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Five Movies, Five Countries 
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
(Changed from Timeline, which hasn't the hottest word of mouth)

#4

Audition (1999, Japanese)

Yeeshhhh.

Certainly one of the most memorable horrors though. Watching this, it suddenly hits me of the pattern in the kind of horrors I love best (The Descent, The Blair Witch Project, Rosemary's Baby): the world-building. I am really taken with horror films that take its sweet time establishing the environments and building the atmosphere of where the horror will take place, with no need to be "scary" or even indicates that it will be a horror right off the bat.

Audition might not be a personal favorite like those mentioned above, because my horror preference tends to go towards something less queasy. But even so, it is really not that grisly, at least compared to some other Japanese horrors I have watched previously. It's just that the focus on deeply felt characters and sensitive, serene drama in the first half (almost an hour in before something even remotely unsettling happened) makes the moment it shifts and unleashes pure horror on the audience really stunning and impactful.

But seriously, damn those kirikiris to hell.


Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:28 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Quote:
Blood of a Poet was also pretty engrossing for me when I watched it. It's just under an hour, so it doesn't come across as indulgent or feel that long. I don't know if I would call it "great" but it held my attention for the entire time I was watching it.
-Jeremy


Well it's 55 minutes, plus it's Cocteau. Most of the arthouse material I like is pre-1970. Most of those directors were true pioneers. But after 1970, it seems like a lot of self-proclaimed artists have simply tried to out-Antonioni Antonioni or out-Bergman Bergman, or Ozu, etc. Fassbender, Tarkovsky, and Herzog are all a bit underwhelming for me. Kieslowski was pretty good, though I don't think he ranks among the greats.

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Perhaps because to deny culture is seen as, broadly-speaking, low brow.

(to play Devil's advocate)


There's a global culture too though, which obviously matters now more than ever. And action and spectacle are likely the most universal languages in film. It's the most universal aspects of film that tend to interest me most.


Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:45 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm not sure I buy that, Cook.

Blandness = global culture = what interests you most?

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Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:01 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
NotHughGrant wrote:
I'm not sure I buy that, Cook.

Blandness = global culture = what interests you most?


No, not blandness. Universal appeal is what interests me most. That's not blandness automatically, though it can be. It can yield either the worst kind of movie there is, or the best kind.


Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:11 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
peng wrote:
(Changed from Timeline, which hasn't the hottest word of mouth)

#4

Audition (1999, Japanese)

Yeeshhhh.

Certainly one of the most memorable horrors though. Watching this, it suddenly hits me of the pattern in the kind of horrors I love best (The Descent, The Blair Witch Project, Rosemary's Baby): the world-building. I am really taken with horror films that take its sweet time establishing the environments and building the atmosphere of where the horror will take place, with no need to be "scary" or even indicates that it will be a horror right off the bat.

Audition might not be a personal favorite like those mentioned above, because my horror preference tends to go towards something less queasy. But even so, it is really not that grisly, at least compared to some other Japanese horrors I have watched previously. It's just that the focus on deeply felt characters and sensitive, serene drama in the first half (almost an hour in before something even remotely unsettling happened) makes the moment it shifts and unleashes pure horror on the audience really stunning and impactful.

But seriously, damn those kirikiris to hell.


This film is extreme!

Like you imply, the earlier parts of the films have a kind of bleak realism about them, that only contrasts and thus magnifies the later horror.

In a sense, the most disturbing scenes are -

[Reveal] Spoiler:
As she is torturing him, she is turning his prior words about "loving only her" back on him. And when she is dying, but is still sub-consciously speaking in the faux sweet-and-innocent personality she has developed for herself. Really chilling!

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Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:14 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
NotHughGrant wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
As she is torturing him, she is turning his prior words about "loving only her" back on him. And when she is dying, but is still sub-consciously speaking in the faux sweet-and-innocent personality she has developed for herself. Really chilling!


