Saturday, July 7, 2018

Weekend Open Thread

After taking the last month off for #Junesploitation, look what's back!

37 comments:

  1. A week light on movies, but I did see Ant-Man and the Wasp and revisited The 6th Day for the first time in a decade and a half. A&tW is a fun and inconsequential romp just like the first one, and The 6th Day hasn't gotten any less stupid in the intervening years.

    I also bought the soundtracks to Tenebre, Phenomena, Suspiria and City of the Living Dead (plus the theme to The Visitor as a single track) and have been listening to them for the whole week. Best money I ever spent.

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    2. Just rewatched Masters of the Universe and Justice League. Masters of the Universe is the smarter, better and more fun of the two movies. It's baffling to me how terrible Justice League is.

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    3. Here in the States "Justice League" premiered on HBO tonight. Good chance to rewatch it for "free" (if you subscribe) and marvel at how something with the same budget as "Avengers: Infinity Wars" yields a substantially inferior product. And yet this is the best of the Snyder-directed trilogy of DC superhero flicks. :-O Sad.

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  2. I wanted to mention this one again because I thought some people in this community (like Chaybee) might like it - Welcome The Stranger (2018). It's a tiny mystery. It reminded me of Midnight Swim combined with Enemy. I was bummed by all the other online reviews calling it pointless and pretentious because I think if people had given it more thought, like people gave more thought to Enemy, they would have gotten it. I feel pretty convinced of my own explanation.

    The other really cool part I like about it is the biggest clues are in the costume design. The tone of the dialogue and the costume design. So it's subtle, and you could easily miss it, but once you see it you can't unsee it.

    Also I watched a Bollywood love story last night and no no no, I did not like it. But it was super interesting to me that it was the first movie I ever saw that echoed some of my own sentiments about relationships. In all other star-crossed lover stories I've seen, which are all Western, the lovers are up against bad stuff, bad people, unfair conditions, unfair society. But in this one they are both from extremely good places and people, so they are faced with a decision to stay together or not that they will actually have to own, not just be like "oh well if not for EVIL SOCIETY we would be together". Ahhh, worthless movies do that IMO.

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    1. Reminded you of Midnight Swim and Enemy?! Oh man, gonna watch this ASAP! Thanks so much!!

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    2. Tell me your thoughts on it! Even if you don't like it, that's fine. I'm dying to analyze it with someone :)

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    3. I can see why people didn't respond very positively to the film. it's a frustrating watch with unlikable characters (I was even like "oh no" when I saw Caleb Landry Jones was in it, sorry, not really a fan) and it's ambiguity really started weighing on me by midpoint. Still, I appreciated it. I read after that it was shot on film and it looks like it. It looks great, the house is amazing and the score really shined (probably my favorite thing about the film). As for what it's saying? I don't really know. It's SO ambiguous that I have like three different interpretations, one of which I hope is incorrect because that would be "it was all a dream" and that is no bueno these days. I think it ultimately has to do with the creative process - the frantic search for the lucky pen is a major clue to this, IMO. So in essence, I believe it kind of is an "all a dream film" but it's about creative blocks and dealing with real life interfering with the process which causes conflicts when creating works of art. Thanks again for pointing this film out to me. I don't really know if "liked" it, but I'm glad I watched it.

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    4. Cool, Chaybee! Glad you checked it out. You are awesome! Sorry you didn't like it, but I understand. I also read the "all a dream" theory, but I thought another theory made a lot more sense from my point of view....Ok *SPOILERS AHEAD for WELCOME THE STRANGER****


      If you can accept a little ghost story and think of the girls as mother/daughter as the movie hints at (where Misty's face shows up in the old photo), some parts started to seem less ambiguous to me. Through Misty and Alice's kitchen scene, making dinner, the tone of that dialogue seems so off for women who are basically strangers, but then I realized - that dialogue would be SPOT ON if they were mother/daughter. Misty orders Alice around the kitchen in a familiar way, and Alice is like WTF. Also Misty is wearing A WHITE APRON DRESS as she's cooking dinner. Alice, who is so immature and childish in tone compared to Misty, is slouching around in her mother's too-big red dress (they called attention to it in that whole scene of her playing dress up with it earlier), while what Misty is wearing is synonymous with motherhood.

