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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ilovemovies wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.


Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.

Eh, that film was OK but didn't really leave a lasting impression on me. As far as movies about rock music go, I liked "Rock Star" better.


Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ilovemovies wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.


Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.


I saw the theatrical cut. Perhaps I will have to see the longer cut sometime.

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Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
ilovemovies wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.


Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.


I saw the theatrical cut. Perhaps I will have to see the longer cut sometime.


I love Almost Famous too, but I wouldn't recommend the longer version. The theatrical one is a tighter movie; the longer one is for if you couldn't get enough of the first.

Also, I don't know why you called it "bootleg"...it's a special feature on the DVD, not something illegally recorded or something...

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Interstella 5555 - A rock band of blue aliens performs one more time in front of their adoring fans. Everyone is having a great time, until a group of sinister figures sweeps down in aerodynamic fashion and kidnaps the members of the band. Elsewhere, a rogue space captain daydreams by himself of making sweet digital love to the band’s female bassist, and when he learns of the kidnapping, he decides to play the rescuer. The kidnappers’ destination is revealed to be Earth, where the sleeping band members undergo a lengthy conditioning process to make them harder, better, faster, stronger, and most importantly, human. The lead kidnapper signs the hypnotized band members to a recording contract, and they gain worldwide popularity as the Crescendolls. Meanwhile, the space captain arrives on Earth and sees a night vision of the band performing on a large television screen. The band rises to a level of fame usually only occupied by superheroes…..

Ok, that’s enough. I’m not going to subject myself to that laborious exercise any longer. Let’s just get down to what I really think of Kazuhisa Takenouchi’s official film accompaniment to Daft Punk’s landmark 2001 album Discovery. Actually, to call Interstella 5555 (subtitled The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem) a film is probably not the most accurate; it functions more as a feature-length music video than anything else. So I guess the most important question to ask is whether or not it serves as a worthwhile complement to the original album. The list of these kinds of productions is not long, but there are a handful of memorable examples that have become almost inseparable from their original inspirations. For example, it’s tough to listen to The Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy without thinking of Ken Russell’s 1975 film of the same name, with Ann-Margret flailing around in a sea of baked beans and Sir Elton John as the Pinball Wizard. Likewise, Pink Floyd’s 1979 double album The Wall will forever be linked to Gerald Scarfe’s amazing surrealist animation in Alan Parker’s 1982 film adaptation. Whatever your ultimate opinion of those films may be, they have the ability to leave a lasting impression on a viewer. I don’t think the same thing can be said for Interstella 5555, and for a production of this sort that’s as damning a statement as there is. 5/10.

The 10th Victim - In a future society, men and women participate in a violent sport called the Big Hunt. where they alternate between roles as hunters and victims. It is the job of the hunter to track down their assigned victim and execute them. The victim, meanwhile, does not know the identity of their hunter, and it is their job to be ready to defend themselves against their pursuer. But if a victim mistakes an innocent person for a hunter and kills them, they are sentenced to 30 years in prison. Each participant needs to survive ten rounds to win, five as a hunter and five as a victim, and those who stay alive to the very end attain both celebrity status and substantial fortune. Ursula Andress plays a participant who has just survived her ninth round as a victim. In her final round she will assume the role of the hunter, and Marcello Mastroianni will be her tenth victim.

If that description sounds like a solid framework for a serious slice of dystopian science fiction, you probably need to adjust your expectations slightly. This 1965 film from director Elio Petri is a much more jaunty affair, a sharp satire that keeps the tone mostly light throughout, even when people are losing their lives. At times it even plays like an off-kilter romance, with Andress and Mastroianni becoming attracted to each other, even when they both know their roles in the deadly game they’re playing. The best bit of satire comes in the film’s use of corporate sponsorship, with the participants of the Big Hunt earning some extra funds on the side by hawking products after their kills. Sure, it’s a little ridiculous, but also not too far off from the way corporations treat people today. With the upbeat score from Piero Piccioni and the gaudy set decorations/wardrobe selections, The 10th Victim does have a certain kitschiness to its action. But with the exception of the final few minutes, which gets a little too silly for its own good, the film manages to remain compelling without becoming too ridiculous. Petri’s film is a nice example of how to raise serious and thought-provoking ideas while still having a good deal of fun in the process. 8/10.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
ilovemovies wrote:

Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.


I saw the theatrical cut. Perhaps I will have to see the longer cut sometime.



I love Almost Famous too, but I wouldn't recommend the longer version. The theatrical one is a tighter movie; the longer one is for if you couldn't get enough of the first.

Also, I don't know why you called it "bootleg"...it's a special feature on the DVD, not something illegally recorded or something...



