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A few reviews
(02-08-2020, 02:14 AM)Gaith Wrote: ^ The Shanghai Surprise HDTGM is Ep #213, but it looks as though all of their shows older than six months are only available through the Stitcher mobile app, which allegedly has a free subscription level as well as paid ones. Annoying. It's not as though they live up to their title by doing substantive research or using industry connections to dish juicy gossip! They just banter about flicks like any old assemblage of hack frauds. Tongue

Thanks!

A Jan Komasa double-bill...

Corpus Christi (2019)
'Corpus Christi' ('Boze Cialo' / 'Body of Christ') is Poland's entry for the Oscars and well worth the nomination. Bartosz Bielenia plays Daniel a troubled young offender who has found God in a detention center but because of his crimes he isn't allowed to enter a Seminary. After being released he is mistaken for a priest and starts preaching to the broken people of a small town who have suffered a tragedy. Bielenia looks like a young Christopher Walken, with these piercing blue eyes which Director Jan Komasa makes full use of. He frequently holds the camera on Bielenia's face for long periods in near silence. It reminded me a bit of the way Carl Theodor Dreyer used Falconetti in 'The Passion of Joan of Arc'. Even though I'm not religious, I found it to be a very powerful film, so I'd be interested to hear what a Christian/Catholic thought of it.



Powstanie Warszawskie (2014)
This Polish documentary (Directed by Jan Komasa) features a similar approach to one used in the later 'They Shall Not Grow Old'. Old black & white silent footage from the 1944 'Warsaw Uprising' was cleaned up, colorised, stabilised, scored and lip-synced to newly recorded vocals. Quite a bit of the newsreel material was staged (which was still a normal practice for documentaries in the 40s) but instead of avoiding that issue, they wisely incorporate it into the structure of the piece. So it's presented as if we are experiencing what two cameramen are seeing and hearing, them shouting directions to the people in front of the camera, them commenting on the suitability of what they've shot, going for extra takes, discovering their editing table in ruins and their work being evaluated by superiors. We even see some "finished" films as they would have been screened in the cinema at the time, black & white, silent and with live commentary and music. In the second half there is no need for staging, as the harrowing destruction is shown closing in on them. Because there is so much overlapping dialogue and commentary I found it a bit hard to keep up with reading all the subtitles, at the same time as giving the images my full attention. Obviously, if you speak Polish that won't be an issue.

Thanks to Zagadka for recommending it in this thread.

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(02-07-2020, 06:53 PM)TM2YC Wrote: I looked them up on soundcloud but I'm just seeing lots of episode numbers. Can you remember which one is was please?

I listen to them on i-tunes, and they don't have numbers for the earlier episodes.  You can look at the feed there though (213 sounds about right).

Ooh, I was just looking in the store, and yeah, it looks like much older episodes are somewhat limited if you haven't downloaded them.  Too bad, as their live episode on Bloodsport was one of the funniest things ever!
 
(02-08-2020, 02:14 AM)Gaith Wrote: ^ The Shanghai Surprise HDTGM is Ep #213, but it looks as though all of their shows older than six months are only available through the Stitcher mobile app, which allegedly has a free subscription level as well as paid ones. Annoying. It's not as though they live up to their title by doing substantive research or using industry connections to dish juicy gossip! They just banter about flicks like any old assemblage of hack frauds. Tongue

I suppose their title should be "How Did THIS Get Made!?!" to more accurately reflect what they do.  It's 100% supposed to be comedy, though I do find Paul Scheer throws in a lot of fun facts and trivia for everyone to riff on.

I'm not interested at all in "juicy gossip", but if you want a podcast with substantive research and industry connections, I'd recommend Maltin on Movies.  It skews towards appreciation of classics, though.

Watched a pair of films for MLK Jr.'s Birthday...
Loving (2016)

For a film titled "Loving", I just didn't feel much while watching this.  Full review here:
https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/film/loving-2016/

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

I had only caught a few scenes of the late '80s TV show inspired from this, and I was probably too young to appreciate whatever it was doing well.  It left me not expecting much from the original film, but watching it now, I was just gobsmacked.  Full review here:
https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...the-night/
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I found and listened to some of that Shanghai Surprise podcast but it's not for me. 1.5-hr show with about 30-mins of discussion of the film, 30 mins of commercials and 30 mins of unrelated annoying goofing off. A shame because the discussion bits were good.

