Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Denis Villeneuve, Incendies, 2010

Adapted from a play based on a true story – the woman in question is still alive, but the Greek tragedy dénouement (Oedipus, Phaedra, take yr pick) the playwright's idea – is well-made and well-acted, yet the final fatal confrontation with the missing brother / father sort of falls flat.. the twins track down the chap, deliver a letter and, umm, that's about it. The family lawyer presumably knew the story all along, and could have saved them a few extra air miles, but then again we wouldn't have had a movie, would we?
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Lloyd Bacon, Miss Pinkerton, 1932

I guess the above shot of Joan Blondell getting undressed for bed is what makes this otherwise highly implausible (and almost instantly forgettable) whodunnit Pre-Code risqué.. Blondell is always fun, and fires off some sharp lines, but apart from a few bloodcurdling screams and some expressionistic shadows, it's little more than a bit of fluff. Silly ending says it all.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Mario Bava, Kill, Baby, Kill, 1966

Slant and Scorsese both rate it highly, and it's No.56 in Time Out's Top 100 horror films (weird ranking that, have a look and see for yourself) http://www.timeout.com/london/film/best ... page=44205, but, Bava fan that I am (more or less), even I started to suffer from scenic indigestion.. never seen so many cobwebs.. and all those blue-green and mauve lights, yikes. There are some great moments though, notably where the Doctor starts racing through rooms in the creepy Villa Graps and catches up with himself (you'll know what I mean if you see it), and some delightfully queasy sound effects. If you like it Gothic, climb aboard.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Ten Days the Shook the World (Alexandrov, 1967)

I really enjoyed this Welles-narrated made for TV documentary of the Russian Revolution(s). The coda, which makes the USSR pretty gosh darn ok as of 1967--is kind of disgusting, but there's a lot of great footage from the early 20th Century, some of it actual, some lifted from Eisenstein films.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Piano Mouth wrote:I saw "Cold Fish" by Sion Sono last night. I have to say, I'm really interested in digging in and seeing a lot more of other movies he has made. So far, I've seen "Love Exposure", "Himizu", and "Suicide Club". This one takes the cake in gore though, it's so outlandish, and based on a true story I believe. It was really well paced, and disturbing, but I would say maybe less so than "Strange Circus", depending on who you ask, which I still need to finish watching.Image
I think he could have lopped about 20 minutes off the running time, and used about 100 gallons less blood, and it wouldn't have made much difference :) Apparently the original serial killer sold dogs.. it was Sono's idea to set it in a tropical fish shop. Amazing performance from Denden as Marata (below). I pity poor Megumi Kagurazaka (Taeko) who really gets mauled. (She's the director's wife, btw..) Nicely filmed (if a bit too long), but the bloodbath ending is a bit, well..

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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YOJIMBO -- saw it first in the early sixties, from a recommendation by Jean Shepherd on his radio show. I think this is the 4th time, always a pleasure to watch.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Henry Hathaway, Call Northside 777, 1948

“This is a true story”, proclaims the title sequence, and indeed it is – though I can't find any mention of the final clinching piece of evidence being an enlarged photograph (ha, wonder if Bryan Singer knew this when he faxed that pic of Keyser Söze..) - and the chappy above operating the lie detector is the guy who really invented the lie detector, one Leonarde Keeler. It's a perfect role for James Stewart, who's always at his best when he's at his most arrogant and unlikeable (and I'm prepared to wager a small sum that Hitchcock knew this performance when he fleshed out the character of L.B. Jefferies), but the film as a whole, though usually tagged as a noir, doesn't look and move like one. Nice location shots of Chicago's seamy side, though.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Sophie Fiennes, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, 2006

To quote Wiki, “[Slavoj] Žižek's presentation and argumentative style is forceful, entertaining, and exoterically appealing. Yet his convoluted delivery and departure from logical conceptual frameworks (in some instances), results in the absence of a clear line of argument.” Yes, exactly. Žižek's always fun, whether comparing the three floors of the Bates house in Psycho to the superego, ego and id, or railing against tulips, of all things, but I often wonder exactly what he's getting at. It's at least half an hour too long, too.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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The Man On The Eiffel Tower, 1949 -- my dad took me took this when I was five or six, scared the bejeezus out of me. First time I've seen it since then, and I enjoyed it a lot. Charles Laughton as Inspector Maigret, Burgess Meredith as the near-sighted suspect (and the film's director), and Franchot Tone as the cocky murderer. Fabulous shots of Paris, and a heartstopping chase scene on the Eiffel Tower that stayed with me from the first viewing.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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The Salt Of The Earth, 2015 -- Very powerful, beautiful, disturbing, and inspiring documentary about the photographer Sebastião Salgado. Highest recommendation.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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SqDanceCallingSteve wrote:Image

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The Man On The Eiffel Tower, 1949 -- my dad took me took this when I was five or six, scared the bejeezus out of me. First time I've seen it since then, and I enjoyed it a lot. Charles Laughton as Inspector Maigret, Burgess Meredith as the near-sighted suspect (and the film's director), and Franchot Tone as the cocky murderer. Fabulous shots of Paris, and a heartstopping chase scene on the Eiffel Tower that stayed with me from the first viewing.
If Patricia Roc is the woman in the middle picture there, she looks like Harrison Ford.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, 1966

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Orson Welles' "Fallstaff" film, which I had never seen before, understandable since it was unavailable for most of the decades of my life. The ownership is still in dispute, but the film is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf6fxz1mI6g

This is a masterpiece, one of the greatest of all the Shakespeare productions on film, and one of Welles' very best. [He said Chimes at Midnight was his favorite film, Citizen Kane notwithstanding. "If I wanted to get into heaven on the basis of one movie, that's the one I would offer up. I think it's because it is to me the least flawed; let me put it that way. It is the most successful for what I tried to do. I succeeded more completely in my view with that than with anything else."] It is as quirky as his Macbeth and Othello, but much more fully realized than either of those. I've only seen it once, but it reminds me of nothing less than the Brooks/ Scofield "Lear," my favorite of all Shakespeares on film – stark, visually gorgeous, powerful, idiosyncratic, and brilliantly acted.

