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Beeswax, 2009

Jeannie (Tilly Hatcher) and Lauren (Maggie Hatcher) are twin sisters, each suffering their own mini crisis. Jeannie is in a worsening dispute with her friend Amanda (Anne Dodge), with whom she co-owns a boutique. Lauren is essentially unemployed and unsure what to do with her life.

Here is the challenge with a film like this: you know when someone uses the phrase "Millenials" as an insult? Yeah, the people in this film are the kind of people they are imagining. In short, they are awful, and spending time with them is a chore.

On the other hand, the film and the actors in it very keenly and very accurately lampoon exactly the kind of wishy-washy narcissism that keeps so many young adults (and adults!) in a state of mediocrity. Jeannie spends the whole film avoiding just having a conversation with Amanda to really hash things out. Instead she spends a ton of time complaining to her friends and family, and having an unproductive meeting with a lawyer.

What the film also shows is the way that the characters have placed themselves in an echo chamber. There is no kind truth-telling here. Worst in this regard is maybe Jeannie's boyfriend, Merrill (Alex Karpovsky). Merrill clearly thinks of himself as being supportive, and yet in the most symbolic scene between them, he first forgets Jeannie in the car (she is a wheelchair user) and she must flag down a stranger to help her get out. Once inside where they are to have a meeting with a possible investor for the boutique, Merrill says he "wants to let Jeannie do the talking here" . . . and then proceeds to not only do all the talking, but in the process say things like "And of course the store will never be a big success."

I couldn't help but draw comparisons between this film and something like Frances Ha, but I think that Frances Ha works a bit better because we see some character growth. I will say that I think that the lack of character growth in Beeswax was intentional---it's showing us how these behaviors mean that the characters are repeatedly putting themselves into the quicksand. But it does generate a bit of narrative frustration.

As a character study, I think that this film is solid. But I imagine most viewers will struggle as I did, watching self-centered people make bad choices and sling passive-aggressive insults for 90 minutes.




Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

...Plus Streep just turns me off because I think she is a very good actress but imo overrated plus her politics are unbearable which doesn't help. I went into that on the Streep forum.



Hm. I gotta go find this Streep thread. Just to add to her being overrated, I consider her the greatest living actor, bar none.
I don't know anything about her politics.



The Dark Crystal -


I've wanted to watch this movie again since I finished the very good Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and this thread gave me as good an excuse as any to do so. Coming across like an epic even though it's only a little over 90 minutes long, it takes place in a broken world - as evidenced by the titular broken jewel - and focuses on two races who could not be any more different. There's the Mystics, who as their name implies are always looking to the skies for answers, and the Skeksis - one of the most gruesome and unappealing villains in all of fiction, if you ask me - who are only concerned with their ill-gotten power. Our hero, though, is Jen, the apparent last member of the Gelfling race who is prophesized to restore the crystal and thus balance.

This may say more about me than the movies I watch, but so many of them these days have me reaching for my cell phone. This one, on the other hand, made me put it down. Not only is every frame a visual feast, but they also reward the observant eye whether it's the cleverly designed flora and fauna in the woods or the crowd of Podlings in the wings of the palace. Also, the painted vistas and puppetry hold up despite their age and have a physicality and personal touch that even the most sophisticated modern CGI could not replicate. The movie is labeled as dark fantasy, which I think fits given the subject matter and how revolting the villains are - especially during the dinner scene - but it still manages to be adorable and funny and at just the right times. Fizzgig and the Podlings - the non-turned ones, that is - have a lot to do with this, as does the irascible Aughra, who comes across like a mix of Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings and Dorothy from Golden Girls. Credit also goes to Trevor Jones' score, especially for how it adds so much atmosphere and wonder with its simple motif.

Like the best fantasy, there is much more to take in while watching this movie beyond its imagination, lore, and old-fashioned underdog story. I can relate to its desire for those in power, who lately seem to fall into the movie's dominant camps, to understand one another, come together and that in doing so would make our world one worth living in and preserving. If there's a fault in the movie worth calling out, it's that it could be more tonally consistent, especially when it comes to the scary scenes. While I've praised the comic relief, it reminded me of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie - which the Hensons also worked on, coincidentally - in that the violence does not always mesh with the scenes that are meant to appeal to children. Granted, I first watched this movie as an adult, but scenes like the one where the Skeksis drain the poor Podling's essence are pure nightmare fuel. Despite this flaw, I still rank this as one of the best fantasy movies I've seen and consider it an achievement in puppetry on par with the original Yoda. It's just too bad that with the Netflix series' cancellation, we may never get to visit this world again.
Always loved this movie. Watched it relentlessly in my youth, sometimes every day for a week, then revisited it when I was in my mid-30s and loved it, and then once more in my early 40s.
The cancellation of the series was kinda heartbreaking to me as I really don't like very many shows, almost none really, and I loved that one. Much better than the gawd-awful Game Of Thrones.



