Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Chantal Akerman, De l'autre côté, 2002

Very topical, since a) Chantal has just left us, and apparently chose to do so :( and b) we're busy building walls all over Europe to stop incoming migrants (so I'll refrain from any "we're not as dumb here in Europe as the rednecks Akerman interviews here on the Arizona border" comments. A great document(ary), and I can thoroughly recommend the DVD box that includes it, along with Sud, D'est, and Là-bas. You can do without subtitles, just bring your humanity
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Chantal Akerman, Nuit et jour, 1991

And this, for any New Wave fans, is an absolute must: a tight, almost Beckett-like script co-wriiten by Akerman and Pascal Bonitzer, gorgeously choreographed camera movements, beautifully stylised interior sets and luscious location shots in Paris, and a storyline which fans of Jules et Jim or Une femme est une femme or Adieu Philippine would surely appreciate. A little gem - seems to be available only on a Spanish DVD, but of course KG has it (the custom English subs need a bit of work, but by and large they're very good). Of Akerman's "lighter" films this is the best I've seen.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Peter Greenaway, Vertical Features Remake, 1978

I took a lengthy sabbatical from early structurlalist Greenaway, but am pleased to report that returning to his work is a pleasant surprise - now ready to attack the Tulse Luper Suitcases. And now that Michael Nyman has morphed into Carl Davis, it's great to be reminded of how crappy those early recordings were, and how fine the music was.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Michel Gondry / Leos Carax / Bong Joon-ho, Tokyo!, 2008

The Gondry short is fresh and nicely potty (girl turns into a chair), and the Bong segment touching if slight, but it's the central Carax Merde that really got up the nose of the critics - well, you either love it or you hate it, there are no other options - Denis Lavant's anarchic flower-chomping, grenade-lobbing leprechaun returned in Holy Motors, of course. Fuckin' demented.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Vidas secas, 1963

John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath is a mighty fine fillum, but there's something awesomely barren (the title in Engish is "Barren Lives") about this Brazilian telling of a similar desperate dustbowl story. NO soundtrack, just the amazing, piercing drone of a squeaking ox-wagon. Minimal dialogue, harsh, burnt-out photography. I'm no dog-lover myself, but what happens to this one at the end of the film got to me too. Terrific stuff.
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Walter Hill, The Driver, 1978

Was just reading Bruce Dern's (not very interesting) memoirs, so thought I'd return to this one - splendid, especially the car chases :) Adjani doesn't have to do or say much, and Ryan O'Neal's pretty sphinxlike throughout, so Bruce gets all the best lines, including the classic "Gotcha!" when he finally nabs - or so he thinks - the cowboy.

Sorry to hear Dern's memoirs aren't interesting. I've been a big fan of his for many years. I love his whiny voice. I remember once hearing him say something like "I always play these sick god damn guys," and talk about how he's run every day of his adult life, regardless of location, weather, illness or injury, how he's kind of an addict about it. I thought: Hmmmmm this guy may be as odd as the characters he plays.
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Piano Mouth
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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I just saw Spirited Away,

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now I'm hooked on seeing more from Miyazki

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Nugent, The Cat and the Canary (1939). Silly comedic horror fare, but Hope and Nydia Westman are funny and Goddard is as beautiful as ever.

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Oz, In and Out (1997). Somewhat dated and predictable but still kind of cute "gay comedy"--one of the first big budget ones after La Cage. Kevin Kline and Matt Dillon are both good, and Joan Cusack is terrific.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Ken Russell, Elgar, 1962

I've never been a great Elgar fan, though the Introduction & Allegro riding across the Malverns is a great moment, as is the terrific montage of war wounded accompanied by Pomp & Circumstance March No.1. Good job, Ken

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Ken Russell, French Dressing, 1964

Russell hated it at the time, but grew to like it - it's stayed remarkably fresh, too, this wacky tale of a deckchair attendant (James Booth) in a tacky seaside resort (filmed in Herne Bay) who decides to put the town on the map by organising a Cannes-style film festival (he can't get Brigitte Bardot, but Marisa Mell is a fine stand-in). Plenty of Russell slapstick - he was never that far from music hall - and some wonderful set pieces worthy of Fellini. A widescreen rip is now up at KG, but we still need to see a decently restored image - it's definitely worth it
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Charles Chaplin, Monsieur Verdoux, 1947

You might not care to have Charlie preach at you (that always rather spoiled The Great Dictator for me), but some of the lines he comes up with here really hit hard ("numbers sanctify.."), and the supporting cast in this seriously black comedy is absolutely terrific. Thank goodness Orson Welles didn't end up directing it, as he had originally planned.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Ettore Scola, Un giornata particolare, 1977

