Return of the RECENT VIEWING

..and why not?
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Still Baron
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Still Baron » 24 May 2019, 00:06

Snarfyguy wrote:Image

I quite liked Paul Schrader's quiet character study of a pastor having a crisis of faith, even though it's kind of just Taxi Driver except in a church and without the kid prostitute.


So, then, kinda like those Bresson and Bergman movies, but with less quiet?
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 29 May 2019, 19:00

^^^ Yeah, more plotted, perhaps,than we think of those guys' movies as, but Mrs. SG found it similarly "slow" to that style.

Unlike this:

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Good premise for a horror comedy: heavy metal dudes accidentally unleash a plague of demons when they attempt to play music from some kind of occult sheet music they happen upon opens a doorway to some netherworld.

Over-reliant on cartoonish splatter (think Itchy & Scratchy levels of flying viscera), the thing has pretty much run out of ideas by the 60 minute mark and both the dialogue and the narrative structure could have used some more work.

But it's a cheerfully dumb and amusing time, all in all.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 31 May 2019, 17:00

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I can't possibly do this film justice.

Forgive me for quoting at length:

There’s no getting around it: “Hard To Be A God” is one of the most consistently disgusting films ever made. On completion of some explanatory opening titles, the movie depicts a dank, grim, perpetually chilly and humid medieval world. A couple of extras are seen, splattered in mud, but on consideration, the viewer can’t be sure it’s mud. What came to mind for me was the immortal exchange from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” as two characters watch a spotless Arthur pass: “Must be a king.” “Why?” “Because he hasn’t got s**t all over him.”

In this movie, neither king-dom nor dukedom nor God-dom confers any such sort of privilege. Also, everyone in this movie has a horrible cold, because everyone has liquid or snot or some combination thereof dripping from his or her nose and/or is hocking up and spitting softball-sized wads of phlegm. It just never ends. I’m not even getting into the misshapen naked bodies, the mutilating mortal wounds suffered by characters throughout, the hung corpses festered with I can’t even tell you what, and, oh, the spilling intestines. You think maybe because it’s in black-and-white that it’s not gonna churn your stomach, but no: the integrity of the special effects is such that it’s likely that you’ll stop thinking they’re special effects after a while, and the unrelenting nature of the grotesque atmosphere is just too effective.

Sounds great, right? You can see why I gave it four stars. And yet I will insist: “Hard To Be A God,” the final film by the inspired Russian director Alexei German—a film he spent four decades planning and a dozen years making, a film he did not actually live to complete (post-production was handled by his widow and his son, both close longtime collaborators of the filmmaker)—is not only an unforgettable individual masterpiece but probably one of the capital-G Great Films. You’ll need a strong stomach and another kind of endurance to sit through it, as it’s nearly three hours long and is more than a little oblique in its approach to narrative (I know, it just keeps getting better!), but once it is over you know you’ve really had an experience. An experience very different from watching an average or even a very good conventional film.

Some background: Like his contemporary Andrei Tarkovsky, Alexei German was only able to make a handful of features in his career, which began in the ‘60s. His first solo directorial effort, 1971’s “A Trial On The Road,” is both one of his most accessible films and a persuasive piece of evidence that nobody does the war movie better than the Russians. Snow, stale and scarce cigarettes, random acts of violence and interludes of terror; “Road” has them all, and in spite of its “victory is ours” coda, this WWII chronicle got banned for 15 years. “Hard To Be A God” is more in the mode of German’s delirious 1998 “Khrustalyov, My Car,” in which a gregarious, hard-living doctor is subject to unspeakable humiliations during the last days of the Stalin regime. Stalin hangs over “Hard To Be A God” like a mordantly chortling specter.

The movie is adapted from a novel by Russian sci-fi masters Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (whose “Roadside Picnic” inspired Tarkovsky’s visionary, disagreeable “Stalker”). “Sci-fi? But didn’t you mention a ‘medieval’ setting?” is maybe what you’re asking. Indeed I did. The conceit of “God” is a rather pointedly allegorical one: Earth scientists have been secreted on a planet much like our own, one that is going through its own Middle Ages, and the movie tells the story of one such scientist who is powerless to stop the ruling class wipeout of what’s called the intelligentsia—that is, anyone among the population who can read or write. The focus of German’s movie is one such scientist, Don Rumata, played with admirable diligence and droll irony by Leonid Yarmolnik. He’s “disguised” as a nobleman who some inhabitants believe to be descended from a god. And in his real-life capacity as something close to a god, he’s appalled by the power plays going on around him, but helpless to stop it.

