Recently Watched Films 2019

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Alain Cavalier, L'insoumis, 1964

Ring a bell, the image above? Scroll down for the answer.



























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Morrissey's recent drift into far right politics ("there is a light.. it went out" - Billy Bragg) is as regrettable as it is stupid, since he used to have pretty damn good taste, especially in film. And this neglected masterpiece from 1964 is a case in point. Produced by and starring Delon - in one of his greatest performances - it fell foul of the censors, like other films that dared to broach the subject of the Algerian War, but also because the judge Lea Massari's character is based on complained. Whatever, it's an absolutely excellent piece of work, strongly recommended - as is this review, if your French is up to it https://www.lemonde.fr/series-d-ete-201 ... 25928.html
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Wombatz
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Dan Warburton wrote:
walto wrote:Yes, the Price is much better than the other versions, but the book is better than any of them.
Is all that garlic and mirror nonsense in the book? Hope not!
yeah i think that's also in the novel. what's your problem, do you want a more scientifically correct vampire lore :roll: ?

(i'll take price over prose.)

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

Post by walto »

I don't think you really get the "legend" feel from the movie.

I do love Vinnie, though.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Shane Meadows & Tom Harper, This Is England '86, 2010

How to turn a fine film into a total waste of time TV series, urgent and serious issues (racism, unemployment, family breakdown) into post-Trainspotting glam fluff. Not for us the boring reality of old farts like Leigh and Loach, and Alan Clarke's long gone, whoever he was, so let's rock'n'roll with these outlandish idiots - even people who were believable and genuine in the 2006 film have now become cartoon characters. Not the slightest idea how any of these folks actually live, work (we only ever see two of them actually at work, so I assume the rest are living on benefit), eat. They do fuck a lot, though. Seems they don't have money for teabags and milk but can still afford to go to the pub and get royally pissed watching a football match. And those designer punk haircuts don't come cheap, either. Still, who cares about reality anyway? Impossible to have any real sympathy for any of them, as they're so two-dimensional. And that's one dimension too many. But if such people ever existed like this back in 1986, which I'm still able to remember myself by the way and it wasn't like this, they all grew older and voted Leave in 2016. And Tory two days ago. Avoid - the TV series, and the country.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Ulrike Ottinger, Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia, 1989

Thanks to Claudio (was it?) here who hipped me to this a loooong time ago in these pages (I do get round to things, eventually). What a strange film! Plot summary of sorts here https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richa ... verso=true How much you enjoy the film will depend on seriously you want to take the traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle - disembowelling sheep, drinking freshly squeezed mare's milk, and all that shamanic jumping up and down - that our half-dozen European women tourists kidnapped from the Transmongolian Express are exposed to. Women, yes - there's probably some sort of feminist subtext here, though I'm not sure I know what it's supposed to be - apart from a couple of vodka-swilling soldiers on the Transiberian, the only significant male character is an obese (but quite agile as a dancer) Jewish cabaret singer, whose description of his Gargantuan feast on the train must be one of the most beautiful examples of the German language I've ever heard. Not a stellar cast, but you will recognise Delphine Seyrig, already battling lung cancer when she shot this, her last feature (it didn't stop her smoking merrily away during the film though) and Irm Herrmann (of Fassbinder fame).
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Lao Tsu Ben
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

Post by Lao Tsu Ben »

Dan Warburton wrote:Image

James Foley, After Dark My Sweet, 1990

Yeouch, this is sour - echt Jim Thompson (anyone read the book and seen the film? I see it's supposed to be quite a faithful adaptation): three five-star losers - a shell-shocked boxer (escaped?) from a mental hospital, a cheap small-town cowardly grifter and a bruised alcoholic floozy - stumble upon the idea a kidnapping and things go badly wrong all the way down the line. Most impressed by Jason Patric, none of whose other movies I've seen (not my cup of tea, I suspect), and it goes w/o saying Bruce Dern's splendid as Uncle Bud. A few reservations about Rachel Ward - Christ, she really lost some serious weight somewhere along the line.. she was so curvaciously cute in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, but that was eight years earlier - particularly the British accent, which doesn't quite feel at home in a dowdy suburban home in California. Small quibble, though. Good movie - but not a happy affair.
Rewatched this yesterday. Still proves to be one of the best neo-noirs that I know of. Having watched a few more of them meanwhile, it is even more so, perhaps because it doesn't stray far from Jim Thompson's material. It's gloriously minimalistic, with mainly three actors sharing a narrow but evocative scenery (that palm grove, with the shabby trailer at the back, looks just grand). Love how concise the plot is while being constlantly delayed in a langourous manner, making the film as unpredictable as its main protagonist, played with utter precision by Jason - I ran away from fame - Patric. This detailed write-up (a must-read), that compares the film with the original novel, complains about Rachel Ward not being able to pull off the right amount of ambiguity required from her character. I agree with it but perhaps her limits as an actress allow for more gentleness that contributes to setting the film a bit apart.

