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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
Sorry to chip in with a remark, which may sound condescending even though it isn’t meant to be, but I believe that you may have completely misunderstood ‘We need to talk about Kevin’.


No need to apologize, Unke. All points of view and thoughts are welcome.

Unke wrote:
I never thought that it would explore the reasons for Kevin growing up to become a psychopath or the motives for his actions. In particular, I didn’t get the impression that the “video game scene” was designed to offer a possible exlanation for Kevin’s behaviour.


I don't think the movie is interested in necessarily exploring the reasons for Kevin being Kevin, more so giving us a bunch of possible reasons or factors that possibly could have influenced him. The film posits that video games influencing Kevin's psyche are just as likely as his mother's coldness/resentment did, and just as likely as him simply being born a sociopath.

Unke wrote:
Basically, the way we see Kevin, he is a demonic evil child from day one: he never stops to scream as a baby, he refuses to interact with his mother even though he could, he wets his pants deliberately etc. Enjoying violent video games is, at the most, just another piece of the puzzle.


True, but doesn't a lot of that fault lie with the parents? I mean, when you let your kid tell you to go away because mommy is reading a book, or accept him telling you he doesn't give a rat's ass about something, doesn't accepting that sort of behavior make the parents, at the very least, complicit, if not partially responsible?

A whole lot of kids act out at some point in their lives. That's why we need parents. If they accept that acting out and never do anything to stop it, then how can we be surprised when their kid grows up and turns into a monster? Sure, most won't grow up and turn into a mass murderer, but if those tendencies are naturally there? Who knows? I think that's the core of the film - Life doesn't happen in a vacuum. It's fluid (hence the nonlinear narrative), and there's millions of possible things along the way to influence and shape you, in addition to those natural tendencies you're born with.

Unke wrote:
This isn't us van Zant's 'Elephant' (which didn't offer a single explanation for the school shooters' behaviour, but seemed to make the point that there s no possible explanation)


I'll disagree here. Van Sant's film is more about how commonplace school shootings, and by extension, violence, are, and what that means to us than it is an examination of the pointlessness of analyzing a shooter's behavior. It's an abject failure of a movie because it fails to even attempt to retain a shred of the objectivity required by its premise. So, I agree that it doesn't offer an explanation for the behavior, but don't think it's concerned with the possibility of an explanation. We Need To Talk About Kevin, on the other hand, seems to make the point that all explanations are equally as valid as no explanation is.

Unke wrote:
I think that ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ is all about the mother played by Tilda Swindon, her feelings of inadequacy, her guilt, her struggle to cope with the situation and her desperate attempt to find a reason for Kevin’s behaviour. We only know Kevin through her memories (apart from the scene in which he is shooting arows, which I interpret as a figment of her imagination) and when Kevin is shown enjoying violent video games, it is his mother’s memory of him doing it. Also, there are subtle hints throughout the movie that we are not seeing the full picture. For instance, we are never informed on whether the mother really took the foreign correspondent job offered to her she might have been an absent mother for a considerable time or, alternatively, felt resentment towards her family for having to pass the chance to take the job.


I agree with all of this, but have to believe the film is about a little more than a mother dealing with the aftermath of her son killing a bunch of kids. Eva is certainly an unreliable narrator (and the movie scores points for not using voiceover when it so easily could have), but the film doesn't completely adopt her biases. There are still moments where she's at fault, or worthy of taking some blame. Again, her memories offer us glimpses of things that may, or may not, have influenced Kevin.

Unke wrote:
By the way, you are spot on concerning Berardinelli’s review: Swinton’s character may not be an uncaring or bad mother, but she certainly isn’t “attentive” and the movie isn’t about genetics vs. Environment.


I think the film's stance on genetics vs. environment is the same as it is on everything else - it's ambiguous. It's possible it could be one or the other, or some combination of the two. I do think the movie is concerned with the idea, but only to the extent that we don't know how to prove anything either way.

The more I dissect and think about the movie, the more hollow I'm finding it. All of this ambiguity for what? The film doesn't really say anything other than we don't know.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:15 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
PeachyPete wrote:
True, but doesn't a lot of that fault lie with the parents? I mean, when you let your kid tell you to go away because mommy is reading a book, or accept him telling you he doesn't give a rat's ass about something, doesn't accepting that sort of behavior make the parents, at the very least, complicit, if not partially responsible?


What could she do? She knew she was a flawed person but some children are just possibly born evil. Sure it was a heavy handed scene for an emotional response, but she threw him across the room and broke his arm at one point. He had a reaction that was really unusual, maybe unrealistic, but perhaps it could happen?

