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2021 MOVIES DISCUSSION


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I somehow kept the streak going despite moving apartments.  I mean, it's not really that hard when you have multiple streaming services and 20+ movies sitting around you never watched...Day 72 and counting, Hulu Has Live Sports and a Lot of Garbage Edition

Hot Garbage

Coyote Ugly - I wonder if this is the worst movie John Goodman's been a part of.  Probably not, but it's the worst I've seen.  Flashdance had a creepy romance plot, but at least it had a few minutes of style here and there.  I can't really think of anything good to say about this, except that Maria Bello is in it.  Even the whole bit about how the main character's a songwriter falls flat, because the music is awful.  Leann Rimes?  Really?  Talk about things better left to the 2000s...

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - This is terrible, but at least it's having fun with how terrible it is.  Instead of being even the slightest bit serious, it's just throwing every goofball idea ever at the wall and hoping some of it sticks.  I can respect that.  It's the Hardee's burger ad of movies: it's shit, but at least it's not lying to you about what it's trying to sell you.  This is also right there with the Kilmer/Brando Island of Dr. Moreau as the shittiest movie with the coolest credits sequence.

Grown-Ups - I could have put this into Acceptable, I suppose, because it's got a certain kind of bland, inoffensive charm to it, but given who's in it, you'd expect it to be funny, and...it's just not that funny.  It's also more than a little creepy to see Cameron Boyce in this, since I watched that child-actor doc when it aired on HBO and found out he died a couple of years ago.

Acceptable

In the Cut - I remember this getting panned about as hard as anything when it came out, but it's Jane Campion, so I figured why not.  It's...definitely not concerned with being a good thriller, or a bad one, or any kind of one.  If I could only use one word to describe it, "meandering" is what comes to mind.  That said, while Meg Ryan's character is truly the only one who gets any kind of development or depth, she is pretty good in this - one of her 4 or 5 better roles.  And the last shot of the film is a pretty damned great ending, if you can stick with it long enough to get there.  But there's very much a non-zero chance it will bore the shit out of you first.

Love and Monsters - This is largely Zombieland with monsters, a dog, and the occasional robot, but it's a formula that works.  It's also got elements of Fallout (people living underground and not understanding the surface world, so hey, let's write a survival guide!), 28 Days Later (even when the world ends, man is the most dangerous animal), and other similar genre films, but it never fully wears out its welcome on any of those.  Even the annoying Narration Telling You Everything is done frequently as 'letters being written to someone dear', so even that's less obnoxious than usual.  But, seeing as it borrows from so much, it's also nothing really special, either.

Awesome

After Hours - I didn't realize Marty did a cocaine movie, but he directed in the 80s, of course he did a cocaine movie.  I think this might be my favorite movie of his, just because for once he did something that isn't slap-you-over-the-head religious or bathed in crime and corruption.  It's this or Mean Streets for me, but I'm weird like that.  But it really nails the details: the insane cabbies, the way you turn a corner in a big city and the whole tone changes, the characters who would be pariahs or pitied elsewhere but are just part of the scenery instead.  The performances are as solid as the plot is intentionally ludicrous.

Journey to the Beginning of Time - I bought the Karel Zeman Criterion release from last year without thinking twice about it; it sounded like my cup of tea, and this certainly was.  There's only the thinnest layer of plot applied to this, as it's really almost a visual documentary of kids learning about prehistorical times.  But man, to do some of the special effects work he did here with the budgets he must have had is pretty breathtaking.  There's a part of me that thinks I might have actually seen the stegosaurus fight as a clip at some point when I was in school, but I can't be sure.

Vampyr - I think the initial description of the characters is a bit ridiculous, as the protagonist is played like someone who seems afraid of his own shadow some of the time, so the notion that he'd be some borderline-Lovecraftian dabbler in the dark arts is laughable.  But you're not here for the story; you're here to see Dreyer do some cool shit with the camera before anyone else did it, and, big shock, there's some really great stuff here.  About 30 minutes in, there's a damned epic tracking shot that's basically the great-great-grandpa of the Goodfellas opening, and it's just beautiful.  There are some pretty solid practical effects in this, too, although as an actual vampire movie, it's not really as good as the original Dracula, or Nosferatu for that matter.

