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A few reviews

mnkykungfu

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jrWHAG42 said:
Someone combined all 5 movies in to one 90 minute fanedit and it was amazing.

On here?  What's it listed as?
 
TM2YC said:
Zombi 2 (1979)
It's a lot of fun and you'll see a zombie fight a (real) shark... enough said.

My horror-obsessed friends showed this to me as a teen, with the highlight being the shark v zombie fight.  It was bizarre, for sure.  Honestly, we mostly poked fun at how ridiculous we found the film and thought it was an MST3K type "good bad" movie, but we did love how much the story really "went for it".  Haven't watched it since, but maybe there was real craft in it that I didn't appreciate back then?
 

TM2YC

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Zagadka said:
TM2YC said:
Lucio Fulci's film was...

Back in the days I was a great fan of the Italian cinema (mostly giallo), even though Fulci is mostly remembered by his gore films, I've always prefered his lighter, so to speak, movies (again, giallo) - I just love his eerie Don't Torture a Duckling (Italian: Non si sevizia un paperino) from 1972, and I like his trippy A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Italian: Una lucertola con la pelle di donna) from 1971, and mean-spirited The New York Ripper (1982). There are some nice restorated BluRay versions of these films.

I'll be watching 'Don't Torture a Duckling' soon.

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Tetsuo (1989)
The plot of 'Tetsuo' concerns the battle of wills between a "Metal Fetishist" and a "Salaryman" who are morphing into terrifying machine/man hybrids. Director Shinya Tsukamoto's use of grainy b&w 16mm and rapid editing successfully blurs the lines between flesh, metal, stop motion and disgusting makeupFX. He makes the two Davids (Lynch and Cronenberg) look like safe crowd-pleasing filmmakers. I was much more fascinated with 'Tetsuo' as a technical feat of artful editing, low budget ingenuity and imaginative sound-design, than I was with any thematic concerns, characters , or story. The industrial score is pretty cool too.


 

mnkykungfu

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TM2YC said:
 He makes the two Davids (Lynch and Cronenberg) look like safe crowd-pleasing filmmakers. I was much more fascinated with 'Tetsuo' as a technical feat of artful editing, low budget ingenuity and imaginative sound-design, than I was with any thematic concerns, characters , or story. The industrial score is pretty cool too.

You nailed this description.  This was right up my alley in the late 80s/early 90s when I was exploring everything Asian I could get my hands on.  I used to be convinced that all the film and anime concepts that were provocative but I couldn't understand where just smarter than I me, and I had to learn more.  Years later, I've found that a lot of the themes or script or dialogue comes from practical, technical concerns, or is an out-of-context swipe from some earlier work, or just "looked cool" to the director.  Tetsuo definitely falls into that category, although a little more effort was made with Tetsuo II, which is far more enjoyable as a "good-bad" movie.
 

TM2YC

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Good Time (2017)
The Safdie Brothers' 'Good Time' begins with the tear streaked, despondent face of the mentally-handicapped Nick (Benny Safdie) as a therapist keeps hitting him with questions he doesn't understand and which are clearly upsetting him, then suddenly his brother Connie (Robert Pattinson) bursts into the room and angrily "rescues" Nick from the situation. You are instantly on the side of Connie from that point on, even as he commits a string of increasingly desperate crimes in a chaotic, misguided attempt to help his brother. Pattinson's performance is absolutely incredible and arresting. The trademark Safdie style from 'Uncut Gems', the documentary style camerawork, the heart pumping synth score, the breathless overlapping dialogue, the anger, the confusion is all here but the script doesn't have quite the same polish. The ending feels a little rushed, unplanned and unsatisfactory, where as in their latest film it was equally unexpected but totally satisfactory and retrospectively inevitable. Even so, this is close to a masterpiece.


The "theme tune" sung by Iggy Pop is gorgeous:

 

Moe_Syzlak

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I wonder if the order in which you watch these movies might have an impact. I felt almost the same as you do about this movie about Uncut Gems. I liked Good Time more.
 

mnkykungfu

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^It's interesting to hear this perspective, because I was never on Connie's side.  He seemed to me like the kind of short-sighted douchebag that would give an alcoholic a beer while he was trying to dry out, because "he's suffering".  He's all Id and no Ego, bound for destruction.  Still made a compelling character to watch, but I was never rooting for him.  I was rooting for Bennie to get away from him.
 

TM2YC

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mnkykungfu said:
^It's interesting to hear this perspective, because I was never on Connie's side.  He seemed to me like the kind of short-sighted douchebag that would give an alcoholic a beer while he was trying to dry out, because "he's suffering".  He's all Id and no Ego, bound for destruction.  Still made a compelling character to watch, but I was never rooting for him.  I was rooting for Bennie to get away from him.

