Return of the RECENT VIEWING

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

Postby Matt Wilson » 01 Mar 2018, 04:44

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Tom Jones

It's always been somewhat fashionable to downplay this film's role in the history of British film. It's dated, to be sure, but still more than fitfully amusing. The narrator's lines are often the funniest thing in the screenplay and it made Finney (one of my fave actors) a star. Richardson may not have the reputation of Lindsay Anderson but this still deserves to be ranked alongside Look Back in Anger, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, This Sporting Life, and other Brit classics of the era. It was far more successful than any of those pictures as well.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Darkness_Fish » 04 Mar 2018, 20:22

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Pretty good, I reckon. I know the style-over-substance accusation is thrown at this, but given that most modern Hollywood films have neither, a bit of style goes a long way. Surely Queen's "Brighton Rock" is a mis-step in an otherwise fairly hip selection of tracks?
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby the masked man » 05 Mar 2018, 12:23

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The Falls

I've really been getting into early Peter Greenaway shorts lately, which have a playful tone often missing from his later commercial features. This is the culmination of his early work, a three-hour pseudo-documentary that is so full of themes and links to his other work (notably regular characters such as Tulse Luper and Gang Lion) and to later films such as A Zed And Two Noughts and Drowning By Numbers, that I feel it requires several viewings. Several BBC-accented narrators take us through an encyclopedic pseudo-documentary relating to the 'Violent Unexplained Event' (VUE). The film then serves up an absurd set of listings, featuring found footage, static talking head shots and memorable images of British landscapes, both urban and rural.

The themes of the film relate to man's folly. The outcome of the VUE (which is never explained, appropriately enough) include fascination with flight (there are constant ornithological references), immortality and a desire to learn fictitious languages. The documentary aims to catalogue 92 victims of the VUE, all with surnames beginning with 'Fall' with 92 individual short films. Yet the project itself proves flawed. As well as an inability to explained what actually happened in the VUE, several films are missing for various reasons, including accusations of embezzlement, respect for bereavement, doubts about whether the person actually exists and even in one case outright fraud (the police have, apparently, been notified). What remains is beguiling but, of necessity, incomplete. Indeed one of the film's subjects claims not to be a victim of VUE, but developed similar symptoms independently. He still gets a segment.

Ultimately, humanity's desire to fly proves as fruitless as the attempts to compile a complete encyclopedia. But in this project's accumulation of footage there are endlessly amusing word games to entertain and bemuse. Possibly my favourite Greenaway film.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Minnie the Minx » 05 Mar 2018, 14:57

We watched Waiting for Guffman last night - Christopher Guest is some kind of genius for sure.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Modernist » 05 Mar 2018, 19:12

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The BBC have been showing some good independent films of late, if you prepared to stay up into the wee small hours. I must admit I didn't have high hopes for this one. The premise of two brothers growing up on a rough, gang dominated Hackney estate seemed, well a bit..hackneyed (sorry!). I was expecting something like 'Bullet Boy', well-intentioned but too indebted to its cliches. However I was wrong and this gripped me right away.
The first thing it had going for it was that it seemed so real. The dialogue and dialects were what you might hear in Inner London, rather than some white 40 year old's idea of how the yoof might speak. And this verisimilitude, aided by excellent naturalistic performances, helped in making their plight poignant and real. While there is the expected violence and conflict it emerges naturally from events rather than something to titilate audiences. Director Sally El Hosain brings a vivid, and at times poetic, eye to a world she seems to understand. The lead James Floyd was very charismatic and I can see him going places. The story goes to a very unexpected place, which I wasn't expecting, but which was handled very naturally and sensitively.
Best British film I've seen in many years (I'd pretty much given up on British independent cinema) and strongly recommended (catch it on iplayer).

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby ORORORO » 05 Mar 2018, 19:43

Sounds good, G - I might give it a go this week.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Modernist » 05 Mar 2018, 20:23

THE NIGHT BEAK wrote:Sounds good, G - I might give it a go this week.