PeachyPete wrote:
A whole lot of kids act out at some point in their lives. That's why we need parents. If they accept that acting out and never do anything to stop it, then how can we be surprised when their kid grows up and turns into a monster? Sure, most won't grow up and turn into a mass murderer, but if those tendencies are naturally there? Who knows? I think that's the core of the film - Life doesn't happen in a vacuum. Its fluid (hence the nonlinear narrative), and there's millions of possible things along the way to influence and shape you, in addition to those natural tendencies you're born with.


All the love and excellent upbringing won’t stop certain children wanting to commit suicide from an early age and go through with it at some point. Sometimes parents are genuinely and sadly powerless. That's the meesage I got from the film, and I didn't find it an overly ambiguous point.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:38 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
wisey wrote:
What could she do? She knew she was a flawed person but some children are just possibly born evil. Sure it was a heavy handed scene for an emotional response, but she threw him across the room and broke his arm at one point. He had a reaction that was really unusual, maybe unrealistic, but perhaps it could happen?


Discipline him in some way. Maybe he was born evil, but I don't think that justifies not disciplining him whatsoever. Kids are malleable, and I don't think at age 5 or 6 or 7 or whatever a parent should be resigned to the fact that their kid is fucked up to the point that engaging in some actual parenting is futile. You have to at least try.

wisey wrote:
All the love and excellent upbringing won’t stop certain children wanting to commit suicide from an early age and go through with it at some point. Sometimes parents are genuinely and sadly powerless. That's the meesage I got from the film, and I didn't find it an overly ambiguous point.


But Kevin didn't have a lot of love or an excellent upbringing that I saw. In fact, his mother resented him from the day he was born because she wasn't ready to be pregnant. I never got the vibe that these were two parents trying really hard to raise a kid right.

I'm not saying there isn't truth to the point you're making, just that I didn't necessarily see it in the movie.


Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Everything or Nothing

This is a fairly standard-order documentary tracing James Bond's history from his roots in Ian Fleming's service as an intelligence agent during World War II to the present day Daniel Craig movies, combining much of what I already knew with a few things I didn't know. The cleverest bit was toward the beginning: a version of the classic gun barrel sequence that, with a little bit of computer magic, included every James Bond standing in a line and shooting at the camera at the same time. Worth watching for fans of the character, otherwise nothing terribly urgent.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Amour (3.5/4)

Amour is an honest look at old age and death. There is not much to say about it other than it is powerful and effective. It is emotional without relying on melodrama, which I appreciated. Michael Haneke makes it easy to relate to the story of Anne and Georges.

I know Emmanuelle Riva is getting all of the attention for her performance, and she is very good, but I honestly preferred Jean-Louis Trintignant. I thought his character was very interesting. He did a great job of showing what it's like to go through the drawn-out death of a loved one. I don't think Amour would have been as effective without his character. On a side note, when looking him up on Wikipedia, I discovered he played Marcello in The Conformist, another great movie.

I liked that Michael Haneke set most of the film inside the apartment. It made it feel very intimate. The use of muted colors helped maintain a consistent tone. My only complaint is that there are several scenes that go on for too long. I could tolerate the scenes in which Georges takes a while to do things because he is old, but when we are just shown a series of landscape paintings, I lost my patience.

Overall, simple and powerful. Streamlined storytelling. Definitely worth watching.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:16 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Reindeer Games

This had John Frankenheimer in the director's chair, and it had all of the ingredients to make a good movie - a guy decides to impersonate a dead friend in the hopes of getting some trim, but ends up getting a lot more trouble than what he bargained for. So what went wrong? The parts were there.

Well, the cast didn't really click. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron have no chemistry...I think Theron was hired for her tits more than anything else. The last third of the film is a mess; as the twists and double crosses add up, it ventures into the realm of the ridiculous.

This is my least favorite kind of movie...something that is bad, but could have been much better than the final product.

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:31 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Reindeer Games

This had John Frankenheimer in the director's chair, and it had all of the ingredients to make a good movie - a guy decides to impersonate a dead friend in the hopes of getting some trim, but ends up getting a lot more trouble than what he bargained for. So what went wrong? The parts were there.

Well, the cast didn't really click. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron have no chemistry...I think Theron was hired for her tits more than anything else. The last third of the film is a mess; as the twists and double crosses add up, it ventures into the realm of the ridiculous.

This is my least favorite kind of movie...something that is bad, but could have been much better than the final product.