That incessant Mussolini / Hitler radio broadcast accompanying everything - wow. Great use of sound and colour, splendid performances from Loren (not dressed to impress, either) and Mastroianni. Thoroughly deserves (for once) its 8.1 rating on IMDb.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Andrzej Żuławski, La femme publique, 1984

Ugh. Unless you get a kick out of watching Valerie Kaprisky dancing in the buff - you certainly won't want to watch it for her acting, which is atrocious - I'd steer clear. Everybody in this movie seems to be screaming all the damn time, and the camera (Sacha Vierny, you should have known better) can't stop moving either. You're exhausted after 15 minutes, frustrated after a half hour, and bored shitless ten minutes later. It's not worth sticking it out until the end, either.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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James Clavell, The Last Valley, 1970

You may well fall off your chair laughing at Michael Caine's ridiculous accent, which sounds more like Afrikaans than German, but there are precious few films set during the chaotic ravages of the Thirty Years' War, so enjoy it. Caine's motley crew of vigilantes, which included both Protestants and Catholics (no shit - nobody knew who was fighting who in this fucked up conflict) hole up for the winter in an idyllic Tyrolean valley, with a rather holier-than-thou Omar Sharif interceding between Cap'n Caine and the crafty local village elders, protecting the villagers from attack by a rebellious faction led by a Klaus Kinski lookalike but not managing to stop a witch being burnt at the stake.. It's intriguing stuff, with the kind of daring shots a seasoned director (which Clavell of course wasn't) would probably never think of, and some fine performances from a seasoned troupe of British names. Fortunately Brian Blessed, who I could never stand, looking like something out of Mad Max II, gets impaled on Caine's pointy helmet early on :)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Peter Greenaway, The Falls, 1980

Enough here to screw you up for the rest of your life, to quote Steve Martin out of context! The complete set of 92 biographies, plus background info of all sorts here http://petergreenaway.org.uk/falls.htm - ha, the webpage is the ideal medium for Greenaway, whose entire oeuvre is a kind of hyperlink to something else (and on to something else). Still, sitting through the full three hours of this film from beginning to end is tough: I think you're allowed to take a break (watch out for birds though..)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Andrzej Żuławski, La femme publique, 1984

Ugh. Unless you get a kick out of watching Valerie Kaprisky dancing in the buff - you certainly won't want to watch it for her acting, which is atrocious - I'd steer clear. Everybody in this movie seems to be screaming all the damn time, and the camera (Sacha Vierny, you should have known better) can't stop moving either. You're exhausted after 15 minutes, frustrated after a half hour, and bored shitless ten minutes later. It's not worth sticking it out until the end, either.
Dunno about the movie, but I like this frame!
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Ken Russell, Elgar, 1962

I've never been a great Elgar fan, though the Introduction & Allegro riding across the Malverns is a great moment, as is the terrific montage of war wounded accompanied by Pomp & Circumstance March No.1. Good job, Ken
I like the Delius one, which I've only seen via a really crappy print. What an odd duck (and awesome composer) he was.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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walto wrote:Sorry to hear Dern's memoirs aren't interesting. I've been a big fan of his for many years. I love his whiny voice. I remember once hearing him say something like "I always play these sick god damn guys," and talk about how he's run every day of his adult life, regardless of location, weather, illness or injury, how he's kind of an addict about it. I thought: Hmmmmm this guy may be as odd as the characters he plays.
He made the greatest running movie ever, and did the running scenes himself: Image
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Authentic look at road and trail running, using the Dispsea Run (Mill Valley to the Pacific via Mt. Tamalpais). Marty Liquori and a bunch of NorCal local running legends in the film (some of whom I've run against), Pam Grier as the girlfriend. Dern's father is an old communist who taught his parrot to say "Workers of the world, Unite!" But the parrot says, "Workers of the world, Goodnight!" and Dern's father calls it "the greatest betrayal in the history of the human race."

Lots of running scenes, not sure how well it plays if you're not a runner. But I've seen it three times and love it.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015) -- Solid spy thriller from Spielberg, Coen brothers worked on the script, thoroughly involving and surprisingly nuanced (although undercut by some broad-brushed cliches).
Tom Hanks gives a solid performance as insurance lawyer, James Donovan, who defends and then arranges a swap for Russian spy Rudolf Abel (for U-2 pilot Gary Powers and an American student held in East Berlin).

Mark Rylance as Abel steals the show with a quietly superb performance.

Donovan: "Aren't you worried at all?"
Abel: "Would it help?"

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Alain Resnais, La vie est un roman, 1983

The sets probably deserve an Oscar, but the story - stories (three, interleaved, including the kids' fairytale imaginings) - is pretty lite for Resnais, despite an impressive cast.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Children of Nature, 1991

Magnificent - I'll even forgive the director for casting Bruno Ganz as an angel again, as this one blows the Wenders film away ten times over.
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