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Watched The Bank Job last night after wanting to see it for some time: elegant and stylish heist film. I liked its understated approach and the political corruption seething underneath it all.
On days when I feel like my money's getting low, I go and look at what the library has to offer.

I found a few interesting films:

Klimt, starring John Malkovitch;
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (I love this movie but my husband's never seen it, so I got it for him) starring Richard Dreyfuss and Randy Quaid when they were practically infants;
L'Age des Ténèbres directed by Denys Arcand
and The Stone Angel starring Ellen Burstyn

Klimt's star is not one of my favourites but I was intrigued by the idea of a "biographical" film which did not take the formulaic BioPic approach. The costumes and painting reproductions were unbelievably beautiful. And I am beginning to really like Saffron Burrows--she's great in just about everything I've seen her in, including a bone searingly dry film of Stringberg's incredibly harsh play Miss Julie. I so hope she doesn't become a "Hollywood" star. (I thought she was also great in The Bank Job).

The last time I saw Dreyfuss as Duddy was decades ago, but I'm missing Mordecai Richler these days. The story has always been brilliant.

Anyone seen L'Age? Dolor?
oooooh... if you like duddy, then i'll see it. i have a mortal fear of dreyfuss because of an emotionally scarring childhood incident involving repeated viewings of the goodbye girl. i've enjoyed him in movies i didn't know he was in (rosencranz and gilderstern) or movies i prepared myself for, (jaws, close encounters), but he's perpetually stuck in my head eternally scolding marsha mason for where she puts her panties.

but i will say, i love some young actors-- it's great seeing them before their identity is so fixed, like randy quaid. i LOVE him (and everyone else) in the last detail, or paper moon.

i'm curious about arcand, cha. what do you think of his films over all? i've only seen love and human remains and jesus of montreal (which i LOVE, LOVE LOVED!)

i wanted to know if anyone has seen kwaidan? i seem to be gravitating towards japanese ghost
anna k
I just watched Doomsday on Sunday night, and enjoyed it, liking the big dystopian sci-fi action movie, sharply choreographed action sequences, moments of sharp humor, and uses of 80's post-punk songs to highlight the Mad Max-like world of quarantined Scotland under a virus.

Rhona Mitra was more of an action heroine than an actress in this, but her character was more remote, more focused on being a shooter instead of thinking about her long-dead mother or being evacuated out of Scotland as a child. She was very lean and athletic-looking, and it really helped in making her into this killer automaton, all about the job.

The best scene of the film was a long car chase between the survivors and the Brits sent in to find a cure for the virus, a life-and-death struggle as the Scots hang out of the Brits' car to choke them to death while racing down a long strip of road. Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Two Tribes" perfectly scores the scene, the war between the "savages" and the "normals," the ferocity and determination just drives the scene into pure wildness.

bunnyb, I agree, Vicky Cristina Barcelona was gorgeously shot, everybody looked beautiful in it. And Penelope Cruz was awesome in it.
I loved Vicky Christina Barcelona too--it was so beautifully shot, and Penelope Cruz--all I can say is she's capable of such great work but so much of what she's been offered since she came to America has been crap (except for Almodovar and now Woody Allen. I think you can make the argument that these two filmmakers stand out for being some of the best living female- character-focused filmmakers out there).

Barcelona looks stunning in the film--but the other thing that struck me about the movie is the incredible presence of wine. In particular, the notable stemware that keeps turning up in the film--the Gropius crystal that Patricia Clarkson sets her table with when she welcomes the two girls to her home for the summer (hey, I'm one of those people who likes a good wine--but a good wine in a well designed glass becomes a great wine). A silly thing to notice, but the impact of design and art is a huge theme in the film and it is good to see it wasn't left out of the minor details, in every aspect of the lives depicted.

GT, I loved Jesus of Montreal. And Love and Human Remains (I always think of Thomas Gibson in that film whenever I happen to see him goofing around in Dharma and Greg or Criminal Minds). And The Decline of the American Empire. Actually I have a love/hate relationship with that last one, but essentially the characters were brilliantly human and the acting was just so good. His follow up to that film, The Barbarian Invasions, turned out to be a little less moving for me but my guess is these characters needed some follow up (and I got a kick out of the fact that Arcand used a former Quebecois sexbomb popstar to play a mommy role in that movie). Overall, I like Arcand and I do think his films are very intricately crafted and deliberate.
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Mar 19 2009, 10:39 AM) *
except for Almodovar and now Woody Allen. I think you can make the argument that these two filmmakers stand out for being some of the best living female- character-focused filmmakers out there.

Agreed. They both offer such great female roles and exhibit their love for women (Almodovar has said so many times). I watched Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown last night and adored it.

I noticed the abundance of wine but only the glassware in one scene: where Vicky, Cristina and Vicky's husband are drinking at a table in an outdoors cafe, all I thought was that the wine glasses were the same as mine.

as an aside: in film analysis, what does the term "spare" mean? I read it twice yesterday in relation to two different films and I didn't know what it meant, other than economical ... but with what?
(Bunny, I'm partial to Riedel stemware, too)
I forgot that The Breakfast Club said that my name was a fat girl's name.

um.... can i just say a)my crush on cha, has gone from chronic to severe; b )i've got a new one on bunny, c)after years of avoiding woody allen films, you've just persuaded me to see VCB. i lost interest somewhere after two films i actually liked, the sweet lowdown, and small time crooks, but the seed of my disinterest were sown with aphrodite and reconstructing harry...

i completely agree, cha, cruz is very good in any of the spanish films i've seen her in, but american films? ich.... not so good.

and jesus of montreal was so terribly smart, i remember it coming out the year after the temptation of christ, and thinking that montreal was far superior, and much, much more moving.

