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A few reviews

thecuddlyninja

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Joyeux Noel - 2005 - 7/10

Really enjoyable movie. I feared over-saccharine mush based on the premise but always enjoyed the real story. Perhaps some may find it so but I enjoyed it. Solid performances all around but Daniel Brühl crackles. I enjoyed the fact that the third act was about the aftermath of the ceasefire. It gets very overt toward the end (sermon mirroring intro, English nationalism to an absurd but not unbelievable degree in the speech that affects Palmer, the people who all take over for the disgraced troops, etc) but the themes were strong and resonated with me. As a veteran, I pine for the era where there was a level of mutual respect between battlefield opponents.

Bonus - Almost every German soldier I see in movies is an evil Nazi. It's just easy. It was nice to see German soldiers humanized and something other than pure evil.
 

skyled

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thecuddlyninja said:
Joyeux Noel - 2005 - 7/10

Really enjoyable movie. I feared over-saccharine mush based on the premise but always enjoyed the real story. Perhaps some may find it so but I enjoyed it. Solid performances all around but Daniel Brühl crackles. I enjoyed the fact that the third act was about the aftermath of the ceasefire. It gets very overt toward the end (sermon mirroring intro, English nationalism to an absurd but not unbelievable degree in the speech that affects Palmer, the people who all take over for the disgraced troops, etc) but the themes were strong and resonated with me. As a veteran, I pine for the era where there was a level of mutual respect between battlefield opponents.

Bonus - Almost every German soldier I see in movies is an evil Nazi. It's just easy. It was nice to see German soldiers humanized and something other than pure evil.

I thought this one was very good too. Not overly sappy and it's nice to see a WWI movie for a change. I thought the most interesting line was where they agree to bury the soldiers that had been laying in no-man's-land for several months, showing how both sides' positions hadn't changed at all in that time.
 

thecuddlyninja

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skyled said:
I thought this one was very good too. Not overly sappy and it's nice to see a WWI movie for a change. I thought the most interesting line was where they agree to bury the soldiers that had been laying in no-man's-land for several months, showing how both sides' positions hadn't changed at all in that time.

Good observation. I liked the moment but hadn't considered the implication. Thanks!
 

Vultural

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Psychob!tches - S01 - 2013 - 6/10

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Brief (6 half hour episodes) sketch comedy of dead females going to psychiatrist.
Patients include Bette Davis & Joan Crawford (as above), Mother Theresa, Mona Lisa, Sylvia Plath, Diana Dors, Mary Queen Of Scots, Leni Riefenstahl, Betty Ford, Mary Pickford (using silent intertitles) ... dozens more.
Hit n miss, though more laughs than lulls.  Complaints, venting, and confessions galore!
Appreciation might depend on knowledge of subjects.
 

Vultural

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Namastey London - 2007 - 6/10

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Bollywood film.
Hindu father decides his daughter is becoming too Westernized and takes her home to find suitable Indian husband.
Of course he neglects to inform her until they are in India.
She is, after all, a mere female.
Obligatory musical numbers are catchy, in settings completely removed from the ordinary.
Unfortunately, the British are mostly portrayed as xenophobic, if not racists.
Unpleasant caricature struck me as an ugly cheat, and lessened my enjoyment.
 

Vultural

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Happy Ever Afters - 2009 - 5/10

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Forced Irish comedy of two wedding receptions colliding at one venue.
Each couple suffers reasons for marriage.
Groom A and Bride B meet cute and gallop down predictable lane.
Nice enough romantic comedy if your station is not broadcasting a bowling tournament.
Tired formula, caricatures rather than characters, stale goods.
 

Gaith

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I also liked Joyeux Noël that one time long ago I saw it. Daniel Brühl's in it, huh? So he is. Cool.

It made me wish for an adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities, which I was reading in school at the time, that also used English and French bits in their own languages, with subtitles as necessary. (Which in turn made me want a HBO miniseries on the Paris Peace Conference, with all its various languages.) Huh... seems there hasn't been a movie adaptation of it since '58, nor a TV adaptation since '89. I would've thought the BBC at least would have given such a famous book a more recent pass.
 

thecuddlyninja

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^I would quite like to see that.

