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2023 MOVIE DISCUSSION THREAD


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It seems a little silly to be bringing this up now with the start of the New Year but I needed something to start the thread with.

Watched Spirited on Christmas Eve while visiting the in-laws

Was surprised how much I enjoyed it (it was reigned in Will Farrell so that is a big reason I could tolerate it). Didn't realize how much musical stuff was in it. And it has one of the bleakest Ghost of Christmas Future reveals I can remember in any Christmas Carol adaptation

Scrooged is still better but this will probably go in the holiday rotation until I don't subscribe to Apple+ anymore

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I know it was brought up in the last couple of pages of the 2022 thread but Glass Onion is really really good you guys. And if you haven't seen Violent Night yet, you absolutely should. It was a great amount of fun. Has anybody seen Emily The Criminal? I saw it on Netflix and it looked decent from the trailer.

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In the last couple days, banged out Bedlam, Madamoiselle Fifi, and a rewatch of Cat People, as I continue to work my way through all the Val Lewton RKO movies. With Bedlam and Fifi done, I've now seen all of them save Youth Runs Wild, which I can't find anywhere online.

Bedlam was quite enjoyable. Definitely better than The Body Snatcher, but behind Isle of the Dead out of the Karloff-Lewton collaborations. As the corrupt head of the asylum, I love Karloff's speech about how he thinks of each patient as a particular kind of animal and that determines how he treats them. The shot when he leads Anna Lee into the asylum, as a tourist, for the first time is a doozy. A slow pan back and up from them standing in the door to reveal the squalor and pitiful condition people are left in. The state the patients are left in reminded me of some of the footage from the school in Cropsey.

Wouldn't really consider it a true horror, though the idea of being locked away in an asylum against your own will is truly horrifying. Karloff's Sims is a true villain; cruel, vain, but convinced he is helping those he is torturing.

Madamoiselle Fifi honestly really surprised me. I was not expecting to think much of it at all, but it may end up being one of my favourites. I was expecting it to be heavy handed in having the Prussians be stand ins for the Nazis and it was, but it didn't take anything from the movie at all. Not a horror, but a war story about patriotism and defiance.

Takes place during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, in a Prussian occupied area of France. Three upper class business men and their wives, another without a wife, a young priest, and a lower class laundress (Simone Simon) are given permission to travel by the Prussian authorities and bored a stage coach together.

Its a bit of a class play to start, as all the upper class people look down on Simone Simon (I very rarely remember character names), but soon change their mind once they realize that she is the only one who was smart enough to pack food.

They stop at an Inn for the night, where a Prussian lieutenant is also staying. This is the eponymous Mademoiselle Fifi, so nicknamed by other Prussian officers because of his prissy attitude and attention to his looks...though he really just seems like a normal stick up the ass Prussian character like the rest of them. Handsome dude, though.

He decides that he wants Simone Simon to dine with him, but being a proud patriot, she refuses. In response, he bars them from travelling the next day and says he won't until she dines with him. All the others are supportive of her at first, saying that she is doing the country proud. But the next day realize what delays might mean to their profits (we're supposed to take it that they are war profiteers) and start pressuring her to have dinner with him.

This takes up the first 45 minutes of the film and is absolutely the best part of the film. I honestly would have been happy if this had been expanded as the whole thing. I loved the Innkeeper character who has to act as a go between and ask her repeatedly if she's changed her mind (even after being introduced, Fifi doesn't really become a character for awhile. He doesn't interact with the others, they just see him as he comes and goes from his room upstairs).

The last 3rd of the movie concerns the small village that Simone Simon and the young priest are travelling to. The current priest of the village that the young one is replacing has refused to ring the church bells as a protest against the Prussian occupation of the territory. Its a little less interesting than the tense interplay at the inn and is where the movie really leans into the "oh its actually the Nazis and the French Resistance." But the Fifi-Simone Simon relationship continues and has a very satisfying conclusion

Frankly, came out of left field how much I loved it. It bombed at the box office and I've never heard much about it outside of discussions on Lewton's career. That opening 45 minutes is an absolute killer. Big recommendation, especially if you've only seen Lewton's horror fare.

