Recently Watched Films 2022

Not the stuff on your shower tiles.

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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Steven Soderbergh, Full Frontal, 2002

"The film is too fixated with its own self-reflexivity to ever be about anything in particular," is the tagline for one of many negative reviews of this one. I had to scout around a bit for one that went some way to explain my own enjoyment of Soderbergh's Dogma 95-inspired film-within-a-(film-within-a)-film experimental adventure, but here's one: https://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/F ... 815916.php
So apparently horrified that the director of such mainstream goodies as Traffic could not only want to but get Miramax on board to indulge his more avant garde proclivities, and that the subject matter should be (horreurs) filmmaking and by extension the Hollywood hand that feeds them, most of the star journalists' reviews you'll find are pretty damn scathing. There doesn't even seem to be an English wiki page for the movie, but there is a French one, so I'll take the liberty of translating the "ten commandment" manifesto the director drew up for the actors in his film:
"All filming locations will be on location or in "real" places."
"You will have to make your own way to the filming locations. If you are unable to get there yourself, a driver will pick you up, but you will look really ridiculous. Also, you will have to come unaccompanied to the shoot.
"There is no canteen or catering service. So you will have to arrive on set full, and with your meals. The food will vary in quality.
"You will bring and take care of your own costumes and outfits.
"You will create and do your own hair and make-up.
"There will be no caravans. The studio will try to provide you with a rest area near the filming location, but don't count on it. If you need to be alone, you're in trouble.
"Improvisation will be encouraged.
"You will be interviewed about your character. This may be included in the film.
"You will be interviewed about the other characters. This document may be included in the film.
"You will have fun whether you like it or not.
"If you have a problem with any of these rules, stop reading now and send this script back where it came from."
Five plots intertwine and ultimately coalesce: Wiki again: "Carl Bright is a reporter for Los Angeles Magazine. But he's desperate to get his scripts in front of movie studios. He thinks he knows why his wife Lee, a human resources manager at a large company, is unhappy. Lee's sister Linda is a hotel masseuse who fears she will never meet Prince Charming. Calvin, star of a famous TV series, makes his big screen debut as Nicholas, partner to a big star, in a film produced by Gus. All these people, including an actor who plays Adolf Hitler in a play, are going to do everything they can to get to a big Beverly Hills hotel to celebrate producer Gus' 40th birthday. But the evening takes an unexpected turn..." I don't know if the website the director put up to document the shooting of the film is still around, but I imagine it is somewhere as SS is nothing if not exhaustive in his chronicling of this activities; go have a look if you like. But I found much to enjoy - watch out for two uncredited appearances by Terence Stamp, one by David Fincher and several by Brad Pitt, but the rest of the cast is good and the dialogue, whether it's improvised or not, is often sharp and funny. Harvey Weinstein hated the title (alas, I have to say I agree with him on that), which is probably why he's played by Jeff Garlin. But I had to do a double take. In fact I had to do plenty of double takes. In any case, I'll take this over Ocean's Eleven (Twelve, Thirteen etc etc) anyday. See what you make of it.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2022 12:22 am
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David Cronenberg, Crimes of the Future, 2022

Wiki (f*ck spoilers): "In an unspecified future, the disastrous effects of pollution and climate change have compelled the creation of significant advances in biotechnology, including the invention of machines and (analog) computers that can directly interface with and control bodily functions. At the same time, humankind itself has experienced a number of biological changes of indeterminate origin. Most significant among these changes is the disappearance of physical pain and infectious disease for an overwhelming majority (allowing for surgery to be safely performed on conscious people in ordinary settings), but other humans experience more radical alterations to their physiology. One of them, an eight-year-old boy named Brecken, displays the innate ability to consume and digest plastics as food. Convinced that he is inhuman, Brecken's mother smothers him with a pillow, leaving his corpse to be found by her ex-husband Lang. Saul Tenser and Caprice are a world-renowned performance artist couple. They take advantage of Tenser's "accelerated evolution syndrome", a disorder that forces his body to constantly develop new vestigial organs, by surgically removing them before a live audience. The syndrome leaves Tenser in constant pain and with severe respiratory and digestive discomfort; he is consequently reliant on a number of specialized biomechanical devices, including a bed, a machine through which Caprice performs surgery on him, and a chair that twitches and rotates as it assists him with eating. Tenser and Caprice meet with bureaucrats in charge of the National Organ Registry, a governmental office designed to uphold the state's restrictions on human evolution by cataloguing and storing newly evolved organs. One of the bureaucrats, the nervy Timlin, becomes captivated by Tenser's artistic goals. At a successful show of Tenser's, she tells him that "surgery is the new sex", a sentiment that Tenser appears to embrace."
After about twenty minutes, my finger was hovering above the off switch, but we struggled on to the end. Wish I hadn't. What a waste of good acting talent - all Viggo Mortensen does is grunt and clear his throat, when not delivering his sparse and inconsequential lines in a hoarse whisper, while Kirsten Stewart stutters and flutters around him annoyingly and Léa Seydoux (looking surprisingly like Jane Birkin) just looks worried. Or bored. Can't be bothered to waste time writing any more about this crock of shit, so I'll hand you over to someone who apparently liked it even less than I did https://observer.com/2022/06/crimes-of- ... -rex-reed/
Well, then you won't find much to enjoy in this:

