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A few reviews
(04-08-2020, 04:54 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: Five Came Back (2017)

Documentaries can sometimes seem boring, especially ones that use a lot of really old film footage.  This one does a great job painting amazing yet identifiable portraits of these five famous directors.  What puts it over the top for me is the setup of having 5 modern directors give their insight covering each of the Golden Age directors.  For film fans, it's simply a must-see.  Full review: https://letterboxd.com/nottheacademy/fil...back-2017/

^ Such an amazing doc. Did you know that Netflix also uploaded some of the wartime shorts featured in FCB when the doc was released?

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
I've watched a few modern Hollywood/Disney animated kids films in recent months, huge thudding CGI "epics", overstuffed with lame humour, messy plots, irritating wisecracking pandering characters and exhausting battle sequences. So this gentle, charming, bucolic and delightfully unhurried 1980s Hayao Miyazaki film was a real tonic. Miyazaki's idea of exciting is occasionally moving the camera! The story of a family in difficulty due the absence of a sick mother and their move to a new rural house is never overplayed. Daughters Satsuki and Mei find comfort in encounters with a rotund mute forest spirit named Totoro and his friends. Totoro's soft fur, sleepy demeanor and contended purring will be familiar to owners of chilled-out cats. Joe Hisaishi's music reminded me of Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday'... no bad thing. I applaud Netflix for uploading all these Ghibli movies in pristine HD transfers with a large range of audio languages and well written subtitles (I went for the original Japanese soundtrack).

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(04-09-2020, 11:52 AM)TM2YC Wrote: ^ Such an amazing doc. Did you know that Netflix also uploaded some of the wartime shorts featured in FCB when the doc was released?
I did indeed!  I ended my Netflix subscription last month to protest their price hike, but before that, I watched about half of the films featured in Five Came Back.  Honestly, FCB shows the best bits in the most exciting way, generally.  The Negro Soldier (1944) is pretty stunning to watch in its entirety.  It's funny: it's credited to Stuart Heisler, but FCB said Carlton Moss (who wrote it and played the central role) was really the instrumental force in the final project, which ends up being a kind of tribute to African American contributions to the country (conspicuously not mentioning slavery!)
 
Quote:My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Miyazaki's idea of exciting is occasionally moving the camera!
Oh man, don't get me started on Ghibli!  I'm a big fan, though having lived in Japan and been to the Ghibli museum several times, I think Western audiences often mis-interpret a lot of what goes on in Japanese film.  For example, the simple camera work in this film is more likely due to lack of time and money than directorial choice!  haha  Look at later Miyazaki films to see what he prefers to do when he actually has the budget for it.
Quote:Joe Hisaishi's music reminded me of Cliff Richard's 'Summer Holiday'... no bad thing.
Yes!  After Isao Takahata, Hisaishi-san is the unsung hero of Ghibli.  His work so often perfectly compliments the simplicity of the stories and animation.  I think it especially shines in Laputa, as well as Mononoke-hime, of course.
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(04-08-2020, 08:21 AM)wilhelm scream Wrote: The Recovered

Ever wondered what if RedLetterMedia made a serious movie? Well The Recovered answers that question and it is not very good. It's slow, dull and the only good parts are the dream sequences. There's no humor and I just bored the whole time. And it's confusing, I had almost no idea what was going on the whole time and the ending doesn't help. Oh, and it might have inspired Slender Man. 

Space Cop is also pretty bad. I was curious about this one though. Thanks for the review.
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(04-09-2020, 01:38 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote:
Quote:My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Miyazaki's idea of exciting is occasionally moving the camera!
Oh man, don't get me started on Ghibli!  I'm a big fan, though having lived in Japan and been to the Ghibli museum several times, I think Western audiences often mis-interpret a lot of what goes on in Japanese film.  For example, the simple camera work in this film is more likely due to lack of time and money than directorial choice!  haha  Look at later Miyazaki films to see what he prefers to do when he actually has the budget for it.

If it wasn't clear, I didn't mean that as a criticism. Compared to Yasujiro Ozu, Miyazaki waves the camera all over the pace like a shaky cam maniac! (I also don't mean that as a criticism of Ozu Big Grin ). The lack of camera movement (and movement of any kind Wink ) is definitely a budgetary decision in some Anime. I might be wrong but I don't get that feeling with Miyazaki, it seems like a tasteful artistic choice. Some of the animation is as fluid as anything from oldskool Disney (perhaps more so) and insanely intricate and inventive, to the point showing off how good they are Wink .

I saw some photos of the Ghibli museum building. Looks amazing.
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(04-09-2020, 02:02 PM)addiesin Wrote:
(04-08-2020, 08:21 AM)wilhelm scream Wrote: The Recovered

Ever wondered what if RedLetterMedia made a serious movie? Well The Recovered answers that question and it is not very good. It's slow, dull and the only good parts are the dream sequences. There's no humor and I just bored the whole time. And it's confusing, I had almost no idea what was going on the whole time and the ending doesn't help. Oh, and it might have inspired Slender Man. 

