Recently Watched Films 2016

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Dan Warburton
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Recently Watched Films 2016

Post by Dan Warburton »

Happy New Year, folks.

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Raymond Depardon, Profils paysans 1: L'approche, 2000

No subtitles as far as I can see, and even if you're reasonably fluent in French you're likely to have a hard time understanding much of what's said (of course, I wouldn't expect you to understand Occitan, which is what the two characters above are speaking) - but I don't think that matters too much. Most of Depardon's farmers - the word "peasant" has a distinctly negative connotation in my book (cf. definition 3 from thefreedictionary, "An uncouth, crude, or ill-bred person; a boor") - manage to go about their daily business and ignore the camera, which allows our eyes to roam.. it's a documentary, sure, but at times it feels more like Bresson, Alonso or Tarr. Looking forward to the second and third chapters, will report back.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Raoul Ruiz - La Villes De Pirates

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This is the second Ruiz film I've seen. The other being the Lisbon one. I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but I think I do like it, even though it's not perfect. The beginning was pretty cool, with the ball floating around, the images of the sea are some of the most beautiful cinematography I've ever seen. This movie is totally just a montage of different scenes and situations. Lots of weirdness in it. I would recommend it, the music in it ties the film together really well.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Jean Cocteau, La Belle et la Bête, 1946

Much more subversive than it might seem at first, and open to interpretation on many levels - have a look at the original text and see what Cocteau added to the story (most significantly the character of Avenant, also played by Jean Marais of course..) http://feeclochette.chez.com/Beaumont/belle.htm I'll pass on the Phil Glass opera, if you don't mind.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Randall Wright, Lucian Freud: Painted Life, 2011

Photo seems to be the wrong way round, from what I recall - but it doesn't matter, as these shots of Freud in action were taken just days before his death, and would be just as precious upside down. Great documentary, cool contributions from Freud's (many) daughters and other notables, including the detestable Andrew Parker Bowles and the delectable David Hockney
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Edward Dmytryk, The Caine Mutiny, 1954

Best remembered perhaps for Bogart twiddling his balls (if you've seen it you'll know what I mean), but there are fine performances too from Jose Ferrer as lawyer Greenwald and Fred MacMurray as the other notable coward, Keefer. In the novel, Keefer is the captain of the ship Ensign Keith is assigned to after the mutiny trial, but in the movie it's former captain DeVriess. (Wouk's novel is also harder hitting in its dialogue, with Greenwald's Jewishness highlighted.. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Caine_Mutiny if interested) In any case, the movie was a box office success (despite a rather wooden hero in Robert Francis, but I guess we shouldn't be too hard on the poor lad who died in a plane smash barely a year later.. that's what comes of hanging out with Howard Hughes), and Bogie only just lost out to Marlon in On The Waterfront for Best Actor.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Andrea Arnold, Wuthering Heights, 2011

During the Christmas holidays I finally managed to make it to the end of the novel, which I don't think I'll be doing again - not that there isn't a strange fascination for the petulant frenzy of Brontë's characters, but the ending (Cathy fille takes up with young Hareton? I mean, c'mon) is hard to take and there's too much overwrought dialogue and not enough of the marvellous descriptions of nature. I can see now why all the film adaptations I've seen (have yet to tackle the Fiennes / Binoche version, or the BBC serial, which I suspect will be exhaustive, erudite and earnestly faithful to the original, and not a little dull, like most BBC series are) stop soon after Cathy's death. But for my money this 2011 reading by Andrea Arnold is far and away the best film adaptation, and the one that remains truest in feel to the book. A black Heathcliff? Hell, why not? I think it's a great move: in the book he's described as being dark-skinned, swarthy, possibly of gypsy stock, but there's also that fine line where Nelly says "your mother must have been an African queen". So it's not only plausible, it makes sense plotwise, explaining Hindley's brutal enslavement of Heathcliff after father Earnshaw's death (though you may raise an eyebrow at Hindley's skin'ead haircut and choice of language..). Arnold makes Heathcliff the centre of the action, but as in the book he's a mysterious character - we learn nothing of his origins, nor of what he does halfway through when he disappears and returns well-dressed and filthy rich - we understand his desire for revenge, but also flinch at his cruel treatment of Isabella, not to mention hanging up Linton family dogs on fenceposts. At times of crisis he literally hugs the earth, lying down in the black bog and allowing himself to be soaked by the rain, and Arnold's film deliberately roots itself in nature, that camera swooping low, Malick-like, through long grasses, or zooming in on leaves, cobwebs and moths fluttering at windowpanes (yeah, well, some of those animal metaphors are a bit unsubtle.. Cathy's caged canary in her boudoir, OK we follow you..). The locations - in Wensleydale and Swaledale, a bit north of Haworth - are perfect, and the accents of the (untrained - and rightly so) actors authentic (Leeds, Sheffield..). Brontë purists may cringe at lines like "fuck you cunts", but I'll take such blunt invective to Merle Oberon's simpering, or Bunuel's tropical hysteria any day of the week. More detail here http://ruthlessculture.com/2011/11/16/w ... ooking-in/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Jack Clayton, The Pumpkin Eater, 1964

