he believes in Anarchy and the vileness of human nature, but it still has to be demonstrated with a maximum amount of "fun". This Joker is definitely one of the scarier characters I've ever seen. I don't know if you think that escalating one-note symphony which played during the tenser moments of the film was a cheat or super-effective, but I always took it to be what the Joker hears inside his mind when things are going his way.

Many of the characters in the film are duplicitous, but the Joker seems to stay true to his beliefs. He's obviously very smart and possesses some form of mind control to be able to pull off all the things he does with no visible means of support. I mean, he must have some financial backing, but it isn't anything comparable to Bruce Wayne's. Plus, the Joker commits a heinous crime in the film: he burns money! (I'm only discussing what's seen in this film, not the comic books.)

In some ways the Joker and Harvey Dent both seem interested in playing games of chance, whether involving playing cards or coin flips. The Joker probably enjoys doing magic tricks more than Harvey, but he certainly did a good one when he spoke to Harvey Dent (offscreen) in the hospital room.
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It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
No Country For Old Men (Coen Bros., 2007)




This is a terrific film, but the Coens just love to throw curves towards the end at the audience. They did it in Barton Fink and The Man Who Wasn't There, and I believe they do it here too. This flick grabs you from the beginning and is so unusual and suspenseful that it slowly wraps its fingers around your throat and tightens. The scene where the dog chases Llewelyn in the river almost had me giddy; I couldn't believe I was watching something that I should have seen long ago. The shootout in the deserted smalltown streets between Llewelyn and Anton was even better. I never once cared that nobody reared their head. There are several other classic suspense scenes in the film, especially involving cheap motels and a botched drug transaction. Tommy Lee Jones' Sheriff is a terrific character, but somehow, the three strong characters seem to be hung out to dry during the last 20 minutes.

NOTE - This was all resolved by me almost immediately, but I include it here anyway.

These unanswered questions are what I find lessens the impact of the film. My fave character is Llewelyn. We never see what happens to him. We can imply it, but I don't think it's fair that such a cool character "just disappears". What happened to the money? Where did Anton's character go when the Sheriff was outside the motel crime scene? We saw him. We saw the opened vent, but that was too small for him to get away through. Is Anton actually a "part-time ghost" as the Sheriff hypothesizes? Who is the family member in the wheelchair that the Sheriff talks to? (Again, I can imply who it is, and if you read the story, maybe you know, but that's not fair. Movies aren't novels and they often change things.) Does Anton kill Llewelyn's wife? The Carson Wells character implies that Anton lives by a code (even if it's a psychotic's code). Did Anton spare the wife and violate his own code, thus causing the "accident" at the end of the film? Was that crackup at the end even an "accident"? What happens to Anton? How do the Sheriff's two dreams tie the entire story together?



Every film I've watched in the past three months, all of which selected by my girlfriend

Dune (Villeneuve , 2021) -
-
The Unforgivable (Fingscheidt , 2021) -

Sightless (Karl, 2020) -

Red Notice (Thurber, 2021) -
+
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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)




Mulholland Dr. is another film everybody seems to love, but I only slightly like. My favorite scene is when Naomi Watts "acts" with Chad Everett. That's "real" and doesn't need twists to make commentary about Hollywood vs. reality. I guess I'm just a wet blanket, sitting all alone in the corner at this big party Lynch is having with everyone else. I do think the film is interesting and leads to some thought-provoking ideas but I'm just not fully drawn in. Sometimes I find Lynch's atmosphere and "audacity" downright silly, but I do find this one better than most.

It pretty much made sense to me the first time - at least my interpretation. Then I read the experts and their explanation deflated me and the film. Are there really any films which don't allow someone to "engage" with them? It seems that opposite ones engage people who are looking for "opposite things". I don't want my films to be spoon-fed, but I'd like to know my interpretations partially agree with what the creator intended. If not, why isn't someone's interpretation of a film as "idiotic nonsense" make as much sense as the interpretation of it as "poetic beauty"? Sorry about the comments. They're not meant as a debate or a popularity contest because I'll lose that. Just think of it as the loyal opposition saying hello and telling you to have fun as much as you can because sometimes I apparently don't.



January, 2022 movies watched-

Halloween Kills (2021)
Not bad after a terrible start.

Apocalypse Now: Redux (1979)
+ 1st time watching this version. A consistently imperfect movie with highs as high as anything else that's ever been done.

Jaws (1975) Repeat
Above average in every way but it doesn't seem that it'll ever be a personal favorite.

