What Movie Have You Seen Today?


#311

I really would have liked Redford as Felix Leiter in the Dalton films in the 80ies. Damn, I think I have to watch Havanna tonight…


#312

THE COMMUTER

Surprise! The idea of Liam Neeson as an action hero in rather routine high concept thrillers did not interest me for so long. I saw the first TAKEN, thought it was unnecessarily brutal but a passable action film. Then, years later, I watched “Unknown Identity” and again: yeah, okay. Not more.

Since “The Commuter” was from the same director I did not think it would thrill me. But I had time, and the movie was on Amazon Prime with no additional charge, so I gave it a chance.

And I loved it! Sure, the characters and their motivation are cardboard-ideas from a scriptwriting manual - but they work. What I really enjoyed, however, were three things:

  • Liam Neeson, really giving everything, not just there for the paycheck
  • Vera Farmiga, in her one big scene just perfect, perfect acting; she is one of the best and most underrated actresses working today, and it´s HIGH TIME that she appears in a Bond film
  • the camera work, especially during that fantastic fight sequence in the train compartment, with no cuts, just breathtakingly choreographed and filmed; you expect the cut (in the hands of a lesser director) but it does not come, instead the camera moves with the fighters, even in this extremely tight space - just wonderful!

So, I will apologize for my blasé thoughts about “oh, just another Neeson actioner” and watch Neeson´s back catalogue as soon as possible. And I look forward to his upcoming “Cold Pursuit”!


#313

The dispatching of the retired policeman was particularly shocking , the whole movie was an unexpected joy. Vera Farmiga would be excellent shop n a Bond movie agreed


#314

THE MULE–Eastwood in twilight.

A strange and evocative film that recalls Classical Hollywood in its combination of narrative and personal film-making. Eastwood has always used his body as his canvas, and now visibly diminished physically, he inhabits Earl Stone as much as a vehicle of confession as a role.

Just as Earl meanders in his delivery of drugs, so the film meanders with Eastwood bringing his performance to a new level of minimalism. He unashamedly inhabits the Eastwoodian man and at the same time reveals its limitations, errors, and follies. The natural light cinematography is devastatingly appropriate and recalls Godard at his greatest, and shows Eastwood continuing to evolve visually (a late shot of Eastwood in the back seat of a car is heartbreaking).

The last wordless sequence feels like a final goodbye to his audience (and especially his fans and champions–see the final frame dedication to Pierre [Rissient] and Richard [Schickel])–and calls to mind the sublime final images of Hawks’ RIO LOBO; Cukor’s RICH AND FAMOUS; Mankiewicz’s SLEUTH; Ford’s 7 WOMEN–“So long, ya bastard” indeed. Would make a superb double bill with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.


#315

I recommend The Grey, Run all Night and A walk among the Tombstones. Neeson is really good in every one of them…


#316

I also endorse The Grey.


#317

DEATH IN VENICE (1971)

I saw the new 4k restoration and it is marvelous. I admit upfront that I am a huge Visconti fan and that this film hold special import for me. For many years, the only two Visconti movies that played in repertory houses in New York City were DIV and THE DAMNED (most often on a double bill). The reason for this is that both were distributed by Warner Bros. and were available for showing.

This particular double bill was a favorite of mine though I did not know when I was a teenager that Visconti was gay or any of the wonderful stories that surround the making of the films. They were just two movies in regular rotation in the revival houses–along with 8 1/2; THE SEVENTH SEAL; GRAND ILLUSION; RASHOMON.

What the restoration shows is how detailed Visconti’s mise en scene is and how carefully he manipulated colors, and color in this film is deeply important. The colors are not as bold as in THE LEOPARD (showing at BFI Southbank on 12/29 at 13:50–a perfect holiday movie), and with the restoration, you can see how Visconti gradually introduces the theme of decay into the images. Music is key as well, and DIV is as close to a silent movie of the sound era that we have. The film is beautiful without becoming Beautiful.

