Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019

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"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



REWATCH #5 - Ghost Town (2008) ~ February 15



This was on TV and I somehow kept watching because I couldn't remember the ending. When the film finished I understood why I didn't remember the ending: it's not a very good one.
The film is still enjoyable during the moments where Ricky is being Ricky, though. The comedic stuff often works while the dramatic stuff mostly fails.



TV Series - Russian Doll (2019) ~ February 15



I still wanted to watch something after the unexpected rewatch and randomly started watching the new Netflix series Russian Doll. After 4 hours of bingewatching I already finished it (that's exactly why I'm always very hesitant to start new series, as I immediately get addicted).
I liked it! Especially the main character played by Natasha Lyonne is really cool and truly makes the whole thing very watchable. Its high concept story mostly works as well and it offers continuous surprises and thrills that might lock some other viewers in as well for 4 hours straight. It's a really fun ride.



The more films I watch from Altman, the less I like him. Even a recent re-watch of Nashville caused it to lose some esteem in my eyes, even though I still think it's his best film (of the 13 I've seen, at least). I didn't hate Buffalo Bill and the Indians, but I did find it somewhat obnoxious. Haven't seen Thieves Like Us, but I've got it recorded and will probably watch it soon.

Don't remember much about Ghost Town, but oddly enough I do recall the ending, or at least the closing lines, which were corny but sweet. I usually struggle with period pieces, but the great performances and sexuality in Quills kept me invested. Double Indemnity is amazing. My favorite noir. I think a lot of people dismissed Me and Orson Welles due to Zac Efron, but it's a solid flick.

As I mentioned in last year's log, the comedic tone of Cable Hogue really threw me off since it was so unexpected, but several scenes have stuck with me over the years, so I'm anxious to revisit it and I expect my appreciation of it to soar. Pretty sure I've seen Sexy Celebrity, who's a huge supporter of John Waters, cite Female Trouble as the director's best film. I love Pink Flamingos and its celebration of filth, and I admire the anarchic spirit that Waters brings to his filmmaking, but I've disliked most of his other work. Of the three or four I haven't seen from him, Female Trouble looks like the best bet for Waters to deliver another personal favorite.

Don't know how deeply you've dived into his filmography, but Louis Malle strikes me as a director you'd love. I've only seen five from him so far, but each film was highly memorable and he clearly doesn't mind spotlighting controversial, taboo subjects. I get a kick out of reading user reviews for Pretty Baby and seeing people freak out over the underage nudity. ("Should I report this film to the FBI?" ) Little Big Man was indeed peculiar. I liked it somewhat and plan to revisit it someday. Agree with you 100% on Five Easy Pieces.

As a kid, Jim Carrey was my comedy hero and The Mask was one of his many films that I watched obsessively. Haven't seen it in ages, but the bits and pieces I catch on TV lead me to think that my nostalgia glasses will no longer be strong enough. I found Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 entertaining and hilarious. I know I'm in the minority, but I prefer it to anything else from the MCU. Watched The Doors a lot in my teens when I was most obsessed with the band, but for whatever reason I have zero interest in ever watching it again. Val Kilmer did a phenomenal job channeling Jim Morrison.
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Always appreciate your comments, Captain! Always a gratifying feeling when I see you posting a thorough response like this one in my thread.

The more films I watch from Altman, the less I like him. Even a recent re-watch of Nashville caused it to lose some esteem in my eyes, even though I still think it's his best film (of the 13 I've seen, at least). I didn't hate Buffalo Bill and the Indians, but I did find it somewhat obnoxious. Haven't seen Thieves Like Us, but I've got it recorded and will probably watch it soon.
I keep respecting him more with every film of his I watch. He's a master in portraying specific kinds of environment. I love directors who can grab me during a whole running time without needing a strong plot. He's all environment (which strongly adds to the cinematic quality of his films) and character (which mostly offers the narrative depth), and he's one of the best in combining these two aspects. It's really my kind of cinema, but I know it's not for everyone.

