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2021 MOVIES DISCUSSION


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I watched The Craft: Legacy last week. It was OK. I preferred the original, but that's probably a generational thing. Basically the main character moves to a new town because her Mum has re-married (to David Duchovny), and they're really unspecific about what Duchovny's character does for a living, other than to say he's wealthy and successful and has written books and has lots of followers. So I inferred that he was supposed to be a Jordan Peterson guy or a Men's Rights Activist (or possibly a full-on Nazi), but they never really addressed that. He did host some sort of a men's meeting at one point, where they kept clicking their fingers and blamed the weak. It was a decent rebequal (Half reboot, half sequel) that served mostly to invite you to look forward to the next one in the franchise. Which probably won't ever be made, or will be a straight to streaming re-reboot.

Also watched Sword of Trust, which is just 80-odd minutes about how idiotic conspiracy theorists are idiots, except for the ones who are grifters feeding off idiots.

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On 9/5/2021 at 9:52 AM, Control said:

 

Tokyo Metro now says that the attacker was Yakuza.  Not Yakuza in the truest sense given that the Sword and Firearm Control Law and the Exclusion laws have pretty much crippled organized crime in Japan. 

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I did another re-watch of a movie that got shown on cable every other day from 1987 to 1989, that movie was The Manhattan Project! Basic story is that a high school kid(Christopher Collet) finds out that a lab in his town is a front for the development of nuclear weapons, he swipes some plutonium from the lab and builds an atom bomb. John Lithgow plays a scientist from the lab who hits on then dates the kids mom, he is peak Lithgow in this movie and its great. The heist of the plutonium and the final act when the shit hits the fan concerning the bomb are great, the rest is meh. This movie was shot on location in upstate New York and not trying to be hip, so it's a great look back at how things actually looked and how people actually dressed circa 1984 to 1986.

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Watched Worth last week.  This is the Netflix movie with Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci about the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.  Overall, it was just alright.  At the end of the day, there's not a whole lot of tension or drama built into the story so they tried to inject some with the story of a hero firefighter with 2 kids with his mistress.  Or the unmarried gay couple where the surviving parents don't recognize their son's relationship.  Much of the story revolves around the difficulty that Keaton and his team have in deriving a fair formula for compensating people (just why they are so hellbent on using a formula instead of a flat figure for each victim is never explored).  Of course, their formulas all rely on stuff like amount of life insurance and future earning potential, etc, and so are inherently unfair.  And this is where the movie succeeds, if just a little bit.  They do a great job of showing just how much the commission members struggled with meeting everyone's needs and how difficult it was to hear so many terrible stories.  Unfortunately, that's really just enough for a full movie.  Keaton is fine in his role as Kenneth Feinberg.  Tucci has a significantly smaller part that you would expect from the trailers and really just seems to be there to advance the plot.  He's wasted in his role.  5/10.

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Somebody help me out.  There’s a slang term for these quickly shot, straight to streaming, usually action or sci-fi movies, that always feature a pretty big star in decline looking for a quick payday (mostly Bruce Willis, lately, but I believe DeNiro has done some, too).  They’re shot pretty quickly and it’s obvious the big name only spent a few days on set.  Anybody know the term for these?

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I think maybe this doesn't have it's own name yet. 

I mean, what it is, what you typed out if you take out the streaming part, is a perfect definition of almost every B-Movie subgenre since the days of poverty row. It seems like they are usually renamed every time there is a new dominant form of distribution.  So the "B-Movie" in theaters turned into the "Drive-in movie" when the movie theater gave way to the drive-in for teenagers, which then turned into "Direct to video" when teens stopped needing drive-ins for cheap movies and instead were going to Blockbuster and the basement, which maybe briefly turned into "Made for SCYFY channel" when there was no more blockbuster but Netflix isn't yet making its own movies, and has now turned into I guess something like "direct to streaming" or "VOD." But I don't think I've ever heard that term used as an instant put-down like the other terms were.  Everything is VOD and major studio movies are often VOD, so maybe with everything on streaming in the same "place" and not a different space to separate these cheapies out (like a drive-in, grindhouse, Scyfy channel) the term won't survive or will be more specific: "Georgia tax credit special"?"

