A great start to the month. The Guilty is a fabulous Danish thriller that takes a simple theme, of a policeman with an unspecified disciplinary issue placed on temporary emergency call centre duty, about as far as it could go.
I watched half of Ride with the Devil. Appalling. Very rare that I turn a film off and don’t finish it the next day. It was JUST beginning to become tolerable but when I saw there was more than an hour left, it was “nope”. My “avoid this film” instincts of the last twenty years seemed to have been right.
I don't remember it being that bad, it just didn't seem to know what it wanted to be...like two very different films crashed into one.
> A great start to the month. The Guilty is a fabulous Danish thriller that takes a simple theme, of a policeman with an unspecified disciplinary issue placed on temporary emergency call centre duty, about as far as it could go.
The Guilty has been languishing on my watchlist for a while so will give it a go now. I watched The Dig on Netflix yesterday which was surprisingly good and interesting, about a topic I'd not really heard of before.
> The Guilty has been languishing on my watchlist for a while so will give it a go now. I watched The Dig on Netflix yesterday which was surprisingly good and interesting, about a topic I'd not really heard of before.
I thought The Dig was very good. I hadn't heard anything about it before but if course there's lots of online information about it now. A film that makes you feel happy and sad in equal measure
My Octopus Teacher is an amazing documentary film. “ we are part of this place (world) not a visitor”
I love “ Untouchable “ A French film with subtitles based on a true story but it is hilarious. Really funny lines and film.
Extremely clunky expository dialogue that never seems to abate
Absolutely no reason to root for the nominal protagonists
Really noticeably bad ADR
Ludicrous wigs and costuming (who is doing all their tailoring and laundry? They are meant to be living "rough" aren't they?)
> I love “ Untouchable “ A French film with subtitles based on a true story but it is hilarious. Really funny lines and film.
The one with the "delinquent" getting a job as a carer for the "gentleman in the wheelchair"?
I was a bit more patient with Snowpiercer, I turned that one off after 90 minutes with just 30 minutes left to go, but it was going downhill. That was on a Friday, Ride with the Devil was on a Saturday. Thank God for VHS Sunday, with The Culpepper Cattle Company saving the weekend!
I liked IUntouchable but then I'd watch a detergent ad played over 90 mins if it had Audrey Fleurot in it. Now released as Upside with Bryan Cranston in the wheelchair.
All things seemingly designed to annoy you and either you're exaggerating a bit or I was going blind. It sure was clunky with some bizzare transitions.
I enjoyed Snowpiercer as a cinematic portrayal of a graphic novel but didn't rate it anything like as highly as the critics (and I'm a sci fi fan).
> All things seemingly designed to annoy you and either you're exaggerating a bit or I was going blind. It sure was clunky with some bizzare transitions.
Just to be clear (and not to argue) - we are talking about Ang Lee's 1999 "Civil War Western", right? With notable thespians Skeet Ulrich and Jewel? and that Simon Baker bloke who was later famous, here looking like a live action version of Louis XIV in the Dogtanian cartoon?
> All things seemingly designed to annoy you and either you're exaggerating a bit
Yep. I could agree it was riddled with problems and for such a big name director was very disappointing, and am not surprised it annoyed the hell out of you, but I can't see how in any way it could be regarded as appalling overall. It even had some good bits struggling to surface from the muddle ...... random horror of war and fallout of war stuff. Loved the dogtanian reference btw. Jewel was a good quality glass imitation at worst.
The following review is maybe a little kind but I'd broadly agree with most of it.
Ang wasn't totally big-name at the time. Yes he'd done The Wedding Banquet which was an international breakthrough, and Sense & Sensibility for which all the credit seemed to be given to Emma Thompson for "writing" it
Wonderful to see that he's now making masterpieces like Gemini Man. Oh hang on....
Edit. OOOPS I totally forgot The Ice Storm. OK I'll give you "big name". I think his name WAS used to help sell it. They needed SOMETHING, with that cast at that point in time.
> and am not surprised it annoyed the hell out of you, but I can't see how in any way it could be regarded as appalling overall.