Wow, how come I'd never heard about this gem before? One answer to that question may be because it falls rather neatly between distinct sub-genres of early 60s cinema: issues of abortion and sterilisation (openly discussed) and family breakups/breakdowns would seem to place it firmly in the British Kitchen Sink, but Anne Bancroft's existential angst is much closer to something you'd expect from Antonioni - except where Monica Vitti goes to pieces in a fogbound industrial estate, Bancroft cracks up in the Edwardian Food Hall in Harrod's ("of all places!"). And working to reinforce and undermine both is Harold Pinter's fabulously weird screenplay: Yootha Joyce's chilling scene in the hairdressers or the gentlemen's club non-showdown between Peter Finch and James Mason are echt Pinter, their near-surreal absurdity deeply rooted in that stilted, anal class system he skewers so well. As scripts go, I'd say easily as impressive as the better-known outings for Losey, The Servant and Accident. Interestingly, several critics were put off by the excess of it all - I find much to agree with here, for example http://www.screenonline.org.uk/media/mfb/1376934/ - but that's just what I love: the truly bizarre zoom right into James Mason's mouth (ha, glad Clayton also spotted he had such rotten teeth), the roving, giddy Cassavetes-like camera following Finch and Bancroft's argument through their labyrinthine house, and that fight scene - fuck, even Sam Fuller would have been impressed.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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GONE BABY GONE (2007) -- Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Amy Ryan (superb performance as the foul-mouthed low-life mother), Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan. Gritty and unconventional drama about a child abduction case. Strong performances, well-plotted, engrossing.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Can't see yr screenshot there, Steve - a problem with my browser? Hope you can see this OK:

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Michele Lupo, The Weekend Murders ("Concerto per pistola solista"), 1970

I prefer the Italian title actually, as there's no specific mention of any weekend anywhere.. This might look like a giallo, but it's more an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit, albeit seen through Italian eyes and with a supercheese Tchaikowsky ripoff soundtrack by Francesco di Masi. Fans of Fawlty Towers might recognise Ballard Berkeley (the Major), here playing the family butler.. but he doesn't stick around very long, if you know what I mean. Of course, there's the usual truckload of red herrings, and you can be sure the village bobby solves the case before the sleuth sent in from The Yard (Lance Percival, ha). All jolly good fun, what
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Thank you screener leaks! Fantastic cinematography, great soundtrack and a rough story. The entire film felt as cold as the environment it was shot in. I'm not a huge Leo fan but I enjoyed him in this. Highly recommended.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Lot's of buzz on this despite it being out since 12/18 I guess the holiday break helped. Highly recommended documentary on Netflix.

