Recently Watched Films 2016

Not the stuff on your shower tiles.

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Abbas Kiarostami, Five Dedicated to Ozu, 2003

"We find a beautiful example of an artist with strength enough to take his hand out, and let nature become the artist" goes the blog I swiped the screenshots from. Well, erm, not quite - Kiarostami's montage is as subtle as Eric La Casa's, in the final section - final movement? It feels like a symphony - which moves from moonlit night to storm to dawn in under half an hour. Elsewhere, in the first of these five long takes, the camera actually moves a little, following a piece of driftwood in the tide (so the dedication to Ozu doesn't mean copying the Japanese master's camera techniques, it's more a question of affectionate homage, I guess). Once we see women not wearing headscarves crossing the scene in section two we realise we're not in Iran (seems it was shot in Spain, actually), but if it's things crossing the screen wait for section four: are there really 800 ducks? Maybe I'll count them next time, just for a laugh. But my favourite section is the third, in which Kiarostami oh so gradually bleaches out the colour.. we can still make out the dogs' wagging tails, but the waves breaking diagonally become smears of blue light moving rapidly from left to right. It's utterly magical. Who says there's nothing to see? There's so much!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Paul Verhoeven, Total Recall, 1990

Here's another one I'd never seen before, honest. And I rather doubt I'll ever see it again either. I loved Robocop (so did Jacques Rivette, amazingly), but, apart from Sharon Stone's fight scenes, I didn't get much of a kick out of this. The only "acting" Arnie could ever handle was Terminator, after all. The story's pretty bloody daft - but then again, maybe Verhoeven's taking us all for a ride, as he did with Showgirls.. WTF, I like most 50s sci fi, maybe I will watch it again one day, who knows.. Someone talk me into it.
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dialectics of shit
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Rivette was also, wisely, a fan of Showgirls.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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dialectics of shit wrote:Rivette was also, wisely, a fan of Showgirls.
Yes, the French seem to like Verhoeven - there was an enthusiastic retrospective of his work at the Cinémathèque recently. I wonder if Rivette enjoyed this (surely he wouldn't have described the leading lady as "débandante" :lol: -

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Paul Verhoeven, Basic Instinct, 1992

I think it stands the test of time rather well, myself - much better than Total Recall, anyway - the script's fun (if typically over the top, but that's Eszterhas for you), and it's well acted and very well filmed by Jan "Speed" de Bont. Of course, Catherine's pad isn't really in Stinson Beach - it's actually on the same street in Carmel where Clint Eastwood's DJ lived in Play Misty for Me. Appropriate, I suppose.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Bill Norton, Cisco Pike, 1972

In addition to these three, who each give great performances - without Kris Kristofferson there would be no Michael Madsen - the cast includes Gene Hackman, Viva and Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas. Fine script, good music, solid cinematography. A BluRay would be nice one day.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Raúl Ruiz Tres tristes tigres (1968)
classically trained

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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I'm not a first-nighter--even with respect to films I think might be good. But I went to the new Ghost Busters (Feig, 2016) opening night, even though I figured it would be crappy. Why? Because I thought I might be in it. You see, I cluelessly wandered into a scene on Tremont St. (most of the movie was shot within a few blocks of where I work in Boston) on my way home from work. Lots of people were behind a barrier, but, while I knew from the trucks every day that filming was going on for that movie, just ignored the barriers and went on my merry way down the sidewalk toward my T stop. Anyhow, all of a sudden, Kristen Wiig was running past me, pounding on the windows of a hotel restaurant. I stopped, kind of amazed, and took out my phone to tell my wife I'd just seen a celeb. A minute later, somebody told me I couldn't stand there, and, acting tough, like Barney Fife, I said, "Why the hell not, it's a public sidewalk!" before scampering away.

So I went to the movies to see if I was in it. I mean, it's just as unlikely as ever, but I really still don't know. That scene was there, shot from inside the restaurant, but it only takes a couple of seconds. It looked like there was a person or two standing on the street as she ran by, but I couldn't even make out their genders. I haven't given up though. When it comes out, I'll buy it and watch it on a tv or computer so I can stop the film (and pretend I'm a character in Blow-up.)

As for the movie itself, it was predictably stupid (and I'm not saying this to be loyal to the original one--I think that was stupid too). I suppose they're built to be scary for 4-year olds in some parts and funny for teenagers in other parts. I can't comment on whether the cartoony parts are indeed scary for toddlers, but I will say that they go on endlessly. Re the attempts at humor, Wiig and McCarthy are good at delivering funny lines. McCarthy is given maybe five, and Wiig two or three. Everybody else in the movie is terrible. But the writing is so bad, it's hard to tell if it's really their fault.

