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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
All That Heaven Allows - Filling in some of the more sizable gaps in a film-viewing history can be a slow process, which is why I’m just now getting around to exploring the films of melodrama master Douglas Sirk. Jane Wyman stars in this 1955 effort as recently-widowed small-town socialite Cary, uneasy about stepping back out into a world of constant club parties and community get-togethers. Her shallow, self-absorbed children encourage their mother’s courtship of a respectable but boring and elderly gentleman, but she has her eyes on rugged man-of-the-soil Ron Kirby, played by Rock Hudson. Despite Ron not having much in the way of wealth or social status, Cary is attracted to the way he easily dismisses those concerns, happy to live his life in his own way, unconcerned with how others perceive him. Their blossoming relationship sparks a scandal amidst the privileged gossipers of the small town, and it becomes clear soon enough that Cary will not be able to continue to see Ron without divorcing herself from the baggage of her ordinary life.

On one level, All That Heaven Allows is classic Hollywood melodrama, an emotion-filled story about one woman’s decision to risk complete social alienation for a chance at love and happiness. Sirk doesn’t shy away from painting with broad strokes, his use of impressionistic color reinforcing all the heightened emotions on display. But there’s also another level to the film, one that functions as a kind of attack on the lifestyles of the privileged, obsessed with their own social statuses and always on the lookout for potential scandals to gossip about. Sirk contrasts two different communities: Cary’s upper-class associates, with their quietly-malicious values, and Ron’s middle-class associates, who are much more friendly and lively. It’s clear where Sirk’s sympathies lie and where he expects the viewer to also sympathize, and most of the film is spent following Cary as she gradually comes to the same realization. The final straw comes in the film’s best moment when, after Cary’s obnoxious son has forced her to end her relationship, he returns later to present her with a brand-new television set. What was once a warm, alive presence in her life has been replaced by a cold, dead machine. This more subversive level doesn’t change the fact that All That Heaven Allows is still melodrama, but it’s melodrama of the highest order, the kind that makes you chuckle at its broadness yet still manages to wrap you up in its web. 7/10.

The Garden Of Words - After the clear Ghibli homage that was Children Who Chase Lost Voices, this 2013 film finds Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai returning to more familiar ground. This shouldn’t be viewed as a bad development; even though I appreciated what Shinkai was trying to do with his last film, he’s much more comfortable with this kind of melancholy-infused material. The opening of the film introduces the viewer to Takao, a high school student with a compulsion for skipping out on his early classes and visiting a quiet Japanese garden whenever it rains. On one of those days, he meets a mysterious young woman, and as the rainy season continues on, the two of them establish a low-key relationship. She’s more hesitant to reveal her background than he is, and when he eventually does learn more about her, the nature of their relationship changes, leading up to a tear-soaked conclusion.

Shinkai’s film clocks in at a brisk 46 minutes. Normally, I’d wish for more time spent in the company of such interesting characters and lovely images, but there is something about working within the limited time constraints that brings out the best in the filmmaker. Voices Of A Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second were 25 minutes and just over an hour, respectively, and contain little to no wasted moments. For comparison, Children Who Chase Lost Voices approaches the two-hour mark, and contains several stretches that admittedly have the tendency to drag. Here, there isn’t enough time to focus on supporting players or any kind of overly-complex narrative, so the focus always remains on the two characters and the complications that arise between them. The sole potentially divisive moment comes at the film’s unabashedly sentimental conclusion. Shinkai employs the same technique he used in 5 Centimeters, using an extended music montage to bring everything to a close. It’s less jarring here than it was in that film though, perhaps because I had already seen Shinkai do something similar before, and perhaps because there is a brief coda after the credits that ends everything on a quieter note. While the bombastic conclusion may throw off a lot of viewers, I appreciate Shinkai’s willingness to allow his characters the freedom to let loose with their emotions, and it’s a memorable ending to another strong showcase of his unique qualities as a filmmaker. 8/10.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - It’s not often that you see a high-concept science fiction premise employed in the service of a more low-key and modest purpose, but such is the case with this 2006 film from director Mamoru Hosoda, which uses time travel to add a distinctive flavor to a coming-of-age story. Makoto is a slightly-clumsy but otherwise ordinary high school student, procrastinating on making the decisions that will determine the course of her future. She’s also something of a tomboy, spending most of her free time playing baseball with her two male friends. After a mysterious string of events, Makoto discovers that she has acquired the ability to travel through time. At first, she uses this power to fix some of the small mistakes she has recently made in her life, like preparing properly for a test she failed before and making sure a science lab accident isn’t attributed to her. However, she soon discovers that, while she has been manipulating time to her advantage, there are others who are being affected negatively by her escapades.

