Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched  (Read 91409 times)

philip918

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4562
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2910 on: December 30, 2018, 01:29:22 PM »
Cold War (2018)

Engaging (especially thanks to an 89 minute run-time), but I didn't much care for it. That primarily comes down to the main female character, Zula, being enigmatic to the point of nonsensicality. Her actions throughout the film are so contradictory and fickle, and with the film offering no real insight into her inner life, that I've pretty much settled on her just being a terrible person. Maybe it's supposed to be the story of a one-sided relationship with a poor sop smashing himself against the rocks of a capricious muse. If so, mission accomplished? The more I think about it, the more I dislike it.

I just don't believe love is something that destroys you.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 07:23:11 PM by philip918 »

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 31472
  • Marathon Man
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2911 on: December 30, 2018, 09:32:33 PM »
I also didn't much care for it, but I thought the external contradictions in Zula were the best part. They gave the character tremendous depth without ever feeling the need to explain how a person could make such choices.

Side note, Joanna Kulig looks a lot like Jennifer Lawrence in many shots.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 31472
  • Marathon Man
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2912 on: December 30, 2018, 09:57:30 PM »

The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

This is where the title of this thread couldn't be more accurate. I'm not here to write a review or give an opinion or even a persuasive argument. That ship has sailed. When I was in my 20s, my guiding principle for writing about a movie was "how much would I recommend it to others?" That still leads to many of my best posts, when I can give a convincing argument for or against a film, especially one where my opinion is out of sync with the majority. The Happiest Millionaire cannot be handled this way.

I've seen the movie four times now, this movie that most people think feels four movies long when they watch it only once. It's a musical that Sandy hates, which is really all you need to know if you're even thinking about watching it. Four viewings, and it keeps getting better every time I see it. I originally saw it as a slapdash attempt by Walt Disney to create another Mary Poppins, from the Sherman Bros. tunes to Tommy Steele's toothy grin that's like a cartoon drawing of Dick Van Dyke.
 

Four viewings in and I no longer see the narrative as a pasted together collection of barely-connected set-pieces. I love the songs, ALL the songs, and some I look forward to like they were "Jolly Holiday". I don't mind the two sons that appear at the beginning, sing one song and then vanish from the film completely. I just love the whole experience of sitting down for 165 minutes with this picture.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Very Good

I cannot rate the film lower than that, but I also cannot recommend it to anyone. I can hope that one day it will get rediscovered and re-evaluated, but I don't have any hope of that happening. If and when the film is ever released on Blu-Ray I will buy it. (The DVD transfer is  plagued by edge enhancement, halo effects, and a lack of genuine sharpness in general.) It's one of my Top 10 films of 1967, above Playtime, In Cold Blood and Le Samourai. It's beyond my control.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad

philip918

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4562
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2913 on: December 30, 2018, 10:58:15 PM »
I also didn't much care for it, but I thought the external contradictions in Zula were the best part. They gave the character tremendous depth without ever feeling the need to explain how a person could make such choices.

Side note, Joanna Kulig looks a lot like Jennifer Lawrence in many shots.

She certainly does look like Lawrence at times. We'll have to disagree on the depth of her character. Some minor character off-handedly calls her a "femme fatale" and that's probably meant as a clue the more I think about it. Maybe she is supposed to be destructive and kind of terrible, which opens another bag of worms for a film that already felt pretty sexist.

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24540
  • A Monkey with a Gun
    • Creative Criticism
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2914 on: December 31, 2018, 08:16:42 AM »
The Happiest Millionaire was one that got frequent circulation during my childhood and I couldn't stand it then.

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20698
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2915 on: January 01, 2019, 11:12:53 PM »
Double feature of films where the gay character is told that life will be hard.

Vice

An object lesson in "you'll only encourage him." People ate up The Big Short, even though it was repulsively overclever. So Adam McKay has come back with a biopic of Dick Cheney that doubles down on the affectations with even less grounding narrative to make through. Like, I'm on board with Cheney being a bad person, but this film is so coy that any suggestion of historicism gets chucked out the window. So what's the point. I'm taking a pass on McKay's ironic cinema movement.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I had hesitated on seeing this since the critics weren't kind, but I guess like The Greatest Showman (another notable musical that had major box-office legs out of line with its critical reception) I can't trust the critics to steer me right. Obviously the first strength here is the music. Queen are legendary for a reason, you could make a great soundtrack out of the songs that were left out (many of which are far better than a few here that I suppose fit the story better because they certainly don't seem better/bigger songs). In any event, that is a good backdrop for a lights out performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. I found the film very effective in its portrayal of destructive loneliness spurred by self-doubts due to the closet and other issues, that are the foil for a persona of Freddie as this hyper-confident performer. Opening with a build-up to the Live Aid finale before flashing back seemed hackneyed structuring, but by the time the story builds back to that moment it takes on a whole different meaning than the typical "how they made it to the peak" biopic structure.

philip918

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4562
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2916 on: January 02, 2019, 10:51:59 AM »
Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

A fascinating time capsule of a sprawling, ever-changing city that is always printing the legend while letting less glamorous truths fade out. It wobbles along a fine line of genuine insightfulness and too-cool-for-school hipsterism, but certainly worth it for the many interesting revelations and the filmmaker's sardonic wit. I laughed out loud when he postulates a director is making the architecture of a Frank Lloyd Wright building the real focus during a soft-core sex scene in a trashy B-movie. Doesn't quite earn it's nearly three-hour run-time, but, especially as someone who has called "LA" home for almost seven years now, it was engaging.

