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10 Foreign Language movies to go

By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4455093

Once Upon a Time in America - (1984)

I'll always remember Once Upon a Time in America at video shops in it's unwieldy double-tape VHS case - unlike in America, where most VHS came in close-fitting cardboard cases, here we had huge plastic sarcophaguses. Anyway, I watched the 229 minute version (in one sitting) and afterwards actually wished I'd seen the 251 minute version - for such a lengthy movie, there's surprisingly little extraneous material in it. A couple of plot points I didn't understand, but that was quickly sorted out with Wikipedia, and overall I was incredibly impressed by this film. Ennio Morricone's score got me half way there - and I thought Robert De Niro and James Woods were a great pairing (one could almost perceive a more intimate kind of relationship than what the film goes into.) Overall, spending so much time laying out the history of the group of friends we're presented with really heightens the emotional impact of where their story goes. I wish I'd seen more of Burt Young and Joe Pesci - their menacing characters were great, but their appearance so brief. The film left me with an emotional feeling, especially the way it closes - was all of the latter-day material just an opium-fueled dream? Everything in it was great - a brilliant swansong from Sergio Leone, whose films just got better and better as he went along. I never knew Jennifer Connelly had a big moment pre-Labyrinth. Anyway - I really loved this, and I'm glad to have finally seen it.

9/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5596615

Comedian - (2002)

Follows two comedians on the road - Jerry Seinfeld, who has just retired all of his old material and struggles building up a new repertoire that works, and Orny Adams - a comedian with an abrasive self-centered and narcissistic personality who is starting out. It was interesting seeing Seinfeld off-the-cuff backstage and in green rooms, chatting with other celebrities and non-celebrities. He says the 'f' word more than you'd expect, and actually comes off as an ordinary guy. For someone who must have had $600 trillion in the bank, it's surprising how he drives a broken down old car and wears your average Joe kind of clothes, eating regular meals at the small comedy places he's testing his new material in. Orny Adams is unbearable, insulting, ultra-sensitive and combative when given advice - he's egotistical and he denigrates all of the other comedians. He's on the cusp of making it to the big-time, but one wonders if he really has the temperament to survive in that hostile environment. Interesting.

7/10
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Latest Review : Adaptation (2002)



Being John Malkovich



While there are many movies about self discovery, self growth and identity, not many (if really any) have taken the approach of 'Being John Malkovich'. The general premise of the movie is: struggling puppeteer Craig discovers a portal allowing him to enter the mind of the actor John Malkovich. Through multiple attempts of possessing John Malkovich, he is able to take control of the actor and live his life through him. His wife, Lotte, and his new love interest Maxine are also entangled in the journey. The finale of the movie shifts the dynamics in the relationship as Lotte and Maxine find love and Craig is eventually forever trapped in a kind of 'sunken place'.

While the movies plot is somewhat straightforward and easy to follow, the movie is highly entertaining due to the great writing and screenplay along with the great pacing and performances from the small but highly talented cast (Cusack, Diaz, Keener and Malkovich). There are also enough elements of absurdity and surrealism to create this somewhat fantastical world we are immersed in. However, the real highlight of 'Being John Malkovich' is the number of ethical and philosophical questions about self identity and consciousness it evokes.

The central question asked in this movie, is what is identity and how do we define it? The central character Craig, battles throughout the film with his desire for both power and clout. As a highly insecure struggling artist, he instantly falls for Maxine, but it's clear his desire is more about what Maxine represent's (a highly confident and seductive women) rather than who she is as an individual. She is a means to an end to help make up for all that is lacking in Craig's life. He believes that having possession of someone like Maxine would help him in his endeavour as an artist and ultimately a man. Lotte on the other hand, while also struggling with self-acceptance, is looking for someone to fill the void which has been left by Craig through his disinterest in her romantically as her husband. Lotte appears to be somewhat of a victim throughout the film, as her struggle to find love, and embrace her own power comes through some rather difficult and unfortunate circumstances (e.g. being rejected by Maxine on multiple occasions and later being trapped in a cage with her pet Chimpanzee). Maxine, maybe the most interesting of the 3, comes across as opportunistic and rather shallow, but highly confident in contrast to Craig and Lotte. Her journey to eventual happiness comes in the way of realising the beauty within through falling in love with Lotte, but at first, only when she is in Malkovich's vessel. In contrast, her relationship with Craig when he has captured Malkovich is shallow and unsatisfying. The subtle similarities, and stark differences between these three characters leads to some interesting questions which are posed about self discovery and the journey each character takes to uncover about themselves. John Malkovich, although mostly just a device throughout the film, has perhaps the most bizarre scene in the entire movie, when he himself enters his own portal and see's a world full of different versions of himself. This scene has a number of different interpretations about how we often view ourselves, the different characters we play in our own lives, and how our subconscious can be visually represented.

