Return of the RECENT VIEWING

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

Postby Goat Boy » 29 Jan 2018, 22:01

The Modernist wrote:I began watching Birdman. Really boring...gave up.


Yeah, wildly overrated although it's nice to see keaton doing things again.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 30 Jan 2018, 11:18

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Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls


There’s a musical scene in Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls where the faces of pop Svengali Z Man and the magnificently cheekboned Harris Allsworth are superimposed over girl group The Carrie Nations that reminded me of the underrated Brady Bunch movie. Of course the Brady Bunch movie was a 90s spoof that paid knowing, campy homage to a 70s sitcom. Beyond The Valley is a spoof 60s film (released in 1970 but very much of the 60s) that satirises Hollywood and the counterculture with a proximity to that period which makes it a fascinating time capsule too. How intentional all of this was I honestly don’t know. Roger Ebert wrote the script, which is full of the most ridiculously over the top “60s” dialogue (“This is my happening and it freaks me out!”) and he’s said that it was very much intended as a delirious satire but the direction and handling of the absurd, escalating plot says more unintentional (but welcome) accident to me.

Crucially the actors play it almost completely straight as well which only adds to the madness as they seem trapped inside a creation they don’t fully understand themselves. The only actor who seems to really “get” what is going on is Z Man with his mock Shakespearean delivery and intentional campness that only manages to heighten the weirdness of the sincerity surrounding him.

It’s such an odd mix of styles and tones but it’s this unique mix that makes the film appealing: part Benny Hill, part satire, part Hollywood melodrama, part musical, part exploitation flick. Even the moralising, which would maybe come across as reactionary in others directors hands, doesn’t appear judgmental or finger wagging here. There’s an innocence and joy of film making that bypasses that sorta cynical gesture. It’s this combination of sincerity and satire that makes the movie so freaking weird.

I'll most certainly watch it again :lol:
Last edited by Goat Boy on 30 Jan 2018, 13:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Dr Markus » 30 Jan 2018, 11:43

The Modernist wrote:I began watching Birdman. Really boring...gave up.



Ah naw, don't say that. I have it recorded and was looking forward to it.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Jeemo » 30 Jan 2018, 12:44

The Great Defector wrote:
The Modernist wrote:I began watching Birdman. Really boring...gave up.



Ah naw, don't say that. I have it recorded and was looking forward to it.


watch it, it's fantastic


it's shite
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 30 Jan 2018, 15:47

It's neither shite, nor fantastic - but worth your time, Marcus.

I couldn't stand Beyond the Valley of the Dolls though. But I think when I reviewed it on this very thread a couple of years ago I was more forgiving.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby sloopjohnc » 30 Jan 2018, 22:39

I watched It Happened One Night on AMC last night. Apparently, Gable and Colbert thought it was the stupidest movie they'd both ever done and just wanted to finish filming it. I had forgotten it was a Capra film.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 31 Jan 2018, 11:04

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The Cremator

This is billed as a “comedy horror drama” on Wikipedia but I have to say I didn’t laugh but then maybe Czech humour is an acquired taste. The “humour” is very black anyway which is hardly surprising considering the films subject matter. I felt certain things were slightly over my head in relation to the films context. It took me a wee while to figure out for example that it was actually set prior to WW2 although I was aware that there was a German community living in the Sudetenland at the time (cheers Higher history!) who were favourable towards the Reich. Sometimes you get that when you are watching movies from countries you are largely ignorant about.

Karel Kopfrkingl is a cremator, devoted to his work and family and living a comfortable, middle class life in Prague. He’s an odd fella though who has an air of sociopathic calm about him and an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. In fact he believes in reincarnation and sees himself as some kind of noble figure liberating people from the drudgery and suffering of the mortal realm and thereby enabling samsara through cremation. An encounter with a Czech Nazi convinces him that he has German blood and that his wife and kids are part Jewish as Karel increasingly loses touch with reality and begins to hatch some kind of grand scheme to liberate thousands of suffering souls. Eventually and tragically the Nazis racial ideology combines with his Buddhist beliefs leading him to his own “final solution”.

There’s lots of odd angles and expressionistic touches throughout and it’s stylishly done with a very good performance from the main actor whose measured personality contrasts perfectly with the increasing madness on display. Apparently it’s highly rated in the Czech Republic and is something of a cult film and it’s easy to see why. It still felt fresh to me and alien too. Different, you know.

