Recently Watched Films 2012

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sevenarts
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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Rivette's Jeanne is really something. It's disarmingly straightforward, with a very human Joan, and in its resolute ordinariness it reminds me a lot of Rivette's similarly mundane take on the thriller in Secret Defense.
Dan Warburton wrote:can't comment on the Preminger because I haven't seen it yet
I like Saint Joan, though it's obviously nowhere near the Dreyer/Bresson/Rivette versions. It's very rough and whimsical, with a very charming, slightly awkward Jean Seberg, in her first role, as Joan. Richard Widmark's a lot of fun in it too, as a very whiny royal. This film gets a lot of shit, and people hated Seberg so much that Preminger immediately made my fave Bonjour Tristesse in an attempt to generate more public goodwill for the young actress he'd discovered. But I think it's a really interesting and irreverent take on the myth, and Seberg's youthful, untutored acting is perfect for the role.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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John Ford, My Darling Clementine, 1946

Westerns - maybe films altogether - rarely come any better than this.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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The SKin I Live In (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)

I'm not sure if the phrase 'proper mental' covers this or not. Lots of Almodóvar tropes wrapped up in a twisty plot that's slightly to easy to pre-empt, and more than its fair share of red-herringy plot moves, but which I ultimately enjoyed immensely. Banderas seemingly channeling a drunk Pierce Brosnan only adds to the weirdness.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by presquepartout »

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peter weir's the last wave

the comp lit department here has a neat spring series at a local theater, focusing on nature. here's the full list of what they're showing:

JAN 18 (Wednesday) - The Last Wave (Peter Wier, 1977)
JAN 25 (Wednesday) - Le Quattro Volte (Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010)
FEB 4 (Saturday) - Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)
FEB 9 (Thursday) - The Sacrifice (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986)
FEB 22 (Wednesday) - Border Incident (Anthony Mann, 1940)
MAR 21 (Wednesday) - The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998)
MAR 28 (Wednesday) - Dersu Uzala (Akira Kurosawa, 1975)
APR 4 (Wednesday) - Woman In The Dunes (Hiroshi Teshighara, 1964)
APR 11 (Wednesday) - The Silent World (Jacques-Yves Cousteau & Louis Malle, 1956)

oh, and it's free!

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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that's a great lineup.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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The Net - Lutz Dammbeck

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by MRS »

Holidays back home movie nights:

Bridesmaids (Paul Feig, 2011) -- pretty funny, better than I'd expected, "Look away!"

Bug (William Friedkin, 2006) -- I want to write more about this later, thanks to all of you for the recommendations, all I can say now is after she throws up her arms at the end as they're in tandem and screams (I am self-concious of interrupting any adjacent person's pleasure during a concert, film, lunch) I jumped out my chair, giving the incomplete pass gesture "CUT IT! CUT IT NOW! IT'S PERFECT BILL! CUT IT NOW!" and then of course he goes me one more. The relationship between Peter and Jerry adds another turn of the screw. Unbelievably good acting from Judd and Shannon. My only question is, why did the shrink bring muscle? Vodka n' Pepsi, please. At two or three points I've not laughed harder in a long time.

Hanna (Joe Wright, 2011) -- very surprised the early snowy conifer Finnish forest scenes were not CGI but in fact, snowy conifer Finnish forests. Blanchett delivers the worst American accent ever feigned, but this is worth an evening I guess. "You speak Arabic?" "I like Arabic very much. It's like Japanese. It's big."

Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon, 2011) -- horrible, what an interminable, not funny study in deus ex machina.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Jean-François Richet, 2008) -- started off well enough, dissolved into a 35mm slideshow pastiche of every popular masculine American film imaginable, every facial gesture DeNiro could squeeze, Dillinger's wooden gun, Searchers (a car chase in Monument Valley?) and then the prison break with wire clippers and a chain link fence? Not too trigger happy for part deux. "What's today's date?" "You ask me that every Monday." "Damn Frenchy, you want to die?" "When I die it won't be here, and it won't be on a Monday."

Nine to Five (Colin Higgins, 1980) -- it's been a long time, Dolly Parton is an extremely talented person in so many ways, Tomlin is sharp, but when they get to the dreams + cartoons, sorry. What's Dabney Coleman doing right now?


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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Dan Warburton »

Looks far too harmless to be Public Enemy No 1, doesn't he? Haven't seen the films (I'm not a Vincent Cassel fan so I tend to avoid him if possible).