What I found most refreshing about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is its decidedly different approach to its science fiction concept. There are no world-threatening plot devices or elaborate mythologies here, only the story of a girl learning how to handle adult responsibilities, as well as her first experiences with love and heartbreak. When a conversation between Makoto and one of her male friends results in him asking her if she would want to be more than friends someday, she reverses time to try to manipulate the conversation away from that possibility. When she can’t seem to find a path that skirts the issue, she gives up on the conversation entirely. It’s one of the many moments where Hosoda performs a delicate balancing act between humor and pathos, and to his credit he never lets the film become too goofy or melodramatic. The early adventures of Makoto have a breezy, carefree quality, but once the more serious consequences of her actions start to reveal themselves, the film has no problem going to some dark places, including one particular moment that is spine-tingling in its eerie stillness. It’s the kind of animated film I wish were made more in the Hollywood system, where studios disregard any potential for real emotion in favor of a pervasive sense of sarcasm. How about we have more movies like this, built around engaging stories and relatable characters and a genuine sense of creativity and warmth? 9/10.

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Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've always liked this one too. Berardinelli's review of it in retrospect feels a little unfair, especially since he didn't seem to have any problem with the logical issues in Rian Johnson's Looper. I've seen Frequency several times now, and it still manages to make me a little teary-eyed in certain places.


When the song kicked in at the end, it should have felt corny as hell, but because we are so invested in their relationship, it felt so earned (even though still corny :lol: ).


Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:30 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
All That Heaven Allows - Filling in some of the more sizable gaps in a film-viewing history can be a slow process, which is why I’m just now getting around to exploring the films of melodrama master Douglas Sirk. Jane Wyman stars in this 1955 effort as recently-widowed small-town socialite Cary, uneasy about stepping back out into a world of constant club parties and community get-togethers. Her shallow, self-absorbed children encourage their mother’s courtship of a respectable but boring and elderly gentleman, but she has her eyes on rugged man-of-the-soil Ron Kirby, played by Rock Hudson. Despite Ron not having much in the way of wealth or social status, Cary is attracted to the way he easily dismisses those concerns, happy to live his life in his own way, unconcerned with how others perceive him. Their blossoming relationship sparks a scandal amidst the privileged gossipers of the small town, and it becomes clear soon enough that Cary will not be able to continue to see Ron without divorcing herself from the baggage of her ordinary life.

On one level, All That Heaven Allows is classic Hollywood melodrama, an emotion-filled story about one woman’s decision to risk complete social alienation for a chance at love and happiness. Sirk doesn’t shy away from painting with broad strokes, his use of impressionistic color reinforcing all the heightened emotions on display. But there’s also another level to the film, one that functions as a kind of attack on the lifestyles of the privileged, obsessed with their own social statuses and always on the lookout for potential scandals to gossip about. Sirk contrasts two different communities: Cary’s upper-class associates, with their quietly-malicious values, and Ron’s middle-class associates, who are much more friendly and lively. It’s clear where Sirk’s sympathies lie and where he expects the viewer to also sympathize, and most of the film is spent following Cary as she gradually comes to the same realization. The final straw comes in the film’s best moment when, after Cary’s obnoxious son has forced her to end her relationship, he returns later to present her with a brand-new television set. What was once a warm, alive presence in her life has been replaced by a cold, dead machine. This more subversive level doesn’t change the fact that All That Heaven Allows is still melodrama, but it’s melodrama of the highest order, the kind that makes you chuckle at its broadness yet still manages to wrap you up in its web. 7/10.