Being John Malkovich is a special movie which takes a central theme of identity and makes the audience question what that really means. It does so in a highly engaging manner, never sacrificing an engaging story for the overall deeper themes at hand. It's a movie which viewers can come back to multiple times and still be in awe.

5/5
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Being John Malkovich




Barbie in the Nutcracker (Owen Hurley, 2001)

I don't know what compelled me to start watching these Barbie movies but this is my new thing I guess. Yeah, this is an extremely basic children's adventure film that's only surprise is how much I liked it lol. We're still in the era of 3D animation that really appeals to me, so that helps but yeah I just really bought in on the adventure and the romance even though its as bare bones as possible in both regards and there's some mo-cap dance scenes that had a cool feel to them (kind of like the skating scenes in Yuri on Ice if anyone has seen that). Almost teared up once even lmao. Loved this.



Barbie as Rapunzel (Owen Hurley, 2002)

This is probably a stronger film overall to Nutcracker but the magic just isn't there for me. It's an upgrade visually, there's stronger character dynamics, its just generally more fleshed out but it didn't really need three different comic relief animal sidekicks (we stan Penelope the Dragon tho) and even though there is probably more direct use of magic throughout the film it still feels so much less magical and the sense of adventure of the previous film was definitely missed. It does come together for a fairly satisfying conclusion though and there's two great songs in the end credits (wish they were worked into the film itself).




Barbie in the Nutcracker (Owen Hurley, 2001)

I don't know what compelled me to start watching these Barbie movies but this is my new thing I guess. Yeah, this is an extremely basic children's adventure film that's only surprise is how much I liked it lol. We're still in the era of 3D animation that really appeals to me, so that helps but yeah I just really bought in on the adventure and the romance even though its as bare bones as possible in both regards and there's some mo-cap dance scenes that had a cool feel to them (kind of like the skating scenes in Yuri on Ice if anyone has seen that). Almost teared up once even lmao. Borderline loved this.



Barbie as Rapunzel (Owen Hurley, 2002)

This is probably a stronger film overall to Nutcracker but the magic just isn't there for me. It's an upgrade visually, there's stronger character dynamics, its just generally more fleshed out but it didn't really need three different comic relief animal sidekicks (we stan Penelope the Dragon tho) and even though there is probably more direct use of magic throughout the film it still feels so much less magical and the sense of adventure of the previous film was definitely missed. It does come together for a fairly satisfying conclusion though and there's two great songs in the end credits (wish they were worked into the film itself).
I remember they used to play some of these on YTV a bunch. 12-year-old-me was clearly not the target audience, but I remember not finding whichever one I caught part of to be terrible.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

The Invitation (Jessica M. Thompson, 2022)
5/10
Notes on an Appearance (Ricky D'Ambrose, 2018)
5.5/10
Rush for Your Life (Alpha Nicky Mulowa, 2022)
5/10
Love with the Proper Stranger (Robert Mulligan, 1963)
- 7/10

Musician Steve McQueen and Macy's employee Natalie Wood have to deal with her pregnancy and consider getting married, but it's all very complicated.
The Squeeze (Michael Apted, 1977)
5.5/10
The Big Switch (Pete Walker, 1968)
5/10
Lou (Anna Foerster, 2022)
6/10
Speak No Evil (Christian Tafdrup, 2022)
6.5/10

Unbelievably bizarre thriller about a Danish family who visits a Dutch family at their cabin where things seem uncomfortable at the start and get much worse.
The Mouth Agape (Maurice Pialat, 1974)
5.5/10
The Night (Tsai Ming-liang, 2021)
5/10
Reet, Petite, and Gone (William Forest Crouch, 1947)
6/10
Three Thousand Years of Longing (George Miller, 2022)
- 6.5/10