If this is what the Czech new wave was producing then I should really check out more.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 02 Feb 2018, 19:39

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Stylish fairytale, recalling the best of Jeunet & Caro and perhaps Tim Burton, set against the backdrop of the Cold War. The story relies on one of my least-favorite sci-fi cliches, i.e. evil military men plotting to use alien/mutant/lab created creatures for military benefit, but because it's part homage to 50's-era sci-fi it seems right anyway, and the story is more daring and surprising than most efforts derived from this formula.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 02 Feb 2018, 21:52

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Husbands and Wives

Allen's best '90s movie checks off all the boxes you'd expect from him at this point in his career. It's funny, but more profound, entertaining, yet thought-provoking. For me, it's up there with Crimes & Misdemeanors, Hannah & Her Sisters, Manhattan, and Annie Hall. Filmed while his life with Mia Farrow was unraveling. I don't think he's been this good since.

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My Cousin Rachel

One of those gothic, Daphne de Maurier novels-turned-to-film (like Rebecca, just not as good) which take place in castles filled with rich Britons with much sturm and drag. All very respectable and a tad dull. Richard Burton's first US movie and another honorable performance by Oliva de Havilland who is still alive at 101. I'm something of a Burton fanboy and after this, there's only one more of his seven oscar-nominated performances which isn't on blu (Anne of a Thousand Days).

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby algroth » 04 Feb 2018, 13:15

Goat Boy wrote:Image

The Cremator

This is billed as a “comedy horror drama” on Wikipedia but I have to say I didn’t laugh but then maybe Czech humour is an acquired taste. The “humour” is very black anyway which is hardly surprising considering the films subject matter. I felt certain things were slightly over my head in relation to the films context. It took me a wee while to figure out for example that it was actually set prior to WW2 although I was aware that there was a German community living in the Sudetenland at the time (cheers Higher history!) who were favourable towards the Reich. Sometimes you get that when you are watching movies from countries you are largely ignorant about.

Karel Kopfrkingl is a cremator, devoted to his work and family and living a comfortable, middle class life in Prague. He’s an odd fella though who has an air of sociopathic calm about him and an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. In fact he believes in reincarnation and sees himself as some kind of noble figure liberating people from the drudgery and suffering of the mortal realm and thereby enabling samsara through cremation. An encounter with a Czech Nazi convinces him that he has German blood and that his wife and kids are part Jewish as Karel increasingly loses touch with reality and begins to hatch some kind of grand scheme to liberate thousands of suffering souls. Eventually and tragically the Nazis racial ideology combines with his Buddhist beliefs leading him to his own “final solution”.

There’s lots of odd angles and expressionistic touches throughout and it’s stylishly done with a very good performance from the main actor whose measured personality contrasts perfectly with the increasing madness on display. Apparently it’s highly rated in the Czech Republic and is something of a cult film and it’s easy to see why. It still felt fresh to me and alien too. Different, you know.

If this is what the Czech new wave was producing then I should really check out more.


That might be one of the more "out there" Czech new wave films, although in my experience they all (well, most) tend to show huge formal creativity and a style that is often quite expressionistic and angular. Glad you enjoyed!

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 05 Feb 2018, 23:13

The Bed Sitting Room (1969)

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This plays like a Monty Python film, with a series of skits and gags bound by an overriding story -- in this case, the 20 or so surviving people in England trying to carry on with life as usual following a nuclear holocause. I liked this one.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby PresMuffley » 06 Feb 2018, 10:35

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This is one I've been wanting to see for a while now, and particularly after watching the recent Ken Burns series. It'll take me some time to process, and at the moment I am at a loss, but I definitely recommend giving this a go.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 09 Feb 2018, 04:54

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Force of Evil

Before Brando, before Clift even, there was John Garfield - a Jewish kid from NYC streets who shot to fame in the '40s in a number of noirs which hold up fairly well today. Force of Evil is one of the better ones, and at less than 80 minutes, never overstays its welcome. A big influence on Scorcese, you can see its plot devices in Mean Streets and even On the Waterfront.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Jeemo » 09 Feb 2018, 12:00

Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Force of Evil

Before Brando, before Clift even, there was John Garfield - a Jewish kid from NYC streets who shot to fame in the '40s in a number of noirs which hold up fairly well today. Force of Evil is one of the better ones, and at less than 80 minutes, never overstays its welcome. A big influence on Scorcese, you can see its plot devices in Mean Streets and even On the Waterfront.



Garfield was always worth watching no matter the film.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Samoan » 09 Feb 2018, 12:54

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Heavens. All credit to her, I couldn't walk 1,100 miles without a pack that weight and size.
I think Reese Witherspoon plays this autobiographical role very well although she is rather small in stature and height to completely convince. (I've seen some photos of the character Reese plays, Cheryl Strayed and she's a lot taller and looks like she has better upper body strength)
Jean-Marc Vallée (of Dallas Buyers Club) directs and Nick Hornby wrote the script for Wild.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 09 Feb 2018, 14:54

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We Are Still Here

I quite liked this and think it did enough to rise above the level of obvious 80s homage (the set up was reminiscent of Fulci’s The Beyond and it even has Barbara Crampton from Re-Animator). There are a few twists and turns and although most of them are telegraphed there’s some nice moments here that elevate it comfortably above the average horror film even if there was an element of throwing everything at the wall and seeing if it sticks. The director could be one to watch.

