What Movie Have You Seen Today?

Bella showed interest in other things–philosophy, the situation of other classes, poverty–along with sexuality and her body. She also has learned about surgery, since knows how to perform the operation on Blessington.

Bella also over-indulges in other things as she does with sex–food, alcohol, concern for the poor. She learns temperance as she matures.

I think I will have to buy the Blu-ray now, and record how much screen time is devoted to sexual activity, and how much to Bella exploring other topics.

Bella starts exploring sexuality when she enters her adolescent stage.

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But the awakening has been shown… and then again… and again… until the end of the film, snd I am yawning for at least an hour because it’s so tiresome not to get any other development.

Why is your sexual orientation important for that?

I understand that for some viewers that is how the sex scenes will play out. But sexual awakenings can/do happen over time (at least mine did), and not just in one “aha” moment. I am in my sixties, and I am still experiencing sexual awakenings–it is a continuing process of learning.

In the film, Bella has sexual awakenings with Duncan, at the brothel, and with Toinette–all different. To you and other viewers, these scenes may be repetitive and tiresome–more sex, just different partners [yawn]–but I experience them as awakenings of various aspects of Bella’s sexuality and her understanding of her body.

Because sex on film was something that was considered verboten, just as my sexual orientation was/is. I did not have the ability to access a societally-approved/designated/demonstrated sexual practice. I had to make my own way. As a result, I enjoy seeing a variety of sexual practices featured in films, so people have, if they choose, the opportunity to see a sexual spectrum (in the same way, I like to see a variety of human emotions on screen. It would be boring if every movie featured characters who were limited to being either angry or sad).

I am not interested in gratuitous depictions of sexuality (nor in gratuitous depictions of violence or anything else for that matter). But I do like variety.


I see. While we’re on that subject I would point to Ada‘s sexual awakening in Campion‘s „The Piano“ to be more interesting and powerful for my taste because that film really gave a more nuanced and varied look into the female protagonist‘s life and emancipation.

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Agreed. Lanthimos is far more brash in his approach. Reminds me a bit of Sternberg–hence my return to his work.

And speaking of Jane Campion. This discussion is similar to the one we had about THE POWER OF THE DOG, and your gay friend who regarded it as homophobic.

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I remember. He has not seen POOR THINGS yet. But he was not a fan of its director and did not plan to.

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Wise move. POOR THINGS is the first film by Lanthimos I have liked, with THE FAVOURITE being especially disliked.


The Equalizer 3

Even for the third time this justice-by revenge-story grabbed me right to its end, with its great pacing, allowing for character development and location atmosphere, yet never overstaying its welcome, always using scenes only as long as they were needed.

But again the main ingredient is the effortlessly charismatic Denzel Washington with his deeply felt portrayal of an ex-CIA soldier specialized in killing opponents in record time, a man who still feels like a bad guy but employs his skills to protect and serve those who need hs help. Basically a modern western, this franchise features extremely violent scenes, but while I hate that kind of violence depicted as „cool“ or even attractive, director Antoine Fuqua manages to always make these scenes shocking and ugly, with devastating consequences - a sharp contrast to those actioners who actually glorify violence as conflict solving.

Would I want to see another one of these? Well, I could watch Washington read the phone book and be spellbound, too. But this trilogy has a nice ending, giving the main character a reprieve and the feeling that he finally has arrived where he needs to be.


Decision to Leave from 2022. Wow, how gratifying to see a complex neo-noir film … in Korean. We are regular viewers of TCM’s Noir Alley, so we are hooked on the genre. This film captures so many elements of noir, right down to the femme fatale. I confess that I had to look up some plot points online, as the details had me confused. But overall I was captivated, right through to the plaintive ending.

This film dovetails nicely with Drive My Car, the 2021 Japanese film. It’s a very different film, yet similar in its haunting quality. I liked this resolution better, though. Not exactly a happy ending, but close.

Oh, and for something completely different, we watched Smoke (a 1995 film starring Harvey Keitel and William Hurt) the other night. The story is told in four parts, which I’m not sure was really necessary … but it works. It feels like a play adapted for the screen, but Paul Auster’s screenplay was actually based on his short story (which closes the film). I’m still wondering if it was meant to be “true” or just a great story.


Dune Part One (2021). As much as I know many people want Denis Villeneuve to direct Bond, I have a few other suggestions. He should direct Star Trek or Star Wars. Clearly he has a handle on science-fiction and world-building, pun intended!

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As I completely reversed my opinion on „Ripley“ after the first episode I was wondering whether there were other films and directors I misjudged recently, making all too snarky comments on them.

And while I stand by my opinion on Tarantino I used the opportunity of the new 4K releases to rewatch the work of a director I was very unfair to. I did acknowledge some of his films as great but did not remember others too fondly. Rewatching those I was disconcerted to realize that a lot of unfriendly and often unjustified feedback in reviews or internet chatter influenced me before I actually formed my own opinions, based on my gut reaction and a sound assessment of the actual goals the filmmaker had, instead of what I wanted from him.

Yes, I‘m talking about James Cameron.

And while I still believe that he is not as elegant or versatile as Spielberg he undoubtedly is someone who like George Lucas is a highly effective remixer of pop culture, mainly science fiction. And this is what he aims at. It’s not about coming up with a highly original concept nobody has ever thought of before, it’s about realizing familiar ideas by pushing the technical envelope and making it as mass compatible as possible.

It’s not just the fact that his movies are immensely popular, dwarfing all the others at the box office. It’s rather his ability to reach world wide audiences and the zeitgeist during the last three decades in a manner that might feel too simple or populistic, yet in any event communicates to audiences so directly that they absolutely love these movies.

I often made the mistake of looking down on his last three films, probably because they were so unashamedly mass friendly. But watching them again I just have to admit how extremely well made they are, narratively and technically. And weirdly, I never had so much fun watching them before.

So, fear my upcoming reviews of TRUE LIES, TITANIC and the two AVATARS. All my previous snark, especially on this thread, has gone, and I apologize for my annoying habit to go for cheap laughs like that.



Dune Part Two (2024). A rare sequel that along with Star Trek 2, Terminator 2 and Spider-Man 2, I like 100% more than the original. As I said before. I know many people want Denis Villeneuve to direct Bond, I have a few other suggestions. He should direct Star Trek or Star Wars. Clearly he has a handle on science-fiction and world-building, pun intended! I’m going to add Superman to that list as well!

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Villeneuve is a very talented director, able to tell stories visually.

But, so far, I haven’t seen a movie of his which was adept at humor - an essential element of a Bond film.


That’s my personal reservation regarding Nolan doing Bond. Would be happy to be proven wrong though.


I think Nolan may not be interested in comedy per se - but there is a lot of dry humor running through many of his films. And maybe that’s what the next iteration of Bond needs - not the outright funny scenes of the (great) Moore era but a Bond who sees the absurd in our world and makes wry comments on it without expecting to make people laugh.