Djinn Idris Elba and lonely scholar Tilda Swinton meet in Istanbul where she's attending a conference, and she finds a bottle in a shop which contained him. He wants to grant her three wishes but she's not so sure.
Blue (Silvio Narizzanoi, 1968)
6/10
The Munsters (Rob Zombie, 2022)
5/10
A Jazzman's Blues (Tyler Perry, 2022)
6/10
I Used to Be Famous (Eddie Sternberg, 2022)
- 6.5/10

Former popstar Ed Skrein, who dreams of making a comeback, finds he works best with autistic drummer Leo Long whose mom (Eleanor Matsuura) is very protective of him.
Facing Nolan (Bradley Jackson, 2022)
7/10
It Came from Outer Space (Jack Arnold, 1953)
5.5/10
When Worlds Collide (Rudolph MatÚ, 1951)
+ 5/10
Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall (Bob Smeaton, 2022)
7/10

History of CCR from 1959 through 1970 centering on the 1969 European tour and the Royal Albert Hall concerts which have never been shown in their entirety before.
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Frankenweenie (2012)




Part of my prep for countdowns includes watching as much as I can from current lists that will qualify. I'm not much of a Tim Burton fan so I wasn't expecting much with this one. It turns out that it revolves around a young boy bringing his dog back to life ala Frankenstein. That's a plot line that I would always support. An easy watch at less than 90 minutes and it's great to look at.



Victim of The Night
Frankenweenie (2012)




Part of my prep for countdowns includes watching as much as I can from current lists that will qualify. I'm not much of a Tim Burton fan so I wasn't expecting much with this one. It turns out that it revolves around a young boy bringing his dog back to life ala Frankenstein. That's a plot line that I would always support. An easy watch at less than 90 minutes and it's great to look at.
Ya know, I enjoyed the original short-film so much I've never been able to bring myself to watch this because it just seemed like giving a big-name filmmaker millions of dollars to remake a well-done, low-budget pet-project was fraught with peril.
But maybe I'll give it a spin someday after all.



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Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall


One of my first favorite bands, despite being hit-or-miss. I prefer the non-twangier stuff... "Effigy", "Wrote a Song For Everyone", "Ramble Tamble" (except the bookends). I actually like the non-music part of this, especially anything of John, because (as Stu says aptly), "John has a way of cutting through the bullshit" - like that video, and the longer version of a clip below






Pompeii (2014)


This movie is an interesting contrast with The King (2019) in the sense that The King feels like a very accurate description of England/France in the 15th century, while Pompeii feels like the idea of Ancient Rome you would get from an action fantasy videogame. Even as a fantasy movie, it was also pretty poor, just over-the-top action without any substance.





I Used To Be Famous



SF = Zzz


[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



10 Foreign Language movies to go

By source:http://www.impawards.com/1971/nichol...alexandra.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6835726

Nicholas and Alexandra - (1971)

I must be the stuffy, boring person this film was aimed at, because despite running 188 minutes I was thrilled all the way through, and surprised at how many period details and how much attention to detail could be inserted into one film. But that would be nothing without the foibles of Nicholas II of Russia (played quite winningly by Michael Jayston) - Nicholas is a lovely man, and even a little too sensitive and soft hearted to be a Russian Tsar - but the opulent bubble he finds himself in blinds him to the starvation, maltreatment and brutal lives of his subjects - and when news does come to him he demands better, but has no knack for reform. His wife, Alexandra (Janet Suzman), is more complex - she finally gives birth to a sickly heir who has haemophilia, so she turns to religion and eventually the monk Rasputin (Doctor Who's Tom Baker) - when the First World War draws the Tsar to the front lines, his wife rules in his stead - which means Rasputin finds himself a de facto ruler of Russia through her. Calamity follows calamity - and this film follows both the very personal with historic events, and we gain an insight into a sweet family on the chopping block as Nicholas - sweet, soft and not a great ruler - loses control of his country. I thought this film handled the events brilliantly, and it was right up my alley. Some find the film very slow - but for me it was awesome, and I loved the fact that it wasn't perfunctory - for it could have been. Instead it really wove the people (who are given great depth) into the events.

The film features a very young Brian Cox, a very young Steven Berkoff, Ian Holm, Laurence Olivier, Curt JŘrgens and many more famous faces in small roles. Please take note that I have a bit of a thing for Russia and travelled the country in my younger days - so perhaps I'm more interested than most. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 1972 Oscars, Best Cinematography, Best Score and Janet Suzman for Best Actress. It won Best Art/Set Direction (very deserved) and Best Costume Design (very deserved) - The French Connection ended up winning Best Picture that year, but this film was also up against A Clockwork Orange, The Last Picture Show and Fiddler on the Rood - it had no chance of winning, but I think it deserved at least that acknowledgment. I thought it magnificent, and yet deeply personal.