The film is also important for how Visconti queers Mann’s text, having Tadzio not be the apostrophed ideal of beauty of the novella, but an actual gay youth who cruises Aschenbach back. Critics at the time did not know what to do with the film, and though it got mixed reviews at best, it went on to become Visconti’s greatest commercial success. (Warner Bros. did not quite know what to do with the film either. The company put up two-thirds of the two million dollar budget–how that came to pass is the biggest mystery I know of. When Visconti showed them the completed film there was dead silence in the screening room which he took as the suits being overwhelmed. They weren’t. To beak the silence, one executive praised the music and asked if they could get the Mahler guy for some other work. Warner Bros. was going to gather all prints and the negative and destroy them, but Visconti out maneuvered them: he set up a gala screening in London to raise funds to save sinking Venice, and got Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne to attend. Warner Bros. then had to release the film.)

The restoration was shown at the Venice Film Festival this year and just ran a little over a week here in New York. I do not know if the movie will play any where else, but the restored film will be released by the Criterion Collection in February. So if you love Italian movies; Visconti movies; 1970’s movies; great Dirk Bogarde performances; or any combination of the above, I urge you to check DIV out.

PS: BFI Southbank has started a run of SORRY TO BOTHER YOU by Boots Riley. The film is not perfect, but it is witty, satirical, and shows a daring that is absent from most films these days.


#318

Yup. I LOVE this film.

The music, wit, editing, writing, tradecraft. All. I normally do not like films that flip timelines around but for some reason all the respective eras are handled seamlessly. Both Pitt and Redford are the epitome of understated acting, and reacting. Catherine McCormack is stunning and completely holding her own in all her scenes.

Every time I see this, I am excited by all that goes on. A perfectly realised film in every way.


#319

ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)

This is a long slow stream of epic images, a documentary style meditation on the atmosphere of a bygone time in a country that is also bygone now, the Mexico of 1970/71. This film has breadth and depth and - because of its b/w cinematography - colour as a child would experience them. And then carry them as cherished memories his entire life, as Cuarón did.

We meet an assortment of characters, but we meet them at an angle, see them through their housemaid Cleo‘s eyes, almost family but not entirely. Cleo‘s life is closely stitched into the fabric of the family she’s working for, and so the events in this family mirror and reverberate in her own life. Particularly her employer Sofía is a source of stability and comfort during the troubled times these people go through.

Sofía has to deal with her husband leaving the family, more or less overnight and, as far as we are aware, unexplained. At the same time Cleo gets pregnant and when she tells her boyfriend he simply walks out on her. Meanwhile, in the Mexico of that era, there are political troubles, violence on the streets and rightwing terrorism that also involves male supporting characters. And that will have direct consequences for Cleo.

Roma is one of those films that usually get billed ,not for everybody‘. But actually it shows just that, ordinary human characters trying to cope with ordinary human life. The drama of these ‚little people‘ isn’t blown up, the cruelty they face is casual and thoughtless and entirely unaware of its own nature. The images we see are instantly recognisable as coming from that magic realm that is the past. And yet it’s touching and moving with a quality that goes beyond the staged drama. At the end, during that last frame that mirrors the first, I wasn’t aware I had spent already over two hours. I could have gone on for another two.


#320

They Shall Not Grow Old.

Well, quite. Profoundly affecting.


#321

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Love Mila Kunis! Some great action sequences and soundtrack, but too many twists and turns in the plot.


#322

Sorry To Bother You

The race and class struggles by way of telesales and O Lucky Man! (1973).

A surreal odyssey through the repressed ranks of telesales to the wood panelled rooms hosting sycophantic gatherings and inevitable orgies of the rich elite and ruling classes.

Sounds pretty heavy? Don’t worry, because the satire and surreal caricatures and juxtapositions all hit home with the frequency and pacing of an M2 Browning. It manages to be daft as a brush fun as well as fresh and damning lampooning of societies ills.

