Recently seen, part 19 (September 2018)

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by Daniel Larusso, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    [​IMG]
    Once Upon a Time in America (2nd viewing)
    Beautiful film. Saw this for the first time in 10 years or so. Gets the feelings of nostalgia and friendship so well.
    The scenes with the kids stand out from the rest of the film, but there are many great moments when they become adults as well. Even though there isn't that much story for a 4h10 film (new extended cut), it's all about seeing this group of friends growing up and becoming gangsters. Plus, the acting, editing, cinematography and soundtrack by Morricone help to make this one of the best mafia films of all time, just behind The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.
    9/10

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    Battle Royale (5th viewing)
    This might be every baby's first asian edgy film. Every asian film fan has seen this film.
    However this time I saw it after reading the novel. Although the novel gives more information about the japanese society and government depicted in the story, I still have lots of fun watching the film.
    9/10

    I've been going through all James Bonds films... having enjoyed Dr. No and From Russia with Love a lot.
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    I've been going through all James Bonds films... having enjoyed Dr. No and From Russia with Love a lot.
    Both 8/10

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    Love and Other Cults
    Fucked up japanese comedy. Very reminescent of Sion Sono and especially Love Exposure.
    I wanna see more stuff from Eiji Ushida.
    7/10

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
    Worst film I've seen this month! So dumb, doesn't care about logic at all.
    3/10
     
  2. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    My Love, Don’t Cross That River (Jin Mo-young, 2014) is a documentary that focusses without narrative on a couple who, in their nineties, are living out their last years fiercely independent and full of life. They’ve been married for over 75 years, and spend their days together like a young couple caught up in all the excitement and romance of new-found love. The inevitable end is flagged from the beginning, the film opening with a scene of the wife sobbing inconsolably by her husband’s grave, but the tone of what follows is an uplifting celebration of a happy life rather than a downbeat recording of decline. While it seems apparent that the filmmaker was reaching for a fly-on-the-wall observational documentary, for much of film there’s no illusion that the couple are aware of the crew, and having the time of their lives hamming it up to the hilt for the camera – but despite this, it becomes obvious that the artificiality of playing up for the camera is actually part of the reality of who these people are. Along the way there are a few reveals, about how they met and events that have occurred in the past, that slipped in quite matter-of-factly – details that left me thinking “wow” were neither sensationalised nor glossed over, they just were. I was in two minds about whether I wanted to watch this film and had been putting it off for a long time, but I’m glad I did.

     
  3. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    Hard Boiled (2nd viewing)
    Still the best action film I've ever seen. Love how the environment gets destroyed during the action sequences.
    Story and characters are fun enough to keep my attention as well.
    9/10

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    Bleach
    Just your average live-action anime adaptation. The actor who plays Ichigo was spot-on though.
    5/10
     
  4. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Highly Recommended

    Mandy (2018) (American Horror) – Taking place in 1983, a lumberjack (Nicolas Cage) lives in a secluded cabin in the woods. His artist girlfriend Mandy spends her days reading fantasy paperbacks. Then one day, she catches the eye of a crazed cult leader, who conjures a group of motorcycle-riding demons to kidnap her. Panos Cosmatos is one of the most interesting directors working today. One reason for this is because virtually every frame in his films is gorgeous to look at. He truly has an imaginary handling of color and light, which creates a vibrant and visually arresting viewing experience. The dark ambient score by Johann Johannsson is intense and helps to produce a disturbing, otherworldly atmosphere. The plot is simplistic and the characters are not exactly deep, but I did enjoy the interaction between them, which is crafted very nicely and is far more engaging than most films with this premise. There is some gory violence and a touch of “B-movie” madness to boot. Casting is spot on, with Cage, Linus Roache (as the cult leader), and Andrea Riseborough (as Mandy) being stand-outs. Not a film for normal people.

    Recommended

    Judy (2014) (Italian Horror) – A team of street performers terrorize a young woman in her house. This low-budget home invasion film is really creepy. The street performers have terrifying facial make-up and masks, and a bizarre “trick” involving a spiked crate with nails sticking out of it. Most surprisingly, there’s a fantastic amount of suspense after our protagonist has a confrontation with those nasty looking villains near the very beginning. So much so, that the viewer may question the entire premise of the film, which is impressive. This is a “Necrostorm” film, but there’s an astounding amount of patience that is exhibited by the filmmakers to avoid graphic violence for a while (after the opening scene, of course). Our protagonist does make a few bone-headed moves when danger is presented, but I can forgive that because this movie balances suspense, disturbing violence, and demented villains very nicely.

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) (American Drama/Thriller/Comedy) – A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit. This is a rather simplistic plot that meanders around a lot, but in this case that’s a good thing because it’s all about the character interaction and performances. I like how events just kinda flowed from one to the other in natural ways, and a few of the characters that seem evil (at first) really aren’t. There’s a lot of humor in this, and it definitely feels misplaced and forced at times, which is a flaw that sticks out.

