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Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 356890 times)

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6250 on: November 25, 2021, 03:45:59 PM »
Encanto (2021)
★ ★ ★ - Good
Never mind myself, I'm DYING to know what Eric/E.T. will make of this. THE Studio... that also happened to make Moana. A cheerful musical that has Lin-Manuel Miranda's DNA all over the songs AND the story, where he has a credit. This is closest to In the Heights, only with shots held longer and all the magical realism that animation can accommodate. Looking forward to watching this again in a month on Disney+ with the captions on, because LMM's wordplay tends to go by fast.

I'm pretty pumped about it, too. Great to hear these positive words. Might save it for D+ to watch with Dad the first time around, though it will be hard to wait.

Gonna modify this with our Thanksgiving film, Tick, Tick...Boom!
Had to watch it with Dad, who took me to the Broadway production in the 90's. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this film exceeded whatever conception I had of it. I found it a bit surprising how much Lin Manuel Miranda embraces the lo-fi in this project. I don't know why, it's his first directed feature, but I expected perhaps more polish, as well as more distance between audience and subject. This is also probably due in part to my ignorance about Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick...Boom!, the state he was in when he made it, and what he wanted to convey. I though LMM + Larson Musical = Gloss. His production sensibility extends to the musical pieces themselves, and by rooting it in and constantly cutting to the stage show in a small auditorium, he maintains this intimacy throughout. The Andrew Garfield performance is a perfect example of creation of the third character between his method and consistent panache and the love and ego of the man he portrays. If this film garners no other attention during awards season, I hope he at least gets his due. I think this is a triumph for LMM, too, though. He has directing chops. I will look forward to his next project behind the camera.

I want to see this in the theater now. Maybe this weekend.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2021, 12:19:48 PM by Eric/E.T. »
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Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6251 on: November 29, 2021, 10:11:46 PM »
India Sweets and Spices

Surprisingly solid turnout for mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving eve. Has certain romcom trappings with the daughter of a wealthy Indian family back home from college and falling for the son of the family that took over the local market...a family that as business owners would still probably classify as well-off, but not culturally elite and thus are looked down on. The romance ultimately gets sidelined by this cultural divide, a surprise tie between the two, and how these revelations tear down the community's pretentious facade. Enjoyable but definitely not high art.

King Richard

An inspiring story, but held back by the usual flaws of biopics. Will Smith has aged into roles that Lawrence Fishburne used to dominate.

Encanto

Confectionary. Solid songs, though there is a certain triteness about the story beats. I guess if I dig deeper, there's a certain aspect about an immigrant's story, and the pressure put on subsequent generations to fulfill the promise of the sacrifices of those before. But the characterizations are pretty superficial.

Stillwater

I had some reservations about this hearing the concerns voiced by Amanda Knox about the loose cribbing of her story without any effort to consult her. It was probably worse than I could have imagined, combining the story with the subtlety of Prisoners to result in a story that would be ethically dubious even if it was complete fiction.

House of Gucci

Leaving the film I felt like there was something missing about the film to make it more than just glamorous soap opera. Listening to the Slate Spoiler Special on the drive home it really hit home how much they missed what could have been. The three figures, by blood or marriage, at the center of the story, the third generation of Guccis, together had all the right ideas to save the company, borne out by hindsight, but they developed so many chips on their shoulders that it became Shakespearian tragedy. But lacking the right contextualization, it loses the weight and just leans into the camp.

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6252 on: November 30, 2021, 10:54:50 AM »
V/H/S/94 (2021)
★ ★
While I'm in agreement that this is way better than the terrible V/H/S Viral, occasionally hitting the heights of the first two V/H/S films - both in the H/T1K at 499 and 462 - I seem to be out of step over which segment is the best. We have...

Holy Hell
★ ★ ½
The framing story takes best advantage of the V/H/S aesthetic, creating lots of unsettling atmosphere. Unfortunately it culminates in a tongue-in-cheek joke that deflates all the build-up.