That's what it's called. I don't know why. You'd have to ask Cameron Crowe that if you want to know.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:43 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I'm guessing it's a reference to the presence of bootleg tapes of concerts during that era.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:41 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Revisited The Score on TV yesterday and it was just as I remembered it. Formulaic, generic, and a waste of talent, considering the cast involved. That might seem a bit harsh, moreover cause the film is not inherently bad. It is a decent and solid heist film with serviceable performances. But when you have De Niro, Brando, and Norton on the same film, you just expect to see fireworks. This film barely makes a bang. Grade: C+

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ilovemovies wrote:



That's what it's called. I don't know why. You'd have to ask Cameron Crowe that if you want to know.


Sorry about that, it appears you're correct. My mistake

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Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:06 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy (2013)

The premise of this surreal Thai film comes from the director randomly following a real twitter account, @marylony, and then using her 410 consecutive, quirky tweets to string together a loose story about a high-school girl Mary and her best friend Suri. The best decision by the director is the way he injects a very strong dose of Wes Anderson into the proceeding. Strong use of matching colors, quick-cut situations, and strange fonts dominate the story. The film also attempts to bring the very MPDG tweets down to coherence by a series of continuous storylines about Mary's first love, the new fascist rules of her school, her ongoing struggle with a yearbook, and most prominently her relationship with Suri.

There are a lot of humor, heartbreak, and imaginative weirdness from trying to conform the story to the real life tweets (choice examples: "today I want to raise a jellyfish" and "why mosquito bites hurt like lion scratches"). But the film's undoing is its ambition. Despite strong performances and some (admittedly thin) ongoing storylines, 410 tweets are just too much. The film loses the steam quickly at an unreasonable length of 2 hours, especially in the latter half. By the last 30 minutes I was very impatient for it to end. Some of the attempts at realizing the tweets are also too childish; a few weirdest ones are just spoken out loud by a random stranger. The film is still worth a watch for the interesting (and mostly pleasing) aesthistics, performances, and a few well-executed themes. And it announces the director as one to watch out for, only if he keeps himself in check next time 6.5/10


Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:14 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Between these and Nebraska, it's clearly one-word-movie week here at the Kunz ranch

Victim (1961) ***1/2

The first English-language movie to use the word 'homosexual,' this British noir-esque (it can't truly be noir, because for reasons never made clear to me, Touch of Evil is the last noir) crime drama follows the efforts of a closeted homosexual, played by Dick Bogarde, to unravel a blackmailing scam destroying the lives of gay men in London. It's tempting to praise movies like this because of their content and the fact that they were ahead of their time, but Victim is praise-worthy anyway. The movie is interesting and the photography excellent. Bogarde is sympathetic but nicely nuanced in the lead, and the crime trappings make it involving. Recommended

Interiors (1978) ***

My 30th Woody! Sooner or later he'll pass Hitch for number one. In any case, this first dramatic movie by Allen is as Bergman like as promised, with cold emotions and family strife right out of Cries and Whispers and somber, muted cinematography that highlights the chilliness of the characters. It's got moments that are terrific but never quite coalesces into a truly satisfying end result, despite excellent acting all around.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Passion (2013)

Two great scenes and the movie's stylish, kinetic second half, where De Palma finally snaps into overdrive, redeem a banal plot with a pretty bad performance from Noomi Rapace. 6/10


Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
Passion (2013)

Two great scenes and the movie's stylish, kinetic second half, where De Palma finally snaps into overdrive, redeem a banal plot with a pretty bad performance from Noomi Rapace. 6/10


Oh DePalma...I've just kinda given up on you

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I dunno.. both Blonde Almond and MGamesCook really liked it (with BA giving it 8/10), so if you're a big fan of him you might find something to like. Normally I would not mind the story and just go along with his style, but this times I feel the plot actively distracts me from enjoying him fully.

But seriously, those two scenes are pretty great I'd almost recommend the film just to get to them.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
peng wrote:
I dunno.. both Blonde Almond and MGamesCook really liked it (with BA giving it 8/10), so if you're a big fan of him you might find something to like. Normally I would not mind the story and just go along with his style, but this times I feel the plot actively distracts me from enjoying him fully.

But seriously, those two scenes are pretty great I'd almost recommend the film just to get to them.


I still like the film, but I think I overrated it slightly when I first saw it (it's probably a 7/10 in my mind now). The first half is pretty rough going, but it finishes very strong. I think I originally wrote that it felt like a trial outing for De Palma, to see if he still had some of that old magic. You could almost subtitle the film How De Palma Got His Groove Back.

I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Born on the Fourth of July

I hadn't seen this in a while. Ron Kovic's story remains compelling, and this film is an excellent document of how the Vietnam War split our nation, as seen through the eyes of an activist and director who lived it. Born on the Fourth of July is long but never dull; every scene crackles with great drama. This remains one of Oliver Stone's finest films.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:
I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.

Haven't seen Passion, but Prometheus wasn't the greatest material to showcase her skills.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.

