Recently Watched Films 2017

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Nicolas Roeg, Don't Look Now, 1973

We returned to this the night before we set off for a three-day visit (my first) to Venice, and then spent many happy hours getting utterly lost looking for the places where Roeg shot his film (not without difficulty). Of course, the story's a bit of fluff - I didn't think so first time I saw it, though - and the dialogue's not all that better, but Roeg's virtuoso editing and the unique light and space of Venice more than make up for it. It's hard to see now why the sex scene caused such a rumpus when the film was released - Sutherland's cheesy wig and scrawny buttocks don't exactly bring the concupiscence to the boil, and I'd forgotten how skinny Julie Christie was at the time - but it's still a beautiful bit of filmmaking.
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Wombatz
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Fully agreed on the last two. They must have done something to Don't Look Now since we saw it long ago, since when I rewatched last year, it had lost many of its qualities. I don't remember the details that well, but i guess it was no longer dreamlike, so much of it suddenly seemed really silly ...

and Série noire is great, starting from some of the best opening credits ever:


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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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I had a very similar experience with Don't Look Now. Blown away the first time, mildly repulsed the second.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Joon-ho Bong, Memories of Murder, 2003

Based, like Zodiac, on a true story of unresolved serial killer crimes, but - unlike Fincher's film - saved by a sense of humour (you can't help rather liking Detectives Park and Cho, even if their methods are, shall we say, not exactly kosher), this was a fine piece of work. I don't normally pay much attention to IMDb ratings, but 8.1 is about right, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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we had 6.2 on imdb:

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Maps to the Stars by David Cronenberg. i approached this with some trepidation, in fact we had skipped it when it ran at the cinema because of the lousy reviews, but as my wife is a mia wasikowska fan we still had to catch up on this. it's pretty good? of course, if you retell the story it sounds awful (which is acknowledged when wasikowska's character pitches the story of the film within the film to the chauffeur she hits on), so let's skip that. also, if you read it as an over-the-top satire on hollywood, as these reviews did, it's pointless. but the actors are splendid (at least in the german dub), and if you view it as a straight tragedy (inevitable walk into redemptive doom for everyone) on the lynchian side of cronenberg, it's quite tight and multilayered.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Xavier Beauvois, N'oublie pas que tu vas mourir, 1995

The following scrawl will spoil the story for you, so read on at your own risk. Benoît (Beauvois himself) is happily studying Art History when he's called up for ten months of obligatory military service - but instead of grinning and bearing it he chooses to slice open his arm with a rusty penknife with a view to getting discharged (on grounds of sanity, presumably), after which he discovers he's HIV+.. Fuck-a-doodle-do. This, let's say, colours his outlook on life somewhat differently (!), and after spending a night in jail for stupidly trying to drive his car out of the police pound without paying his parking fine, he falls in with a bad hombre (Roschdy Zem, a nice performance) and discovers the delights of crack, eventually smuggling a shitload of coke back into France and netting €50,000 cash, with which he sets off on a tour of Italy to see as many Renaissance masterpieces as he can before it's too late. He meets and falls in luv with Chiarra Mastroianni, as one does, wisely abandons her when she insists on his making love to her without a jimmy hat (he's a good boy) and unwisely slides back into drug use before (and here it gets hard to take) signing up to fight à la Byron in some unnamed ex-Yugoslav republic where he's unceremoniously shot to bits, in cheesy slowmotion to boot. Bon bref, it's a well-made film - Mr Godard liked it, apparently, if that's of any interest to you - but a bit too tortured adolescent for me. Better than Les nuits fauves, but the same kind of vibe. Anyway, if you're heavily into those Romantics (Byron, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, that lot) you might enjoy it. Serve with a glass of absinthe.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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CHASING TRANE (2016) -- Documentary on Coltrane, winner of some awards, Trane's words spoken by Denzel Washington, some fascinating early documentary footage and striking paintings; but with a script seeming authored by Nancy Reagan and Gumbo Wynton, they have snatched boredom from the sublime and replaced soul with posturing. Not sure I'll make it all the way through, but at this point it's a solid 'Avoid like the plague.'

