Return of the RECENT VIEWING

..and why not?
User avatar
Goat Boy
Bogarting the joint
Posts: 32777
Joined: 20 Mar 2007, 12:11
Location: In the perfumed garden

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 30 May 2018, 15:50

Image

Cries and Whispers

There’s a scene at the end of Cries and Whispers where the dying sister Agnes describes a moment all of us are familiar with even if we don’t always recognise the beauty and gentle perfection of it at the time. That’s natural I guess because we often don’t pause for reflection to acknowledge such moments when they occur but we really, really should. Instead we tend to recognise them in hindsight, maybe during a period of introspection, nostalgia or pain. After watching Cries and Whispers again I thought to myself, “I really need to do more of that sorta thing” and I try, you know, but you can never do it too much. In an earlier scene this kind of intimacy is referred to as grace. Even for an atheist like myself this rung true somehow and I knew exactly what Bergman was communicating here. For a movie that centers around about the agonising death of a young woman there are moments of genuine beauty and occasionally transcendence that elevate the movie into something miraculous. Christ, there is even a resurrection, of sorts. I’m not sure I’ve seen any movie that deals with the unimaginable horror of death and the void in such a moving way either. In one absolutely horrific scene Agnes struggles for breath like a dying fish gasping for air on the riverbank, her back arched, her muscles strained to breaking point as if clinging to the very life that is slowly leaving her and it’s like witnessing your worst nightmare. Imagine seeing a loved one struggle like this? Instantly I thought about my Mother and I started crying.

Despite the unfolding horror Agnes’s sisters, Maria and Karin and their servant can only watch on in impotence and confusion. Her sisters minds are also elsewhere, too busy dealing with their own guilt and trauma and in a series of confessional flashbacks introduced by typical Bergman close ups we learn about Maria’s affair with a local doctor which led to the suicide of her husband and in one jaw-dropping sequence the repressed, suicidal Karin mutilates her vagina with a piece of broken glass (did Lars Von Trier reference this in Antichrist?), licking her lips as if experiencing ecstasy for the first time. The source of her pain is hinted at but never fully revealed. Is her sexual and emotional repression partly rooted in her loveless marriage? Is her antipathy towards the sensual Maria borne out of sexual jealousy? Is her obvious revulsion towards Agnes a reaction to her unshakable faith in the face of impending death?

Only the servant, Anna, is genuinely close to Agnes, dutifully tending to her with sublime tenderness and when Agnes asks her to stay with her she touchingly lies naked beside her, her face pressed against her chest and for a moment you think she might give Agnes her breast, like a Mother comforting her child and the pain in Agne’s face recedes. In another moment Agnes asks he if she smells and Anna kisses her on the lips and caresses her face to reassure her she does not. In a remarkable sequence, presumably a dream, Anna sees tears fall from the eyes of Agnes’s corpse and for a brief moment she appears to rise from the dead, as if willed back to life by Anna’s love but when Maria sees her she recoils in absolute horror for the first time in the whole movie, as if finally overcome by guilt and grief. For a brief moment after her death Maria and Karin are forced to confront their estrangement and seem blissfully reunited but it doesn’t appear to last and they part with lessons presumably never learnt. Karin’s fate in particular seems pathetically set. All that is left is Anna, who reads an extract from Agnes’s diary in the scene I mentioned at the very beginning:

"Wednesday, the third of September. A chill in the air tells of autumn's approach, but the days are still lovely and mild. My sisters, Karin and Maria, have come to see me. It's wonderful to be together again like in the old days. I'm feeling much better. We were even able to take a stroll together. It was a wonderful experience, especially for me, since I haven't been outdoors for so long. We suddenly began to laugh and run toward the old swing that we hadn't used since we were children. We sat in it like three good little sisters and Anna pushed us, slowly and gently. All my aches and pains were gone. The people I'm most fond of in all the world were with me. I could hear them chatting around me. I could feel the presence of their bodies, the warmth of their hands. I wanted to cling to that moment, and I thought, "Come what may, this is happiness. I cannot wish for anything better. Now, for a few minutes, I can experience perfection and I feel profoundly grateful to my life, which gives me so much."

Next time I experience a moment like this hopefully I'll feel as profoundly grateful too.
Griff wrote:The notion that Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong vocal proponent of antisemitism, would stand in front of an antisemitic mural and commend it is utterly preposterous.