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, Trop tôt, trop tard, 1982

Jonathan Rosenbaum: "This 1981 color documentary by Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, one of their few works in 16-millimeter, is almost certainly my favorite landscape film. There are no “characters” in this 105-minute feature about places, yet paradoxically it's the most densely populated work in their oeuvre to date. The first part shows a series of locations in contemporary France, accompanied by Huillet reading part of a letter Friedrich Engels wrote to Karl Kautsky describing the impoverished state of French peasants, and excerpts from the “Notebooks of Grievances” compiled in 1789 by the village mayors of those same locales in response to plans for further taxation. The especially fine second section, roughly twice as long, does the same thing with a more recent Marxist text by Mahmoud Hussein about Egyptian peasants' resistance to English occupation prior to the “petit-bourgeois” revolution of Neguib in 1952. Both sections suggest that the peasants revolted too soon and succeeded too late. One of the film's formal inspirations is Beethoven's late quartets, and its slow rhythm is central to the experience it yields; what's remarkable about Straub and Huillet's beautiful long takes is how their rigorous attention to both sound and image seems to open up an entire universe, whether in front of a large urban factory or out on a country road. As in Jacques Tati's studio-made Playtime, their subject is the sheer richness of the world we live in." Nothing much to add, other than the oft-made observation that the opening shot of the film is taken from a car driving round the Place de la Bastille in Paris no fewer than ten times. We don't ever see the column in the centre of the Place commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution, and unless you know Paris sufficiently well to recognise the place itself, the history of the site is present through its absence. In the same way that the column itself also celebrates the absence of the Bastille prison, demolished immediately after the Revolution. Of course, such subtlety is lost on the legions of wankers who see fit to publish their "reviews" online, presumably disappointed because there's no plot, there are no "stars", whatever. Let them enjoy their Christmas with Luc Besson. Or J.J.Abrams.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

Post by henriq »

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William Friedkin - Cruising (1980)

I have a feeling that neither Friedkin nor Pacino really knew what they were doing here. The actor especially: you really get the feeling that this is an actor who doesn’t enjoy getting his hands dirty. Deliberate stratagem, concomitant with the wider sense of vague, urban dread the film orchestrates? Or chronic indecision? I can’t help to think that a James Woods or even someone like Warren Beatty might have worked a lot better, someone more angular, jagged, aggressive: timed to some sort of drive or rhythm. Pacino is just sort of there. But anyway, great film, better than I remember it. Save for one gripe: the gratuitous scene where the half naked black cop in the cowboy hat comes in to smack one suspect around: salacious (HA! to complain about salacious in a film like this!) and an obvious steal from Dassin’s Naked City. (Lumet swipes the same thing, exactly, in Prince of the City). The director obviously wants to titillate with some imagined, extralegal goodies, but it feels real cheap. But that's an aside: New York in this period looked great, all cubic and cinematic, and the interiors from the gay scene of the period are awesome. And the music and sound design is utterly sublime. Jack Nitzsche’s original music is great, reminiscent of the awesome music for Cutter’s Way, and the way it segues and chimes with songs from Egberto Gismonti, Mutiny, Willy DeVille, and others, is masterful. Read the full story:
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

Post by Dan Warburton »

The soundtrack's great, for sure - but I've always (always, ha.. seen it three times, maybe only twice) found it a disturbing film, and I think you put your finger on the reason why, in Pacino. Trying to imagine James Woods in the role. Nice idea.. meanwhile here's one you should definitely snatch Henrik.. marks, set, GO!!
Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Yves Boisset, Canicule, 1984

Oh, I loved this - even if the only rip I could find was a lousy English dub (how I long to hear Bernadette Lafont's character, a raving nymphomaniac, in version originale!). Boisset goes waaaay over the top here in a crazy tale of a bank robber (an ageing Lee Marvin, who looks as bemused at what's going on as we do as spectators) who's forced to take refuge in a farmhouse in the middle of the Beauce (French cornbelt - the robbery's said to take place in Chartres but it's Orléans in fact - certainly not Chartres, because I live there, believe me) with a bunch of maniacs: Miou Miou is the abused housewife (and, yeees, she gets revenge), Jean Carmel plays a deranged vet, Lafont a sex-obsessed farm labourer, and the kid who played the boy in The Tin Drum steals Marvin's stash and spends it on hookers and booze in a maison close (and again, take it from me, there ain't no such place in Chartres!). Watch out for Pierre Clementi complete with John Waters moustache as a machine-gun wielding gangster. Really violent - the robbery's particularly bloody, and kids aren't spared - Boisset's playing with giallo for sure, but the weird family in the farm also reminds me of the folks in Brutti, Sporchi e Cattivi. Black black humour all the way. I wanna BluRay!
After a bit of hassling on my part, I finally managed to get one of the noble uploaders at KG to rip this - great English subs and still all the original Audiard dialogue in French. An absolute trip, love it :D
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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surfer wrote:Image