For a minute, I thought I was being prejudiced against Germans when I thought "those two look and sound just like the two Germans from Inglorious Basterds" but then it was, even though she was Danish in this, if memory serves.
 

Vultural

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Beyond Outrage - 2012 - 7/10
AKA - アウトレイジ ビヨンド

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Well executed Takeshi Kitano crime drama, very much in his oeuvre.
Police detective starts manipulating rival yakuza, trying to instigate a war and land himself a promotion.
At the center is Otomo, recently paroled con whose yakuza family was destroyed by a traitor.
The men here are all smart and wily.  They know they are being played, yet run their own stakes.
Lies, double-crosses, honor, revenge.
Typically of Kitano, the pace is slow.  Talking and calculation predominate over violence.
The film is packed with beatings and bullets, however.
Black sacks and a memorable batting practice sequence.
This is a direct sequel to 2010‘s Outrage.
Viewing that first will clarify characters early on, but one can view this without seeing that one.
Both films boast a roll call of Japanese talent.
 

Vultural

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The Cry Of The Owl - 2009 - 5/10

Peculiar thriller, with absurd plotholes and unanswered questions.
Troubled man, going through a divorce, begins peeping on single woman living in isolated woods.
She catches him, invites him inside.  They talk.  Two beats later, she now stalks him!

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Complications ensue.
At one point a character disappears.  Where to?  How?
The film feels unfinished.  Characters are barely more than empty cartoons.
There is no understanding of any relationship, let alone a single character’s behaviour.
Felt like 15 minutes of plot were shaved.  From Patricia Highsmith novel.
 

dangermouse

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Vultural said:
Bothersome Man - 2006 - 7/10
AKA - Den Brysomme Mannen

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Norwegian parable.
Office drone wakes up on bus roaring down oblivion highway.
He is dumped at a shack, then ferried to his new city, new apartment, new job.
Everyone is cheery, friendly, work duties are undemanding, and he lands a girlfriend who is agreeable and willing.
Sound like Paradise to you?  Yeah, well, some types are never happy with their lot.
The new man is dissatisfied.  He cannot pinpoint what his problem is with Eden, but he wants something else.
And he gradually makes everyone around him uncomfortable.
Well thought out visuals, maddening dialogue, and steady pace as the reveal unfolds.


Thanks Virtual for this review. I went out and got the film out from the library. Absolutely stunning film.
Reminded me strongly of CS Lewis' short story "The Great Divorce". There Hell is a grey endless city - life is easy, but empty, just like Oslo the unnamed city in the film. In the Great Divorce there is a bus that goes daily to Heaven. It's a facinating look at our lives now using Heaven and Hell as counterpoints.
The Bothersome Man has just hell, with maybe a whiff of heaven. It's a fantastic deconstruction of materialism and modernity, and the stifling pressure of "Janteloven" (social conformity), particularly in the Scandinvian states. And that's ironically getting worse, not better as we move further away from our Christian roots and more towards atheistic liberalism - opposing ideas are frowned upon, consesus is king. "Everyone is satisfied here." he is told by the government. With the implication "what's wrong with you".
It's a very nice and kind pressure.... but the potrayal of the women and men was spot on - afraid of having an opinion, so just choosing the safe route of discussing houses and sofas without any passion or life.
May resonate less with those not in Scandinavia!
 

Vultural

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Secret Service Of The Imperial Court - 1984 - 6/10
AKA - Gam Vee Wai -/- 錦衣衛

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Violent, gory, and downbeat period actioner from late Shaw Brothers era.
The new emperor is preoccupied with plenty of nude girls supplied by the court eunuch.
While he is distracted, the evil eunuch (are there any other kind?)  peddles influence, kills rivals, and positions himself as all-powerful.  
Even the elite band of court assassins, the Brocade Guard, falls under his sway.
Except for Sergeant Zhao Bufan, who gets squeezed between duty and righteousness.
Numerous fights accompanied with geysers and severed limbs.
Plot a bit confusing, and the body count is damn near everyone in the film.
Fairly entertaining now, though when released it was considered old fashioned.
Such as - the musical sequence.
Good Shaw Brothers popcorn.
 