Copehead wrote:we have lost touch with anything normal

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 30 May 2018, 16:02

Fantastic write up, as usual, Dougie. I should pull that one out again. It's such a monumental downer though (even for Bergman) that I tend to avoid it for years at a time. I haven't seen it since the '90s in fact.

Image
On Dangerous Ground

The cult of noir is omnipresent in film criticism today, with more books seemingly on the subject than any other genre (or is it a style?) I can think of. I've even seen a a book on noir posters! This is a pretty good one by Nicholas Ray, he of In a Lonely Place, They Live by Night, Rebel without a Cause, and Johnny Guitar. It stars Robert Ryan (I really should do a thread on him. Not everyone even knows who he is, but he made tons of great noirs and westerns - Act of Violence, The Set Up, The Naked Spur, Bad Day at Black Rock, House of Bamboo, The Tall Men, Odds Against Tomorrow, Billy Budd, The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen, Hour of the Gun, The Wild Bunch, Lawman, etc.), and Ida Lupino, with a Bernard Herrmann score.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 02 Jun 2018, 04:17

Image
Aloha, Bobby & Rose

I'll bet not too many of you fucks remember this one. A decent hit in 1975, though you can tell it was filmed in '73 because there's plenty of billboards of 1973 rock albums. Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti) in a man/woman-on-the-lam film (like I wrote about with Gun Crazy) with a period rock soundtrack. Fairly good, as far as these things go. I'd never seen it before.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 03 Jun 2018, 06:32

Image
Road House

Here's another Ida Lupino noir with one of Richard Widmark's psycho performances which he does so well. I like this one more than On Dangerous Ground.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
Davey the Fat Boy
Posts: 23774
Joined: 05 Jan 2006, 02:55
Location: Applebees

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jun 2018, 09:10

I’ve never seen Road House, but it would have to be something to be better than On Dangerous Ground. I think that one is one of the great noir masterpieces (if it even truly is a noir film - as opposed to a spiritual allegory that uses noir as its springboard).

You are 100% correct that Ryan is an actor who deserves at least his own thread. He was as great an actor as there ever was (and was reputed to be a pretty incredible human being as well).

And yeah..I remember Aloha, Bobby & Rose.
The opinions of this poster are subjective. That’s how opinions work.

Image

User avatar
Davey the Fat Boy
Posts: 23774
Joined: 05 Jan 2006, 02:55
Location: Applebees

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jun 2018, 09:19

Image

Can’t seem to make the image work - but the film is Stay Hungry.

I’ve been on a Rafelson kick (as King of Marvin Gardens has just been haunting me lately). But this one is just an unholy mess. Strangely fun...but a mess nonetheless.
The opinions of this poster are subjective. That’s how opinions work.

Image

User avatar
Sneelock
Posts: 12313
Joined: 19 Nov 2011, 23:56
Location: Lincoln Head City

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Sneelock » 03 Jun 2018, 16:27

Oh, I love it. I think it’s underrated. R.G.Armstrong’s freakout scene is a career highlight.
Give me a C, a bouncy C!

User avatar
Davey the Fat Boy
Posts: 23774
Joined: 05 Jan 2006, 02:55
Location: Applebees

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jun 2018, 18:21

sneelock wrote:Oh, I love it. I think it’s underrated. R.G.Armstrong’s freakout scene is a career highlight.


It’s got a lot of great scenes. But it doesn’t seem to add up to anything.
The opinions of this poster are subjective. That’s how opinions work.

Image

User avatar
Snarfyguy
Dominated by the Obscure
Posts: 53065
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 19:04
Location: New York

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 03 Jun 2018, 21:33

Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Aloha, Bobby & Rose

I'll bet not too many of you fucks remember this one. A decent hit in 1975, though you can tell it was filmed in '73 because there's plenty of billboards of 1973 rock albums. Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti) in a man/woman-on-the-lam film (like I wrote about with Gun Crazy) with a period rock soundtrack. Fairly good, as far as these things go. I'd never seen it before.

+1 for gratuitous swearing. :)

My interest is piqued. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn't have this on offer.
GoogaMooga wrote: The further away from home you go, the greater the risk of getting stuck there.

