Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Alain Jessua, Jeu de massacre, 1967

There's a certain cartoonish lunacy to the story of the (well-known but strapped-for-cash and rather indolent) writer (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and his wife (Claudine Auger) who accept an invitation to stay at the Swiss lakeside villa of one of his biggest fans, the mythomaniac and slightly deranged Bob (Michel Duchaussoy), but things get rather alarmingly out of hand when he kidnaps the wife and starts acting out for real the chapters of the forthcoming comic book - the killer of Neuchatel. Intriguing story, worth checking out.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Ben Wheatley, A Field in England, 2013

Quoth Wiki: "British historical psychological horror film shot in black-and-white, set during the mid-17th century English Civil War. The film was released on 5 July 2013 on multiple platforms simultaneously, including cinemas, home media and video on demand. It was also broadcast on Film4 on the day of its release." The marketing evidently worked quite well, but I wonder how many of the 30-odd thousand people who saw it that day had the slightest idea what it was about. It's a trip, literally: one essay I've read suggests the hypothesis that the entire film (and all the characters in it) is taking place in Whitehead's head after he pigs out on magic mushrooms growing in the abovementioned field, which is also supposed to be site of some buried treasure. There are some cool strobe effects that will probably kill any epileptics - be warned - but which, I imagine, must be kinda groovy if you chow down on a few shrooms yourself before viewing. The script is quite literary compared to Wheatley and Amy Jump's other efforts, and makes good use of a nice collection of British and Irish regional accents. I guess Wire readers who thrill to the purple prose of Messrs Keenan and Penman, sit around listening to Coil albums, believe in scrying mirrors and all that sort of stuff and spell magic with a k at the end will like it even more than I did.
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Strawberry fields, forever.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Mathieu Amalric, Le stade de Wimbledon, 2001

Once more, it seems Monsieur Godard is a big fan - probably due in part to the way Amalric films his (then) partner-in-life Jeanne Balibar in her intriguing quest to find out about a writer who never published. Shot for the most part in Trieste, but also, as the title would suggest, in the suburbs of London where our heroine tracks down the elusive Bobi Wohler's former partner, it's a splendidly shot, subtle and elusive adaptation of the book of the same name by Daniele Del Giudice, which is on my Christmas shopping list already.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Albert Lamorisse, The Lover's Wind, 1978

Director Lamorisse, best known for his wonderful Le ballon rouge, died in a helicopter crash while shooting this magnificent poetic aerial documentary of Iran in 1970, and his son finished the film eight years later. Stunning footage of ancient abandoned Persian temples is intercut with shots of oil pipelines, hydro-electric dams and, rather chillingly, nuclear power stations. A high-quality restoration would be nice - so would a decent screenshot. Sorry I couldn't find anything to do justice to the director's extraordinary photography.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Jean-Charles Fitoussi, Le dieu de Saturne, 2004

After his enigmatic and thought-provoking Les jours où je n'existe pas (see reviews passim), Fitoussi, who worked for a while I think as assistant director to Huillet and Straub (it shows: check out those slow 180° pans), shot this 34-minute tale of a father of six in the north of France (Bethune, Bruno Dumont country) who's dead set on killing his own children because the world's such a rotten fucking place and he should have never have brought them into it in the first place. Pretty daft if you ask me - he should top himself and get it over with it.. instead he ends up getting shot by someone else - and the arrival of Demeter and Hermes, togas and all, might confuse you even more - but I found it curiously compelling. In any case, Schopenhauer's always good for a larf.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Jean Yanne, Deux heures moins le quart avant Jésus-Christ, 1982

You don't have to be French to appreciate this Life Of Brian-inspired satire, but it certainly helps. Classic French stereotypes abound, from the good old left-wing union militant mechanic with heart in the right place (Coluche, who else) to famous advertising slogans ("le pain, le vin, le Boursin!") all translated into Latin, it is, in places, tacky and awful - but I found myself laughing more than I thought I would (Michel "La cage aux folles" Serrault is hilarious as camp queen Caesar). Hard to decide what's worse: the sets and costumes or the acting, but who cares? Wait till you see the end of the film, when the TV announces the birth in Bethlehem. Of course, unlike the Python film, this has dated badly in places, but it's still a good Christmas movie. Helps if you speak a little French though, even with a well-subtitled version.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Pierre Granier-Deferre, La cage, 1975

