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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1841676 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #15570 on: January 12, 2016, 07:17:03 PM »

Grogs, I gotta say it: if you haven't seen this film in 3-D, you haven't seen it.

You convinced me to bump it another half-star. Job well-done.

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« Reply #15571 on: January 13, 2016, 06:28:10 AM »

Special Women Are Idiots double feature:

Abschied von gestern /Yesterday Girl (1966) -6/10. A kind of Krautified Vivre sa vie. Some interesting aspects of German culture are on view, but I think I would have enjoyed this more if Alexander Kluge had leaned less heavily on Godard. Interesting note: the female lead is played by the director’s sister, Alexandra.

Bitter Rice (1949) -5/10. Dull film about Italian rice pickers. Who wants to see a film about Italian rice pickers? Anyway, it’s got some nice photography. Silvana Mangano looks like a cow--although some of her armpit hair shots almost make her attractive. Too bad they didn't give those to Dowling.

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« Reply #15572 on: January 13, 2016, 08:19:34 AM »



Bitter Rice (1949) -5/10. Dull film about Italian rice pickers. Who wants to see a film about Italian rice pickers? Anyway, it’s got some nice photography. Silvana Mangano looks like a cow--although some of her armpit hair shots almost make her attractive. Too bad they didn't give those to Dowling.


This is a damn good movie. I just covered my eyes by the armpit hair.

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« Reply #15573 on: January 13, 2016, 11:30:23 AM »

This is a damn good movie. I just covered my eyes by the armpit hair.

You are guys are so preoccupied with armpits that you missed the gay subtext.

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« Reply #15574 on: January 13, 2016, 12:38:47 PM »

Jingi naki tatakai/Battles Without Honor and Humanity/ The Yakuza Papers - Kinji Fukasaku’s magnum opus, comprising:

Battles Without Honor and Humanity (January 1973) 99 min.
Hiroshima Death Match (April 1973) 100 min.
Proxy War (September 1973) 102 min.
Police Tactics (January 1974) 101 min.
Final Episode (June 1974) 98 min.

It doesn’t make sense to treat these as individual films, as they are clearly segments of a single work. The films chronicle the rise and fall of Hiroshima-area Yakuza families over the period 1946 to 1973, using actual events as a base. One character in particular is followed, the fictional Shozo Hirono, played by Bunta Sugawara (1933 – 2014), a low-rent Tatsuya Nakadai. We see Hirono begin as a foot soldier, then rise in the ranks to become an Under Boss and finally the head of his own family, with several detours to prison. He is able to retire at the end because he’s one of the few people in his cohort to still be alive.

Most of those who come up with Hirono are assassinated along the way. Interestingly, very few hits are ordered. Most of the killings are done by underlings trying to make a name for themselves in their organization; they do the jobs on spec hoping their highers will recognize their gumption and give them promotions. If they survive, they usually get beaten for taking too much on themselves. But they keep trying anyway—a combination of family pride and ambition spurs them on.

Their masters can’t hold the reins tight enough, apparently. That’s partly because the Bosses spend so much of their time jockeying for advantage among their rivals, the heads of other families. This maneuvering is done in that most venerable of Japanese traditions—the endless meeting.

One of the things that comes through clearly in every episode is how the Bosses cynically exploit their foot soldiers. Hirono acts as a kind of witness to such activitiy.

There’s an excellent example of this in episode 2, Hiroshima Death Match. A young man who has been in a fight comes to the attention of a Boss and the fighter is offered a position in the family. The young man’s watch was destroyed in the fight. The Boss takes off his own watch—an expensive Swiss number—and hands it to the new recruit. What a great guy! Except the Boss will not scruple to later manipulate the guy and then cast him off once his usefulness has ended.

Not only Yakuza culture, but a number of things from mainstream Japanese culture are in evidence. I had heard of kotsuage, the practice of family members using chopsticks to collect bone fragments of the Recently Departed to place in an urn—at death almost everyone in  Japan is cremated —but I had never seen it depicted. Not only is this ritual performed in BWHaH, it is used to great dramatic effect at the end of episode 3. Boss Hirano had been entrusted with a young fuck-up for mentoring. Ultimately, the kid gets killed and Hirono takes part in the kotsuage. Carrying the urn out of the crematorium, Hirono is attacked by a rival gang. In the confusion, the urn gets run over:  bone and ashes are scattered. Hirono sees this and, with the help of another member of his group, starts re-collecting the remains. Only now they don’t have chopsticks and have to use their hands. The helper grabs a fragment and drops it: “It’s hot!” Hirono then very deliberately closes his hand over a fragment and allows it to sear both his hand and his soul. It’s a really marvelous image.