saw the illusionist yesterday, and liked it quite a bit, it's fun, and in our conversation about films with inconsistent story tellers, this one is honest, luckily. it's essentially a con artist movie like the sting, and reminded me of the movie F/X, the stuntman or house of games, which like to play tricks on the audience, we are clued in with little tricks along the way, which lead up to the big one. one thing that makes it stand out for me, was the cinematography, which, does the early cinema thing brilliantly with it's transitions and flashback fog, but there is also the playful use of butterflies as a visual symbol thru the film, hiding in places you wouldn't expect. it almost becomes a game in and of itself... it never carries it as far as peter greenaway's incredible audience counting game, drowning by numbers, where the game of counting completely (and happily) crowds out any story. (and i doubt anyone can remember, even right after the film, if there was one.) that part of it made me miss seeing the playfulness in greenaway's films, drowning, in particular, which really can only be seen properly on the big screen, but is seldom shown.

and i have to share a friend's snide comment about the upcoming movie, knowing: nick cage finds a list of all of the disasters that will occur. how funny that they are all america-centric, we know that the rest of the world's calamities really don't count....

and bunny, spare means economical, nothing more, unless i didn't get the memo..... the bank job, was a spare heist flick. that kind of thing. i'm curious... what films were they referring to?
anna k
Penelope Cruz is way better in Spanish, not only because it's her native language, but Pedro Almodovar just brings out the best in her. I was disappointed when she made Hollywood films, as her voice sounded weaker in English and the movies stunk. Volver was like a breath of fresh air.

I didn't see The Illusionist, but I liked The Prestige, which came out around the same time. Really good story of twists and illusions.
Penelope Cruz shone in Volver and Allen brought out the best in her by allowing her to speak in her native tongue, as well as English; some of the most comic scenes were when she and Javier Bardem shouted at each other in Spanish and he repeatedly told her (in Spanish) to speak English so that Cristina (Johansson) could understand them.

The narrator of VCB annoyed me to begin with until I picked up on his dry humour as the narrative developed.

GT, have you seen Melinda and Melinda? I know it's not a popular one amongst Allen fans, or amongst BUSTies for that matter, but I could watch it over and over again. Some people say that the juxtaposition between comedy and tragedy is reductive and simplified but I think it's an incredibly intelligent movie.

As for spare: one movie was The Bank Job, I think, which makes sense and the other was Wendy and Lucy (which I haven't seen) and the line was "to say that this film is spare is to be generous..." so I take it now that it means it is completely stripped down, without effect, low-budget, economical on language? perhaps it will be easier to understand contextually once I've watched it.

It was unfortunate that The Illusionist and The Prestige were released so close together because most people saw one or the other but not both. I luckily did see them both and enjoyed them greatly.
Out of curiousity I went back and read my post about them and copied it:

The Illusionist was intelligent, enchanting and aesthetically perfect. I predicted the outcome although it was a little more convoluted than I expected. I find the comparisons to The Prestige reductive: yes, they are both about magic, are period dramas of intrigue and suspense and both contain a huge twist but both are unique and offer different levels of entertainment (The Prestige is more thriller and blockbuster-ish IMO and The Illusionist is an independent, low-budget suspense drama).
the juxtaposition between comedy and tragedy is reductive and simplified
i'll never understand things like that. my favorite directors (particularlly joon bong-ho (the host, memories of murder) jump between genres or even better play off of expections of comedy and tragedy. to me those kinds of films are better than ones that play things straight... most of the time.

i haven't seen melinda, since i've been avoiding allen's films. i love his early to mid work best-- zelig, bananas, manhattan, annie hall, what's up tigerlily? that kind of thing. oooh! you just reminded me i need to see the front.... but now i might have to see melinda too...

and yeah, that's what spare would mean applied to a movie most times they are thinking visually more than anything else. essentially, less flashy, less theatrical. everything working towards the plot, sometimes with little thought to anything else, or without flourishes or embelishment. almost minimalist. the movie safe might be called spare by some, but todd haynes use of framing in that film is masterly. to a person not paying attention, it might seem without effect, (or affect), but a second look shows otherwise. it's usually applied to rather restrained, austere, "cold" filmakers like atom egoyan (sweet hereafter), ang lee (ice storm, brokeback mountain) or antonioni. infact, brokeback mountain could be called a spare movie.

oh, and i've wanted to see the prestige too, and that is going to be on fx tonight. after lunch i'm going to watch the diving bell and the butterfly, which i'm kind of scared of. a good, high school friend of mine became a quadriplegic after an accident last year. he's started to get use back in his fingers-- a good sign, but the idea is terrifying for me... he's one of the people whose influenced my movie watching most. the first time i saw 8 1/2 it was with him, after much cajoling, and i miss debating movies with him, since he hates most movies i love. he even drug me to the tedious cremaster series., 3 days of boredom ( for me only one part of it was interesting) which, naturally, he loved.
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Mar 19 2009, 07:38 PM) *

oh, and i've wanted to see the prestige too, and that is going to be on fx tonight. after lunch i'm going to watch the diving bell and the butterfly

What did you think of them both? I want to see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; I read the book many years ago and found it inspiring.
I think it's definitely more than the Spanish language--it really is testament to how good writing can convey the depth of a good character--good acting can then bring that to life. When the female characters are written to be just cardboard (does anyone remember having their life robbed of the time it took to watch any of Woman On Top, starring Penelope Cruz?) there is nothing to be done about them--they are lifeless, unreal, the best that can be hoped for is to make some kind of noisy, didactic fluff out of the character.

Unfortunately, that's the kind of writing most women in film get to work with. Worse, I think the latest trend in films with women as the focus have devolved into 90 minute ad campaigns. The most insulting thing about The Women (the current version) is that all that talent is there to just plug some Narcisso Rodriguez perfume, some tacky designer shoe fetish, and a stupid department store. No matter how much failure Woody Allen's come up with as a writer/director (GT mentions quite a list of shame with Deconstructing Harry and The Curse of the Jade Spider and many other unforgettable abominations), he's still about writing about characters and relationships.

(Yeah, the Walter Gropius design glassware was noticeable in VCB, but that's my idiocy, not Allen's--no one blathered on about them or had to look at them with illuminated titles or had to mention about how they had to have them or die. They were meant to highlight characters very subtly, in the same way the Gaudi architecture spoke about both Barcelona and the characters in the city).

GT, The Front is definitely one of my favourite movies by Woody Allen--I loved Zero Mostel in it, and I loved that he chose to work with so many who were affected by McCarthyism in the movie. I hope you'll love it.