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John Schlesinger, A Kind Of Loving, 1962

Ah, the British New Wave.. while the Frenchies are strutting up and down the Champs-Elysées buying copies of the International Herald Tribune or swanning around the rooftops of Parisian theaters worrying about mysterious world conspiracies or robbing banks or playing pinball, it seems all the English can do is drink endless cups of tea and panic about sex. Takes a raging queen of a director to stick his finger firmly into the wound of fear and insecurity lurking behind the laddish loutish exterior of the British working class, and Schlesinger does it to perfection. Sharp script based on the Stan Barstow novel by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse, whose own work dominated Brit sitcom for a generation - a lot of well-known faces pop up here - James Bolam, Leonard Rossiter, Kathy Staff and of course Thora Hird, whose mother-in-law scares the living daylights out of me. June Ritchie and Alan Bates (Albert Finney turned down the part - he'd probably had enough of unwanted pregnancies in Saturday Night Sunday Morning) terrific. Filmed for the most part in Blackburn and Salford, but also at St Annes on Sea, which is just along the road from where my folks live now. Needless to say then this strikes home in more ways than one. I also recall not having had the guts to go into a chemists and ask for a packet of condoms.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Eyjafjallajökull »

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Perfect Sense, David Mackenzie, 2011

Mostly self-indulgent, flashy photography meets downright horrid acting and an awfully narcotic plot that unwittingly accomplishes the intended psychic effect, i.e. rudely forcing you into a state of melancholy, albeit not by virtue of artistic finesse. I honestly can't come up with any film whose utilisation of changes in lighting conditions is more hideous. This only bears on approximately the first 30 minutes though since I came to decide that falling asleep earlier than I am accustomed to is a far superior use of time than being tormented any further.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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Vénus Noire, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life, 2011

Well, where to begin.. I suppose it deserved its Palme d'Or, though I had the impression it was the Malick oeuvre as a whole that was being applauded, rather than this particular film (thought the same about the Haneke Palme d'Or a couple of years ago). "There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow," sez Mom at the beginning, but I'm not sure if the film itself makes that choice. Maybe it's up to us, maybe that's the point. The "message", such as it is (be a good boy, carpe diem, smell the flowers, or as Brad "Don't Call Me Dad" Pitt puts it "look, the glory all around us, trees, birds. I dishonored it all and didn't notice the glory") isn't difficult to miss. Anyone who describes this film as confusing or dense or impenetrable is clearly mentally challenged - it's bludgeoningly naïve.
Douglas Trumbull's petri dishes and paintpots look as pretty as they did in 2001 (the film which comes to mind most often here), and fit nicely with the Planet Earth / Discovery Channel sharks and seaweed, but, sorry, those dinosaurs didn't cut it. And the awful wailing Lacrimosa by Zbigniew Preisner (as far as soundtracks go, this is MOR Classic FM-friendly stuff indeed http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/ ... ee_of_life) nearly got me hitting the mute button. In fact, that's not a bad idea - I see this more as a silent film. Apart from a few memorable quotes from Daddy Pitt, there's not much in the way of dialogue (or rather monologue, in the form of those precious whispered haiku voiceovers addressed directly to the sky "where God lives"). Sean Penn could have been dispensed with altogether (that's often the case), whether gazing up dolefully at the skyline of corporate America (shades of Koyaanisqatsi) or wandering through Antelope Canyon in a collar and tie looking for the mystic gateway to beyond (shades of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.. and talking of HP, watch out for Aunt Petunia in The Tree Of Life!). And from a former MIT philosophy professor I'd have expected something a little more challenging than the Freud 101 of the overbearing father figure and idealised mother (daddy's gone on a business trip so you can jump up and down on the beds now and put lizards in my bath, right). But then there are the images, which are so wonderful you wish they'd stay on the screen for longer than.. what the hell is the average shot length here? Ten seconds? (Not surprising that rumours have circulated about a superlong Director's Cut one day.. seen this? http://www.slashfilm.com/terrence-malic ... tree-life/).
Dunno, it's supposed to be profound, but it doesn't move me. I think of Takashi Shimura sitting on his swing in the snow in Ikiru, or Warren Oates' "I love you" in Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, or Brenda Blethyn's "she's me daughter" in Secrets and Lies or Professor Louis Levy's closing speech in Crimes and Misdemeanors, or the donkey lying down to die in Au Hasard Balthazar or the arrows thudding into the tree trunks in Lancelot du Lac or.. so many inexplicably moving and profound moments, moments of grace I've loved in films. I haven't found one yet in The Tree Of Life, though I suppose I'll have to climb up it a few more times to have a look.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Eyjafjallajökull »