Oh Douglas Sirk, you sudsy motherfucker. I'm adding this to my queue because you sound like you agree with me completely on his work. I don't get people who think he's a subversive genius, but I do have a blast with his films. Go see Imitation of Life. It's soap opera, but it's pitched to an 11

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Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Prisoners

Yes, it is grim vt it earns its grimness. HOwever, there's too much plot here for the film's own good; this would have worked better had it been slimmed down some. But I do appreciate that Prisoners tried to stretch for greatness and fell a bit short than just settle for mediocrity. One complaint though: Everybody in this movie mumbles their dialogue. It was hard to understand what the characters were saying half of the time because of this.

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Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:04 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Prisoners

Yes, it is grim vt it earns its grimness. HOwever, there's too much plot here for the film's own good; this would have worked better had it been slimmed down some. But I do appreciate that Prisoners tried to stretch for greatness and fell a bit short than just settle for mediocrity. One complaint though: Everybody in this movie mumbles their dialogue. It was hard to understand what the characters were saying half of the time because of this.


Huh I didn't have that problem except when I was supposed to (I think) -- crucial line by Paul Dano may or may not been what Hugh Jackman thought it was

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond: There was a 1983 live-action version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time that was popular in Japan but which I've not seen. Interestingly the heroine of that one is the aunt of the girl in the 2006 film, which is why the aunt is so knowledgeable. The novel's been adapted a number of times, but the 2006 version is apparently the best.

Another of Yasutaka Tsutsui's novels was Paprika.

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Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:37 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Finally saw this and it's even better than I was expecting. It's amazing how all the weird sets, skewed perspectives, acting, makeup, etc. all work together to make an effective, mad film. Directors have been borrowing from this for almost a hundred years, and will be borrowing for a hundred more.

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Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:42 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Prisoners (2013) 3.5/4

I can remember the first time I saw Denis Villeneuve's Incendies; it was unlike anything I had seen at the time. The film itself carried me into another world and swept me away into story that was filled to the brim with mystery. A few nights ago, I had a similar feeling coming out of Villeneuve's follow up, Prisoners. Arguably, Prisoners is much more accessible than Villeneuve's prior work, yet Villeneuves themes seem to go much deeper than his past film about a pair of siblings searching for unspeakable truths. It's here, in a dark kidnapping thriller, that the questions of morality are allowed to blossom and truly question the viewer. As many have mentioned, the film doesn't take sides; there is no bias to this film, it simply presents a fascinating narrative that is constantly moving to different places throughout its run time. This is one of the things that I kinda love about Prisoners (hell, I love quite a bit about the film but I'll get to that in a second). I'm usually very torn when a film starts out as one thing per, and develops into something else, but thats not an issue here. Its not an issue because Prisoners does it so damn well. Thats the thing about this film--its constantly evolving and engaging the viewer. Scenes are tense and are fueled with tough questions about justice, retaliation, and retribution. The acting here is terrific as well (props to Jackman for a very memorable performance). In short, Prisoners is a film that revitalizes the thriller to dramatically new heights, and is arguably one of the best films of the year so far. I certainly see it on my Top 10 list at the end of the year.

Cassandra's Dream (2007) 2.5/4

This film feels eerily familiar; almost like a bad case of Woody-Deja Vu. I've always seemed to be a fan of Allen's work (with exceptions of course), and his constant jabs to philosophic thought and the questions of morality. Yet here, in Cassandra's Dream, things feel very bland and arguably inauthentic. This lack of authenticity is clearly rooted in Allen's love for the tragedy. Yet Cassandra's Dream feels too "on the nose"--to the extent that there is dialogue sewn throughout the film talking about the pure ironies of the situations at hand, and even individuals talking about their favorite tragedies at the local theater. Overall Cassandra's Dream seems to be a "lesser" of Allen's body of work, but I would still argue that the film is watchable, to an extent.