I highly, HIGHLY recommend this documentary on the making of the film. I've watched it almost as much as the film itself. It really shows you just how much it was a labor of love.

Thanks! I'll check it out. As luck would have it, a local arts center had a Dark Crystal series exhibit and interview with its creators recently, but I couldn't go. Here's a short virtual tour if you're interested:




26th Hall of Fame

And Then There Were None (2015) -


While I normally don't watch mini-series and television shows, I was still happy to check this one out. Though I had a couple issues with it, I found it to be an effective and tense thriller. The cinematography was a big highlight and enhanced the claustrophobia of the show. The shots of the coastline which seemed to go on forever, the barren landscapes on the island, and the occasional shots of the island being battered by thunderstorms helped to build tension. Speaking of which, I appreciated how different kinds of tension occurred amongst the characters on the island. Of course, there was the surface level tension of the characters growing distrustful of each other, but I also appreciated how, in some ways, they strangely seemed comfortable with each other. The bacchanal in episode three was effective at showing how much the events on the island had warped the characters. They had their differences and were still distrustful of each other, but they were all running out of hope of being rescued, so why not make the most of what may be their final days alive? As strong as this show is, I wasn't that big on the flashbacks. They worked well in the first episode, but not so much in the latter parts of the show. They often slowed the show down and killed the tension a handful of times when the show would cut away from the main action to them. To make matters worse, most of the flashbacks shown in the latter parts of the show (mainly the ones involving Claythorne) either repeated what we already knew about her or provided unnecessary details to her backstory. I also thought that the final reveal, while not bad per se, felt a bit lacking given all the buildup. In spite of these flaws, however, I enjoyed my time with the show and I'm glad it was nominated.



THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
(2005, Baumbach)



"Mom and me versus you and Dad."

The Squid and the Whale follows Bernard and Joan (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney), a couple of "intellectuals" whose paths have diverted lately: Bernard's career is in decline as he focus more on his work as a professor, while Joan is on the rise as he's about to publish her first book. When they decide to separate, the decision affects their two sons: Walt and Frank (Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline), in very different ways.

The above line is actually the first line in the film; said at the start of a seemingly inoffensive game of tennis between the family. But still, it captures the essence of what is the core of the film, that of rivalry and competition, as well as kids taking sides with the parents, which is what eventually happens. Who will "win"?

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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26th Hall of Fame

And Then There Were None (2015) -
Have you seen the 1945 version of the story? It's actually one of my favorite movies. It's a lot lighter than the source material, thanks to some changes made to the story to make it happier.

I enjoyed the miniseries, though I felt at times that it had some issues with pacing.



Yes. While there were some stumbles, I appreciated that it didn't simply try to retread the original and instead picked its own path.
Yup; I've actually grown to like it better than the original, come to think of it (then again, I was never a huge fan of Blade Runner '82 in the first place). By the way, did you ever check out the "Blackout" short film they produced to promote 2049?:



It's pretty good, and gives us some nice additional context on the story they were creating, but I wasn't sure if you'd be open-minded enough to check it out, considering that it was directed by Shinichirō "Cowboy Bebop" Watanabe...

Great writeup of one of the few movies I consider to be a full 10/10 (even though I don't actually rate movies on any kind of scale).
There is so much that I could say about this film, and you've said a lot of it, but I really honestly find the movie rather daring for a musical of its era, especially compared to Wise's next one, The Sound Of Music, which is, to me, pretty much what I don't want in a musical.
I haven't seen West Side Story yet (though I want to), but just out of curiousity, why don't you care for Sound Of Music?




By Incorporates artwork by Bill Gold. - http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/pro...061.1020.A.jpg, Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25294178

Gypsy - (1962)

I would have enjoyed this musical a little more if it didn't run for a spirit-crushing 143 minutes. It's most positive note is a great performance by Rosalind Russell - in a role that was originally going to go to Judy Garland. She's terrific, and Natalie Wood looks terrific, but gives a performance that's a little one-note. Numbers like Everything's Coming Up Roses lift my spirits - but moments like those are too rare in this film, and in the end watching Russell's performance was the only thing I had to hold on to.

5/10


By www.impawards.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6705383

Five Easy Pieces - (1970)

It's been so long since I've seen this that I don't count it as a rewatch. Jack Nicholson's Oscar-nominated performance is full of energy and pathos, and serves the film's excellent script perfectly. I was meaning to really exalt Karen Black - because her performance is just as good, and gets lost behind the larger-than-life persona of Jack, but then I go and read that she was also nominated for an Oscar so she did get some recognition. Still - the next time you think about Five Easy Pieces, tell yourself it's that great Karen Black movie so she gets her due at least once. Jack Nicholson would stay loyal to director Bob Rafelson, appearing in some of his more middling efforts.