Altman is also often criticized because his characters are too dislikable, too one-dimensional or too farcical, often inspired by his own political perspective. I can understand that critique (especially in a film like, for instance, Buffalo Bill and the Indians), but somehow I really don't mind in his films. They're too beautiful, rich, wild and interesting, and his farcical style has also created some really (unexpected) profound moments. Only the greats can do that.

As I mentioned in last year's log, the comedic tone of Cable Hogue really threw me off since it was so unexpected, but several scenes have stuck with me over the years, so I'm anxious to revisit it and I expect my appreciation of it to soar.
I get that critique, but it oddly worked for me. Maybe because you warned me last year.

Pretty sure I've seen Sexy Celebrity, who's a huge supporter of John Waters, cite Female Trouble as the director's best film. I love Pink Flamingos and its celebration of filth, and I admire the anarchic spirit that Waters brings to his filmmaking, but I've disliked most of his other work. Of the three or four I haven't seen from him, Female Trouble looks like the best bet for Waters to deliver another personal favorite.
Yeah, I would agree with Sexy. It's a way more wholesome film than Pink Flamingos, but I know some people therefore don't like it as much, so it's a double-edged sword. Don't worry, though. There's more than enough crazy stuff going on in order to make Waters fans love it. It's kind of a trashy masterpiece, in my book. Reflecting on the film a few weeks after watching it really makes me see how insanely rich the film actually is.

Don't know how deeply you've dived into his filmography, but Louis Malle strikes me as a director you'd love. I've only seen five from him so far, but each film was highly memorable and he clearly doesn't mind spotlighting controversial, taboo subjects. I get a kick out of reading user reviews for Pretty Baby and seeing people freak out over the underage nudity. ("Should I report this film to the FBI?" )
I just checked and I've seen 6 of his films so far:

Elevator to the Gallows
Zazie dans le Métro
Murmer of the Heart
Pretty Baby
Atlantic City
My Dinner with Andre


Murmer of the Heart is probably my favorite of those (however, it's been a long time since I've seen Atlantic City so that could surpass it after a rewatch), but they're all really interesting in their own way.
I still have 13 of his feature length fiction films to watch. Do you (or someone else) have any other Malle recommendations? Frankly, all of his films seem potentially interesting to me.



I just checked and I've seen 6 of his films so far:

Elevator to the Gallows
Zazie dans le Métro
Murmer of the Heart
Pretty Baby
Atlantic City
My Dinner with Andre


Murmer of the Heart is probably my favorite of those (however, it's been a long time since I've seen Atlantic City so that could surpass it after a rewatch), but they're all really interesting in their own way.
I still have 13 of his feature length fiction films to watch. Do you (or someone else) have any other Malle recommendations? Frankly, all of his films seem potentially interesting to me.
The only one I've seen that you haven't is Black Moon, which I'd describe as Malle's Alice in Wonderland. I haven't a clue what it was ultimately about, but that didn't affect my enjoyment. The movie's endlessly fascinating. There's an overweight unicorn, talking animals, random corpses, breastfeeding grannies . . . It's a very bizarre film, but in a good way.



#20 - Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) ~ February 18



An absolutely fascinating picture by Paul Schrader about the wickedly interesting life and work of Japanese writer and political activist Yukio Mishima.
Schrader attempts to capture Mishima in about two hours of film by constantly moving between scenes of his life, his art and his final day. He succeeds quite brilliantly.



#21 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) ~ February 22



Very well made superhero animation. As most people here know, I'm not a huge fan of the superhero genre. However, a friend of mine said I had to watch this, because he thought it was an incredible film. It is indeed one of the best and most energetic films of its genre. I was entertained throughout its whole running time.
It still has some of the problems that most superhero films have, though, but that's okay. The film doesn't really seem to care that much and mostly seems to be made for its masterful visuals and its message of giving everyone their own hero to look up to. At least I can respect that about it, as focusing on plot is never a very good idea in superhero films.