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Brief Encounter, David Lean, 1945

Magistral, time and again.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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Dan Warburton wrote:Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life, 2011

Well, where to begin.. .
I've skipped this and with each passing day feel better about that decision (or lack thereof). sometimes having NYC-levels of "too much to do" works in my favor.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Jesse »

nice summa, dan, i agree the film would be served by muting it. the dinosaurs caused much laughter in my theater-experience of this one. i have to see everything he does, he's on that short list, no matter my discomfiture at the naive elements.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life, 2011

Well, where to begin.. I suppose it deserved its Palme d'Or, though I had the impression it was the Malick oeuvre as a whole that was being applauded, rather than this particular film (thought the same about the Haneke Palme d'Or a couple of years ago). "There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow," sez Mom at the beginning, but I'm not sure if the film itself makes that choice. Maybe it's up to us, maybe that's the point. The "message", such as it is (be a good boy, carpe diem, smell the flowers, or as Brad "Don't Call Me Dad" Pitt puts it "look, the glory all around us, trees, birds. I dishonored it all and didn't notice the glory") isn't difficult to miss. Anyone who describes this film as confusing or dense or impenetrable is clearly mentally challenged - it's bludgeoningly naïve.
Douglas Trumbull's petri dishes and paintpots look as pretty as they did in 2001 (the film which comes to mind most often here), and fit nicely with the Planet Earth / Discovery Channel sharks and seaweed, but, sorry, those dinosaurs didn't cut it. And the awful wailing Lacrimosa by Zbigniew Preisner (as far as soundtracks go, this is MOR Classic FM-friendly stuff indeed http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/ ... ee_of_life) nearly got me hitting the mute button. In fact, that's not a bad idea - I see this more as a silent film. Apart from a few memorable quotes from Daddy Pitt, there's not much in the way of dialogue (or rather monologue, in the form of those precious whispered haiku voiceovers addressed directly to the sky "where God lives"). Sean Penn could have been dispensed with altogether (that's often the case), whether gazing up dolefully at the skyline of corporate America (shades of Koyaanisqatsi) or wandering through Antelope Canyon in a collar and tie looking for the mystic gateway to beyond (shades of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.. and talking of HP, watch out for Aunt Petunia in The Tree Of Life!). And from a former MIT philosophy professor I'd have expected something a little more challenging than the Freud 101 of the overbearing father figure and idealised mother (daddy's gone on a business trip so you can jump up and down on the beds now and put lizards in my bath, right). But then there are the images, which are so wonderful you wish they'd stay on the screen for longer than.. what the hell is the average shot length here? Ten seconds? (Not surprising that rumours have circulated about a superlong Director's Cut one day.. seen this? http://www.slashfilm.com/terrence-malic ... tree-life/).
Dunno, it's supposed to be profound, but it doesn't move me. I think of Takashi Shimura sitting on his swing in the snow in Ikiru, or Warren Oates' "I love you" in Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, or Brenda Blethyn's "she's me daughter" in Secrets and Lies or Professor Louis Levy's closing speech in Crimes and Misdemeanors, or the donkey lying down to die in Au Hasard Balthazar or the arrows thudding into the tree trunks in Lancelot du Lac or.. so many inexplicably moving and profound moments, moments of grace I've loved in films. I haven't found one yet in The Tree Of Life, though I suppose I'll have to climb up it a few more times to have a look.
I don't know. This seems more like reaction to the hoopla to the film rather than a reaction to the actual film itself... Do any of us know how profound it was supposed to be? Maybe Malick was just listening to Green Day again, farting it up in the editing room. Who can say, but I'll give him a little leeway, as some of that attention to the minute, fleeting details of childhood came across so casually, too beautifully to disregard. One could practically smell a mother's hair, her hand against the neck, the screen door cracking and a father's voice. Of summer and the naive cruelty of being a boy at a river with a stick. Freud aside -- fathers are usually the shitheads, if not in reality than in memory. In my experience. Eh. Either way, I guess I dug it despite its flaws. Very relaxing. Ending didn't make a lick of sense. Liked it.

