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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1769407 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #13515 on: May 10, 2014, 05:07:54 PM »

Girls und Panzer (2012) - 120/120. Twelve perfect episodes of the greatest Japanese anime ever produced. And I say that, hating anime as I do. But what a concept! In the future (or maybe in an alternate universe) students attend high schools on giant aircraft-carrier-like structures that cruise the oceans. Not unexpectedly, these schools are run much like Japanese high schools as we have them now. Except that in addition to all the normal extra-curricular clubs like koto, kendo, tea ceremony, and flower arranging, girls in this world (and it is only for girls) can take part in sensha-do: the way of the tank (or as they have it in the series, the art of "tankery."). In order to build feminine attributes like poise, confidence, etc. girls repair and maintain tanks, train in tanks, and then have tank battles ("matches") with teams from other schools (the carriers from two schools arrive at a given port, off-load their vehicles, then have at it, while spectators watch on giant screens). No one ever gets hurt in these matches. The idea is to put the enemy tanks out of commission and capture the flag tank. This concept is both hilarious (watching teenage girls operating heavy machinery with precision) and exciting (watching teenage girls operating heavy machinery with precision). What really sells the whole thing, though, is the superb CGI renderings of the tanks. When CGI came into anime several years ago, I was excited for the possibilities. But nothing interesting was done with it--until now. The CGI tanks look so good, and operate so realistically (for the most part) that we get some of the greatest tank battles ever committed to film. Meanwhile, the characters are all worried about their relationships with their friends and parents or whether they will get their quota of cute for the day. I laughed my way through this, but I also jumped out of my chair a couple of times at the sight of tanks getting blown away. This series is so well done that it can be taken straight (as I'm sure it's intended) or with a heavy dose of irony (it's high school girls in tanks, for cuss' sakes!). For anime, his will never be bettered.

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« Reply #13516 on: May 10, 2014, 10:22:15 PM »

Mother / Okaasan (1952) - 7/10.  For mother's day, Mikio Naruse's paen to our long-suffering female parents (mothers suffer the most, apparently, because everybody else dies or leaves and the women are left to carry on alone). Sentimental as hell, the film is genuinely affecting (and gives a pretty decent snapshot of Japan in the immediate post-War period). The title role is performed with great simplicity by the very, very great Kinuyo Tanaka.

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« Reply #13517 on: May 11, 2014, 11:43:35 AM »

La notte (1961) – 8/10. In Milan, a couple (Mastroianni and Moreau) visit a friend who is dying, then go to a book launch party (the husband is an author), then make their separate ways back to their apartment (he by car; she, walking), where they bathe and eat and decide to go out, first to a nightclub, then to a house party. At the party, husband and wife flirt with others but do not follow through on those flirtations. When the sun comes up the pair are together; they make an attempt at rekindling their passion for each other, but what comes of this we are not to know. What are we to make of this film?

Although they are pre-occupied with their feelings, or lack of them, the couple’s concerns are meaningless to the audience. Why should we care about these creatures of privilege?  And yet, we are compelled to watch this pair because they are, after all, movie stars, stars shown to advantage by their director, stars framed in very watchable settings. Actually, Antoniennui’s settings at times appear to overwhelm his stars.  Famously, the director begins the film by juxtaposing human forms with the architecture of Milan, the old as well as the new, but mostly the new. As she walks about the city, for example, Moreau frequently disappears amidst buildings and large geometric designs (anticipating the ending of L’eclisse). Does this provide a statement about modern alienation? Perhaps. Does this give the director a chance to indulge his love of modern architecture? No doubt. But as a strategy for developing interest in a character, it is effective: we keep wondering if and when and where Moreau will again turn up. Unconsciously, we start rooting for her.

In the film’s second part, the meditations on modern architecture give way to an exploration of the human form and face. In a series of neat tricks that abstract the characters for our better examination, the camera reveals our objects of study in surprising ways: reflected on glass surfaces or framed by the architecture of the house in which they mingle.  In other words, composition is used to make the characters beautiful. Soulless as they are, these people command our gaze every bit as much as any of the examples of architecture we’ve seen earlier. Despite ourselves, our interest in these human forms quickens.