#22 - The Forbidden Room (2015) ~ February 22



An insanely beautiful Maddinesque collection of dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams... that constantly shift between eachother. There's not so much of a wholesome plot, but there are many plots that the film keeps coming back to after having taken tens of sideturns.
I'd highly recommend this film to Maddin fans, but it's probably wise to check out some of his other work first for people who aren't familiar with his work. This is basically one huge psychedelic showcase of his skills as a filmmaker.
It's a mesmerizing experience, but ultimately I probably wouldn't rank it among my absolute top favorites of his (like The Saddest Music in the World or Cowards Bend the Knee). As is often the case in anthology-like films, some tales are more interesting than others and therefore you can't help wishing the film would've stuck with a certain story a little longer and cut some of the less interesting stuff.
However, every single story does have its own unique visual eccentricities and as a fan I can't help but remain perplexed at Maddin's cinematic style and hilarious weirdness. You get a tale about a random woodman suddenly appearing in a submarine that's about to explode at the bottom of the ocean, a story about moustaches, a story about a girl who's kidnapped by a cavepeople-like gang, etc. Maddin based all the stories on summaries of lost films and decided to loosely interweave them into one feature length film. It's all hugely entertaining and delightful!



Oldboy 2: Youngman
[size="5"]It still has some of the problems that most superhero films have, though, but that's okay.
Could you elaborate? Don't mean that in a mean way, just want to know more about your thoughts!



Could you elaborate? Don't mean that in a mean way, just want to know more about your thoughts!
Sure.

The main weakness of the film is that it's still following that basic superhero formula. It does it much better than other films of its genre, but the wearisome character attributes and inner conflicts that are typical for superhero films are all there, combined with a macroscopic superhero vs semi-complex villain story that we've seen a thousand times already. There don't really seem to be any superhero films that are able to break that restrictive and boring formula, not even an extremely well made one like Into the Spider-verse. The formula might sometimes be hidden behind a lot of awesome stuff, but it always seems to be there, and it's a bit frustrating.



#23 - Blue Valentine (2010) ~ February 23



The whole sequence in the "Future Room" is one of the best raw relationship sequences I've seen in a long time. Two people that used to love eachother but have come to live on a completely different frequency... It's probably all too real for many couples out there.
The one thing I didn't really like is the one hugely unconventional aspect of their relationship (people who've seen the film will know what I'm talking about). It makes their relationship less relatable to other people while it doesn't have to. It didn't truly bother me, but I just don't understand why it should be there. It seems an unnecessary artificial construct to make everything even more dramatic. A normal relationship can already be dramatic enough, though. Maybe it was necessary to give the part when they are younger a little more depth and dramatic punch.
Really great film overall, though. Loved it!



#24 - The Servant (1963) ~ February 23



Incredibly gorgeous film, telling a dark story about hierarchy and sexual psychology, while oozing British class and jazzy music. A film I won't quickly forget. Fantastic picture!



Oldboy 2: Youngman
Sure.

The main weakness of the film is that it's still following that basic superhero formula. It does it much better than other films of its genre, but the wearisome character attributes and inner conflicts that are typical for superhero films are all there, combined with a macroscopic superhero vs semi-complex villain story that we've seen a thousand times already. There don't really seem to be any superhero films that are able to break that restrictive and boring formula, not even an extremely well made one like Into the Spider-verse. The formula might sometimes be hidden behind a lot of awesome stuff, but it always seems to be there, and it's a bit frustrating.
Thanks for the response. I respect your opinion but personally disagree. I don't think a story following a formula makes it boring or restrictive at all, and I feel Spider-verse is a shining example of that. If formula made storytelling boring and restrictive, a huge portion of classic mythological tales would be just that. I don't know who the hell said it but I agree with the idea that the superhero genre is just a modern form of mythological storytelling. The idea that superhero movies are all awful just feels trendy to me, but I also think that mindset is easy to fall victim to because there is a huge oversaturation of superhero movies coming out at this point, many of which aren't good, and I would actually think that putting out less and focusing on making the ones that do come out solid movies would be a good course to take on the part of the studios. But I also think there are enough good/great ones to justify their existence, most of which follow the typical formula.

