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A few reviews
Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans (2015)
Fascinating behind-the-scenes Documentary about Steve McQueen's out-of-control 1971 "passion project" 'Le Mans'. He insisted that nothing be faked in pursuit of capturing the essence of speed and racing on film. If a car was supposed to be going 200mph in a scene, then the stundrivers had to be doing 200mph for real (one of them got maimed). McQueen wanted to do all his own driving and they filmed the actual 1970 race to use in the movie (they entered a camera mounted car in Le Mans). Unfortunately there was never a script McQueen could agree on, so the director quit, the studio took over, something compromised was eventually released and it bombed. From the amazing footage shown in this doc, I'd still love to see the movie when I can get to a copy.

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(03-23-2020, 06:36 PM)TM2YC Wrote:

I could write an honest reaction to this, but why bother, when this kid says it all? Tongue

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Quarantine-athon!  Only 1 week left before my Netflix membership is up.  Watched these three originals, and I can recommend two out of the three...

The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019)

Despite the trailer, this isn't really a heavy investigation into Sam's death.  But if, like me, you only knew about his amazing singing, this is a great examination of why his killing was significant.  It shows what a cultural force he became, and how tragic his loss was.  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...sam-cooke/

The Rachel Divide (2018)

That's not so much a trailer as a really enlightening teaser.  If you don't know the story about Rachel Dolezal, it's fine, this documentary will walk you through her audacious claims.  It's a provocative film that may make you ask "How much should we try to understand people who are hurting VS. how much should we prevent them from hurting others?"  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...el-divide/

The Discovery (2017)

Is it just me, or did Robert Redford get much more lax about the projects he signed on to before he supposedly retired from acting?  Most of my review is a very spoilery breakdown of all the problems with this film, which you can totally read because I don't recommend watching it.  Full review here: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...discovery/
But if you must go spoiler-free: Jason Segel goes back home to confront his dad about his research, which involves proving that there is an afterlife.  The science in the film is horrible gobbledygook, and there are at least 10 alternative explanations for everything, but all this setup is actually an excuse to tell a very different kind of story, which you don't find out until near the end of the film.  Not recommended.
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^ That Sam Cooke doc looks good.

That Thing You Do! (1996)
I always meant to watch this one but never did 'til today, wow have I been missing out! Tom Hanks writes and directs, as well as playing a supporting role and even co-writing a few of the tunes. He plays the manager (loosely inspired by Brian Epstein) of a new band called The Wonders heading for "the toppermost of the poppermost" in British-Invasion era USA. Even if I wasn't loving the characters, story, humour and gleeful vibes, I'd still be enjoying just soaking up the precisely observed 1960s atmosphere, the graphic design, the fashion and all the objects and appliances. The increasing stature of the band is subtly reflected in these design choices. The scene where the band first hear themselves on the radio and run screaming through their hometown is pure joy captured on film. Steve Zahn in particular is a scream, while Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler really standout in early roles. The blu-ray had the option of watching either the Theatrical Cut, or Hanks' 2007 Extended Cut (40-minutes longer). I'm glad I went for the latter because from what I've read, the TC ripped out a lot of important material. Plus when a film is this much fun, 2.5-hours zoom by.

^Woah!  Didn't realize there was an extended cut!  That is good news, since the theatrical cut was decidedly 'meh'.  It had all the high points you mentioned (plus I just love Steve Zahn since always), but the story just didn't have teeth.  Too bad, since the behind-the-scenes was so compelling.  For example, Hanks said he didn't want them to play a band, he wanted them to be a band.  So he made them learn their instruments and do song rehearsal every day, just like a real band, basically living together.  They said it was weird by the time they actually recorded the songs in the movie, because they had to fake playing like on BBC shows for the real sound to be added in post.  They were so used to actually playing that it was hard to fake it!  (Oh, and none of them were musicians!)
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(03-25-2020, 11:14 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: ^Woah! Didn't realize there was an extended cut! That is good news, since the theatrical cut was decidedly 'meh'.

I got the Region-A blu-ray off eBay which has both cuts on the same disc and quite a few bonus features (plus a nice retro cover): https://www.amazon.com/That-Thing-You-Do...00BATGBR6/

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(03-25-2020, 11:14 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: the story just didn't have teeth.

I was expecting all the usual rock movie cliches like one of them getting into hard drugs, or mental illness, or their managers being evil crooks... so I was pleasantly surprised when all those were avoided and it was just all-round nice. So you could definitely say it didn't have teeth dramatically but I kinda enjoyed that about it.

