Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Jean-François Stévenin, Mischka, 2000

The late great Stévenin only directed three features himself, of which this is the last, and though it seems critics are less enamoured with it than its two predecessors, Passe montagne and Double Messieurs, I thought it was smashing, myself. It was Bertrand Blier (whose Valseuses seems to be casting a long shadow over French cinema these days, as recent reviews here testify) who had the idea of an old man abandoned at a motorway service station by his family en route to their annual seaside holiday, but he handed the project over to Stévenin, who, in addition to casting the splendid Jean-Paul Roussillon as old Mischka, cast himself as the endearing if unstable ex-alcoholic hospital orderly Gégène who takes the old man out of a hospice on a wild trip across France where he's finally reunited with his family. It's a family affair: Stévenin's two children Salomé and Pierre are also running away from an absent mother in search of their missing father - indeed the theme of escape, loss and search is central to the movie - on the way they encounter various colourful characters, from Gégène's former war-obsessed AA chum Muller (Jean-Pierre Bonnaire, no relation to Sandrine) to a nomadic part-gypsy part-Earth Mother former danseuse, Joli Coeur (Rona Hartner), and a very real and very famous pop star who has a magnificent cameo (mentioning no names, and don't cheat by looking on IMDb!!). Alas, for the time being, no English subs that I know of, which will make it tough for non-French speakers. Even we had difficulty following some of the overlapping high-speed dialogue: Stévénin likes Breathless-like jumpcuts as much in his dialogue and storyline as in the editing. But that didn't stop us from thoroughly enjoying it.
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Wombatz
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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hey dan, you ok? just out for a pack of cigarettes?

my 13-yo is doing magician stuff now, letting coins vanish and the right cards jump in the air, so i remembered this existed for a family viewing:

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the prestige by christopher nolan, 2006. i'm no fan, but this is surprisingly good story and directionwise with all his usual tricks, jumps in the timeline, camera as unreliable narrator, indecipherable dropped hints that announce plot twists adding unsuspected layers to the story. contrary to something like inception this escalates in both preposterous and satisfying ways, helped by the historical setting that gives the story a little more warmth. unfortunately there were not enough magic tricks for the boy (who otherwise loved the film). and even more unfortunately, the main actors are awful. escpecially christian bale with nothing to feed his method acting is a mere void on the screen. hugh jackman is a little more watchable but totally unbelievable as a showman. plus scarlett johansson again, urgh. the other woman, michael caine, and david bowie with a goofily subdued performance as tesla are all good, but can't rescue the film on that front. still a very entertaining watch.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

Several packs of cigarettes, in fact :) No, just away for a few weeks back in the Disunited Kingdom, helping son and his gal move back to France (good move, right now), seen plenty of films but spent more time reading books for a change, and rewatching the four Blackadder series, for a laugh. God knows we need one right now! Meanwhile, odds and ends sketched from before the summer break include -

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Rupert Julian, The Phantom of the Opera, 1925

Since I watched Kevin Brownlow's splendid documentary Lon Chaney Man of a Thousand Faces just before the holidays I've been discovering the Chaney back catalogue. Ashamed to reveal I'd never seen this before :o And very good it is too. Chaney, of course (amazing makeup: the unmasking scene still kicks ass) and the awesome Studio 28 sets. Plenty of intriguing trivia tidbits here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phant ... 1925_film)
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Gérard Krawczyk, L'été en pente douce, 1987

Quite an apt description of my summer, as it turns out. Wiki: "Following the death of his mother, Stephane Leheurt, nicknamed Fane (Jean-Pierre Bacri), rejoins his mentally handicapped brother Maurice, nicknamed Mo, (Jacques Villeret) at their mother's house. He wants a quiet life with his brother and his pretty girlfriend Lilas (Pauline Lafont). But Voke the neighbouring garage owner has eyes on the house, and on Lilas." Tough not to have eyes for Lafont indeed (and her untimely early death at the age of 25 in a hiking accident in the Cevennes inevitably plays on the emotions), but solid performances from Bacri and Villeret and well-crafted direction and filming throughout. Practice yr French https://www.lemonde.fr/vous/article/201 ... _3238.html
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Allison Ellwood/Alex Gibney - Magic Trip (2011)

Well, if you ever wanted to see what white privilege looks like…

I just finished reading Robert Stone’s splendid memoir Prime Green and this lead me here.

Useless, though technically impressive, hagiography on this team of blahs.

