Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Shion Sono, Tag, 2015

Yep, you saw that correctly, an entire school bus full of girls sliced in half.. and there's also a schoolroom massacre, a kung fu showdown with broken bottles and a giant bloody pig running a marathon.. this guy Sono is out there - and if you thought drones were only useful for taking out unwanted jihadists, you should check out how he uses them here. Haha
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le fou, 1965

Hadn't seen this one for about six or seven years (in the meantime I've managed to see almost all the Godards, with the exception of some of the Dziga Vertov early 70s works), and I'd forgotten how awesome it is - I reckon Colin Crisp has a point when he puts it up there with La règle du jeu and Lola Montès as one of "the three greatest French films".. All Godard is here, and the movie looks back (with Belmondo, to A bout de souffle of course, and the Mediterranean blue of Le mépris) as well as forward to the cynical carnage of Week End and the textual complexity of the Histoire(s).. From the end of Sam Fuller's green cigar to Raymond Devos's elbow, it's absolutely terrific.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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The Arbor (2010) dir. Clio Barnard

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This one wasn't bad. It was a mixed genre documentary that found its way to be effective as what it was as the movie progressed. About an English playwright and her tumultuous relationship with her two daughters. Interesting.

Big Man Japan (2009) dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto

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Am speechless after watching this one. Grotesque, absurd, off kilter, weird, absolutely bazaar, beyond any sort of description. Lots of monster fighting, but not a lot of action, kinda sucks, wish there was more action in the fight sequences than just a tap here and a tap there.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Ivan Passer, Born To Win, 1971

Tremendous performance from George Segal as Jay Jay the junkie, but it's not a happy film, despite fine turns from Karen Black and Robert De Niro (on the right side of the law for once - not that the cops are heroes.. there aren't any heroes)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Bruno Dumont, Camille Claudel 1915, 2012

Hats off to Juliette Binoche for such a fine performance, especially with her "co-stars" (yikes, goodness knows how Dumont works with real patients like these) - but despite the critical acclaim, I'm left wondering what the director set out to do here - anyone familiar with the Camille Claudel story (and it's hard not to be reminded of Adjani whenever the name comes up) is bound to feel nothing but pity for the woman, and at least mild contempt for her brother Paul (I was never a fan, sorry). It might have been more interesting if Dumont had set the film in 1940 - Camille remained institionalised until her death in 1943 - but at least this way we didn't get to suffer Depardieu as Rodin again.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth, 1937

Irene Dunne's a lousy singer, but apart from that she's the perfect foil to Cary Grant (on fine form here, though he apparently tried to get out of doing it) in this vintage screwball comedy - the dialogue's as sharp as Cary's suits, and the plot and the minor characters so engaging it's easy to overlook McCarey's considerable mastery as a director. At least the Academy didn't: he won Best Director for this and he deserved it. The dog deserved an Oscar too, as dogs often do
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Otto Preminger, Fallen Angel, 1945

This is a real headscratcher, and Michel Chion should include it in his "Cinema and Morality" course, as there are no "good guys" anywhere to be found, with the possible exception of June (Alice Faye), whose naivete in falling for Dana Andrews is nonetheless pretty breathtaking. We see most of the action from the point of view of Eric (Andrews, excellent performance), but he's certainly no hero - indeed, for a good part of the film we suspect he's plotting some diabolical murder to get his paws on the Mills sisters' fortune so he can run off with Stella (Linda Darnell). As for Ms Darnell, well she plays the sultry, hard-to-get hardboiled bitch to perfection, but she ain't no femme fatale in the traditional sense, as she doesn't instigate any of the intrigue (à la Stanwyck in Double Indemnity) and gets killed off halfway through the movie! The only time we feel something resembling sympathy for Andrews is when he cracks up in the hotel room and admits he's always been a serial loser - the rather-too-quick dénouement is unconvincing, and the happy end doesn't satisfy. Then again, maybe Preminger didn't intend it to. A "deepening of Preminger's use of moral ambiguity as a tool of human insight" indeed
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Forgot to add that this was the 500th film I've seen this year (OK, so I'm counting short films as well) - and, if I've counted correctly, the 342nd one I've posted about here! Yay!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Forgot to add that this was the 500th film I've seen this year (OK, so I'm counting short films as well) - and, if I've counted correctly, the 342nd one I've posted about here! Yay!
You da MAN!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Forgot to add that this was the 500th film I've seen this year (OK, so I'm counting short films as well) - and, if I've counted correctly, the 342nd one I've posted about here! Yay!
Excellent reviews

