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A few reviews
(04-07-2019, 05:00 PM)Neglify Wrote: I'd suggest finishing off his Mothers trilogy with "Mother of Tears", even though it's terrible. Maybe see if Dr. Sapirstein's fanedit is still online.

Oooh! I will check that out. Thanks for the tip. https://ifdb.fanedit.org/mother-of-tears-redux/

The recent RLM review of Suspiria mentioned and showed a clip form Mother of Tears to show how bad it was, so hopefully Dr. Sapirstein has fixed it.
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Us (2019)
I thought this was a superb and unsettling Horror, with a thick layer of satirical black humour. The absurd premise doesn't make a lot of literal sense but that didn't matter for me, as it's there to cleverly explore issues of class, the others perhaps representing the under-class, the 99%, or the US prison population (the jump suits). You don't need to engage with it on that level though, as it's also an entertaining home-invasion/quasi-Zombie film on the surface. The film is packed with images of duplication, coincidence and repeated numbers that will be fun to spot on future re-watches. Lupita Nyong'o is astonishingly good as always and the rest of the cast is great too. The Cinematography and grading is just about perfect, is it too much to ask for other modern movies to look good too? The final twist was so blindly obvious, unearned and nonsensical that by the end I'd given up assuming the film was going to go there. That was the only let down for me.

The actual experience of seeing this in a cinema was a miserable one. The problem with this recent spate of classy and intelligent Horror films is that you inevitably end up seeing them with a crowd of brain-dead millennials munching food, talking nonstop throughout and playing with their phones Angry . It was quite a shock to somebody who normally avoids the kind of pandering jump-scare ridden dreck that I imagine this audience was used to.



Did this cross anybody else's mind...?


[Image: fallout.jpg]

Big Grin
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A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A rare chance to re-watch a Stanley Kubrick film on the big screen could not be missed but sadly the DLP was very poor, pixelated and the white was blown out to hell. Still, hearing Wendy Carlos' score thundering out of the Cinema speakers was a treat. It's always surprising and impressive when a film manages to be transgressive enough to "achieve" a UK 18-Certificate in 2019 (especially when it was released nearly half a century ago).  The "futuristic" costumes and decor are so insanely dated, so vulgar and kitsch that 47-years later, the film manages to look totally unique and otherworldly. Malcolm McDowell is so very, very good, he had everybody in the cinema laughing at the faces he pulls when the Government Minister is feeding him steak.



^ That's a great new trailer!
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Rollerball (1975)
Seeing this soon after re-watching 'A Clockwork Orange' (filmed 4-years earlier) brought the influences into relief, the classical music montages, the 70s-future blood-orange set designs and a few slow moving symmetrical tracking shots, not to mention it's set in a dystopian 2018. However 'Rollerball' is a much more mainstream Roman-Gladiator-meets-Sports-Movie. Once considered violent, it looks pretty tame now, even by the standards of some other 70s films. The corporate-run world is sketchily described and the parts that are explored look nonsensical, or naive. James Caan's lead performance is fairly drab and John Houseman lacks the requisite menace (not helped by the script never giving him anything menacing to do). Despite the problems, there was more than enough stunt-laden action and weird quasi-futuristic shenanigans to keep me entertained for 2-hours.



Spione (1928)
Fritz Lang does a super-stylish Silent interwar spy caper, once again starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge as a Machiavellian figure. The plot was excessively convoluted in my opinion, with enough British, Russian and Japanese agents and double-agents to fill three movies. I enjoyed all the invisible-ink type spy stuff and a scene involving a Japanese agent being seduced by beautiful Dutch actress Lien Deyers in nought but a Kimono untied at the front is pretty steamy!



I noticed Lang cheekily put two posters from his recent flop 'Metropolis' into one scene:

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Somebody could totally rework this into a James Bond silent-era adventure. Change all the intertitles. Add John Barry. Rename the hero agent 326 (pictured in a tuxedo above), to 007. Rename his boss from Jason, to 'M'. Change the evil mastermind Haghi, to Blofeld. Change the Japanese agent to Tiger Tanaka etc etc. It wouldn't take much changing really.
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"Fritz Lang's Indian Epic" (1959)
What is commonly known as "Fritz Lang's Indian Epic" was the Director's penultimate film. Although it's split into two movies of equal length ('The Tiger of Eschnapur' and 'The Indian Tomb') it is really one continous story. A beautiful half-Indian temple dancer is loved by two men, the Maharaja of Eschnapur and his new Western architect. Their bitter love triangle has shades of 'Othello', with the Maharaja's scheming brother in the Iago role. The Indian locations and architecture look gorgeous and will be recognised by anyone who has seen the 1983 Bond movie 'Octopussy'. The most memorable part is probably Debra Paget's nearly-nude erotic snake dance from the 2nd film. That scene aside, the rest feels more like an adventure from the late 1940s.