Making a Murderer is an American web television series that first streamed on Netflix on December 18, 2015.[1] The first season recounts the story of Steven Avery, a man who was imprisoned for sexual assault and attempted murder, and who was later exonerated, only to be subsequently accused of the murder of Teresa Halbach.[2] The series was filmed over the course of ten years, with the creators moving back and forth from New York to Wisconsin during filming.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Dan Warburton wrote:Can't see yr screenshot there, Steve - a problem with my browser?
I can see it on mine, but here's a link to the film's trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f99Ep0koG84

The film has a wonderfully morally ambiguous finish, thought provoking!
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Pietro Germi, La Città si difende ("Four Ways Out"), 1951

The four ways out being what happens to the four petty criminals who steal the proceeds from a football match and then are forced to split up when the cops give chase. Hard to discuss without giving the plot away, but let's just say "crime doesn't pay" ;) Solid neorealismo footage of the sordid suburban housing projects, and plenty of Bicycle Thieves-like teary sentimentalism and real nasty gangsters to boot.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Jean-Luc Godard / Jean-Henri Roger, British Sounds, 1970

Image swiped, as is often the case, from Ed's blog, and I can do no better than to link you to his review http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.fr/2008/ ... ounds.html.. but, ah, it all seems so far away now.. those delightfully naïve slogans ("make a million copies of a Marxist-Leninist film and it becomes Gone With The Wind!"), the shop stewards with "Guernica" on their office wall and the kazoo-tooting LSE students rewriting Beatles lyrics to refer to Mao..
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Eugène Green, Le monde vivant, 2003

And that's the lion, on the bed in the last pic. Huh, you snigger, it's a dog - but you try telling that to children who are playing at ogres and damsels in distress. The director insists, in an interview here http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x42xju ... v_creation that the film is set in modern times ("Nicolas's parents have a phone, after all.. and the ogre has a freezer!"), even if his story his derived from Chrétien de Troyes. Comparisons with Rohmer's Perceval le Gallois are certainly appropriate then, as are those with Bresson's Lancelot du Lac, both clear influences, I think. But unlike its rather austere predecessors, this is a real film for young children, who still believe in medieval chivalry, dragons and monsters. We all did once upon a time, however hard we may try now to forget or deny it now - and Eugène Green's limpid, crystalline fairytale reminds us that's nothing to be ashamed of.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Kō Nakahira, Crazed Fruit (狂った果実),1956

What a great film - the trailer goes on about "the lost generation", but a few years down the road you know these rich spoilt kids gadding around in Daddy's car and ordering highballs (in English) in cocktail bars will have reverted to type.. It's a great tale of two brothers who both fall for the same girl (well, woman, actually.. but I won't spoil the dynamite ending). Beware occasional spoilers in the two Criterion essays below
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts ... in-the-sun
https://www.criterion.com/current/posts ... zoku-films.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Ken Russell, Altered States, 1980

"No one is gonna tell me you de-differentiated your goddamn genetic structure for four goddamn hours and then reconstituted! I'm a Professor of Endocrinology at the Harvard Medical School. I'm an attending physician at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital! I'm a Contributing Editor to the American Journal of Endocrinology and a I am a fellow and Vice-President of the Eastern Association of Endocrinologists and President of the Journal Club! And I'm not going to listen to any more of your kabbalistic, quantum, friggin' dumb limbo mumbo jumbo! I'm gonna show these to a radiologist!"
See the problem? Too many bloody words - but that's Paddy "Network" Chayefsky for you, and apparently his contract stipulated that nobody could change one of them without his permission. Arthur Penn was originally slated to direct, but left in a huff, probably saying "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Ken Russell's solution was to railroad through Paddy's pretentious claptrap at high speed (count the number of times Bob Balaban and Charles Haid speak at the same time), much to the author's displeasure. And it worked - you probably can't recall more than a couple of memorable quotes from this movie, but you sure as hell won't forget that seven-eyed sheep.. I love Russell's special effects - I've never gone for the idea that the best SFX are the ones that look most "realistic". Jurassic Park? I'll take Voyage dans la lune. Nobody who ever went to a Sun Ra gig really believed that this geezer with the motheaten cape and tinfoil hat actually beamed down from Saturn, but so what? The Arkestra kicked ass. Anyway, bravo William Hurt and Miguel Godreau (primal man) - shame about the terrible ending, though. He should have gone out like David Naughton in American Werewolf in London
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Takashi Miike, Sukiyaki Western Django, 2007