Storm Drain
★ ★ ★ - Good
Tale of a mythical Rat Man living in the sewers is exactly the kind of scary you sign up for. You know it's there, waiting in the darkness. Obviously if you're watching this you're expecting to see it, but I was dreading where this was going and the finale does not disappoint.

The Empty Wake
★ ★ ★ - Good
Regular contributor Simon Barrett takes the simple premise of a young woman assigned to host a wake where nobody shows up... except the person in the casket may still be alive. Simple, but effective and there are some memorable reveals at the end.

The Subject
★ ★ ½
This is the popular favorite. From Timo Tjahjanto, it's about a mad scientist successfully combining man with machine. Typical of Timo, violent hell breaks loose. For me, it's cool to a point but the creative violence becomes more important than any story and it looks like a Resident Evil video game cutscene.

Terror
★½
As bad as the segments in Viral. It would've been smarter to cut this and release the film at 80 minutes.

smirnoff

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6253 on: December 07, 2021, 06:11:06 PM »
Marie Antoinette

I quite dug this. Particularly the early parts of the film highlighting the mundane stuff. Having toured various castles and palaces, you walk into these rooms and wonder about them. Usually there is an attempt to furnish them as would have been done at the time, but it still feels quite lifeless to me. Somehow this film makes that sort of thing feel more real than seeing it in person ever has. But it does it in a way I find unique to this film and I can't place my finger on the difference. You can watch Amadeus and see the same sort of thing, and yet it's not the same. It kind of rushes past it all, since to the characters I suppose it's not remarkable. It's very dynamic and la-dee-da, and that's fine. But this film has a very austere presentation which I didn't expect. I mean it's kind of baked into the story at that point in time with Marie just arriving at Versailles and finding it all very rigid, and it works, so that's good. But I liked it despite that. I was sold on the film during the long boring coach ride to Versailles. I just appreciated such a practical demonstration of historical realities.

I didn't get on quite as well with the more lively middle bits. Marie's lifestyle, the montages... it was fine but whatever. Not engaging particularly. Maybe I didn't let myself get too close with the character, knowing where it was headed. For me the film petered out a bit at the end. Like it's most interesting qualities had been used up, and there wasn't enough time to tell the remainder of Marie's life, and so the film just had to make as graceful and poignant an ending as it could muster. Not quite a success in that regard. Overall, a lot going for it though and I came away feeling generally positive.

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6254 on: December 07, 2021, 07:11:39 PM »

Female Prisoner Scorpion

I thought this would be the Japanese equivalent of those 70s "women in prison" exploitation films I'm not a fan of, and in many ways they are. However, while most exploitation is about squeezing a lot of entertainment value from very little money, the Japanese version of this still puts a lot of creative thought into what the camera is doing and what's being filmed. I can't recommend any of these films outright because there's too much sexual assault and humiliation, but I was surprised by the thought that went into the lighting, makeup, sound, score and set design. Maybe these films were also made on the cheap, but it only shows in the sloppy writing and some of the acting. In terms of filmmaking, there are moments here that reminded me of Kwaidan and Dodes'ka-den.


Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972)
Jailhouse 41 (1972)
★ ★ ½
The first two films are from the same director and show the most creativity. The sexual exploitation is cut in half by the 2nd film, which maybe why it's seen as an improvement. However, that makes the exploitation stick out even more when it does happen, nothing worse than putting in a rape because you feel obligated to do so. Scorpion saves its revenge for the finale, while Jailhouse 41 works it into the story better, but the lead is mostly an observer throughout the middle of the 2nd film. She's played in all four films by Meiko Kaji, who is also Lady Snowblood and has a couple of other successful franchises in her career. I await the biopic.

I'll mention again, I've seen 13,000 features and there are scenes here filmed like nothing I've ever seen before. Not weird or style for style sake, but brilliant ideas.

