Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Douglas Sirk, A Scandal in Paris, 1946

"The autobiography of elegant criminal, François Eugène Vidocq, from his birth in a French jail in 1775 to his appointment as chief of police of Paris where he intends to rob the city bank. Along the way, he escapes from jail with Emile, who becomes his partner in crime, poses as a lieutenant to rob a showgirl of her ruby garter, and steals the jewels of a marquise in whose home he’s a guest. He’s also posed as an artist’s model for a portrait of St.George (Emile’s face is the dragon’s), and the marquise’s granddaughter falls in love first with his visage and then him. Can she help him slay his own dragons, especially when the showgirl reappears and the bank vault beckons?"
Of course, it looks nothing like Paris - the sets are a blast, though - but the dialogue's juicy and there's noone better than George Sanders to deliver lines as good as these.
OK, not first division Sirk by any means, but it deserves to be better known, I think
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton wrote:Hal Ashby, The Last Detail, 1973
MRS wrote:
Lao Tsu Ben wrote:
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The Last Detail - Hal Ashby, 1973

The direction is messy and often feels a little too improvisational, but it doesn't matter, Robert Towne's screenplay is enough to hold the scenes together, and the actors do a great job at delivering the lines. I agree with Phillip Lopate's appreciation of Ashby when he says in an homage to Kael:"her insensitivity to formalist rigor and precision is her greatest limitation as a film critic. It causes her to overpraise certain visually muddy directors, like Hal Ashby, and then express disappointment later on when their mediocrity becomes undeniable." The potential "muddiness" isn't interfering here. By the way, I don't know who is Phillip Lopate. It would be interesting to compare it with Scarecrow, Midnight Cowboy, and other films, road movies that are so typical of this period - greyish, moody, conventionally pessimist, and serious in a middlebrow way. That's not meant in bad faith- I would heartily recommend The Last Detail. Decency, that's what the filmmakers are after in this kind of film, and this one is very decent.
Really long, the odd left turns and extemporaneous movement of every part keep you involved. So cold out. What about Buddusky's recurrent Hitler countenance and hair with the hat off? Jack complains and sends back food at a diner. Very quotable, you could really get pedantic with it but I'm not in a hurry, not necessarily my brand of virile sleaze. The final corny hot dog picnic in the snow act wrapped up everything convincingly. Ferris Bueller doesn't get made without this film.
Plus, I like the way Nicholson's uniform made his cock look.

(Gotta admit it--I've always loved this flick.)
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Alastair
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Mick Jackson, Threads, 1984

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I watched this when it was first shown on the BBC, who I think it was made for (not a cinematic release). I was 15 at the time and it's never left me.

A colleague, who wouldn't be born until 16 years after this film was made, is moving to Sheffield to do her doctorate. I told her to watch this film. The other day she told me she'd watched it and, after telling me to fuck myself, said that she'd had nightmares about it. Kids. They didn't grow up worrying about all this sort of stuff like we did.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

Post by Dan Warburton »

Alastair wrote:They didn't grow up worrying about all this sort of stuff like we did.
You're darn tootin. Made us what we are today, what? (Pass the bottle, old chap) Oh well, if your pal wants a more upbeat take on Sheffield, there's always The Full Monty

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Gus Van Sant, To Die For, 1995

Just as well Meg Ryan turned down $5m to play Suzanne, as it turned out to be a career highlight for Kidman. But the minor characters here - David Cronenberg included! - are all excellent. Good work all round, even Danny Elfman (infinitely preferable to the appalling Zimmer)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Alexandre Astruc, Une vie, 1957

Karagargans may, if they so desire, consult the wordy, nerdy (and typo-ridden) Godard review accompanying the smaller defective rip (go for the DVDR, honestly), but the rest of you will just have to wait - and a long wait it might be, though I'm actively lobbying the folks at Potemkine - for a decent DVD reissue. This is my second Astruc, and I'm smitten. The influence of classic Hollywood is clear to see, especially Wyler's Wuthering Heights, but Astruc's camera movements and edits (film and music) are wild. If this had been signed Godard, Truffaut (or Chabrol or Rivette), you'd have heard about it a long time ago. Strongly recommended to Nouvelle Vague enthusiasts. To anyone, in fact.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Terence Young, Soleil Rouge, 1971