8.5/10


By http://www.impawards.com/2014/neighbors.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41397622

Neighbors - (2014)

Simply very typical for a comedy with Seth Rogan in it, though I'm happy Rose Byrne could use her normal Australian accent and not have to exaggerate it to a ridiculous degree. I actually found parts of this very funny, and through one or two set-ups I was laughing hard - so even though I might have rolled my eyes a few times, the movie simply does what it's here to do and I have to credit it with that. I guess most people know it's about a couple with a baby living next door to a fraternity house, and the war that ensues. Pretty good stuff.

7/10




Barbie of Swan Lake (Owen Hurley, 2003)

So I was excited for this one since Barbie in the Nutcracker was so good but this kind of had all the worst elements of both the previous films. This is the same writing duo from Barbie as Rapunzel (and they write a lot the future entries as well) but sadly its the rough comedy and dialogue that carries over from Rapunzel and not the character depth and its even less eventful than Rapunzel as well. So little happens in the film but it somehow makes the film feel extremely short instead of dragging. Not sure how that works but I'm not complaining. Also its a noticeable step back visually and the only one that really triggered that uncanny valley feeling for me, probably due to having less expressive character models more than anything. Overall its just severely uninteresting but it was easy to sit through at least.




By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4455093

Once Upon a Time in America - (1984)

I'll always remember Once Upon a Time in America at video shops in it's unwieldy double-tape VHS case - unlike in America, where most VHS came in close-fitting cardboard cases, here we had huge plastic sarcophaguses. Anyway, I watched the 229 minute version (in one sitting) and afterwards actually wished I'd seen the 251 minute version - for such a lengthy movie, there's surprisingly little extraneous material in it. A couple of plot points I didn't understand, but that was quickly sorted out with Wikipedia, and overall I was incredibly impressed by this film. Ennio Morricone's score got me half way there - and I thought Robert De Niro and James Woods were a great pairing (one could almost perceive a more intimate kind of relationship than what the film goes into.) Overall, spending so much time laying out the history of the group of friends we're presented with really heightens the emotional impact of where their story goes. I wish I'd seen more of Burt Young and Joe Pesci - their menacing characters were great, but their appearance so brief. The film left me with an emotional feeling, especially the way it closes - was all of the latter-day material just an opium-fueled dream? Everything in it was great - a brilliant swansong from Sergio Leone, whose films just got better and better as he went along.
While I'd still say Leone's absolute best was The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, Once Upon A Time... is still pretty much just as great, so I'm glad to see you loved it too, Phoenix; it's definitely high on my movies I need to rewatch/review list, for sure.




By http://www.impawards.com/2014/neighbors.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41397622

Neighbors - (2014)

Simply very typical for a comedy with Seth Rogan in it, though I'm happy Rose Byrne could use her normal Australian accent and not have to exaggerate it to a ridiculous degree. I actually found parts of this very funny, and through one or two set-ups I was laughing hard - so even though I might have rolled my eyes a few times, the movie simply does what it's here to do and I have to credit it with that. I guess most people know it's about a couple with a baby living next door to a fraternity house, and the war that ensues. Pretty good stuff.

7/10
I haven't seen "Neighbors" but I have seen "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)" and it's funny. Maybe I should watch "Neighbors" eventually.



ᱬWanda Maximoff-Scarlet WitchᱬElizabeth Olesnᱬ

Barbie in the Nutcracker (Owen Hurley, 2001)

I don't know what compelled me to start watching these Barbie movies but this is my new thing I guess. Yeah, this is an extremely basic children's adventure film that's only surprise is how much I liked it lol. We're still in the era of 3D animation that really appeals to me, so that helps but yeah I just really bought in on the adventure and the romance even though its as bare bones as possible in both regards and there's some mo-cap dance scenes that had a cool feel to them (kind of like the skating scenes in Yuri on Ice if anyone has seen that). Almost teared up once even lmao. Borderline loved this.



