Recently Seen, part 24 (January 2019)

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by Daniel Larusso, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ok...catching up.

    First off, I LOVE Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. One of the best things Hollywood has put out in the last 15 years.

    Secondly, based on the comments in this thread, I put Love Exposure in my Netflix queue, and the DVD arrived yesterday. I've never seen a Sion Sono movie before. Had actually never heard of him until y'all started talking about him in these threads, and the discussion dedicated to him. I plan on watching Love Exposure this weekend.

    Thirdly, my sister and niece are visiting next week, through Sunday, so I won't have any time for individual movie watching. I'm going to try to get them to watch a Korean movie with me (broaden their Midwestern horizons lol). We'll see how that goes.

    Regarding Tremble All you Want...sure, I'll watch it. I know nothing about it (and I tend not to read too many details or reviews on movies I'm about to watch, so I can go in without any preconceived notions). However, there are none on eBay or my HK cheapie retailers. YesAsia has it for about $40, which is a bit high for me for a Japanese blind buy. Given the circumstances, I would be willing to watch it via "other available means" in a couple of weeks, but I will need some guidance.
     
  2. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    [​IMG]
    Nymphomaniac (Director's Cut - 5h30)
    Speechless. This is LvT's best movie and an instant favourite. The feelings... it was too much for me.
    It's just so shocking and meaningful. Mindblowing. I knew nothing about it and now I won't stop thinking about it for a long time. Best movie I've seen in years.
    9/10

    My Super Ex-Girlfriend
    My mind needed some peace from Lars von Trier. I decided to wait for the uncut version of his new movie - The House that Jack Built, because, at the moment, it's just too much for me. I caught this playing on tv, mostly because Uma Thurma had such a good scene in Nymphomaniac. It's like a superwoman movie with some adult jokes and it's ok for what it is but too dumb to be more than that.
    5/10

    [​IMG]
    Ghost World (5th viewing)
    This has been a favourite of mine ever since watching it for the first time in highschool. I was the kind of guy who couldn't fit in and watching this movie made me feel less lonely.

    Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson have such an awesome chemistry on screen, I love the characters' friendship and their sarcastic look at the world. They can say anything going through their minds because they will still be friends and won't judge what each other says. These characters wander around the city without a specific purpose but some changes come as they enter the adult world after finishing highschool.

    While Rebecca gets a job and tries to fit in the mainstream world, Enid struggles to follow her best friend as she becomes obsessed with Seymour, an old and lonely guy with no hope in life who shares the same interests as her. He has a room in his house just to keep all his old records. Enid finds this man very attractive as, at this point, he's the only human that she can relate to. But, at which point, does this connection become more than that? Does she really want to become like Seymour, who is seen by society as a weirdo? Or follow her best friend which, at this point, is tired of all these creeps that both used to feel so much sympathy for?

    This is a very funny and intelligent comedy with so many funny lines, I could't stop smiling the whole movie. Enid, Rebecca and Seymour are such sweet and vulnerable characters, with different yet very relatable philosophies of life. Fun fact: this is the first movie to ever to get an oscar nomination for best screenplay based on a comic book.

    It's important to mention that this movie takes place during the mid 90s, when the internet was still not a thing. Enid is the kind of girl who would try to connect with people online and would probably have a blog or a youtube channel to share her favourite 60s indian music!

    I have this movie in my number 4 spot in my list of favourite movies of all time. Ghost World and Lost in Translation are my favourite american movies, both starring Scarlett Johansson. Watching these movies from time to time makes me miss old SJ. In fact, I liked her so much before going full mainstream I even had a blog to talk about every movie she was in.
    9/10

    Antiporno (2nd viewing)
    This has such a cool concept. Didn't improve on a re-watch though.
    8/10

    I think it's the best way to explore cinema, I can find so many good movies. Exploring a director's mind through his/her movies is a fun experience.

    I can help you with that.
     