      They really make a point of showing that white apron dress because they have that pronounced shot of her back as she's sitting RIGHT BETWEEN Alice and Ethan at the dinner table (she's at the head of the table by the way). They've got Misty in that same white in the movie poster, too, looking direct at the camera while Alice looks on, wearing her mother's dress. IMO Alice is the confused child and Misty knows what's going on. It's a revenge ghost story!

      More costume and tonal stuff: the bathing suits. Misty, again, is wearing a more mature black one-piece, and she tells Alice who walks out in a tiny bikini "It looks good on you". Maybe Alice is borrowing Misty's suit or one she found in the house that Misty already knows about - again with the familiar tone and idea that Alice is second to Misty, she's a second-hand Misty or a daughter. Then the way they talk is crazy. Alice is OBVIOUSLY being childish and Misty embarrasses her calling her out for it. It's strange. Unless they're related, then none of it is strange.

      Misty, the "stranger", also detects Alice is pregnant first. Not that an unrelated woman couldn't deduce that from the situation but it's usually a friend sort of comment/observation, which Misty is not (especially at that point between them), or a motherly one. Again in that scene she also comments on what Alice is wearing. Again, why the hell is it her business? (I also personally noticed Alice wearing more braids as this goes on - which IMO is considered a juvenile symbol, but that may just be me.)

      I didn't focus too much on the parts with Ethan. I thought he was mostly a pawn between them. That boy needs to learn to enunciate OMG. I don't usually analyze costumes or tone- those are subtle things that are easy to take for granted, so I thought it was so cool that the director pointed those things out a bunch of times because they're not the usual things you'd pay attention to, you know? They usually support a story. They don't usually tell the main stuff in a story.

      Not sure I "liked" it so much either, but I liked the style a lot and was impressed with what they could do with so little.

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    5. This is a fantastic idea in which didn't even cross my mind! I was somewhat paying attention to the costumes because of your comment but I honestly couldn't understand what you meant when I was watching it. Now I see what you mean. Some things would be really weird though if this is true...Ethan has sex with his mom?! Would the Mom actually do that even as a ghost? haha. Also, aren't we to assume that he really does strangle her to death and then she REAPPEARS as as ghost? So, in your scenario, she just doesn't get killed because she is already a ghost? This movie makes my brain hurt :)

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    6. Yeah one has to accept the incest part (esp between Alice and ethan, which couldn’t be more emphasized- yuck), and that the mom is a total witch. If Alice screwed her boyfriend, though, and ruined her love and drove her to her death- this would be the “appropriate” revenge move for the mom. It’s a little foreshadowed I thought when, Alice, in an intimate scene with herself, is suddenly being strangled by another woman’s hands.

      Misty smirks and swims away with no explanation to Ethan when she sees him at the end. No like “baby I’m alive, how could this have happened, why did you do this?” She has like this super all-knowing smirk and is acting like she doesn’t owe him anything and hes not her equal (he’s her kid). Its her pool and her house and she can walk around naked haunting people if she wants to. It’s not a a good mom story, but a good revenge story I thought! :)

      By the way thank you so much for humoring me and letting me get that all off my brain finally lol!

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    7. Ah! You know what else I just thought of...you know how ther mother disappeared into the ocean, body never found? Ocean MIST is ocean water that rises and takes another form, like you-know-who! OMG I cannot watch these movies, I can never stop thinking about them: and I have to get back get you to WORK. Blah!

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    8. Those things do make a ton of sense; very good observations! Misty could also be "misty eyed" e.g. Sleepy i.e. "all a dream" Haha! :) Ugh. I like your theory the best!

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    9. Oh, right, True!! Yea who cares which is right, they're all fun :) Such a tiny movie, so many theories.