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Repeat
My favorite courtroom movie.

Safety Last (1923) Repeat
Really nothing to dislike but it never gets me higher than mild amusement.

Magical Girl (2014) Repeat
- Recommended for people who like movies like the Dogtooth director makes whatever his name is.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Repeat
+ Still the greatest adventure movie ever made, even if I don't quite love it the same way I once did.

One Cut of the Dead (2017)
+ Not quite horror and not quite comedy, but it's all fun.

Midnight Cowboy (1969) Repeat
This movie has frustrated me for many years because I couldn't understand why it wasn't a favorite. Finally the frustration is gone.

Total-9




Земля [Earth] (1930) -

Арсенал [Arsenal] (1929) -




<Guap mode on>
Tarkovsky loved these movies, so it's natural these are masterpieces.
<Guap mode off>

Now that Tarkovsky loved Earth actually does mean something to me and helps to understand the visible bounds between cinematical inspirations. Dovzhenko is a Soviet cinema pioneer and obviously his films were supposed to be and were propaganda, but I'd rather compare him to avangard Dziga Vertov than arguably the most known Sergei Eisenstein. Under the propaganda flare there's a whole new world of poetic maestry full of symbolism and visual majesty.



It shouldn't be anything new that Tarkovsky loved Dovzhenko as their films are very alike. Earth and Arsenal abandon the idea of linear easy-to-follow plot to show ostensibly incoherent events thanks to the montage build on juxtaposition and extreme face close-ups. The result resembles a more poetic Vertov.



Both Earth and Arsenal were made as propaganda films to encourage Ukrainian peasants to collectivize their land and join Ukraine to USSR, but thanks to Dovzhenko's skills became something more. The unstoppable turn of events occurs as when a man dies, child is born and when the cruel man flogs a horse, shortly after that the peasant collapses. The Earth ends with the image of apples in the rain. One of the most visually striking and spoiler-free endings of all time!

魔法少女まどか☆マギカ [Puella Magi Madoka Magica] (2011) -



Now that's what I call a titillating rifle!

I wanted to write fake impressions and rate it one star to see Guap's reaction, but then thought of possible consequences of him writing the longest post MoFo ever seen and creating the biggest pean in the name of anime and little magical girls the world has ever witnessed. Naturally, it would be fun to see him trolled, but at the same time it would bring a lot of confusion and anger to other users of these forums. So. thinking about their, and also Guap's, mental health I abandoned the idea.

Guaporense is a weird dude. His favourite anime have little girls in them and he glorifies PMMM whenever possible, which led me and some MoFos into thinking that he works as the advertiser for PMMM's publisher. After seeing the twelve episode TV series version of the anime I sort of got why he is so excited, but there's a thin line between excitement and zeal to scream out loudly: "This is the best movie ever!!!".


Hump you very much!

Needless to say, I eventually fell for Guaporense's charm and watched the thing. The length allows it to create a really good story and interesting world (worlds?) of ordinary girls turning into magical witch-fighters. Don't let the cute visuals deceive you. PMMM is dark, heavy, even sinister psychological drama. It's got amazing twists, great sub-plots, lesbian references, Faustian theme and a lot of moral dilammas protagonists have to face. The idea of a world within a world and therefore different animation style for the 'other' world is really beautiful and creates a trippy atmosphere. The mind-tuggling time episode is really nice, but I felt like the ending, although really good, is too much. It's like trying to be metaphysical too much.

And in that final hour of revelation, when the universe is being recreated, the very spirit of anime magic ejaculates from the screen and metaphysical power should embrace my cinephile heart I'm staring at Madoka's boobies and wondering why doesn't she have nipples on them. DAFUQ.


Yeah, the protagonist even wanted to design her costume and made a drawing of it in her notebook. xD
Browsing through some of my old (2014) posts in this thread. Wow, I used to be much funnier and inventive!
Browsing through some of my old (2014 & 2016) posts in this thread. Wow, I used to be so much funnier and more inventive! Also, much more immature but so what!?



January Tab


The Seven Year Itch (Billy Wilder, 1955) [REWATCH]: Besides Some Like it Hot and The Apartment, this is probably the Wilder I revisit the most often, even if it's a lesser picture than several others in his esteemed filmography. Marilyn Monroe essentially playing Marilyn Monroe, descending from a staircase to nowhere into the sexual fantasies of every hot-blooded straight male. This is such a horny, perverse film for its era. Too bad the Hays Code cock-blocked Ewell's character from cheating on his wife. I've seen several people remark that they would've enjoyed this more if it had starred Jack Lemmon, but Lemmon is too naturally charming for the role. The character is meant to be a pathetic loser, and the schlubby, hangdog Ewell is perfect for the part.


