Recently Watched Films 2018

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Peter Bogdanovich, At Long Last Love, 1975

This is one of those films, like Elia Kazan's Last Tycoon, that people tend to avoid simply because they've heard / read somewhere they were no good. At least Kazan's movie scraped a 6.3 on IMDb - that Bogdanovich's musical currently holds a mere 4.9 certainly raised more than eyebrows here. Put it down, perhaps, to a wave of anti-Bogdo sentiment (in the industry at the time?) for casting his love interest Cybill in everything he could, but I suspect the real reason is that the witty glitz of Cole Porter just wasn't suited for paranoid Watergate-era America. Add to that a gaggle of snotty musical purists over at IMDb who take Shepherd and Reynolds to task for their singing and dancing - they wouldn't dare do that with Madeline Kahn, who is, of course, magnificent at both (could this be her best performance, I wonder?) - but it seems abundantly clear the Bogdanovich wasn't out to outdo Astaire and Kelly. The fact that he chose untrained singers and recorded everything live (that must have led to some fantastic problems on the set..) proves he was after something else altogether. And I reckon he got it: you'd have to be an übercurmudgeon not to appreciate the scene in the swimming pool, where Cybill snaps Burt's elastic noseplug into his face without skipping a beat - or the gorgeous long tracking shots accompanying "Did You Evah?" Or Kahn and Shepherd's walk through the park. I've heard enough raves about Ray Liotta's long walk through the kitchens in Goodfellas - about time Bogdo got a bit of kudos for this. Sets, costumes, cinematography, music - I'll give it a 9. Read some of the back story here https://uproxx.com/hitfix/peter-bogdano ... behind-it/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Monte Markham, Neon City, 1991

It's 2053 and thanks to some godalmighty environmental fuckup by a scientist called Zander which blew a hole in the ozone layer, a group of oddballs and misfits, including a serial killer pretending to be a doctor and a wanted criminal (of course, she's too nice to be really guilty) escorted by a bounty killer (Michael Ironside, who's never really convincing playing a good guy), have to travel across a godforsaken desert (patrolled by Mad Max-style bikers) to the abovementioned metropolis. Turns out one of the passengers is none other than Dr Zander himself, but instead of booting him out to die in the miserable mess he created, he's allowed to wander off and eventually hitches a lift from Ironside and his babe. It's pretty naff, to be honest.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Lodge Kerrigan, Claire Dolan, 1998

"If only the movie had done a better job of connecting the dots of her life," runs the NYT review, https://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/25/movi ... w-job.html "Claire Dolan [..]would be a fully realized film." But it is, already. There's no need for the director to join the dots (he admirably assumes that not all spectators are stupid) - why do we need to know the backstory of Claire's life, the mysterious debt she has to pay off to her pimp, why she doesn't end up with Vincent D'Onofrio? Kerrigan delivers his story with a spare, Bresson-like lucidity. If that's not good enough for the New York Times, it is for me. Fine work.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Barbet Schroeder, Our Lady of the Assassins, 2000

So, you've heard and read a lot about the Medellin drug cartels.. now see what the city really looks like, and meet Anderson Ballasteros (young Alexis, above), whose real life in Medellin is almost exactly what you see here. Based on a scandalous novel by Fernando Vallejo, which managed to piss just about everybody off, it's truly awesome. Read more about it here http://bombsite.com:80/issues/77/articles/2427 and here http://www.barbet-schroeder.com/text/mail - Christ, the story of the making of the film is as wild as the film itself. It's amazing they all survived. Just. City of God? Forget that - this is the real deal. Wow.
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Douglas Trumbull, Silent Running, 1972
Rolling Stone wrote:A movie that has everything — if by everything you mean Bruce Dern as a long-haired homicidal intergalactic treehugger playing poker with droids, talking to bunnies, and feeling really passionately about salad. The directorial debut of visual effects wiz Douglas Trumbull, Silent Running is a deceptively grim environmentalist allegory about a conservationist who balks at destroying the greenhouses he’s immaculately maintained aboard a giant space freighter. Though in the moral right, Dern's crazy-eyed rants about his predicament foretell a very dark turn, which leaves him alone with nothing but his self-righteousness, guilty conscience, and the aforementioned droids. A singularly bonkers effort that nevertheless taught Star Wars a thing or two about dodderingly cute robots and gave Mystery Science Theater its bored in space conceit.
Fucking love Bruce Dern.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Vittorio De Seta, Il mondo perduto, 1954-59

I just can't recommend this highly enough - it's an astounding collection of ten short films shot in Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia, produced, filmed (in technicolor - and goodness knows how he got his camera in some of these places) and edited by De Seta. Each film is perfectly structured, a cinematic poem, with post-synced sounds of the local songs and sounds - but you could freeze the frame just about anywhere and be left with a compostion worthy of Cezanne. The fact that what we see is a disappearing (now, all but disappeared) way of life makes it all so much more poignant and precious. Fishing for tuna and swordfish, mining for sulphur, tending sheep and goats in the bleak snowstorms of Orgosolo or threshing grain by hand in a sweltering Sicilian summer. Do yourselves a favour and check this out. Absolutely sublime.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Lewis Milestone, Ocean's Eleven, 1960

Yes, it's as dull as it looks.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Certainly is. I can remember being amazed that they remade it - and the success of it and its spinoffs, none of which I've seen, except...