    #22 Daniel Larusso, Jan 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  3. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Agree 100% re: Eternal Sunshine.

    How wild to have an introduction to Sono via Love Exposure . lol . A four hour movie. I have a feeling your response will be one for the ages.
     
  4. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    [​IMG]
    Swing Girls (4th viewing)
    Honest and feel-good with a simple story and lovely characters.

    I enjoyed the Jazz music a lot, even though I'm not a fan. The characters show so much passion playing their instruments, they give me the will to learn Jazz too! And all these songs are performed by the actor and actresses themselves, with months of training prior to the beginning of shooting and concerts given in Japan and USA to promote the movie.

    There's so much joy in the final act. Makes me wanna dance. Japanese girls + jazz music = a wonderful combination
    9/10

    Tag (2nd viewing)
    Pure fun! That actress playing Mitsuko has such a fun performance. Sadly she doesn't have a relevant role in her other 3 movies, I would love her to see in more movies in the future.
    8/10
     
    #24 Daniel Larusso, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  5. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    [​IMG]
    Lost in Translation (4th viewing)
    I've been watching this movie in different times of my life and it made me feel something new in each viewing.

    This can either be a story of love or friendship depending on the viewer's own experiences. About wanting to be noticed when you are lonely and feel like you're living in an alien world. About finding your soulmate at the right time in your life. This is a movie that will touch me in new ways as I get more life experiences.

    Each look of these characters, each gesture and each thought will always get a different meaning from the audience.

    Plus, it takes place in my favourite city in the world. It's interesting to watch this movie before and after visiting Tokyo. I like how it captures the essence of the city as seen by the tourist. Watching it for the first time at a young age made me fall in love with japanese culture.

    This is my favourite american movie. It also features "Sometimes" from my favourite music album of all time "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine.

    That Scarlett Johansson in her prime <3
    9/10
     
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  6. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    Shirkers (Sandi Tan, 2018) was the name of a film that a trio of 19 year-old film students shot in 1990; this is a documentary by one of those girls, revisiting the film, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath. The film itself was never screened, the prints stolen and only recently recovered without the audio tracks, but almost three decades on, the main players have a fervent belief that their stillborn project is one of the most important pieces of Singaporean film history. If you tend to get into (maybe overly) in-depth analysis of films and their (maybe mythologised) cultural impacts, like I do, then this will probably be right up your alley. And the backdrop story of someone haunted by the disappointment of having their dream shattered, and failing to ever really move on, was really moving for me. However, I think this’ll be an acquired taste doco – I’m not going to blame anyone who watches it and is bored shitless by some rich kids whining about what happened 30 years ago.

    Crazy Rich Asians
    (Jon M Chu, 2018) is a rom-com soap opera melodrama with a gimmick that I won’t spoil for you. Fabulously wealthy Nick invites his impoverished blue-collar working-class economics professor girlfriend to Singapore to meet his mother and propose. It’s pretty obvious that there will be one of two outcomes – either they’ll overcome all obstacles and get married, or they’ll discover that they’re long-lost brother and sister. It doesn’t really matter which outcome occurs, because the inevitable sequel will surely cover the other outcome. Kris Aquino shows up as a Princess to remind everyone that ABS-CBN does these type of films too.
     
    #26 clayton-12, Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  7. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    step, half, foster, adoptive, or full lollegs.gif @plsletitrain wants to know
     
  8. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    The funny thing is, my original comment wasn't necessarily an in-joke. It actually was one of the potential storylines, although in a way that owes more to The Bold and the Beautiful than to Wanee & Junah.
     