Red Notice (Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2021): Ultra generic globe-trotting adventure that is at least watchable thanks to the A-list trio of headliners and the lofty price tag attached to all the on-screen spectacle. Never particularly exciting despite a fast pace; never particularly amusing despite a constant barrage of jokes (many of which are going to age terribly); never particularly clever despite several convoluted twists and turns. Slick but smug, well-dressed but hollow. Cinematic equivalent of drinking boxed wine in a rented tuxedo.


Track of the Cat (William A. Wellman, 1954): Expected a traditional man-versus-nature western with Robert Mitchum tracking the titular cat. Instead got a man-versus-nurture wannabe Tennessee Williams stage play dressed in western attire. Histrionic and overwrought to a fault. Memorably odd. Heavy on metaphors. Wellman's attempt to film a black-and-white movie in color. Some impressive exterior shots in the snow, but most of the film is cramped indoors. Suffers whenever Mitchum isn't on screen, and unfortunately that's most of the second half.


Bruised (Halle Berry, 2020): Berry fares well in front and behind the camera in her directorial debut, exhibiting impressive physicality in her role as a former UFC fighter, but the trite script and bloated runtime prove too much of an encumbrance. This could've been a decent Rocky rehash with a tighter focus on training and combat, but the hackneyed interpersonal drama (abusive boyfriend! traumatic upbringing! estranged son dumped on doorstep!) atop so many underdog tropes ultimately sinks the film despite valiant performances attempting to buoy the clichés. The climactic battle in the octagon is well choreographed, even though it's very much a Hollywood version of MMA.



The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter, 2021): Uneven biopic that flirts with camp but ultimately settles into standard formula. Chastain elevates the material with a big, showy, award-seeking performance: funny accent, a few musical numbers, the full gamut of emotions, while saddled with garishly distracting prosthetic cheeks. Andrew Garfield's performance amounts to little more than mimicry. I didn't realize until watching the movie that most of the events occurred near my neck of the woods. The movie arguably goes too easy on Faye's own culpability in her husband's schemes. Apparently Jim Bakker is still out there conning in the name of God, peddling colloidal silver as a COVID cure.


Borat Subsequent Movie Film (Jason Woliner, 2020): Rough going early on, and remains scattershot throughout, with lots of jokes that don't elicit much of a reaction, but the funniest moments are hysterical, and nearly all of them come courtesy of Maria Bakalova. It requires a deep reservoir of resolve to not wilt from embarrassment or break character when you're the cynosure of such intensely awkward situations. Also impressed by how effortlessly they adjusted to the pandemic, as if it was part of their plan all along.


A Pistol for Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965): Opens with two men coming face to face in the street, seemingly about to draw their pistols in a duel, only to instead shake hands and wish each other merry Christmas, setting the tone for this offbeat, playful spaghetti western. Our titular gunslinger drinks milk instead of whiskey, only kills in self-defense, and greets every moment of peril with a carefree grin. Story-wise, this isn't far removed from the Man with No Name trilogy -- an antihero playing both sides to maximize profit -- but the flippant tone confounds expectations, in a good way. Lighthearted without sacrificing gravity; mirthful without slipping into comedy; laidback yet never lacking momentum. The supporting cast is excellent. This is more of an ensemble piece considering how often Ringo is content to hang out in the background. Top-ten spaghetti.


The Return of Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965): Sequel in name only, with most of the cast returning to play entirely different characters, which gives this a Twilight Zone vibe when watched closely to the original, as if we've slipped into a parallel universe. Far more serious and traditional than its predecessor, which also makes it less interesting, but still a high-quality spaghetti western. Morricone's score reflects the darker tone, giving the music a grander, operatic density, which just sounds so much cooler to me than the eccentric, playful score he laid down for the first film.



Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020): We've seen plenty of films about outsiders seeking the American dream, but this one has a fresh perspective and honesty thanks to a high degree of naturalism and tenderness. Easy to forget that we're watching actors and not a real family. Excellent performances across the board. Yuen and Yuh-jung received most of the attention, but I was most impressed with Han Ye-ri, and the kids give uncommonly good performances as well. For the most part, the script avoids storytelling contrivances (and I liked that Chekhov's heart condition didn't play out as expected) but the forced dramatic moment at the end rings hollow, especially compared to how sincerely the film had previously treated moments of conflict. I'm thirsting for Mountain Dew.