Sanjuro - Criterion put out a 4-pack with this,Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, and The Hidden Fortress that was the first Criterion I ever bought.  Took me the better part of 20 years to finally finish those.  I might go so far as to say this is the "worst" of those movies, but that's like saying hitting the lottery for $15 million was the worst when you hit it for $100M+ three other times.  I don't like how often something gets said by Mifune, and then the villains turn around and confirm they're about to do what he suspected.  There's a lot about the script that's very trope-y in that way.  But this is another "cool shit with the camera" entry, and it's textbook Kurosawa in terms of how he uses motion, especially for humor.  And Mifune was the coolest motherfucker ever and I'll hear nothing to the contrary.

Winner Winner, Maybe Steak and Eggs for Breakfast

Funny Games (1997) - Ugh.  Another potential entrant for "Great Movie I Will Never Rewatch".  But, this is frankly more palatable than, say, Come and See was, because at least it lets you in on the joke, so to speak.  Just incredible acting all around, and even with the fourth-wall breaks, I found very little of it to be outlandish or hard to believe (except for that "lean on me and drag me" scene - just grab a sheet and drag him on it like a litter!).  But mostly I found myself reminded of two other films that followed it: The Lobster and American Beauty.  It's like the former in how incomplete it is; it refuses to give you answers to every little thing, and forces you to look inside yourself for them.  And it's like the latter, because the latter was the sort of movie where people left the theater early and cursed what a piece of shit it was - when that's the reaction, it's not because it actually *is* bad, but instead it's because you showed those viewers something about themselves they didn't have the courage to see.

Of course, the real brain-teaser of all this is: why did Michael Haneke feel the need to remake it?  If you make a hyper-violent movie to decry violence in film, why...do it again?  But, maybe Woody Allen was right.  Maybe we all need the eggs.

Edited by Contentious C
Forgot one...and added a line to H&G
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After Hours is certainly a top five Scorsese for me. His 80s movies are so distinct from most of his other output. It feels like he’s working on figuring out how everything went to hell for him after he achieved his wildest dreams, but he’s mostly doing it in breezier forms than his previous work. By the end of the 80s he’s finally in a place to tackle his most personal work and its decidedly not light subject matter. 

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12 hours ago, Contentious C said:

 

Journey to the Beginning of Time - I bought the Karel Zeman Criterion release from last year without thinking twice about it; it sounded like my cup of tea, and this certainly was.  There's only the thinnest layer of plot applied to this, as it's really almost a visual documentary of kids learning about prehistorical times.  But man, to do some of the special effects work he did here with the budgets he must have had is pretty breathtaking.  There's a part of me that thinks I might have actually seen the stegosaurus fight as a clip at some point when I was in school, but I can't be sure.

Have you watched any of the other films? This one is good, but the other two are bananas and almost totally unlike anything else I’ve seen.

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I just watched AFTER HOURS for the first time a couple of months back and I am really happy I didn't see it during my teenage years because that movie would have scared me off from going out after 10PM more than any horror or slasher pic.

Last night I watched RIDERS OF JUSTICE starring Mads Mikkelsen on Hulu. Do not be fooled by the generic Americanized cover art and film title. It is an incredibly wonderful and twisted take on the revenge flick, and I am going to leave it at that because it is one of those flicks where the less you know going in, the better. 

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Holy shit.  Promising Young Woman is so great and tragic and the soundtrack is sooooo subversive.  There is a crazy orchestral cover of Toxic by Brittany Spears playing in a pivotal sequence that is HAUNTING~!

It should be on heavy rotation on HBO after tonight's premier and it should also be available on HBO on Demand and HBO Max.

Edited by J.T.
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On 9/21/2021 at 10:53 PM, 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.

Seeing him in Things to do in Denver and i felt like this. Fucking hate him popping up in anything 

 

Funny quick tangent, just based off The Town my brother HATES Jon Hamm in anything 🤣 

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Having watched the end of Gunpowder Milkshake, it does pick up towards the end. At the start it's a Karen Gillan movie, whereas at the end it's an ensemble cast of Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett. So that part of it is much better.