To wit: AMERICA college athlete wrestling football Ken Kesey schoolbus paint it groooovy hang out with your equally white buddies drop a lot of acid tootling ma flute tootling ma flute tootling ma fecking FLUTE murcan flags murcan flags murcan flags murcan shirts murcan SHIRTS. Clunky fifties rock plodding awful awful awful AWFUL sixties music some light and easy and sodding conventional jazz up the ass. Fuck about a bit and then retreat into whatever ranch or compound or mansion or family wealth or corporate executive wait for 2016 to roll around and vote for Trump you FUCKS.

No black people anywhere - oh sorry, yes there are. Nurse Ratched’s evil henchmen in Cuckoo’s Nest. Can’t remember if it was written like that in the book. Fuck Milos Forman anyway.

Oh, and OF COURSE Ginsberg and Kerouac and Timothy fucking Leary and Jerry FUCKING Garcia and the FUCKING Grateful Dead.

No, the one exemplar to pull out of this dreary period is Robert Stone, tracking the darker underbelly of the sixties and how that bleeds into both the square seventies and the bright and creepy reaction of the eighties. A Hall of Mirrors, Dog Soldiers, Outerbridge Reach, all great.

THIS, though? No, I only saw it to have seen it and write one of my angriest rants yet.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Mon Aug 29, 2022 12:33 am
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Rupert Julian, The Phantom of the Opera, 1925

Since I watched Kevin Brownlow's splendid documentary Lon Chaney Man of a Thousand Faces just before the holidays I've been discovering the Chaney back catalogue. Ashamed to reveal I'd never seen this before :o And very good it is too. Chaney, of course (amazing makeup: the unmasking scene still kicks ass) and the awesome Studio 28 sets. Plenty of intriguing trivia tidbits here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phant ... 1925_film)
nice. i think the hunchback of notre dame is the only lon chaney film that ever bored me.

(hey dan, can you identify the film that's on top of the last fade-outs page over in the music forum for me?)

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

I can"t see the image (can you stick it in here, or send a link?), but you said something about Brialy.. intrigued! Pop it up, let's have a look
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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henriq wrote:
Sun Sep 04, 2022 5:24 pm
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Allison Ellwood/Alex Gibney - Magic Trip (2011)
Wow, that's one angry Swede! Never seen you so worked up, Henrik, old chum. I've enjoyed the other Alex Gibneys I've seen, but I'd probably better give this one a miss in case you come roaring down from Stockholm to sack the city of Chartres with one of those pointy horned helmets on :lol:

Meanwhile...

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Woody Allen, Rifkin's Festival, 2020

Well, this chap didn't like it one bit https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-a ... oody-allen and I can see why. It's really for hardcore Woody fans only (but then again, aren't all his movies?), that generation of boring old farts like me who long for Fellini, Bunuel and (60s) Godard and enjoy Woody's pastiches thereof (personally I can probably survive without Bergman though, and I can definitely live without Lelouch). Christoph Waltz as Death in the Seventh Seal chess game might raise a chuckle, but little more, and Wally Shawn's musings on life are about as flabby as he is (fine actor, though, elsewhere). At 75, it's not hard to imagine why his onscreen wife (Gina Gershon) might want to have a fling with Louis Garrel (the less said of whose bongo playing, the better), but... it's a tired yawn of a movie. Why can't people just retire gracefully and enjoy spending their $$$$$? Woody, Jagger, McCartney, just go, please
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Don Siegel, The Verdict, 1946

Accomplished debut feature from Siegel, the last of many Sydney Greenstreet / Peter Lorre outings, set in an eternally foggy Victorian London (Hollywood loved doing eternally foggy Victorian London), and nicely written up here http://bryininberlin.blogspot.com/2007/ ... 6-usa.html Entertaining, worth a look on a foggy autumn evening.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dario Argento, Ti piace Hitchcock?, 2005

Yes, I do like Hitchcock, and so does Dario, as you might expect. This made-for-TV romp makes frequent and obvious references to Strangers on a Train, Rear Window and Vertigo (see if you can spot others), and there's nothing wrong with that. Shame the casting isn't on the same level as the story, but it won't spoil your enjoyment.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Mon Sep 05, 2022 11:17 pm
I can"t see the image (can you stick it in here, or send a link?), but you said something about Brialy.. intrigued! Pop it up, let's have a look
oh no! i checked on a different browser and can't see the videos myself (something to do with flash no longer being supported i wager). so time to pack up another thread ... this one i really liked.

here's the link to the video, i'm sure it will be very simple for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq-jBIsRTqY

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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What a fabulous track that Booker Ervin is though, thanks for reminding me of it. One of my favourite piano solos in there too. Anyway, gotcha! (I love playing quizzes, as you know): great film, check it out..