Barbie as Rapunzel (Owen Hurley, 2002)

This is probably a stronger film overall to Nutcracker but the magic just isn't there for me. It's an upgrade visually, there's stronger character dynamics, its just generally more fleshed out but it didn't really need three different comic relief animal sidekicks (we stan Penelope the Dragon tho) and even though there is probably more direct use of magic throughout the film it still feels so much less magical and the sense of adventure of the previous film was definitely missed. It does come together for a fairly satisfying conclusion though and there's two great songs in the end credits (wish they were worked into the film itself).
omg use to watch barbie films back in the day lol
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https://youtu.be/M-7QBR6hugc Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch -Elizabeth Olsen
https://youtu.be/78oLEoy5Npo Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow-Scarlett Johansson
https://youtu.be/0LXhnd-CMrQ Agatha Harkness-Kathryn Hahn
https://youtu.be/4E880wNeB2g Yelena Belova-
Florence Pugh
https://youtu.be/V8BhIsWTGUI Clint Barton-Hawkeye-Jeremy Renner
https://youtu.be/Zy66zOMkGsM Loki Lufeyson-Tom Hiddleston



I've watched so many films (for me) over the last few months that I even toyed with starting a thread... But I really don't need to do that, so I'll try and jot down a few lines here about what I can remember. I will say that I viewed nearly all these while at the computer, so any which I've not seen before I know I'm not really being fair on.

Candyman (1992)
Firstly, I discovered this had been remade (don't remember that happening at all) and secondly this was the first time in nearly 30 years that I watched this and, I think, I feel the same about it now as I did then, although I probably think there's less wrong with it now and more realise that it just doesn't do what I like. It's a kind of fairly tale horror, with the feeling of The Phantom Of The Opera to it. Thinking about it, I feel this is probably a Clive Barker thing more than anything else, as I felt similarly about Hellraiser (which I'm also hoping to see again) so a viewing of that might clear this up a little more for me.

Scream And Scream Again -
It just felt like too much of a chop and shut for me to really get on board with it. Maybe a second viewing, knowing what it is, will make the transition less jarring? It really did feel like two different films edited together with little care as to when the narrative changed. Had this just been the 'vampire killer' part, I'd have enjoyed it a lot more I'm sure.

Another 48 Hours -
I like this film but it felt lazy when I saw it on release and it feels a lot more lazy after 30 years. What did really strike me this time around though was just how 90's it looked and felt. Too polished, too clean with none of the sleaze of grit which was the hallmark of the first one. Again, I felt that the first time I saw it on release, but now it feels just empty without it. As a way to pass a couple of hours it's fine, but it is like someone remembering the first film tried to make it.

48 Hours -
+ A couple of days later the original was on, so I took the opportunity to see it again. This is the real thing. The proper version, with all the real feel of the 70's/80's. It's tough, not posing. It is what it is and it pulls no punches. Also, you get James Remar, who is someone I'm always very pleased to see onscreen and he excells here

I'll write more as and when I remember what I've seen/feel like it.
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I've been watching some Santo and Blue Demon movies, which are about masked Mexican wrestlers who fight crime and monsters. The novelty of luchadors fighting mummies, vampires, and other supernatural creatures makes up for a lot of issues the films have. All of the ones I've seen feature poorly integrated wrestling footage that goes on for too long. Santo in the Treasure of Dracula steals complete scenes from Dracula. And for starring professional wrestlers, the fight scenes should be better choreographed. But I endure it for the moments of cinematic gold like when Santo uses his time machine to find Count Dracula's buried treasure.



I've been watching some Santo and Blue Demon movies, which are about masked Mexican wrestlers who fight crime and monsters. The novelty of luchadors fighting mummies, vampires, and other supernatural creatures makes up for a lot of issues the films have. All of the ones I've seen feature poorly integrated wrestling footage that goes on for too long. Santo in the Treasure of Dracula steals complete scenes from Dracula. And for starring professional wrestlers, the fight scenes should be better choreographed. But I endure it for the moments of cinematic gold like when Santo uses his time machine to find Count Dracula's buried treasure.
I watched a few of these documentaries in the past.





2nd Re-watch...it's been at least 30 years since my last viewing of this film, definitely lesser Mel Brooks, but even lesser Mel Brooks provides some laughs. There's some funny stuff here, but most of the scenes play longer than the laughs they provide. The Burt Reynolds scene is still the funniest thing in the movie, but the Anne Bancroft scene, the Marcel Marceau scene, the scene on the carousel, and anything with Sid Ceasar still provides laughs. There's some nice details in some of the sight gags, like the running gag with the newsstand guy played buy Liam Dunn, but it's not as funny as it should have been. Big bouquet to John Morris' music though.