User avatar
Darkness_Fish
Posts: 6358
Joined: 27 Jul 2015, 09:58

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Darkness_Fish » 04 Jun 2018, 09:10

Image

It's been years since I've seen this, I thought it might've been oddball enough for Tom to enjoy, but I forgot how flat it all was. It's very, very laboured, and might well have the two worst performances ever filmed by Jack Nicholson.
Like fast-moving clouds casting shadows against a hillside, the melody-loop shuddered with a sense of the sublime, the awful unknowable majesty of the world.

User avatar
Geezee
Posts: 12362
Joined: 24 Jul 2003, 10:14
Location: Where joy divides into vision

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Geezee » 04 Jun 2018, 13:43

The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
hippopotamus wrote:
The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
Agreed.

Like I said (I think) it was well made, very well acted (Sam Rockwell especially - he deserved the Oscar), but it was no fun at all. I don't like being force-fed someone else's agenda. And I got tired of Frances' simmering.


I figured a film around someone seeking justice for a rape crime would ADDRESS the issue... rather than make a big mention of feminist issues in the beginnning (Dress Aul Frances Macdonald as Rosie the Riveter for the WHOLE film) without touching on the subject, and then undermining any point it almost made with her final scene with the ex husband. (I'm trying not to spoil it, I'm sorry if it's too late.)
The same with bigotry and racism. When they almost make a point they undermine the whole thing.
The thing rambles and rambles on.


Agreed.

Like I said (I think) it was well made, very well acted (Sam Rockwell especially - he deserved the Oscar), but it was no fun at all. I don't like being force-fed someone else's agenda. And I got tired of Frances' simmering.




I saw this last night and definitely have mixed feelings about. I think the acting is indeed great, and a lot of the dialogue is very good - and I love the prominence of a Townes van Zandt's song (similar to In Bruges and 7 Psychopaths). But I have a couple of issues

- some pretty important parts don't seem to make any sense at all. I don't believe for a second that Dixon would still be a free man after his assault. The new chief in town sees the whole thing, and decides to fire him? Makes no sense - there are loads of witness, including obviously the victim himself...why doesn't he press charges? But obviously for the purposes of the movie, Dixon's salvation is key so they have to keep him out. If they are making a comment that the police is so corrupt and so feared that they get away with this kind of stuff with impunity, I don't buy it at all. Similarly, Mildred's firebombing of the station - she conveniently gets an alibi (in the most unbelievable of coincidences)...but even with an alibi, surely the police would just tear her to shreds...especially if the police are as corrupt as they have just said that they are!

- secondly, I find the language, humour and the abuse of fat people or people with dwarfism to be really difficult to take. This is the same with In Bruges. Maybe I'm just too PC, but these people are shouting all sorts of abuse, and we are meant, as an audience, to laugh - and they never get any sort of comeuppance over it. Quite the opposite, they are meant to be loveable people, often full of redemption. The most problematic of these is of coursethe redemption of Dixon himself, which could be symbolic of almost any generic Trump racist - "ok, he's a bit angry, violent and racist, but at heart he's a good person". Dixon's conversion is so improbable, radical and complete. All they need is to be shown a bit of kindness? Give the man an orange juice and all's ok?
Smilies are ON
Flash is OFF
Url is ON

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 08 Jun 2018, 01:04

Image
The Great Silence

Il Grande Silenzio is one of the best non-Leone spaghetti westerns around. Entirely set in a snowbound town and the surrounding area, with one of the most pessimistic endings in film, this satisfies on most levels and checks off nearly every box you associate with the genre. It stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a mute hero who only seems to kill bounty hunters, and Klaus Kinski (the hunchback whom Lee Van Cleef kills in For a Few Dollars More) as the bounty hunter being hunted. A gorgeous Ennio Morricone score is icing on the cake. Most of the best non-Leone Italian westerns have some kind of Leone connection. Hell, half of them star Van Cleef! Director Sergio Corbucci did Django, another essential entry in the crowded SW field.

Image
The Big Combo

Average noir which nevertheless enjoys a great reputation. Good photography, mediocre dialogue. Remember Richard Conte in The Godfather as Barzini, the head of the five families? He's a gangster here as well, with Cornel Wilde (he was just in Road House which I reviewed a week or so ago) as a detective obsessed with bringing him down. It's even got the before-mentioned Lee Van Cleef. I dunno, I was underwhelmed.