Beast Stable (1973)
★ ★
#701's Grudge Song (1973)
★ ★
Beast Stable is the same director, but he's phoning it in. It's like they now know what they have and he's creating the TV Pilot that will be the template for the series going forward, right down to the wide open ending. Scorpion's character has gone from a personal vendetta to an avenging superhero for oppressed women everywhere. The film isn't even that stylish. A new director takes over for Grudge Song, and the only thing worse than no style at all is trying to pump in a lot of style with little thought as to how it enhances the story. At least the final story returns to being a personal one for Scorpion, but it has all the baggage of being a sequel that can't live up to the series.

Bondo

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6255 on: December 07, 2021, 09:42:33 PM »
Definitely a moment of “I don’t know what’s going on and I’m too afraid to ask.”

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6256 on: December 09, 2021, 08:47:07 PM »
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

As always, the New York Time's film critics drop their lists, and I go scrambling to figure out what I've missed. This is one I've had on my radar for a little while, but Manhola Dargis's inclusion of this one in her top ten gave me that extra nudge. Thank goodness. This one is Certified Eric/E.T. Approved AND Certified Eric/E.T.'s Dad Approved.

The initial car scene where one woman describes the emotionally-intimate details of an encounter with a new love interest certainly had me wondering where this was going. But damn, its story of love, manipulation, and coincidence unfolds at the absolute perfect pace that keeps you engaged, provides great emotional resonance, and ultimately may just leave you in a state of contemplation. Did for me, big time. Each of the three individual stories here had similar affects, even as their approaches to love and romance differ.

Big reason I don't always like to write reviews: Who's the audience? How much are you trying to ruin their experience? Honestly, I just want more people to watch this film. Some of my favorites from 2021 saw wide release, like In the Heights and The Green Knight. Watch 'em if you want. But we need way more eyes on Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. It's one with universal themes that I think far more people would enjoy than will ever hear about it. I do not say that about most art house/foreign films, I know they don't have large actual or potential audiences, especially in the West. But this thing. It's got romance, humor, honesty, and insights for days, and tells its stories in fascinating and somewhat unexpected ways. So see it.
Just because a person has never walked in my shoes, that doesn’t mean they can’t gravitate to the art. - Mach-Hommy

A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

jdc

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6257 on: December 09, 2021, 10:33:20 PM »
As for me, I like when anybody writes about a film that they like and want to get others to watch.  If it is already on my radar to watch, I would normally wait to read the review.  I put In the Heights on my list to watch when I can find it just due to you having watching 50 or 60 times I think
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The Deer Hunter

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6258 on: December 10, 2021, 09:41:15 PM »
Better Watch Out

What a hidden Christmas horror gem. Great performances from a bunch of teenagers. Well written. It’s not full of smart characters doing dumb decisions.

1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #6259 on: December 12, 2021, 01:27:42 AM »
West Side Story
★ ★ ★ - Good
As someone who loves musicals, I feel blessed that this year is bookended by In the Heights and this. I just get happy tears watching people in bright outfits dancing in the streets with complete abandon. That said, I don't know how I feel yet about this specific film after just one viewing as I can't not compare it to the original classic and the recent Heights. Spielberg's direction is a marvel, as if more proof was needed that he is a master of the art. He seems absolutely giddy to get to make a musical, while displaying the confidence of takes that are frequently long and wide. The remake benefits from his cinematic eye as much as the original benefits from its theatricality.

There's just something unavoidably musty about the material, and I can't tell if its because I'm too familiar with the story and songs. Setting it in the past while pumping it full of modern relevance is like watching a corpse dance. When I got home, I rewatched some of In the Heights and one film corrects the flaws of the other. Heights is excitingly now, but West Side Story gives my eyes time to take in the imagery. Story has a shaky lead in Ansel Elgort while Anthony Ramos is oddly too commanding a center in Heights for the rest of the cast to play off his charisma. Ariana DeBose and company are perfect performing the classic "America" (WSS), but "96,000" (Heights) has a musical complexity that makes it more rewatchable, even if the staging of it is downright annoying in places.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2021, 10:07:21 AM by 1SO »