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Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:03 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Spirited Away
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/
Thought I'd watch something completely different... In a nutshell, I found the whole film incredibly bizarre, with an almost random array of images and events which I guess are allegorical for something somehow - maybe I can appreciate those in hindsight. My Key problem however with this is not so easily solved: I just couldn't connect with ANY of the characters. I realise this is a much loved film - 8.6/10 on imdb with over 237,000 ratings is seriously an incredible rating. I really, really tried and wanted to love it. Didn't.
6/10.


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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Amazing Spider-Man

Rewatched this now that there's some hindsight to it and the hubbub is long past. It's far from a perfect movie and it doesn't exactly achieve greatness, but this one easily hangs (or, possibly, dangles and skitters) with the better of the movies based on Marvel's superheroes.

It makes some key choices that help it to capture the classic years of the character while still appearing contemorary, and it depicts a teenage superhero as believably as I can imagine a movie doing. There's a great sense of a kid who's angry but essentially good, who wants to do right but isn't quite sure how. That's Spider-Man.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
The Amazing Spider-Man

Rewatched this now that there's some hindsight to it and the hubbub is long past. It's far from a perfect movie and it doesn't exactly achieve greatness, but this one easily hangs (or, possibly, dangles and skitters) with the better of the movies based on Marvel's superheroes.


I saw this one when the tv service had a free movie channel weekend. Had planned never to watch it thinking it was a completely unwanted re-do and was negative going in. There definitely was some short cuttin' going on, but I came away feeling it was a fine telling of the beginning of Spider Man. Sally seems to get a lot of grief, but I thought her character realistically captured a woman of that age that lost her husband and is facing an essentially empty nest as Peter sets out to do his thing.


Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:46 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JackBurns wrote:
Prisoners (2013) 3.5/4

I can remember the first time I saw Denis Villeneuve's Incendies; it was unlike anything I had seen at the time. The film itself carried me into another world and swept me away into story that was filled to the brim with mystery. A few nights ago, I had a similar feeling coming out of Villeneuve's follow up, Prisoners. Arguably, Prisoners is much more accessible than Villeneuve's prior work, yet Villeneuves themes seem to go much deeper than his past film about a pair of siblings searching for unspeakable truths. It's here, in a dark kidnapping thriller, that the questions of morality are allowed to blossom and truly question the viewer. As many have mentioned, the film doesn't take sides; there is no bias to this film, it simply presents a fascinating narrative that is constantly moving to different places throughout its run time. This is one of the things that I kinda love about Prisoners (hell, I love quite a bit about the film but I'll get to that in a second). I'm usually very torn when a film starts out as one thing per, and develops into something else, but thats not an issue here. Its not an issue because Prisoners does it so damn well. Thats the thing about this film--its constantly evolving and engaging the viewer. Scenes are tense and are fueled with tough questions about justice, retaliation, and retribution. The acting here is terrific as well (props to Jackman for a very memorable performance). In short, Prisoners is a film that revitalizes the thriller to dramatically new heights, and is arguably one of the best films of the year so far. I certainly see it on my Top 10 list at the end of the year.

Cassandra's Dream (2007) 2.5/4

This film feels eerily familiar; almost like a bad case of Woody-Deja Vu. I've always seemed to be a fan of Allen's work (with exceptions of course), and his constant jabs to philosophic thought and the questions of morality. Yet here, in Cassandra's Dream, things feel very bland and arguably inauthentic. This lack of authenticity is clearly rooted in Allen's love for the tragedy. Yet Cassandra's Dream feels too "on the nose"--to the extent that there is dialogue sewn throughout the film talking about the pure ironies of the situations at hand, and even individuals talking about their favorite tragedies at the local theater. Overall Cassandra's Dream seems to be a "lesser" of Allen's body of work, but I would still argue that the film is watchable, to an extent.