Haven't seen Passion, but Prometheus wasn't the greatest material to showcase her skills.


Agreed. Also, I think a clear and obvious difference here might be acting in her own language vs. a second language

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
ilovemovies wrote:
Almost Famous

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, when it focuses on the music, it's golden. As a tribute to the glory days of rock n' roll, there are few other films that capture the true spirit of the time so well. However, when the film focuses on Will and his neurotic mom, it's not as engaging. However, I appreciate the spirit and the feelings captured in this film; it recalls an era where music actually meant something.

There are two absolutely stellar scenes in this film, both of which involve Elton John. The first, in which everyone sings the song about Tony Danza, is pretty widely known. The second is more subdued but even more powerful. It also doesn't hurt that "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite Elton songs.


Did you see the theatrical version or the untitled bootleg cut? The latter is the way to go as it's longer. I LOVE and ADORE this movie SO much! When people ask me what is my favorite movie of all time, this movie is usually the answer I'll give them.


I saw the theatrical cut. Perhaps I will have to see the longer cut sometime.



Almost Famous would also be on my short list of favorite movies ever. Just a wonderful film.


Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
Blonde Almond wrote:
I agree about Rapace though. Between Passion and Prometheus, I'm starting to wonder if her stellar work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films was a fluke.

Haven't seen Passion, but Prometheus wasn't the greatest material to showcase her skills.


Agreed. Also, I think a clear and obvious difference here might be acting in her own language vs. a second language


Fair points. Those films certainly don't have the best of scripts. I'll cut her some slack.

Catching up on November:

Oldboy (2013) - The Hollywood remake has long since become the standard scapegoat to point to as evidence of the creatively bankrupt state of the modern film industry. Oftentimes for good reason too; exceptions to the rule are certainly available, but in general I think it would be safe to say most remakes have a hard time justifying their existence. Still, I find remakes strangely and uniquely fascinating, not just to compare and contrast to their originals but also to ponder about the reasons behind their existence. Which brings us to this Spike Lee-directed remake of Park Chan-wook’s twisted 2003 revenge thriller Oldboy (and it is a remake of the film, as the opening credits make absolutely clear). The film is an especially odd case; even after seeing it, I’m still struggling to comprehend why anyone thought it would be a good idea. Fans of the original film are just going to look at this new incarnation and shake their hands disapprovingly, while those who are unaware of the original film’s existence are more than likely not the kind of people who will enjoy its abrasive approach and harsh subject matter.

For the record, I have never been a great fan of the original Oldboy, particularly the flamboyant excesses that come to the forefront in the film’s final third. But even with my reservations, if given the choice between the original film and a remake that is the textbook definition of perfunctory, I’ll choose the original every time. Lee’s film is essentially a straight retelling with only a few noticeable changes, but it’s sorely lacking in the distinctive energy that has given the original film so much staying power. Some of the violence seems more extreme, but two of the original’s most shocking and memorable moments are bizarrely omitted (I won’t go into specifics, but anyone who has seen the 2003 film can probably discern the two moments to which I’m referring). Without those moments, the film ends up feeling more generic, which only magnifies the problems inherent in the material. Like the walking script contrivance that is the Elizabeth Olsen character. Or the fact that once the main villain walks onscreen, the film flies off the rails into complete ludicrousness (Sharlto Copley’s performance is wildly over-the-top, but also weirdly appropriate; he seems to be the only one in the film who recognizes just how silly everything is). Honestly, very little about this incarnation of Oldboy warrants any interest, even for someone like myself who usually won’t dismiss remakes entirely out of hand. Judging by the almost complete lack of interest the film has received since its opening, most people seem to have similar feelings. 4/10.

Faces - Watching this 1968 film from John Cassavetes is the cinematic equivalent of being the only sober person in a room full of miserable drunks. Everyone has already started drowning their sorrows together, and all you can do is breathe in the desperation in the air. Apart from being a very down-to-earth martial drama, providing a window into the crumbling marriage between businessman Richard Frost (John Marley) and dissatisfied wife Maria (Lynn Carlin), Cassavetes’ film also takes on the general malaise of 1960s upper middle class socialites. For most of the film, Richard and Maria spend their time apart and in the company of others, the former with a sympathetic prostitute (Gena Rowlands), the latter with her vapid friends and eventually a freewheeling swinger type (Seymour Cassel, the film’s liveliest element). All this involves a good deal of booze, but of course, the intoxicated merriment on display in Faces is all just a guise, as the frivolity masks an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and a fear of confronting reality.