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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Manchester By The Sea (Lonergan, 2016). Another great film by Kenneth Lonergan (those who haven't yet seen Margaret are missing a true contemporary masterpiece). The writing in Manchester is terrific, as is Casey Affleck. A disaster has ripped the soul out of a man. No one who lives through something like that can ever be a whole person again, and Lonergan ties up no ribbons at the end here. But some little growth may be possible--here symbolized by the ability to move from Quincy to Charlestown. One relationship can't fix another or heal a fucked life, but maybe it can help a bit.

Really moving stuff, beautifully shot on The North Shore. (Accents generally pretty good.)
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Steve Minkin wrote:Image
CHASING TRANE (2016) -- Documentary on Coltrane, winner of some awards, Trane's words spoken by Denzel Washington, some fascinating early documentary footage and striking paintings; but with a script seeming authored by Nancy Reagan and Gumbo Wynton, they have snatched boredom from the sublime and replaced soul with posturing. Not sure I'll make it all the way through, but at this point it's a solid 'Avoid like the plague.'
Dearie me.. I just snatched this at KG, hoping for some new footage of my hero Dolphy (is there any?).. Reagan and Wynton, yikes! Well, I'll give it a test drive and get back to you.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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walto wrote:Image

Manchester By The Sea (Lonergan, 2016). Another great film by Kenneth Lonergan (those who haven't yet seen Margaret are missing a true contemporary masterpiece). The writing in Manchester is terrific, as is Casey Affleck. A disaster has ripped the soul out of a man. No one who lives through something like that can ever be a whole person again, and Lonergan ties up no ribbons at the end here. But some little growth may be possible--here symbolized by the ability to move from Quincy to Charlestown. One relationship can't fix another or heal a fucked life, but maybe it can help a bit.

Really moving stuff, beautifully shot on The North Shore. (Accents generally pretty good.)
It hasn't shown up on Karagarga yet - maybe due to their rather silly snobbishness ("no big box office movies here folks"). I enjoyed Margaret very much on your recommendation Walt, so perhaps I'll just do the horribly old-fashioned thing and.. buy it :lol:
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Steve Minkin
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Well, I hope you enjoy the Coltrane film more than I did, Dan! I finished it today, and found it easier to take this time than my first crack at it, probably because I came to accept it on its own terms: targeting 7th graders who may have heard about jazz.

There are great film and archive photos throughout, along with the music, and those make it worth watching if you don't get too caught up in yelling "Shut up!" at the screen.

No sight nor mention of Dolphy. Nor of Earl Bostic, Red Garland, Don Cherry, John Gilmore, Interstellar Space, Meditations . . . The whole post-Love Supreme/ Crescent period is treated as the inscrutable explorations of an unknowable genius. Nobody who actually likes free jazz speaks about the late works.

There are occasional interesting stories or insightful comments, but these are overwhelmed by the vapid pretensions of Wynton, Cornel West, Bill Clinton . . .

A wasted opportunity.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, La fille inconnue, 2016

Having been rather underwhelmed by Marion Cotillard in the last Dardenne we saw, this was a welcome return to form. But there are no real surprises with these chaps - all their films are set in the drab working class world of Seraing, a dreary suburb of Liège. The story here is straightforward enough - a young doctor refuses to open the door to her surgery when someone rings after closing time, and later finds that the girl who rang the bell in distress ended up dead. Cue guilty amateur detective story. It's better than it sounds, actually.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Gérard Oury, Le crime ne paie pas, 1962

A film à sketches - four of them - featuring an all-star cast of actors (Darrieux, Girardot, Brasseur, Noiret..) and writers (Aurence, Bost, Boileau & Narcejac) with plenty of sumptuous locations, costumes and enough plot twists to sustain its rather long (2h33) running time. Not great, but well-made and entertaining.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Jérôme Enrico, Paulette, 2012

