Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekend Open Thread

Ape together strong.

Happy weekend, everybody! Hope you're enjoying the summer and getting to watch some movies. Let's talk about what your doing and what you're watching!

40 comments:

  1. Haven't had much time to watch stuff, but I did show What We Do in the Shadows to a couple of friend, who absolutely loved it (obviously). And yesterday I watched Howling II with Patrick and Heather's commentary, which was a lotta fun (as all the FTM commentaries have been), even though the movie isn't.

    Gonna see War for the Planet of the Apes tonight and Baby Driver on Tuesday when it finally comes out here. Also toying with the idea of seeing Wish Upon that same day, even though I know it's not gonna be good. And then I'm traveling to LA, gonna visit Universal Studios and I've already bought tickets to a "spyghetti" double feature at the New Beverly.

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    1. Post a picture of yourself when you're in L.A. and tweet it so we can know what it looks/feels like for a cool foreigner to visit America under the Trump regime, Mikko. :'( :-P

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    2. Thanks! I'm sure I will.

      JM, I don't think anyone wants to see a photo of a pasty Finn sweating his ass off.

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    3. Wait a second, we're talking about Mikko taking a picture of his ASS?!! Well, I wasn't invested before, but now I'm looking forward to this more than Valerian.

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    5. You shouldn't get your hopes up ESADD. The marketing's been great, but it'll just be a disappointment. Also, it's very European and doesn't necessarily translate well to American viewers.

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  2. JULYSPLOITATION! Friday evening I attended Film Forum's sold out 35mm double bill of Gordon Parks' SHAFT (1971) and Gordon Park Jr.'s SUPER FLY (1972), both new to me. The theater even managed to get the karate instructor (E. Preston Reddick) that Preacher (Ron O’Neal) spars with in "Super Fly" to introduce the movie and share production anecdotes. A good time all around even if the 'will laugh at anything old because it's quaint' hipster brigade was out in full force for "Super Fly" (unlike "Shaft," in which all the laughs and applause were earned and spontaneous).

    "Shaft" is freaking amazing, a blaxploitation thoroughbred that in its first five minutes completely wins you over with (a) the protagonist walking into Times Square traffic like a boss (flipping cab drivers the bird!) and (b) Isaac Hayes' iconic theme song telling you everything you need to know about private dick John Shaft (Richard Roundtree, excellent) that the movie that follows backs up. Everything is a dick measuring contest for Shaft, whether dealing with notorious Harlem hoodlum Bumpy Jones (Moses Gunn), stalling NYPD by leading Capt. Cloffi (Vic Androzzi) around by the nose, or being reluctantly partnered with a young black militant (Christopher St. John) for what becomes a rescue mission. As cool as stylish as every frame of "Shaft" is (including his cool-as-shit crib), it's telling an interesting story that grounds and ties everything together as a great time capsule of early 70's New York.

    That's what separates "Shaft" from its blaxploitation imitators: it's an entertaining, terrific and well-made flick, not a terrible one trying to get by on style points. Which is exactly what's wrong with "Super Fly." Maybe if I hadn't seen it just minutes after Richard Roundtree shut my mouth with his entertaining first adventure I would have liked it a little more, but Ron O'Neal is just mannered poses and pretend attitudes of looking cool (with clothes/car to match) without any substance to back his pretend toughness. Only his repeated statements that he wants to get out of the crime life make Preacher a little less repulsive that the white corrupt cops he's forced to work with. Other than Curtis Mayfield rocking the soundtrack (not as memorably as Isaac Hayes, but close) and the genuinely gripping photo montage of Preacher's new customers indulging in his product, "Super Fly" was an entertaining but disappointing blaxploitation flick in every level. Looks like in this case the apple (director G. Parks Jr.) fell far away from the tree (G. Parks, whose "Shaft" bitch slaps "Super Fly"... hard).

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    1. Funny enough, i recently bought the Shaft blu-ray on amazon and warched it last night. First viewing too. Great stuff m. Too bad the blu ray is not better than that. The transfer is passable and only 2 bonus. A 10 minutes making-of and the first episode of the tv show. I would love a 40-50 years edition talking in depth about the movie, why it's good and why it's so iconic

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    2. In the case of "Shaft" I'll consider the quality of the film in widescreen format (it's been full screen since forever) the main reward for owning the Blu-ray. Damn, it's such a cool flick. "Shaft" is so good it makes me want to rewatch "Truck Turner" just to get some blowback of Isaac Hayes's cool mojo. That's how cool a mofo John Shaft is. :-)

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    3. Yeah, I watched Superfly during Junesploitation and it's not half as fun as the title suggests. It's basically the same scene over and over.