Through circumstances too tedious to go into here I ended up seeing "Ocean's 8" a few weeks ago - the all-female spinoff. A fun way to switch your mind off for a couple of hours.

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Alastair
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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That last post was very unclear. I've seen the original Rat Pack version (on TV years ago) but until a few weeks ago, none of the remakes/reboots.

(as if anyone cares)

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Alastair wrote:(as if anyone cares)
I do! That's why I keep posting here :roll:

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Robert Downey Sr., Putney Swope, 1969

https://nonamemovieblog.wordpress.com/2 ... ney-swope/
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walto
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Couple of Noah Baumbach films I enjoyed: While We Were Young (2014) Image
and Margo at the Wedding (2007) Image

I thought the first one was going to be kind of stupid and trite--a 40s couple being wowed by, and embarrassingly trying to emulate, a couple about 15 years younger. It definitely starts out that way. But it develops into something more amusing (even a bit like a "big con" flick) and deeper. The two amazingly beautiful women--Watts and Seyfried--are very good, as is Driver. Stiller is Stiller.

Kidman is fab in the other one--maybe her best performance ever. So tightly wound and fucked up. A lot of dimensions to the characters here. Something like what Woody Allen was shooting for--but actually had no idea how to reach--in his "serious" Bergman-copying/tribute movies.

Also saw Bo Burnham's "Eighth Grade" (2018). Image
I was very moved by the claustrophobia here and the young actress (Elsie Fisher)--who is pretty much ALWAYS on camera (pimples and all)--is terrific. A couple of friends of mine thought it compared unfavorably to Ladybird, because it was "thin" and they didn't really believe the protagonist didn't have a single friend or other person she could relate to--and that there was no female person at all in her life. But I think that all followed from the extremely "first person" approach, and the obsessive social media focus. Also, these people had sons--not daughters.

Anyhow, I felt so bad for both the girl and her father, who, though extremely sweet throughout and always saying the right words (that I almost never found), got so much abuse in return.

{NB: The half hour of commercials and previews almost drove me out of the theater, though. A lot of stupid movies on their way to screens near you--including one thing that seems like a cross between Transformers and The Love Bug. (Also Steve Carrell is in pretty much everything now, apparently.)}
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Tyler Hubby, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, 2016

Nice job, a fine tribute to the late maestro. Anybody who plays the violin with a hat on is all right with me ;)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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The Wachowski Brothers, Bound, 1996

Assuming you can stand Jennifer Tilly's cute lickle gurl voice and Gina Gershon's permanently open mouth (Billy Friedkin knew just what he was doing when he ordered her that fried chicken in Killer Joe), this is a splendid little neo-noir. Clever plot, nicely filmed - of course - and well-acted. Not terrifically profound, but impressively slick. Should we say The Wachowski Brothers or Sisters, btw? They were still brothers when they made this in any case.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Barbet Schroeder, L'Avocat de la terreur, 2007

Schroeder's documentaries are always fascinating, and this is no exception. Reading the biography beforehand won't spoil the film, so here you go https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Verg%C3%A8s
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Christopher Nolan, Inception, 2010

Was curious to watch it again after checking out Mark "PC" Kermode's BBC series, but my feelings still haven't changed since the last time we saw it (this is the third and, I suspect, the last time). At least this time round I turned the volume down to near-Sugimoto levels to all-but-kill the horrendous Zimmer. Rather good, actually, just watching it as a near-silent with just the subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKI432lCZaU
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Bong Joon-Ho, Barking Dogs Never Bite, 2000

Amusing and smart debut feature from Mr Bong, strongly recommended to anyone who really likes dogs, just to hear their howls of anguish.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Mike Nichols, The Graduate, 1967

Strange how this has dated. https://www.slashfilm.com/the-graduate- ... niversary/ - Pauline Kael slammed it, but if you want another New Yorker take on it, and have the time to read it (probably about as long as the film lasts), try this https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1968 ... e-graduate
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Laissez bronzer les cadavres, 2017

As with their two previous features, Cattet and Forzani go wayyyy overboard on their beloved giallo tropes (that's just fine by me), with the difference that here there is a comprehensible and pretty straightforward plot to get your teeth into, as the movie is based on a real novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid. Very enjoyable. Remind me to visit Corsica one day.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Steven Soderbergh, The Girlfriend Experience, 2009

To quote this (rather good, imo) review https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/now-in- ... rbergh-usa, "almost every image in The Girlfriend Experience is an image of a commodity and how that commodity reflects the people who own it. The effect is such that when the framing is finally dictated by something human—when Soderbergh photographs a kiss or a woman sitting in a restaurant or Grey’s crying face—it too becomes a commodity."
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2018

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Jonathan Glazer, Birth, 2004

If he hadn't spoilt it by twice showing the scene where the kid follows the woman into Central Park to bury the diary, it would have been more intriguing. Not as weird and wonderful as Under The Skin, and nowhere near as much fun as Sexy Beast, but Glazer certainly has talent. Still not convinced by Nicole Kidman. The boy was great, though.
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