I was really excited for Cassandra's Dream when it was coming out but it got such middling reviews that I couldn't bring myself to see it. Glad to hear I'm not missing much. Eventually I'll check it out because I'm going to see every Woodman film, but this isn't high on my list.

Also, wooo Prisoners.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
I was really excited for Cassandra's Dream when it was coming out but it got such middling reviews that I couldn't bring myself to see it. Glad to hear I'm not missing much. Eventually I'll check it out because I'm going to see every Woodman film, but this isn't high on my list.

Also, wooo Prisoners.


My Film Studies professor in college considered it among Allen's best work.. I would love to know why.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Last Boy Scout

Pulled out my old VHS of the 1991 Tony Scott directed Bruce WIllis starring action movie and re-watched it for the first time in a few years. Unlike some other films that I loved as a teenager that don't hold up that well, this one does.

Yet this is one that has more or less been forgotten by much of the general public. While a later Shane Black penned action movie that failed at the box office, The Long Kiss Goodnight, has developed something of a cult following, The Last Boy Scout is either banished or rememberd by many as "just another Bruce Willis movie".

As to why this is so, I have a few theories and I'll get to those in a minute. But first, let's look at the movie itself.

Most buddy films have the lead pair as mismatched as possible, yet over the course of the film, they discover they have more in common than they thought. Lethal Weapon and the original 48 Hrs are prime examples of this. There's some of that in The Last Boy Scout, yet I think Willis and Wayans realize sooner rather than later that they have one fundamental thing in common: they're both at a point where their glory years have passed and they're trying to take it day by day.

John McClane, while he is a smartass and can be something of an asshole at times, is at heart a decent family man. Joe Hallenbeck isn't a terrifically nice guy at the beginning of the movie and he isn't one at the end either. He's putting his life back together sure. But he's changed only slightly as a person. What he does have in common with McClane is that he's an ordinary working stiff.

Jimmy Dix, while not as well-developed, is equally flawed. We see that he truly cares about Cory and he grows to care about Joe and his family. He's made his share of mistakes. But he never seems to try to blame anyone else for them.

Hallenbeck and Dix, while guilty of their share of misdeameanors, more or less got screwed over by the system. In the end they manage to exact some form of revenge when it's revealed that those in the system that screwed them were even more corrupt.

So The Last Boy Scout works as well as it does primarily because of the characterization (which has always been Shane Black's strength as a screenwriter) and the acting. In addition to Willis and Wayans, you have Noble Willingham as an effectively evil redneck and Taylor Negron who understands that his character is supposed to be over the top.

The action sequences are also done well. Tony Scott definitely had a takent for making action sequences kick. The final showdown is a good example.

True, there are some cliches here. The screaming police captain is a prime example. Yet the cliches aren't as intrusive as they are in other movies of this type.

Yet many of the movies where the cliches are more intrusive are better remembered for some reason. Why is such undue love lavished upon the likes of Bad Boys and Top Gun while The Last Boy Scout is more or less forgotten by today's audiences? It goes back to those theories I alluded to earlier.

In some ways, The Last Boy Scout was a movie that was out of place and out of time. It was hindered by being released both in the shadow of Hudson Hawk and at a time when the action movie tropes of the 80s were starting to seem passe to much of the moviegoing public. Also many people were starting to look at Bruce Willis as a has been, a relic of the 80s that was sticking around for a few more years. Pulp Fiction and a few other subsequent films would prove this wrong. But this was how it looked to many moviegoers in that period of the early 90s.

The movie's cynical, downbeat tone also didn't help. Many critics pointed out a certain level of misogyny in the movie itself and there is some truth to that. Not more than what you might hear in an NWA song perhaps. But the Last Boy Scout was a very politically incorrect movie released at a time when audiences were becoming more PC.

My recent re-watch illustrates this perfectly. In a way, if it had been released two years earlier or later it might have caught on. Once Tarantino re-wrote the rules of edgy filmmaking, films with a cynical tone weren't as out of place.