D.R. is an unusual hero; he has a sybaritic insouciance that makes him a soulmate of the lead character of “Khrutalyov.” He’s a good man but not a particularly righteous or self-righteous one. As the casually vicious forces of darkness wreak havoc on the learned, he’s at first bemused, and also ill-advisedly confident; things can’t be that bad, he seems to be thinking quite often. The action is a little hard to follow at times because of the way German throws the viewer into it; more often than not the camera seems to function as an unseen observing character, and a lot of the actors will look directly into the lens, make some facial indications, or even speak to the camera. One finds oneself in a problematic relationship to the screen—am I supposed to talk back? And then there are the things in the frame getting in the way of what one is supposed to be looking at: hanging sausages, hanging bodies, all sorts of obstacles.

Behind them, though, is production design that is utterly convincing. The signal achievement of “Hard To Be A God” is its utterly, nightmarishly convincing simulation of a whole new world. The movie is in a sense a trip to hell, but the torture we witness is not doled out gratuitously. German cannot exorcise the torment of Stalinism from his consciousness; instead he uses art to communicate the reasons it existed and the way it felt for those victimized by it. “Hard To Be A God” is a fantastical examination of man’s inhumanity to man, and as replete as it is with persistent visceral disgust, it also pulses with intelligence, a mordant compassion, and yes, incredible wit. Its vision is so monstrously realized that even as it repulses, it makes almost any other film you would care to put next to it seem puny, silly, unnecessary. It is a demanding work, in every sense of the word. But it also gives back as much as it wants from you.

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/hard ... a-god-2015
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 04 Jun 2019, 02:29

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Long Shot (2019)

I was expecting some sharp political satire, but this just comes across as fantasy fulfillment for fat, scruffy, Marvel zombie stoners, with an embarrassing amount of fetishizing mainstream 90's r & b in some desperate stab at coolness, I suppose, and the standard grossout and drug humor you would expect in a movie starring Seth Rogen. The villain is a cartoonish Daddy Warbucks character who is old and ugly and wants to drill oilfields in baby seals, or whatever.

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The Perfection (2019)

'The Perfection' is a gory, twist-filled revenge story, wholly implausible in the way twist-filled horror movies tend to be, but it is a lot of fun.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 12 Jun 2019, 16:42

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A remarkable performance by Bale and my understanding/recollection tracks with the story and facts, but the outrageous villainy on display here is rather undercut by the self-consciously cartoon-y delivery, almost like it's the I, Tonya of the G.W. Bush years or something.

Weird.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 18 Jun 2019, 03:55

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

It's no surprise to me that this movie failed to connect with audiences, already fatigued by the glut of super-hero flicks. The tone is dark throughout. There are few scenes of larger-than-life characters flying through the air and dazzling with acrobatic, balletic moves. Rather, the fight scenes are ugly, messy brawls, which seems to me a more realistic depiction of what fights among super-powered characters would be like if such things occurred in real life. Also in the positive column for me, Jessica Chastain plays a sufficiently creepy villain, although not one familiar from the comics (unless her character is supposed to be one of the "asparagus aliens" from the source story). In the negative column, this entry into the (softly) rebooted series not only plays havoc with the continuity of the original trilogy, but somehow also messes up the continuity of the current series. Also, although it's hard to pinpoint any specific faults, it just seems that this series has run out of ideas, which I suppose should be obvious considering that this is already the second attempt at an adaptation of famed Dark Phoenix comic book saga by Clairemont and Byrne. Still, I will stand by the X-Men series as the cream of superhero movies, despite the somewhat disappointing final couple of chapters.


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The History of Time Travel (2014)

Pretty clever little fake documentary.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 18 Jun 2019, 18:07

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This manages to juggle psychological horror, family psychodrama and occult themes sufficiently deftly that you're never quite sure exactly what's going on, which is a delightfully refreshing feeling for a jaded movie-goer. Very original, even as it's aware of its influences.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 21 Jun 2019, 21:04

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Juvenile, yet sophisticated!
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 12 Jul 2019, 02:33

Toy Story 4

I was disappointed with it. I love Bo Peep kicking ass and taking the lead, but compared to the genuine subversiveness of Toy Story III (evil teddy bear, cuddly characters on a conveyor belt to an inferno, that kind of thing), the narrative seemed a bit pat.

I also missed to the more ensemble-centric orientation of the older pictures, where concentrating more heavily on just the main characters isn't as fun, somehow.

Finally, it didn't really make sense to me. Why was it necessary for Bo Peep and Woody to leave the group in order to be together anyway?

*grumble, grumble*
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Jeemo » 15 Jul 2019, 17:49

Wee guy wanted to see Yesterday, yesterday. Can honestly say it's one of the worst films I have ever seen. It also has a jaw droppingly awful scene. Dont waste your money trust me.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Minnie the Minx » 17 Jul 2019, 13:15

On the plane watched Warren Beatty’s ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ about Howard Hughes. I really enjoyed it, but see it got a panning at the box office. Beatty’s performance was outstanding, I thought.