Image
Midnight Cowboy

A true counter culture classic. I always thought it was Hoffman's film, but after not seeing it for years (decades?) I now believe Voight gives the superior performance. His natural talent for accents serves him well here, while Dustin gets by on ticks and mannerisms. He's still great though. Criterion's new blu makes this ugly-looking picture shine. There's a full-on Warholian psychedelic party sequence here, and this was released before Easy Rider.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
driftin
Posts: 918
Joined: 15 Feb 2011, 03:23

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby driftin » 10 Jun 2018, 17:35

Image

As brilliant as ever.

User avatar
SWIMMING POOL HARRINGTON
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19524
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby SWIMMING POOL HARRINGTON » 10 Jun 2018, 17:41

Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Midnight Cowboy

A true counter culture classic. I always thought it was Hoffman's film, but after not seeing it for years (decades?) I now believe Voight gives the superior performance. His natural talent for accents serves him well here, while Dustin gets by on ticks and mannerisms. He's still great though. Criterion's new blu makes this ugly-looking picture shine. There's a full-on Warholian psychedelic party sequence here, and this was released before Easy Rider.


Thinking of buying that Criterion - the extras worth it, Matt?
Darkness_Fish wrote:This is a big fucking mess of absolute shit from the off.

User avatar
sloopjohnc
Posts: 63756
Joined: 03 Jun 2004, 20:12

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby sloopjohnc » 10 Jun 2018, 18:39

Saw the Artemis Hotel yesterday, starring Jodie Foster. One of her best performances and an interesting choice for her.
Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk!

User avatar
Twang
Posts: 62
Joined: 22 Oct 2016, 19:14

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Twang » 10 Jun 2018, 21:20

Hereditary was great

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 10 Jun 2018, 23:43

The Venerable B. Eef wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Midnight Cowboy

A true counter culture classic. I always thought it was Hoffman's film, but after not seeing it for years (decades?) I now believe Voight gives the superior performance. His natural talent for accents serves him well here, while Dustin gets by on ticks and mannerisms. He's still great though. Criterion's new blu makes this ugly-looking picture shine. There's a full-on Warholian psychedelic party sequence here, and this was released before Easy Rider.


Thinking of buying that Criterion - the extras worth it, Matt?


If you love the movie, then this is the best it's looked on home video. Schlesinger provides commentary from 1991, and there are various documentaries on the film as well as one on the screenwriter. A period interview with Voight, etc. I'd say yes, the extras are icing on the cake.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
SWIMMING POOL HARRINGTON
hounds people off the board
Posts: 19524
Joined: 24 Apr 2007, 23:21
Location: selling a self-detonating James Last CD to a Copenhagen thrift store

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby SWIMMING POOL HARRINGTON » 11 Jun 2018, 00:24

Great - thanks. Ordered.
Darkness_Fish wrote:This is a big fucking mess of absolute shit from the off.

User avatar
Matt Wilson
Psychedelic Cowpunk
Posts: 29684
Joined: 16 Jul 2003, 20:18
Location: Edge of a continent

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 11 Jun 2018, 05:24

Image
The Untouchables

I've always had a soft spot for De Palma's film. As pure entertainment goes, it's up there with Scarface, and I still get a kick out of Connery. There are plenty of plot holes (I noticed various scenes where Elliot Ness and his men blatantly walk around Chicago with rifles in plain sight and no one seems to notice), but you're not watching a picture like this for authenticity, right? The transfer is ten years old, and a new, 4K scan would be welcome, but it's good enough for now.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'

User avatar
Snarfyguy
Dominated by the Obscure
Posts: 53065
Joined: 21 Jul 2003, 19:04
Location: New York

Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 12 Jun 2018, 21:27

Image

Kind of a psychological gothic horror thriller thing from 1964, in very nice looking black & white. William Castle directs a Robert Bloch script and George Kennedy has a delightful turn as a degenerate halfwit farmhand.

Not a big Crawford fan; I gather her career's on the skids here, although I enjoyed her performance. The whole thing's ridiculously over-the-top, but do you really want restraint from this kind of movie?

One cool thing I've never seen before: in one scene Crawford angrily stubs out a cigarette on the surface of an LP record while it's playing on the phonograph.
GoogaMooga wrote: The further away from home you go, the greater the risk of getting stuck there.