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Triangle is SO GOOD! A great October film, and it's really rewarding on a rewatch.
I have a tight schedule, but I'm actually thinking of rewatching it. I just can't shake it off my mind.
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TRIANGLE
(2009, Smith)





Triangle follows Jess (Melissa George), a single mother that goes on a boat trip with a group of friends. When an unexpected storm capsizes their boat, they find an apparently derelict cruise ship only to find out that someone on board might be stalking them and killing them.

This is a film that was recommended by a couple of people, and what a nice surprise it was. Without trying to give too much away, Smith starts from an inventive script and uses deft direction to weave this story in a way that consistently makes you go "huh? what?" while also making you go "yeah, it figures!"

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
I had some issues with the way the movie ended (the same issues I had with Smith's subsequent film, Black Death), but mostly I really like this movie and recommend it often.



TRIANGLE
(2009, Smith)





Triangle follows Jess (Melissa George), a single mother that goes on a boat trip with a group of friends. When an unexpected storm capsizes their boat, they find an apparently derelict cruise ship only to find out that someone on board might be stalking them and killing them.

This is a film that was recommended by a couple of people, and what a nice surprise it was. Without trying to give too much away, Smith starts from an inventive script and uses deft direction to weave this story in a way that consistently makes you go "huh? what?" while also making you go "yeah, it figures!"

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
Triangle is awesome. Glad you liked it!



26th Hall of Fame (REWATCH)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) -


I've had my ups and downs with Dreyer over the years. I love Vampyr (I was initially mixed on it though), I like Ordet and Gertrud, but I'm not the biggest fan of Day of Wrath (I plan to revisit it soon though). The Passion of Joan of Arc, however, was (I think) the first movie I loved from him, so I was more than happy to revisit it for this thread. While Vampyr is still my favorite of Dreyer's films, this film is a close second. Dreyer nails certain aspects with such precision that this sometimes feels more like a horror movie than a drama (the torture chamber scene, in particular, made me feel sick). Falconetti's performance is definitely the main highlight of this film. When this film was in production, Dreyer filmed the same scenes multiple times, so he could pick the right facial expression for each one. His work clearly shows, because yes, the film contains a lot of repetition, but I think there's nuance to the repetition. Every shot of Falconetti seems meticulous and precise with showing the subtle differences in her reactions, detailing her slowly wavering faith as the film goes on. Overall, Falconetti gave a truly phenomenal performance and deserves all the praise she received. The camerawork also adds a lot to the film, specifically the way the close-ups were shot. The judges and the clergymen are shot in high contrast at low angles and are bathed in bright light. The lack of makeup reveals the cracks and crevices of their faces, making their appearances seem menacing. By contrast, Joan is filmed with softer grays, causing her to look powerless by comparison. Topped with Einhorn's evocative soundtrack (soundtracks in silent films can sometimes be mixed bags for me, but this film is an exception to that), this definitely deserves its reputation as a great film.



That's one of my all-time favorites. This shot, in particular, is one of my favorite movie stills ever:
It was hard picking an image to put at the top of the review. So many stills that capture the relationships in the film and their complexity, and just so many good looking shots.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes, 1964)
7/10
Hustle Down (R. Ellis Frazier, 2021)
5/10
The Dark Tower (John Harlow, 1943)
5.5/10
Eyes Without a Face (Georges Franju, 1960)
6.5/10

Edith Scob has a face but doesn't seem too happy about it.
American Night (Alessio Della Valle, 2021)
5/10
House of Wax (André De Toth, 1953)
6.5/10
Too Many Girls (George Abbott, 1940)
5.5/10
Come from Away (Christopher Ashley, 2021)
7/10

Enthusiastic musical about what happened in a small Newfoundland town on 9/11.
The Limping Man (Cy Endfield, 1953)
5.5/10
Two Gods (Zeshawn Ali, 2020)
6.5/10
Cast a Dark Shadow (Lewis Gilbert, 1955)
+ 6/10
The Trip (Tommy Wirkola, 2021)
7/10

When married couple Aksel Hennie and Noomi Rapace go to a remote cabin, ostensibly to kill each other, all hell breaks loose when they encounter some escaped convicts there. Just sit back and enjoy the craziness if you can handle the gore.
Copshop (Joe Carnahan, 2021)
6/10
River's Edge (Tim Hunter, 1986)
6.5/10
Dear Evan Hansen (Stephen Chbosky, 2021)
6/10
I'm Your Man (Maria Schrader, 2021)
7/10