Absolutely, that's what the film is all about. I was talking about that initial moment when he pulls his brother out of a situation that's clearly distressing him (but I didn't describe it very well). It's like a dramatic "hero" rescue but you learn he's more the antagonist of the piece, or at least his own worst enemy and toxic for his brother but he's realised that by that end. So I liked him again by the finale because he was able to let his brother go. Everything he does is because he genuinely thinks it's for the best, at the time, there is no selfishness in the character IMO. He's got a ton of other character flaws of course. I do love that Iggy Pop song: "The pure always act from love, the damned always act from love".
 

Moe_Syzlak

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TM2YC said:
mnkykungfu said:
^It's interesting to hear this perspective, because I was never on Connie's side.  He seemed to me like the kind of short-sighted douchebag that would give an alcoholic a beer while he was trying to dry out, because "he's suffering".  He's all Id and no Ego, bound for destruction.  Still made a compelling character to watch, but I was never rooting for him.  I was rooting for Bennie to get away from him.

Absolutely, that's what the film is all about. I was talking about that initial moment when he pulls his brother out of a situation that's clearly distressing him (but I didn't describe it very well). It's like a dramatic "hero" rescue but you learn he's more the antagonist of the piece, or at least his own worst enemy and toxic for his brother but he's realised that by that end. So I liked him again by the finale because he was able to let his brother go. Everything he does is because he genuinely thinks it's for the best, at the time, there is no selfishness in the character IMO. He's got a ton of other character flaws of course. I do love that Iggy Pop song: "The pure always act from love, the damned always act from love".

Exactly. He is the flawed character trying to do the right thing. It’s tragic for that reason. In Uncut Gems it’s the the flawed character consistently making the wrong choices and he knows it. It’s just a trainwreck. Also I know it’s fashionable to hate on Pattinson but he’s so much better of an actor than Sandler. Sandler holds his own, but it’s not as great of a performance.
 

jrWHAG42

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I didn't know this Good Time movie existed. I definitely want to check it out, I like Pattinson.
 

TM2YC

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Black Moon Rising (1986)
A pretty decent Roger Corman action B-movie, written by John Carpenter and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Hamilton. Super thief Quint (Jones) hides a stolen McGuffin computer disk inside a prototype "Black Moon" super-car, which becomes a 2nd McGuffin when it's also stolen by Hamilton's car thief ring. The titular super-car really needs the characters building it up by telling you how awesome it is because up close, it looks like something thrown together from scrap metal, fiberglass and sticky tape. There are a couple of odd moments when they were just copying the Tech-Noir and sex scenes from 'The Terminator' shot-for-shot. Lalo Schifrin's synth score also has a whiff of Brad Fiedel's, with a large chunk of Arthur B. Rubinstein's 'Blue Thunder' theme. There is some nice night time photography and great car chases through the busy streets of Los Angeles. It has some b-movie laziness like all the characters turning up in a given location at the same time for no logical reason, or a line saying the car is made out of "Kelvar [sic]. The same material they use for bullet proof vests". 'Black Moon Rising' is great genre fun if you don't expect the (Black) moon.


^ Terrific oldskool trailer.
 

mnkykungfu

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TM2YC said:
Absolutely, that's what the film is all about. I was talking about that initial moment when he pulls his brother out of a situation that's clearly distressing him (but I didn't describe it very well). It's like a dramatic "hero" rescue but you learn he's more the antagonist of the piece, or at least his own worst enemy and toxic for his brother but he's realised that by that end. So I liked him again by the finale because he was able to let his brother go. Everything he does is because he genuinely thinks it's for the best, at the time, there is no selfishness in the character IMO.

Yeah, again, really interesting to hear this and Moe_Syzlak's perspective, because it helps me understand why people raved about the film so much.  For me, watching it was like There Will Be Blood, where I appreciated the craft involved but didn't like watching it.  (Not that I think Good Times is on the same level.)

Maybe because of my own experiences in that environment, but I didn't have any realization with Connie.  For me, he was the clear bad guy from the moment he walked into the room, whereas the therapist was misunderstood.  I have trouble enjoying films where I'm kind of actively rooting for the main character to fail because I dislike them so much.  There's a line for me between "imperfect person" and "drain on everyone in society"...I just can't hang in there looking for the 1% goodness in someone.  So by the end of the film, I wasn't like "Oh, nice he did the right thing", I was like "FIIIIINALLY...gah, that was torturous."  

