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Thanks for the shoutout, although I suppose I should keep nudging you to watch the pair of surprisingly artful and sensitive pornos I watched from him.
They're on my watchlist, just not on any services I use.

Also, how did you watch this? I see it's on Vimeo for rent, but wondering if it's on any other services. The Blu-ray looks to be out of print.
I watched it on Kanopy, which I know is maybe different or not available in Canada.



They're on my watchlist, just not on any services I use.



I watched it on Kanopy, which I know is maybe different or not available in Canada.
Ah ok.


I watched those other two on Vimeo and was able to rent them as a double feature.



Ah ok.


I watched those other two on Vimeo and was able to rent them as a double feature.
Good to know!

I use JustWatch as a way of seeing where I can watch movies, and they don't include Vimeo as a service you can add.





Night Raiders, 2021

Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) and her daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) living a nomadic life in a dystopian future where children are taken by the state and raised as soldiers. In a moment that she later regrets, Niska wonders if her daughter might be better off in the care of the state, and Waseese is taken. Niska ends up joining a group that seeks to infiltrate the institution and recover their children.

This is an at-times low key but still engaging sci-fi drama that pulls strongly from the real history of the institutionalization of children from indigenous populations in various countries around the world.

I read a review of this film that accused it of being "failed propaganda" because it was clear that the children were "better off" in the institution. I think that such an interpretation fails to understand that the marginalized and precarious life that Niska and Waseese are living is, in part, actually created by the institution. At the same time, it's understandable why Niska would have her doubts about keeping Waseese in their lifestyle. Niska cannot control the structure of the society around them, and she must weigh the benefits and risks of keeping her child with her.

The performances are good, albeit a bit subdued. I enjoyed seeing Amanda Plummer pop up as a woman whose son was long since taken by the institution, and in one tragic scene we see what happens when she spots him patrolling in uniform.

The sci-fi element itself--a subplot involving weaponized drones--is a bit underwhelming. While the movie's final confrontation resolves in a way that is satisfying, I wasn't sure how much sense it actually made. It's a little too evocative of a certain big-name sci-fi film, but without having earned where it wanted to go.

Solid sci-fi drama.




Vimeo - The service I primarily know these days as the place where you can buy digital copies of Don Hertzfeldt movies.



Victim of The Night


Mephisto, 1981

Hendrik (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is a stage actor in 1930s Germany who is passionate about becoming a success. In the role of Mephisto, he catches the eye of a Nazi general (Rolf Hoppe), and becomes something of a darling of the growing political regime. As those around him, including his fellow actors and his lover (Karin Boyd), are driven away or even killed, Hendrik turns a blind eye in pursuit of his own fame.

There is little in this film that is subtle, as we are explicitly given the reference of the story of Faust and then watch as Hendrik hustles to curry the favor of the Nazi general and the rest of the Third Reich elite.

But subtlety in not necessary in a story like this, and in fact the lack of subtlety really calls to attention just how extreme Hendrik's compartmentalization is as the society around him deteriorates into intolerance and violence. In one early scene, Henrik leaves the theater to see a group of soldiers beating up a Jewish man. He moves as if to intervene, and is quickly driven off by one of the soldiers. This moment is upsetting, but also relatable. It asks a lot for people to put their own well-being on the line for another person.

But by the middle of the film, Henrik is blithely telling his lover--who is biracial--that she cannot leave the house, but that he will buy her a radio so that she can stay connected with the outside world. When she responds to this with indignation and protests that she's just as German as anyone else, he basically rolls his eyes at her, as if it's her ignorance and not the bigotry around her that is worthy of derision.

As with many films that combine theater and film, there are some absolutely sumptuous visuals here. The movie makes the most of Hendrik in his Mephisto costume--his stark white face and crimson red-lined cape. But there's a level here: Mephisto is a character he plays, and his power is, ultimately, an illusion.

There are a lot of films about complicity and what it means to go along with something that is morally wrong. It would seem as if the choices of an actor would pale in comparison to choices made by politicians or soldiers. But through Hendrik's story we see how easy it is to let one's own well-being and success lead us to a place where we are willing to overlook blatant atrocity.

I've been meaning to watch this for years but have never finally pulled the trigger.
Maybe I'll squeeze it in this month otherwise it's gotta wait for November.
But I am definitely in.



I've been meaning to watch this for years but have never finally pulled the trigger.
Maybe I'll squeeze it in this month otherwise it's gotta wait for November.
But I am definitely in.
I'd definitely recommend it.