I watched The Last Boy Scout a large number of times as a teen and still enjoy it today at 35. It may not be perfect. But it's an example of a well-done action picture that's a cut above the norm.

***1/2

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Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:48 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Elephant Man (1980)
This critically acclaimed black and white movie by David Lynch tells the true story of John Merrick (John Hurt), who was hideously disfigured by an unknown ailment and exploited as a sideshow attraction(the eponymous Elephant Man) in Victorian London. When physician Dr. Treves (Anthony Hopkins) discovers Merrick in a freak show, he tries to save him from his abusive “master” only to further exploit Merrick by exhibiting the “Elephant Man” to his fellow doctors. When Treves notices that Merrick isn’t a mute imbecile but an articular and sensitive man, he genuinely tries to help Merrick finding some acceptance.
Before anybody is deterred from watching this movie because of the phrase “critically acclaimed black and white movie by David Lynch”, I should clarify that this isn’t one of his “weird” movies à la ‘Blue Velvet’, but a crowd-pleasing studio movie.At the time and after his breakthrough with the experimental ‘Eraserhead’, it looked as if Lynch had a promising career as a mainstream director ahead of him after ‘The Elephant Man’, he was offered to direct ‘Return of the Jedi’ but chose to direct ‘Dune’ instead. That isn’t to say that there are no “Lynchian” touches in this movie, though: As in many of his films, Lynch manages to create a sense of unease by cutting a little bit too late or focussing on strange details (such as hissing gaslights), which helps a lot to prevent ‘The Elephant Man’ from becoming too corny. It is still a very sentimental movie, though , but that isn’t necessarily bad in itself. If there is a problem with ‘The Elephant Man’, it lies with the lack of character development: There are only few facets to Merrick, who remains a sensitive soul who must deal with being treated and abused like a monster. On the other hand, in my opinion his predicament and other people’s reaction to it are sufficient to carry this movie. Overall, ‘The Elephant Man’ is a very good movie and well worth watching even if you normally don’t like David Lynch films. 8/10

Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
Clint Eastwood-produced documentary on composer and pianist Thelonius Monk, a giant of modern Jazz.
The problem with forming an opinion on a music documentary is that much depends on your personal opinion of the musician or music depicted in the film. Only the very best music documentaries can keep you interested if you don’t like the music. I couldn’t care less about third rate heavy metal, for instance, but ‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’ is a very engaging movie. I still like the 1973 documentary ‘Jimi Hendrix’ better, but that’s because I love Jimi Hendrix’s music and I realise that the film has little to offer for anybody who doesn’t.
‘Straight, No Chaser’ mostly consists of concert footage, which I found very involving, but I like the music in the first place. Apart from that, you get a few talking head-style interviews, which hint at Thelonius Monk’s progressively worsening mental illness, but they are actually very vague about it. When it comes to Monk’s music, the documentary states that Monk was a genius, revolutionised Jazz and was instrumental in the formation of Be Bop, but it doesn’t explain how or why. In other words: This film is neither very instructive, nor will it convert anybody to loving Jazz (my wife left the room because she couldn’t stand “this disharmonious noise”). Personally, I thought it was great to see Monk play some of his more famous tunes and I enjoyed it. 7/10


Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:18 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
All That Heaven Allows - Filling in some of the more sizable gaps in a film-viewing history can be a slow process, which is why I’m just now getting around to exploring the films of melodrama master Douglas Sirk. Jane Wyman stars in this 1955 effort as recently-widowed small-town socialite Cary, uneasy about stepping back out into a world of constant club parties and community get-togethers. Her shallow, self-absorbed children encourage their mother’s courtship of a respectable but boring and elderly gentleman, but she has her eyes on rugged man-of-the-soil Ron Kirby, played by Rock Hudson. Despite Ron not having much in the way of wealth or social status, Cary is attracted to the way he easily dismisses those concerns, happy to live his life in his own way, unconcerned with how others perceive him. Their blossoming relationship sparks a scandal amidst the privileged gossipers of the small town, and it becomes clear soon enough that Cary will not be able to continue to see Ron without divorcing herself from the baggage of her ordinary life.