Robot Dan Stevens is studied by research scientist Maren Eggert to see if he could be a good life partner. Much more affecting than other such films. One of the better romances of recent years.
Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green, 2021)
5.5/10
Over the Edge (Jonathan Kaplan, 1979)
6.5/10
The Third Key AKA The Long Arm (Charles Frend, 1956)
6/10
The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021)
7+/10

Stylistic, incredibly-detailed doc tells a complex story of the band, including the NYC art scene, their multimedia shows, Andy Warhol, Nico, Mary Woronov, Jonas Mekas, their hatred of hippies and their seeming attempt to fail commercially.
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26th Hall of Fame (REWATCH)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) -


I've had my ups and downs with Dreyer over the years. I love Vampyr (I was initially mixed on it though), I like Ordet and Gertrud, but I'm not the biggest fan of Day of Wrath (I plan to revisit it soon though). The Passion of Joan of Arc, however, was (I think) the first movie I loved from him, so I was more than happy to revisit it for this thread. While Vampyr is still my favorite of Dreyer's films, this film is a close second. Dreyer nails certain aspects with such precision that this sometimes feels more like a horror movie than a drama (the torture chamber scene, in particular, made me feel sick). Falconetti's performance is definitely the main highlight of this film. When this film was in production, Dreyer filmed the same scenes multiple times, so he could pick the right facial expression for each one. His work clearly shows, because yes, the film contains a lot of repetition, but I think there's nuance to the repetition. Every shot of Falconetti seems meticulous and precise with showing the subtle differences in her reactions, detailing her slowly wavering faith as the film goes on. Overall, Falconetti gave a truly phenomenal performance and deserves all the praise she received. The camerawork also adds a lot to the film, specifically the way the close-ups were shot. The judges and the clergymen are shot in high contrast at low angles and are bathed in bright light. The lack of makeup reveals the cracks and crevices of their faces, making their appearances seem menacing. By contrast, Joan is filmed with softer grays, causing her to look powerless by comparison. Topped with Einhorn's evocative soundtrack (soundtracks in silent films can sometimes be mixed bags for me, but this film is an exception to that), this definitely deserves its reputation as a great film.
Saw this earlier this year and was fairly blown-away.





La Collectioneuse, 1967

A young art dealer named Adrien (Patrick Bauchau) is delighted when he learns that he will be spending several weeks without his fiance at a lovely seaside home with his friend Daniel (Daniel Pommereulle). But arriving at the home, he learns that there is another resident, a young woman named Haydee (Haydee Politoff) who was seduced by the man who owns the home and has now taken up residence and spends her days seducing various men. Put off by her ways as a "collector," Daniel and Adrien decide that they will steer her affections for their own amusement.

This film is absolutely delightful to look at. I was really shocked to read that it was made on a shoestring budget and with very little equipment, because the whole thing just looks so dang good. The way that the characters are arranged in the frame, and the way that there is an alternation between lovely long shots and gorgeously arranged close-ups.

From a thematic point of view, the film is also rather engaging. There is the obvious hypocrisy that Daniel and Adrien are both, themselves, womanizers who sleep around quite a bit. And at the same time they are "morally" repulsed by Haydee sleeping with various men. They constantly refer to her as being a "whore" and a "slut" and with zero sense of self-awareness will then steer the conversation into one about their own conquests.

But deeper than this surface theme of hypocrisy is a sadder note about the way that it becomes harder to connect with others when one takes a cynical, transactional approach to love and sex. The film is narrated by Adrien, who enthuses at the beginning that he's going to swim every day at dawn and get himself together. Yet he quickly turns to being slightly obsessed with Haydee, not necessarily to sleep with her, but to be in control of her and understand her. He constantly posits theories for her different actions, and the three young people in the house are so fixated on performing for each other that all they end up doing is driving a wedge between themselves.

What kept me from really loving this film was simply that I didn't enjoy the characters at quite a few points. Now, obviously the film is aware that they are self-centered young people. But even at times that you were clearly meant to find the characters charming or understand their attraction, they were kind of off-putting. In one scene where we're supposed to be understanding why Haydee is so sexy we see her . . . throwing rocks at chickens? And laughing when she hits them? With a camera that takes plenty of time to appreciate both Adrien and Haydee in their bathing outfits, there's no doubt that these are sexy young people. But in moments that were meant to be charming I sometimes thought they came off more insufferable.