I thought that 'Loving' film looked worth a watch and Joel Edgerton usually does interesting projects. Sad to here it's not.

The Foreigner (2017)
Former Bond Director Martin Campbell and former Bond star Pierce Brosnan re-team for this Jackie Chan vehicle, set in peace-process era Northern Ireland. I thought this was going to be a brutal and efficient old-man revenge action film like 'Taken' (which partly it is) but it's more of a tightly plotted political thriller. So you might be either slightly disappointed, or pleasantly surprised, depending on what you were wanting out of the film. I was a little of both, I very much enjoyed the film but I couldn't help wondering what a whole movie of nothing but old Jackie wrecking the place with MacGyver-style bombs would've been like. Chan's performance is so good, playing a man physically unstoppable but emotionally shattered and dead inside. Brosnan is blatantly impersonating politician Gerry Adams, although there are elements of Martin McGuinness too. Cliff Martinez contributes another brooding synth score.



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The Cotton Club: Encore (1984)
A few years ago Director/writer Francis Ford Coppola found an old Betamax copy of his original longer cut of this notorious box-office bomb and then spent half a million of his own money restoring it. I've not seen the theatrical cut (I plan to) so I'm not sure of the specific changes but I believe it adds more musical numbers and re-balances the film away from Richard Gere and onto Gregory Hines. After getting good reviews at festivals, this "Encore" version is finally out on blu-ray. The film does have some problems with pacing and focus, dividing it's time between 3, 4, or maybe more "main" characters. However, the 20s/30s world of The Cotton Club is so lovingly re-created, that it's an absolute privilege to spend a couple of hours there soaking up the smokey atmosphere of Harlem show-business, the Jazz music, the Tap-Dancing and the Champagne. The lives of real-life gangsters and musicians like Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano and Cab Calloway are mingled with characters inspired by real people like George Raft and Lena Horne. The amount of onscreen talent is incredible, with the actors really doing the singing, dancing and Gere actually plays the Cornet. It might have gone way over budget and schedule but all the money is up there on the screen. The soundtrack beautifully mixes vintage tunes with John Barry's evocative themes.

How good does this trailer look right...?



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Gringo (2018)
Nash Edgerton Directs and his bother Joel Edgerton co-stars in this entertaining black-comedy/farce about shady cross-border shenanigans between a US Pharmaceutical company and a Mexican cartel. David Oyelowo plays the kind, trusting and put-upon Harold, who is taken advantage of by his wife and his two mega-pr*ck bosses (Edgerton and Charlize Theron). The fun comes from us knowing all the horrible things that everybody is doing behind poor Harold's back and us wanting him to turn the tables on them. Sharlto Copley gives the film extra spice as an Mercenary/Eco-Warrior sent to either rescue, or murder Harold. I'm not really sure why this got such bad reviews and limp box-office, it's a blast.

NSFW trailer:

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(02-09-2020, 04:19 PM)TM2YC Wrote: I found and listened to some of that Shanghai Surprise podcast but it's not for me. 1.5-hr show with about 30-mins of discussion of the film, 30 mins of commercials and 30 mins of unrelated annoying goofing off. A shame because the discussion bits were good.

I thought that 'Loving' film looked worth a watch and Joel Edgerton usually does interesting projects. Sad to here it's not.

The Foreigner (2017)
Former Bond Director Martin Campbell and former Bond star Pierce Brosnan re-team for this Jackie Chan vehicle, set in peace-process era Northern Ireland. I thought this was going to be a brutal and efficient old-man revenge action film like 'Taken' (which partly it is) but it's more of a tightly plotted political thriller.

For sure the podcast is goofing around-type comedy, not especially informative.  I can understand it not being what everyone is looking for.

Similarly, Loving is not really the kind of movie I usually go for.  I won't go so far as to call it Oscar-bait, but I wouldn't fight someone if they did.  It may be exactly what some people like, but just didn't have any punch for me.

Totally agree with everything you said about The Foreigner!  Chan has mostly been really pushing to show some dramatic chops rather than doing lots of action nowadays, so I think that's what he was going for here, much to my surprise.  The little bits of action he did do were really great though!  Better than his Hollywood films.  
 
(02-12-2020, 01:40 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Gringo (2018)
 I'm not really sure why this got such bad reviews and limp box-office, it's a blast.