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051469/

and here's what I wrote back then
Dan Warburton wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:08 pm
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Mauro Bolognini, La notte brava, 1959

Remember how the TARDIS in Doctor Who is "dimensionally transcendental" - i.e. from the outside it's as big as the Police Call Box it resembles, but once inside it's an enormous space? Time to patent my "Tardis Film Theory": some movies are relatively short in clock time, but so rich in detail and superbly and economically crafted, they feel much longer. Put it another way, in the hands of a less talented director and writer, there's enough here to be spun out into yet another dull TV series. La notte brava is a Tardis film par excellence: I simply can't believe it lasts barely 90 minutes (that's excluding the opening credits sequence) and had to watch it twice in a row, it was that good - which hasn't happened in a while. Pier Paolo Pasolini adapted his own novel magnificently: the dialogue is sparse but cuts straight to the point. Amazingly, this was rated X in Britain (I read somewhere), presumably more for what implies than what it actually shows; most of the hoo-hah centred on Laurent Terzieff's scene rolling around the floor with Mylène Demongeot and her kitten, though there's a fabulously charged homoerotic moment between Jean-Claude Brialy and Tomas Milian (great film debut for the latter). Pimps, prostitutes, poverty and petty crime in Pasolini's beloved tawdry half-finished projects on the outskirts of Rome. Not as iconic as La Dolce Vita or the Antonioni trilogy, but definitely up there with them. A great film. If you don't know it, you really should.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Mon Sep 05, 2022 11:31 pm
henriq wrote:
Sun Sep 04, 2022 5:24 pm
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Allison Ellwood/Alex Gibney - Magic Trip (2011)
Wow, that's one angry Swede! Never seen you so worked up, Henrik, old chum. I've enjoyed the other Alex Gibneys I've seen, but I'd probably better give this one a miss in case you come roaring down from Stockholm to sack the city of Chartres with one of those pointy horned helmets on :lol:
Actually, whenever I'm that allergic to somethiong it's more likely to do with whatever foul mood I happen to find myself in than the actual film. Yes, I like Gibney too, and as a film this could be called flawless. No talking heads at all, all composed from the actual film shot in and around the bus, and tape recordings, and scripted stuff read out by actors. Must have been a hell of a research gone into this, collating and arranging all that material. So not a spot on that. But that sixties cult, the lionisation of...twats. Like Neal Cassady (I guess - don't know if I ever read On the Road, know that I haven't read any Cassady), motormouthing all over the place, shooting a suckling barbecue pig full of LSD just for giggles. Groovy dude, man. And also that feeling that everyone on that bus was pretty well set up, family money, ranches, careers, whatever, so socially playing it very safe. And a sneaking suspicion that if a bunch of black or chicano kids would have painted a bus in funny colors and dropped acid to go have fun across the land, they wouldn't have got outside the city limits. And stitched up for ten years for their trouble. Maybe the pranksters knocked on a few social doors, but no matter. Old hat these days to fawn over all that freedom, and all those american flags.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Andrzej Wajda, Danton, 1983

Adapted by the ever-prolific Jean-Claude Carrière from a play by Stanisława Przybyszewska loosely based on the research of French historian Albert Mathiez, this tale of revolutionary France was partly financed by the French and Polish governments, and neither was all that pleased with the result: the Mitterrand camp because Wajda depicted the terreur more than they were expecting him to, the Poles because the parallels between 1790s France and 1980s Poland were clear for all to see (for Danton, read Walesa; for Robespierre Jaruzelski..). It's impressive - as well as predictably solid performances from Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak in the two principal roles (and also Patrice Chéreau and Angela Winkler, to name but two others), and well-researched sets, costumes and other sundry details - but some of the dubbing is a bit clumsy and the ending (yep, you guessed right, on the guillotine) a tad melodramatic. But worth a watch.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Val Guest, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, 1961