I didn't remember Jabba the Hutt being in this scene? Big Grin

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Gone Baby Gone (2007) (US Netflix)

[Image: m6-Txg-Xte-Aky-I1-Ch-Reygh-VNXyjo-M.jpg]

So, good movie, but...


How exactly was Morgan Freeman and his wife going to get away with suddenly having a three-year-old kid? Don't you need paperwork and birth certificates and such to navigate modern life? And the kid's super-white, so it's obviously not his, and one doesn't become a major police ranking officer without making friends who'll notice a pipsqueak appearing out of nowhere, even if you took a sudden and "ignominious" retirement.

Anyhow, enjoyed it. Would watch a sequel. Grade: B




Triple Frontier (2019) (Netflix Original)

[Image: dims.jpg]

Again, fun flick, but...


Towards the end, one of the gang says they're five days late to miss the boat. So, just what were they eating that whole time? MREs? Did they buy cured meat from the villagers? And did none of them really think to stash the cash bags in a readily accessible  cave/crevice somewhere in the mountains in the moment, when they knew they'd likely have to fight their way to safety?

Anyhow, a fun if utterly inconsequential popcorn joint with a strong cast and some great scenery. Worth a watch for subscribers. Grade: B-
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The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
I enjoyed this belated direct-sequel to Fritz Lang's own 1922 film more than the original. The malevolence of Rudolf Klein-Rogge's titular character looms large but he is barely in it. This gives more room for a winning romance subplot and plenty of screen time for the cranky and cerebral cigar-chewing 'Inspector Lohmann' character (Otto Wernicke), who also featured in Lang's 'M' (part of the FLCU, the 'Fritz Lang Cinematic Universe' I guess? Big Grin ). The Nazis came to power while this being filmed, Goebbels banned it and Lang fled to the USA soon after.



The Goonies (1985)
After countless times watching this on VHS and DVD I couldn't pass up a rare 4K uncut Cinema screening. Normally people talking during a movie winds me up but hearing parents express shock at the amount of swearing, violence, drug references and sexual innuendo in this 80s "family adventure" was very funny and hearing lots of kids (who were my age when I first saw 'The Goonies') laughing themselves sick and chattering with enjoyment totally added to the experience. The script, characterisation, pacing and tone is perfect magic but a careful critical eye does detect the absence of some beats from the start, which were obviously intended to setup things that don't fully pay off at the end.



I can't believe nobody here has done a Goonies extended cut yet, I'd like to see some of those early setup moments put back in (I'm not sure the Octopus scene is needed though).

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Animal Factory (2000)
Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) directs and Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker) writes, in this brutal yet thoughtful prison drama. Willem Dafoe is predictably brilliant as a lifer and Edward Furlong plays the troubled kid he takes under his wing. It's got some unexpected touches with Mickey Rourke as a transvestite Con and a cameo from trans musician Anohni/Antony Hegarty singing 'Rapture' (from his debut album) at a Prison music night. I noticed a few actors from 'The Wire' in the cast and the Directorial style, observational tone, blues/hip-hop score and dense dialogue reminded me very much of that show... interesting as Buscemi's film was filmed 2-years before... even more interesting that Buscemi directed and acted in a couple of episodes of David Simon's pre-Wire show 'Homicide: Life on the Street'. Basically what I'm saying is, if you liked 'The Wire' then check this out.

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John Mulaney - Kid Gorgeous at Radio City (2018)

I am not terribly familiar with John Mulaney but I've heard a lot of great things over the past few years and loved him in Spiderverse. So I caught this on Netflix and it is great! His timing is impeccable. I really like how he's not afraid to build properly to the bigger punchlines. Modern comedians tend to rush too much for my taste, and also shoot to make every line a killer. This one special made it really clear that Mulaney crafts his jokes with an eye on the big picture. And that's how you end up with a damn good comedy special, that rises and falls in the right places. The space and the smaller jokes make the big ones land even better. Will definitely be checking out more of his comedy.


Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Wow. I am admittedly lacking in my knowledge of musicals, probably because it's a genre I only really got into in the last few years and I just haven't taken the time to get caught up on older films. I liked La La Land which led me to check out Umbrellas of Cherbourg since it was referenced so often, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That led me to this film and holy motors, this knocked me out. This film is perfect, I think. I saw the late 90s restoration and it blew me away on every level. The cinematography is luscious, the music is pitched to the action perfectly, the songs are lovely and the actors have wonderful chemistry. I was a little surprised because a lot of what I appreciated about Umbrellas was that it tackled serious issues and was not afraid to end the way it did. This is kind of the light whimsy that I think of when I think of musicals. However, within that they manage to get into some complicated relationship dynamics while always being breezy and entertaining. Also, what an opener. I loved this film, and intend to check out more Demy films in the future. The only criticism I can think of is that maybe this film would have benefited from the recitative style of Umbrellas. I think it could have really worked in this.