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Many Saints was okay. I’m not getting the “It’s not like the show” thing around the net. It is like the show. A lot like the show. In fact it felt like a 10 episode season truncated into a two hour movie, with one overarching plot, and several side stories. But that’s probably it’s biggest sin. This should’ve been for TV, not cinema.


I feel there might be a five hour rough cut floating around, that might improve the movie. Like you barely see Dickie’s relationship with his wife, and Junior’s crankiness. Bernthal is getting some backlash in his portrayal of Tony’s dad, saying “he’s nothing like adult Tony”, but that was one thing I remembered about the old show. Tony was nothing like his dad. They’ve always made sure Tony’s mom was the one that shared all of Tony’s quirks. He does have a much more angry interpretation of Jackie Boy, which might be the most deserving complaint of his portrayal, but if you didn’t want that, then don’t cast Bernthal. He still did well with what they wanted him to do.

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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MANY SAINTS was always going to have the same problem as the DEADWOOD movie, in the sense that it’s impossible to distill what was great about the show down to a 2 hour movie, so you end up with something that feels familiar but also not quite right.

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My wife and I just had this discussion about the Dead Like Me movie. It was essentially a final season pared down to 90 minutes. Even if there are some satisfying beats they don’t feel as earned without the granular detail and context of a season of television. 

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Yeah, he originally wrote The Sopranos as a film. It was his Hail Mary to finally escape from TV. He begrudgingly sold it as a TV pilot after not getting any interest in the movie, but he was still begging HBO to make it a movie right up until they ordered it to series.

So much of the Soparanos DNA comes from Chase explicitly doing the opposite of whatever a TV show would do because it disgusted him so.

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I just finished watching Many Saints and like stated above, it felt like a mini series squeezed into a movie. The art direction was outstanding and most of the performances were really good. Young Silvio though, yeesh. I get that it was a perfect imitation of Van Zandt but it was cartoonish. 

I went to IMDB to look up some of the cast and looked at some viewer reviews. Big mistake. It's full of racists complaining about "woke Hollywood" because of the Harold storyline and the Newark riots being part of the story. 

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I forgot to mention, the guy who plays Dickie was on Colbert and he's really funny. Never got a break until now but worked with everybody; friends with Nic Cage matter of fact (they ride motorcycles together haha). He said he popped Liotta good accidentally and Ray pulled a prank where he called him up saying they wired his jaw.

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Liotta is magnificent in Many Saints. He's so fucking menacing in both roles. Yoiung Silvio and Young Paulie were... I mean what you gonna do?

I just don't think any hardcore fans of The Sopranos were dying for the story of Dickie Moltisanti and finding out who was responsible for his death felt very... unsatisfying to me

James

 

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The answer to the prior question is: yes there are scenes of people eating, and talk of sausage, but not as many as expected. And Tony picks at his food with his fork exactly like the other Tony. 

If everything you guys wrote about was distilled I think it would be about right. It felt long and pacing was an issue (miniseries would have been better), nobody really wanted the story of Dickie over Tony, Liotta was dead scary in both roles and deserves an award of some kind and won't get it, but what really stuck with me was the psychology of the film. It may have been too blatant at times, but bringing up all these little callbacks to the series: trying to get his mom medicine and seeing the school councilor, the way Dickie treats Tony like Tony treated Christopher, the way his mother even sounds like Carmela vocally (now that's some psychology for you), they were spot on. It's a story not about Tony that actually is about Tony. I think it might be better regarded later. And I think Alessandro Nivola (who I had to look up in Google and STILL has to have a second click to see who it is, the luck of this guy) was fantastic, as were Leslie Odom Jr. in a sadly underdeveloped role and Michela de Rossi who is really the second star of the film. It's not perfect, but warts and all, it works. 

Oh and as far as the Paulie (who should have been in the Navy instead) and Silvio characters, it gave us the nasty-ass hairpiece scene at least. 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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