On the strength of the visuals alone, however, this is worth recommending. And despite the characters being self-centered goobers, the performances are also very strong.




This film is absolutely delightful to look at.
The immortal Nestor Almendros.



Eh, that's too much negativity piling about Inception in here right now; I think I'll counter it by re-posting my old review of it:



Your mind is the scene of the crime.

Final Score: 8.5
VERY nice review! And I agree that Inception is a great film, both unique and refreshing in 2010.





Pretty straight forward, no plot twists, no mind bending dialogues. Plain and simple
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Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, 1968

A plane carrying a handful of passengers runs into a strange light and crash lands in the wilderness. Very soon thereafter, a strange substance possesses the body of one of the passengers. The group debates what to do as it becomes clear that there is a menace among them.

This was an interesting horror with some really cool imagery. It's also very political in a way that is both specific to the region and in a broader sense.

The strength of the film is in the way that it evokes the claustrophobia of the airplane interior and yet contrasts that with a sort of agoraphobia that comes with the outside. While the scares are rather few and far between, the arguing between the characters slowly builds a sense of doom. They cannot even unite to help each other and make decisions, what hope is there in the broader sense?

The film's politics are also very blunt. One character talks about what life has been like in Japan ever since the dropping of the atomic bomb, something all of the actors in this film would have experienced in their lifetime. One of the characters is an American woman who has been traumatized by the death of her husband in Vietnam. Several times it is mentioned by the characters that the endless wars and division make our planet and humanity vulnerable. The film several times incorporates real photographs and images from the second World War and from Vietnam. It's a case of building sci-fi horror on real horror, and I thought it was effective.

The visuals are also very strong, though I would have liked a few more scary sequences. The horror parts are effective, but they run a little few and far between. There is a lot of runtime spent on arguments and conversations, and some of them do begin to feel a bit redundant. The characters also lack distinction and I would have liked more character development.

Worth checking out if you're a horror fan, but might not be of too much interest if you aren't.






Jodorowsky's Dune, 2013

In the mid-1970s, following the artistic and commercial success of El Topo and Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky was offered the chance to make something big and bold, and he decided to try to adapt the novel Dune to film. Gathering a tremendous amount of talent around him, the team developed a tremendous artistic vision before running into funding issues with the major studios.

This documentary is a mix of interviews with the creative group that worked on developing Jodorowsky's Dune and interviews with other filmmakers and film critics who provide context for the significance of Jodorowsky's film and the process of trying to get it made. This includes archived interview footage from Dan O'Bannon, who was to collaborate on the world-building and effects of the film.

The most striking thing about this film is just the amount of innovation that went into the vision for this movie that never got made. This includes a pre-Alien HR Giger, as well as the fact that Salvador Dali was meant to play a role.

Jodorowsky, in this documentary, really comes off as exactly the sort of eccentric genius you'd expect from someone who made the films he has. He has an unrelenting confidence and sense of vision, and a drive to make things happen. At times, of course, this can feel a bit much, such as when it's revealed that after he decided his son, Brontis, would play Paul in the film, he hired Jean-Pierre Vignau to train Brontis in martial arts combat. The kid was 12 at the time. (Brontis, having had 40-some years to get used to being Jodorowsky's child, recounts this all with a pretty even keel).

The story in this documentary makes for such a fascinating "what if?". Jodorowsky's vision was, at the time, something really different for big-budget sci-fi. It is at once depressing and yet completely understandable that he could not find funding for what would have been a major investment. The creative team put together incredibly detailed storyboards, down to the angles and movements of the camera, and so the film sits, right there. Jodorowsky suggests that someday someone might take the storyboards and make an animated version of his film. Multiple interviewees speculate on what it must be like to have a creative project come so close to fruition and then go un-finished.

There were only two parts of this documentary that made me a bit uncomfortable. One was the amount of time that we spend with Richard Stanley, who is a talented filmmaker to be sure, but the details of his alleged abuse of his romantic partners is still kind of fresh in my mind and it was all I could think about when he was talking. The other thing that was very um, WHAT was a very unfortunate analogy from Jodorowsky about the creative process and how it's like marriage where you have to "rape the bride or else you won't get a child" and included the phrase "it was rape, but with love. With love." No, friend. No. I can think of about a billion ways to explain the idea of not adapting a book with fidelity that don't include the idea of sexually assaulting your spouse.

