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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 3954648 )
drinkanddestroy
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« #19815 : June 17, 2021, 08:50:38 AM »

Mahler (1974)

A supposed biopic of the legendary composer and conductor (directed by Ken Russel, starring Robert Powell), which the TCM host said is quite fictionalized. I don't know much about Mahler's life so I have no comment on the fictionalization, but I can say it is quite weird.

The movie is set as Mahler, sickly and with a crumbling marriage, takes a train journey with his wife (Georgina Hale), and has flashbacks about episodes on his life. But many of these episodes are presented as surrealistic and nightmarish, in many cases largely silent. Weirdest of all is the one where Mahler, a Jew, converts to Catholicism so that Cosima Wagner will agree to let him become director of the Vienna Court Opera. This surreal flashback shows Cosima dressed as a Nazi, goose-stepping and giving the Sieg Heil salute, while Mahler grovels before her, burning the Star of David and embracing the cross, culminating in Mahler eating a pig's head and swigging a glass of milk, all while Mahler and Cosima sing their lines to the tune of Ride of the Valkyries.

And there's a scene where Mahler has nightmare of his own death-during his funeral at the cemetery he's alive in the coffin and yelling that they let him out, but of course he is ignored, as his wife literally dances on his grave, and she gets frisky with the soldier whom she is having an affair with in real life, then his coffin-with him still alive, of course-is rolled into the crematorium (perhaps another Nazi reference?)

I'm not very familiar with Mahler's music; I think I listened to a minute here or there once or twice and nothing grabbed me. I presume the film score is Mahler music (with the exception, of course, of the Ride of the Valkyries scene), and none of it makes me want to run out and listen to Mahler. (As opposed to, for example, Immortal Beloved, which I saw at 16 years old and whose score instantly made me a Beethoven fan.)

One thing you can definitely say about this movie-it's quite bold and ambitious. If surrealistic and nightmarish fantasies are your thing, go ahead and enjoy it.

Powell is no doppleganger for Mahler, but it's reasonable enough; he has Mahler's long, thin face. But he actually looks quite like Bob Dylan  tinyurl.com/2mhme3b8

here is a clip of that Cosima Wagner scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jjFsciRauU

« : June 17, 2021, 09:18:19 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #19816 : June 17, 2021, 03:57:51 PM »

Memories of Murder (2003) - 8/10. Wow, a Korean film I actually like. And it's by Bong Joon Ho! (I hated Parasite). This one is about a police investigation of a serial killer in the 1980s--Korea's answer to Zodiac, if you will. The film is by turns chilling and hilarious--the police are so incompetent there are numerous laugh-out-loud scenes. There's nothing funny about the killings, though. Apparently, the actual case this is based on wasn't solved until 2019, 16 years after the film was made. The crimes are real, but the investigation as depicted, I think, is mostly fictional. Still, there are nice touches that lend authenticity at times. For example, late in the film an officer fires his weapon into a train tunnel. The filmmakers took the trouble to show the ricochet. I very much appreciated that.

Yes!


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« #19817 : June 17, 2021, 03:58:24 PM »

RE: y'all's recent discussion of Point Blank:

Weird movie and I probably like it less than anyone else on this board.

Unsurprisingly.

n_l can feel happy, he's in disagreement with me, so the world is rotating properly on its axis. (Actually, he's unhappy, because Israel bombed Hamas again tonight. Yup, n_l's anti-Semitism apparently clouds the fact that his own ancestors were killed by Muslims, too  ;))

I wasn?t anti Semitic until I met you!


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« #19818 : June 17, 2021, 04:21:54 PM »

I wasn?t anti Semitic until I met you!
And I wasn't anti-Frog until . . . no, wait, well yeah, I was always anti-Frog.



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« #19819 : June 17, 2021, 04:33:15 PM »

here is a clip of that Cosima Wagner scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jjFsciRauU
Good old Ken Russell. All the production values of a Monty Python sketch, none of the humor. Who was HIS Cosima Wagner?



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« #19820 : June 18, 2021, 12:22:55 PM »

In the Heights (2021) - 7/10. Washington Heights, that is, up in the NW tip of Manhattan (near the GW Bridge). People there, apparently, have problems and aspirations, and they express themselves through song and dance. The songs are okay, the dancing better, but modern mise-en-scene isn't really suited to the musical (shots have to move and cut so fast the dancers can't keep up). There's a fair amount of humor in this, some very inventive visuals, and, of course, a couple of love stories. Lin-Manuel Miranda does his best Stan Lee impersonation, showing up in a small role throughout the picture but most notably in a very funny post-end-titles tag. Yeah, yeah, this is one Mrs. J dragged me to, but we both enjoyed ourselves.



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« #19821 : June 19, 2021, 06:14:09 AM »

In the Heights (2021) - 7/10.  The songs are okay, the dancing better, but modern mise-en-scene isn't really suited to the musical (shots have to move and cut so fast the dancers can't keep up).
The exception (and the highlight of the film): https://www.indiewire.com/2021/06/in-the-heights-behind-the-scenes-dance-up-side-of-building-1234645393/



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« #19822 : June 19, 2021, 02:35:39 PM »

The Sparks Brothers (2021) - 9/10. Turns out Edgar Wright is a big Sparks fan. So much of a fan, in fact, that he just made a documentary about the Mael Bros. And get this: when the standard runtimes for documentaries hover around the 90 minute mark (and even Orson Welles rated a mere 94 minutes in that fucking Chuck Workman film), Wright gives Sparks exposure for a whopping 140 minutes. Do you have to be a Sparks fan to enjoy the film? Well, I don't consider myself a fan--I've never bought any of their music--but I was mightily entertained. OTOH, I brought Mrs. J along to this and she slept through most of it, so, different stroke for different folks. Here's a couple of tasters to help you gauge your interest: a piece with Wright curating his favorite Sparks tunes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtGBcvBqOJs) and a short documentary of the documentary (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOMIZbBAqak). Check 'em out, noodles.