Not too much to say about Cat People, other than it remains great. Took this rewatch as an opportunity to really enjoy how light and shadow are used to up the horror. The office scene where the cat is stalking Amy and Oliver and the scene of Amy in the pool lean towards expressionism.

Edited by elizium
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On the 3rd episode of The Secret History of Hollywood Val Lewton series. I think the thing I like about it most is the fairly comprehensive digressions into the lives of those around Lewton. I eagerly await Elizabeth Russell's turn. If it doesn't happen I'll be bummed.

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I don't recall her getting too much mention, but it has been since late 2020, early 2021 since I listened.

His voice for Alla Nazimova kills me, she is easily my favourite character in the whole thing. I'm sure the conversations between people didn't happen exactly the way he portrays them, if at all in a lot of cases, but it is so well done that it does not matter.

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40 minutes ago, Execproducer said:

On the 3rd episode of The Secret History of Hollywood Val Lewton series. I think the thing I like about it most is the fairly comprehensive digressions into the lives of those around Lewton. I eagerly await Elizabeth Russell's turn. If it doesn't happen I'll be bummed.

He does the same sort of thing in the Cary Grant series. The episode I'm on is taking a long detour with David Niven, its been half an hour and he hasn't even mentioned Grant or how this is going to relate, it is great

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On 1/1/2023 at 12:17 AM, BrianS81177 said:

I know it was brought up in the last couple of pages of the 2022 thread but Glass Onion is really really good you guys.

I watched Glass Onion tonight and I mostly agree with your (and the guys' in the old thread) sentiment. But I would not start to compare it with Knives Out as it feels like a completely different movie, the first was mostly a thowback to Agatha Christie-style whodunits with a big ensemble cast like Murder on the Orient Express. Glass Onion went into a completely different direction, sure, there was a murder mystery (eventually), but it played much more heavy on comedy and social (for lack of a better word) commentary than to focus on the mystery.

For the Americans here, how bad is Daniel Craig's southern accent? To a non-native speaker, this sounds like among the worst accents I have ever heard, but that may be because I am not that familiar with southeners (outside of wrestling). They could have just made Benny Blanc a Brit and it would not change one iota for his character or the script.

One thing I did not like:

Spoiler

The ending seemed silly. For one, you have all those women in skirts and sandals running around smashing glass left and right and running over shards. I realize that I should not take this too seriously, but I literally cringed a couple of times watching that. Plus I did not find the ending that satisfying. Sure, the Edward Norton character will lose a lot of money over this but be serious: if this would happen to Elon Musk, how fast would he be back scamming people and making billions? The Mona Lisa thing probably would never become public knowledge as it would be way too embarrassing for France.

The movie had a bunch of funny cameos, my favorite was Serena Williams' one.

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3 minutes ago, elizium said:

As a Canadian, I feel I can chime in here. The accent is horrendous. Classy Foghorn Leghorn. Therefore, it is also awesome

I'll second, I say I'll second that. Agree, that is. 

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Continued the Lewton thing the last couple days by rewatching I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man. Also added Bullet Train today as a first time watch. Oh, that's not a Lewton? That makes so much sense.

Main takeaway on my rewatches of I Walked with a Zombie  and The Leopard Man (as well as Cat People on Thursday) is how gorgeous they are. Jacques Tourneur directed all of them, but had different cinematographers for each. I mentioned with Cat People how light and shadow are used and that becomes even more evident having watched the other two so soon after. There are not many scares in all these horror movies, but mood and tension is built from the shadows out. Half the time you find yourself watching the areas of the screen hidden by blackness. All three movies are so unsettling.

Bullet Train was fun, but I will not remember anything about it tomorrow. Honestly I'm not even sure what the mechanics of the plot were because it didn't hold my attention all the way through. My eyes kind of glazed over during the explanation at the end. It reminds me of all those knockoff Tarantino movies that came out after Pulp Fiction. That said, I laughed quite a bit and really like Lemon and Tangerine as characters

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19 hours ago, Robert S said:

For the Americans here, how bad is Daniel Craig's southern accent? To a non-native speaker, this sounds like among the worst accents I have ever heard, but that may be because I am not that familiar with southeners (outside of wrestling). They could have just made Benny Blanc a Brit and it would not change one iota for his character or the script.