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Dino Risi, Il sorpasso ("The Easy Life"), 1962

That title's not easy to translate - in France it's called "Le fanfaron", which means braggart, but "sorpasso" itself means "a going over the top", and Vittorio Gassman certainly does that, taking Jean-Louis Trintignant on one hell of a joyride - and one he would have remembered for the rest of life if he didn't die in a spectacular car smash at the end. The script is incredibly funny, but as in other Commedia all' Italiana masterpieces (and this must be one of the very best), there's a serious undercurrent. Absolutely magnificent - I imagine our man Lao Tsu Ben is also a big fan of this one.
Nope and thanks for the reminder. As hard as it is to believe (yikes ;) ), I haven't seen it yet in spite of all the times until now I've told myself that I should.
Dan Warburton wrote:Shion Sono, Tag, 2015

Yep, you saw that correctly, an entire school bus full of girls sliced in half.. and there's also a schoolroom massacre, a kung fu showdown with broken bottles and a giant bloody pig running a marathon.. this guy Sono is out there - and if you thought drones were only useful for taking out unwanted jihadists, you should check out how he uses them here. Haha
Sounds fun, plus the fact that I quite like Sono and that I'm a big fan of Himizu and Why You Don't Play In Hell (and Love Exposure interests me). So why it isn't? I couldn't make any sense of it. At the end of the year, Sono will have released six films if I'm not mistaken and it shows. Random shit piled upon one another is not enough, even more if you tie it together with a meddlesome, dull soundtrack of the most generic post-rock by Mono. I like you, Sono, but to look cool is just lazy and not sufficient. Watch Farewell To The Ark by Shuji Terayama instead.
Piano Mouth wrote:Big Man Japan (2009) dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto

Am speechless after watching this one. Grotesque, absurd, off kilter, weird, absolutely bazaar, beyond any sort of description. Lots of monster fighting, but not a lot of action, kinda sucks, wish there was more action in the fight sequences than just a tap here and a tap there.
Big fan of Matsumoto here, love the experimental streak that run throughout his films. Big Man Japan can be a little boring and slow at times but I think it's a moving, melancholy twist on the superhero movie that is all the more a relief given the wave of superhero movies that is unrelentingly unleashed upon us nowadays. Symbol and Saya Zamurai are absolute must-see with wonderful premises. His last one, R100, was a disappointment though, too much on the bad side of random and surreal, like the aforementioned Tag.
Piano Mouth wrote:I just saw It Follows, possibly the worst horror genre movie I've ever seen ever in my entire film viewing life. I don't know where to begin to slam it, but the pace is really awkward, there are so many tangents, the main theme is stupid, and doesn't tie together with anything. Yet it still has an air about it, it thinks it's really slick and hip, maybe because it's somewhat aesthetically pleasing, but even then, not really. The dialog in the film is abominable, and the editing job is the worst. Don't believe the hype. Oh plus, it's wicked boring too.
I also hated it, but I'm afraid we are few. Thought it was all over the place thematically, and in that way, too unconclusive and opportunistic. Not to mention that it is derivative and I didn't care for it as a plain horror film. I preferred the similarly hip The Guest, the derivativeness of which (sorry for the awful turn of phrase) is in plain sight and, as a consequence, a lot more fun, it helped that it didn't pretend to be something that it wasn't (both films share an actress). But since so many people liked it (obviously an understatement as to the level of love that the film got), one has to give it a chance, I guess.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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I really want to see Tag, although nothing can beat love exposure or himizu imo . That film Circus something or another was either the darkest dramedy I've ever seen or just plain disturbing, tho there seems to be a lot of slight humor in his films like Suicide Club which I liked immensely.

I agree with also liking the understated Matsumoto film. It seems like something from a dream but it has a formula that I like. Regular scruffy guy at one point, then turns into a monster that is overweight with belly hanging out, and then the street fighter vibe for fighting off monsters that were incredibly weird sometimes in a good way, I def want to check out some more Matsumoto films now,.