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I don't think I hated the new one, though I certainly didn't like it to any great extent. Decided to have a look at this though, and didn't like it much either. Though I should say it is stifling hot here in Sweden at the moment, so my patience for a plodding second feature by anyone, let alone someone uneven like Cronenberg, was probably not the best yesterday. This might get one more chance, maybe. Just one though. Anyway, the story here, told entirely in voiceover, is utterly incomprehensible. Something with Genetics and Cosmetics and Institutes and Blah blah blah. On the screen, a group of nobodies cavort and spit up cream cheese and chocolate sauce. The lead, and voiceover, is one Ronald Mlodzik (no, me neither, though I remember Cronenberg praising him in interviews) and he grates. That foppish, "sophisticated" way of expressing yourself... What's wrong with some standard, suave transatlantic English? You think you're better than Cary Grant? Indeed, his name in the film isn't Dr Adrian Tripod, it's Adrian Tri-POD; we're not discussing Mutants here, but Mu-TANTS. A bell that can not be unrung, sad to say. But I feel that the director wants to work with architecture and sound in some beautiful way, and indeed points from here to say Scanners. So, as I said, I might come back, but we'll see.

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

So yeah, thought I'd do a couple of writeups, linked thematically. And since one of the last guys I wrote about here a while back was Roger Michell, well, here we go:

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Roger Michell - Enduring Love (2004)

A straight up adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel of the same name (I will read it some day, thank you Marie W!) and it fails a bit. Though fails might be strong - pales might be better, as I like the next entry in this A/B so much. Anyway, spoilers: a bunch of strangers are drawn together in a violent event in an English field, a runaway hot air balloon with a kid in it. People band together to keep it down, but it’s heavy, they can’t hold on - one guy gets pulled off the ground and then falls to a grisly and graphic death. Two people are united in this, Rhys Ifans and Daniel Craig - and then Ifans starts stalking Craig’s academic. With disastrous results. I think my main issues with the film is the conventions it is comfortably bogged down in. I suspect these are most of the novelist’s doing. First off, the trauma that unites the characters, and of course the guilt (“Who let go first? Maybe if we had all held on…”) - well, we get it, don’t we, the setup, the framing. But that Craig then is stalked by an insanely obsessed gay character - and that he is a published academic which gives him insight and handle on the situation - this is where things start to taste a bit off to me. Stalked by a psycho fag with a knife, and the indecisive straight guy have to step up to protect his and girlfriend’s wavering relationship. Nothing at risk in character or identity, other than the heterosexual family of course, and even the kiss that appeases and unarms the assassin is only for show, faked. And naturally the rest of the threads in the narrative resolves nicely. Nothing risked, nothing gained.

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Patrice Chéreau - Persécution (2009)