It turned me into "comedy gran from generic sketch"
"Who's that? Who are they? Whose side is he on? Whose side are WE on? What's this even about?"
It was worth the arguments for making me laugh out loud (in agreement). I still think it's possible for an overall good film to have quite a few serious smaller faults let alone a below average serious blockbuster. I've struggled to get past trigger faults that distracted me... most seriously Jar Jar Binks wrecking Star Wars I.
I watched the Journey to the Centre of the Earth remake last night, so bad it was funny. I'm baffled it gets the ratings it does.....even Ed Wood might have blushed.
Agree with that... people fighting for goodness knows what reasons with far too little thought about what the frack am I doing this for given the awful carnage. I think that's a sad position many come to in too many wars.
Jewel sang at the Superbowl... you are blasphemous.
> Agree with that... people fighting for goodness knows what reasons with far too little thought about what the frack am I doing this for given the awful carnage. I think that's a sad position many come to in too many wars.
Right on Mr Virtue Signaller 😃 you know I meant the film
I mean the film as well, that the individual rationalle for volunteering to take part in war may initially look simple and honourable but often it turns out more complex and sometimes dishonest, and fellow travellers can sometimes through trauma become monsters. It it was a good point worth making, that was sort of there, but pretty muddled up in the film. Anyhow we need to stop now.... I'd give it 2 stars out of 5 at most with clear flaws but it is not completely shit.
I thought The Dig was a beautifully made film with good performances all round.
I've just watched a low budget sci fi film called The Vast of the Night and I really don't know what to say about it except that I'm surprised it's available for viewing.
I watched Night of the Iguana again last night (second viewing in around 7 months) and it remains brilliant. My longer review is searchable on this site, on the offchance that anyone wants more waffle than "it remains brilliant"
> Now released as Upside with Bryan Cranston in the wheelchair.
Haven't seen the remake. It got panned didn't it? Maybe because the original was so good.
Also in the 'ambulent person befriends wheelchair user' category, The Fundamentals of Caring, is a reasonable watch in spite of a lack lustre road trip. The boy from Skins was excellent but Paul Rudd looked a bit lost.
my favourite "wheelchairs and carers" film is Lourdes starring Sylvie Testud
Rogue One. Sensational. I think the battle of Scarify may actually have given me PTSD...thanks to my 57 incher and surround-sound sound-bar (the neighbours may also be suffering!). Undeniably the best Star Wars film.
Elysium. Also pretty decent. Very decent, in fact. If we're locked-down much longer I may have a go at the Ringworld books upon which it's based....
Oh...I'd heard it was 'the film of the books'. Clearly not the case.
It's pretty good for easy sci-fi...don't think it made to much of a splash when it was released.
I think Rogue One is my favourite Star Wars movie after the first trilogy, although that's not the highest of bars. I enjoyed Elysium for the amazing visuals even though it's blunt, predictable and a bit thin on characterisation.
Last night was American Animals ... a clever movie that plays tricks with the audience. All based around four flawed kids who decide to pull off a heist of some rare books.
Yes, God Yes. This 2019 film is a lighthearted look at Catholic sexual repression through the eyes of a young teen girl going on a religious holiday retreat set in the US around 15 years ago.
I really liked this for several reasons. I thought the lead actress was really good. She doesn't have that many lines and much comes across in facial expressions which she did brilliantly. It's quite funny, the humour revolving around the ridiculousness of the Catholic attitudes towards sex and the awkward situations that arise from that. Some of the humour is that cringeworthy type, a little like The Office. Finally I liked that it shines a light on part of our culture that we rarely see. The Catholicism here is portrayed in a very real way. Not as some great monumental evil but more as a peculiar subculture of perfectly ordinary and decent people trying to bend reality to fit around this archaic and misguided belief system.
Hard to think about two more contrasting films about life in the modern USA,
One concerns a poorish white girl whose main wish is for her mum to be released from prison so they can take up their dream of living in a double wide in Oklahoma; the other is about women whose haircuts probably cost as much as a year's rent on the aforementioned caravan and who argue for 8 figure settlements in job dismissal litigation.