Mephisto, 1981

Hendrik (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is a stage actor in 1930s Germany who is passionate about becoming a success. In the role of Mephisto, he catches the eye of a Nazi general (Rolf Hoppe), and becomes something of a darling of the growing political regime. As those around him, including his fellow actors and his lover (Karin Boyd), are driven away or even killed, Hendrik turns a blind eye in pursuit of his own fame.

There is little in this film that is subtle, as we are explicitly given the reference of the story of Faust and then watch as Hendrik hustles to curry the favor of the Nazi general and the rest of the Third Reich elite.

But subtlety in not necessary in a story like this, and in fact the lack of subtlety really calls to attention just how extreme Hendrik's compartmentalization is as the society around him deteriorates into intolerance and violence. In one early scene, Henrik leaves the theater to see a group of soldiers beating up a Jewish man. He moves as if to intervene, and is quickly driven off by one of the soldiers. This moment is upsetting, but also relatable. It asks a lot for people to put their own well-being on the line for another person.

But by the middle of the film, Henrik is blithely telling his lover--who is biracial--that she cannot leave the house, but that he will buy her a radio so that she can stay connected with the outside world. When she responds to this with indignation and protests that she's just as German as anyone else, he basically rolls his eyes at her, as if it's her ignorance and not the bigotry around her that is worthy of derision.

As with many films that combine theater and film, there are some absolutely sumptuous visuals here. The movie makes the most of Hendrik in his Mephisto costume--his stark white face and crimson red-lined cape. But there's a level here: Mephisto is a character he plays, and his power is, ultimately, an illusion.

There are a lot of films about complicity and what it means to go along with something that is morally wrong. It would seem as if the choices of an actor would pale in comparison to choices made by politicians or soldiers. But through Hendrik's story we see how easy it is to let one's own well-being and success lead us to a place where we are willing to overlook blatant atrocity.

KMB really made this movie for me.
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11 Foreign Language movies to go

By The cover art can or could be obtained from IMP Awards., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29549417

Jane Eyre - (2011)

I've never read Charlotte Brontë's novel (I read Pride and Prejudice after watching that - I challenged myself, so who knows I might read it one day) - and I've never seen any other version of this. That means this film had the advantage of surprising me with it's story. It's not bad, and you can see that Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are imbuing their roles with a great deal of reverence. It's a great period piece, and as is usual with these films based on classic novels, the production design is through the roof. It's not your usual story (embarrassingly, and I'll admit to this - at one stage I thought it was going to be about vampires, the way things were going) with ghostly goings on that all indicate a great secret at the heart of our male lead's life. Out of the movies that I'd never seen before which I watched yesterday, this was the best.

7/10


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Swingers - (1996)

A few years ago I watched 2001 movie Made, which was written and directed by Jon Favreau and featured Favreau and Vince Vaughn - but their exploits together seem to go back a bit, as evidenced in Swingers. The title had me thinking this might be a bit icky, but all it's really about is male bonding, and the L.A. social scene in the 1990s - if you don't like watching guys be testosterone-fueled guys you might hate this, but it runs a whole gamut from discussions on how long to wait till you call a girl who's given you her number to the pain suffered when a long-term relationship is ended. In between, there's a lot of booze and malarky. A very authentic, sincere film that wears it's heart on it's sleeve.

6/10


By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47657815

Suffragette - (2015)

There's a certain way you cook up historical dramas these days. You imbue a couple of characters with certain traits, have most of the things that happened involve them, and build a story around those characters that works within the framework of the history involved. Such is Suffragette, which examines the movement in the early 20th Century as involving Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) and Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter). Meryl Streep drops in for a mere moment (a cameo the film seems to infer is a larger part than it is) as Emmeline Pankhurst, and Brendan Gleeson as a police detective determined to stop the entire Suffragette campaign. This, on the face of it, was a very average movie though.

6/10


By The poster art can or could be obtained from 20th Century Fox., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28309267

Silver Streak - (1976)

I've always liked Silver Streak, but watching it yesterday I was impressed with how it was filmed, it's score, it's editing and direction from Arthur Hiller. It's just a superbly constructed movie that happens to be a little convoluted plot-wise. Nevertheless, it's the film that first paired up Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor (even though Pryor only comes into the film in it's last stretch.) I thought it was great, and as a whole I'm rather impressed with it.

8/10


By Google Image Search, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19009077

Stir Crazy - (1980)

I'm much less impressed with Stir Crazy - a film which has a meandering last act that's terribly boring, and some so-so improv from Wilder and Pryor. I used to love it when I was a kid though.