Theron did admit she wasn't too proud of the film, while it's not her best performance, I still thought she did fine. I personally loved all the double-crosses and twists, the final twist was what really surprised me though.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Vexer wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Reindeer Games

This had John Frankenheimer in the director's chair, and it had all of the ingredients to make a good movie - a guy decides to impersonate a dead friend in the hopes of getting some trim, but ends up getting a lot more trouble than what he bargained for. So what went wrong? The parts were there.

Well, the cast didn't really click. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron have no chemistry...I think Theron was hired for her tits more than anything else. The last third of the film is a mess; as the twists and double crosses add up, it ventures into the realm of the ridiculous.

This is my least favorite kind of movie...something that is bad, but could have been much better than the final product.

Theron did admit she wasn't too proud of the film, while it's not her best performance, I still thought she did fine. I personally loved all the double-crosses and twists, the final twist was what really surprised me though.


If you really think about it, the last twist completely undercuts the whole movie, and makes it especially ridiculous. It's what I call an eye-roller...a moment in a film where you sit back and say "Seriously, they did not just do that."

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:07 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Side By Side

This is the documentary by Keanu Reeves that follows the decline of celluloid and the rise of digital as the chief means of making, exhibiting, and storing movies. I won't do the pointless thing by trying to sum up all the points that were made or name all the famous people who made them, but I will say that the pros and cons of this change are more complex than even fairly movie-savvy people such as ourselves might imagine. I don't know that it changed my mind or confirmed my position about anything, so much as it made me more undecided about a lot of things... which might be the best thing that a movie like this can accomplish.

One thing that I did settle on was my feelings about the democratization of filmmaking. Once I was on the fence about whether or not it would result in a decline of quality in cinematic storytelling. Now I firmly believe that it will and is in fact doing so already, but I'm also more conscious of the fact that improving the quality isn't necessarily the point.

I wonder if Reeves intends to do more documentaries about filmmaking and filmmakers. This was a good one.

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:22 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Reindeer Games

This had John Frankenheimer in the director's chair, and it had all of the ingredients to make a good movie - a guy decides to impersonate a dead friend in the hopes of getting some trim, but ends up getting a lot more trouble than what he bargained for. So what went wrong? The parts were there.

Well, the cast didn't really click. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron have no chemistry...I think Theron was hired for her tits more than anything else. The last third of the film is a mess; as the twists and double crosses add up, it ventures into the realm of the ridiculous.

This is my least favorite kind of movie...something that is bad, but could have been much better than the final product.

Theron did admit she wasn't too proud of the film, while it's not her best performance, I still thought she did fine. I personally loved all the double-crosses and twists, the final twist was what really surprised me though.


If you really think about it, the last twist completely undercuts the whole movie, and makes it especially ridiculous. It's what I call an eye-roller...a moment in a film where you sit back and say "Seriously, they did not just do that."

Well I thought it was pretty clever and it didn't undercut the film for me, for me an example of a twist that "undercut" the entire film would Hide And Seek.


Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:22 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Bells (1926) Lionel Barrymore is Mathias, a genial Alsation innkeeper/miller who has ambitions to become burgomaster, so extends credit left and right and soon is in danger of losing everything. He visits winter carnival, and the mesmerist (Boris Karloff) wants to reveal Mathias's thoughts, and the fortune teller sees something dark in his future.

A traveler, a wealthy Jew from Poland, stops by the inn on Christmas, and, plied with drink, shows the genial Mathias a gold belt. Overcome by temptation, Mathias sneaks up on him as the Jew is about to sleigh away, and Mathias slays away. As the slain sleigher falls, he jingles the sleigh bells.

And Mathias gets away with it, or does he? For there are still the mesmerist, and the fortune teller and the bells. The bells! The tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells!

It's the worst case of tinnitus I've ever seen.

Checking on Wikipedia, it's based on "The Polish Jew," not on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but it sure seems like Poe. "The Tell-Tale Heart" to be specific. (6.5 of 10)

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Last edited by Syd Henderson on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:46 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The short on the disc is Rene Clair "At 3:25 a.m." aka "Paris qui dort" ("Sleeping Paris") and "The Crazy Ray." The night watchman on the third platform of the Eiffel Tower wakes up to find Paris apparently completely deserted, but soon finds out that the city was frozen at 3:25 a.m., except for him and the passengers on a flight from Marseilles.* The images of deserted Parisian streets would make it worthwhile even if it wasn't for the gradual deterioration of the mobile humans.

One of those cases where the short subject is the classic (although a minor one), not the feature. (7.5 of 10.)

*Oops. The pilot's mobile as well or we would have a considerably smaller cast.