    Taeter City (2012) (Italian Horror) – In Taeter City everything is managed by The Authority. They use a special radio wave system called Zeed that lets them distinguish criminals from typical law abiding citizens. Criminals are slaughtered to provide food for the masses. Three cops go after a rouge murderer who is immune to the radio waves. Camerawork almost always consists of constant close-ups, which is a bit irritating. The constant commercials for Taeter Burger restaurants also gets rather tiring after a while. However, there is certainly a level of low-budget creativity on display that is infectious and interesting to watch. This “Necrostorm” film extremely grimy, gory and disgusting – with constant references to cannibalism. The make-up effects and masks are also rather creepy. While true that this is a shallow movie that gets a bit monotonous after a while, it is moderately enjoyable.

    Not Recommended

    Annihilation (2018) (American Sci Fi Horror) – A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply. There’s a scriptwriting decision early on that denies the viewer the ability to worry about the lead protagonist, since the film is shot in flashbacks and we already know that she made it out alive. The premise of the movie is intriguing, but it devolves into too much sitting around, generic animal attacks, and lame explanatory dialogue. While there are a handful of cool visuals along the way (most of which are near the end), this is yet another “high brow” science fiction movie that’s as shallow as a puddle of water. After reading a bunch of online interpretations, it really feels like people are reading content into the film instead of extracting content out of it. I think this is a flimsy script that fails miserably to be thought-provoking.

    Rings (2017) (American Horror) – A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days. This begins with some lame dialogue on an airplane. The scene itself has some potential, but it doesn’t build enough suspense or have a good enough money shot. The casting is remarkably unimpressive, with a bunch of badly-acted fratboys and sorority girls running around everywhere. This story is incredibly boring and could have been written by a high school kid. In fact, the scriptwriters don’t even bother to tell much of a story, simply piggybacking off of its predecessors and rehashing stuff in uninspired ways. Characters are wafer thin. The scare tactics are not good.
     
  5. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    This got a few 1 star ratings from some folks I generally almost trust over at letterbox. But none of them said anything about it. So I dug deeper:
    I'm going to watch it. Ebo knows what's going on.
     
  6. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Mandy is definitely a love it or hate it film.
     
  7. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    As long as they don't play that Barry Manilow song ....
     
  8. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Wow, this Mandy flick is from another planet. I see the love/hate angle for sure. I'm half way through and need a break. My love/hate is: all the scenes where nobody says anything are otherworldly beautiful--creatively shot and super intense, super creepy. But then this beauty is interrupted by super slow, long, sophomoric Gothic speeches delivered in Whisper-talk acting. Ugh.

    The metro-sexual evil dude is creepy as hell. Kind of Silence of the Lambs-y. Very interesting that the director introduces him, twice, with his head sideways across the screen. It's unnerving. In fact, the whole cast is pretty awesome. They tread that line between being repulsive characters and being repulsive people you wouldn't want to spend time watching in a movie. I don't know where this is going to go but I'm very interested in finding out if creeps me out or bores me to death. It could go anywhere. With the motorcycle riding Tetsuo-like characters on board all bets are off.

    I'm at the point where Nic Cage is watching something burn. If everybody keeps their mouth shut from here on out, it would be great. The sound design and soundtrack are excellent.
     
  9. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Mandy [2018] • USA, Belgium
    Director: Panos Cosmatos
    Unrated

    OK people. Drop what you are doing and go see this movie.

    I don't know what to say about it except that my wish that everybody would keep their mouth shut in the second half came mostly true.

    My letterboxd blurb:
     
  10. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Nice to see another fan of Mandy.
     
  11. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    I can't shut up about Mandy. She came and she gave without taking.

    First of all, I almost punted the film, twice, in the first ten minutes or so. I don't like films that start off with five minutes of credits, slowly exposed. And to top it off they roll to a horrible horrible piece of music. It's like countrified vocal trash bullshit. I too often judge a film by the director's taste in music and this beginning disgusted me--NOTE: this song is NOTHING like the rest of the film's fantastic score. So that was the first almost punt. I was able to skip past it.

    Then, as character intro to the film's couple, Cage comes home:
    Cage: "Knock knock"
    Mandy: "Who's there?"
    Cage: "Erik Estrada"
    Mandy: "Erik Estrada who?"
    Cage: "Erik Estrada from CHIPS"

    Help!

    Then the worst: the first scene, Cage and Mandy in bed pillow talking. Cage is gently rubbing Mandy's shoulder with his thumb for what seems like an hour. OMG. I couldn't take it. I'm convinced that this wasn't some unconscious thing no one noticed. It was done purposefully to gross people out.

    Anyway, a sign that a flick has resonated big time with me is: I am immediately going to watch the director's previous film: Beyond the Black Rainbow. I'm going to watch the other flick that premiered at Cannes (Nancy) with the actor who plays Mandy: Andrea Riseborough. My heart sank when I learned the guy who did the soundtrack, Jóhann Jóhannsson, is dead--at 48 from a drug overdose.

    I can totally see how people would hate this movie, or at least think it wasn't any good, not worth sitting through. There are a number of things that are weak. But man! The creative vision on display, executed with such confidence, is undeniable.

    “YOU RIPPED MY SHIRT! YOU RIPPED MY SHIRT!” Only Nic Cage could deliver that line the way he does. clap1.gif
     
  12. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Beyond the Black Rainbow is EXTREMELY slow and almost completely lacking in story. I really enjoyed it, but be warned.
     

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