Clearly, Trividic and Chéreau appropriated McEwan’s novel for this. And it’s funny, but I see it mentioned nowhere, well, not on IMDb, Wikipedia or the credits. People seem to be lying in interviews…(Though, of course, no one mentions Don DeLillo’s The Body Artist anywhere near Jonathan Glazer’s Birth either.) But what makes this the superior film is the way the strictures and conventions of the text gets massaged and loosened, almost into what Deleuze and Guattari would call a concept, an idea, an image both vague and stealthily resonant at the same time. If with McEwan/Michell image and idea is established and policed, here the tracing of the novel becomes more deregulated, gentle. The establishing scene is as much mundane as traumatic, with a young, kindly smiling woman getting a slap from a beggar in the Paris metro. Something witnessed by Romain Duris, who immediately tries to both comfort the woman, and make sense, obsessive sense, of the event. A dominant trait of his, a neurotic lust of definition, writing and category. This is the dominant weave of image and idea in the film, Duris stitching up the typical Chéreau thronging of bodies and affect. A locus of both power, writing and desire. And care: I wish I could go there with Heidegger’s concept of sorge, but I’m not fluent at all in the man. But anyway, the thought of care as a raising up, a dressing up in words, of especially one failing, flailing friend. But to move back to the initial frame: the slap is also witnessed by Jean-Hugues Anglade, who sees and immediately falls in passionate love with Duris. The brilliance of the writing here is that Anglade never gets violent or dangerous in any real sense. Other than the obvious creepy unease of having someone follow you in the streets, burglarising your apartment, sleeping naked and drunk in your bed… But the crux here, widely apart from the English film, is that Duris becomes the answer to Anglade’s question! The answer to a prayer, even. Anglade can eat again, various ailments don’t bother him anymore, life is worth living. And Duris cannot handle this. He is the locus of articulation and power, but to have that site invaded, fluid, to himself be raised up and fondled in a way in something like love, with all its messy proximity and collapsed distances, NO! Chéreau likes this. Think the unravelling of a sexual economy of anonymous trysts in Intimacy, how Rylance has to go beyond the spacing assigned to and by him and Kerry Fox. Huppert in Gabrielle: her sudden and abrupt return to the bosom of the couple. Not there enough, or too much: inappropriate, improper, less than an answer or too loud an answer to Greggory’s unravelling love. The brothers in Son frère (love that title!), trapped and thrown in the shifting currents of love, care and affection, of strength and weakness, Todeschini haunted by his own body (“I can hear everything…”). A brilliant film, Chéreau is sorely missed.

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

I requested a reseed of the 720 rip on KG a while back but nobody rose to the bait (or is the other earlier rip you snatched OK?). Whatever, looks like this is another one for the shopping bag. I'll take your word on Heidegger, never read a word of him. I always thought Sorge was a river in Switzerland :)
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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José Giovanni, Deux hommes dans la ville, 1973

Bit of a daft title if you ask me, but never mind. Great chemistry between Gabin, playing an ageing éducateur who helps ex-prisoners reintegrate into society, and his client Delon, who's released for good behaviour until he's ruthlessly pushed off the straight and narrow path by a thoroughly nasty cop (Michel Bouquet, who excelled in roles like this). Knowing that the director himself was once sentenced to death, the ending is especially powerful. Solid.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Jacques Deray, Flic Story, 1975

This time Delon's on the right side of the law as a dashing, chainsmoking (I wonder what future generations in a non-smoking world, if the world's still here at all, will make of tobacco-obsessed French cinema) cop on the trail of a hardassed, shoot-first-and-don't-ask-any-questions-at-all gangster, played with consummate nastiness by the late Jean-Louis Trintignant. Based on a true story - there really was an Emile Buisson, and he was finally apprehended in a quiet country auberge, but in a manner far less dramatic than in the film (a truly stunning piece of montage, great scene). https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Buisson
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Lucio Fulci, A Cat in the Brain, 1990

Well, this one was fucking awful. I have no problems with filmmakers who deliberately set out to take the piss out of themselves, but a) as most of Fulci's gorefests are pretty naff to start with, and b) he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag, this silly tale of a horror film director (played by Fulci himself) who's increasingly unable to separate the brutal slashery of his oeuvre from real life, is a bloody (literally) mess. Go back to Don't Torture a Duckling instead. That's not Fulci above, btw
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Takeshi Kitano, Achilles and the Tortoise, 2008

The third part of Kitano's wacky surrealist trilogy starting with Takeshis and continuing with the underwhelming Glory to the Filmmaker features the genial twitching actor as a perennially struggling artist trying to make it, trying his hand at everything from Douanier Rousseau-like daubs via Pollock / Maud Lebowski splatters, faux-Miros, faux-Lichtensteins and faux-Basquiats to borderline conceptual art which leaves him nearly burnt to death. A wry comment on the art world / market, as he ultimately literally kicks the can down the road. Maybe, as one review puts it, "art is elusive, no one knows exactly what it is or how to appreciate, but it’s run by a bunch of crooks, inventing rules and regulations at will and exploiting the ignorance of the others," and "detached from reality, the true artist is possibly a social parasite, possibly too naïve to realise his own talent [,...for whom] the process of creating is more important for him than the creation itself and recognition and commercial success are meaningless." The film's very bright and colourful even if the humour is decidedly dark. A little on the long side, though.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Harold Becker, The Onion Field, 1979