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11 hours ago, Technico Support said:

Somebody help me out.  There’s a slang term for these quickly shot, straight to streaming, usually action or sci-fi movies, that always feature a pretty big star in decline looking for a quick payday (mostly Bruce Willis, lately, but I believe DeNiro has done some, too).  They’re shot pretty quickly and it’s obvious the big name only spent a few days on set.  Anybody know the term for these?

Geezer Teasers?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vulture.com/amp/article/randall-emmett-movies.html

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Hey, more movies; I'm moving next week and it was time to start punching through at least some of the discs I just never got around to watching.  Day 62 and counting of...whatever this is that you probably don't care about, Blu-Ray Backlog Edition...

Hot Garbage

Romy & Michele's High School Reunion - I like the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes, but getting there is such a fucking chore with this.  It's just...eh, it's amateur hour everywhere except the cast.  It looks bad, the script is not funny, it feels more like a TV movie than an actual release.  Another strong case of "Soundtrack is better than the film".

Chaos Walking - This is something new on Hulu with a bunch of familiar, famous faces.  And hey, look, it's a "futuristic action-adventure".  Hm, that's odd, because it sure seems like the past - when it comes to women, anyway - was often rapey, grim, and hopeless, and we're currently dealing with a present where those in power would like to make it more rapey, grim, and hopeless, and so what we really need right now is a "futuristic" movie where the future is rapey, grim, and hopeless, right?  Barf.  Totally leans on its one gimmick to get anywhere, completely stale otherwise. 

Pocahontas - Wow.  Leave it to Disney to normalize pedophilia.  Let's just take that 11-year-old girl from the story and pretend she's a woman and make it OK for her to get romanced by Mel Gibson (excellent casting choice, in retrospect).  The story is ridiculous (most of these are, but this is like Secret-of-NIMH level of pulling stupid things out of their asses), the art style is poor, the songs aren't any good, and of course there's really nothing to celebrate about colonizing the New World.  Oh, and I feel bad for anyone who went to this high and then saw Grandmother Willow; that's gotta be some Nightmare Fuel. 

Acceptable

Moonrise - I can't stand Dane Clark as the protagonist for this movie, but man there is some really interesting stuff here.  The director was the first guy to win the Academy Award for directing, and you can see why with some of the scenes: the Ferris Wheel bit is a real highlight, for example.  It's mostly the smaller characters who steal the show, though, and make this worth seeing in addition to the direction.  Otherwise, this still screams "studio" in a lot of ways, like having the cliche of the old deaf guy, among other things, and yeah, Dane Clark is, uh, not good.   But I feel like there's more here that redeems it than condemns it.

Night on Earth - if this had been more consistent, I think it'd go in the Awesome pile.  It's well-crafted, but the problem is that the first few stories don't *quite* grab you, and then Roberto Benigni completely takes over the movie with the "Rome" section, and everything else just feels so lifeless in comparison to that segment that it's hard to feel like the other sections work.  Each of the other 4 feel like the beginning or end of a separate movie that Jarmusch couldn't quite decide how to make into a full feature on its own, so he just went with this structure instead.  The Rome section, on the other hand, would have made an incredible short film except for the baffling ending.  Winona Ryder is pretty great in this, and I'd never seen Gena Rowlands in anything before, but it seems like Joan Allen has been doing the same act as her for years.