I'm happy to report that on a weekend opening night at 8:30 in Cambridge, Mass. the theater was no more than half full.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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yonhosago wrote:Image

Raúl Ruiz Tres tristes tigres (1968)
How is this? I haven't got round to this one yet! See below..
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Raoul Ruiz, Mistérios de Lisboa, 2010

At the risk of sounding Kael-like at her most (over)enthusiastic (Nashville, Last Tango..), I'm prepared to go out on a limb here and say I think this is as good as - and probably better than, though unlike Pauline I will have to watch it again to confirm that - Barry Lyndon. Of course, it's not as easy to find - though I can recommend the splendid HD rip at KG, if your ratio can stand it, or as part of the 10-DVD box set recently released by Alfama - it's in Portuguese instead of English, and the novel it's based on, written in 1854 by Camilo Castelo-Branco is nowhere near as linear as Thackeray's (in fact, it's closer to Don Quixote, or the The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, or even One Hundred Years of Solitude). Its labyrinthine plot is perfect for Ruiz, and he was obviously quite clear in how he wanted to shoot it, turning out the four-and-a-half hour film in just over three months (fast even by his standards). It really represents the apotheosis of Ruiz's cinema, with the trademark deep focus shots, elaborate camera movements and exquisite lighting, and, unlike many of Ruiz's films, is perfectly comprehensible, nay gripping, provided you make an effort. Don't be put off by the duration - you can watch it over two nights, as we did - it holds the attention admirably. The director subsequently extended it into a 6-hour series for TV, but I read that he preferred the film version (several key scenes in the film apparently didn't make it to the series, even if it's longer). If you saw and enjoyed his Klimt or his Proust adaptation, you'll thrill to this. And even if you only know Barry Lyndon, I'd recommend it without reservation. Masterly.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC -- Documentary about Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records of Berkeley, specializing in regional musics (as opposed to formulaic and commercial 'mouse music.') With Flaco Jimenez, Michael Ducet, Mance Lipscomb, Ry Cooder, Marc Savoy, and many more. Wonderful!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnbZnl_y8_U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuHduL6uJO4
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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ECSTASY OF ORDER -- The Tetris Masters. Entertaining documentary about the game, early championships and legends (Thor), the first Tetris Championship Tournament, and the reemergence of the Tetris God Thor. Full of great Tetris lore like 'The Level 29 Kill Screen,' 'the t-spin,' and the dreaded 'long bar drought.'
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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SqDanceCallingSteve wrote:Image

ECSTASY OF ORDER -- The Tetris Masters. Entertaining documentary about the game, early championships and legends (Thor), the first Tetris Championship Tournament, and the reemergence of the Tetris God Thor. Full of great Tetris lore like 'The Level 29 Kill Screen,' 'the t-spin,' and the dreaded 'long bar drought.'
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Try this one in case you've never seen it

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Le Dossier 51 dir. Michel Deville

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Haven't had the time to really watch a ton of movies lately, tho blame it on me not making the time I guess, but this one was really freakin' great. It now kind of reminds me of Chris Marker's La Jatee because it features still shots with over voices in the beginning of the film, interspersed with video minimally at first, and then it somehow turns into more video footage of government espionage, French audio over a montage of images of people being spied on, tho very much different from the james bond type of espionage, it's more of a radio play in the theater than a flashy 007 block buster of course, and it's got this mesmerizing haze and pace to it, and while the movie progresses, it becomes more and more emotionally disturbing, but in a way so that it catches you off guard. Not to be missed.

:D

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Mistérios de Lisboa is assuredly a masterpiece, particularly the miniseries version.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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I want to see the mini-series! I bought the movie a couple months ago from iTunes. I thought it was good, but not the greatest introduction to Ruiz if you are still unfamiliar with his work.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Dan Warburton wrote:
yonhosago wrote:Image

Raúl Ruiz Tres tristes tigres (1968)
How is this? I haven't got round to this one yet! See below..

it's difficult to say. I found it terrific. The camera work is very interesting, very active (almost dogma-style hand-held camera). The actors are outstanding: Shenda Román and Luis Alarcón (he plays THE UR-CHILEAN-DRUNKARD), and Nelson Villagra (who is also in Littin's El chacal de Nahueltoro, from the next year), and Jaime Vadell, who has worked in almost every chilean film since (he's in Larraín's No). It's a restored version, with an almost excellent audio: bad audio in the dialogues is still a hindrance in chilean films.