Both very watchable , though.
Bombshell got my second or third highest score for “film seen in cinema in 2020” . One of Theron’s best performances
I watched Rock & Rule last night. Possibly the strongest example of a film that serves no audience. Purporting to be an “adult-oriented” animation but it’s hardly Ralph Bakshi. Beautiful and complex ($8 million budget in the early 80s but they may have been Canadian dollars) animation and designs, certainly some dark and “adult” graphics....and a pretty childish, wafer-thin story with zero characterisation, plastered on top of it. Apparently it was originally going to be lighter in tone and more child-friendly but it mutated during pre-production as there was no fixed script and nobody controlling things, which shows.
All that said, it is undeniably a cult “classic”.A “hot mess”, if you like.
I watched Through Black Spruce the other night and really enjoyed it.
It's a Canadian film about a Cree Indian Family in North Ontario.
The Uncle has looked after two of his nieces since childhood, teaching them hunting and Cree ways.
One of the girls goes off to Toronto to be a model, she disappear and her sister goes to look for her.
Seems she fell in with some bad people...
The cast were really believable native Americans and the scenery is beautiful.
The reviews aren't very good, and it is slow moving but I still recommend it.
I watched La Grande Bouffe and rather enjoyed it although I am not sure exactly why! Probably because in my view, it's kind of nihilistic and doesn't offer any real narrative, characterisation or "message". It plays like a lot of "weekend at a country house as allegory for society or the class system" type films, but I didn't get any of that from it. Some people say "it's a treatise on capitalism" but aside from saying "greed is bad and wasteful, and commercial success won't make you happy and will end in your destruction", I don't see a treatise - and I don't believe the writer and director were going for anything so simple and trite. More like a slightly surreal (but entirely feasible) "slice of life" for disaffected pals.
Difficult to know, really, what to make of it all. But I did enjoy it. It's not quite black comedy, not really any sort of satire. An odd one, but glad I've seen it now.
Cheers that's a must watch for me. For those who are still not aware the MMIW movement was formed because of some horrendous structural social care and policing failures in Canada and the US.
Well....... Kill Command was a fun surprise for a Sci-Fi 'shoot-em up' style B movie. Reminiscent of Predator without the big budget, with hints of Southern Comfort. Not up to Terminator quality, but not much is on low budget. Sharply directed and with some great visuals.
Fun fact, Kill Command was about 20% the budget of the original The Terminator. Which was made 32 years earlier and is often (wrongly) considered to have been "really low budget DIY"
No I didn't know that.
On more conventional ground, did you catch the Kerr profile on Sky Arts earlier today? I missed it so didn't give a heads up.
> Elysium. Also pretty decent. Very decent, in fact. If we're locked-down much longer I may have a go at the Ringworld books upon which it's based....
I don't think that Elysium is in any way based upon any of the Ringworld books baring the fact that it features a form of Ringworld. But even that's tenuous. The ringworld in the Ringworld books is orders of magnitude bigger!
I did not catch that. Thanks for the heads-up but I don't have any subscription streaming services at present. iPlayer is all. Hopefully Black Narcissus (1947) is still on there
arses, it's gone! I suppose there is 2.5 hours of "The Nun's Story" on offer
Kerr repeat Saturday 13th @ 11:00...Sky Arts, Discovering Film
Probably rather more mainstream than most of the above but we very much enjoyed "Breathe" last week.
thanks but I still won’t have Sky Arts on Saturday 😃
Soz.. it comes free for me on Virgin, despite having to subscribe for most of the more commercial Sky stuff.
watched The World is Not Enough last night, with the commentary track by the director, the late Michael Apted.
As commentary tracks go, it was excellent - he addresses each scene as it plays, without tediously just saying what's happening in the scene. And he's fairly open and honest about various disappointments and shortcomings, although as expected, mostly positive about what great work everyone did.
As for the film - I realised that I hadn't seen it all the way through, since its original cinema release just over 21 years ago.