The Age of Adaline - Ugh, goddamn narration.  This would still be fairly maudlin and sappy at times even without the narration, but it would still also be *better* without the narration.  So little of what gets said there helps understand anything in the film at all, and yet, here we are, another dumb voice telling us shit that we could figure out by watching, because that's what a motion PICTURE is for... anyway.  Blake Lively has certainly come a long way since the Green Lantern days, and she does a pretty decent job with this.  I usually like Michael Huisman, but he's probably the least compelling part of the whole movie.  Even Harrison Ford, he of the 5 Facial Expressions of Doom, is better.  This had to be one of Ellen Burstyn's last roles, too, if not her last, and she's just great in it.  It's also weird this came out the same year as 45 Years, and this very very very briefly mines the same territory as that film, though obviously not very well.  But hey, not terrible.

Luca - This got me in the feels once or twice by the end, but it takes a long while in setting up effectively.  The real turn of the movie is once Luca starts making some choices for himself; after that, it goes from so-so Disney fare to actually bringing the goods on some stuff.  It's pretty honest and believable about how fragile friendships are at that age, and how little it takes to hurt the people you care about.  The one-armed dad is kind of the best part of the movie, though, which is weird.  But hey, at least it wasn't yet another fucking animal stealing the show like every other Disney movie ever.  Wouldn't watch it again, but it wasn't a waste of time, either.

Awesome

Eyes Without a Face - This is not a movie I love.  Christianne's character doesn't make a lot of sense to me, mostly from the perspective of when she does - or doesn't - go along with the mad plans of her father.  From that standpoint, she's as much a victimizer as a victim for much of the film, and so there's very little catharsis in the ending (or, at least her part).  But this is a movie I respect.  There is some massively creepy shit here, and it's so well-executed, from the surgery bits, to the montage of rotting faces, to the totally chilling performance by Pierre Brasseur and the equally otherworldly presence of Edith Scob, who embody both ends of a somewhat ridiculous premise and make it terrifying.  Someone really should have pulled Almodovar aside and told him to pull his head out of his ass rather than try to reimagine this. 

First Man - Maybe I'm just a rube for Damien Chazelle.  I think I like this better than La La Land, though not by a lot.  Ryan Gosling is pretty great in this; it's almost the polar opposite of his Blade Runner 2049 role, and he pulls this off at least as well, if not better.  This will probably remind you of a few other space movies, but the film I found it drew from the most was The Tree of Life, as the portrayal of Neil Armstrong is very much like that of Father in Malick's movie.  It's weird, too, that Chazelle's first two movies leaned so heavily on music and yet this has so little, but does it ever have sound: there's no shortage of tension from hearing the early NASA vehicles nearly rattle themselves to pieces on each and every launch or re-entry, both big and small.  Claire Foy is also pretty great in this.  Probably could have made the very bottom end of my 2010s list had I seen it in time.

Three Outlaw Samurai - I really didn't care for the first 20 or so minutes of this, as it felt like a straight rip-off of Yojimbo with 60s Japan's answer to David Duchovny starring in it, but give it time, because does it ever turn in on itself hard.  I feel like the attempted romance/secret bit involving Sakura and the widow is a bit forced and not handled well, but the rest of this is just...whew.  It's grim and bitter and cold and unjust, and it just gets bloodier and bloodier.  Initially I thought you could almost draw a through line from Kurosawa to something like Lady Snowblood with a movie like this, but even this is harder-edged than Lady Snowblood, which at least tries to be mythical and grandiose in its vision.  This is just gritty and uncompromising about how little choices matter in the face of societal apathy and cowardice, and how the only sense of honor that matters is the one you hold for yourself.  Pretty fucking great.

Winner Winner, Food

Repo Man - Ho-lee shit.  What a perfect shrimp fork right in the fucking eye of the 80s this is.  Great performances, crazy and fun and weird from the first scene, a masterclass in what you can do with a low budget, and something sharp to say in every scene, even if it's just a white label with blue letters that says "CORN".  If you grew up in the 80s and looking back on that era still makes you want to puke, well, you weren't alone.  Alex Cox held the bucket for all of us and then splashed our collective vomit on the screen.  Not as good as Videodrome, but then again, what is?  This would still be an easy Top 10 of the 80s pick for me.