The late great Bernadette Lafont's last but one film is an enjoyable if not particularly profound or surprising tale of a widowed granny (and former prizewinning baker) living in the projects (it looks like this was shot in Bagnolet again, the same location for Brisseau's early films) who makes a bundle selling spacecakes, and has predictable but amusing run-ins with the local dealers and the law - her son-in-law is a cop, and black to boot. Needless to say Paulette's eventually cured of her racist attitudes, and it all ends happily ever after in - where else? - Amsterdam.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Ivan Passer, Intimate Lighting, 1965

What a great little (71 minutes) film - another stellar example of the Czech New Wave, like the early Formans I wrote about above somewhere. Here's a little write-up for you https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/verti ... -lighting/
Highly recommended
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Arnaud Desplechin, La sentinelle, 1992

This is an intriguing take on the spy film, the tale of a diplomat's son who returns to Paris to study as a pathologist after spending a childhood in Cold War Bonn. Detained for no apparent reason on the train home by what he believes to be legitimate customs officers, he arrives in Paris to find something very strange in his luggage (no spoilers!). Watch and find out, it's a goody - great performances all round (Jean-Louis Richard is terrific, as usual).
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Daniel Haller, The Dunwich Horror, 1970

Slowly but surely plodding through the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft (and have been since David Tibet recommended him to me back in 2003) - one of his short stories a month is about all I can take - so I was rather dreading a film adaptation, but this is surprisingly good, especially the hippy trippy psychedelic special effects and a truly creepy performance from the perennially magnificent Dean Stockwell. Even the Les Baxter soundtrack, which I didn't particularly thrill to when I listened to it on its own, works well in context.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Pete Walker, Frightmare, 1974

This is great little chiller - great little driller too, when you see what this seemingly sweet little old lady does with a Black and Decker - all the more so because it doesn't end well at all. Juvenile delinquents, insane cannibals, great stuff.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Faouzi Bensaïdi, WWW What A Wonderful World, 2006

Nice 'n' fresh, this tale of a hitman (played by the director himself) who falls in love with a traffic cop in Casablanca - though the actual plot, such as it is, isn't all that important - it's just a peg for Bensaïdi to hang his affectionate homages on.. If you like Tati, Fellini, Beineix and Jarmusch you'll enjoy it very much. I did.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2017

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Todd Haynes, [Safe], 1995

A long overdue return to what was hailed as one of the great films of the 90s but which, as far as I'm concerned, is just as relevant to today's insane world. Who does this speech remind you of?
"Aw, god, um, I just want to thank Chris for doing this, and everybody here so much, um, it's just, you pulled me through a really hard period. Anyway, I couldn't have done it without you. [Applause.] I do not know what I'm saying, just that I really hated myself before I came here, and, um, so I'm trying to see myself hopefully, um, more as I am, more, um, more positive, like seeing the pluses, like, I think, it's slowly opening up now, people's minds, like, um, educating, and, and, AIDS, and, um, and other types of diseases, 'cuz, 'cuz, and it is a disease, 'cuz it's out there, and we just have to be more aware of it, um, with, people aware of it, and, um, even ourselves, like, uh, going, reading labels and, and, going into buildings."
Sure, Chump would never admit to hating himself - has there ever been anyone who had a higher opinion of himself than the fucking moron in the White House? - but the incoherent rambling, phrases that trail off nowhere are par for the course in our twittertwatter selfiestick world. Make of the AIDS subtext(s) what you will (this write-up's not too bad http://www.othervoices.org/2.3/jgrossman/ ) - I think the movie's about much more than that - it's a truly first-class piece of work in every way. The framing, camera movements, use of colour and extraneous sound (can't any of the poor deluded fools at Wrenwood hear those trains, planes and trucks?) and, needless to say, the performances of everyone concerned. Great movie.
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