Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin, 2011

Nicely done, a complex network of flashbacks and flashforwards worthy of Nic Roeg, genuinely disturbing (great performance from Ezra Miller, and needless to say Tilda Swinton's always good playing the di/stressed) and refreshingly gore free given the subject matter. No spoilers, sorry, but I'd say the moral of story is don't read Robin Hood bedtime stories to disturbed toddlers.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Edgar G. Ulmer, Murder Is My Beat, 1955

I wonder what might have happened if Edgar Ulmer hadn't fallen foul of Papa Carl Laemmle (by running off with his son's intended) and been consigned to the outer darkness of borscht belt and B-movies. He certainly made the best of a shoestring budget with the mighty Detour, but here he's obviously hampered by second division actors (how could anyone fall for Barbara Payton in this movie?), incongruous stock footage, a dodgy plot and not enough time to explain it. For noir completists only.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Michel Deville, Benjamin ou les mémoires d'un puceau, 1967

No wonder Bresson “sampled” this in Une femme douce (see above) – like his film, it was produced by Mag Bodard and filmed by Ghislain Cloquet. I wonder the characters in the Bresson would have made of this deliciously bawdy romp, though. Pierre Clementi and Michel Piccoli have shit-faced grins on their faces throughout, as would I if I got to play around with the likes of Francine Bergé, Catherine Rouvet, Odile Versois and Catherine Deneuve. Pretty locations too.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Mauro Bolognini, La giornata balorda ("From a Roman Balcony" aka "A Crazy Day"), 1960

This is really terrific – as good as Accatone, and as the script was written by Pasolini (adapted from short stories by Alberto Moravia), diehard Pier Paolo fans should check it out. Jean Sorel is excellent as the laidback pretty boy loser hero – easily as good as Delon might have been – and the supporting cast, including the delectable Lea Massari and Jeanne Valérie, is as good as the dialogue. Nice and tight, clocking in a mere 76 minutes (though I see a slightly longer cut is available), beautifully filmed. Check it out.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Virginie Despentes & Coralie Trinh Thi, Baise-moi, 2000

This caused such a rumpus when it released, especially here in France where it was certified X and not screened in cinemas for some time, that you've probably heard about it already. The story – spoilers be damned, there's very little here to spoil anyway – of two tough gals from the banlieue (both beurettes, i.e. Arab in origin, which seems to make a difference to some commentators) who end up as a kind of Thelma and Louise killing machine double act, has become something of a cause célèbre for “radical” feminist critics, and there are plenty of erudite and yawn-inducing critiques online banging on about “empowerment”, “alienation”, “role reversal”, gender-this and gender-that. Anyone who dares say that it's a pretty duff movie, awfully shot, scrappily edited and badly acted – though you'll see why Despentes and Coralie had to cast real pornstars – is rounded on by these PC harpies and accused of being somehow in league with the KKK, or something similar. So be it, I'll nail my hood to the mast. The violence is so stupid and gratuitous it's not even shocking (perhaps if Coralie had decided to include a scene from Despentes' book where the girls kill a three-year old kid it might have been), and the script is so thin that the possible lesbian (if not just simple loving) relationship between our heroines is barely hinted at – there's only a corny flashback to their dance together when Nadine prepares Manu's funeral “pyre”.. If there are serious issues to be tackled here – and that seems to be clear – there has to be a better way to do it than this tawdry little affair.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Orson Welles, The Stranger, 1946

Not as wild and woolly as Mr. Arkadin, or as virtuoso as The Lady from Shanghai, but it has its moments, and most of the good ones happen at the top of the clock tower.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch, 2009

This fine film seems to have been passed over by the festivals and the awards people when it came out, but now that going off to jihad is even more fashionable than it was six years ago, it's just as topical. Except our jihadi bride here only has eyes for Jesus, and was safely tucked away in a convent in Northern France before the Mother Superior decided she'd be better off discovering the outside world for a while. I doubt Céline's eventual trip to Lebanon was what the abbess had in mind, but never mind. Julie Sokolowski's ecstatic gaze heavenwards inevitably recalls Renée Falconetti in Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, and her wade into the water is clear pointer back to Bresson's Mouchette. Instead this one doesn't end the same way, and I'm not saying any more than that
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Mike Leigh, Mr.Turner, 2014

Leigh has obviously researched his story very well (apart from a few bloopers which IMDb has already picked up), and has gone to great pains to recreate the light of the great late paintings, and even though Cornwall doesn't look much like Margate and Ruskin certainly wasn't the effete lisping fop he's made out to be here (the incensed Guardian critic writes he'd like to sue Leigh for defamation of character), the film is a pretty faithful representation of the life of Britain's greatest artist (the world's, my dad would have said, but as former Vice President of the Turner Society you'd expect him to say that..). But do we need all two and a half hours of it? It's certainly important to show JMWT's fascination for new technology - especially his interest in the emerging daguerrotype - and essential to understand his comprehensive knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology (hence those rather curious turns of phrase, all perfectly in keeping with the artist's letters and poems), but I wonder why we have to see him humping his psoriasis-stricken housemaid or bursting into tears in a whorehouse bedroom. If Tim Spall had spent more time actually painting and less time grunting – the word-to-grunt ratio seems to be about 50-50 – we could have cut out half an hour and ended up with something tighter and more compelling. But some great moments, especially the re-enacting of the famous feud with Constable
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/ ... itain.html
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Philippe Grandrieux, Sombre, 1998