Again I respect your opinion (mostly because I think you're a very thoughtful guy and always enjoy reading your thoughts, including here), so I hope none of that came across as argumentative.



Thanks for the response. I respect your opinion but personally disagree. I don't think a story following a formula makes it boring or restrictive at all, and I feel Spider-verse is a shining example of that. If formula made storytelling boring and restrictive, a huge portion of classic mythological tales would be just that. I don't know who the hell said it but I agree with the idea that the superhero genre is just a modern form of mythological storytelling. The idea that superhero movies are all awful just feels trendy to me, but I also think that mindset is easy to fall victim to because there is a huge oversaturation of superhero movies coming out at this point, many of which aren't good, and I would actually think that putting out less and focusing on making the ones that do come out solid movies would be a good course to take on the part of the studios. But I also think there are enough good/great ones to justify their existence, most of which follow the typical formula.
I think a formula is by definition restrictive, which isn't always a bad thing of course. Lots of great films (even masterpieces) have been made within a typical formula. The noir formula with its several variations is a pretty good example.
The point is that I don't really believe that the superhero formula is that interesting, especially after being used hundreds of times. They're also almost always made with profit in the back of the head, which makes the usual superhero film very anti-risk.

I'd argue that the classic myths which we all know (mainly originated in Old Egyptean or old Greek and Roman culture) are way more diverse and "risky" than today's superhero films, which really always seem to be hitting the same unoriginal spots all the freaking time (with a few exceptions of course, luckily). Seriously, you should read some of those old Greek myths. They're pretty insane. Everything can happen in them. Their plots are often extremely original and surprising and there are almost no territories of the human experience that are left unexplored. I feel that's not the case with today's superhero films, which are made to be embraced by as wide an audience as possible.
I love it when I have the feeling that anything can happen in a film (both visually or story-wise). I never have that with superhero films. That's my main problem with them.

Important caveat: I haven't seen nearly as many superhero films as you have, of course. Maybe I simply haven't seen some of the ones that are able to break with the formula that I'm thinking of. Do you have any suggestions?

Again I respect your opinion (mostly because I think you're a very thoughtful guy and always enjoy reading your thoughts, including here), so I hope none of that came across as argumentative.
It certainly doesn't. I love having friendly discussions like these. Please proceed!



Oldboy 2: Youngman
Was talking about classic mythology in general, not just Greek myths, because mythological formulas seem to span across time and culture. Actually, I think we're both right about them. They were risky, but many of them still also follow formulas. I guess I just don't have a problem with the concept. I don't think modern superhero movies fail because of formula, I feel they fail because of poor storytelling - which is different. Pixar at their peak even followed tried and true formulas, but obviously they were extremely creative in how they told the stories. I don't think a story is automatically better if it's somehow subversive. Sometimes subverting expectations is contrary to what a film needs.

As for recommendations, well, I'll just give you three to try. If you're super against formula I agree the genre probably isn't for you. If you haven't watched Unbreakable yet, do it. It's the best thing to come out of the genre in my opinion, brilliant deconstruction of superhero lore with great direction. Also check out Watchmen, which I'm not super crazy about but is also an interesting take on the genre - and Minio loved it when he watched it, if that means anything. Lastly, I'll offer up Logan. That's the best I can do. But like I said, maybe the genre just isn't for you.



Oldboy 2: Youngman
P.S. I'm not saying mythology all followed the exact same formula, to it's and your credit. I would even say the diversity outweighs the formula. Just that some of them did. I would no doubt say mythology is far more fascinating than the modern superhero genre. My whole point bringing up mythology is that formula =/= bad. Guess I just like when a tried and true formula is told really well, which is why Pixar works and why good superhero movies work. For me.