It follows is a movie that I didn't mind watching but it was also an incredibly unplanned and poorly executed film. I felt like the director and cast were just improving there way or shall I say B.S-Ing their way through the movie. Though I found it entertaining. I think I'd prefer the other indie horror film, You're Next which was seriously disturbing and fun scary or just plain scary. I kind of want to check out the pledge and the other horror movies that Ethan Hawke did recently too.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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ARAYA (1959) -- Strange, haunting, and visually stunning documentary about this peninsula/ salt marsh in Venezuela that has been a major source of salt, mined in a traditional way, for 450 years. We also see the little fishing villages that feed the salt workers, and all the people on both the day and night shifts that live this tough life. Filmed in 35 mm B&W, a perfect medium for the shining salt pyramids piled up by the workers. We see a little girl collecting pretty seashells -- later, in the cemetery scene pictured above, you realize she has collected them to put on the grave of a beloved relative -- there are no flowers on the barren peninsula. At the close of movie, we see the first bulldozers, steamshovels, and mechanical salt processors, and wonder if the centuries-old patterns of Araya are about to change forever. Some nice local music, too. Unusual and worth watching.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Georges Lautner, Le monocle rit jaune, 1964

I'm a sucker for secret agent films that take the piss out of themselves, and Paul Meurisse's monocle-sporting, cigar chomping Commandant Théobald Dromard deserves a place at the table alongside Derek Flint, Lemmy Caution and Austin Powers. This was the last of the Monocle films, apparently because Lautner was so incensed at Meurisse's appalling behaviour towards Barbara Steele that he refused to work with him again. Just as well - even with the typically smart Audiard dialogue, parodies of West Side Story, Hong Kong local colour and the great Marcel Dalio, it's clear we're nearing the bottom of the barrel. Meurisse is hilarious precisely because he looks so pissed off with the whole affair.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Sergio Martino, Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave ("Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key"), 1972

Yep, Edwige Fenech is just about the only reason I might go back and watch this again one day (and we get to see her in action with a boy and a girl.. but not at the same time :lol: ) - though apparently highly regarded by giallo connoisseurs, this reworking of Poe''s Black Cat (again!) runs out of steam with about half an hour to go.. Luigi Pistilli is so vile you know he can't possibly be the killer, and it doesn't take a Ph.D in Poe Studies to guess who the culprit is. Red herrings, red paint and tinkly harpsichords galore, of course
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Raffaello Matarazzo, Treno Populare, 1933

Swiped the photo from this rather good blog entry, which I fully agree with https://cinematalk.wordpress.com/2013/0 ... lare-1933/ - it's not even an hour long, and it's a Featured Torrent over at KG, so you have no excuse. Remind me to visit Orvieto one day, too.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Douglas Sirk, Hitler's Madman, 1943

John Carradine is scarily awesome as Heydrich in Sirk's American debut, a "somewhat fictionalized account" (Wiki) of his assassination and Himmler's subsequent brutal reprisals against the population of Lidice in 1942. Not a pretty story, and the film pulls no punches as the ghosts of the murdered villagers emerge from the slaughter reading Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem..
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Marcel Carné, Drôle de drame, 1937

Bizarre, bizarre indeed - screwball comedy wasn't confined to the US, but there's an anarchic cutting edge to much of Prévert's wacky screenplay (based on an English novel) which takes malicious pleasure in debunking just about everything along the way. Stellar performances from Jouvet, Simon (who disliked each other in real life as much as their characters here do) and Barrault as the serial killer (he butchers butchers, haha), great sets from Trauner and fabulous camerawork from Schüfftan.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, The White Viking, 1991

Not 100% sure about that date, as this is the five-hour TV-series version of the final film of Gunnlaugsson's Raven Trilogy - there's also the original film of the same name and a Director's Cut entitled Embla, which concentrates more on the girl in question. Telling the story of the arrival of Christianity in Iceland (and what you get here is pretty much the way it happened, amazingly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian ... of_Iceland), it's a gritty, bloody tale, full of rain, mud, blood and actors with authentically awful teeth. Those Vikings were tough motherfuckers for sure. Acclaimed for its historical accuracy - the only bit I would have liked to see which wasn't in the movie is the bit where Thorgeir Thorkelsson threw the pagan idols into the waters of Goðafoss..

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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John Carpenter, Prince of Darkness, 1987

I admit, I've got a soft spot for Carpenter. I can even excuse the omnipresent thudding synth soundtrack and a cameo appearance by Alice Cooper. JC made this one on the cheap, but still knew which buttons to push (bugs, projectile vomiting, alien surrogate moms, zombies, gore.. you name it, it's in there somewhere). More detail and technical trivia points here http://deep-focus.com/john_carpenters_p ... _darkness/
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