This is the first of Rene Clair's French comedies I've seen that I haven't found tedious. On the other hand, he directed I Married a Witch which is delightful.

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Last edited by Syd Henderson on Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:48 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Reindeer Games

This had John Frankenheimer in the director's chair, and it had all of the ingredients to make a good movie - a guy decides to impersonate a dead friend in the hopes of getting some trim, but ends up getting a lot more trouble than what he bargained for. So what went wrong? The parts were there.

Well, the cast didn't really click. Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron have no chemistry...I think Theron was hired for her tits more than anything else. The last third of the film is a mess; as the twists and double crosses add up, it ventures into the realm of the ridiculous.

This is my least favorite kind of movie...something that is bad, but could have been much better than the final product.


Oh man, Rein
Theron did admit she wasn't too proud of the film, while it's not her best performance, I still thought she did fine. I personally loved all the double-crosses and twists, the final twist was what really surprised me though.


If you really think about it, the last twist completely undercuts the whole movie, and makes it especially ridiculous. It's what I call an eye-roller...a moment in a film where you sit back and say "Seriously, they did not just do that."


Oh god, even when it came out I thought the last twist in Reindeer Games was so god damn stupid. I mean, the movie wasn't exactly well thought out before that point, but even a few seconds of thought is enough to completely break the logic of that twist.

It's amazing. And it's pretty much the only amazing thing about Reindeer Games. Otherwise it's just kind of there.


Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:57 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Burke and Hare 3.5/4

An outrageously weird and bizarrely wonderful comedy. Who ever thought of turning two psychopaths into lovable rogues? It's not nearly as sleazy as it sounds, but it's very funny.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I caught Silence of the Lambs on Sony Movies last night.

This was a favourite growing up, and still stands up quite well. Most of the direction and production is underplayed, which depending on your viewpoint will either look gritty and real in the everyday sense, or cheap in the documentary sense. I say "most of" because the film very clearly swtiches gears when Hopkins is on camara, and I'm not 100% sure how successful this is.

I still think it's an unforgettable turn by Hopkins, that within his own Universe he nails. But his character doesn't seem to belong to the world that Clarice Starling inhabits. I know that's kind of the point of it all, but the contrast is almost too heavy handed. Another minor critique - the mystery that Clarice unwraps isn't that complicated at all. The first girl murdered was the third found. OK fine. But the fact that Bill probably in someway knew the first girl murdered was presented as some kind of incredible mystery - unlocked only by great minds - when to me it seemed like Detection 101. In a way the the film's strength is its simplicity, yet this very simple piece of detection is presented as very complex.

The plus points are numerous. Most scenes are uncluttered by the extraneous shit we see in many modern films, which makes it easier to focus on the characters. The star of the show, for me, is Ted Levine as Bill. A genuinly disturbing, and stangely believable, lunatic who provides (even more so than Hopkins) the film's best moments. I think his acting makes the final scene work very well. You never know if he knows she knows, until she pulls the gun on him. When she asks him if she can "use his phone"... his face...good f*cking acting.

Still a good, good film.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:00 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
Another minor critique - the mystery that Clarice unwraps isn't that complicated at all. The first girl murdered was the third found. OK fine. But the fact that Bill probably in someway knew the first girl murdered was presented as some kind of incredible mystery - unlocked only by great minds - when to me it seemed like Detection 101. In a way the the film's strength is its simplicity, yet this very simple piece of detection is presented as very complex.


Maybe it was a conscious choice. Remember that the film is mostly told and directed through Clarice's eyes, and to her it should've been a great find, considering she hadn't even graduated the Academy.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:03 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
AJR wrote:

Oh god, even when it came out I thought the last twist in Reindeer Games was so god damn stupid. I mean, the movie wasn't exactly well thought out before that point, but even a few seconds of thought is enough to completely break the logic of that twist.

It's amazing. And it's pretty much the only amazing thing about Reindeer Games. Otherwise it's just kind of there.


A few seconds of thought...exactly. The last twist makes you accept that not only has Affleck been played, but nobody suspects they've been played the entire film. It stretches the logic to the breaking point. Reindeer Games could have been simplified and made a better movie. Make it about two people who care about each other; a guy who just got out of prison and a girl he's trying to go straight with. Of course, her brother complicates things and they both get caught up in the mess. It's formula for sure, but formula doesn't have to be bad, as long as you've got good, well-drawn characters and a reasonable story.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:09 am
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Thief12 wrote:
Quote:
Another minor critique - the mystery that Clarice unwraps isn't that complicated at all. The first girl murdered was the third found. OK fine. But the fact that Bill probably in someway knew the first girl murdered was presented as some kind of incredible mystery - unlocked only by great minds - when to me it seemed like Detection 101. In a way the the film's strength is its simplicity, yet this very simple piece of detection is presented as very complex.