Edit: sorry, this doesn't really come across so well. as i reread your post, you make some typically fine points. It just seemed a little bogged down with a reaction to the admittedly hyperbolic praise the film has received.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Dan Warburton »

Tanner wrote:Maybe Malick was just listening to Green Day again, farting it up in the editing room.
Nicely put!
Tanner wrote:One could practically smell a mother's hair, her hand against the neck
I'd be curious to know how some of the women who post here react to it. My wife didn't like the portrayal of the mother at all.
Sure, there are some absolutely stunning passages - hundreds of them in fact - but I just wanted him to settle down and dwell on the details (as he does in Days Of Heaven) instead of racing off with his Steadicam into the long grasses again. Anyway, talking of fun and games in the editing room, how about this?

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Orson Welles, Confidential Report, 1955

One of these days I'll have to invest in the Criterion 3-DVD set (three different versions of the film, and nobody really knows which one is closest to what Orson would have come up with if he'd had final cut), but I doubt any of them could fill the gaping plot holes or make "hero" Robert Arden appear any less unsympathetic. Still, the chaps at the Cahiers du Cinéma loved it, Guy Debord even stole chunks of it for La Société du Spectacle (and Neil Jordan later swiped the frog and scorpion fable for The Crying Game) and there are plenty of amazing moments, if I do get a bit fed up of the rakish camera angles after a while.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan, 2010

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.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Don't know where Nina (Natalie Portman - very good, but she doesn't have to pull many faces in this film)'s Dad went to - maybe he beamed back through time and became Brad Pitt in The Tree Of Life - but Mum's obviously doing a damn good job of fucking up her daughter without him. But, as Larkin's poem makes clear, it's all been done before, and done better, from the overbearing parent (Barbara Hershey's good but give me Annie Girardot in La Pianiste or Piper Laurie in Carrie) to the repressed sexuality (Deneuve, Repulsion) to schizophrenia (hell, I'll even take Fight Club, for all its faults). Aronofsky obviously wants everything to be smart and snappy, with a swan and a mirror in every shot ("Gee did you see that there was a mirror in every shot? A-and we didn't see the camera reflected in them once! He must be a rilly great director.."), but the seemingly endless close-up races up and down corridors become as tiresome as the Tchaikowsky, and the whole thing ends up blunt and dull. The icing on the cake (that Hershey nearly throws in the bin) is Vincent Cassel, who's far and away the frontrunner in the race for the Keanu Reeves Golden Turd Award for World's Worst Actor.
Anyway, some folks here (leroysghost?) liked this, so I'm looking forward to some convincing sales pitch in the near future.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by leroysghost »

Aronofsky is easily in my top five most hated directors, so he probably thinks that all the stuff you mention are really cool and special. i found them hilarious, and cling to the idea that the director did too, and was setting out to make an over the top camp masterpiece.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

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leroysghost wrote:Aronofsky is easily in my top five most hated directors, so he probably thinks that all the stuff you mention are really cool and special. i found them hilarious, and cling to the idea that the director did too, and was setting out to make an over the top camp masterpiece.
I agree quite strongly with the last sentence here. I enjoyed this film and it's outright mania, doubt I'll ever sit through it again. good date movie.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2012

Post by P. Wretch »

leroysghost wrote:i found them hilarious, and cling to the idea that the director did too, and was setting out to make an over the top camp masterpiece.
Yes, I think Black Swan should be appreciated as an enjoyably overwrought genre piece; I don't think the thematic content will withstand much probing, but nor does it need to.

Anyway, getting back to the older titles, I watched:

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The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941)

A satisfying and stylishly executed variation on the Faust legend, set on a 19th-century New Hampshire farm. The stand-out performance comes from Walter Huston as the smirking devil ('Mr. Scratch'), cropping up in various guises to remind the suddenly wealthy farmer of his bargain. I wasn't so sure about the idealised portrait of the politician Daniel Webster, who gets to make speeches about freedom and the American way, and generally save the day, but the devil gets some good ripostes in:

Webster: Mr. Stone is an American citizen... and an American citizen cannot be forced into the service of a foreign prince.
Mr. Scratch: Foreign? Who calls me a foreigner?
Webster: Well, I never heard of the de... I never heard of you claiming American citizenship.
Mr. Scratch: And who has a better right? When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on the deck.

(pasted from IMDB)

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