At the end the couple has escaped to nature. Not wild nature—they’ve wandered out onto the links of a golf course—but nature, domesticated nature, nonetheless. Two trees, corresponding to the husband and wife, suggest the possibility of new vitality in their relationship. This possibility is never more than that—we don’t actually know what will become of these two. But possibility, the suggestion of what may happen, is the most the film can hope to express. Is it enough? Yes, because the film, so well photographed, is the movie version of what must be the greatest coffee table book ever imagined. If that does not quite represent the triumph of art over nature, it at least suggests the triumph of design.

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« Reply #13518 on: May 11, 2014, 06:07:58 PM »

Wow, a lot to catch up on.

Don Jon - 8/10 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt directs, writes and stars as a twenty-something lady killer who finds porn more fulfilling - until he meets Scarlett Johansson's dream girl. Starts out as a crassromantic comedy then becomes a surprisingly funny and thoughtful look at objectifying relationships; romcoms are as debasing as pornography. ScarJo isn't an ideal lover ironing out his rough spots, but a controlling bitch. I could complain about the repetitive porn montages and Julianne Moore's silly character but why? This one pleasantly surprised me. Bonus points for Tony Danza and Glenne Headley as the protagonist's parents.

Amistad - 6/10 - 2nd viewing. Steven Spielberg at his best and worst, simultaneously. Some really great stuff like the Atlantic crossing scenes and Djimon Hounsou's performance; some awful, awful bits like Hounsou screaming "Give us free!" as portentous John Williams music blares on the soundtrack. Monumentally odd casting which follows the Judgment at Nuremberg approach: every character with more than two minutes of screen time is a walking thesis paper. The story collapses with too many characters and subplots which dilute the main drama. This story deserved another hour, or perhaps expansion to a miniseries, to adequately explore all the political and diplomatic finagling depicted herein. As it stands a bloated, frustrating, occasionally powerful show.

The Railway Man - 7/10 - Colin Firth plays a shellshocked WWII veteran who finds a Japanese camp guard alive in modern Thailand, contemplating revenge to exorcise his demons. Based on a true story but feels like a mix of Bridge on the River Kwai and Cotton Hill's war flashbacks. I give it relatively high marks for the acting and the powerful wartime flashbacks; the modern story is clunky and melodramatic. Even a cursory glance at Wikipedia reveals the movie altered much.

A Cry in the Dark - 8/10 - In which a dingo eats Meryl Streep's baby. This is a savage attack on media exploitation of tragedy, overwhelming the central mystery or the courtroom proceedings. Meryl Streep does a good job being unpleasant, though Sam Neill's arguably more impressive.

Walkabout - Watched about an hour and gave up. I haven't been this unpleasantly baffled by a movie since watching Teorema last summer. Was I just in a bad mood and should try it another time, or does the emperor have no clothes? (Certainly Jenny Agutter does not.)

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« Reply #13519 on: May 12, 2014, 02:21:15 AM »

Jenny Agutter nude scenes are reason enough to watch it to the end.

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« Reply #13520 on: May 12, 2014, 03:20:41 PM »

Hesher (2010)

3/5. I enjoyed it.

Killer Joe (2011)

5/5. Fantastic.

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« Reply #13521 on: May 12, 2014, 03:50:11 PM »

Killer Joe (2011)
5/5. Fantastic.

KFC!!!!!!

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« Reply #13522 on: May 12, 2014, 03:52:28 PM »

KFC!!!!!!

I had the chance of knowing nothing besides William Friedkin directing it and the cast involved. It works out soooooo much better that way.

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« Reply #13523 on: May 12, 2014, 04:01:11 PM »

Same here.

I though a couple scene were cheap/weird (example: the beat up by the bickers) but all in all refreshing and the final scene is one great great scene. I wouldn't go as far as 5/5 but this movie is definitely underrated.

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« Reply #13524 on: May 12, 2014, 04:35:49 PM »

Same here.