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  3. Gonna see War for the Planet of the Apes tomorrow, but have never seen any installments in the franchise except for the '68 original, so today will be me rectifying that by watching the four sequels to that, the Tim Burton movie, and the two reboot movies before War. I'm recording a podcast on War this Thursday, so if I'm able to get my hands on them by then, I'll watch the two Apes television series as well. So far, done with rewatching the first movie, which was as fun as always. I'd forgotten Rod Serling co-wrote it, and it definitely reflects the typical heavy-handed moralization of the other Serling projects. Except for the cult in part two, I've got no idea what's coming next, so I'm as excited as that chimp from the opening credits of Freakazoid to see. FUCK!! I should finally watch Lancelot Link this week too, just as a little present to myself.

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    1. Looking forward to the podcast! I haven't been to the theater since Power Rangers, so I should treat myself and go watch this.
      I bought a (very affordable) 5 disc set for the original movies last year, but have only rewatched the 1st. You're going to lap me 4 times in one day.

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    2. Just got home from War. It may be the best of the new trilogy, and I also really liked the previous two. Now I've got a hankering to watch the originals (only seen the first one), but I'm a little worried that the rubber masks might really bother me if I watch them so soon after seeing the incredible motion capture apes of the new movie.

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    3. Oh wow, I just read that first sentence in my post. Might sound weird out of context. :D

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    4. That's encouraging that WOTPOTA is getting lots of love. I really enjoyed the previous 2 as well (probably the 1st best), so I'm really looking forward to the new one.

      Now, only if they would start numbering them.. I can never remember if Dawn or Rise is the first.

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    5. To quote Rushmore "We're you in the shit Mikko?" :-)

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    6. The originals go in such a batshit insane direction that it's impossible for me not to love them. The second one is probably the weakest for me but even that ends it such a crazy way it's astonishing they made three more after that.

      And yeah, I really enjoyed War of the Planet of the Apes. It's kinda crazy that a concept like Planet of the Apes has resulted in so many movies several of which are great, and most of which are at least entertaining. I think the Tim Burton one is the only one I never want to revisit.

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    7. Just finished the final installment of the original franchise, and boy, Ross, are you right. What a crazy series of movies! I could not believe they did what they did at the end of part two, and never would have predicted three would be what it was, but probably enjoyed it most out of the originals. Across the five movies you've got nearly every style of '70s sci-fi, and there's even some interesting philosophical questions approached across the groups of them, like if fate is determinable or predestined. Great stuff! On to even more undiscovered territory! The 2001 version is the only Tim Burton feature I haven't seen, so that will be another huge enticement of going through these. Excited to finally see what makes it so universally hated!

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    8. I don't hate Burton's POTA. It's certainly one of the weaker entries, but still pretty enjoyable.

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    9. I wouldn't say I hate it, but aside from the Rick Baker make-up work I don't think I really got much out of watching it. Even the worst of the original movies I think at least had some things they were trying to say. I'm not sure that Burton's movie is trying to say much of anything.

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    10. I have only watched the original Planet of the Apes films. After seeing parts of Tim Burton's version, I was not inspired to see the whole film. The newer films I have not got around to watching.

      Though the first film in the original series is undoubtedly more iconic, CONQUEST OF THE PLANETS OF THE APES has always been my favorite. I remember catching it during a weekend afternoon on TV back in the '80s. It must have been around 8 years ago that I watched the original cut of the film on Fox Movies. It holds up very well, and the unedited version of Caesar's speech at the conclusion is even more riveting. Roddy McDowall's performance is dynamic, and I love the revolutionary tone of the film. The revolt set-pieces, though suffering from the low budget, are still quite brutal. It would have benefited from a little more blood being shown, but Fox wanted to tone the violence down for a younger audience.

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  4. Sat down to watch the The Blackcoat's Daughter the other day, but realized I wasn't in the mood. So instead I watched:
    Year One - I really enjoyed this for the first half, but then it kind of fell apart as they attempted to shoehorn "story" into the plot.
    Zoolander - Much better made movie. I was apprehensive, because generally I'm not a big fan of Ben Stiller, but the movie was pretty funny and well put together.

    The next day I DID watch The Blackcoat's Daughter and really loved it!
    Also watched T2 Trainspotting which was depressing as hell. I didn't like how they gave Franco (Begbie) a non-asshole moment near the end, because I want to hate him. I honestly instinctively hate Robert Carlyle even in other roles/movies because of Begbie.