5/10
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Pusher, 1996

A drug dealer named Frank (Kim Bodnia) sees an opportunity for a big deal, even though it means putting himself at the mercy of big time dealer Milo (Zlatko Buric). But when the police show up, Frank is forced to dump the drugs. Milo doesn't buy Frank's story, and Frank only has a few days to gather the entire sum that he owes Milo.

There's no question in this film that Frank's week is going to go very, very poorly. It becomes a question of just how badly it will go and whether he will have any real chance at salvation.

Bondia's performance as Frank is essential to keep the film moving, and he does a good job of portraying a potent mix of fear, desperation, and ego. Even as we want to see Frank succeed in getting out from under his debt, there's no denying that Frank treats others poorly in a way that is sure to come back and bite him. You can't blame a person for prioritizing their own life, but there are moments where Frank's disregard of the well-being and feelings of others is much more blunt than it needs to be.

This movie was also the film debut of Mads Mikkelsen, and it's a confident debut, playing one of Frank's associates named Tonny. Laura Drasbæk likewise deserves a mention playing Vic, a woman who is Frank's lover but wants to be more.

The on-the-ground shooting style that Refn uses to film the action gives a sense of realism. There's sometimes almost a sense that someone is in the room with the characters, responding to their actions. In one scene, the characters look out a window and the camera pans to follow their actions, even though we can't see what the men are seeing.

Overall a solid crime thriller.




Victim of The Night


Buddies, 1985

David (David Schachter) signs up to be a "buddy" to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a young man who is dying of AIDS-related complications. As the two discuss love, death, gay rights, and other weighty matters, they forge a strong relationship. But David is unprepared for the emotional toll of caring for someone who is terminally ill.

Highly recommended.

Wow, haven't seen this since I was a teenager, used to watch it all the time. Nice to hear it holds up.



Wow, haven't seen this since I was a teenager, used to watch it all the time. Nice to hear it holds up.
Interesting. I hadn't heard about it at all.

It's amazing how sometimes you find a movie that to your mind is some hidden gem and then someone else is like "Oh, yeah, that's an old favorite. Used to watch it all the time."



Victim of The Night
Interesting. I hadn't heard about it at all.

It's amazing how sometimes you find a movie that to your mind is some hidden gem and then someone else is like "Oh, yeah, that's an old favorite. Used to watch it all the time."
Well, if you were like we all are now, but in the 1980s and didn't have a bedtime, you watched every movie that came on HBO (before HBO ran anything other than movies) over and over again. I saw movies like The Night Porter, Diva, Who's Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe, Vice Squad, Knightriders (bitchin' movie), The Exterminator, Harry's War, Videodrome, Buddies, Timerider, Lost In America, Killer Fish, Turk 182, I, The Jury, Black Moon Rising, Q: The Winged Serpent, Green Ice, It's My Turn, Up From The Depths, The Black Pearl (which is literally about a giant, killer manta ray!), a whole shitload of movies that were just... on. All by the time I was 13 years old, 14 at the latest. I watched literally every movie that HBO ran every month, which was dozens of films that they could get their hands on in their early days before they had any other content. People who grew up in my day saw a fascinating array of films if they wanted to because they just came on, one after another, and if nobody stopped you, you just saw everything.





Pusher, 1996

A drug dealer named Frank (Kim Bodnia) sees an opportunity for a big deal, even though it means putting himself at the mercy of big time dealer Milo (Zlatko Buric). But when the police show up, Frank is forced to dump the drugs. Milo doesn't buy Frank's story, and Frank only has a few days to gather the entire sum that he owes Milo.

There's no question in this film that Frank's week is going to go very, very poorly. It becomes a question of just how badly it will go and whether he will have any real chance at salvation.

Bondia's performance as Frank is essential to keep the film moving, and he does a good job of portraying a potent mix of fear, desperation, and ego. Even as we want to see Frank succeed in getting out from under his debt, there's no denying that Frank treats others poorly in a way that is sure to come back and bite him. You can't blame a person for prioritizing their own life, but there are moments where Frank's disregard of the well-being and feelings of others is much more blunt than it needs to be.

This movie was also the film debut of Mads Mikkelsen, and it's a confident debut, playing one of Frank's associates named Tonny. Laura Drasbæk likewise deserves a mention playing Vic, a woman who is Frank's lover but wants to be more.

The on-the-ground shooting style that Refn uses to film the action gives a sense of realism. There's sometimes almost a sense that someone is in the room with the characters, responding to their actions. In one scene, the characters look out a window and the camera pans to follow their actions, even though we can't see what the men are seeing.

Overall a solid crime thriller.