Also doesn't help that I'm no longer impressed by Pattinson.  At first I was, because he made really interesting choices trying to break out of that Twilight mold.  Then I caught a bunch of long form interviews with him and found out he's absolutely vapid!  He has no process, there's no thought in his portrayals...he's operating totally on instinct and counting on directors and editors to pan his performances for gold.  Well, it often works out, but he's not someone I follow anymore.
 

TM2YC

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^ I zoned out of all that Twilight stuff, so I only know Pattinson as an actor who is great in everything I've seen, works with all the top Directors, takes risks and is very different in each role. What's not to like :D . It's a shame he's agreed to be in the latest Batman film because his career was doing very nicely without taking the superhero dollar IMO.

The Mummy (1959)
Hammer's first Mummy film nicely captures the atmosphere of those 19th Century Egyptology curse legends. Far too much time is set aside to flashbacks staging supposed ancient Egyptian burial rites, this combined with a long prologue and more flashbacks to that prologue, means the film never really gets up a head of steam. Christopher Lee has a rather thankless task as the lumbering mute Mummy and Peter Cushing's hero is somewhat unmemorable.

 

mnkykungfu

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TM2YC said:

The movie looks cheesy, but the Mummy himself looks great!  What a cool monster...I'd love to see a film that plays it closer to this than to the version we got in the 2000s.

I've watched a selection of DC animated short films which are all really interesting....
JL Gods & Monsters Chronicles
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These are 3 shorts that were prequel promos teasing the pretty good animated film with alternate reality versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

-E1 “Twisted”- an alternate Batman glides in to the scene, which is dark and creepy.  He appears to be stalking a depraved madman, we assume The Joker?  However, there are a few dark twists to what we might expect.  Honestly, I hate seeing Harley Quinn super-sexualized in a lot of these DCAU stories, but this is pretty good aside from that.

-E2 “Bomb” - we enter on Metropolis under siege…being torn apart by some disaster or attack in the center.  Presidential advisor Hugo Strange is telling President Amanda Waller that they should nuke the city in order to contain the threat.  A dark Superman races against time to find out how to defuse the “bomb”…millions of lives are at stake.  This is the standout short in the group, expertly setting up the differences between this Superman and the one we expect.

-E3 “Big” - we start with a very Bond-esque scene involving Steve Trevor, cool for once in his comic life.  While channeling Chris Pine’s portrayal, Steve is about to meet his maker when he’s suddenly saved by a very different Wonder Woman than the old invisible jet-flying, lasso-swinging glamour girl of the ‘70s.  There is a lot of cool style and attitude here, but it does seem to fall into this trope of super-sexualizing the female character.  It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely a throwback to comics of the 1950s rather than an inventive move forward.

These are all from the 90's team of Bruce Timm/Alan Burnett animating and writing, so they're a nice treat for fans of Batman and Superman: The Animated Series.

Sgt. Rock
MV5BYTdkZmQyNzItZTkyZC00NzBhLTllY2EtNmFjM2VmY2M1N2M3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTgyNTA4MjM@._V1_UY1200_CR85,0,630,1200_AL_.jpg

The old DC analogue to Marvel’s Nick Fury gets a whole new squad in this short.  The monster from Frankenstein, the vampyr from Nosferatu, and the werewolf from The Wolfman team up with Sarge to stop the Nazis from making more Frankenstein-type zombies.  A solid throwback to a lesser-known DC character.

Death
Much like the Vertigo comics it came from, comparing this film to the normal DC work is like comparing a souffle to scrambled eggs.  While these shorts are normally a quick story that gives the flavor of the character with some good action beats and a few quips, this one is really going for something bigger.  A mature look at personal responsibility and art and the creative mind and fatalism, I’m not sure how effective it is for me when all is said and done.  Animation Director Sam Liu and Voice Director Wes Gleason have shown in their other DCAU work that they just don’t have a lot of subtlety in them, but the script by the legendary J.M. DeMatteis gets big points from me for trying, at least.
 