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  5. just watched Black Swan, which was great, but i understand the people who didn't like it.

    and to counter balance it, i put on Missing In Action, from Cannon. but there's more, i listened to the french-dub version. being French-Canadian, it allows me to re-discover gems like this. it's with B-movies like this that a dub simply become an added bonus

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    1. Hey, I saw they made a Bon Cop Bad Cop 2. I remember the first being pretty funny with the 2 leads having a good chemistry (and unique in its bilingualism).

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    2. They did. It didn't do as good and think the reviews are lukewarm at best. Haven't seen it myself yet

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    3. Bon cop 2 has its moments, but doesnt even come close to the first one, tabarnak!

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  6. There has been less time and energy to devote to movies this week, but I did get around to watching a handful of them.

    L'Immortelle (1963)- Written and Directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet

    Robbe-Grillet is probably best known in the cinema world for writing the script for the puzzle film that is LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (1961). I have lately been delving into his own productions. Robbe-Grillet's narrative style is always non-linear. L'Immortelle at least has a story that is suggested by the images and dialogue. A French academic living in Istanbul meets a woman who may or may not be involved with shady characters. She is always vague about the details of her life. When she disappears, he launches a search for her. What happens after that is up to interpretation, but both characters end up dead. This is pure art-house filmmaking. Alienation, loneliness, and exoticism are all touched on in the film's imagery, which is captivating and beautiful throughout. I did not regret watching it.

    At the other end of the cinema spectrum is SWAMP THING (1982). While this is not one of Wes Craven's shining moments in his career, I was entertained by it. The biggest problem was the script. It did not adequately explain what the value of the formula was to Arcane, the villain. The conclusion of Swamp Thing is absolute schlock, which was simultaneously amusing and deflating. I at least appreciated the location shooting and the character of Jude.

    The last film to mention is a sexploitation oddity appropriately titled ODDLY COUPLED (1970). It is actually two films in one. One part, random soft-core sequences, is very forgettable and tiresome. The second part, a burlesque sex farce about a middle-aged virgin who is more interested in his fish than taking advantage of an opportunity to engage in physical intimacy with a woman, is goofy beyond belief. The actors really do a good job playing up the silliness of it all. I got a few good laughs out of it.

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    1. I should not forget to mention THE LOVE WITCH. The best description of my reaction to it is intrigued. From the colors of the clothes and the sets, the characterization of Elaine, the retro score (I never mind a little Morricone in a soundtrack), and the ritualistic nature of certain scenes, there is a lot to take in. The commentary track with Anna Biller is well worth listening to.

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    2. L'Immortelle sounds like it's worth a watch. I'll have to check it out before my Fandor sub runs out.

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    3. L'Immortelle definitely is worth a watch, Ross. Being in a frame of mind to drift along with a movie helps to get into it.

      Fandor offers a good range of documentaries. (That is why I have stuck with it.) If you like docs, DON'T EXPECT TOO MUCH ,THE WOODMANS, and VISUAL ACOUSTICS are all worth a look.

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  7. Baby Driver finally came out here on Thursday. I really liked. No one puts a movie together quite like Wright. Even though it moved along quickly it still puts in these great character beats. Oh and Jon Hamm has never looked finer.

    Also going to see the Beguiled tomorrow. I watched the oringal a few nights ago and will be interesting to cimp2are the two.

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    1. You mean chimpanzare the twoMONKEY NEWS!!! (Little monkey fella.)

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  8. i'm making my way through the Pink Panther Collection that was recently released by Shout Factory. i'm discovering most of them for the first time. some parts are better than others, but on the whole, if you like one, you like them all.

    now i need to get the others that were made without Sellers

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  9. Assasination of Jesse James from 2007. My first viewing. Seems like an instant classic to me. So beautifully written, and shot, though a little clumsily constructed narratively (like this sentence maybe). Great performances and just a mesmerizing movie all round. I wonder if there are any alternate versions going around with more San Shepherd and a little more cohesion. Also was wondering throughout that if I watched it again, if it would work better without a narration.
    Also trying to make my way through a few of the modern horror classics after the recent podcast. Great listen as always.

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  10. And to finish off the weekend...

    Hell In The Pacific: 2 iconic actors, that speak different language, stuck alone on an island. This is a must see movie for any Toshiro Mifune and Lee Marvin fans out there.

    The Robber: from Austria, a very competent thriller based on true events. the last third is all chase and very well made.

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