We should mention that Pusher is a trilogy & this is a review of Pusher I. (Pusher III is probably my favorite though I love them all.)

One of the greatest trilogies I have ever seen & I’ve watched the entire thing at least 3 times.



I couldn't figure out a better thread for this, so I'll just blurt it out here. MUBI seems to have three months for one euro/dollar campaign at the moment. Pretty good value, IMO.
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The live-action Rurouni Kenshin movies are fantastic. They're based on the manga/anime about a wandering samurai who wants to atone for the many people he killed as a government assassin. So now he carries a reverse-blade sword that doesn't cut, only bruises.


The story hews closely to the anime, which I watched back in the day. Enemies from Kenshin's past come back to haunt him and threaten his newfound peace and friendships. He grapples with whether or not to give in to his killer instinct. Its all well-done, even though the films can feel at times like multiple different episodes of a show stitched together.



These new Kenshin movies feature some of the best sword fights I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of martial arts movies. The choreography is intricate and mind-blowingly fast. I wasn't expecting that because the fights in the anime are more of a chess match, where each character has their one special technique that needs to be countered. Also, the live-action movies are much more grounded; to the point where its weird when a supernatural ability is used.


The minor issues I had with the series are that Kenshin's friends other than Sano aren't given much to do, a few characters should have had their ridiculous anime hairstyles toned down, and the 4th movie gives a complete synopsis of the 5th movie. Thankfully I watched the 5th one first by mistake because I thought a movie subtitled The Beginning came before The Final.


I highly recommend the Rurouni Kenshin series to anyone who likes samurai movies and great fight scenes. 1, 4, and 5 are on Netflix. 2 and 3 are on Funimation, but I watched them on Blu Ray.



ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS
(1955, Sirk)



"Two people who are in love with each other, want to be married. Why is it so difficult all of a sudden?"

All That Heaven Allows follows Cary (Jane Wyman), a mature widow with two adult children, that ends up falling in love with Ron (Rock Hudson), a young gardener that works at her home. To complicate things, Cary is affluent which prompts gossip around the neighborhood about Ron's reasons to fall in love with her. Although obviously smitten by Ron, Cary seems to be too worried about what will people in town think about her relationship, and if her children will approve of her relationship.

This film was recommended by a good Internet friend and it was so much better than I was expecting. For the first half, the film is carried by some solid performances from Wyman and Hudson, and good chemistry between them. The relationship feels real and not like others 50's more cliché romantic dramas. However, towards the middle of the film, there is a shift to more serious territory as the burden of gossip and those "external variables" start to take a toll on Cary and Ron's relationship, especially with Cary's children. All through the film, the script by Peg Fenwick allows for some great exchanges between the different characters

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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Colossal - This is probably the only Anne Hathaway starring movie I've ever wanted to catch (well, there's Nicholas Nickleby and Interstellar but she wasn't the main draw in those). It certainly starts out like something she's made in the past. She plays Gloria, a hard drinking partygirl in NYC. She's been out of work for a year and living with her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens). As the movie opens Tim has finally had enough and throws her out, forcing her to move back to her hometown of Mainhead, New Hampshire. While there and living in her parents old and threadbare home she runs into childhood acquaintance Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). He subsequently hires her to work in his bar which only gives her more opportunities to continue her perpetually inebriated lifestyle.

The film eventually takes a quirky detour when Gloria finds out that a giant creature has appeared out of nowhere in Seoul, South Korea. She starts to notice odd similarities between the creatures behavior and mannerisms and her own. When it does materialize it does so at the exact same time and she slowly comes to accept the implausible likelihood that she and the creature are somehow linked.

This is an odd movie but the director Nacho Vigalondo makes the mix of genres and tones work. He was also responsible for 2007's Timecrimes which took the well worn concept of time travel and reinvigorated it by not only embracing the inherent paradoxes associated with the genre but folding them neatly into a murder mystery of sorts. Here he deftly incorporates compelling commentary on ways that the men in Gloria's life seek to subjugate her. For some reason I've always felt that Jason Sudeikis is a natural at playing slimeball types. There's just something untrustworthy about him. I've never seen Ted Lasso so maybe it's been the roles he's offered. Here he's a fully despicable character. But Dan Stevens' Tim isn't much better and by the end you are actively rooting for and hoping that Gloria is able to rid herself of these two millstones around her neck.

This turned out to be a surprisingly potent character study with an engaging performance by Anne Hathaway. Sudeikis and Stevens both fulfilled the role of foils without falling into caricature and Austin Stowell and Tim Blake Nelson provided more than able support as two of Oscars drinking buddies.

80/100