Hard to write about this film without giving the game away, but then again the title does that at the outset, you might say. Suffice it to say Lino Ventura shouldn't have dropped in (literally, ha) on his ex-wife (Ingrid Thulin, scaaaary) when he did. Another good solid thriller from Granier-Deferre, but I thought the ending was a bit meh. Have a look and tell me what you think though.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Brian De Palma, Casualties of War, 1989

Quentin T hailed it as "the best Vietnam War movie ever made", but that's a bit like saying Rochdale is the "best Fourth Division football team in the UK". Sorry, I've yet to see one I've enjoyed - though enjoy isn't the word. Based on Daniel Lang's book of the same name detailing the ugly events of the Hill 192 incident (which you probably all know about anyway, but just in case you don't https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incident_on_Hill_192 ), it follows the basic story quite accurately but adds a few extra details (Meserve's rescue of Eriksson, the token good black guy who gets shot and dies in a bloody mess, aww) and a horrendously overwrought and almost-omnipresent Morricone soundtrack. Fox is OK, Penn and John C. Reilly are good, but I can't hear Ving Rhames deliver a serious monologue without thinking of Marsellus Wallace - and, to be honest, Tarantino's script is a helluva sight more fun than this. War is hell - but war films are often worse.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis, 2007

Based on Ms Satrapi's autobiographical comic book of the same name and voiced by an all-star cast in the Iranian exilée's country of adoption, France (nice to hear Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni playing mother and daughter here.. and Danielle Darrieux's a cool grandmother), it's the story of a young woman coming of age in the heady days of the Iranian Revolution (interestingly, the deposed Shah is featured and duly vilified, but we never get to see Khomeini - just his dumbfuck bearded henchmen). It's a bit lite - I wonder what Iranian filmmakers like Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf and Farhadi would make of it - and the drawings aren't as magical as a Ghibli production, but you could watch it with your kids, I suppose. Get them to translate this interview for homework first
http://www.lesinrocks.com/2007/06/26/ci ... 7-1159944/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Edmond T. Gréville, Brief Ecstasy, 1937

For once, all the user reviews at IMDb are worth reading - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028663/reviews?ref_=tt_urv - eight years (and a war) before Lean's celebrated Brief Encounter, with which it shares several similarities, here's a tight little B-movie melodrama which makes excellent use of Ealing Studios regulars (the three principal actors aren't exactly Oscar material though, but it doesn't matter) and follows a neat little plot to its conclusion (not without surprises - Gréville has fun breaking one of cinema's cardinal rules: if you see a gun, someone's going to use it at some stage). Some great scenes - the ballroom champagne seduction is as good as any of Hitch's films of the same period. Only 65 minutes, treat yourself
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Yorgos Lanthimos, Dogtooth, 2009

As the great poet wrote: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad. / They may not mean to, but they do. / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you." Having been seriously impressed by The Lobster - though I recall some of you weren't - I thought I'd check out Lanthimos's earlier work. I thought this was terrific, but I won't spoil it for any more: I'll let The Guardian do it instead (read at your peril) https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/a ... ilm-review
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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Only seen it once, but I thought Dogtooth was terrific as well.

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Ladybird (Gerwig, 2017) A coming-of-age film, especially moving, perhaps, to those with daughters going off to college. It's partly a paean to the superiority of female friendships over boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, and partly a study of a troubled mother/daughter relationship. Also a love letter to Sacramento. I don't think the movie is quite as good as the performances by the two stars, though. I expect both Ronan and Metcalf to get a bunch of awards.
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Antoine
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Les combattants (Thomas Cailley, 2014)
imdb wrote:Between his friends and the family business, Arnaud's summer looks set to be a peaceful one. Peaceful until he runs into Madeleine, as beautiful as she is brusque, a concrete block of tensed muscles and doomsday prophecies. He expects nothing; she prepares for the worst. He takes things as they come, likes a good laugh. She fights, runs, swims, pushes herself to the limit. Given she hasn't asked him for anything, just how far will he go along with her? It's a love story. Or a story of survival. Or both.