A few hiccups aside, this was a very engaging documentary and a really fun insight into a creative, outlandish artist.




VERY nice review! And I agree that Inception is a great film, both unique and refreshing in 2010.
Thank you, Gulf!





Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell, 1968

A plane carrying a handful of passengers runs into a strange light and crash lands in the wilderness. Very soon thereafter, a strange substance possesses the body of one of the passengers. The group debates what to do as it becomes clear that there is a menace among them.

This was an interesting horror with some really cool imagery. It's also very political in a way that is both specific to the region and in a broader sense.

The strength of the film is in the way that it evokes the claustrophobia of the airplane interior and yet contrasts that with a sort of agoraphobia that comes with the outside. While the scares are rather few and far between, the arguing between the characters slowly builds a sense of doom. They cannot even unite to help each other and make decisions, what hope is there in the broader sense?

The film's politics are also very blunt. One character talks about what life has been like in Japan ever since the dropping of the atomic bomb, something all of the actors in this film would have experienced in their lifetime. One of the characters is an American woman who has been traumatized by the death of her husband in Vietnam. Several times it is mentioned by the characters that the endless wars and division make our planet and humanity vulnerable. The film several times incorporates real photographs and images from the second World War and from Vietnam. It's a case of building sci-fi horror on real horror, and I thought it was effective.

The visuals are also very strong, though I would have liked a few more scary sequences. The horror parts are effective, but they run a little few and far between. There is a lot of runtime spent on arguments and conversations, and some of them do begin to feel a bit redundant. The characters also lack distinction and I would have liked more character development.

Worth checking out if you're a horror fan, but might not be of too much interest if you aren't.

Good film.




By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59040893

Into the Wild - (2007)

Racing to catch up with a few 2000s films that might vie for a vote or two in the 2000s countdown - I was interested in this because I knew a little bit about the true story of Christopher McCandless, who hiked off into the wilderness, intent to survive on the land.

WARNING: spoilers below
Photos and messages told those who found his body what he'd been through and what had brought him undone.


There's a good balance between a very fair-minded, non-materialistic young guy travelling across America finding himself and the World - and that of a guy trying to survive far from any human habitation. Some narration is provided by his sister Carine (Jena Malone) along with great small roles for the likes of Vince Vaughn, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook, Zach Galifianakis and Catherine Keener. Makes you question your own principles, and think about how you raise your kids. Really good, but probably not gonna make my ballot.

7.5/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6297528

Small Soldiers - (1998)

If you have a feel for Joe Dante kids & adults comedic movies - the ones were Dick Miller will show up and a small suburb will end up in ruins - then you'll know exactly what to expect here. I was too old to really get swept up in this one when it was released, so I haven't seen it before now. I'm surprised computer graphics were that advanced back then, and that kids were already using the term "phat". Otherwise, this was kind of an updated Gremlins, with artificially intelligent toys taking the place of those monsters. Not terribly original, but it has enough polish and cute stuff to get a pass.

6/10


By http://www.comingsoon.net/gallery/10...ohn_Wick_4.jpg, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43794846

John Wick - (2014)

The first time I've really sat down and watched this. Ultra-violent, it's something like a movie version of the game Hotline Miami - not to be taken too seriously. Wonderfully choreographed, and awfully stylish. For what it is, it gets top marks. If you don't like wall-to-wall death, shooting and stabbing leave it on the shelf. There are no musical numbers, love, conversations, deeper meaning or anything other than death really. But I still thought it was awesome.

8/10
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'Titane' (2021)



What an experience that was. To see it in a theatre was spellbinding. Unforgettable images which seem to focus on gender roles, post traumatic stress, abuse recovery and paternity. Had a few walkouts in the cinema, people couldn't handle the intensity maybe?

Some of the images will be lodged in my head for a long time, and what an extraordinary performance from Agathe Rouselle as a dancer who goes on the run after a crime spree.

There are echoes of Cronenberg's Crash, Arronofsky's Mother! and even Carpenter's Christine, but Ducournau's follow up to 'Raw' film is very much it's own twisted thing.




I'm Your Man (Maria Schrader, 2021)
7/10

One of the better romances of recent years.

How does it compare to Making Mr. Right of yore?



Fantasy Island (2020)

8/10

Kinda funny and an interesting moral.
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