  9. ebossert

    ebossert Member: Rank 3

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    Highly Recommended

    Drug War (2012) (Chinese Action/Suspense/Drama) (repeat viewing) – A drug cartel boss (Louis Koo) who is arrested is coerced into betraying his former accomplices as part of an undercover operation. This film by Johnnie To is briskly paced, with the protagonists moving from location to location as their colleagues perform surveillance and support in secret. The script is intelligent and at times subtle in its use of indirect communication. There’s not much traditional character development, but the characters are somehow multi-dimensional. In terms of action, there are two sweet shootouts: one in a warehouse involving mute gunmen; and the finale which is inventive and violent. Koo doesn’t say much but expresses himself well in a fine performance. This is a damn good movie.

    Recommended

    The Love Bug (1968) (American Comedy/Drama/Action) (repeat viewing) – A race car driver meets a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. The filmmakers do a good job of making the car look abnormally fast. There are a bunch of fun races here too because most of them are on streets or off-road races (instead of a repetitive circular track). The protagonist is not that good of a driver and he has personality flaws, but it creates the opportunity for a character arc and also makes the story and conflicts more interesting. The funniest scenes are the “Irish Coffee hangover” race and the bear scene. This is better than I remember when I last saw it in my childhood years.
    Gerald’s Game (2017) (American Horror) – While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame. The main premise going into effect by the 15-minute mark, but can simplistic premise stay interesting during the 103-minute runtime? It does feel a tad too long, but it successfully uses inner monologue and flashbacks to fill the runtime. It also relies on suspense and psychological stress, which is a good thing. Viewer beware that there is one scene that is wince-worthy.

    Revenge (2017) (French Thriller) – While accompanying her boyfriend on a desolate vacation, a woman is sexually assaulted and seeks vengeance. Every shot in this film attempts to be stylish, which does feel a bit too artificial and obnoxious at times (e.g., the chocolate eating scene), but it does succeed at being interesting to watch in its visual excessiveness. Regardless, there are a few legitimately surprising moments that I did not expect. This has some good suspense. Violence and gore get pretty nasty and sufficiently wince-worthy at times. Electronic score is effective, and the desert environments are visually pleasing. Viewer note that there are a few extremely unrealistic elements at play, but I thought they made the film more interesting.

    Golden Job (2018) (Chinese Action) – A group of mercenaries (Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, etc.) come together to pull off an epic heist. The script is generic, but there is a bunch of moderately entertaining action in the form of shootouts, chases, and explosions. Pacing is very brisk.

    House (1985) (American Horror/Comedy) – A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt. This is quite different from most modern haunted house movies. The character interaction is odd and it’s also on the wacky side (the tone gets unexpectedly goofy near the 30-minute mark). Character reactions to many things make no sense, but the film seems to play it off as humor. Special effects range from good to bad (a few of the monsters are fun, and the final bad guy is cool looking). The ending is a bit of a cop-out, but this is a charming mess of sorts.

    House 2: The Second Story (1987) (American Horror/Comedy) – The new owner of a sinister house gets involved with reanimated corpses and demons searching for an ancient Aztec crystal skull with magic powers. This has even more humor than it’s predecessor. It is hit or miss and is at times too goofy for its own good, but it has a lively and fun feel overall. Some of the monsters are entertaining to watch, due to practical effects. The setting temporarily changes unexpectedly near the mid-point, which is a nice surprise. The supporting actresses are really hot.

    Not Recommended

    Believer (2018) (Korean Crime Action/Suspense/Drama) – The story follows an investigator who, in an effort to bring down the boss of Asia's biggest drug cartel, conspires with a lowly member of the gang seeking revenge against the boss. This is a remake of the film “Drug War” (2012), but has an overly convoluted plot with a really stupid twist. The original film uses a stifling suspense during its situational conflicts, but this version is too over-the-top and blunt in its style to create compelling moments and leave a lasting impression. There are two decent action scenes, but this mostly falls flat.