For better and for worse, you don’t see too many films like this made anymore, films that take such an aggressive and abrasive approach to their subject matter. Faces is 130 minutes long, and most of that time is made up of irritating conversations between heavily-intoxicated people. At times, it feels like Cassavetes is daring you to actively dislike the film; there’s even an odd, post-modern pre-title sequence which informs the viewer that, hey, the film coming up is probably not like what you usually watch. That opening sequence also hints at a lot of the intentional artificiality that is to follow. So much of the drama is about the different faces we put on for different situations and people, faces to mislead others from our true selves. A crucial scene late in the film between Marley and Rowlands serves as a final statement of sorts. After spending all of their time joking and laughing with each other, the two spend the night together and their conversations turn serious in the morning. This becomes too much for both of them to handle though, and it isn’t long before they revert back to their carefree personas. The moments when the characters’ facades crack open to reveal the inner desperation beneath are the ones that I found to be the most striking, but by the time they start to happen, I’ve already taken up that dare from Cassavetes. Faces undoubtedly has a great deal of merit and truth to it, but holy Hell is it a tremendous slog to sit through. 5/10.

The Tale Of Zatoichi Continues - Released in 1962, this is the second film in the famed Zatoichi series. As the title indicates, it is a direct sequel to The Tale Of Zatoichi, taking place around one year after the events of that introductory film. The blind swordsman and masseur Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) is making his way back to the town where the events of that first film took place. While on the way, however, he is hired to give a massage to an important politician. During his massage, he inadvertently discovers a secret concerning the politician that his aides do not want revealed. Instead of just asking Zatoichi to keep quiet, the aides decide to send men to kill him. There is also the matter of the armless samurai (Tomisaburo Wakayama, Katsu’s real-life brother) who seems to share a past connection with the blind swordsman. The action culminates in the setting as the first film, where Zatoichi discovers that former alliances are not engraved in stone.

At just 72 minutes, this film doesn’t waste much time before getting down to business (although Zatoichi does reveal himself to be a ladies’ man and sets aside some time for pleasure). The short running length, as well as the many ties back to the original film, gives The Tale Of Zatoichi Continues the slight feel of an extended epilogue, existing mainly to tie up loose threads. But unlike, say, Quantum Of Solace, to bring in another epilogue entry from a different long-running series, this film enhances rather than sullies the merits of its predecessor, bringing back old elements in a satisfying way while throwing new curveballs into the narrative. Having not yet seen any of the entries in the Zatoichi series beyond this one, I can’t say for sure whether or not they continue the kind of direct story continuity on display here. My guess though is that they mostly stand by themselves, which makes this film a somewhat different entry into the canon. Those who are already familiar with the characters and situations from the first film, particularly Zatoichi’s brief, ill-fated friendship with the sickly samurai Hanji, will get the most out of what this sequel has to offer. Lined up together, the two films form a truly epic samurai tale, and because both of them are so brisk, the best way to go would be to view them back-to-back in one sitting. 7/10.

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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Blonde Almond wrote:



Faces - Watching this 1968 film from John Cassavetes is the cinematic equivalent of being the only sober person in a room full of miserable drunks. Everyone has already started drowning their sorrows together, and all you can do is breathe in the desperation in the air. Apart from being a very down-to-earth martial drama, providing a window into the crumbling marriage between businessman Richard Frost (John Marley) and dissatisfied wife Maria (Lynn Carlin), Cassavetes’ film also takes on the general malaise of 1960s upper middle class socialites. For most of the film, Richard and Maria spend their time apart and in the company of others, the former with a sympathetic prostitute (Gena Rowlands), the latter with her vapid friends and eventually a freewheeling swinger type (Seymour Cassel, the film’s liveliest element). All this involves a good deal of booze, but of course, the intoxicated merriment on display in Faces is all just a guise, as the frivolity masks an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and a fear of confronting reality.

For better and for worse, you don’t see too many films like this made anymore, films that take such an aggressive and abrasive approach to their subject matter. Faces is 130 minutes long, and most of that time is made up of irritating conversations between heavily-intoxicated people. At times, it feels like Cassavetes is daring you to actively dislike the film; there’s even an odd, post-modern pre-title sequence which informs the viewer that, hey, the film coming up is probably not like what you usually watch. That opening sequence also hints at a lot of the intentional artificiality that is to follow. So much of the drama is about the different faces we put on for different situations and people, faces to mislead others from our true selves. A crucial scene late in the film between Marley and Rowlands serves as a final statement of sorts. After spending all of their time joking and laughing with each other, the two spend the night together and their conversations turn serious in the morning. This becomes too much for both of them to handle though, and it isn’t long before they revert back to their carefree personas. The moments when the characters’ facades crack open to reveal the inner desperation beneath are the ones that I found to be the most striking, but by the time they start to happen, I’ve already taken up that dare from Cassavetes. Faces undoubtedly has a great deal of merit and truth to it, but holy Hell is it a tremendous slog to sit through. 5/10.


I felt the same way about Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I still have yet to see a Cassavetes movie

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