9/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15892345

Easy Rider - (1969)

I got the same feeling watching Easy Rider that I did the first time - which is that it's a great movie, and iconic, but not the all-out masterpiece some people think it is. There's a hell of a lot of shots of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper riding their choppers through the U.S. landscape to 1960s music - which is great at first but then starts to grate at me. The gravity and the greatness of the scenes that unfold when they make their stops varies - the diner scene which Jack Nicholson nails was one of my Uncle's favourite scenes in any movie. The ad-libbed scene where various Southern law-enforcement and truck drivers spout vicious hatred is also great. Some of Fonda and Hopper's stoned scenes are just that - Fonda and Hopper mumbling nonsense while stoned. I love around half of this film - but it falls way short of where others place it in the pantheon of great films. I understand why it's thought of so highly - a cultural landmark that stood for a lot of what the disaffected in the United States felt - that they were free, but at the same time were not allowed to be free in the true sense of the word. You either fit the mould or end up as roadkill.

Dennis Hopper's first cut of the film ran for 3 hours - I'm glad everyone talked him out of going with that version.

7/10
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Thelma and Louise - 1991

Didn't realize Ridley Scott directed this. Didn't know Shooter McGavin was in this lol or Harvey Kietel. Feels like this movie is just screaming to get remade today in this climate. Girl power. I actually did like a good chunk of this movie, it will probably get remade by a woman directer within the next 5 years I bet and be a complete man hating fest of a movie. I think having Ridley direct it gave it a lighter touch. The only scene that was a bit heavy on the "we think men are scum" was the truck driver one at the end, could have done without that. Otherwise it gets it point across in an entertaining story.

Genna Davis and Susan Sarandon were really good in their roles and you could see Brad Pitt's star shine in his limited role. Everyone else left a lot to be desired ha. Lot of hammy acting. Also I don't know if it was because I watched it on Youtube but the editing and transition wasn't great to me. I don't know it was entertaining with two very good leads. I wouldn't be in a hurry to watch it again. I'd bet 100 bucks this thing gets remade in at least 5 years time.



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101 Favorite Movies (2019)



I believe in the heart of the cards

A Good B action movie that know what it is!



Weird start! Everytime I watch I love all the cars and Max scenes more, and hate the biker gang scenes more.



I heard that Stallone was part of it, during the movie I realized he was a damn CGI Shark. I stayed for the rest, but I honestly don't know how I got the stomach. One of the worst movies I've seen and the worst I've seen in 2021.
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Kind of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Thing, meets The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verril, meets Society and a few more. A meteor lands in the yard of an Alpaca farmer and his family and things start getting a little weird. Took a while to get going but once it did it was a ton of fun. Cage is appropriately campy and his delivery in spots had me rolling. This is a good looking movie with some gooey fx. Could have been cut down to a shorter run time but I still liked it.



Have you seen the 1945 version of the story? It's actually one of my favorite movies. It's a lot lighter than the source material, thanks to some changes made to the story to make it happier.

I enjoyed the miniseries, though I felt at times that it had some issues with pacing.
I haven't seen the 1945 film, but this film definitely piqued my interest in it. I'll be sure to check it out.

Also, were your issues with the pacing in the 2015 mini series due to the flashbacks as well? I felt like some narrative tension was lost by switching to them in the latter half or so of the mini-series.



Thelma and Louise - 1991
The movie is a masterpiece & definitely doesnít need a remake. Itís as relevant today for women as it was then.
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Odd that Iíve never seen this movie. Two female leads are excellent. Got a bit nutty towards the end, but entertaining. What the heck ever happened to Bridget Fonda?



Canít believe I watched & enjoyed a 3 hours plus Turkish movie. Very enjoyable movie from a director with whom I am unfamiliar.



Docudrama. Laura Dern excellent as she always is. Creepy scenes ugh of a grown man trying to penetrate a 13 year old virgin, but necessary for the film.




I haven't seen West Side Story yet (though I want to), but just out of curiousity, why don't you care for Sound Of Music?
Can't exactly tell you, it's just not for me. Maybe it's too wholesome, maybe the music just doesn't inspire me at all, I dunno, it's just a turnoff for me, kinda like the musical for people who wish life would go back to being the way it used to be. Or something like that.



Demonic (2021)



Cute horror movie. It is not as bad as the IMDB rating says it is, also its directed by Blomkamp, the genius director of District 9.