Put to one side the potty hypothesis that a rogue nuclear explosion could knock the Earth off its axis and send it hurtling towards the Sun, and imagine it more in the context of today's much more plausible scenario of global warming, and I hope you'll enjoy this splendid early Sixties sci-fi classic as much as I did. Fine performances from the two leads, but Janet Munro died far too young and apparently Edward Judd was such a pain in the ass to work with he was soon exiled to TV work. Leo McKern you'll recognise. Smashing SFX for the time. A jolly good British dystopian romp. Arthur Christiansen, who plays the newspaper editor, was indeed the editor of the Daily Express at the time. Shame we can't take the current editor of that appalling Tory asswipe and send him off on a one-way ticket to the Sun.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_t ... aught_Fire
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Jacques Doillon, Le petit criminel, 1990

Great debut performances from child actors Gérald Thomassin and Clotilde Courau. Ah, how paths diverge... she went on to marry Emmanuel-Philibert de Savoie and became princess of Venice and Piedmont; he was acquitted of attempted murder in 2013 but has since disappeared without trace and is now presumed dead. Sad, indeed. A fine actor. He also plays the delinquent homeless Momo in Nicolas Klotz's excellent and disturbing Paria - see reviews passim.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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we watched werner herzog's gorbachev doc. what an annoying piece of hackwork. herzog is so full of himself that he believes any research would only get in the way of his trademark speech cadences. facts are the best of wikikids, historical footage is utterly random. we get not a single inside view either from gorbi ("after chernobyl we really knew we had to do something"), from the very few, again random politicians ("he was not like the other bosses"), or from the archives about e.g. how gorbi actually rose to the top except on the strength of his honest brown eyes. herzog is always slightly upstaging gorbi (beginning with a whole cabinet full of chocolat for diabetics) to prove he's the hipper old man. the ending is so embarrassing, with manipulating footage of old gorbi wandering around some yard like it's a prison court and for once insistent questioning regarding his emotional state after the death of raissa ("if your loneliness were a fragrance, how would you describe it?" ok not really but like that, in three variations), it will forever mar my enjoyment of werner herzog memes.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Are you a Herzog fan in general, Lutz? I think you have to be one, i.e. prepared to accept those numerous eccentricities, to get anything out of his stuff. I remember enjoying this - I was rather surprised in fact to reread my own somewhat excessively elogious comments above - but I do take your points. Herzog's documentaries (and the word needs some definition here: I'd say there's a hell of a difference between a Herzog documentary and one by Depardon or Wiseman..) are always as much if not more about him as they are about their subject. He's Hias, watching the clouds roll over the Bavarian alpine dawn, more Werther than Werner, the German Romantic Hero, the madman who walked all the way across Europe to save German Cinema (Lotte Eisner), and as a result he has to upstage everyone - Juliane in Wings of Hope, Dieter in Little Dieter, Timothy in Grizzly Man etc etc - so it's not surprising to see him trying the same thing with Gorby. It is, after all, called Meeting Gorbachev, not just Gorbachev, which clearly indicates the director's sense of his own importance. As for the "utterly random" historical footage, well, I'd have to watch it again. I see it was co-directed by André Singer, so maybe we can blame him. I don't recall it being all that bad. As for the man actually saying anything of great import, well, um, what did you expect? Gorbachev, like Reagan and Thatcher, was always something more symbolic than real for most people. Like Herzog. As such, I think they're rather well matched.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Samuel Fuller, China Gate, 1957

It's a bit of a daft story about a team of explosives experts sent into the jungle border between Vietnam and China to blow up an ammo dump, but maybe worth a look if you want to know how Angie Dickinson started out, or see Nat King Cole playing a battle-hardened muthafucka (he still sings like an angel, though).
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

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Louis Garrel, La Croisade, 2021

Fan that I am of the Garrels (Maurice begat Philippe begat Louis...), this decidedly slight (just over an hour) tale of a Parisian bobo (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourgeois-boh%C3%A8me) couple who discover that their precocious pre-teen son has been flogging their Dior dresses, first edition Montaignes and vintage port to finance a harebrained scheme to save the planet by creating a huge lake in the middle of the Sahara Desert (I'm not making this up) is little more than a silly wank. The boy's voice hasn't broken yet but he's apparently popped his cherry - or thinks he has - with the older girl who's leading the adventure (that's hard to believe, and his parents' reaction even harder, and in any case has fuck all to do with the plot as such), and, despite being supposedly worried about air pollution, he lounges about the place puffing on an e-cigarette. We see quite a bit of Laetitia Casta, which I'm not complaining about, and a brief clip of Greta Thunberg (no surprises there), but that's about it. You can survive without this, and I daresay the planet can too.
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