Based on former LAPD sergeant Joseph Wambaugh's 1973 true crime tale "chronicling the kidnapping of two plainclothes LAPD officers by a pair of criminals during a traffic stop and the subsequent murder of one of them", this is an impressive if - because of its stubborn adherence to the real story and its attendant banalities - somewhat rambling affair. Hats off to James Woods, not for his offscreen political proclivities, of which the less said the better, for a remarkably unsympathetic performance.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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J. Lee Thompson, Happy Birthday to Me, 1981

Melissa Sue "Little House on the Prairie" Anderson stars in this entertaining if ultimately convoluted high school slasher. It's fun trying to guess who's really methodically polishing off these (for the most part) decidedly unlikeable rich kid frat brats, and even if the final dénouement will leave you scratching your fallen jaw wtf-like, it's a fun affair.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:52 am
I requested a reseed of the 720 rip on KG a while back but nobody rose to the bait (or is the other earlier rip you snatched OK?). Whatever, looks like this is another one for the shopping bag. I'll take your word on Heidegger, never read a word of him. I always thought Sorge was a river in Switzerland :)
We have a variant of sorge in swedish too, much the same meaning as in german. All I know of Heidegger I picked up from Avital Ronell, but I have yet to read him. And sure, that rip looks great, so go for it.

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

A couple of documentaries then, one I liked, sort of, and one I really hated... Enjoy!

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Sierra Pettengill - Riotsville, U.S.A. (2022)

Accomplished, sympathetic, but ultimately flawed documentary on the history of policing and repression in the US. I’m a sucker for found footage, but I’m also, more and more, a sucker for formalism, and therein lies my problem with this film. But the good bits first, because I certainly would like to like this a lot more than I do. First off, for a sociological inquiry like this, no talking heads, none of that authorial imprinting at least. Second, the architectural framing of the film is an intriguing one, with the Riotsvilles of the title - military sites of staging and training for urban unrest and pacification - and the utopian urban programs introduced to bookend at the close of the film. So a great and laudable purpose, to be sure. But the flaws, alas. You feel that director Pettengill, and writer Tobi Haslett, certainly know and love their Godard, Marker, Farocki, Kluge, their Thom Andersen. They want to interrogate image and concept, but something crucial is missing, the tone and footing wavers. They lack the scholastic, slightly sacral stealth and rhythm which make Marker so haunting, Farocki and Kluge so astringent. Found footage like this (all the source material come from television, military and police training and instructional films, news footage) can certainly be made to speak volumes on its own terms, but then you need to let it play out a bit, speak on its own accord, the nimbus of something performative and complex becoming articulated and visible. The film doesn’t, however: indignation peeps through, and we get some very out of place Michael Moore-isms, all nudge nudge wink wink satire. Suddenly the director sounds off like some tacky sub-Stephen Colbert or SNL hack, and this I don’t like. Not at all too much, but still enough to make me sad for what could have been.

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Brett Gaylor - Rip: A Remix Manifesto (2008)

A story, one of my favourite ones from my last twenty years of listening. OutKast, on being signed to LaFace, Arista’s newly started hiphop label, asked the label boss if they could sample stuff if they wanted. NO was the unequivocal answer: we’re much too small, we can’t afford to clear all those music rights. So should you want a certain sound, say Curtis Mayfield, you get a band in the studio and you play it out yourself. A new road for black music, born from economic necessity, and OutKast remains one of the most significant and influential acts ever. And in fact, the very problem posed here by Gaylor and his gaggle of pasty white boys is one that was encountered and dealt with already ten, fifteen years prior by the hiphop community. When everything exploded 1988-1993 and the scene became big business, clearing samples and dealing with music rights certainly became a major headache. A choice forced: keep on like before and spend millions upon millions to clear the legals, or do things differently. So more synths and drum machines, and none of the stifle or muzzle on creativity that Gaylor bemoans. I mean, listen to Timbaland’s work on Missy Elliott’s “Go To The Floor” - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RSLSHBWPPo, skip about a minute in for music to begin) surely that synth stab has the blunt force strength of Fela Kuta’s horns, say on “I.T.T.” or “Zombie”? Why of course, he loves Fela, even paid for the sample on “Whatcha Gonna Do”! The point is you can make the machines work for you like Timbaland, or OutKast, or Lil Wayne, or Pharrell/Neptunes, or Dr Dre, or even Muslimgauze, and no music industry can touch you. Sample based stuff is about as old by this date as Kind of Blue, and it’s no coincidence that the only people using them nowadays are the filthy rich - Madonna with her ABBA, Kanye West with his Curtis. Dangle that property in the face of all those kids beneath you like so much jewellery. And, rant aside, maybe this is also why Gaylor has to draft nineties relics like Negativland and Napster into his fray. And speaking of my lengthy ingress, there is an alarming lack of persons of colour here. Chuck D in a bit of exchange with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, and that’s it, practically. (William Burroughs makes an appearance too, natch). I’m not calling Gaylor a racist, it’s just that the scene here is white like marshmallows. To be sure yes, this is meant as a manifesto, and Gaylor does raise and address wider social questions too. But no matter, it feels childish and regressive. Throw in a tourist jaunt to Brazil to speak of hybridity or cannibalisation (I certainly hope all the Portuguese spoken is subtitled somewhere!) and more givens are ticked off. And also, the wider problem I have with Internet culture: why in hell does it all have to be so fucking groovy, so chirpy, bright, bouncy? An imagined hippiedom straight out of Woodstock, give me a break. Everyone super productive and remixing each other, and all too cheap to pay a few bucks for an actual CD… Bring on Altamont! Or any set of spanners in this works.