Funny Face (1957)

What a delight! I realized I've actually scene very few Audrey Hepburn films even though she's an actor I adore. The roles I most remember are Breakfast at Tiffany's and Wait Until Dark, so seeing her sprightly and smiling here was a joy. Features two standout dance pieces - first, in the dark room with Astaire, and then her iconic performance in the Parisian cafe really is something else. Astaire is charming and fleet-footed as ever, and I loved Kay Thompson. I was completely distracted by her arms and hands. She seems to have the head and arms of a woman who is seven feet tall. Amazing this is her only major film role. The final scene was a head-scratcher and must have been down to a production issue. Everything comes to a head around 10:30pm at night and then the last scene takes place in broad daylight. Not even a nitpick, just an observation. Great way to start the year.

Also, I've come around, at least a little bit, on Cold War (Ha!). It struck me that it's very much in the vein of In the Realm of the Senses, a movie I love. It explores almost the opposite type of relationship - people who ultimately can't stand being together for very long versus people wholly consumed by their passion for one another. I still don't think it's entirely effective, and the ending feels like something you'd see in film school projects, but I've moved from intense dislike to ambivalence. Worth it for the shot of the three people standing in front of the mirror at the party.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 11:00:55 AM by philip918 »

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 18423
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2917 on: January 02, 2019, 12:02:13 PM »
Ninotchka (1939)
Okay, I'm a little embarrassed. I always thought this was a spy thriller, but how pleased I was to find that it was a screwball comedy, and a hilarious one at that. Not a single performance that isn't hilarious, but it is mostly about the ensemble. The only part I hesitate about is that Garbo's performance doesn't grow, it just shifts with that one extended, hilarious laugh. I love the scene in the cafe, but why should she shift so suddenly?  In the end, it doesn't matter.  I laughed so hard and enjoyed this so much I was angry at all of you for not telling me how great this one.  Then I realized that you did.  Well, it is a great way to end 2018.

 4.5/5

Spy (2015)
This is probably the most entertaining film for me over the last few years.  Sure, there are better films, but none as consistently funny and full of joyful performances.  It's a keeper.

4.5/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20698
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2918 on: January 02, 2019, 06:37:45 PM »
Madeline's Madeline

Nope, that wasn't the one I was looking for. I mean, yes I watched this because I thought it was Miranda July's so it is hypocritical to say, but this performance art/interpretive dance nonsense can miss me.

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24540
  • A Monkey with a Gun
    • Creative Criticism
Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2919 on: January 02, 2019, 07:22:55 PM »
Let the Sunshine In (2017)

Claire Denis remains one of the most robust and fascinating female directors working today. Able to navigate horror, drama, romance, comedy and arthouse without much difficulty, she’s yet to make an uninteresting film. One thread that runs through her films are how sensory they are and this film is no exception as it explores the romantic failings of Isabelle (Juliette Binoche), a middle-aged artist looking for love.

The film opens with sexual tenderness turned bitter as Isabelle finds herself emotionally distraught over the affair she is having that seems to be leading nowhere. While sex is often depicted as a deeply sensory and emotional experience, the intensities of these experiences don’t always lead to where Isabelle hopes.

Partly this is because there’s a vulnerability she opens herself to with these experiences that often seems to be rebuffed by the men around her, whether that’s through seeing her as disposable or rationalizing that the sex was a mistake. Being in love, making love, and finding love are all three distinct things in Let the Sunshine In and Isabelle has a hard time finding someone who can fulfill all three.

The film plays as a comedy of errors, not so much that the film is a series of jokes to amuse the audience, but that throughout the film Isabelle finds herself going from bad circumstance to bad circumstance and somehow must find the strength to persist. Her ability to look past the tragedy of these relationships and to continue to hold out for love instead of doomed gives the film glimmers of hope in a series of otherwise bleak situations.

Juliette Binoche brings a lot of this nuance to bear in her performance. She’s able to navigate the deep sorrow of moment mixed with a biting humor about it, as if she’s the brunt of the cosmic joke that is love. A lesser actor would come across as too bitter or too romantic, but Binoche is able to capture how the quest for love is often a mix of these emotions a resentment of what might of been but a hope of what might be.

It would be easy to blow off Claire Denis’ latest film as far less important than more of her more political and abrasive works, but that is the kind of unfair assessment left to those who think dark and cynical automatically makes a work more mature. Denis has made a deeply mature and adult film about love without shoving it full of cynicism and bleakness. There is the sting of failed love and the swooning of new love’s promise which captures the true breadth of the deeply human quest to love and be loved.