Here is Roger Ebert's appreciation of the film: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great ... night-1965


This is retelling of Henry IV parts 1 & 2 (plus tiny bits of Richard II, Merry Wives, and Henry V), with Falstaff in the foreground and the political drama as the landscape. John Gielguld as Prince Hal's father, Henry IV, is magisterial in the role. His gravitas is weighty enough to move the historical plot single-handedly, although it doesn't fall entirely on him. Some of King Henry's key speeches are left more or less intact – 'uneasy lies the head that wears a crown' and his dying to advice to Harry to start a foreign war to take the heat off his domestic problems (even as we do today). Margaret Rutherford and Jeanne Moreau give life to the tavern/ bawdy house, and other accomplished actors fill out the cast. And Welles was born to play Falstaff.

Considering Welles never had more than 180 extras working for him at any one time, the big scenes are extraordinary illusions as well as masterpieces of film and visual art. The Battle of Shrewsbury (you'll swear there are thousands of soldiers) and the brothel dance scene both sizzle with life and seem immense.

Hal's rejection of Falstaff (after his coronation) still stings, but there is a wonderful moment in this production where we can see Hal's view of Fallstaff sink before our eyes. Following Hal's killing of Hotspur ("O Harry, thou hadst robbed me of my youth"), Falstaff makes the outrageous claim that Hotspur rose again after the Prince thought he killed him, and it was actually Falstaff who killed the rebel. It's a comic scene, everybody knows Falstaff always lies about these things, but in this production it is also clear that Hal sees it as disrespectful to Percy and to the seriousness of the implications for England, and he looks at Falstaff with obvious contempt.

I love this film! If you're into Welles or Shakespeare, it's a must see. If you're not, you still might want to check it out.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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I love that movie, SqD. I used to have an old VHS copy of it taped off a tv broadcast and would occasionally look around to see if it was available in some other format. You could buy it only very expensively from collectors. So glad to hear it's now online. I think it's Welles' best film.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Bruno Dumont, L'humanité, 1999

Fascinating to read how this one sharply divided opinion when (probably because) it was awarded a big prize at Cannes, though much of the “debate” focused on rather stereotypical US vs. Euro art cinema issues, which have always bored me. I guess I'd side with the Europeans of course fwiw, but this is my least favourite Dumont so far – not that it hasn't prompted some serious discussion here at PTHQ. Most of the best points about the film have been made elsewhere, especially here http://academichack.net/humanite.htm - in retrospect, I'm glad I started in on Dumont with La vie de Jésus, and especially glad I saw P'tit Quinquin before this one
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Marco Ferreri, L'udienza, 1972

Shame this isn't better known, because as adaptations of Kafka go – though “adaptation” is the wrong word, since Ferreri hasn't set out to “do” The Trial or The Castle (see Welles and Haneke respectively) but has rather cunningly combined elements of both into a strange and often disturbing fable about a guy trying to get an audience with the Pope – it's damn good. Gassman, Piccoli, Cuny and Tognazzi are all superb, and Claudia Cardinale plays the high class Vatican hooker (check out the different hairstyles) to perfection. Enzo Jannacci's Amadeo – the Josef K character if you will – is distressingly banal, neither as twitchy and fidgety as Perkins in the Welles nor as straight and normal as Mühe in the Haneke. Subtle.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Olivier Marchal, 36 Quai des Orfèvres, 2004

Absolutely unredeemably fucking awful. Trite, clichéd script, hammy performances (did Auteuil and Dussollier really need the money? I'm sure Depardieu didn't), hideous obtrusive soundtrack. Avoid like the plague. Or, if you really want to watch a decent French cop film, try Tavernier's L627 instead. Eurgh.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Jonathan Glazer, Under The Skin, 2013

Rather surprisingly this turned out to be both a box office hit – put that down to Scarlett – and cough cough critically acclaimed art film. From what little I've read, Glazer doesn't follow the source novel all that closely, which is just as well. It's up to us to figure out what's going on (rather like Skolimowski's Essential Killing or Grandrieux's Un lac, two other fine films that leave us to find our way through a cold, dark forest). Intriguing. Terrific soundtrack too.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Aki Kaurismäki, The Match Factory Girl, 1990

I quite agree with the review I swiped the screenshot from http://www.thepinksmoke.com/bestfilmsof ... rttwo2.htm
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Pedro Costa, Ne change rien, 2009

But he did change something: "It was shot on color since it’s video. It was edited more or less in color. And then, one day, watching the long, nine-minute shot of the opera rehearsal, the editor and I... we just kept feeling something. It was a shot where Jeanne moved a lot, her neck and her mouth. Just by chance, we turned the color button on the monitor and something appeared in black-and-white that was not there in color. The veins, the nerves — it was more sensual, more physical. Even her skin began to show things." --Pedro Costa, interviewed by James Hansen, Film Quarterly 63.2 (Winter 2009), p.55.
Freeze frame just about anywhere and I'll bet you'll find at least 80% of the image is black. Gorgeous, gorgeous. I hope you like Jeanne Balibar's singing as much as I do too.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Paolo Sorrentino, La grande bellezza, 2013

Wow, blown away. The clear reference of course is to Fellini - not only Otto e mezzo and La Dolce Vita, but also Roma, as the Italian capital has rarely looked so inviting - and I'd be curious to know what any of our resident FF fans (Jon, yo) think of it.
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