That trailer looks like a hot mess to me.  I love Copley, but he's often the best part of the films he's in.  Maybe the film is different, but that trailer looks bad-cheesy.

I saw a film!  Well, 2 actually, a little pre-Valentine's journey.
Frida (2002)
The trailers for this suck, this clip is a much better representation: 

There was already a Spanish-language film about her, so Salma Hayek made this passion project English language film that is a bit looser with the biopic structure.  Director Judy Taymor uses lots of artistic transitions and kinds of animation in scenes, resulting in scenes that sometimes feel jammed together despite the passage of time.  But it succeeds in conveying the passion and creativity of its subject.  Full review here: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/film/frida/

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Again, the trailer doesn't represent the feel of the actual movie as well as listening to the dialogue would... here's a great example:

I thought this was supposed to be a sexy romance?  Turns out it’s an execrable rom-com that comes off as Allen fantasizing himself as Bardem and writing every other character with the same voice.  Full review here: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...barcelona/
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Another Florence Pugh double-bill completes her filmography...

King Lear (2018)
This 2018 BBC modern-dress TV-movie version of 'King Lear' boasts a very starry all-star cast. Featuring Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent, Jim Carter, Andrew Scott, Christopher Eccleston, Florence Pugh as Cordelia and Anthony Hopkins in the title role. Many productions of 'King Lear' don't entirely work for me because the lead actor has to walk a tightrope between making the old king sympathetic to the audience and believably respected by his courtiers but still foolish, vain and vindictive enough to bring his whole world down on top of him. Hopkins late-career tendency to vacillate between gravely whispers and bellowing in a volcanic fury can get a bit hammy in other films but for the intemperate, senile Lear, it's the perfect piece of casting. I can't imagine anyone better, you believe every line he says and every bad decision the character makes.



The Falling (2014)
Carol Morley writes and directs this mystery about a 1969 English girls' school, where the students start experiencing mass feinting spells. Is it shock from the recent death of a classmate, peer pressure, madness, chemicals in the water supply, witchcraft, an STD, an act of defiance, or can the authorities dismiss it under the catch-all "women's problems"? Morley creates an intoxicating mix of growing pains, subliminal images, lush nature photography, Wordsworth poetry and ethereal folk music by Tracey Thorn. Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams play two friends at the center of drama. Even after watching her amazing work in 'Game of Thrones'... how is it possible for Williams to be this talented an actor at only 16?!



She can sing and play guitar too:

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(02-13-2020, 05:10 PM)TM2YC Wrote: girls' school, where the students start experiencing mass feinting spells

Isn't that a true story?
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(02-14-2020, 03:17 AM)mnkykungfu Wrote:
(02-13-2020, 05:10 PM)TM2YC Wrote: girls' school, where the students start experiencing mass feinting spells

Isn't that a true story?

I'm sure it's true that there is a story that it's true Big Grin .

RoboCop (1987)
An umpteenth re-watch via the new Arrow Video 4K-scanned blu-ray boxset, I went for the superior 'Director's Cut' as per usual but I want to watch the "Edited for TV" version too. There isn't an once of fat on this thing and hardly a line that isn't used to entertain and inform at the same time. The off-brand 'Robocop' brings the deathly dark satire and gonzo humour of the 'Judge Dredd' comics to the screen in a way that neither of the subsequent official JD films managed. Miguel Ferrer deserves plaudits for how he makes you like and root for his character, despite every line and scene telling you he is an evil amoral pr*ck. This time I was taking time to appreciate the use of Non-diegetic sound, like when we hear a warning alarm going off as Dick Jones is internally going crazy. The seamless integration of live action, stunning matte-paintings (that still hold up), back projection, puppets and stop-motion has arguably never been surpassed. A contender for membership to that exclusive club... "A perfect movie".

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Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
At one time a student's wall wasn't complete without a poster of this award-winning 2001 skateboarding Documentary but I'm only getting round to seeing it now. It's a great story and is well told through anecdote-packed interviews with seemingly everybody involved in the LA skate scene. I'm sure the kind of hyper stylized editing that the film uses was rad and totally tubular back in the day but it looks a little dated two decades later. The film really wants to portray the Zephyr Team members as maverick outsiders and counter-culture heroes (which they were), so it feels reluctant to discuss them also being a business in too much detail. No prior interest or knowledge of the sport is needed to get wrapped up in this 70s tale.

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