I watched L'Age de Tenebres last night and the character from The Decline of the American Empire who later marries the (in real life) former Quebecois SexBomb popstar in the follow up film The Barbarian Invasions ends up making an appearance again in L'Age, as the divorced, aging professor whose former sex bomb popstar wife takes their children and leaves him because she's too young and they have nothing in common. Bleak, but funny, and in the end a bit reassuring, as if Arcand wants us to remember that even when the apocalypse comes life can go on.
Personally I liked The Prestige a lot more than The Illusionist; I think it took the conceit of the magician more seriously and was a more interesting film as a result. Jessica Biel's presence in The Illusionist left me bewildered as to why she was cast.

Melinda and Melinda is flawed but worth seeing. Interestingly cast, especially Will Farrell, who is surprsingly good here, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who slides right into that Woody Allen caricature of a 'successsful artist.'

Want to say again how much I loved The Ice Storm and especially Haynes' Safe, for the reasons GT mentions: the austerity of their aesthetic allows for a more complicated emotional reponse for the audience, IMO...
Ooh, I liked The Prestige! I thought Jackman and Bale had a good chemistry as rivals.

Any tips for good horror films? The best ones I've seen recently were The Descent and The Orphanage (The Ring and The Grudge were too scary for me ohmy.gif ).

i watched the prestige, and liked it quite a bit, i loved it's sci-fi wink, but more, they use of doppelgangers (although i caught the big reveal almost from the start), to the point of it becoming a house of mirrors, which was even more perfect with the birds and birdcages being a double for the water tanks, (which even had it's minor double with the wife being killed and being shown the bird dead in the bird trap), i liked them both but in hindsight, i'd have to say that i liked the prestige better. but i think they are very different films.the illusionist was more of a con movie as i said, so it's emphasis was different. pulling back and looking at prestige's construction... it really was a thing of beauty, the use of cages, tanks, traps and metaphor, and the settings, going from the big theater to the run down one... it just goes to the moral corruption that had taken place. funny thing was that ricky jay was not only in the prestige (he was the magician the guys both worked for), he was the magic advisor on both films, as well as a lot of mamet's con artist movies.

persi, i'd recommend tale of two sisters, but it's asian horror, so it's like the grudge or the ring but better, but too scary for you from the sound of it. i was annoyed by the orphanage, but i wanted a scary movie, and it....wasn't. have you seen the darkness with anna paquin? that movie freaks me the fuck out... i always watch it when it's on but *shivers* nightmares... and i love horror. god there is some great horror movie i saw months ago.... it takes place up north, and it was fucking gooooooood... i wish i could remember the name of it... i'll see if i can figure it out...

oh, god yeah syb, that's why i love those directors, flash is nice, but those directors are trying to tell us something much deeper and they keep the fluff from getting in the way. funny thing is, especially with haynes, he reminds me of a lot of those older directors like elia kazan (speaking of mccarthy), who kept the symbols visible but never let them obscure the story. i know some of their films can be dry, but it's nice to have to "sing for your supper" sometimes. but i couldn't have said it better. antonioni's "moments" where he will build to a little wordless shot that tells you everything you need to know about a character's emotional state... there is nothing like it. i always give the colonnade sequence in the passenger as the quintessential filmic moment, images conveying, transmitting emotion.

cha, the front has been on my "to see" list for years. i really do love that era of allen films. i always get a bit sad that he became such a rich icon, at some point it feels like he got into that upper class bubble and lost anything he had to say... i find so many of his films since hannah boring retreads. i loved his little riff on bergman's cries and whispers, in interiors, but do not see the reason to revisit the territory after... but, i think i like interiors, is because i love C&W--- god talk about austere cries and whispers is soooooo austere, the flashyness is mostly red fades and little bits of red in the otherwise black and white palate.....and i love it.
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Mar 20 2009, 02:46 PM) *
persi, i'd recommend tale of two sisters....

Seconded!!!** This is the the most frightening movie I've ever seen. It isn't gory, just incredibly creepy. I watched it for a 2nd time with my boyfriend, trying to exorcise the horrors it gave me, and while we were watching it he tried to front like it wasn't so scary, but he admitted, sheepishly, to after-horrors.

I remember reading here during my lurking years about the movie Funny Games (the original). Venetia described it as the most frightening movie she'd ever seen, not horror movie frights, but blood chilling movie sadism.

There's a zombie movie that was released here in Canada, and hopefully will get wider release soon called Pontypool which I thought was fantastic and creative. It's about a virus that spreads through language and a small town radio crew holed up in the studio trying to figure out what's going on as the virus rages. So good.

Speaking of zombie types 28 Days Later was also good if you haven't seen it.

Another old but good creepfest is the ghost story The Others.

You might like Quarantine, Persiflager. A woman doing a film story is trapped in the middle of an epidemic.

**But GT is right, maybe too scary for you.
just watched diving bell. very good, bitter sweet film. phenomenal editing and cinematography the leaps from subjective to camera were so, so graceful. what is most striking about the film is that it could have been so over the top expressionistic if handled by another director, something way too bombastic like trainspotting, instead the imagery comes across pitch perfect, it was very rooted, very organic and connected to the struggles of the protagonist. it never seems forced, it all just dovetails so beautifully. some of the most interesting use of swing/tilt lens since wong kar-wei's chungking express. a very moving film, with a great sense of humor, fantastic performances and a great, rather sardonic soundtrack. and if you want to understand what i mean when i talk about the colonnade sequence in the passenger, there is something similar in this film, the shot of a woman's hair blowing in the wind. you'll know the shot when you see it, but like the other scene i was talking about, no words are needed, intuitively, you understand.

god vixen, if ven (i miss ven so much!) was posting that must have been forever ago.... and she's right about funny games. i'm wondering if i talked to her about haneke when she posted that...

ooooh! i know a good horror movie, it's more of a serial killer story but creepy as fuck:kurosawa's cure. it's asian, but far from the wet little girl ghost story, it's about an obsessive detective who is on the trail of a serial killer who hypnotizes his victims to kill for him. pay very close attention to the final scene too. *shudders* the best serial killer movie, and one that cemented that genre closed, for me at least. saw and all the others are just silly compared.