 

It is terrible in the best way. I don't think the big speech late in would have worked as well with less or in his normal accent.

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Blanc’s accent isn’t supposed to be an accurate representation of a Southern accent. It’s not a coincidence that he shares a surname with the voice actor of Foghorn Leghorn, a character that was a parody of a certain kind of early 20th century southern aristocrat. The accent is designed to underline how anachronistic the concept of the “gentleman sleuth” character is in the 21st century.

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Brits are cast as Americans constantly now despite most of them doing the Leghorn or flattening out their accent until it sounds like they’re a sentient stalk of Iowa corn. It’s tiring. 

Took the kids to Puss in Boots 2 yesterday. It’s a completely unnecessary money grab, but it’s leagues better than I expected. Most of that is due to it being action-oriented instead of a comedy and having shockingly great animated sequences. It’s the best looking Dreamworks movie in ages. 

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I had the opportunity to watch a few flicks over my time off for Xmas.

Glass Onion, I thought was a blast. Fun cast, fun story, just fun all around.

The Fabelmans was gorgeous. I just loved it. It's like a Rosetta Stone for Speilbergs body of work.

Spoiler

And goddamn was that final shot brilliant! So simple, but so brilliant. I just can't get over how much I loved that ending.

I also watched White Noise and Banshees of Inisherin. On watching, I did enjoy both of them quite a lot. They were both the kinds of movies I still need to process a bit before I decide how much I liked them. I'm not as tied to the novel as a lot of people, so I really enjoyed White Noise for what it was. Banshees looked gorgeous and was full of amazing performances. It just has a tone shift that I wasn't quite prepared for. I think it's a movie I'd like more on a second viewing.

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Small little piece of news that I am mentioning because I think almost all of us who came through the US education system was shown this in English class at some point

Quote

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were just teenagers when they electrified audiences in the 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The film was a hit and was nominated for four Academy Awards, but it also stirred controversy over a bedroom scene which included images of Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s bare breasts.

Now in their 70s, Hussey and Whiting filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court on Friday, accusing Paramount of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude images of adolescent children.

The suit alleges that Zeffirelli — who died in 2019 — assured both actors that there would be no nudity in the film, and that they would wear flesh-colored undergarments in the bedroom scene. But in the final days of filming, the director allegedly implored them to perform in the nude with body makeup, “or the Picture would fail.”

Hussey was 15 at the time and Whiting was 16. According to the complaint, Zeffirelli showed them where the camera would be positioned, and assured them that no nudity would be photographed or released in the film. The suit alleges that he was being dishonest and that Whiting and Hussey were in fact filmed nude without their knowledge.

“What they were told and what went on were two different things,” said Tony Marinozzi, who is a business manager for both actors. “They trusted Franco. At 16, as actors, they took his lead that he would not violate that trust they had. Franco was their friend, and frankly, at 16, what do they do? There are no options. There was no #MeToo.”

According to the complaint, Hussey and Whiting have suffered mental anguish and emotional distress in the 55 years since the film’s release, and have also lost out on job opportunities. Despite their breakout performances, Hussey and Whiting had only very limited acting careers after “Romeo and Juliet.”

They are seeking damages “believed to be in excess of $500 million.”

https://variety.com/2023/film/news/romeo-and-juliet-child-abuse-nude-scene-lawsuit-1235477837/

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Oh, we actually got the scene, because "it was tastefully done".  

Interestingly enough, since my teenager is getting to reading R&J for school now, the subject of the movie came up, and the Wife brought up the Ziffirelli being good, until I mentioned the underage nudity and got "oh, shit, I forgot about that.  Yeah, not good."

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I vaguely remember the class being told to "be adults and don't giggle or shout" right before the nude scene, we most likely giggled and shouted. It had to be this version of Romeo & Juliet, since I don't remember any of the film versions of the books or plays we read having on screen nudity.

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