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« #19823 : June 19, 2021, 11:57:59 PM »

And I wasn't anti-Frog until . . . no, wait, well yeah, I was always anti-Frog.

I wasn?t even a frog until I met you.

I?m glad you liked Edgar?s doc! It?s gonna be released in July here.  With a little luck masks won?t be mandatory inside theaters at that point. Thanks for the links. I? lost in the mountains these day I?ll check them out later this week.


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« #19824 : June 21, 2021, 05:52:51 PM »


Other notable films by Deville are Le mouton enrage (1974), La lectrice (1988), Toutes peines confondues (1992) or Benjamin ou Les memoires d'un puceau (1966).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Deville
Although I didn't like Death in a French Garden (5/10), I thought it was interesting enough to seek out other films by Deville. I realized that I had actually seen Le mouton enrage earlier when I was on a Romy Schneider kick, and revisited it (7/10). Then I tried La lectrice, but couldn't finish it (unconvincing characters, cheap looking sets, a "clever" plot--yawn). Today I tried The Woman in Blue--success at last: 10/10. This one has the director's stamp, and everything works. Deville favors the classical repertory for his scores: here it is justified because the lead character (played by Michel Piccoli) is a music critic. The story is about a man who glimpses a woman one day (the title character) and then spends the film trying to find her (one of the film's gags is that the obscure object of his desire and his long-time girlfriend are both played by Lea Massari). There are the usual stories-within-stories approach, but not overdone, and intelligently deployed. A lot of the plot is conveyed visually, without a lot of exposition. Finally there is a great gag with a "Finlande" travel poster at the end. Real characters, real humor, real angst. I think I'm going to stop writing this and watch it again.



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« #19825 : June 21, 2021, 07:52:52 PM »

Although I didn't like Death in a French Garden (5/10), I thought it was interesting enough to seek out other films by Deville. I realized that I had actually seen Le mouton enrage earlier when I was on a Romy Schneider kick, and revisited it (7/10). Then I tried La lectrice, but couldn't finish it (unconvincing characters, cheap looking sets, a "clever" plot--yawn). Today I tried The Woman in Blue--success at last: 10/10. This one has the director's stamp, and everything works. Deville favors the classical repertory for his scores: here it is justified because the lead character (played by Michel Piccoli) is a music critic. The story is about a man who glimpses a woman one day (the title character) and then spends the film trying to find her (one of the film's gags is that the obscure object of his desire and his long-time girlfriend are both played by Lea Massari). There are the usual stories-within-stories approach, but not overdone, and intelligently deployed. A lot of the plot is conveyed visually, without a lot of exposition. Finally there is a great gag with a "Finlande" travel poster at the end. Real characters, real humor, real angst. I think I'm going to stop writing this and watch it again.
It's even funnier the second time.



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« #19826 : June 22, 2021, 12:23:47 PM »

The Missing Juror (1944) - 6/10. George Macready is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. At the last moment a crusading news reporter (Jim Bannon, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Affleck) finds evidence that gets him pardoned. The experience, though, causes Macready's mind to crack, and he then proceeds, Phibes-like, to kill one by one the members of the jury that convicted him.  Janis Carter plays one of his intended victims and Bannon's love interest. There's an amazing scene at mid-film that has Mike Mazurki, as a steam bath attendant, quoting from Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Must be seen to be believed. The whole film is only 66 minutes long. Directed with flair by Oscar Boetticher, Jr.

« : June 22, 2021, 02:40:44 PM dave jenkins »


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« #19827 : June 24, 2021, 01:45:32 PM »

Irezumi/ Spider Tattoo (1966) - 4/10. Disappointing film. Visually wonderful (and the new blu serves the vivid color images well), in terms of plot there is no there there. A beautiful woman (Ayako Wakao) is kidnapped and sold. A tattoo artist takes temporary possession of her and inks a spider with a human face on her back. Thereafter the woman seeks to destroy every man that crosses her path (with great success). After killing everyone she can, she herself is killed. And then the killer who kills her kills himself. The end. Uh, maybe this could have benefited from, you know, a sub-plot or two? Adapted from Tanizaki's first published short story, it seems to be no more than a premise stretched into a feature. A shame, as Masumura is usually so good with plot. Oh well, he made other films.



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« #19828 : June 26, 2021, 02:48:09 PM »

Flowers of Shanghai (1998) - 8/10. There's a story, yeah, but it's pretty trivial. Mostly this is about the ambience within 19th Century "flower houses" which, commenter Tony Rayns is at pains to explain, were not brothels. Appropriately, the entire film is shot on lavish sets and there are no exteriors. Art direction, costumes and hairstyles: fabulous. Long takes abound--there are maybe 40 shots in the 113 minute film. Cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing keeps everything convincingly dark. Yoshihiro Hanno supplies a great electronic score (I love that album he did with Mick Karn). From an 1892 novel by Han Ziyun, a film by Hou Hsiao-Hsien.



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« #19829 : June 27, 2021, 01:10:46 PM »

Unstoppable (2010) - 10/10. I would have thought remaking Runaway Train was a bad idea. I would have thought wrong. RIP, Tony Scott.



"McFilms are commodities and, as such, must be QA'd according to industry standards."
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