i also love the original pulse (also a kurosawa film, btw), but, it's an asian horror/disaster/disease movie. i also love cabin fever. probably the first and last film i'll like by eli roth...

if you don't mind monster movies, the host is a great modern reworking of godzilla, or if you want camp, godzilla final wars is loads of fun-- everything you could want in a bunch of guys in monster suits, tons of monsters battling, and an utterly stupid plot that revolves around a cheap, 5th rate version of matrix. ---and it's still a million times better than that american version of godzilla with matthew broadrick...
Yeah, it was years ago GT, practically ancient history, Internet-time. I remember strange things.
I just came back to say 30 Days of Night is one of the few movies that gave man-vixen nightmares.
anna k
Just watched A Tale of Two Sisters. Wow. Really sad and engaging, as well as startlingly scary. I really liked the cinematography and bright colors against a drab background, the surrealism of some scenes (the stepmom's introduction, the way the camera panned around), and felt frozen on my bed and gripping a blanket during some scenes. I was reminded of Heavenly Creatures early in the film when the two sisters take off running in the garden. I couldn't tell at times what was fantasy and what was reality, it was more subtle and let the viewer make their own conclusion. There also seemed to be a preoccupation with hands, I was curious about that. One of the best and most memorable horror films that I've seen, definetly.

What was it with Mi-hee being strangled? Was she being attacked by Su-yeon or Su-mi? That just threw me, and I didn't know what kind of conclusion to make from it?

Also, I kept assuming the bloody sack contained Su-yeon, or that the stepmother wasn't really as evil as portrayed. It was a real mindfuck at times.
hee hee... glad you liked it anna. i love that movie because you come out of it going, i think i know what it's beauty is in it's ambiguity. but i've said enough about the movie, but heavenly creatures.... god i miss that movie....
Wooo, thanks for all the tips, they sound fantastic! I will approach the super-scary ones cautiously - they will have to be watched with my horror-film-watching-buddy, with all the lights on and lots of hand-holding.

I've seen The Others and 30 Days of Night and really liked both of those, and 28 Days Later (though the sequel was disappointing). I kinda liked that The Orphanage resolved in a non-horror-movie way - I found the ending very affecting.

Speaking of del Toro, is there anything new on the horizon?
persi, I don't watch horror films often but zoya recommended something recently ... it's a relatively recent release (say, in last year) ... The Mist perhaps?

Contributing all I can!
In regard to Natasha Richardson.... (alas!),
I really enjoyed "The White Countess" and recommend it to all who would like to appreciate her.

For me, the ending was romantic and touching.

Also, the nightclub orchestra was a great pleasure.
lol... i'm watching robocop2 right now.... i LOVE it. one and two are hilarious.... freaking ridiculous social satire. i don't know how anyone can think they meant it as straight movie. it's so tongue in cheek...

if you are up for a strange domestic horror, safe is creepy.... and any movie mad from a h. shelby book is just gonna be a nightmare...(last exit to brooklyn, requiem for a dream)
other movies that are not so horror, but certainly nightmarish:midnight express....omg. just no. (although i think of this movie everytime i watch nat geo's locked up abroad),
strawdogs. yikes.
deliverance. the notorious deliverance. "i'ma make you squeal like a pig..." just no, again, NO.
and of course,
alive. *shivers* a soccer team's plane crashes in the mountains, to survive they have to eat each other.... but for me, the plane crash scenes alone were too scary.

here comes the list of movies i like:
near dark. great vampire horror with most of the cast from aliens. funny as fuck too.
any of the bodysnatchers movies-- except the last with kidman
i haven't seen it, but i've never heard anything bad about it: les diaboliques
the thing. sooo creepy...
the new andromeda strain... it was reeeealy good.
repulsion. polanski at his finest. 'nuff said.
rosemary's baby... polanski, again, but that's why he's so amazing.
videodrome. i had nighmares from this one for YEARS. but i laughed at all the visual puns...
santa sangre... horror imagery by the strange surealist jodorowsky. did i mention it's strange?
jacob's ladder. visually so different, still so iconic...

comedy horror:
tremors. funny funny funny.
guilty pleasure:
final destination 1,2 & 3, although 3 is poop.
slither. gross and f'ing funny as hell.
evildead2. the first one is ok, but the second.....grooooooovy!

We saw Watchmen last night and I thought it was a hot pile of steaming shit that smells so bad that you nearly vomit; the boy liked it.
anna k
I just watched Chungking Express. I liked its romantic melancholy, the rain in the densely packed city, the small, cramped apartments in which the men lived, the jazz soundtrack, and the sweet bouts of humor that would come up every now and then. I just really enjoyed watching both segments and felt touched by its humanity and honesty.
so glad you liked it, anna. it's so super sweet. and i love the whole theme of expiration dates.....i loved chungking express, anna and OD'd on it seeing it 3 times shortly after. too much. but wong kar wei is a very interesting director, his films build on each other and interlock... jumping forward, backward and sometimes sideways with leslie chung as the director's stand in. he even reworks his ideas about things with each film. he refers back to older films, eludes to other characters, and even reimagines their histories....he's wonderful romantic director the first film of his you see. but, you really respect him after you've seen 4 (or more)of his movies.

you know what might be a great companion movie, anna, is 3iron. if you haven't seen it already. it's south korean not hong kong but it seems to start in the same romantic universe and chungking. in 3, the main character breaks into people's houses while they are out of town, and does some chores in exchange, for his room. soon he falls for the tennant a lot like chungking, right? here is the twist: the tennant in 3iron is married.... to an abusive ass.

now, let me say, 3 iron is not just a romantic film. it's everything i love in korean films-- a genre jumping romantic tragic mystical dramedy-- you will never guess where the film is going to go next, but where it takes you is breathtaking, beautiful, and magical. it was my favorite film that year-- luckily it came out between joon bong-ho films. if kim ki-duk isn't as good a director(which, as much as i adore JBH, there's a debate there), he comes pretty damn close. if i haven't said it before in all of the other times i've ranted about 3 iron, it's straight fucking brilliant. you've not seen anything like it.