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surfer
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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walto wrote:
Ladybird (Gerwig, 2017) A coming-of-age film, especially moving, perhaps, to those with daughters going off to college. It's partly a paean to the superiority of female friendships over boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, and partly a study of a troubled mother/daughter relationship. Also a love letter to Sacramento. I don't think the movie is quite as good as the performances by the two stars, though. I expect both Ronan and Metcalf to get a bunch of awards.
We saw this, and the two leads are good, but this is not a movie forging any new thematic paths. Very very similar to Juno, Boyhood, and countless other movies of its type. And the most disappointing aspect for me was how cliched the last third was, with the cool kids that she ended up falling in with turning out to be not so cool after all, and her bff who she spurned to hang with the cool kids turned out to be a true friend. And she gets in to her NYC school, and she learns to be herself and love her given name, her hometown of Sac, and her mother after all.

Also, I spent the weekend in Sac, and its still a dump, dont let the bright lights and makeup of Ladybird fool you, trust me. The best one can say about it is that "at least its not Fresno".

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surfer
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Also let me say that I do think Ladybird is better than Juno, and probably better in a slightly different way than Boyhood, because of its humor, which is often poignant and legitimately funny. Due in no small part to Metcalf's comedy and sitcom experience. One comes to mind, the scene Walto screencapped, Metcalf says to Ronan, "I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be." and Ronan responds, "What if this is the best version?" and Metcalf gives her a "really?" facial expression that made every one in the theatre laugh. Juno's humor is really too obvious and tries too hard to be hip, and Boyhood (iirc) completely lacks any humanizing humor at all.

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Claud601
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Ben Wheatley, A Field in England, 2013

Quoth Wiki: "British historical psychological horror film shot in black-and-white, set during the mid-17th century English Civil War. The film was released on 5 July 2013 on multiple platforms simultaneously, including cinemas, home media and video on demand. It was also broadcast on Film4 on the day of its release." The marketing evidently worked quite well, but I wonder how many of the 30-odd thousand people who saw it that day had the slightest idea what it was about. It's a trip, literally: one essay I've read suggests the hypothesis that the entire film (and all the characters in it) is taking place in Whitehead's head after he pigs out on magic mushrooms growing in the abovementioned field, which is also supposed to be site of some buried treasure. There are some cool strobe effects that will probably kill any epileptics - be warned - but which, I imagine, must be kinda groovy if you chow down on a few shrooms yourself before viewing. The script is quite literary compared to Wheatley and Amy Jump's other efforts, and makes good use of a nice collection of British and Irish regional accents. I guess Wire readers who thrill to the purple prose of Messrs Keenan and Penman, sit around listening to Coil albums, believe in scrying mirrors and all that sort of stuff and spell magic with a k at the end will like it even more than I did.
hahaha

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Marco Ferreri, Y'a bon les blancs, 1988

A return visit to this hilarious - and as usual for Ferreri, hilariously disturbing - tale of a doomed mission to provide food aid for the Sahel, in the form of spaghetti and tomato sauce (none of which reaches its intended destination - see earlier review). I hope all these Ferreris will come out one day in decently restored and correctly subtitled BluRay form. But his bleak comedy is still too far off the radar, I suspect.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Jacques Deray, Borsalino, 1970

Seriously underwhelmed by this, and disappointed as I've thoroughly enjoyed every other Deray film I've seen so far. It's a flabby, dull tale of gangsters in 1930s Marseille, made to cash in on the popularity of Delon (he also produced) and Belmondo, who didn't get on at all each other in real life - and it shows. Compare with Newman and Redford in The Sting and Butch Cassidy and you'll see why. Also because the women in Deray's film are mere pretty appendages, and the talents of fine actresses (Catherine Rouvel, Corinne Marchand, Nicole Calfan..) are completely wasted. Add to that Claude Bolling's irritatingly memorable theme tune which you just can't get rid of, like a fart in a spacesuit. The only borsalino worth checking out is the hat; give the film a miss. There's a sequel too, without Belmondo, but I doubt I'll watch it any time soon.
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