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

Dan Warburton wrote:
Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:02 am
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Ronald Neame, The Odessa File, 1974

Not as good as the other well-known adaptation of a Frederick Forsyth thriller, The Day of the Jackal, probably because the last minute revelation that the army captain shot at the station by Roschmann turned out to be our hero's daddy provides the director with a rather limp justification of personal revenge (the book ends differently, and better, if less dramatically). Happy to report that the film did eventually lead to the exposure of the real-life Roschmann, but that's another story. Until its rather implausible one-mn vendetta dénouement it's quite engaging, despite the Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtrack (yes). A good "Sunday evening" movie, as my wife would say.
Yeah, not very good. All the thrills, chills and pathos too bloody obvious, and quick on the draw. Awful music too.

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by henriq »

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Nick Gomez - Laws of Gravity (1992)

Well, I don’t know. I think I’m fucked for american indie, permanently. (Oh wait, Ramin Bahrani is great!) And European literature and cinema got me there. Not a bad place to be, really. I might situate this a bit and say first off, that compared to say Maurice Pialat in France or Peter Fleischmann in Germany (or Fassbinder for that matter) or Ulrich Seidl in Austria the “explosive” or improvisatory naturalism that Gomez strives for falls rather short. I remember watching Hundstage and being blown away completely: the feeling of clammy vertigo, and that you genuinely couldn’t say where stuff was going, where the energies would take you. I couldn’t stop talking about it for six months. But here, as in de Almeida’s On the Run, you play it safe. There is, somehow, both a feeling of loose-limbed improvisation - very chattery - AND a director’s hand that holds everything very steady. To the film’s fault, unfortunately. It has its merits, though. The acting is good, Peter Greene and Edie Falco I like, and Jean de Segonzac’s photography looks great too. He shot practically all of Homicide: Life on the Streets, so the same layered and fast, shoot from the hip style. But, and in fact, let’s nag at it from that end too, this is so much Mean Streets it can get. Peter Greene even wakes up the same way as Harvey Keitel. Adam Trese is called Johnny Boy, there is a debt to a local hood that has to be paid, even a job that’s been set up for that purpose, on and on. But then, here you don’t get Robert De Niro, you don’t get the music, or Scorsese’s writing. And you don’t get the genuine bad blood between De Niro and Richard Romanus, the feeling of a genuine cataclysm tracked and exploding all over New York. Adam Trese invites none of the love or sympathy you feel for De Niro’s Johnny Boy, on the contrary. You realise someone is going to get shot dead, and you hope it’s him, and yes indeed. Tough spot to put a film like this in, to be sure, but then, don’t invite the comparison.

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

Seen this one yet, Henrik, old chum?