Maybe it was a conscious choice. Remember that the film is mostly told and directed through Clarice's eyes, and to her it should've been a great find, considering she hadn't even graduated the Academy.


Nah, it's still a bit of basic information presented as a great mystery. And she wasn't the only one working the case. There were scores. Remember, it was Crawford who told Clarice that the 3rd body found was the 1st murdered in the first place.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:40 am
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Metropolis - 2008 restored version of Lang's 1927 original

I'd seen Metropolis before - once in a 90-minute cut that made me wonder what the hell was the big deal about the film, and once in a Philadelphia movie theater where a two-hour restored version was released, which made me see the film for the classic that it was. This version, a two and a half-hour cut, is probably the closest we'll ever get to Lang's original vision for the film, and it looks great (with the exception of some of the footage found in a 16mm print - it's a little rough). However, the new footage is good to have in the film. Some of it changes the context of certain scenes completely, and it adds depth to the film. I'm glad we have a full version of Metropolis now, and seeing it again deepens my appreciation for the film.

It goes without saying that anyone who takes film seriously needs to see this movie; it is bar none one of the greatest films ever made.

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:31 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Laura - Otto Preminger's 1944 classic brings along with it a considerable amount of baggage, in the form of near-universal acclaim. Along with its official selection into the United States National Film Registry , which recognizes significant film works, it's a part of several AFI Best Of lists, including the Top 10 Mysteries, where it places ahead of The Third Man and The Maltese Falcon, among others. And yet, my reaction to the film is closer to indifference than anything else. Don't get me wrong; the film is solid enough. But I can't help but feel it's missing certain elements needed to make it truly special. Despite its common labeling as a classic example of noir, it never really felt like one to me. It feels more like a traditional whodunit, with a small cast of suspects and an investigator piecing together the clues to finally determine the true culprit. The closest it comes to the weird darkness you normally associate with noir is when the detective starts to obsess over the portrait of the dead title character, which is quickly abandoned after a midpoint twist changes the specifics of the initial crime. The idea of obsession plays a big role in the film, with the three main male characters each falling under the spell of the title character, but as played by Gene Tierney, the viewer is never exactly sure why Laura is so desirable. She lacks the screen presence that someone like Lauren Bacall could have brought to the role. Likewise, Dana Andrews is a whole lot of nothing in the main role of the police investigator; I mentioned recently that one of the pleasures of noir for me is watching the central anti-heroes, and that pleasure is distinctly missing from Laura. Most of the interest comes from the supporting performers instead, especially from Clifton Webb as Laura's mentor and Vincent Price as the man who wants to take her away from him. They're both brilliant, but they're not enough to elevate the film above its weaknesses. In the end, I guess I'm just still unsure as to what all the fuss is all about. 6/10.

My Neighbors The Yamadas - Isao Takahata's contributions to the Studio Ghibli canon will probably always be overshadowed by the works of Hayao Miyazaki, but his comparatively small output cries out for equal appreciation. Films like Grave Of The Fireflies and Pom Poko stand proudly next to Miyazaki's best, and while 1999's My Neighbors The Yamadas isn't quite on the same level as those earlier films, it's another testament to his talents. It stands completely separate from the rest of the Ghibli canon though, both in its content and art style. The film is constructed as a series of loosely-themed vignettes, each focusing on a particular aspect of family life, only a couple of which lasting more than a few minutes. Some moments are broadly comic, a couple are tragic, most are light and breezy. The most worrisome sequence comes near the start, when the family forgets the youngest girl at a shopping mall, but even that episode ends with smiles. Keeping with the film's feather-light tone is the visual presentation. Unlike all the other Ghibli films, which use a traditional, expressive yet detailed animation style, My Neighbors The Yamadas takes a much more minimal approach, with simplified character models interacting in front of loosely-defined backgrounds. It has an intentionally hand-drawn aesthetic, which was why I was surprised to learn that the film was made entirely on computers, the first of its kind for the studio. It all adds up to a whole that would be right at home in the Sunday comics, sitting comfortably next to Family Circus and Peanuts. The early Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show are another good comparison. Because of its episodic structure and complete lack of an overarching narrative, I actually found it beneficial to watch the film in little bite-size chunks over a few nights. Like the comics that it resembles, the film offers plenty of quaint insight and wisdom, but it perhaps works best in small doses. 7/10.

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