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I still have a killer pre-color hand-drawn copy of a Repo Man artwork done by Lou Rusconi on my wall. It has Harry Dean Stanton saying "Look at those assholes. Ordinary fucking people. I hate 'em." in a word bubble and Emilio Estevez pointing a pistol at his head, among other bits from the film. The print isn't online far as I can see but you can Google him and find plenty of his very NSFW artwork. 

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30 minutes ago, Neil Koch said:

Repo Man is one of my favorite 80s movies.  Emilio Estevez was born 10 years too early as he would have been great in 90s indie movies.

Then he would have occupied Ethan Hawke's corner, and there's too much good Ethan Hawke for that to happen. 

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So I just finished watching a movie from 2020 called Run Hide Fight, with Thomas Jane and Radha Mitchell, and a bnuch of yong kids who might be the future of Hollywood maybe. And the thing is, it's Die Hard... in a school shooting. So yeah. Bit dodgy.

I actually quite liked it. The female lead (Isabel May; she's third billed because Jane and Mitchell are big stars and she's unknown, but it's the leading role in the movie) is very good. The villain isn't fleshed out at all. I think he's supposed to be like the Heath Ledger Joker but bisexual or something.

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On 9/13/2021 at 5:10 PM, Tabe said:

Watched Worth last week.  This is the Netflix movie with Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci about the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.  Overall, it was just alright.  At the end of the day, there's not a whole lot of tension or drama built into the story so they tried to inject some with the story of a hero firefighter with 2 kids with his mistress.  Or the unmarried gay couple where the surviving parents don't recognize their son's relationship.  Much of the story revolves around the difficulty that Keaton and his team have in deriving a fair formula for compensating people (just why they are so hellbent on using a formula instead of a flat figure for each victim is never explored).  Of course, their formulas all rely on stuff like amount of life insurance and future earning potential, etc, and so are inherently unfair.  And this is where the movie succeeds, if just a little bit.  They do a great job of showing just how much the commission members struggled with meeting everyone's needs and how difficult it was to hear so many terrible stories.  Unfortunately, that's really just enough for a full movie.  Keaton is fine in his role as Kenneth Feinberg.  Tucci has a significantly smaller part that you would expect from the trailers and really just seems to be there to advance the plot.  He's wasted in his role.  5/10.

I expected the movie to make me angry, but Dolfan was right and it just made me sad. Really sad at the end of it when it all hit me and then I started to think more about how many people from 9/11 are still fucked to this day. It's just not right.

On another note, I had no idea that Ken Feinberg also was appointed to run the compensation funds for basically every awful fucking thing from the 21st century so far. I hope that guy has amazing therapy. I don't know how I could do that job and not be haunted on a minute by minute basis.

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Prime had a .99 cents a month for two months of Paramount+ special going on and I jumped on it! While scrolling though the movies they had I saw Not Fade Away listed, I never saw it since Paramount pretty much buried it during its initial release and it never got a life on cable or streaming services, honestly I dug deep into the Paramount+ movie section to find it and I'm glad I did. I went in expecting it to be good since it was written and directed by David Chase and it exceeded my expectations, Chase is a master and even if you never saw The Sopranos you should check out this movie. 

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9 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

I tried to watch Prince of the City by Sidney Lumet but Treat Williams' intense overacting completely turned me off. Has anybody else had the same reaction? You just want to reach through the screen and slap the shit out of him.

I think this was a DVDRMB Movie Club pick a few years ago, and I never got around to it. Without searching, I'm guessing it was before the board reset.

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FAT CITY is great. One of the few boxing films that shows they boxing matches aren’t all excitement—there’s often a lot of frustration in there. 
 

I wonder when Stacy Keach’s voice dropped a couple of octaves. Just a smoker, I guess.

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So I'm watching Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) and it's like somebody watched John Wick and thought "Well, that looks easy". And, well, it's not, is it?

So yes. This movie is bad.

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