Well it's certainly dark all right – just as well, perhaps, so we don't see the gory details of the murders. Have just finished reading Horeck and Kendall's The New Extremism in Cinema: From France to Europe, one of whose essays enthuses about this, so decided to check it out. Grandrieux has done as much installation work as actual filmmaking, and I wonder whether or not this atmospheric tale of a travelling serial killer (itinerant marionettist? a-and what's he doing with that wolf costume, eh?) wouldn't be more effective in a blacked-out gallery space (though I'd love to give it a try on the big screen instead of my telly here). Nice soundtrack, mixing typically sweaty Alan Vega originals and a splendid Elysian Fields Gainsbourg cover accompanying the final travelling shot past spectators of the Tour de France – smashing ending, what does it all mean?
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Cristi Puiu, Marfa şi Banii ("Stuff and Dough"), 2001

Neat little road movie about a guy, his pal and his pal's girlfriend (who tags along uninvited) on a day trip to deliver some “medicine” to a shady character in Bucharest, eventually realising – having been forced off the road and.. no I won't spoil it for you – that the folks they're working for aren't as nice as all that. I like films shot in the back seats of moving vehicles, and although things never get as outright menacing as some of the other movies reviewed above here (thinking of Twentynine Palms), there's a subtle tension well maintained throughout.
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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Lynne Ramsay, We Need To Talk About Kevin, 2011
since i so regularly agree with your sentiments, a positive take on this one—which i found so bad i had to turn off—is interesting to me.
Last edited by dialectics of shit on Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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What irked you (as they used to say)? Too stylish? (Where did you "walk out"?)
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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Yes, "too stylish" is an apt way of summing up my reaction. Honestly don't think I got more than like a half hour in before I

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I hadn't seen your Sombre post yet when I posted about WHtTAK, but it dovetails nicely because it's my favorite Grandrieux, and he's one of my top 3 working directors, who has a simply nonpareil style. I still haven't had a chance to watch White Epilepsy (I don't think many folks have because there's still no rip online.), but his other features are similarly essential viewing, if you haven't caught them.

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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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The bicycle race ending to Sombre caught me off guard as well. Someone on Hipinion, the other board I post on, described it as "a bit of a j'accuse moment aimed at petit-bourgeois France," which I thought was interesting.

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Piano Mouth
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Can someone tell me how I can get a hipinion account? If so, feel free to PM me. Thanks.

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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the incensed Guardian critic writes he'd like to sue Leigh for defamation of character
Good luck. What was done in Social Network probably takes the cake. And if (the apparently quite angry) Zuckerman, who actually had a girlfriend throughout that entire period and so did not create Facebook to impress an unrequited love could sue, he's certainly got the money.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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dialectics of shit wrote:Yes, "too stylish" is an apt way of summing up my reaction. Honestly don't think I got more than like a half hour in
So you didn't get as far as the death of the family guinea pig, and how the little sister lost her eye? Aww.. :lol: Always worth sitting through until the end, imo, even if you know as you watch it that you won't be going back to it again.
dialectics of shit wrote:I hadn't seen your Sombre post yet when I posted about WHtTAK, but it dovetails nicely because it's my favorite Grandrieux, and he's one of my top 3 working directors, who has a simply nonpareil style. I still haven't had a chance to watch White Epilepsy (I don't think many folks have because there's still no rip online.), but his other features are similarly essential viewing, if you haven't caught them.
Haven't got to them yet, and (like you) waiting for White Epilepsy to show up online somewhere. I missed it when it screened at the Cinémathèque a couple of years ago.
http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/dans-sall ... 16631.html
But I'd say Sombre is a great example of why you shouldn't walk out of a movie after just half an hour ;) BTW, who are the other two of yr top 3 directors, dos?
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Jean-Luc Godard, Alphaville, 1965

Just been thumbing through Alain Bergala's indispensible Godard Au Travail to see where some of the interiors were shot, particularly that awesome spiral staircase, and it seems alas that many of the then futuristic locations have now been demolished. No matter, the film lives on, and has aged well. It's certainly one of JLG's more accessible films, and arguably his most Wellesian (couple of direct cribs from The Trial, and of course one of Orson's own fetish actors, the wonderful Akim Tamaroff).
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Just saw Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev (2014).

Beautiful, relevant, harsh, Russian. Some minor quibbles over the plot, but overall recommended.

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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2015

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Dan Warburton wrote:So you didn't get as far as the death of the family guinea pig, and how the little sister lost her eye? Aww.. :lol: Always worth sitting through until the end, imo, even if you know as you watch it that you won't be going back to it again.

Haven't got to them yet, and (like you) waiting for White Epilepsy to show up online somewhere. I missed it when it screened at the Cinémathèque a couple of years ago.

http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/dans-sall ... 16631.html
But I'd say Sombre is a great example of why you shouldn't walk out of a movie after just half an hour ;) BTW, who are the other two of yr top 3 directors, dos?
Ha, I admit those sound like things worth sticking around for.

I think you're likely to be quite pleased with your experience with the rest of his oeuvre.

Other two favorite directors would be Costa and Sharunas Bartas.

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