Us (2019)

Pretty much cosigning all of this:

(04-08-2019, 03:52 AM)TM2YC Wrote: I thought this was a superb and unsettling Horror, with a thick layer of satirical black humour. The absurd premise doesn't make a lot of literal sense but that didn't matter for me, as it's there to cleverly explore issues of class, the others perhaps representing the under-class, the 99%, or the US prison population (the jump suits). You don't need to engage with it on that level though, as it's also an entertaining home-invasion/quasi-Zombie film on the surface. The film is packed with images of duplication, coincidence and repeated numbers that will be fun to spot on future re-watches. Lupita Nyong'o is astonishingly good as always and the rest of the cast is great too. The Cinematography and grading is just about perfect, is it too much to ask for other modern movies to look good too? The final twist was so blindly obvious, unearned and nonsensical that by the end I'd given up assuming the film was going to go there. That was the only let down for me.

I saw this twice in the theater. I really enjoyed it the first time but I loved it the second time. I was a bit let down by the ending, though. I'm generally really bad at figuring out twists, because I don't try. But I honestly didn't think the twist was a twist. I thought the film was very clear that that's what happened. It wasn't until after the film talking with my friends that I realized that it was supposed to be a twist. 

It's super clear that she comes across her double, who lunges toward the camera (her POV). Then they go out of their way to show you (TWICE) that Adelaide was not speaking after the incident. Then we meet the tethered and sure enough, none of them speak, except for Adelaide's double/clone/tethered/whatever. When we first meet her, she explains what's going on and says shit like 'when the girl has hot porridge, I had rabbits.' How would she even know what hot porridge was? Or toys that aren't sharp? All that, combined with the flashback being the opening scene (always important), led to me assuming that's what happened from the get go. I don't know, I don't mean this as a flex because honestly I don't usually figure stuff out, this just seemed really obvious to me.

And ultimately, that was my letdown. I thought that was a given and we were going to get something more. Instead we got the twist that the movie super telegraphs from the literal opening scene, a ton of exposition and a climactic scene that works thematically but is the most poorly shot part of the film, in my opinion. I'm okay with the exposition dump (I kinda feel like there's too much criticism of exposition for existing, it can be good or bad, for me). This was a situation where I would have been very okay with it if it recontextualized everything I had seen before. But again, the twist was obvious so it only really filled in some info on the world-building. The second time I saw it, I focused on the structure and tried to figure out how I would end it differently. I couldn't come up with anything. You can remove the twist but then what do you do? I wouldn't want to move the reveal of who the invaders are any further back. I like that the first scene they show up, they lay out the story but it doesn't really make sense until later. I don't know. The story doesn't exactly make sense logistically, which didn't bother me too much but does seem to be an issue for some based on reviews I've read. It functions as metaphor excellently, and hangs together logically enough for me. The underclass could represent any oppressed people and function pretty well but I think it works perfectly for the economic lower class. "But it's about race" you say? Ah well yes, socioeconomic lines in America are almost the same as racial lines (the idea that that could happen in a country and yet still many question the existence of institutionalized bias shows you the power of cognitive dissonance).


True Grit (2010)

Just a couple of the best filmmakers in the world at their absolute apex flexing on everybody with how good their dialogue is.


On the Basis of Sex (2018)

A pretty good biopic script filmed by a pretty good director with pretty good actors doing a pretty good job. However, it's the story of an exceptional woman's life, and there was a fantastic documentary about her last year, so I'm not sure why this one needs to exist.

Fun fact: My grandmother was one of the first people to sue after RBG started attacking gender discrimination in law. It was 1973, my grandmother sued the university she worked for because they refused to promote her because of her gender (their words), continued to work there for three years (for the people she was suing) until she won, and then became their peer. She then became the dean of the school and was there for another 25 years, long after the sexist assholes she had to sue to get hired were long gone.
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Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear (1988)
George A. Romero's Horror 'Monkey Shines' is a mix of 'Re-Animator', 'My Left Foot', 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' and 'Psycho'. A quadriplegic man is given a trained monkey called Ella to help him around the house but he doesn't know that his "mad scientist" friend has been injecting her with experimental brain drugs. Romero takes almost the first half to setup the characters before introducing any outlandish Horror elements, so it works just as well as a serious study of somebody coping with disability. Thankfully this was made pre-CGI, so it's all laboriously achieved through incredible trained animals and a few convincing puppet shots. Apparently the ending was changed against Romero's wishes but it worked very well for me (I'd be curious to see the deleted version).

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