[Reveal] Spoiler:
The actress is really scary in the role. What puts her performance under my skin most is that she never contort her face to befit the horror of her crimes or most horror villains. The way her demeanor still remained rather sweet throughout, even during "kiri kiri" stretch, is just...god, ugh.


Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
There's a crude sociology at work with The Audition. Because he IS essentially using his status to exploit her in the beginning.

It just so happens that this particular underdog bites upwards ... severly.

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Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#5 The Children Are Watching Us - Italy (Vittorio De Sica, 1944)

The second Vittorio De Sica in this thread is also my conclusion to this brief trip. The movie is from the POV of a young boy, how he manages when his mother leaves the family for her lover, when his father sends him off to be cared for by family, when attempts at reconciling the family are met with difficulties and ultimately failure. Not really about the child so much as it is about the strangeness and stuntedness of the adults on whom he is entirely reliant. As expected, the movie is sad. Unexpected is that though it is sad, the kid who's so invisible to all the major players is also the one person who starts out healthy, lives through agony, and will be the only one capable enough to learn anything about decency and caring for others. I assumed it would end in great tragedy -- a death was inevitable from the get-go -- and was impressed that it went somewhere more profound. This was a good one to conclude with.

Next month I'm probably going to go with 5-7 silent movies or 5-7 pre-1930's features (which will almost certainly be silent). Maybe. We'll see.

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:32 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#5

The Guard (2011, Ireland)

Brendan Gleeson plays a crass and immoral police officer who has to investigate a murder involving drug trafficking, which then requires FBI involvement from oversea. This comedy is low-key to good effect, and then to a fault in the last act when there is no sense of momentum to make it memorable or land strongly. The performances are all superb though, which keeps it entertaining enough to the end. Mark Strong looks brilliantly bored in his villainy, and Gleeson nails his role in all its racial, cultural and political incorrectness, which is taken to some delicious highs in his scenes with deadpan Don Cheadle. Their rapport is wonderful and the highlight of the film.


Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:15 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Mark III wrote:
Next month I'm probably going to go with 5-7 silent movies or 5-7 pre-1930's features (which will almost certainly be silent). Maybe. We'll see.


It was a fun challenge. I never get in even as few as five movies per month, but glad I was able to this time. My boy's baseball season awaits in March. Really enjoyed the variety that has made it to this thread and that will continue for the next week.


Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:36 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I'm still one in. Jeez, I need to catch up. But I have so much Christopher Walken to ram down! What a bind.

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:55 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
peng wrote:
#5

The Guard (2011, Ireland)

Brendan Gleeson plays a crass and immoral police officer who has to investigate a murder involving drug trafficking, which then requires FBI involvement from oversea. This comedy is low-key to good effect, and then to a fault in the last act when there is no sense of momentum to make it memorable or land strongly. The performances are all superb though, which keeps it entertaining enough to the end. Mark Strong looks brilliantly bored in his villainy, and Gleeson nails his role in all its racial, cultural and political incorrectness, which is taken to some delicious highs in his scenes with deadpan Don Cheadle. Their rapport is wonderful and the highlight of the film.


I saw this in Dublin. It was awesome.

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:57 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978) ***
Director: Federico Fellini
Country: Italy

Look at me finally getting on the bandwagon! Definitely not going to make 5 by next Friday, but better something than nothing

I am really not a big Fellini fan, though I do think La Dolce VIta is pretty brilliant. 8 1/2, however, left me about as bored as I've ever been, Satyricon would made a shortlist of the worst films I've seen, and La Strada was too simple for its own good. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Orchestra Rehearsal, which starts as a mockumentary look at an Italian orchestra but then becomes a big satire of big themes, which gave me significant food for thought. Plus it's a mere 69 minutes...less than half the length of 8 1/2!