It holds up remarkably well, indeed it some parts it is better than I remember. Notably, Robert Carlyle who I'd originally dismissed as a sort of "might as well not be in it" character solely designed to disguise the fact that the true Bond villain is Sophie Marceau (still the only really major "plot twist" in any Bond film, and also still the only female main villain).
Marceau, for her part, is brilliant - quite possibly turning in the best ACTING performance of anyone in any of the Bond films (actually a lot of the best leading Bond women are French - Claudine Auger, Carole Bouquet, Marceau, Eva Green, Lea Seydoux - but that's another argument)
As for the much-maligned Denise Richards - she's fine with what little she's given to work with. To be honest, her character could easily have been written out of the film and replaced with a number of minor experts, and after the tunnel bomb "defusing" scene, she really doesn't need to be in the film any more. But there was all this outcry at the time, that "nuclear physicists don't look like that", and "she's too young to be a leading expert". Well. Bit sexist there, everyone. There is such a thing as a physically attractive post-doc, and nobody says she is a "leading expert"; Richards was 27-28 at the time and look at her job - decommissioning a knackered reactor in the middle of Kazakhstan. Exactly the kind of crap job that a recent postdoc would take on.
The opening boat chase is a lot better than I remembered, far far better than the boring one in Live and Let Die.
What maybe lets the film down a bit is that the action never again matches it for spectacle. The parahawks in the ski sequence are cool but a typically inefficient assassination attempt. The "stealing the bomb" set-piece in the bunker, is actually very neatly done as it drives and explains a huge amount of plot and characterisation as it goes, but it's not BIG JAMES BOND SPECTACLE. Ditto the tunnel scene. And the "helicopters with hanging buzzsaws" is awful. Submarine climax too messy and complicated to be in any way engaging.
But it's Brosnan's best outing IMHO (not that it has a great deal of competition). He really comes into his own here and gives his Bond a hard-yet-damaged edge, especially with respect to the Sophie Marceau character.
Watched 'Ip Man 4' on Netflix.
Big, loud, racist bullies get there teeth kicked out by the mild mannered and ever graceful Donnie Yen. Fantastic.
Not as good as the first one but what is?
Dragged Across Concrete : very slow but well done cop film with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughan. I liked it a lot.
Blow The Man Down: very quirky film about a couple of teenage sisters trying to cover up an accidental homicide in a New England fishing community. It had its attractions but I didn't rate it as highly as most critics.
Watched Skyscraper for some mindless fun tonight. Mark Kermode took the words out of my mouth....
"I really enjoyed it. It's complete nonsense, it's completely derivative."
A Soldier's Story (1984). Norman Jewison's adaptation of a play "A Soldier's Play".
Excellent and compelling drama; the framework is a "murder mystery" (the investigation of the shooting of a drill sergeant near training barracks in southern USA in 1944) but it's more a study of race relations in the 1940s, not only between white and black, but also amongst black men. Thus, somewhat more in-depth than Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night" (a classic, but feels very cartoony "them and us" compared to the grey areas offered in A Soldier's Story)
I won't say much about the story, as I started watching it with zero knowledge of what it was about, which made it more intriguing.
It is excellently written with well rounded characters, SUPERBLY acted (arguably it helps that the two main leads aren't so well known, but on the other hand a young Denzel Washington is already good enough that you don't get distracted by "oh look it's a young Denzel Washington"), and considering it is adapted from a stage play and remains very "wordy", it is shot very "cinematically" - it never just feels like "men talking in a room".
Herbie Hancock's improvised score hasn't aged well though.
Got to agree with the plaudits for The Dig - lovely and understated with great performances. Really enjoyed it. Ralph Feinnes' Suffolk accent did tend to come and go a bit if you're being really picky (somewhat odd considering he was originally from Ipswich).