The Alpinist (Peter Mortimer & Nick Rosen, 2021): Invites obvious parallels to Free Solo, as both are documentaries about daredevil mountaineers who risk their lives scaling treacherous peaks without the assistance of protective equipment. I found the dude in Free Solo arrogantly off-putting, whereas the subject here, Marc-André Leclerc, is much more personable with his big-kid demeanor. Only problem: he couldn't care less about the documentary, often ghosting the filmmakers during his most impressive feats or forgetting to turn on the camera when tasked with documenting his progress, so we aren't treated to a ton of footage, but what little we get is breathtaking.


Greyhound (Aaron Schneider, 2020): Rarely do I find naval combat cinematically compelling, and this was no exception. Zero effort put into characterization, wasting the charm and talent of Tom Hanks. Feels less like a film than an extended set piece. The FX are impressive, but the digital sheen on everything ruins any sense of verisimilitude when it's obvious to viewers that even the water is fake. Despite the non-stop torrent of gunfire and torpedoes, this was pretty damn boring. At least the Oscar nomination for Best Sound was warranted.


Blue Chips (William Friedkin, 1994): Disagree with the detractors who accuse this of being a strident morality lecture. Blunt but nuanced. Nolte is great as a Bobby Knight analog. The turnstile of real-life basketball legends throughout the film adds authenticity. I was particularly impressed with Bob Cousy's performance. The in-game action feels legit. Shaq's acting skills might not be much better than his free-throw ability, but his charm and charisma compensates. Refreshing to see a sports drama so unconcerned with championship banners or rousing inspiration. Primary criticism would be the stereotypical ancillary characters.



Teknolust (Lynn Hershman Leeson, 2002): Strange, quirky, low-budget, digitally-shot science-fiction that features Tilda Swinton in four separate roles: a scientist named Rosetta Stone and her three cyborg clones, each with their own personalized color scheme and cheap-ass wig. The story is easy to follow, but the peculiar sense of humor, bizarre plot machinations and alien-like behavior from every human character conjures persistent what-the-f**kery. Tea brewed from semen. Condoms as currency. Microwave video calls. An STD that manifests as a forehead bar-code. Karen Black as Dirty Dick. I have no idea what the film is trying to say about technology and human intimacy, and the ending is disappointingly rote, but the early-internet aesthetic and heightened weirdness maintained my interest.


My Spy (Peter Segal, 2020): Unlike most family films, this doesn't shy away from on-screen deaths. We even get a slow-motion decapitation played for laughs. Perhaps that PG-13 content within a very PG story puts the film in a no-man's land for some viewers, but I appreciated that the violence isn't handled with kid gloves. Batista is a real-life Hulk, and the awkward utilization of his bulky physique adds charm to his attempts at comedy, even when he's failing at provoking laughter. Script both embraces and pokes fun of action-movie tropes. Exceeded my low expectations.


Thunder Road (Arthur Ripley, 1958): Appears to be something of a passion project for Robert Mitchum, as he stars, produces, writes the story and the theme song. Unfortunately this tale of Appalachian bootlegging is wheel-clamped by the Code's crime-doesn't-pay morality. Filming most of the car chases with rear projection denies viewers even the simplest thrills. The supporting cast, including Mitchum's spitting-image, real-life son (awkwardly cast as his brother), gives uniformly rigid performances. Mitchum is effortlessly bad-ass and captivating as usual, but he can only carry the movie so far when every other aspect is so lackluster.


The Visitors (Elia Kazan, 1972): The repressed trauma and guilt of Casualties of War breaks bread with the themes and simmering tension of Straw Dogs inside the real-life home of legendary director Elia Kazan. As always, Kazan gets the most out of his cast, including James Woods in his on-screen debut. The low-budget, do-it-yourself, home-video atmosphere, shot on 16mm, feels much more like the type of film a young, upcoming director would make at the start of their career. Despite his advanced age and accomplishments, Kazan directs with the vitality of a hungry maverick itching to provoke strong reactions and controversy. This is an angry film, rough around the edges, purposely uncomfortable. Balled fists of celluloid.



Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019) Captivating opening act, with the cleverly written diner scene, tense police altercation and ensuing panic of the immediate fallout. Sadly, the movie never lives up to its early potential, slowly getting worse thanks to baffling character decisions, dull detours, tin-eared dialogue and well-intentioned but clumsily integrated topicality. Central performances and lyrical cinematography are the highlights.


Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Kevin Smith, 2019): Tusk and Yoga Hosers might be terrible, but at least Kevin Smith took a risk with their weed-inspired absurdity. This is nothing but lazy fan service. I've always felt that Jay and Silent Bob work best as ancillary characters. That opinion hasn't changed. It hurts to even look at them nowadays with their ghoulish appearances. Mewes has aged horribly and Smith appears sickly from the drastic weight loss. Constant cameos from the View Askewniverse might appease the most sentimental diehard fans. I'm not one of them, as I've never found Smith particularly funny despite sharing a similarly crude, puerile sense of humor, but this is a new low for him. Complete auto-pilot. The treacly emotion is just as cringe as the constant winking at the audience. One of the unfunniest movies I've ever watched.


Bridget Jones's Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001): Colin Firth might be one of my least favorite actors. Even the movie describes him as a dullard, so it's befuddling to me that he's presented as the preferred suitor. Hugh Grant's character might be a lying cheat but at least he has a personality and a sense of humor; plus he's far more attractive. Regardless, the MVP here is obviously Renée Zellweger with her winning personality. Cute, charming and fairly amusing. Lots of panty humor. Enjoyed this enough that I'll eventually seek out the sequels.


The Winds of Autumn (Charles B. Pierce, 1976): Decent western about an 11-year-old boy seeking vengeance for his murdered Quaker family. I wasn't a fan of the awkwardly incorporated slow-motion during every moment of violence but there's some nice outdoor photography. Cool to see Jack Elam receive top billing for once with his crazy wandering eye. He and Jeannette Nolan -- the elderly matriarch of this possibly inbred family of violent criminals -- make this obscure western worthwhile.



5 Card Stud (Henry Hathaway, 1968): Sturdy western bolstered by stalwart performances by veterans like Dean Martin, Robert Mitchum, Roddy McDowall and Yaphet Kotto. Whodunnit plot adds an interesting angle, establishing a vaguely slasher-like structure, but the reveal is too telegraphed to qualify as a true mystery.


The Tax Collector (David Ayer, 2020): Shia LaBeouf got a giant tattoo across his chest and abdomen to better play his character, yet you hilariously never even see the tattoo because he's decked out in a suit the whole movie. Say what you will, but the dude is always committed, and he's the only interesting part of this dreary, overly grim crime flick. Too bad he's not the main character. Ayer seems like the type of dude who still drives a Hummer while sporting an Affliction t-shirt. All his films try insufferably hard to appear tough and masculine. This stereotypical garbage is his douchiest film yet.


Skyline (Greg & Colin Strause, 2010): Recently heard surprisingly good things about the sequels, which prompted me to finally give this critically-reviled alien-invasion flick a chance. The writing is abysmal. Paper-thin characters with zero personality spouting incredibly flat dialogue. FX are impressive, however, especially for their modest budget. I enjoyed seeing so many brains plucked from skulls, and the ending is effective. The movie isn't afraid to kill off anyone and everyone, which I appreciate.


I Wake Up Screaming (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1941): Features all the tasty flourishes of noir, along with a compelling whodunnit plot. Victor Mature might not possess much range, and I remain surprised that ladies found him so attractive, but his distrustful smarminess is put to excellent use as a promoter/murder suspect/love interest. Laird Cregar, with his Orson Welles-like presence, is the standout as a sinister detective hellbent on making Mature's character squirm.


Hangover Square (John Brahm, 1945): Unusual noir featuring a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde angle, as a distinguished composer prone to violent blackouts falls under the spell of a manipulative femme fatale. Boasts two highly memorable scenes, both involving fire. Laird Cregar's final role before his untimely death at 31.



Antebellum (Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz, 2020): I'm a bit surprised by the overwhelmingly negative reception. Perhaps the wrong genre classification is partly to blame. People complain that it isn't scary, but I never felt like the film was even trying to be scary. Disturbing and unsettling, yes, but this is very much a thriller, not horror. The awkward structure doesn't help, either, and the middle act drags when Gabourey Sidibe saunters in and steals the movie from Janelle Monáe. The twist isn't what I expected (in a good way), and draws comparison to my favorite Shyamalan flick. The filmmakers sloppily aim for the subversive Jordan Peele approach to social commentary. I think the film would've been stronger had it fully embraced its exploitative nature -- been pulpier, uglier, more gratuitous. The technical aspects are impressive, especially the single-shot opening. I admire the creative risks, even though not everything hits the mark.


Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (Stefano Sollima, 2021): Never read anything by Tom Clancy, but I enjoyed this more than most of his other adaptations. Perhaps too somber and old-fashioned for its own good with a few too many scenes that strain credulity, but the plentiful action sequences are skillfully directed. Michael B. Jordan's physique is impressive, but he still comes across too soft when he's supposed to be intimidating.


Woman Walks Ahead (Susanna White, 2017): Biographical western about a woman who paints a portrait of Sitting Bull before becoming an advocate for the tribe in their fight to prevent the U.S. government from expropriating their land. Typical white-savior narrative with a downbeat ending. Listless, poorly paced. The type of film a substitute teacher would use to bore a classroom. Commendable performances from Chastain, Rockwell and Michael Greyeyes.


Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade (Steven Spielberg, 1989): Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was my introduction to the franchise, and it remains my favorite of the series, which possibly puts me in a minority of one. I find all these movies plenty ridiculous, but Crystal Skull is the only one to embrace the camp and absurdity. Those traits are the same reason I prefer Moore's output as Bond. I've already forgotten everything that happened in this movie except for the opening on the train with River Phoenix and the climactic tank chase. That's partly because I nodded off during the middle portions. I simply find Indy a dull, uninteresting hero, and the drab color palette doesn't help. I watched Temple of Doom for the first time a few months ago. While I enjoyed how deranged it got at times, the grating tag-team of Short Round and the perpetually screeching woman gave me a headache. At least that one maintained my interest, however, whereas this one literally put me to sleep. Boredom is the biggest sin a movie like this can commit. Where's Shia LaBeouf and those monkeys when you need them?
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Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
February seen list (newly rated only):

Missing a couple but hey-ho, it was still a 'lazy' month anyway.



February Tab


Everly (Joe Lynch, 2014): Single-location, violent grindhouse shoot-em-up. Hits the ground firing and barely relents for 90-minutes of bullet-spraying carnage. Completely disregards traditional set-ups or typical characterization. All you need to know is that Salma Hayek is some kind of sex slave to a dangerous Japanese crime boss and now he wants her flat-lined. Tone is a bit wonky, trying to cram forced motherly emotion into the proceedings by placing a young girl in danger, which doesn't mesh well with the gallows humor and pulpy mayhem. Occasionally flirts with Miike-like derangement. Also features one of the gnarliest deaths I've seen in awhile, with a sadistic madman getting a dose of his own acid, then crawling across the floor in agony as it melts him from within, leaving a blood-streaked, gooey trail like a giant menstruating slug. I haven't been this turned on by Hayek since she undulated with a python.


The Greatest (Tom Gries, 1977): A biopic about Muhammad Ali starring Muhammad Ali as Muhammad Ali. For that reason alone, this is worth watching, and I'm surprised that it's so obscure given the man's enduring popularity. Released one year after Rocky, this was likely a cash grab at the time, but all these decades later it's quite the curio -- and a decent movie to boot. Ali's performance is fine, especially when he's in showmanship mode, and the boxing matches are comprised of actual footage. Ali's portrayal isn't exactly impartial, but what do you expect? Features small supporting roles from Ernest Borgnine, Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.


Coming 2 America (Craig Brewer, 2021): Coasts on nostalgia that I don't possess, having only seen the original once and finding it lackluster. Not particularly funny, but at least the jokes aren't total groaners -- except for maybe the overdone schtick of Murphy and Hall playing multiple characters in ridiculous make-up. Overlong with too many embarrassing musical numbers, but the cast is clearly having fun and the message of gender equality and the film's sweet-natured tone make for an undemanding, pleasant diversion. Wesley Snipes deserves more comedic roles. The hairstylists and wardrobe department earn every penny.


Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016): I love Solondz's idiosyncratic style. If you've seen even one of his films, you'll instantly recognize his deeply sardonic humor and awkwardly mannered characterizations. Edgy, bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Mocking his characters with borderline cruelty while simultaneously offering an empathetic pat on the back. Quality-wise, I'd place Weiner-Dog in the middle of his filmography. This is essentially four short films, each representing a different stage of life, with a cute dachshund as the through-line. The first segment, featuring slow-motion diarrhea dollies and Julie Delpy explaining canine gang-rape to her sickly, inquisitive son, was my least favorite. The second segment, with Greta Gerwig playing an adult Dawn Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse, might be the least amusing, but it's easily the most emotionally resonant, and therefore the strongest.