    Little Monsters (1989) (American Comedy/Horror) (repeat viewing) – A boy (Fred Savage) discovers an incredible and gruesome world of monsters under his bed. This movie starts off very well as it focuses on the kid’s normal life and the traps that he sets for the monster. However, it flies completely off the rails once the monsters are shown and start talking. Howie Mandel does an obnoxious and hopelessly lame impression of Beetlejuice (he even steals one of his lines) that automatically tanks the movie into an unwatchable endurance test. Then, more monsters show up later who are equally irritating. The monster world is cheap-looking and events that take place there are boring to watch. At least the finale is half-way decent. Ugh.

    Along with the Gods 1 and 2 (2017, 2018) (Korean Fantasy Drama/Action) – After a heroic death, a firefighter navigates the afterlife with the help of three guides. Right from the messy opening scene, this movie pissed me off. It’s basically a badly written Hollywood-style blockbuster with flimsy melodrama that results in a plethora of embarrassing, unwatchable moments. Some cartoonish, run-of-the-mill fights and chases are thrown in. At 140 minutes, this is torture to sit thru. Pure crap. The sequel titled “The Last 49 Days” is better, but that’s not saying much.
     
  10. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ok! So I watched Love Exposure this weekend. After watching it, I did a bit of clicking around and saw that I actually had seen a Sion Sono film before. I watched Cold Fish in 2014 and rated it 3.5 stars. I have vague recollections of it, but it didn't really stick with me.

    Love Exposure, on the other hand, will stick with me. How could it not? A veritable smorgasbord of absurdity and satire and love story. I hate to disappoint those who might be expecting a more robust review ...

    ... but I don't have anything real clever or insightful to say. I mean, the movie is a hard act to follow lol.

    Yes, I really did like it. The running time didn't bother me at all. I found many parts of it hilarious, both in the scenes and situations themselves, and the brazen absurdity of it. Ninja-fu up-skirt photography! A pervert convention! Miss Scorpion! "Yes, I'm a pervert, but I'm a pervert with values." (Or something like that.)

    The set up for the love story was interesting and endearing.

    Unlike most other reviews I read, I did not find the movie to be an attack on the Church so much. I, myself, am a Christian (though not Catholic) and I am sensitive to movies that I feel are unfair or just gratuitous attacks on Christianity; but Catholicism or Christianity itself doesn't seem to come off too badly in the movie. The people are flawed, yes, but that's on them. The real "baddies" seem to be the abusive men whose actions shaped the kids in the movie and, of course, the cult.

    I laughed out loud many times. I really wanted Yu and Yoko to fare well. I cared about them. Heck, I cared about most all the characters, even the pervert friends.

    The first 3 hours were stronger than the last hour. I never could really get the motivation of Koike.

    Yeah, it didn't really dawn on me that she had feelings for Yu. I just figured she was a manipulative bitch trying to snag recruits for the cult. Much of her behavior was bizarre, and not in a good way (for me, the viewer).

    But the rest of the film made up for those minor shortcomings. I can't call it the best film evah, or a great love story, but it was fun and moving and entertaining as hell.

    4 stars
     
  11. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    I thought the novel by Stephen King was really creepy, and completely unfilmable. I can't imagine how anyone adapting it for the screen could do it justice.
     
  12. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Thanks for the tip. I'm a big Johnnie To fan and have not seen this. Will be one of my next Netflix rentals.
     
  13. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    What's the gimmick? lol. A bit of a trivia about me: I actually don't mind reading spoilers. I usually open spoiler tags when reading reviews. You can tell me who killed who, who died when, who's the serial killer, and I won't mind. So yeah @sitenoise, I'd like to know. *glares at you*

    Oh Kris Aquino!!!!! I really enjoyed reading the reviews for CRA, which I think is more enjoyable than the film itself. I gave this one a pass because one comment struck me, to which I can somehow agree, that with the exception of an all-Asian cast, this is typically a rom-com we've all seen before. So I didn't want to line up on the cinemas seeing it was Anaconda long, and the film earned $$$$hit, so I'll just use my money for something else.