i just watched david mamet's redbelt, not knowing what to expect, little did i know it would be, i assume, since mamet is jewish, an unintentional passion play allegory. not that there's anything wrong with that, after all, cool hand luke was a retelling of the christ story too, and well, who doesn't love that movie? it's just not what i was expecting, and there is a lot in a mamet movie, that you do expect: terse, precise use of language; a strong story with smart twists; and a noirish mood; and an examination of masculinity/masculine activities. this being a movie about jiu-jitsu, and the new wave of mixed martial arts championships out there, of course, all those things mentioned are there. but in a lot of ways this reminded me most of mamet's homicide, an extremely wicked, dark, spare noir, infact i'd say one of the best neo-noirs made post chinatown. but while homicide stays well within the rules of noir, redbelt is only half-noir. while both drag you from agonizing problem to more agonizing problem, redbelt has too many loose ends, too many things left unresolved at it's finish. something very un-mamet like. while i like the film a lot, a parable about corruption of personal integrity, it's too bad that as soon as the film ends a flood of "wait.... what about...." questions mar things.


i don't know how long it's been since i'd seen the original body snatchers, but with all of our talk about it around here, i thought i'd take another look at it, and i have to admit, i underestimated it. it is a really, good, scary, creepy movie. granted, the pods look silly, but that is a trifle. the rest of the movie is honestly very creepy and very suspenseful. so now i need to go back and see the san francisco, version. so now my bodysnatchers list in order of my love of them goes something like this:

original IBS;
ferrera's BS;
the thing (carpenter)
Threshold (tv series)
the faculty
IBS (70's remake)
any puppet show remake given by drunken fratboys;
invasion (with kidman)

ETA:i just realized IBS also stands for irritable bowel
Yea, I seen Watchmen too and wasn't too happy with it. Maybe you had to be a big fan of the books to appreciate it that much. I think if it would have just been shorter and to the point, it would have been a better movie.

The other movie I seen at a free movie screening was 'Alien Trespass'. I am a Eric McCormack fan, so I loved the movie. The movie itself(set in 1957) is a homage to the 50's sci-fi movies. I enjoyed the movie(not just because it was free, LOL). You can actually check on for the trailer and also if there will be free movie screenings in your area.
I found out something really disappointing this week that I thought I should share with my fellow Busties. It appears that the English subtitles for the DVD of Let The Right One In vary a lot from the subtitles that showed with the theatrical release of the film. People say that a lot of the language has been simplified & some subtle nuances are lost. Here's an article about it with some examples of the changes. I was planning on watching ts movie via my on-demand service, but decided not to after finding out about the changes. Luckily the US distributor says that they're going to release a new version of the film with the original, theatrical subtitles, but who knows when that will happen. Boo.
boo indeed.

i hate that, rose. and i really does matter. i remember talking to some friends about a movie i had seen at the seattle film festival, and talking about how funny it was, it was called chinese story 2002 or some such. it was this weird, all over the map period piece comedy with guys doing spiderman parodies, and moonwalking and doing michael jackson moves in the middle of a martial arts fight.

later i heard back from my friends and they found it unwatchable. i went to the video store (it was this great old hole in the wall that would bootleg asian movies that would never get released in the us), and got their copy and... it was unwatchable. the translator had done a lazy job-- a hack job-- taking out many of the humorous asides, and topical humor instead using the most bland general expressions, and losing all of the color and playfulness i had enjoyed in my screening.

a translation can really make or break a movie. i'm glad that the distributor has the good sense to fix the problem. hopefully people will make the same choice you did rosey, you smarty!
anna k
I saw Tokyo Sonata tonight, and it was good, but very sad and depressing. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, it's about a man who loses his office job, but keeps it a secret from his family and pretends to go to work every day, while waiting in unemployment lines and getting free food from the bread line. There was something about the pacing of the story that made it engaging and human and sad, and I liked that the film concentrated just as much on the family members' individual problems as on the man's unemployment. The movie lifts some of the man's depression with the introduction of his old high-school classmate, who is also newly unemployed and comes up with elaborate ways to hide it from people, including his family. His character is both uplifting yet sad on the inside and it was a shame when he kills himself along with his wife because he can't stand it any longer. I've heard of Kurosawa through GT's recommendations, and would like to see Cure and Pulse.
oh, i'm burning with jealousy!

as you know, i adore (early) kurosawa. i'd love to know what you think of bright future, anna. it's kurosawa too. i meant to tell you another film that you should see after 3 iron, which is the last life in the universe. i think it's the film lover's film. i was reminded of it by a review on my old prof's website. the thing about movies is that you get used to the language, this shot means this, and that's the normal way of shooting it, and you read those codes, and some directors impress you with their use of these codes, and those are the good directors, then there are the ones who come along and they know those codes, but the break those rules, they shoot a scene in a way you don't expect, they put the cameras in new places, edit in strange ways, and, pow!, it's like you've seen something new being born, it's like all the other directors are salieri, and this new kid, they're amadeus-- on a whole 'nother level. and it's not something that most movie watchers would even know, they might be charmed by the movie, or not, but if you are used to that code you're watching it and going... wait... what is going on? and it's just so exciting, and smart, and cool, and....! and you just love that film for showing you something new. for reminding you of why you love film. it's like remembering your first kiss. those butterflies in your stomach.

earlier in the week i say wristcutters a love story. i liked it, inspite of my usual loathing of road trip movies. luckily the quirky characters were kept to a minimum, or at least since they were suicidal in purgatory, they had cause. oh, and tom waits is good in it too.

i was lucky enough to catch a great little documentary on IFC on spaghetti westerns called (what else), spaghetti western. i've seen a few spaghetti westerns, mostly the leoni ones, but they went into the whole history and then went into the three waves/ three directors that broke the rules of the person that came before them and their pivotal films. it was really interesting and they talked about the trajectory of the spaghetti western from start until it's eventual exhaustion. along the way they talked about a (cult) film called Django, which pushed violence as far as it could go-- including a notorious ear cutting scene. it that sounds familiar, it should.