The Lighthouse (Eggers, 2019)

I loved everything about this from the claustrophic gray 4:3 ratio, to the glistening sensuous cinematography, to the cacophonous sound design that feels like a sensory assault. Too bad they havent perfected Smell-o-vision. The titanic farting Dafoe really chews the scenery in a few monologues to hilarious effect, and Pattinson plays it more straight as a quiet man driven to alcoholism and madness. The cinematography and unrelenting tension reminded me of Clouzot's Wages of Fear. The seagull deserves an Oscar. Great finish.

I am much more likely to think about these performances and remember certain images from The Lighthouse, than the other highly stylized arthouse horror Midsommar, which it resembles in many respects, but in others its 180 degrees from.
Thanks for reminding me yet again to read Moby Dick. And The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Yes, a sensory assault indeed - a little too much music and not enough sound, imo, but minor quibble. It's very impressive, even if the backstory turns out to be rather slight. Agree with you about that seagull.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Byron Haskin, I Walk Alone, 1947

Burt and Kirk, so goes without saying it's a masterpiece :)
I don't know, mate. Burt Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott both are obnoxious as fuck in this, I was totally rooting for bastard Douglas. Much like I hated Richard Conte just recently, or the painful experience of watching Ian McShane play second fiddle to hammy Richard Burton in Villain. Frustrating that way, noir, the baddies are always more delicious and always get their comeuppance. Or maybe this should teach me not to mix my drinks: I've watched Something Wild, Jordan's Mona Lisa and this just this night. Could be they're sitting uneasy with each other, or that I'm writing this at ten to four in the morning...

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Wombatz
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2019

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Wombatz wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:33 am
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schnabel's van gogh film, at eternity's gate. very well done in a way, goes by more quickly than the usual violent dialog about genius, madness, and lack of success, the viewer often following the artist walking around the landscape (though that's heavily dramatized; i suspect vincent would have known some kind of work routine and not swooned over the picturesqueness of nature every minute of the hour), sometimes taking the artist's place (you can tell from the vaseline on the lower half of the lens). of course i have opinions on lots of details (the gauguin actor was hollow, mads mikkelsen fun, theo had too visibly dyed hair), especially the historical details ... but since schnabel has said it's not really a film about van gogh the question is: how much is there in his painter's view on painting? it doesn't help that the film is not about van gogh, as it lacks specificity: movie vincent's brush always hectically gestures over the canvas while in van gogh's real paintings the brushstroke is ornamental (not this cliché of always searching pokearound). the biggest problem for me was that for schnabel/van gogh painting is perception put directly onto the canvas, a bit strange because that's not what schnabel himself does ... in the film gauguin argues painting what the mind's eye sees, but that's still copying an image rather than work on your own style, means, and effects like real painters do ... except for more direct expression vincent wants visible brushstrokes, rapid and full of energy, which sound more like de kooning than van gogh ... so in the end that's as hackneyed as anything kirk douglas might have embodied (must rewatch) and i didn't get much out of this film.
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so we finally got to watch lust for life (minnelli, 1955). wow, this is dark, very noir or even classical tragedy. van gogh is a total misfit for this world from the beginning, and not a very likable one. douglas' performance is less subtle than dafoe's (aside: even his friends can't spell willem dafoe's name, i recently noticed on my job), and yet he disappears behind his character much more completely ... the question if van gogh's overbearing cries for love even merit some reciprocity (and not the mixture of pity and embarrassment they mostly receive) is a tough answer (lust for life, haha) ... astonishingly, the film does not milk the unrecognized genius angle, it's much less cliché-ridden than the schnabel ... art plays less of a role (and i'd guess that's what schnabel wanted to 'correct' in his version), and there are touches of an american in paris when it does, but the lack of theorizing makes everybody more convincing at the easel. and vincent actually works on his stuff and is not just orgasmically connected to nature thru the eye. theo is too good to be true, but one james donald pulls it off. the film flags a little at the end when the doctors' voices take over, though that's only consistent, as van gogh's inner battle is already finished and he walks around a living dead. very impressive. the kids were mesmerized.

of course, some of the details are SHOCKINGLY WRONG!!! like, when gauguin (anthony quinn, slightly more tolerable than usual) comes to visit in arles, van gogh has decorated his room with the sunflower paintings. but here be a painting by gauguin of van gogh painting a sunflower painting (i love how the actual still life seems to grow out of the painted canvas). there's no excuse for falsifying the central facts like this ...

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