A film that all the critics seemed to agree on, and rightfully so was ‘The Sessions’ a true life story about a poet with polio who spends his life in an iron lung but is determined to lose his virginity. I don’t want to give any of the plot away but it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years. You’ll recognise the lead part as the bloke who played Sol Star in Deadwood. His performance is superb.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Diamond Dog » 22 Jul 2019, 21:46

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Just watched this at the local cinema..... if you have any love of the Apollo missions, the space race, the technology, the numbers, the... everything and anything - do yourself a favour and watch it. It blew my mind - some of the (previously unseen) footage was beyond words - really. It's only when you see it, all laid out logically and chronologically, that the sheer speed, precision and vastness of the operation really fall into place. It's a monumental and faithful account of the greatest story ever told.

And trust me, even if you do know the minutest details.... you'll still be on the edge of your seat on numerous occasions. Stunning.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 29 Jul 2019, 21:17

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I wouldn't go so far as to call it a stunning tour de force, but Spike Lee's BlacKKKlansman is very entertaining!
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 30 Jul 2019, 17:24

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

What to say about this one? Well, I liked, but strangely didn't love it. Quentin was actually pulling back on the long, verbose dialogue scenes, and there's not that much action, which makes it seem like he's been listening to his critics or something. Leo does his usual bang up job of acting (can he actually be called a great actor? I've never really contemplated this before, but the evidence does seem to be mounting up when you look back at his career starting with "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"). Brad is effortlessly cool (more about his character later), and the whole production design is flawless. I mean you really do believe you're in 1969 Los Angeles. But that's kinda it, one gets the feeling that's what Tarantino really wanted to do - recreate that time and place, and once he'd done that, the story was secondary.

I'm sure you've read about the plot, DiCaprio and Pitt are a Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham team in Hollywood in the midst of the Manson era, and a few famous actors are portrayed by modern actors. There's an amusing scene where the Pitt character almost beats up Bruce Lee by slamming him into a car, and many (too many?) scenes where Leo is upset about his fading career. He goes to work in Italy staring in spaghetti westerns (QT is a big fan of the genre), yada, yada, yada... The Brad/Needham guy has a backstory where he killed his wife and got away with it. Did this actually happen? There's a bit of misogyny at play because later he kills a female Manson follower by repeatedly smashing her face into furniture after she stuck a knife into his leg. One might read that and find it justifiable but he does it like ten times or something. Anyway, I did notice it. And without giving away too many spoilers, Quentin rewrites history again at the end, just like he did in Inglorious Basterds, so if that film bothered you, prepare yourself...

So, a cautious thumbs up. I'll probably like it more the second time around. The ambience of the project is first rate, and if you think this thing is right up your alley, then it probably will be. Had he spent more time on the screenplay and not the sets, I feel the picture would've been more balanced. But we get what we get, and no more.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Modernist » 04 Aug 2019, 17:09

Matt Wilson wrote: I mean you really do believe you're in 1969 Los Angeles..

And yet neither look particularly late sixties in that poster (especially not Pitt)
Matt Wilson wrote: without giving away too many spoilers, Quentin rewrites history again at the end, just like he did in Inglorious Basterds, so if that film bothered you, prepare yourself..


Actually you gave away the twist a couple of sentences above. But s'okay as I'd already guessed that that was what Tarantino would do.

Looking forward to seeing it, but not expecting a classic.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 06 Aug 2019, 03:24

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Rocket Man (2019)

I enjoyed how this movie (probably unintentionally) subverts the opening scene of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in its own book-ending sequence. The confessional structure, plus the imaginative musical numbers made it a more cinematic experience for me than the Queen biopic's dry, television movie style "band on the rise" format. Also I felt the dramatic bits had more impact, but otherwise it's pretty much the exact same "musical prodigy with strained familial relations falls into the traps of excess and comes to terms with himself after confronting his sexuality and finding the right person' story. Although with a happier ending!
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Powehi » 06 Aug 2019, 09:25

pcqgod wrote:Image

Rocket Man (2019)

Bohemian Rhapsody...with a happier ending!


Really? EJ was still making records and playing live last I heard.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 06 Aug 2019, 21:27

Powehi wrote:
pcqgod wrote:Image

Rocket Man (2019)

Bohemian Rhapsody...with a happier ending!


Really? EJ was still making records and playing live last I heard.


My last sentence was referring to 'Rocket Man.'
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 07 Aug 2019, 20:39

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Big, dumb summer fun. Saw it at the drive-in, even.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Lord Rother » 07 Aug 2019, 21:41

Jeemo wrote:Wee guy wanted to see Yesterday, yesterday. Can honestly say it's one of the worst films I have ever seen. It also has a jaw droppingly awful scene. Dont waste your money trust me.


Nonsense.

It’s delightful.

And it’s got Lily James.

(And Ed Sheeran.)

If you don’t like Richard Curtis, don’t go. If you do, you’ll love it.

I sense BCB movie watchers are probably a long way up they own arses so I may very well be alone, which is fine.