Space Cop is also pretty bad. I was curious about this one though. Thanks for the review.

What's so bad about Space Cop?
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(04-09-2020, 03:59 PM)wilhelm scream Wrote: What's so bad about Space Cop?

You might like it, that's totally fine. I have a lot of feelings about it though, I'll try to be brief but no promises.

At the core I didn't like the approach and think it would have been more successful if they had some kind of genuine heart in the film. A big part of that is the script felt like a big checklist of things for fans to notice. But also Mike and Rich both played main characters and the joke was they're both dumb and say things with a "funny" voice, so they're both the comic relief and the performances have no emotional depth, so I couldn't connect with them.

I felt like jokes went on for too long, even when going too long is the joke. I didn't like the look, shot composition and color grade were both really bland, and the sound design/score wasn't memorable. The plot bored me because I wasn't invested. I kinda felt like they did a lot of the things they complain about other movies doing.

I was really disappointed, maybe I was over hyped but if I wasn't a fan I wouldn't have gotten the jokes and references. I did get them, just didn't laugh much. I thought they should have edited it down more, it almost feels like an extended edition that would have been better not extended. Making movies is hard, I don't think they intended it to be bad but maybe tried to do too much on their own. I don't think they need to be a skeleton crew, their Patreon said they were making around 40,000 a month before they made the amount private,I don't know where that money goes but it didn't go into the movie.

I would really like to see them make something with a solid script (maybe something they don't write themselves) with actors that aren't just themselves, that's why I was interested in maybe seeing The Recovered. For now I'll stick to their YouTube stuff.
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^ I thought 'Space Cop' was okay for a no-budget side-project they made while producing upwards of 50+ hours of other content every year (double what a big TV production setup would typically produce e.g. 25-ish hours at most). I was happy to buy a blu-ray of the movie just to give them money for all the other stuff they do.

Co-incidentally I just watched another film that was shot in Wisconsin, although with slightly more critical acclaim... Big Grin

Stroszek (1977)
'Stroszek' is a lot lighter, more free-spirited and grittier in a Documentary style than other Werner Herzog films I've seen. Unusual real-life musician/actor/artist 'Bruno S.' basically plays himself as 'Bruno Stroszek', a mentally damaged street performer existing between the cracks of West Berlin. He befriends an abused prostitute called Eva and an eccentric old man and they all decide to escape from Eva's violent pimps by chasing the American dream in glamorous rural Wisconsin. Initially they are in paradise, finding conventional jobs and a trailer of their own but they soon begin to revert to their former chaotic bohemian ways. Bruno is such an unusual and magnetic screen presence, limping like Ian Dury, twitching randomly, mumbling and glancing into the camera and past it like he's reading his lines off a board. Herzog sprinkles in beautiful little moments he captured like a Doctor cradling a premature baby and has a tangible compassion for these marginalised souls. I hadn't realised how iconic the "dancing chicken ending" was until I got there and instantly recognised the music and footage. Apparently Joy Division front-man Ian Curtis committed suicide while watching 'Stroszek' but I really liked it.

NSFW trailer:



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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This was on BBC1 in the afternoon and who can resist watching Raiders again. What can you say about a movie that is practically perfect in every way? It's true that our hero Indy has no effect on the plot whatsoever but that's only the kind of flaw you notice on the fiftieth re-watch and matters not a jot. I'm sure you could watch this with just John William's thrilling music and still get the story, in fact you could probably watch with the sound switched off totally and still get it from Steven Spielberg's direction.  The grimy, dusty, sweaty on-location realism is somewhat lacking in the more FX heavy sequels, something that is undermined in the George Lucas vandalised version that was screened. I'd usually watch a fan restoration, or a fan made 35mm transfer, so I'd forgotten how dated and jarring the pointless "special edition" changes look. Thankfully they are few and far between. I love that Spielberg and Editor Michael Kahn adopt the style of films from the era it's set in, old fashioned cross-fades, those plane/map traveling shots, classical editing techniques and rigorous use of establishing shots must have stood out against the experimental editing styles that were being used in the late 70s. My favourite moment in this re-watch was when the sailor points and says "I've found him... there!" as Indy heroically climbs onto the U-Boat, the Raiders march plays, all the crew start cheering him and he exchanges a salute with Captain Katanga. I bet cinema audiences cheered this moment back in 1981!

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I remember as a kid thinking how is Indy going to hold his breath for that long holding on to the outside of a submarine? I had forgotten there was a special edition of this movie. What are the changes?
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(04-11-2020, 06:54 AM)Moe_Syzlak Wrote: I remember as a kid thinking how is Indy going to hold his breath for that long holding on to the outside of a submarine? I had forgotten there was a special edition of this movie. What are the changes?

Not many changes, just changing some FX that didn't need changing. Even on this incredibly blurry comparison, the redone Jeep CGI shot stands out a mile to me:

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