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Impact - 1949 - 6/10

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Solid Noir-ish mystery with good San Francisco locations and great, great creampuff cars.

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Tycoon plans business trip with his wife, whom he adores.
She catches a headache, gets hubby to take her “cousin” (spelled l-o-v-e-r) instead.
Wife and boyfriend intend sending hubby to the Reaper, except when the plan goes wrong it goes terribly wrong.
From that point, until the last couple minutes, the narrative curves and haripins in often unusual directions.
Sometimes it is predictable, other turns come straight outta nowhere.
Charles Coburn steals every scene he’s in as sharp Irish detective.
For old school buffs, Silent actress Mae Marsh has a key role during the idyllic sequence.
Anna May Wong, in one her final movies, is likewise given a pivotal character role.
 

ssj

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dangermouse said:
And that's ironically getting worse, not better as we move further away from our Christian roots and more towards atheistic liberalism - opposing ideas are frowned upon, consesus is king.

i know. i've hated life so much and become such a conformist since becoming an atheist.

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p.s. i rib you 'cause i love you, man!
 

thecuddlyninja

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I personally think the massive move toward consensus is more a product of the way we consume media than anything. Blaming a minority group (atheists) for the shifting of the masses doesn't hold water with me.

Either way, it's weird. I think most people have shit tastes in movies so why would I care about the consensus Rotten Tomatoes opinion? Although that's not as strange as having to love or hate everything. Stuff that's "alright" is considered frivolous and forgetful. But few things are truly great and there's a lot to appreciate in most films, for me.
 

ThrowgnCpr

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Let's not go down the religious debate rabbit hole, but I just want to add that blaming atheism for any massive, negative, change in our society really pisses me off. One could easily argue that there is far more conformity with adhering to religious dogma than by discarding it.
 

Vultural

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Elle Boit Pas, Elle Fume Pas, Elle Drague Pas, Nais . . . Elle Cause! - 1970 - 6/10
AKA - She Does Not Drink, Smoke Or Flirt But . . . She Talks

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Early 70s French comedy of sex, murder and blackmail.
Part time maid works three separate households.
From each, she unearths dodgy scandals.
Bitter secrets each would pay huge to keep concealed.
Human nature being what it is, fools will always leave themselves open to treachery.

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The maid’s hand is terrific, yet she avoids the obvious play.
There is copious nudity (one of the characters constantly undresses women mentally).
Dated, but in a good way.  Fashion, hairstyles, attitudes’.  Frothy fun.
 

Vultural

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Hamish MacBeth:  Season 03 - 1997 - 7/10

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Quirky drama comedy set in remote Highlands village.
Robert Carlyle plays the local constable.
Fans of Beaton's books, read no further, as Carlyle will never substitute for the tall, red haired book original.  Indeed, the series bears next to no resemblance to the books.
This third - and final - season concludes a couple story arcs, and is also a little darker than seasons one and two.
Most of the episodes were written or directed by Danny Boyle.
Beautiful Scotland - severe, craggy, lush - give a good sense of place, though the time is harder to pin down.
Some stories drift into allegory or fairy tale.

One warning.  There were NO subtitles I could find.
A few conversations were difficult to translate, and subs would have been helpful.
 

dangermouse

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ThrowgnCpr said:
Let's not go down the religious debate rabbit hole, but I just want to add that blaming atheism for any massive, negative, change in our society really pisses me off. One could easily argue that there is far more conformity with adhering to religious dogma than by discarding it.

Why would you be pissed off? It's just an observation, one that many people have made. As Norway has becomes richer and thrown off the shackles of Christian belief, it has become crushingly materialistic and egocentric, as den brysomme mannen points out very strongly.  So does Christian Borch's "Banalitetens tyranni" (the tyranny of banality) - where he hopes that the next generation will learn from this generation's mistakes and choose other values.
Note that I'm talking about Norwegian society in particular, and I have no dog in the US religious culture wars. I get the impression there that the opposite is true, that a lot of "Christian" culture is offensively oppressive.
 

thecuddlyninja

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Great reviews, Vultural!

Seriously, I didn't know Danny Boyle did a TV series back in the day.
 
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