Fans of O Lucky Man! will find a lot to like here, as will those of the obscure 1989 cult masterpiece Society… As well as anyone whose had to endure a dead end job at any time, or come face to face with the glass ceiling, trump wall, or agenda laden-trolling moderators (present company excepted :innocent:)


#323

Went through my annual a Christmas Die Hard marathon. I can’t believe it never occurred to me before that Die Hard with a Vengeance is basically a 90s Goldfinger.


#324

Watched the following while on a beach holiday the last 8 days:-

Pretty Woman (1990)

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

:slight_smile:


#325

Bad Times at The El Royale: 6/10

Drew Goddard is an impressive writer and his directorial debut Cabin In The Woods was a surprising instant cult classic for me. He’s great at misdirection and making complicated plots a thrilling ride. However, El Royale sees him flex his directorial muscles a little too much, leaving it over stylised to the point that it feels like a Tarantino fan movie. The over reliance on shocking violence and the threat there of compounds that issue.

The leads performances are all committed and a joy to watch, with the exception of Hemsworth being a little too hammy (though it’s Goddard obsession with the guys physique that tips the character into pastiche the 70s cult leader stereotype).

Because Goddard is a great writer it keeps you thoroughly hooked. There’s a ‘for crying out loud’ moment at the end when Goddard relies upon a horribly hackneyed cliche to frame his ending, which tbh sowers one’s enjoyment of the whole movie. It seems Goddard got bored of his own screenplay at the end and just wanted it over with.

A shame, because one standout feature was that the characters were all given time to establish their motivations (hence such a long runtime for a contained story). All the more frustrating when the ending cuts corners.

White Boy Rick: 6.5/10

I was eager to see this bond directing candidate’s latest. I’m a fan of ‘71, but think much of that movie’s success is down to Jack O’Connell’s enormous screen presence and excellent acting chops; imo he’s the next Tom Hardy and would make a great successor to Craig’s Bond, despite being slightly short).

White Boy Rick has great performances. McConaughey‘s is outstanding, showing all the cracks, his vices and virtues. In one particular climactic moment his decision whether or not to act illustrates both weakness and strength all at once; a triumph in the hardest aspect of storytelling - the greytone complexities of real life.

That of course comes down to the script and that itself relies upon true events (though how accurate such moments are we can never really know).

Where many movies sensationalise, this film seems to play down - I’m guessing that that’s in faith with true events. This leaves much of it a little flatter than it could’ve (perhaps should’ve) been. I, Tonya didn’t seem to sacrifice the truth of what happenned (though again, how do I really know?), but it was a far more cinematic experience. When all’s said and done White Boy Rick feels more biography than cinema.

But you have to take your hat off to an ending that stays biographic and is all the stronger for it. There must’ve been pressure from the studio to sex up the ending a little, but it resists and it’s a real kick in the gut (in an artistically good way). I won’t give it away, suffice to say that it doesn’t sell out and that leaves an impression.

N.B. As a bond director… nothing here to suggests he’s an obvious choice. I still find McKenzie a more attractive option, with Starred Up and Hell or High Water both being outstanding movies (and Outlaw King is far more enjoyable than its reception suggested). And anyhow, I’d wager that Nolan or Villinueve will debut Bond 7.

The Ch4 drama Top Boy is a better calling card for Demange as a talent to watch.


#326

Bird Box

I Killed My Mother

Fruitvale Station


#327

Red Sparrow

I was pleasantly surprised by JLaw’s performance. At this point I don’t judge that harshly on how an actor puts on a foreign accent as long as it’s not done too terribly. She managed to do it quite well. The film had me hooked for the most part but the climax was really underwhelming.


#328

This just dropped today. Yes… Just Yes. :sunglasses:


#329

It had me when I saw the horse…


#330

Beautiful Boy

The non-linear editing really makes it hard to get into the film. Fantastically eclectic soundtrack, and acting but can’t help but wonder in Steve Carell was slightly miscast.