A Spaghetti western starring Charles Bronson, Toshirô Mifune and Alain Delon, shot by the mighty Henri Alekan with a Maurice Jarre soundtrack.. Too good to be true? Check it out - I think it's a lot more fun than some of the overhyped Leones. Bronson and Mifune make for a great pair, Delon is a cool villain, and there's the added bonus of Ursula Andress (briefly topless this time, in case you're interested - I'm not really). I see that John Huston said it was one of the three greatest westerns ever made, along with Stagecoach and Red River - praise indeed! Why not watch it and see if you agree?
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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André De Toth, Crime Wave, 1953

How could I have forgotten that Timothy Carey was in this? Obviously sidetracked by Sterling Hayden's menacing toothpick-chomping detective (shot for the most part from below, which makes him look even bigger and badder). Said it last time (four years ago), this is a great little noir, 75 minutes, not an ounce of fat, sharp dialogue, fine performances, excellent location shoots. And there's a terrific 1080 rip you know where
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Takeshi Kitano, Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, 2015

Fun if a bit lite tale of ageing yakuzas who decide to get their old turf back. Entertaining enough, but probably will appeal more to Kitano completists
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Alan Rudolph, Choose Me, 1984

I loved The Moderns, didn't get much out of Trouble In Mind, but - after taking a break from Rudolph for quite some time - thoroughly enjoyed this one, especially the opening sequence (though I'm a sucker for those cheesy glittery 80s Luther Vandross productions.. and the Teddy Pendergrass song is delicious). Sure, it's arty, but lightened up, in a very American way: Rudolph is to Fassbinder what Hartley is to Godard or Allen is to Bergman - anyway, solid performances, excellent lighting, cool cinematography. Up to you whether you dig the storyline. Sorry for the rather crappy lowdef screenshot, couldn't find anything better on Roger's old site
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton wrote:Alan Rudolph, Choose Me, 1984
I think my wife and I saw all of Rudolph's movies at the time, loved this one. And I have a thing for Geneviève Bujold.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Terence Davies, A Quiet Passion, 2016

In the past I've found some of Davies' films bordering on the maudlin, but I thought this was good, and was intrigued to see some of the violently negative reactions it's provoked over at IMDb. Admittedly, he's taken a few liberties with the Emily Dickinson biography, but the outstanding acting performances (Cynthia Nixon of course, but also Jennifer Ehle and - surprise? - Keith Carradine), combined with sumptuous lighting, spare, elegant camera moves and fine music (though I am beginning to tire of Ives' Unanswered Question) I found very sensitive, often moving. Nice to find this review by Bordwell http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2016/ ... t-passion/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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we made some rotten choices the last few days

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first, the ninth gate by roman polanski 1999, which has all the hallmarks of classic polanski, such as a juvenile script, directionless performances, a potpourri of genre clichés, and a general joylessness. unfortunately we watched till the end, only to find nobody had thought of an end, so it's a totally abrupt no wait I'll just ride into the sunset or maybe some gunfire instead kind of cop-out ending. befitting the whole thing, though ...

so, unfortunately, i wanted to go with something safe and rewatch for the first time since i was little

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the killing of a chinese bookie by john cassavetes (of course, but dan wants me to say so). totally unwatchable. i mean, there are actors who chew scenes and it can be fun. but here gazzara is force-fed all the scenes to chew on, and it doesn't look like he even wants to. so he does uncomfortable little things with his face while mumbling on and on, which i grant might be meant as very subtle indicators of some psychology going on somewhere in this somebody i don't want to watch maybe having thoughts ... or else he looks like he'd prefer a proper meal and be done with it. made it for 15 minutes then fast forwarded to see if it kept on like that, it kept on like that, it kept on like that ...

so then for some proper entertainment, as i like some of his movies very much and hadn't seen

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john carpenter's in the mouth of madness by one john carpenter. it's like every stephen king-inspired trope ever put through the mixer, only a bit more goofy to keep viewers from getting in the mood. probably some brechtian fourth wall thing, like the celebration of thick gray rubber on faces. didn't make it through, but since there's a frame story it ends where it begins, i guess.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

Post by Dan Warburton »