i write all of this, to say that just now i finished takashi miike's sukiyaki western django, and loved it. it's a neat little trick, this, sort of a prequel (to django), that is a remake (fist full of dollars) of a samurai film (yojimbo), influenced by the westerns of john ford. it winks at the movie(s) it admires, all the while super imposing an entirely different culture on it...(or reverting/returning it's culture depending on your view). but that's the point. that was what spaghetti westerns did. it was the italian take on american westerns, shot often, in spain, with a cast and crew from a dozen countries that was a remake of a japanese film. this is multi culutralism at it's mix -it-up-best. but more, this is intertexuality-- a film that makes references to other things, movies, plays, art, music, anime--and deepens it's meanings and complexity. beautiful, theatrical, artistic sets and settings, and costumes, with a great sense of humor. it's hard not to crack a smile at points, especially when we see a very japanese gateway to a city, and told it is arizona. when we see the saloon, and the other buildings with architecture that looks like it was borrowed from a pagoda. it reminded me of both of sam raimi's homage to westerns, the quick and the dead, and with it's colors, tears of the black tiger, the thai noodle western soap opera musical. sukiaki is violent, but compared to most miike films (audition, ichi the killer) the violence is not just restrained, it's cartoonish, and most of it funny. the great thing is to see him actually direct a film instead of the sort of shock jock, poke-you-in-the-eye films he's known for, because he really is a fantastic director. the camera movement in sukiyaki is dreamy. hell, he even has tarantino in the film, and while he's not the greatest actor, the way the film is put together with the actors stiltedly reading lines in english, obviously not their first language, he doesn't have to be. somehow, it all works, and the result is a stellar spaghetti sukiyaki western. i'm crossing my fingers we'll see more.
rose, that's weird about Let the Right One In. I would definitely wait for the version with original subtitles.

I've seen a lot of films lately, but the one that really amazed me was Wendy and Lucy. I can not recommend this film enough.

I'm going to the Sarasota Film Festival this weekend. It seems the bad economy has made the film selections not as massive as past years, but I found three that look good and the showtimes work out.
Just saw two bleak northern movies, in rapid succession: Frozen River and Wendy & Lucy. One set in the NE US (where I am), the other in the NW, Oregon. Both about women in hard times, in dire straits, and directed by women.

Both highly realistic and plausible-- which reminds us just how non-realistic most movies (and TV) are. Both very low budget, FR about 1 million, W&L about $200,000.

W&L was too simple and slow for me (jaded thrill-seeker that I have become).... but I liked the use of trains: as seen, as heard. The one really extraordinary part (you'll recognize it... as it happens) involves a cacophony of train noises + angry crazed male ranting... and Wendy's FEAR, her vulnerability. Alone, and without Lucy to defend her.

Lucy is her dog.
Played by "Lucy the dog."

Both are recommended.
"Realism rocks."-- dolor.
And you can quote me on that.

PS Replying to your last, Dear GT-Oh!
I just saw the TCM doc on Val Lewton, titled something like "Man in the shadows," narrated by Scorcese. Did you catch it? Super bitchin'-- & your man Kurosawa is there big time, going on about how much he reveres Lewton. (A pal had taped it for me, so I don't know when it had run originally.)
Now, Time for more Lewton...
-- d.
dolor, my dream!

how are you? i'm thrilled that you are now a jaded thrill seeker, at least film wise, since i am utterly convinced that you have more than enough knowledge of the more gentle tributaries of film streams.

i have seen that TCM doc on val lewton, and it is quite wonderful. of late i've enjoyed watching documentaries on films or directors, or genres-- it reminds me of auditing film classes at the university. the last one a saw was on antonioni, who i understood instinctually in many ways, but nice to have those potholes of my knowledge filled so i don't feel as intimidated by them. i've got three new westerns that i've been telling myself i'd make a movie marathon out of, proposition, 3:10 and something else... i still get gunshy about westerns, i can't seem to wrap my head around things the same way i do with non-western fare.

i saw the haunting in conn, last night with an old friend/crush. it was dumb, with a capitol uuuummmmm. here is how illogical it is, a boy and his mom are spending their first night in the living room of the house, the boy has a nightmare about the basement. in the next scene, when asked which room he wants, he chooses the basement. huh? it gets worse from there. we talked thru the whole movie -- something i usually never do, but it was baaaaaad.

speaking of bad, i saw hancock too, which had some of the worst music cues of recent memory. the first half hour of the movie is exactly how NOT to use music in film.

i also saw the music man, which was fun (and good). i loved the use of song as rhythm in the first few songs.

T-Gal Dahlink,

You asked about westerns now and then...

In the first place, there is SO Much to see and do on this earth during the one life that has been allotted each of us that it's really quite OK is there is some style or scene that is... uncongenial. It leaves more time to follow your nature.

In the second place, if you're really keen to learn more about them, a good place for you to start is... Anthony Mann. Before westerns, he's doing Noir, where you are at home. (Following your nature...) Check out his noir.
Then you have the rich & strange pivot from Noir to westerns "The Furies" (which I think I wrote about here), then you have this series of great westerns with Jimmy Stewart, which are notable for the kind of grim & driven side that Stewart shows (in contrast to his earlier Mr. Wholesome Capra-corn thang), and also for Mann's appreciation of western landscapes.

For that matter, if you don't immediately groooove to the western scapes and vistas, then I'd say, leave those westerns for another lifetime. (I was grooving therein myself, this January, in Death Valley & the Mojave preserve..)

For another place to begin, if you like Montgomery Clift (and if you don't... well, shame on you!), take a look at Hawks' "Red River" where you see him facing off with John Wayne. Also, John Ireland in a cute polka-dot shirt.

If these suggestions don't get you anywhere, then... follow your pleasure. Elsewhere.