Razorback (Everett De Roche, 1984): Nightmarish cinematography and kinetic editing provide enough visual window dressing to compensate for lackluster plotting and thin characterization. The movie doesn't settle on a protagonist until at least a third of the way through its run-time, which is a tactic I admire in theory, but sadly it chooses the dullest candidate. The monstrous boar looks great, like a rampaging furry rhino barreling through houses and snatching babies for snacks, but disappointingly it takes a backseat to the stereotypical redneck antagonists.


The 355 (Simon Kinberg, 2022): Chastain, Cruz, Kruger and Nyong'o are overqualified for this globe-trotting espionage action flick -- code name: Mission: Impossible - Vagina Protocol -- and the plot is ultra generic, find-the-MacGuffin, save-the-world stuff, but I enjoyed it despite its predictability. Features plenty of well-orchestrated thrills and suspense, and the cast is talented enough to temporarily disguise the taste of microwaved leftovers.


Old Enough (Marisa Silver, 1984): One of the better female-centric coming-of-age films I've seen. An adolescent reverie on the summer streets of New York City. Writer/Director Marisa Silver was only 23 at the time, so she's able to slip into the mindset of her teenaged characters with acuity, capturing little nuances that similar films often ignore. Mostly plotless with low stakes and evaporating conflicts. Even the stark class disparity between the budding friends is refreshingly observed without becoming a foundation for manufactured drama or social commentary. Falters a bit in the last act with the sudden emphasis on the floozy who moves upstairs. One of the actresses, Rainbow Harvest (her parents must be Care Bears), is a spitting image of my first celebrity crush, Winona Ryder.


Sabrina (Sydney Pollack, 1995): The age difference and lack of romantic chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn kept me from wholly buying into the original. This remake fares better in that regard, but it's sorely missing the sharp wit of Wilder's dialogue, and Julia Ormand is no match for Hepburn's effervescent charm. This is fine for what it is, but it's a bit light on comedy for my taste..



The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015): I've watched a lot of horror films, but very few have felt this sinister. A pervading sense of doom so thick and overwhelming that it nearly seeps into your living room. Felt like I was being slowly sucked into a nightmare, or brought to a boil in a witch's cauldron. Helpless, hopeless, abandoned. Diseased piety corroding the soul from within. Puritanical corruption. Familial destruction. Sin's whispered seduction. Thankfully I watched with subtitles or I would've missed a quarter of the dialogue, which is extremely well-written. Spot-on performances and casting. Anna Taylor-Joy's large expressive eyes, pure and virginal but also coquettish and mischievous, as in her confessions of sin which hint at pleasure in the absence of remorse. The gaunt, haggard, heavily-creased faces of Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie epitomizing the toil of a harsh, physical, day-to-day existence. Mark Korven's disconcerting, dissonant score and Jarin Blaschke's stark, earthly cinematography merging in unholy union to spawn an atmosphere so ominous it threatens to swallow the soul. A perpetually overcast color palette that has forever blotted any semblance of warmth or sunlight or respite. The most disturbing baby-oil tutorial in existence. I was skeptical that the The Witch would live up to the enormous hype, thinking that I'd likely appreciate its craft more than the film itself, but I was spellbound by every aspect. Instant horror classic and a potential new favorite. Can't wait to revisit it and likely boost my rating as my impression of the film has only grown stronger in the weeks since watching it. Black Phillip beckons.


Wander (April Mullen, 2020): A whacked-out thriller tailor-made for conspiracy theorists who think that the COVID vaccine contains microscopic chips. Aaron Eckhart fully commits to the crazy with his over-the-top performance, while Tommy Lee Jones seems to have wandered bemusedly on set and stuck around for a free sandwich. The lurching pace, unreliable narrator and constant twists make it difficult to remain invested. A movie constantly chasing its own tail.


Where's Poppa? (Carl Reiner, 1970): Black comedy that revels in offensive humor without feeling mean-spirited. The infamous tushy scene feels disappointingly tame in a post-Farrelly-Brothers world, while the racial stereotyping and coerced rape gag feel much edgier. Hated the corduroy aesthetic. The wardrobe and production design are true to the period, but I can practically smell the moth balls when everything on screen looks as if it was stitched together from my grandmother's curtains. I wish that they had stuck with the incestuous original ending, which would've been the shocking capper befitting such a blithely amoral film, instead of the deflated shrug of an ending we get instead.


The Lost City of Z (James Grey, 2016): Handsomely old-fashioned biographical adventure. James Grey channeling his inner David Lean. Normally the awkward stop/start narrative would feel unsatisfying, but you can't criticize the script when it's simply following the timeline of true events. I wish that Hunnam and Pattinson had swapped roles, as the former lacks the charisma to be a compelling lead. Sienna Miller out acts everyone with her limited screen time. Something about people floating down a river flanked by dangerous natives and mysterious jungles intrigues me endlessly. Maybe I was a howler monkey in a previous life. Or an adventurous mosquito.