But I'm chilean, and the effect of the film relies heavily on the fact that I know by ear the ways in which the characters speak. In a interview from
a couple of years after this film, speaking about Realismo socialista, Ruiz spoke about those "ways of speaking" as the actual characters in the film. Several bits of dialogue show almost in "pure" form the way people still talks here. I understand, or I live amongst the violence, the animality/inhumanity, the stupidity, the witlessness, crassness, the poverty (not of things, of world), that film conveys. From this standpoint, it's depressing, almost unbearable for a chilean. Someone could say that the film predicts the violence of 1973-1979. But that is wrong: the military coup, the senseless violence and inhumanity are already happening, it's the same atmosphere and logic that nurtured the dictatorship.
Also I can recognize the city. I walk almost everyday in some of the streets the film shows. Even if gentrification and speculation have destroyed a lot, the depressing atmosphere is there, untouched. One thing the film shows that are gone, are the night clubs, the taverns and "picadas"

Plus, I knew Ruiz, some months before he passed away, in a private poetry/philosophy seminar. He spoke beautifully about classical chinese poetry (Li Po, Wang Wei, et al) He was one of his films, a rural storyteller mixed with Resnais; he told the story and edited it while he spoke, just like one of his films. Also, I know Jaime Vadell personally. He acted in a friend's shortfilm some years ago. I served as a driver for the shooting, so I carried the two old actors (Vadell and Mario Lorca [damn, what a voice]), so I got to speak with Vadell crossing this absurd city.

Finally, I've only watched the "chilean" films or TV series of Ruiz: Palomita Blanca, Casa de campo, La recta provincia (the serie and the film version). Wish I could see the other films from 1970-1973 and Diálogos de exiliados.

So, my opinion is very biased.
classically trained

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Piano Mouth wrote:Le Dossier 51 dir. Michel Deville

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Told you those Featured Torrents were good.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Archie Mayo, Moontide, 1942

If that shot looks weird, well it's supposed to - but the extended scene depicting Gabin's boozy soirée, a disturbing montage of superimposed distorted images, is by far the best thing in the movie, which otherwise falls flat in a kind of no man's land between noir and melodrama. Gabin never really cracked Hollywood, but it seems the folks there wanted him to, trying in vain to ape Remorques and La belle équipe, and apparently not understanding either. Ida Lupino, already 24, is woefully miscast as a teen waif, but the real victims of this mess are the viewers, forced to swallow a ridiculously trite happy ending to respect the strictures of the Code. Again.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Michael Winner, The Big Sleep, 1978

The idea of remaking The Big Sleep sounds crazy, but I was pleasantly surprised how well it turned out: Mitchum's worldweary laconic delivery is perfect for Marlowe (I must now try James Garner, having enjoyed Elliott Gould), and Winner is right to showcase the similarities between Chandler's ludicrously convoluted plot and the storylines of the early Avengers and Persuaders series. It's a blast seeing Oliver Reed and Joan Collins squaring off against Mitchum, and there's a fine supporting cast of Brit regulars - John Mills, Edward Fox, Harry Andrews, Colin Blakely.. - but the weakest link is the casting of the Sternwood daughters. Candy Clark's Camilla is just plain silly, and there's no way Sarah Miles can exude the same kind of hormonal bliss as Bacall. Not with that hairstyle anyway. But definitely well worth a look!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Michael Winner, Death Wish 2, 1982

The original Death Wish, made back in the dirty twilight of the Nixon years, was, though I have serious issues with the depiction of violence and its dubious moral stance, an effective and influential piece of film making. Kickass Herbie Hancock OST, too. Fast forward to Ronnie's America in 1982, and move from grungy NYC to sunny California, and the difference is striking. Yep, the gang rape is awful again (longer too, I think), and Paul Kersey's ethics just as suspect - he really enjoys his vigilante job, takes up temporary residence in a fleapit hotel and dresses for the part - but now Winner and his team are more content to peddle their wares as entertainment. Who gives a toss about "message"? Even the heroine, Bronson's partner in real life, has some questions to ask, driving off into the sunset instead of alerting the cops. It all goes downhill when Vincent Gardenia gets blown away, imo...


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Michael Winner, Death Wish 3, 1985

...but three years further down the line, and Winner has given up all semblance of reality altogether. This is just pure manga fun, with gangs of insane bikers torching everything and everyone in sight, and Charlie even ordering a rocket launcher through mail order to deal with them. I imagine the generation who grew up with Kill Bill will appreciate it more than its two predecessors. Which I suppose could be a point in its favour. It's very well-made, but totally bloody daft.
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