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Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

You’re always taking a chance when you tape some schlock off the Horror channel. For every so bad it’s good horror there’s dozens which are just absolutely terrible and this was one of them. Crass, stupid and nonsensical with some hopelessly clumsy left wing politics thrown in for good measure. Avoid.

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Ran

And from the ridiculous to the sublime. I thought this was magnificent and better than Throne of Blood. To think Kurosawa was 74 (?) when he made this. Sheesh. There’s an incredible sequence about half way through Ran where catatonic War Lord Hidetora emerges from a burning castle and dream like wanders off alone and insane into some kind of volcanic, post-apocalyptic landscape. In a movie full of bravura moments and stunning images this one is pretty hard to beat.

Facing up to the consequences of ones actions can be hard for many of us but when you are a 70 year old War Lord whose own sons have tried to kill him and who has unleased chaos on a world he recently ruled you can understand how one might succumb to madness. Unlike Lear, who obviously provides the inspiration for the character Hidetora is a cruel man, a war mongerer whose pursuit of power has been relentless throughout his life but it’s only now, towards the end that he is finally confronted by the ghosts of the past and the world he has helped create. In another stunning sequence that follows the one above Hidetora sits in the grass and is tormented by visions of those he has killed who seemingly appear to him like cruel spectres. Despite what we know about Hidetora you still feel sympathy for him. How awful it must be to only truly understand ones actions when it is too late to rectify them but the folly of man is never ending which is why Ran is timeless. In one scene where fate seems to cruelly conspire against both Hidetora and the son who loves him The Fool cries out in anger and asks why the Gods crush us like ants but there is only silence of course. In the final sequence a blind man alone on a dangerous precipice, silhouetted against the fading sun, drops a parchment of the Buddha onto the floor but he cannot rescue it. Maybe we are locked into some kind of cruel, never ending samsara. Maybe that is just mankinds fate.

Even if you were to ignore its themes you’d still come away dazzled by its visual brilliance, its action sequences and the moments of lyrical beauty that appear throughout. The battle sequences in particular are stunningly shot and make the CGI enhanced nonsense of todays movies look like fucking Warhammer.

Spectacular and great.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Darkness_Fish » 09 Feb 2018, 22:00

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Mark Wahlberg is a military sniper, who was abandoned by the military somewhere in Foreignistan, but survived somehow in a way that was presumably not worth explaining to the viewer. He is then talked out of retirement by a smooth-talking evil government guy to help prevent the assassination of the president. This is all a cunning ruse to frame him as the shooter of an Ethiopian arch bishop (obviously). Shooty shooty Marky Mark is then on the run, helped only by a rogue FBI agent, his dead partner's girlfriend, and the backwoods mystical guy with knowledge who crops up in every conspiracy film. Evil government guy tries to kill Shooty Shooty Marky Mark, because he knows about the Serbian sniper who actually killed the arch bishop, and appears in the film for no reason other than to have an Eastern European accent. Evil government guy works for evil senator. They have a denouement somewhere convenient for an ace sniper. The film then decides this denouement wasn't good enough, and adds in a second denouement for no apparent reason. Film ends. Head scratched.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby jimboo » 10 Feb 2018, 10:05

Great write up on Ran Dougie. One of me fave movies. It is simply stunning , pure cinema.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 11 Feb 2018, 16:14

Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Husbands and Wives

Allen's best '90s movie checks off all the boxes you'd expect from him at this point in his career. It's funny, but more profound, entertaining, yet thought-provoking. For me, it's up there with Crimes & Misdemeanors, Hannah & Her Sisters, Manhattan, and Annie Hall. Filmed while his life with Mia Farrow was unraveling. I don't think he's been this good since.


The hand-held camera renders it close to unwatchable.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 11 Feb 2018, 16:48

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Has anyone written this one up yet?

I saw it yesterday, and it’s still swirling around in my mind the way a truly good film often does. It took me by surprise, as I’ve had a complicated relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson’s films up to now. Not that I’ve disliked them. I’ve always noted and admired his ambitions -crediting him for his intentions more than his ability to realize them. So my expectations were muted.

Phantom Thread is a fully realized work. There are echoes of Roeg, Powell-Pressburger, James Ivory, early Polanski, and even Welles here. But not slavishly so. This is the film where PTA stops imitating his heroes and simply joins them as a master storyteller.

The story itself is a simple one. At its core is a subtle retelling of Pygmalion - but one in which the bond between the artist and the muse is more unknowable and strange than in previous iterations.

Anyhow...a surprisingly wonderful film that makes you aware of how long it been since any film has even tried to play on this level.
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