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Scum (1979)
I wanted to watch both versions of Alan Clarke's 'Scum' back-to-back but elected to watch the 2nd Theatrical version first, assuming (correctly) that it would be superior to the banned 1977 BBC TV version. The film takes place in one of Britain's notorious "Borstal" youth detention centers (which were abolished in 1982). Prominent British actors like Ray Winstone, Phil Daniels, David Threlfall and Danny John-Jules got their starts playing these lost youths. In the opening scenes, Winstone projects menace and threat without lifting a finger, as his Carlin character quietly watches his other inmates and plans his take over of the Borstal. Clarke's camera stalks the corridors of the institution along with Winstone. I wasn't expecting Carlin to turn out be such an anti-hero, a lad working from the assumption that "If you want peace, prepare for war". Mick Ford is a real highlight as the gleefully insolent and defiant character Archer. He's the intellectual Yin, to Carlin's Yang. 'Scum' is extremely violent, bleak, cynical and deliberately offensive but it's so intelligent, thought provoking and raging with political anger at the authorities. The Matron character comes off the worst, at least the Wardens believe their violent regime is for the good of society and they seem to enjoy it but she knows it's detrimental and pointless but is past caring. I immediately realised the Borstal Governor was played by Peter Howell, who I know as the voice of Saruman from the 1981 BBC radio adaptation of 'The Lord of the Rings'. His calm, soft, silky voice radiates the same polite evil. As with many Clarke films, there is virtually no music, which helps create a documentary style verisimilitude.

NSFW trailer:



Scum (1977)
Alan Clarke's original BBC TV film version of 'Scum' was completed in 1977 but was banned and not aired until 1991 (now available on blu-ray). The Producer Margaret Matheson did manage to screen it once for the press, ensuring both the program and it's suppression were publicly controversial. It's probable that 'Scum' wasn't broadcast due to government pressure because it was critical of the Home Office's youth detention policies but there is enough physical and sexual violence in the program (not to mention a homosexual gang rape and suicide) to give the BBC an excuse that it was banning it for other reasons. They weren't really successful because Clarke simply re-shot his film and released it in cinemas soon after. For the most part this original version sticks very closely to the same dialogue and scenes as the Theatrical version. The violence is less bloody, the swearing is much reduced but there is one scene not present in the later version, in which Carlin, now controlling the Borstal, convinces another boy to be his "missus". This and a few other moments, like him ignoring Davis' plight, make him a slightly less sympathetic character. The younger Ray Winstone has more of an innocence about him and isn't able to project the same level of threat. David Threlfall is good as Archer but he doesn't deliver the lines with the same smirking bravado as Mick Ford. As you might expect the film making isn't as polished as when Clarke had a second run at it, the camera placements, shot selections and edits aren't as defined and powerful.  One thing it does have over the remake is the youth of the cast. Them really being boys makes the same scenes a little more shocking than when they re-filmed them 2-years later looking like young men.


 

mnkykungfu

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^I'd heard of that film but never seen.  It always sounded like Bad Boys (1983) with Sean Penn.  After watching the trailer, even more so.  I'd highly recommend that film if you haven't seen it already.  It's such an unsung classic.
 

TM2YC

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mnkykungfu said:
^I'd heard of that film but never seen.  It always sounded like Bad Boys (1983) with Sean Penn.  After watching the trailer, even more so.  I'd highly recommend that film if you haven't seen it already.  It's such an unsung classic.

The trailer looks interesting and the cast look so young. I'll have to take your word on it being good because I notice it's made by the guy who did 'Halloween: Resurrection', one of the most incompetently directed mainstream movies I've so far witnessed :D . I see 'Bad Boys' is on youtube, so I might give it a spin. Thanks for the recommendation.

 

Last Impressions

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Both Scum & Sean Penn's Bad Boys were on constant rotation as a kid in the 80's along with the other young Sean Penn and Tom Cruise Military Academy film "Taps".

When mates on my estate got sent off to Juvenile detention centre's & Borstal - watching Scum kept me on the straight and narrow.  :)
 

mnkykungfu

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Taps!  Brilliant throwback!  That movie came up randomly the other day in a Tom Cruise retrospective conversation.  It's not nearly as good as Bad Boys, but I really loved it.
TM2YC- in fairness, I haven't watched Bad Boys in probably 15+ years, but I rarely change my opinions on rewatches.  I do remember it seemed pretty slow and low-budget at the time, but I'd probably have more enjoyment for that kind of film now that I'm older.
 

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The Pleasure of Being Robbed (2008)
Josh Safdie's first film (with some input from his brother) bizarrely grew out of an idea for a commercial for handbags. Eleonore Hendricks plays a kleptomaniac handbag snatcher who by accident or design touches the lives of the people she robs. It's well directed (on 16mm), well edited in a voyeuristic way and the character is oddly endearing but your interest isn't rewarded by any kind of comment, analysis, or insight. Film starts, things happen, film ends. At 71-minutes, you can really feel that this was a nice idea for an offbeat short film, which was forced to (barely) feature length without any of the writing needed to pull that off. I'm glad I didn't watch this before seeing a couple of the infinitely superior films the Safdie Brothers went on to make.

 
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