Berlin Express (Jacques Tourneur, 1948)
Quite a curiosity, this one as it is almost as much documentary as it is drama. Released nearly 18 months before the film it is often compared to, The Third Man, it explores the physical and societal aftermath of the Second World War, actually on location in an utterly ravaged Frankfurt for much of the running time, and also featuring shots of Berlin in ruins. And, for an American studio film, it feels fairly bold in showing that there is not some sudden harmony amongst everyone now that Hitler has been vanquished. The fairly throwaway plot about remnants of a Nazi underground trying to stop a diplomatic one-man-think-tank from delivering a speech outlining a plan to unify Germany, is pretty much just a device to give the actors something to do, but it feels like the backdrop and accompanying educational narration (at times unintentionally laughable and dated, notably the repeated explanation that 21:45 means 9:45pm, near the start ).
Aside from the fascinating real-world location shots, the cinematography on the story action is typically great noir as you'd expect under Tourneur, with Lucien Ballard as the director of photography. And although the plot may be throwaway, the acting is up to scratch as each character represents an archetype/stereotype of a nation (smart practical no-nonsense American, stiff unsmiling "follow the orders" Russian, moustached "tally-ho" Brit, enigmatic French lady, bon-vivant Frenchman.....indeed the only complex characters are the Germans).
Well worth a look in. Not really much train action though.
Predestination on telly last night was great. Starred Ethan Hawk, who I like a lot, as a Temporal Agent, travelling back in time to stop crimes before they happen. I'm a sucker for a time paradox movie, and this one's a cracker. Decent review here https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/predestination-2015
I am a big fan of that one, even including its overall flaw (?). Sarah Snook's performance really elevates it. I liked it when she was totally channeling Brad Dourif.
Were you asking about similar stuff a while ago or was that someone else?
Regardless - you may like the Spanish film "Timecrimes" (I thought it was "ok" but a bit overrated), Triangle starring Melissa George (not a masterpiece, but a bit UNDERRATED), and a no-budget American thing called Coherence.
Also the 1982 Rene Laloux animation "Les Maitres du Temps" (Time Masters)
Edit - having read the review you linked, I have to say that Predestination pisses all over Looper, a film that has always been hugely overrated. I was so utterly let down by Looper, that I tried watching it again in case I'd just been in a wobbly mood the day I watched it. It was even worse the second time round.
Yes I asked for stuff on that theme last year. Well remembered! Funnily enough Coherence was recommended to me earlier today. I'll have a look at that and the others you mentioned. Thanks.
I saw Looper last year and enjoyed it. But I watched it without any expectations as I'd never heard of it, found it while channel hopping. And Joseph Gordon Levitt (sp?) is usually worth watching. But I'd agree Predestination was better.
> Yes I asked for stuff on that theme last year. Well remembered!
I am in a time loop
As bleak as the moors where much of it is set but with dark poetry in the inevitable destructiveness unleashed by the two young lovers running away. Gritty acting and direction and mpressive cinematography and soundtrack as a bonus.
The Lucky Ones (Neil Burger, 2008)
An overlooked minor gem, barely got a release at the time after tanking massively in the US. Despite the synopsis and subject matter (three American soldiers home on leave from the second Gulf War conflict deal with their own personal issues) it's actually fairly light and actually comedic in a few scenes whilst still maintaining a strange sort of believability. I say "strange" because it is all so utterly contrived that your instincts might be to say "well this is RIDICULOUS, wouldn't such and such character at this point just go and do such and such other normal thing instead of THAT", and yet the three main characters are engaging enough that you just sort of go along with it. At a massive stretch you COULD kid yourself that two of them are entirely in the imagination of the third, but I don't really think that's it.
Excellent performances, especially McAdams whose role could easily be overlooked as "undemanding" but which actually requires a huge amount of nuance in order not to make it a cartoon character. Not a million miles from Amy Adams in Junebug, and I don't just mean the accent.
My Octopus Teacher has been mentioned on here, I got round to watching it last night. It really was as good as I'd heard. Full of beautiful images. The connection he forges with this wild animal is astounding, and the filmmaker presents it so well, without anthropomorphising the octopus. The story about the maker's psychological and emotional journey is also told brilliantly, without being sentimental. Well worth watching.
Scotland's largest National Park has been rendered on Minecraft. The popular building game was used to create a representation of the topography of the entire Cairngorms, as part of an educational project to encourage young people to learn about...