    Anyway, back to Kris! Man, it was really funny. I'm curious, because her first hollywood film was so celebrated here (or at least in her social media probably and then news sites indulge) that when the film came out, her amount of screen time stirred headlines! Did she really leave a mark, or was it a blink-and-you'll-miss-it type of appearance? From what I gathered it was Nico Santos who raised the Philippine flag here.
     
  14. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I think I found my new signature lol.

    Darn I can't remember anything now. I was actually planning to watch it again last weekend when I read you were about to watch it but I wasn't able to. I wonder what is it that might ruffle the feathers of the religious? I'm a devout Catholic myself (I wear a veil while logging in to IMDf mjeyds.gif ) but I can't remember anything disturbing here.
     
  15. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 4

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    I recently read an article on why the film bombed so badly in China, and one of the hypothesis was that because they're used to seeing mediocre films with all-Asian casts, there was nothing to recommend it.

    She's in there for at least 30 seconds - if I recall correctly, she might have even had a line of dialogue. Santos had a significant part.
     
  16. Daniel Larusso

    Daniel Larusso Member: Rank 3

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    The Bird People in China (3rd viewing)
    Takashi Miike is best known for his twisted and violent movies. However, The Bird People in China proves how versatile as a director he actually is. This director has done so many movies in almost every genre.

    This movie takes us to breathtaking landscapes in the most hidden countryside of China. Sometimes we just want to escape from our reality. Forget everyone and everything around us to start a new life in a new place.

    This film is recommended for those who are looking for a peaceful journey into a magical world.
    9/10

    Linda Linda Linda (3rd viewing)
    Takashi Miike is best known for his twisted and violent movies. However, The Bird People in China proves how versatile as a director he actually is. This director has done so many movies in almost every genre.

    This movie takes us to breathtaking landscapes in the most hidden countryside of China. Sometimes we just want to escape from our reality. Forget everyone and everything around us to start a new life in a new place.

    This film is recommended for those who are looking for a peaceful journey into a magical world.
    9/10

    Scream (4th or 5th viewing)
    Of all the slashers I used to watch back in highschool, this remains as the one movie I keep coming back to. It's such a fun movie and a parody on the genre. So many funny lines.
    9/10

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (2nd viewing)
    Damn, this was such an unpleasant watch. Disgusting for the sake of beeing disgusting, left a very bad taste in my mouth.
    1/10

    That's actually the first time I'm reading that as the movie makes its point on defending christianity as an accepted religion.
     
    #36 Daniel Larusso, Jan 15, 2019 at 5:16 AM
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019 at 10:49 AM
  17. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    I couldn't gather many words to say about the film either. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Just dawned on me that I don't think you comment much on soundtracks/music/sound design much in your reviews. Music is a big part of Sono for me. I've been known to divide his films into: films where actors scream most of their lines and films where they don't. I'll bet my judgement of his musical choices goes hand in hand with that division.
     
  18. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    That's true about my approach to sound design or music selections...for the most part. Certainly, there are some movies where you can't help but be wowed. The scores by John Williams or Alexander Courage really helped Star Wars and Star Trek and Raiders, etc. etc. And I think Tarantino's choice of music is inspired to the point of genius. Pulp Fiction (my first introduction to Tarantino) just blew me away, and that was partly due to his music selections.

    But absent rare exceptions, the "background" music of a movie doesn't register high on my scale. To me, a well-plotted, well-acted, well-characterized movie won't lose points for poor or uninspired music, and an otherwise pedestrian/forgettable film won't get bonus points for great music.

    In Love Exposure, I did notice the music. I'm a huge fan of classical music (which may be one reason those huge symphonic scores of Williams etc. really hit me in the sweet spot), and Sono's use of classical was appreciated. I even had to smile at his choice of Ravel's Bolero, which is classical music's version of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall lol. A good choice for a long movie, ha.

    Check out my reviews for the Japanese films Angel Dust, and The Mystery of Rampo. I don't go on an on about the music or sound design, but I do mention it in those films for good reason.
     

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