Sometimes such attention to detail can be comic. Hirono is at the lair of a rival and tensions are high. He stands and one his enemies asks what he’s up to. “I just need to take a piss,” Hirono says. The phone rings, and it’s not good news. Suddenly the rival gang is at Hirono’s throat, and there ensues a long fight and ultimately an escape from the place. Hirono takes the wheel  of a vehicle and tears off, his enemies in pursuit. Suddenly Hirono pulls the car over. He wasn’t kidding at the beginning of the sequence about needing to take a piss. He’s been holding it all this time and now the business must be seen to.

Low production values are turned to advantage to create a gritty look for the features. Some of the darker scenes produce a lot of grain. Shakey-cam is everywhere, but it never obscures the action.  Instead it’s used to give everything a documentary feel.  Blood is profuse and a fake-looking bright red, like paint. Battles are often cartoon-like, and not only for this reason. No one dies from a single shot; victims get hit again and again (why does no one ever aim for the head?).  There is a clownish aspect to the violence which promotes the idea that killings are a messy business. At the same time, there is a documentary overlay to everything: freeze frames and captioning and a narrator sell the idea that this all really happened.

Drink will want to know if there are any scenes of grown men crying in these films. And how!  The one who really knows how to turn on the tap is Hirono’s first boss, a sniveling weakling who is nonetheless one of the most dangerous men in Japan. Watching him work a room filled with killers is hilarious.

The dramas are exceedingly lean. Hirono apparently doesn’t have a home life: his work is everything. For other characters, we see just as much of their personal time as is strictly required for the telling of the story. These are the most economically plotted crime films ever.

There are two kinds of people, my friends. Those who have embraced this series, and those who blah, blah, blah …
10/10

« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 07:51:06 AM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #15575 on: January 13, 2016, 05:21:17 PM »

You are guys are so preoccupied with armpits that you missed the gay subtext.

You are right - women with armpit hair usually are gay.

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« Reply #15576 on: January 14, 2016, 08:10:21 AM »

Wake Up and Kill (1966) - 6/10. A loose take on true-crime media sensation Luciano Lutring (Robert Hoffmann). He is half-heartedly pursued by a police inspector (Gian Maria Volontè ) who is using the man's infamy for his own purposes. Meanwhile the bandit's wife is conflicted about whether to turn him in or not (for his own good, natch). This starts well but ends up in meaningless repetition and finally an inconclusive ending. Also, the fact that Lutring was never more than a Smash and Grab artist makes his crimes uninteresting--Mesrine he was not. Even the Morricone score is not one of the maestro's best.

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« Reply #15577 on: January 14, 2016, 11:08:02 AM »

To Catch a Thief - 7/10 - 3rd viewing.

Vertigo - 7/10 - 3rd viewing. I'll safely stow this alongside Barry Lyndon and Death in Venice as movies where repeat viewings only steeled my initial assessment.

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« Reply #15578 on: January 16, 2016, 06:58:56 AM »

Vertigo - 7/10 - 3rd viewing. I'll safely stow this alongside Barry Lyndon and Death in Venice as movies where repeat viewings only steeled my initial misjudgment.

To catch a thief is a flawed but entertaining movie that doesn't try too much to be more.
Vertigo is pretty much perfect, tries to be more, perfectly succeeds. 10/10

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« Reply #15579 on: January 16, 2016, 08:02:41 AM »

Foreign Correspondent - 8/10 - Holds up better than most of the prewar antifascist movies I can think of.

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« Reply #15580 on: January 16, 2016, 04:20:37 PM »

Carol - 6/10 - Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett pursue a romance in 1950s New York. Lots of gay subtext here. From the director of Far from Heaven, which did a much better job covering similar ground. Credit the leading ladies for any interest this film generates.

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« Reply #15581 on: January 17, 2016, 03:48:14 AM »

Carol - 6/10 - Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett pursue a romance in 1950s New York. Lots of gay subtext here. From the director of Far from Heaven, which did a much better job covering similar ground. Credit the leading ladies for any interest this film generates.

Any "tongue-in-groove" action?  Cool

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« Reply #15582 on: January 17, 2016, 07:26:30 AM »

A couple of sex scenes but nothing too explicit. Rooney Mara looks much better topless than in the Dragon Tattoo movie.

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« Reply #15583 on: January 17, 2016, 10:49:53 AM »

Ex Machina (2015) - 8/10
2001 meets The Shining meets Black Mirror.

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« Reply #15584 on: January 17, 2016, 06:09:35 PM »

I already saw Cate Blanchett in underwear. Not on a screen. For real. DJ was with me. No, weren't having a threesome; but there was a different type of gay subtext - incestuous gay subtext. At an awful play, The Maids. Cate Blanchett lesbian incest with her sister Isabelle Huppert. Awful play.

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