And is your address still the one with 407 in it, the one I used before? If not send me another PM, baby duck, so I can mail you a little something.

ta & ta,
yr D-Gal

it is, dearest, dearheart, dolor! it is! (my adress that is). i often like westerns when i watch them, but it takes me a bit of warming up. but i love your suggestions... ty oh goddess of western wonder!
i know it's been mentioned a while back, but i finally got around to watching rachel getting married last weekend, and holy crap, what an awesome movie. it was strange and yet oddly refreshing to see anne hathaway play such a serious, fucked-up character. i'm so used to seeing her in mainstream fluff comedies, it was like "holy shit, she can actually act in a serious role!" the whole thing was just sad and funny and uplifting and heartbreaking to watch. there was a lot left hanging at the end, and i would have been curious to see how certain things were resolved, and how certain things came to be. at the same time, i kind of liked that it was just this snapshot moment in this family's life, like here you come in blind and slowly learn things but not too much, but that's all you get, and there is no neat wrapped-up package of an ending.

i think this weekend i'm going to watch all this and heaven too, and maybe another couple bette davis movies. i first saw it on AMC when i was a kid, and even though i'm not a particular fan of old movies or bette davis, it stuck with me, and i always stopped to watch it whenever i caught it on again. i'd been waiting for it to come out on dvd though, and i finally saw it on amazon a couple months ago. i debated on getting just the one, but then i saw they had it in a collection with the old maid, the great lie, in this our life, watch on the rhine, and deception. a couple of the other ones looked interesting, so we'll see if i like those ones too.
Cara Gal-Trouble, she of the hot twat,

While sustaining my path of chaste sobriety, I have not completely neglected my new assignment of jaded thrill-seeking. The weekend double-bill in my house was about as schizophrenic as it is possible to be:

What with the austerity of Ozu's "Tokyo Twilight"....,
-- and then (to gratify the jaded T-S-ers),
Tobe Hooper's preposterously over-the-top Lifeforce, that 1980's sci-fi /vampire /end of the world phat burrito,
with a Wagnerian love-death astral-projection finale,
amidst the burning rubble of what was once London...
hee hee... that is quite possibly the best take on lifeforce i've ever heard...

i just saw diabolique-- the original one. i liked it quite a bit-- it's funny because i expected the tension to be the part before the husband gets murdered, but instead it's after, and trying to figure out what's going on is not difficult, waiting for those shoes to drop is really wrenching.
On a more serious note,
One thing that this DVD of Lifeforce did, which is REALLY ANNOYING (as are my caps?)
is put major surprising images (are these called "money-shots"?) on to the various menu pages.

So you know what's ahead of you...
So you are less surprised when it shows up....
It's like being forced to watch a preview, when you want to go into a movie knowing as little as possible,
and certainly not knowing what the climaxes will be like, what they will look like.
This also happens with TV promos, which I guess is more forgivable since they want their audience to be interested, i.e. "hooked."
But once you are interested, and have the DVD at hand, why push these "money-shots," inescapably?
(When I'm Pres, such errors will be eliminated.)
I just watched Cloverfield tonight, which I'd heard a lot of mixed reviews about. I have a morbid fascination with watching human civilization collapse in apocolyptic horror, and I get most of that from zombie movies, but when an apocolyptic movie comes along that's not about zombies I get really excited. I never get over the chill/thrill of seeing a huge, familiar city like London or New York completely abandoned or destroyed. It's just so scary, every time. So Cloverfield uses that home-video style made famous in Blair Witch, which is kind of annoying in its improbability because the characters are running away from a monster for most of the movie and trying to hold and aim a camera while running from a monster is just silly. Also, they never seem to run out of film, and the camera survives some pretty serious falls and crashes. It's a gimmick, but I think it's a legitimate one - it's a refreshing perspective, and done right it adds an extra dimension of horror and believability to the story. Done in standard style, Cloverfield would have had nothing to offer. It would have been a flashy Godzilla remake. So I liked it for that. That said, there was one really annoying scene where, at the beginning of the monster attack, the mostly-white cast runs panicked into the street, where they find an electronics store being looted by black people. The racism is embarrasingly obvious, like during Hurricane Katrina when the news showed white people "finding" food at an abandoned store, while a black man was shown carrying food that he'd "looted" from one. It's also interesting that, at a time when approval ratings for America's military activities were at an all-time low, a movie appeared that glorified the military. Overall, though, I enjoyed it. But I think The Host was better. Anyone here seen it?

So for apocolypse junkies like me, Blindness is a must-see. It was almost exactly like Children of Men, but with an epidemic of blindness rather than infertility. It's basically a cross between Children of Men and 28 Days Later. It is quite believable and absolutely ruthless, and, while the whole point of the movie was to show the total collapse of society and the enormous suffering caused by it, I thought was excessive at parts - major trigger warning for this movie. The mass-rape scenes are long and horrific, and maddeningly unnecessary in terms of the actual story. The men manage to hijack the entire population with a single gun, and Julianne Moore's character could have stopped it before it started, but instead lets it continue. It really pissed me off until I tried to imagine the movie with her taking control and averting such a crisis, but I think the focus of the movie was meant to be on the fucked-up state of human civilization and not on the hero who stopped it. It's an apocolypse movie, not a hero movie. According to Wikipedia, "the director also found that a New York test screening expressed a uniquely American concern about a victim in the film failing to conduct an act of revenge. He believed this concern to reflect what Americans have learned to expect in their cinema." The scenes of the large city (anonymous, like the characters) in complete ruin are absolutely heart stopping.
anna k
I watched one of the worst movies ever, Parole Violators. A really low-budget mid-90's movie about a former cop who acts as a vigilante to capture parole violators. The worst, stilted, cue-card-reading, emotionless acting ever, cheesy-fake fight scenes (albeit a couple of good stunts and fight moves), actors who were friends/family of the star and director, shooting a fight scene in someone's suburban backyard, people repeating lines, just garbage, but good to MST3K-snark at.

I've heard good things about The Host, but haven't seen it.
I wanted to see it, but I avoided Blindness because of the Julienne Moore factor. There just always seems to be something...fucked up about the roles/movies she stars in I don't know why I feel that way.

Anyway I'm an apocalypse junkie too. I'll even see the lame ones (End of Days, Day After Tomorrow). I think it's something to do with growing up in 80's with the nuclear hysteria and that quasi-scientific Doomsday Clock ticking closer to mankind's demise. My grade 6 teacher got a lot of play out of that (does anyone else remember it?). I also like movies that involve god or the devil, life after death, heaven and hell (Devil's Advocate, No News From God & everything in between) and am always looking for ones I haven't seen.