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Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:57 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
I've seen only five movies this month, but each has been from a different country:
(1) Fanny and Alexander, Bergman, Sweden, already mentioned.
(2) Barking Dogs Never Bite, Bong Joon-Ho South Korea. The first feature by the director of Memories of Murder and The Host, which I've seen and like a lot, and Mother and Snowpiercer, which await. In Barking Dogs Never Bite, a mild mannered young South Korean professoral candidate is forced by circumstances to become a serial dog killer. He needs to eliminate a barking dog so he can stay awake long enough to get the professorship. Unfortunately it takes awhile before he can locate the offending canine. Meanwhile, he is witnessed and pursued by a young female amateur detective, there is a janitor quite willing to dispose of bodies by making dog soup, and the building is haunted by the ghost of Boiler Kim, who was murdered while inspecting the plumbing and was interred in the walls.

Lumpy film, the first directed by Joon-Ho Bong: it has some very nice scenes. I like the one where the sad fate of Boiler Kim is narrated (despite that scene having no payoff), or the girl rescuing a dog while crowds of people on rooftops are cheering her on. Overall, though, it's a first effort by a director who was still learning his craft, and you're much better off seeing his second film, Memories of Murder, which is a masterpiece.

(3) The Lego Movie: (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) extremely fast moving to the point of being bewildering, except near the end, where it slows down a bit and transcends its world. I found myself wishing it would slow down a little from the beginning.

(4) Children who Chase Lost Voices: Makoto Shinkai , Japan(The Place Promised in Our Early Days and 5 Centimeters per Second tackles fantasy in very much a Miyazaki mode, but, as in all his movies, there is a feeling of melancholy and longing. In this one, a lonely schoolgirl befriends a boy from the underworld who promptly dies. She then encounters the boy's brother and they are forced to enter his homeland. But they are followed by a man who wants to enter the underworld to find the Gate of Love and Death, where he hopes to resurrect his dead wife. Resemblances to Orpheus and Eurydice and other stories in which mortal men enter the underworld is intentional, as are resemblances to the work of Miyazaki. Note though the underworld realm here is not the realm of dead souls; you have to go beyond the Gate to bring back the dead. Not as successful as Shinkai's previous two films, but worth seeing. [I confess I finally watched this one to meet the challenge. It had been sitting on my shelf since Christmas]

(5) The Way I Spent the End of the World, Catalin Mitulescu, Romania. This movie centers around the life of a 17-year old girl during the summer and fall of 1989. Everyone is unhappy with Ceauescu's regime, which has been growing more and more oppresive over the years, and our girl sees the possiblilty of escape by swimming with her neighbor across the Danube to freedom (well, Bulgaria or Yugoslavia, anyway). But the country is conspiring to free her anyway; we are approaching Christmas.

Not as powerful as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and not funny like 1208: East of Bucharest, and the director has story-telling problems, not to mention that we watch the climax on television, but I liked the girl (played by Dorotheea Petra, who was actually around 23) and the small acts of defiance by family and friends.

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Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:44 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
peng wrote:
#5

The Guard (2011, Ireland)

Brendan Gleeson plays a crass and immoral police officer who has to investigate a murder involving drug trafficking, which then requires FBI involvement from oversea. This comedy is low-key to good effect, and then to a fault in the last act when there is no sense of momentum to make it memorable or land strongly. The performances are all superb though, which keeps it entertaining enough to the end. Mark Strong looks brilliantly bored in his villainy, and Gleeson nails his role in all its racial, cultural and political incorrectness, which is taken to some delicious highs in his scenes with deadpan Don Cheadle. Their rapport is wonderful and the highlight of the film.


Yeah, I quite liked the Guard.

The script is only so-so, but Gleeson lends enough charisma to make it memorable.