Wombatz wrote:we made some rotten choices the last few days
first, the ninth gate by roman polanski 1999, which has all the hallmarks of classic polanski, such as a juvenile script, directionless performances, a potpourri of genre clichés, and a general joylessness
So why did you bother? :) Did you succumb to peer pressure?
Wombatz wrote:Image
the killing of a chinese bookie by john cassavetes (of course, but dan wants me to say so)
Sure do - thanks!
Wombatz wrote:totally unwatchable. i mean, there are actors who chew scenes and it can be fun. but here gazzara is force-fed all the scenes to chew on, and it doesn't look like he even wants to. so he does uncomfortable little things with his face while mumbling on and on, which i grant might be meant as very subtle indicators of some psychology going on somewhere in this somebody i don't want to watch maybe having thoughts ... or else he looks like he'd prefer a proper meal and be done with it. made it for 15 minutes then fast forwarded to see if it kept on like that, it kept on like that, it kept on like that ...
That might elicit a response or two from some punters here - I see many posters in the past have enthused over this. I haven't seen it for a while, but I don't think I'd choose it as my favourite Cassavetes, fwiw
Wombatz wrote: Image
john carpenter's in the mouth of madness by one john carpenter. it's like every stephen king-inspired trope ever put through the mixer, only a bit more goofy to keep viewers from getting in the mood. probably some brechtian fourth wall thing, like the celebration of thick gray rubber on faces. didn't make it through, but since there's a frame story it ends where it begins, i guess.
Oh, we enjoyed this one quite a bit. Goofy's the word though
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Bill Viola, The Passing, 1991

https://www.eai.org/titles/the-passing Hey, I finally figured out what the abbreviation eai stands for :lol:
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Thom Andersen, Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, 1975

Nice, if somewhat sober, biographical study of a fascinating figure https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eadweard_Muybridge
For some reason this shitty IE/Bing machine here at work isn't allowing me to cut & paste a screenshot. Will add one later
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom, Shutter, 2004

Pretty naff kiddie horror film - couple runs over girl on the way home, keeps mum and then start finding phantom imperfections on newly-developed photos, all of which is eventually explained by the predictable and boring past sex abuse cover-up scenario. Yawn. Too many surprises, not enough suspense. The directors need to read the Hitchcock / Truffaut book. Remade in 2008 but I'm not at all interested in seeing it.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Jean Rollin, La rose de fer, 1973

One omission from an otherwise splendidly informative English Wiki entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Rollin is that young Master Rollin grew up under the same roof as Georges Bataille. No surprises then his preoccupation with all things sexual, surrealist and supernatural - and this tale of young lovers locked in a cemetery after dark is as good a place as any to start with his colourful filmography.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Pascal Laugier, Martyrs, 2008

Though widely acclaimed by aficionados of the genre (and there's an ongoing debate as to whether this can be filed under "torture porn", which I don't know enough about to comment on), I found myself curiously bored by this bloody bashing after a while, and the ultimate raison d'être for torturing the girl(s) - to push them beyond death and have them report back what it feels like on the other side - both uninteresting and unconvincing. But well that's just like, my opinion, man.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Carlo Lizzani, Svegliati e uccidi ("Wake Up and Kill" aka "Wake Up and Die"), 1966

"Luciano Lutring is a dangerous fugitive in Italy, he meets Candida, a nightclub singer and they fall in love. On their back is Candida's lover Franco Magni, a two-bit gangster. Powered by his new-found fame and reputation, Lutring increasingly becomes more and more reckless, robbing as many jewelry stores as he can and pawning them before the cops catch up with him. One of the first of many poliziesco movies of the time and based on the life of real-life criminal Luciano Lutring; the infamous jewelry thief also known as the "machine gun soloist", a name he acquired by the media by keeping his weapon in a violin case. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciano_Lutring The storyline's quite complex at times, but there's plenty of action - Lizzani's pretty damn good when it comes to car chases - and solid performances from all concerned. If you like gritty Italian crime flicks, it's for you
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Costa-Gavras, Un homme de trop, 1967

With a stellar cast (Cremer, Brialy, Blain, Vanel, Piccoli, the list goes on..) and some spectacular filming - the ending on the Viaduc de Garabit (which Clouzot fans will no doubt recognise) is terrific - you might wonder why it isn't as well-known as other French WWII flicks.. comparisons can certainly be made with Melville's L'armée des ombres, for example. Maybe because it just moves too darn fast throughout - and is very chattery. But do check it out yourself and report back
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