Yeah do. It has an intelligence to it these urban dramas rarely have.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 06 Mar 2018, 11:01

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Embrace of the Serpent

I thought this was great and beautiful exploration of the personal and cultural effects of colonialism that managed to combine real world authenticity with more fantastical elements to create something rather magical. There’s obvious echoes of Herzogs work with Kinski in the jungles here but rather than being told from the point of view of a European visitor it’s told from the point of view of a native, a shaman called Karamakate, a lost soul and the last of his tribe who refers to himself as a “chullachaqui”, a sort of shadow spirit whose fading memory and isolation has left him rootless and without purpose. An encounter with a desperately sick German explorer as a young man leads him on a journey to reconnect with the tribe he believed were dead but also to recover a sacred plant that can save the Germans life but instead he is forced to confront the brutal reality of the European colonisation and the rubber industry as he ventures further into the darkness. Decades later another westerner, this time an American botanist searching for the same sacred plant appears and his journey back into the light can begin.

It’s a simple story but one that not only deals with the obvious stuff about colonialism but also touches on identity, ageing, the impermanence of memory and the exotic allure and magic of the Amazon and it beautifully shifts from documentary style realism towards some kind of hallucinatory, dreamlike parable without losing any of its simple, elegant power.

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Fantastic Voyage

A Sunday afternoon matinee. I loved the psychedelic 60s special effects and there was some hilariously old fashioned male chauvinism going on (I think Raquel Welch had about ten lines) but it lacked the requisite tension to really make it pop. Would be nice to watch stoned.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby pcqgod » 06 Mar 2018, 19:49

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Annihilation (2018)

Some interesting sci-fi concepts here. Visually compelling. Not as memorable as 'Ex Machina.'
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Dr Markus » 06 Mar 2018, 20:16

pcqgod wrote:Image

Annihilation (2018)

Some interesting sci-fi concepts here. Visually compelling. Not as memorable as 'Ex Machina.'


Have seriously high hopes for this. Loved ex machina. On a social note, good to see an all female cast in film that isn't a remake. The proper way to do it.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 07 Mar 2018, 04:40

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I liked the stately pace and the grubby, brutalist look of it, but it was a bit too predictable and the whole end part was way too sappy.
Last edited by Snarfyguy on 07 Mar 2018, 14:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby algroth » 07 Mar 2018, 13:17

Goat Boy wrote:Image

Embrace of the Serpent

I thought this was great and beautiful exploration of the personal and cultural effects of colonialism that managed to combine real world authenticity with more fantastical elements to create something rather magical. There’s obvious echoes of Herzogs work with Kinski in the jungles here but rather than being told from the point of view of a European visitor it’s told from the point of view of a native, a shaman called Karamakate, a lost soul and the last of his tribe who refers to himself as a “chullachaqui”, a sort of shadow spirit whose fading memory and isolation has left him rootless and without purpose. An encounter with a desperately sick German explorer as a young man leads him on a journey to reconnect with the tribe he believed were dead but also to recover a sacred plant that can save the Germans life but instead he is forced to confront the brutal reality of the European colonisation and the rubber industry as he ventures further into the darkness. Decades later another westerner, this time an American botanist searching for the same sacred plant appears and his journey back into the light can begin.

It’s a simple story but one that not only deals with the obvious stuff about colonialism but also touches on identity, ageing, the impermanence of memory and the exotic allure and magic of the Amazon and it beautifully shifts from documentary style realism towards some kind of hallucinatory, dreamlike parable without losing any of its simple, elegant power.


I thought it was awful myself, an incredibly reductionist view of the effects of colonialism that is also tinged with the hodgepodge hallucinogenic-fuelled new age revival that the South American high class is so enamoured with today. This is exactly the kind of feature that was old hat by the time Glauber Rocha wrote the Cinema Novo manifestos all the way back in the 60s: it's third world cinema for export, an appeal to white guilt and first world's fetish for primitivism told through the eyes of a perfect embodiment of the noble savage, the kind of film that goes to great lengths to defend the native's "connection with nature" all the while decrying Europe's "lack of the same", the kind of film that aims for Herzog but only ends up being Pocahontas. Not to mention that it is technically utterly incompetent, with a noisiness throughout the film product of severe underexposure that leads to the end product feeling like it was shot on its largest part on a Canon 7D than in actual 35mm. Just really poor and utterly exasperating all around, for me.
Last edited by algroth on 07 Mar 2018, 13:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Mar 2018, 13:21

:lol:
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Mar 2018, 13:41

It's funny how people see things differently. I have no truck with white guilt or the noble savage thing but I didn't get that from watching it. I saw it as a clash between two cultures that eventually leads to a shared experience between the shaman and the Europeans and ultimately the completion of the shamans life long journey. To me it was more personal than what you are describing, less allegorical and judgemental of "Europe"
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby algroth » 07 Mar 2018, 13:43