Deep Rising (Stephen Sommers, 1998) [REWATCH] Tremors aboard The Poseidon Adventure. Comedy, horror, action, science-fiction, romance. An exasperated Treat Williams exclaiming, "Now What!?" every ten minutes. Hungry tentacles, regurgitated skeletons, corridors of bloody slime. Famke Janssen reminding everyone that she was once one of the hottest babes in Hollywood. A cast of familiar character actors getting picked off one by one. Limitless ammo, axes to the head, slow-motion jet skis outracing climactic explosions. Tongue-in-cheek B-movie entertainment on a 45-million-dollar budget. This was one of my go-to rentals as a kid when I couldn't find anything new that interested me. Still just as fun today as it was back then.


Beautiful Boy (Felix van Groeningen, 2018): I think Steve Carell has done fine dramatic work in the past -- Foxcatcher being the most notable example -- but throughout this movie I could never shake the impression that the concerned dad faces he repeatedly employs were two seconds from shattering into a Michael Scott grin. This movie should've hit home for me, as I've seen firsthand the destruction meth can cause a family, but nothing about it felt fully believable to me, despite its true-story origins. Fairly routine "drugs are bad, mkay?" tale that lacks insight or emotional gravitas and feels a bit uppity and try-hard. More vain than vein.


Her Smell (Alex Ross Perry, 2018): Character study segmented into five vignettes. Primarily a showcase for Elisabeth Moss, who gives an impressively exhaustive performance as a volatile rock star on a kamikaze spiral into a pit of self-destruction and self-loathing that alienates everyone around her and likely most viewers as well who aren't accustomed to such off-putting leads. Camerawork admirably mirrors her state of mind, especially in the dizzying, chaotic early segments. Would've preferred that it didn't follow the traditional redemption arc.


The Haunting of Sharon Tate (Daniel Farrands, 2019): I was hoping that the overwhelmingly negative reception (2.8 on IMDb; 1.0 on Letterboxd; nominated for multiple Razzies) was a result of moral outrage. The film is undeniably tasteless, but to my disappointment it's not because the film is a gruesome re-enactment of a real-life tragedy but rather a bone-headed revisionist take that adds supernaturalism to its ham-fisted themes. Hilary Duff bears a slight resemblance to Sharon Tate at certain camera angles, but she's woefully miscast talent-wise. In addition to the amateur performances and sheer dullness of the plot, the director doesn't even attempt to capture the look of the period. The unavoidable comparison to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does the movie no favors either, with Margot Robbie's elegant portrayal of Tate still fresh in the mind, as well as Tarantino's comparatively tactful revision of the same events.



February, 2022 movies watched-

True Romance (1993) Repeat
Not a top of the line favorite like it once was, but still a total blast for what it is.

Total-1

March, 2022 movies watched-

Mad Love (1985)
+ Overly manic but a pretty decent watch.

Dolores Claiborne (1995) Repeat
+ Very engrossing for what could have easily been an average movie.

Thunder Road (2018)
A successful mix of comedy and drama but I feel like it could have been much more.

Demons (1971) Repeat
Up among my favorites out of Japan.

Quo Vado? (2016)
Sometimes movies unexpectedly make you feel a certain way and that makes them special.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
The rare family friendly fantasy that drew me in.

Don't Talk to Irene (2017)
Cringy awkward at times but with enough laughs to make it a decent comedy.

My Dog Skip (2000)
Ok only because I love dog movies.

Chicken Run (2000)
A rare animated movie for me and it was a lot of fun.

Total-9
2022 total-19




Recent Watches:
Interstellar (Nolan, 2014) -

The Tinder Swindler (Morris, 2022) -
-
Dead Asleep (Borgman, 2021) -

RW: There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane (Garbus, 2011) -

RW: Monster in Law (Luketic, 2005)-

The Batman (Reeves, 2022)-
-



Last month:
Manhattan: 8/10
When Harry Met Sally: 8/10
Casablanca: 9/10
The Ten Commandments: 10/10
The Insider: 8/10


Higher Learning:
Felt like an edjucational movie about Racism/rapeculture, wich it also is. I wathed it mostly because of Rapaport.
6/10.



Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
Probably not gonna watch anything else before the end of the month so...
April seen list (newly rated only):