I saw a monster movie called the Host, but I'm not sure if that's the one you're referring to? It's been more than a year, but it still crosses my mind out of the blue. There's something very haunting about it.
i've been dying to see blindness, but i forget to get it. i love disaster/horror/the-world-is-ending films too. i wanted to see cloverfield, but i get seasick playing video games, too much wild camera movement gives me serious vertigo. i'd be throwing up.

i've seen the host 3 or 4 times. it's awesome. it's a quintessentual korean film, meaning it likes to shift from drama to comedy at the drop of a dime. it's made by my favorite director, joon bong-ho. he's baddass. it's a monster movie, but the twist here, is that the emphasis is on the family. the host is an allegory for american power run amok (literally), but don't let that scare you. it's got some of korea's best actors in it, particularlly song kang-ho, who, is ALWAYS GOOD,* and my super crush, bae du-na, and it is a great, solid film, that will make you laugh, cry, shock you, and scare you. and it's very well made. if you get g4, on cable, they show it periodically.

i've come to the conclusion that will smith can't act, or rather, shouldn't try. i know, he's a nice guy, but he's in that category that i put jim carrey and robin williams in: they might do an ok job, but any film they are in would have been much better, had they not been in it. i just finished i am legend and hancock, both bland at best, utter crap at worst.

*seriously, if you want to see some of the best of korean film, follow this guy's career. he's in two of chan wook-park's brutal "vengeance" revenge film trillogy, the brilliant, JSA(joint security area), kim ji-woon's dark comedy, the quiet family and the foul king, as well as joon bong-ho's second film, the brilliant police procedural/serial killer film, memories of murder.
Yeah, I've been meaning to watch some of those movies but I always forget. I'm one of those people who walks into a video store, stares around vacantly for 20 minutes, and ends up watching a TV series because you can just keep picking up the next disk and you don't have to make any decisions. My rentals for the past 2 years have been dominated by Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Arrested Development, Carnivale, Planet Earth and Kids in the Hall. And zombie movies, because they're so common now and they're all so similar that you can just keep picking up the next one like it's a series, and you know more or less what you're getting. Renting movies becomes so much harder when you're in a relationship. My girlfriend always wants to watch Will Farrell.

Oh, I also watched Death at a Funeral the other day after hearing all the hype, and absolutely hated it. Unoriginal, boring, cliche, and feels way way longer than 90 minutes. The gags were so fucking old and so tastelessly done, i mean, come on. The Kinky Midget? The Guy Who Accidentally Takes Acid And Gets Naked? The Desperate Horny Guy? It was more like American Pie at a Funeral. And am I the only person on earth who finds the Kinky Midget stereotype extremely offensive? It's like saying they're freaks who don't deserve to be sexual, or that they're freaks whose sexuality must be equally freaky, or that they're essentially just freaks so everything that makes them human is a big freaky joke. Yuck.

Anyone seen any good animated movies lately? I'm really into animation and I'll see pretty much anything that's cool to look at. I liked Coraline, loved The Science of Sleep, and saw the most amazing anime movie a couple of months ago called Tekkonkinkreet. I love stop animation the most, especially when it's a little on the rough side and doesn't look like CGI, like Wallace and Grommit. I also love rotoscope animation, like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. I wish my city was big enough to support an animation festival. I think there's a Spike & Mike's, but that stuff is mostly about the sight gags and not about the animation itself. Has anyone here seen Mirrormask? It's a Neil Gaiman story, like Coraline, and it's a really well-done blend of live action and CGI. It's really unique looking, and takes place in the land of Light and Shadow, so some of the scenery is bright and sparkly while the rest is dark and gothic. It's really haunting and beautiful. Anyone else seen any good animation lately?

There seem to be a lot of Julianne Moore haters out there. I've never felt annoyed with her in any of her movies - was there one really bad one that just sort of set it off? I've always liked the way she projected strength and dignity without hitting you over the head with cloying "Womyn In Control" stereotypes. I saw her in a movie a few months ago that I'd never heard of before or since called The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. It's based on a true story about Evelyn Ryan, a housewife in the 50's who becomes the main provider for her family when she discovers she has a talent for writing ads and jingles, which advertisers commonly had their target audience write for them in contests for prizes of cash and goods. Her husband is a drunken loser who gets the family into debt and nearly ruins them, but she's good enough to keep them and their 10 children (!) afloat. Julianne Moore plays Evelyn and also acts as a first person narrator, and I thought she gave a pretty nuanced performance for such a lighthearted movie, balancing Evelyn's resentment for her husband and his irresponsibility and her genuine love and faith in her family. It's a great story and the movie is very sweet - maybe a little precious, but sweet.
Saw Sunshine Cleaning last weekend and enjoyed the morbid humor and subject matter, and also the depressive and yet uplifting family dynamic. I really liked the character arcs of both women. And I suddenly realized how hott Clifton Collins Jr is. I know I've seen him in Capote, Traffic and others, but this is the first time he really *registered* on my lust-o-meter. New fantasy material for me.
anna k
I liked most of Blindness, but the long rape sequence just freaked me out, really uncomfortable to watch, which was the point, but I just wanted it to be over, and then it petered out near the end. It's not a bad movie, though.

I liked Death at a Funeral, but it was definetly ridiculous and over-the-top. I had hoped that instead of making Peter Dinklage's character a dwarf, he would just be a character who happened to be a dwarf, but it wouldn't be remarked on. I was wrong.

Clifton Collins, Jr. was great in Capote as the killer. I was more impressed with him than with Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

epinephrine, An animated movie that I liked a lot was Hair High, which came out a few years ago. It's best described as a cross between Grease and Carrie, in a 1950s high school setting with dead lovers returning from the grave to kill their bullies. The animation had this fine-tip look to it, very surreal, and a bunch of well-known voices in the cast, including Sarah Silverman sounding completely different (she puts on this breathy Jennifer Tilly-esque voice). It has a lot of heart and simplicity in it, as well as some dirty teenage humor.

I like Julianne Moore, but haven't seen a lot of her movies. She's cool in interviews.
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