(03-25-2020, 11:14 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: the behind-the-scenes was so compelling.

Yes they are. It looks like they all had a great time making the film.

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Wild Search (1989)
I know what these Hong Kong action films are like for their fatalistic doomed heroes, so I was afraid that any of the main characters in Ringo Lam's 'Wild Search' were going to die at every turn. What it lacks in action (compared to say John Woo) it makes up for in drama, emotion and characterisation. Chow Yun-fat's cop 'Mew Mew' becomes the protector of the sister of a dead arms dealer (her sister who is killed in a raid gone bad) and her impossibly cute little niece Ka-Ka. Ku Feng beautifully plays Ka-Ka's grandfather, who initially cruelly rejects the child of his disgraced daughter. There are some really nice moments of charming comedy too. I love the oldskool gory squibs, jaw-dropping stunts and real explosions in these films but holy sh*t, setting what is obviously your actual lead actor on fire is insane. I bet they filmed that bit last! One of my new favourite 80s Hong Kong flicks. Hopefully this gets a really nice blu-ray release someday (the DVD I watched looked poor).

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Watched another music doc and 2 for St. Patrick's Day:

Tricky Dick and the Man in Black (2018)

Good short doc that's less about the music and more using Cash as an example of America's soul being split in the '60s.  Loss of innocence and blind patriotism and conservatism combine with the U.S.' newfound sense of worldwide compassion and responsibility.  Nixon attempts to use Cash in his "Southern Strategy", which has been employed by Republicans ever since to divide and conquer in the U.S.  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...-in-black/

The Boxer (1997)

I purposely looked for Irish movies that were not about The Troubles or politics, etc.  Wanted to let that rest on St. Patrick's Day.  Turns out I failed, because the boxer is not an action movie about boxing at all really, it's a drama about the IRA.  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/film/the-boxer/

Ondine (2009)

This one seemed like a much lighter film, and I was hoping for something with all the feels of "Once".  Alas, it was not to be.  Neil Jordan seems to promise an Irish fairy tale, but Roan Innish this is not.  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/film/ondine/
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Dawn of the Dead (1978)
It's about time for a re-watch of this classic film about a group of people isolating themselves indoors from all the infected people outside. One of the things I love most about George A. Romero's movie is the clever and systematic way the characters go about setting themselves up in the mall. They act like such real people, believable, fallible and endearing protagonists. I couldn't help comparing it to the very shallow treatment of a comparable situation in 'A Quiet Place'. On past viewings, I hadn't noticed how many little moments there are of Roger becoming paralyzed with terror in the first half. It really sets up when he finally does have his break down during the truck corral scene. Ken Foree is amazing as Peter, you'd really want him on your team in a zombie apocalypse.

I watched Dario Argento's shorter "Zombi" European Cut for the first time, via the unusual full-frame/open-mate unrestored transfer on the 4K Midnight Factory boxset (it's totally uncropped, showing the edges of the film cells). It's like watching some sort of early rough-cut version of the movie in a 35mm screening room. I absolutely adore Claudio Simonetti/Goblin's score so I liked that this cut uses more of it but sometimes it did drown out the dialogue and sound (not sure if this was the rough audio of the transfer though). Argento manages to tell the same story in 10-20 minutes less time than either of Romero's cuts but the satirical elements felt less biting, the introspective moments weren't as deep and there is much less kooky humour.

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The Little Hours (2017)   (currently on US Netflix)

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This is a 14th-century sex farce set in a convent, featuring Allison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Dave Franco, and Fred Armisen. That should be all you need to know to give it a spin. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and runs a trim 90 minutes. It is great. Grade: A-
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(03-30-2020, 01:56 PM)TM2YC Wrote: I couldn't help comparing it to the very shallow treatment of a comparable situation in 'A Quiet Place'
Are you saying you didn't like A Quiet Place?  I mean, I'm not really a horror fan per se, but to me it was head and shoulders a better production than Dawn of the Dead, which I'd describe as "Good for what it was." 
(03-30-2020, 02:26 PM)Gaith Wrote: The Little Hours (2017)  
This is a 14th-century sex farce set in a convent, featuring Aubrey Plaza

I'm a big Aubrey Plaza fan (if not her films) and she often states this film as one of her favorites.  When she has talked about it in interviews, she describes it in such a way that you know exactly why it didn't do very well, while acting surprised "I don't know why more people didn't watch it..."  She's a gem.
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