I though a couple scene were cheap/weird (example: the beat up by the bickers) but all in all refreshing and the final scene is one great great scene. I wouldn't go as far as 5/5 but this movie is definitely underrated.

I definitely agree that it is refreshing to see something like it and those last twenty minutes are fantastic.

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« Reply #13525 on: May 12, 2014, 08:14:18 PM »

I'll bet Ernest Borgnine had plenty of pit hair.

So are you saying you think looks are all that matters and personality is unimportant?

I saw this yesterday for first time on TCM.  The single Italian guys Marty and Angie were 34 and 33 and wanted to get married, especially to an Italian gal who could cook and clean.  But she also had to look like Marilyn Monroe.  So the gals at the dance club mostly wore cocktail dresses, and Betsy Blair wore a skirt and a buttoned-up shirt with little string tie, like a "librarian outfit".  But Betsy Blair was no way a dog either, if they wanted a "dog", she was plain bad casting.  I liked her.  She was married to Gene Kelly.

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1816640000/tt0048356?ref_=nmmd_rg_md3#

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« Reply #13526 on: May 12, 2014, 08:55:14 PM »

Blair's not a classic Hollywood beauty. Only by those standards is she a dog.

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« Reply #13527 on: May 12, 2014, 09:42:28 PM »

to be clear, the movie Cusser and Groggy are discussing in the two previous posts is Marty (1955).

I wouldn't say Blair is ugly, but she is far from pretty. When I see her, I definitely don't think, "I wanna bang that babe." I suppose that if I was pissed drunk and I woke up next to her, I wouldn't shoot myself, but I definitely wouldn't call her pretty by any standards.

How did they cast this movie? They let it be known they were looking for ugly girls?  Grin Grin


BTW, I probably said some (or all?) of this in an earlier discussion, but IMO if the point is that looks aren't the only thing that matters and personality is important as well, they should have had a good-looking person hook up with an ugly person: that would be a way of depicting that looks are unimportant. But as it is, you have two ugly people getting together, so what's the big theme? That ugly people also get together? As if we thought that ugly people all stayed single their whole lives? We all know already that ugly people get involved in relationships/marriage, too, and we all know already that generally, ugly people hook up with their own kind. I guess it can still work in depicting that ugly people have feelings - they know they are ugly, and it is harder for them to find someone to hook up with, and people are mean toward them, and trying to say people should regard them as human beings also - but I think the theme would have been so much more effective if it would have had a good-looking person hook up with an ugly person cuz he/she realized that there is more to life (and love) than looks.

Also, the stuff with Karen Steele and her husband was really dumb, a side story that really went nowhere and accomplished nothing; it's like the screenwriters decided they needed another angle in the story and added those scenes but didn't know what to do with them; pretty much all the scenes without Borgnine and Blair are useless.

Nevertheless, this is indeed a terrific movie, I think I gave it a 9/10.

Great moment when Borgnine's mom says, go to the dance hall, there are a lot of tomatoes there  Grin Grin Grin

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« Reply #13528 on: May 13, 2014, 11:49:42 AM »

Mud (2012)
4/5. I enjoyed it but the shootout at the end of the film felt a bit odd.

To Live and Die in LA (1985)
4/5. Not my favorite Friedkin film but I enjoyed what I saw. The car chase scene is great stuff Afro


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« Reply #13529 on: May 13, 2014, 09:31:43 PM »

Lacombe, Lucien

wow, it's extremely rare to have the main character of a movie so thoroughly detestable, I felt absolutely zero sympathy for him

SPOILER -
The only thing that was stupid was that girl falling in love with him: he was working for the Gestapo, harassing her father, the Gestapo ultimately probably send her father to a concentration camp, and she falls in love with him? Sorry, love isn't completely blind. And it wasn't a necessary element of a movie whose point is to depict a collaborator, one that didn't believe in the ideology but just collaborated out of convenience or whatever; that could have been shown just as well without having her return his feelings for her. That bullshit seriously affected the movie for me.

END OF SPOILER

Also, the music is sometimes too loud and irritating.

Nevertheless, very good movie, I give it an 8.5/10

cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli  Smiley

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