Apart from wanting to make money at the box office, which is a perfectly noble motive I suppose, I really don't know why Miike felt he had to make this one, apart from an evident desire to explore / exploit tropes and clichés refracted through three different styles of western (Kurosawa's Yojimbo - specifically namechecked in the screenplay - inspired Leone's Fistful, Leone and Corbucci and n number of other spaghetti directors inspired Tarantino, and hey presto here's QT himself acting as lousily as ever.. and that's not the only Tarantino influence on Miike's direction). It has its moments - Chief Kiyomori insisting on being called Henry (he's reading the bard's Henry VI, which is rather amusing in itself), the Sheriff with the Gollum-like split personality (though maybe the bit where he punches himself is more a homage to Fight Club than to Tolkien) - but it draaaags.. Even if you know how it's going to end before it starts, the journey to the inevitable clichéd dénouement ("your Ma was a mighty fine lady.." haw haw) isn't all that interesting. Worst of all though is the fact that, though everyone in the cast is speaking English, I had to download and attach a subs file because I couldn't for the life of me understand half of what was being said. That's one thing the Italian directors did that Miike didn't emulate: dub the dialogue correctly in as many languages as it takes.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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Michael Winterbottom, Butterfly Kiss, 1995

If you only know Amanda Plummer as Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction, you may like to check her out as Eunice, an unhinged hellbent schizo trawling the service stations of the M6 - she eventually hooks up with Miriam (Saskia Reeves, terrific), a naïve but affectionate slightly under-average IQ girl who joins her on the road.. Comparisons with Messidor, Heavenly Creatures and Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer are probably more appropriate than those with Thelma and Louise. Fine soundtrack (even if I've never been a Cranberries fan), solid script from Frank Cotrell Boyce and excellent performances from the two leading ladies, even if Ms Plummer's accent is weird beyond belief at times. Word of warning: don't go swimming in Morecambe Bay
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2016

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I guess I put this in the wrong thread--I'll repost here and delete there....


Three recent movies I've seen--one good, one ok, one awful:

The Big Short (McKay, 2015). You may not completely fathom what a credit default swap is when you leave, but you'll probably have a better idea than when you arrived. It's a little overwrought (especially Carrell) and ignores both some earlier similar crises (Like the Capital Asset Management bail-out) and the insurance vehicles provided by AIG that created the biggest gov't expenditures, but it's both enjoyable and informative. I'm a big Christian Bale fan so that may bias me a bit in its favor.

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Ted 2 (Sulkin, 2015) Less funny than the first one and much less good on the issues of whether artifacts should have "rights" than either Ex Machina or old Star Trek episodes. Also much too much semen. But mostly enjoyable--especially the Tom Brady scene.


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Sisters (Pell, 2015). Sometimes attempts (at music, film, sculpture, etc.) don't quite work. Maybe you wanted to make a beautiful piece, and it came out so-so--or even shitty. That's no crime; everybody fails--at least you tried. Here, the situation is very different. Fey, Poehler, et al. made precisely the pile of garbage they wanted to make. Was it the money that tempted them? A new generation of consumers? A last chance to show some skin? No idea. But this could have been American Pie 7 or Porkies 2 or some other similar drivel. At least 3/4 of it involves a party in which a house gets trashed (after the manner of 16 Candles--but at incredible length). Drawings of penises, a guy getting a ballerina statuette stuck up his asshole, drugs, clueless cops, etc. etc. Fear not, the house--half down a sinkhole and with a tree on top of it-- is miraculously fixed in two weeks by the two stars and the guy with the dancing asshole without costing a thing, apparently. Not only the plot but the characters are trite and completely predictable. Weist and Brolin looked like they were on oxy. Smiled a couple times maybe, but not a single laugh. Raunchy as the Schumer movie but much more adolescent. As bad as one could possibly imagine.

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