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:49 am
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
#1
Autumn Sonata (1978)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Country: Sweden (although technically a German production because Bergman was having tax issues in Sweden)

Bergman's chamber drama about a mother who comes to stay with her daughter and husband after a seven year absence from their lives. There's a lot of pent up resentment that's aired out, and there's also a good amount of piano playing. The acting is uniformly excellent. Ingrid Bergman plays the mother and Liv Ullmann the daughter, making my previous statement so obvious that it hardly needs inclusion. The most fascinating thing about the film has more to do with the cyclical structure than anything else. The film begins and ends similarly, during the course of the running time there are a handful of references to the mother doing exactly what she does in the movie all her life (as if the majority of the plot is just another revolution in this cycle), and there are also lines of dialogue telling us how people hold on to hopes and dreams in an effort to change or undo what has already taken place. The ending reinforces this idea and leads you to believe it's all bound to happen again, in some form. The film's best aspect comes off of all that in how there's an element of hope to what logically seems like a doomed path by continuously trying for change.

I'm kind of torn on this one, to be perfectly honest. The style is so obviously theatrical, from the staging of the scenes to the stilted dialogue, that I had a hard time loving it. That said, Bergman doesn't seem to be making much of an effort to make the film cinematic, so maybe I should just accept that and take the film for what it is. I'm glad I watched it, but I can't say that I loved it.


Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
PeachyPete wrote:
#1
Autumn Sonata (1978)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Country: Sweden (although technically a German production because Bergman was having tax issues in Sweden)

Bergman's chamber drama about a mother who comes to stay with her daughter and husband after a seven year absence from their lives. There's a lot of pent up resentment that's aired out, and there's also a good amount of piano playing. The acting is uniformly excellent. Ingrid Bergman plays the mother and Liv Ullmann the daughter, making my previous statement so obvious that it hardly needs inclusion. The most fascinating thing about the film has more to do with the cyclical structure than anything else. The film begins and ends similarly, during the course of the running time there are a handful of references to the mother doing exactly what she does in the movie all her life (as if the majority of the plot is just another revolution in this cycle), and there are also lines of dialogue telling us how people hold on to hopes and dreams in an effort to change or undo what has already taken place. The ending reinforces this idea and leads you to believe it's all bound to happen again, in some form. The film's best aspect comes off of all that in how there's an element of hope to what logically seems like a doomed path by continuously trying for change.

I'm kind of torn on this one, to be perfectly honest. The style is so obviously theatrical, from the staging of the scenes to the stilted dialogue, that I had a hard time loving it. That said, Bergman doesn't seem to be making much of an effort to make the film cinematic, so maybe I should just accept that and take the film for what it is. I'm glad I watched it, but I can't say that I loved it.


I didn't love it ether. Give me Cries and Whispers any day

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Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:20 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
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#3 Breaker Morant (1980)

Courtroom drama that takes place in a British outpost. Three Australian soldiers (serving in the British army) caught up in British Military politics. Pretty straightforward with court proceedings interspersed with depictions of the actual events being recalled. Much fine acting (a complete abundance really), outstanding period depiction and makeup, and the very finest dialog of any movie I've ever seen. I don't know how I've gone this far without seeing this film. 9/10.


I recorded this off TCM, looking forward to seeing it.

They are showing Australian movies every Friday in May. Some I've never heard of.
http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/9 ... inema.html


Thu May 08, 2014 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Five Movies, Five Countries
calvero wrote:
Quote:
#3 Breaker Morant (1980)

Courtroom drama that takes place in a British outpost. Three Australian soldiers (serving in the British army) caught up in British Military politics. Pretty straightforward with court proceedings interspersed with depictions of the actual events being recalled. Much fine acting (a complete abundance really), outstanding period depiction and makeup, and the very finest dialog of any movie I've ever seen. I don't know how I've gone this far without seeing this film. 9/10.


I recorded this off TCM, looking forward to seeing it.

They are showing Australian movies every Friday in May. Some I've never heard of.
http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/9 ... inema.html


It's fucking great. One year i wasn't watching many movies and then I saw this movie and instantly my love for film was reignited.

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Thu May 08, 2014 10:24 pm
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