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Frank Perry, Ladybug Ladybug, 1963

As we find ourselves once again teetering on the precipice of impending nuclear armageddon (well, I hope I'm wrong), you've just got enough time - you'll only need 82 minutes - to catch the one early 60s antinuclear film you've probably never seen. File alongside Fail Safe and Strangelove. Basing her excellent screenplay a true story of a school in rural America which sent its students home believing a nuclear strike was imminent (it wasn't), the director's then wife Eleanor Perry has us see things from the children's point of view, dismantling stupid religious dogma with clinical precision ("God didn't make The Bomb, the bad men did.." "Didn't God make the bad men?") and setting up a chilling pre-teen huis clos in a fallout shelter worthy of Lord of the Flies. Awesome ending. Sopranos fans watch out for a young Nancy Marchand. Why on earth this film isn't better known is a mystery. No information as far as I can see online as to how it ever fared at the box office, or how much it cost, or whatever. But it's an extraordinary little movie.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Carl Franklin, One False Move, 1992

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_False_Move Great script courtesy Billy Bob Thornton, who also turns in a fine performance as trigger happy Ray (though the really scary cat is Pluto, played by Michael Beach, of whom we should have heard more over the years, I reckon), heading back East from LA to the middle of nowhere, i.e. Star City Arkansas, where Bill Paxton is Dale "Hurricane" Dixon, the local sheriff, starstruck when two hardboiled LAPD detectives arrive in town to wait for the arrival of the baddies. No more spoilers, watch it. A very fine film, excellently shot, paced to perfection. Thornton and Paxton later got together again in Sam Raimi's stellar A Simple Plan - this one's just as good.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

So, on a Carl Franklin trip, return visit to this, and not disappointed. Can't say I spotted as much Chinatown as I seem to have done six years ago, but here's what I wrote then

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Carl Franklin, Devil in a Blue Dress, 1995
Dan Warburton wrote:
Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:02 am
Stylish neo-noir (black noir?) set in 1948 Watts. The story's not as thrilling as it might be - though obviously influenced by Chinatown (there's one of those "she's my sister she's my daughter" revelation moments here), it's not as involved/involving - but that's not really a problem, as the performances are solid and convincing (with the exception of Jennifer Beals as the the abovementioned devil - she's not very devilish at all and manages to fluff the few authentically femme fatale lines she has), especially Don Cheadle's as Mouse, Denzel's pyschopathic ex-Army buddy who shows up halfway through the film. Fine soundtrack too.
http://www.paristransatlantic.com
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Henri Verneuil, Mille milliards de dollars, 1982

The bloke (whose review prompted me to check this one out) who put this flabby mess on the same level as celebrated paranoid thrillers by Pakula and Lumet needs to take early retirement. One suspects that his lavish praise of Patrick Dewaere's decidedly lacklustre performance is linked to Dewaere's much-lamented suicide shortly after this was made. Compared to the actor's stellar work elsewhere, it's a real disappointment, but he's not alone in giving the impression he's bored shitless with the whole affair. Verneuil wasn't exactly an old fogey when he made this, but the best work of his career was well behind him. Quite apart from a convoluted plot which even decent montage and a tight sense of pace (neither of which we find here) wouldn't have saved, the cherry on the cake is director's choice of a truly appalling model village in the final scene, which even tops Melville's ridiculous helicopter / train scene in Un flic for embarrassed laughs. Dearie me. Have another look at the Sicilian Clan, at least there's a cool Morricone theme tune.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Alfred Hitchcock, Rich and Strange, 1931

Plenty of useful background info here, if you don't mind its tea-and-biscuits-chitchat style https://thewonderfulworldofcinema.wordp ... d-strange/ - and, though it's far from what we normally expect from Hitch (no murders, no suspense), the film's well worth checking out as one of those fascinating transitional works as cinema emerged from silence into sound. Great camera work and effects as usual - the shipwreck scene looks forward to Lifeboat - lively dialogue and good performances from all concerned. You'll have to put up with a bit of silly misogyny and some (to us, now) alarming anti-Chinese stereotypes, but it's worth a look.
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Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Luchino Visconti, The Damned, 1969

"Luchino Visconti's The Damned is a magnificent failure, an example of a great director working at the peak of his ability and somehow creating almost nothing at all. Surely no one else could have made this film; surely no one at all should have." https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-damned-1970 Ha! I wonder if, in later life, jolly Roger revised his opinion. I'm more inclined to side with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who voted this number one in his all time top ten https://www.indiewire.com/2015/06/raine ... ms-187374/ - and you can certainly see why. I wouldn't put it in my own top ten (hell, I wouldn't even know how to go about selecting one), as it's a distressing affair indeed - the slide of the German bourgeoisie into fascist barbarity, complete with paedophilia, incest and the spectacular Night of the Long Knives massacre, once seen never forgotten - but what extraordinary performances from Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Dirk Bogarde and especially Helmut Berger. Shame the director had to abandon his original idea of an all Mahler / Wagner soundtrack (he got his way in Death in Venice, thankfully) and had to settle for Maurice Jarre.
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