On one level, All That Heaven Allows is classic Hollywood melodrama, an emotion-filled story about one woman’s decision to risk complete social alienation for a chance at love and happiness. Sirk doesn’t shy away from painting with broad strokes, his use of impressionistic color reinforcing all the heightened emotions on display. But there’s also another level to the film, one that functions as a kind of attack on the lifestyles of the privileged, obsessed with their own social statuses and always on the lookout for potential scandals to gossip about. Sirk contrasts two different communities: Cary’s upper-class associates, with their quietly-malicious values, and Ron’s middle-class associates, who are much more friendly and lively. It’s clear where Sirk’s sympathies lie and where he expects the viewer to also sympathize, and most of the film is spent following Cary as she gradually comes to the same realization. The final straw comes in the film’s best moment when, after Cary’s obnoxious son has forced her to end her relationship, he returns later to present her with a brand-new television set. What was once a warm, alive presence in her life has been replaced by a cold, dead machine. This more subversive level doesn’t change the fact that All That Heaven Allows is still melodrama, but it’s melodrama of the highest order, the kind that makes you chuckle at its broadness yet still manages to wrap you up in its web. 7/10.



Oh Douglas Sirk, you sudsy motherfucker. I'm adding this to my queue because you sound like you agree with me completely on his work. I don't get people who think he's a subversive genius, but I do have a blast with his films. Go see Imitation of Life. It's soap opera, but it's pitched to an 11


I also have my doubts regarding Sirk's intentions. The argument that his melodramas are so overblown that they must have been meant ironically or have some subversive subtext fails to recognise that there is a large audience for overblown melodrama (which, today, is mostly confined to TV soap operas/telenovelas). I actually didn't like 'All that Heaven Allows', which is still much better than the terrible 'Magnificent Obsession', and 'Imitation of Life' is only slightly better, in my opinion. I did enjoy 'Written on the Wind' very much, though.

Syd Henderson wrote:
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Finally saw this and it's even better than I was expecting. It's amazing how all the weird sets, skewed perspectives, acting, makeup, etc. all work together to make an effective, mad film. Directors have been borrowing from this for almost a hundred years, and will be borrowing for a hundred more.


And there's the added bonus of an unreliable narrator and a story-within-a-story - all in a movie made in 1920! However, I must admit that I admired 'Dr. Caligari' more than actually liking it.


Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:30 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I thought Last Boy Scout was regarded as a cult classic, I haven't heard too many people bash it.


Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Fantasic Mr Fox (2009)

For the umpteenth time in a couple of months, I again watched The Fantastic Mr Fox at the weekend. My Daughter is obsessed with it, which is mildly disturbing because this is NOT a bona fide children’s film. But it is a very good one!

Mr Fox is an intelligent, ambitious and reassuringly reckless leader of a family of foxes, who endeavours to better the lot of his brood by stealing industrial quantities of food from a trio of evil farmers.

Voiced by George Clooney with real charm and conviction, the entire thing is a real left-of-centre delight.

After watching this, I wouldn’t be too disappointed to see Wes Anderson concentrate almost wholly on animations in the future.

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Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:32 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've always liked this one too. Berardinelli's review of it in retrospect feels a little unfair, especially since he didn't seem to have any problem with the logical issues in Rian Johnson's Looper. I've seen Frequency several times now, and it still manages to make me a little teary-eyed in certain places.


When the song kicked in at the end, it should have felt corny as hell, but because we are so invested in their relationship, it felt so earned (even though still corny :lol: ).


I LOVE that song! It's called "When You Come Back to Me Again" and is from Garth Brooks. Great song. Great movie too.


Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:52 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Unke wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
All That Heaven Allows - Filling in some of the more sizable gaps in a film-viewing history can be a slow process, which is why I’m just now getting around to exploring the films of melodrama master Douglas Sirk. Jane Wyman stars in this 1955 effort as recently-widowed small-town socialite Cary, uneasy about stepping back out into a world of constant club parties and community get-togethers. Her shallow, self-absorbed children encourage their mother’s courtship of a respectable but boring and elderly gentleman, but she has her eyes on rugged man-of-the-soil Ron Kirby, played by Rock Hudson. Despite Ron not having much in the way of wealth or social status, Cary is attracted to the way he easily dismisses those concerns, happy to live his life in his own way, unconcerned with how others perceive him. Their blossoming relationship sparks a scandal amidst the privileged gossipers of the small town, and it becomes clear soon enough that Cary will not be able to continue to see Ron without divorcing herself from the baggage of her ordinary life.

On one level, All That Heaven Allows is classic Hollywood melodrama, an emotion-filled story about one woman’s decision to risk complete social alienation for a chance at love and happiness. Sirk doesn’t shy away from painting with broad strokes, his use of impressionistic color reinforcing all the heightened emotions on display. But there’s also another level to the film, one that functions as a kind of attack on the lifestyles of the privileged, obsessed with their own social statuses and always on the lookout for potential scandals to gossip about. Sirk contrasts two different communities: Cary’s upper-class associates, with their quietly-malicious values, and Ron’s middle-class associates, who are much more friendly and lively. It’s clear where Sirk’s sympathies lie and where he expects the viewer to also sympathize, and most of the film is spent following Cary as she gradually comes to the same realization. The final straw comes in the film’s best moment when, after Cary’s obnoxious son has forced her to end her relationship, he returns later to present her with a brand-new television set. What was once a warm, alive presence in her life has been replaced by a cold, dead machine. This more subversive level doesn’t change the fact that All That Heaven Allows is still melodrama, but it’s melodrama of the highest order, the kind that makes you chuckle at its broadness yet still manages to wrap you up in its web. 7/10.



Oh Douglas Sirk, you sudsy motherfucker. I'm adding this to my queue because you sound like you agree with me completely on his work. I don't get people who think he's a subversive genius, but I do have a blast with his films. Go see Imitation of Life. It's soap opera, but it's pitched to an 11


I also have my doubts regarding Sirk's intentions. The argument that his melodramas are so overblown that they must have been meant ironically or have some subversive subtext fails to recognise that there is a large audience for overblown melodrama (which, today, is mostly confined to TV soap operas/telenovelas). I actually didn't like 'All that Heaven Allows', which is still much better than the terrible 'Magnificent Obsession', and 'Imitation of Life' is only slightly better, in my opinion. I did enjoy 'Written on the Wind' very much, though.


Yeah I don't think I buy that perception of Sirk operating purely on an ironic level either. Granted, this is the only film of his I've seen, so maybe when I see more I'll understand where that view is coming from. I have Written On The Wind rented out from my library, and I'll see if I can put a hold on a copy of Imitation Of Life.

Syd Henderson wrote:
Blonde Almond: There was a 1983 live-action version of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time that was popular in Japan but which I've not seen. Interestingly the heroine of that one is the aunt of the girl in the 2006 film, which is why the aunt is so knowledgeable. The novel's been adapted a number of times, but the 2006 version is apparently the best.

Another of Yasutaka Tsutsui's novels was Paprika.


I stumbled upon a trailer for that live-action version, but I didn't know that it told the story of the aunt from the 2006 film, which is interesting. For some reason I can't imagine this kind of story working well in live-action though; it seems perfectly suited for animation, in the same way that Paprika is.

JackBurns wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
I was really excited for Cassandra's Dream when it was coming out but it got such middling reviews that I couldn't bring myself to see it. Glad to hear I'm not missing much. Eventually I'll check it out because I'm going to see every Woodman film, but this isn't high on my list.


My Film Studies professor in college considered it among Allen's best work.. I would love to know why.


I watched this last year, and the only thing I remember from it was the feeling that everything felt remarkably flat. I appreciate it when Allen tries something different, but it's tough to see how anyone could consider it among his best, especially with Match Point coming so soon before it.

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