Yeah, sorry, I just didn't like it at all. I would go further in depth but it's been a while since I watched it (only saw it in theatres). But I felt that an emblematic scene for determining just how wrong-headedly idealized this whole film is, is when Karamakate sees that the German anthropologist is carrying a firearm, which in typical fashion for this sort of films he proceeds to take it and drop it to the river before going on some tirade about the evil Europeans brought to the region and whatnot... *All the while holding a spear in his hand*. The very same weapon he denounces as indictive of the violence and evil of the European invader served hardly as different an emblematic purpose as the spear he's carrying did within the history of pre-colonial America, and frankly this all comes across as both incredibly preachy but at the same time fairly hypocritical, all the while delivered in earnestness and with hardly a hint of self-awareness at its own visual-narrative contradiction. A thing like this is not the only time it happens through the film - in contrast I feel like Herzog rarely went to such extents to convey so utterly literally and simplistic a message as the one given by Karamakate here or throughout the film to be honest (even if he did have his share of heavyhanded moments all the same).

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby algroth » 07 Mar 2018, 13:50

Goat Boy wrote:It's funny how people see things differently. I have no truck with white guilt or the noble savage thing but I didn't get that from watching it. I saw it as a clash between two cultures that eventually leads to a shared experience between the shaman and the Europeans and ultimately the completion of the shamans life long journey. To me it was more personal than what you are describing, less allegorical and judgemental of "Europe"


I guess the issue is that this whole matter is vogue in Latin America and so I was perhaps hypersensitive to the many references to the denouncement of colonial practices (see especially the sequences involving the church and the fake Jesus as other eye-rollingly over the top demonstrations of the "evil" of Europe), because it's everywhere over here in Argentina, in the most reductionist and simplistic ways possible. Just about every rich friend I know has gone twice a year to some shaman out in Cordoba for some religious communion with the Pachamama and whatnot, it's fucking irritating. At one point in the film a friend turned around to me and told me about the American character "how long till you think he'll pull out his vinyl record player?", and well, what do you know? Seriously, this whole film just bugs the shit out of me, say what you will about Herzog but he never felt like the farthest he'd went out in an adventure was to some bar where they didn't sell IPAs.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby algroth » 07 Mar 2018, 13:51

I will say, if you liked this film, you might like Zama too. Different point of view and era (set in colonial South America and centered around a Spanish pencil-pusher), but it has a similar feel and, in my opinion at least, is much better all around.


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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 07 Mar 2018, 14:02

See I really liked the scenes with the white jesus fella because it showed a weird bastard offspring of the two cultures. Some horrible combination of shamanism and catholicism. To me that was showing the darker side of two cultures clashing in unpredictable ways. Remember when the tribe kept the Germans compass and his reason for them giving it back was primarily to "preserve" their quaintness in using old school techniques because these things shouldn't be lost but the shaman chastises him because this knowledge should be shared and he shouldn't deny them that? To me that's criticising what you are describing above i.e. the fetishisation of primitive tribes by Europeans.

I think it's more nuanced than you are giving it credit ALgroth!

I'll add that other movie to my To Watch list. I've heard good things about it.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Minnie the Minx » 07 Mar 2018, 16:50

algroth wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:It's funny how people see things differently. I have no truck with white guilt or the noble savage thing but I didn't get that from watching it. I saw it as a clash between two cultures that eventually leads to a shared experience between the shaman and the Europeans and ultimately the completion of the shamans life long journey. To me it was more personal than what you are describing, less allegorical and judgemental of "Europe"


I guess the issue is that this whole matter is vogue in Latin America and so I was perhaps hypersensitive to the many references to the denouncement of colonial practices (see especially the sequences involving the church and the fake Jesus as other eye-rollingly over the top demonstrations of the "evil" of Europe), because it's everywhere over here in Argentina, in the most reductionist and simplistic ways possible. Just about every rich friend I know has gone twice a year to some shaman out in Cordoba for some religious communion with the Pachamama and whatnot, it's fucking irritating. At one point in the film a friend turned around to me and told me about the American character "how long till you think he'll pull out his vinyl record player?", and well, what do you know? Seriously, this whole film just bugs the shit out of me, say what you will about Herzog but he never felt like the farthest he'd went out in an adventure was to some bar where they didn't sell IPAs.


I don't know anything about this film at all but algroths's post made me bigtime LOL
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby hippopotamus » 07 Mar 2018, 21:07

I did not like Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri.
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