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  3. Watched "Minutes to Midnight" - a new indie slasher with William Baldwin, Richard Grieco, Bill Moseley and some guy who must be a WWE star or something. It's a complete mess and there's nothing new going on but the kills are decent and the slo mo fight scene at the end came out of nowhere and had me cracking up. Grieco is still rockin' his hair.

    Also watched "Traffik". Honestly, I liked it way more than I thought I would and I don't really know why. Paula Patton only gets hotter with age. She might look the best she ever has in this film.

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    1. Best thing about Traffik is that it pretended it wasn't a horror movie in the promotional stuff, but it totally is one once you're watching it. Weird that it's so forgotten already

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  4. Rewatched 'Jaws' for the millionth time with teenage sister-in-law who'd never seen it. Happy that she enjoyed it despite it not being the type of movie she would normally be drawn to. The jump scares still work, the dread and suspense still draw you in, the gore is still shocking, and the humor all still hits. The scene with Brody and Sean at the dinner table still gets me no matter how many times I've seen it.

    Also rewatched about half of 'The 'Burbs' on the 4th while we were waiting around to leave the house. Next time you watch it, just pay attention to every little thing that Rick Ducommun does and then watch Hanks' and Fisher's reactions. There's so much dumb shit constantly going on with him that you pay little attention to because of how the plot moves. Love it.

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    1. Burbs' day is the 2nd Saturday in July! That's when I always revisit it, wear a robe and spy on my neighbors.

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  5. Since I did not stray beyond films fit for Junesploitation last month, I turned my attention to other realms of cinema this week. I watched more than I expected to.

    I did a double feature of pirate movies on my DVR.

    CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935) – The charismatic Errol Flynn plays Peter Blood, a doctor in 17th century England, who is unjustly convicted of treason and sent to the colony of Jamaica as a slave. When he and his fellow slaves get a chance to escape, they become notorious pirates. That is not the kind of life that suits Blood, and the film ends with noble deeds.

    Captain Blood is classic Hollywood Golden Age swashbuckling. Although the film takes its time to get to the action scenes, but they are worth the wait.

    SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963, dir. Umberto Lenzi) The main character is said to be involved in piracy, but piracy is not on the screen. Steve Reeves portrays Sandokan, who is the son of a sultan in Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century. The British have taken control of the area and are actively suppressing the local population. Sandokan is the leader the resistance. It is a pleasant adventure story in an old-fashioned vein that does feel a little too long.

    SCARECROW (1973, dir. Jerry Schatzberg) – The early 1970s. Gene Hackman and Al Pacino getting the chance to inhabit their roles. Real locations and a genuine sense of the pace of life. In short, Scarecrow is an American cinematic gem, yet it does not quite join the ranks of the great films of that era. The film loses steam in the final act and ends in what I consider an unsatisfactory manner. With a road movie, or a journey in real life, sometimes the outcome is not what you would like to happen. Even so, the performances are terrific until the conclusion.

    HOW TO STUFF A WILD BIKINI (1965) – How is a wild bikini stuffed? According to the title song, it is the dimensions 36-22-36. Something like that, anyway.

    HTSAWB comes at the end of the beach party cycle and feels like it. It is not as bad as The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, at least. Frankie and Annette are largely on the sidelines for this beach outing, so the focus is on the other characters. The songs tend to be mediocre and sound the same, and the motorcycle race at the end gets tedious quickly.

    In spite of all of that, I had a good time watching this. HTSAWB tries so hard to be fresh and entertaining that I could not help laughing from time to time. The more ridiculous it became, the more I enjoyed the film. That seems to be my reaction to the beach party movies in general.

    RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP (1967) – American International Pictures made this only two years after WILD BIKINI, but it might as well be from another world. Here you get psychedelia, drugs, sex, aggressive rock’n’roll, and lots of generational conflict. Mimsy Farmer is what drew me to the film and is the only memorable part of it. It is a completely misguided attempt at portraying the ’60s counterculture.

    CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS (1953) – A film noir set in Chicago. The various threads of the plot involve a policeman, a corrupt lawyer, a showgirl, and an unhinged criminal. Plans do not turn out as expected and bodies accumulate in the city. It is a good example of film noir. J.B. wrote an excellent article on this.

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    1. I loved CAPTAIN BLOOD as a kid, but haven't seen it in years. I should revisit it. I'm always surprised how little I hear those Errol Flynn adventures movies get talked about in film circles.

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    2. Captain Blood is the second film from Errol Flynn's peak years I have watched. They are some of the best escapist films I have ever watched. The passage of time is probably the main reason for Flynn not being discussed. There also do not seem to be many champions of his films these days.

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  6. Finally saw Chappaquiddick. It was fine. The only thing i got from it is how much of a pathetic wimp Ted Kennedy was. And the father is just plain evil

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  7. This morning I finally broke down and went to see JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. I expected nothing, I got nothing, and I imagine I will remember nothing in about a week. I know some like it better than the 2015 film, but I can't imagine that. That movie was not much good, but this thing is another level.

    This afternoon I watched the perfect antidote. I just recently participated in my first Kino sale and one of the films I got was MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE (1969). One of the few westerns to feature Vincent Price! As far as I'm concerned, this thing should be considered a true classic. Just a well made movie in absolutely every way. I love how little of an action movie it is, and how it's mostly just telling this ex-gunfighter's story of him trying to lead a decent life. It's charming, pleasant, unpredictable, and the whole cast is amazing. I loved it!

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  8. Went to visit my sister and niece in Upstate, NY. I loaded two movies from Netflix for the 90+ minute train ride so I could watch something coming and going.

    TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES (2015): a lot more entertaining and fun than you'd expect for a fifth installment without the original creators' involvement. Michael Gross is still a big draw, but the real treats are (a) new setting (South Africa), (b) new bigger/badder creatures (plus returning ones), plus (c) Natalie Becker playing a bad-ass scientist. Like the DTV "Chucky" sequels, Universal gives a throwaway "Tremors" title enough resources to deliver a genre picture so entertaining you don't mind (a) it's ripping off "Jurassic Park" and (b) Jamie Kennedy is playing the $1 Store version of xXx. Worth seeing.

    THE BREADWINNER (2017): well-meaning and socially relevant animated misery porn. A little Afghani girl under Taliban control has to dress like a boy to feed her family, try to save her unjustly imprisoned father and distract her baby brother by telling him a made-up story... about their dead older brother. It goes out of its way to avoid being fun by cutting to black a scene shy of an uplifting ending. Recommended if you're in the mood to hate humanity.

    I took my sister to see THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS (2018) at the discount cinema near her house, mostly because she wanted to see Chris Pratt in "JW: Fallen Kingdom" and I sold her that he was more fun to watch in this one. It was her first time seeing it and liked it a lot, but afterwards told me that my 30-minute attempt to explain the Marvel movies leading up to "IW" was more entertaining. She's right, if you actually describe the plots of the MCU movies to someone not in the same cinematic wavelength you sound like a crazy person. :-P

    Later we watched Alex Garland's ANNIHILATION ('18) on Blu-ray, a movie that I love more every time I rewatch it despite not knowing what the hell is going on during the last 20 minutes. I'll take my sister's request for her to keep my BD so she can show it to her boyfriend and watch the making-of featurettes as signs that she liked it. :-)

    Subscribed to AMC's $19.95 monthly subscription plan for three movies per week. Saw HEREDITARY (nowhere near as scary as its trailer but a moody, artsy and fucked-up modern-day gothic tale), UNCLE DREW (decent if you're into TV commercials and NBA cameos masquerading as actual entertainment) and SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (better than expected until the final act, when we're asked to swallow a near-death close call so unbelievable it retroactively makes the whole movie feel worse than it is). God, I miss Junesploitation! :'(

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    1. I think Uncle Drew might be the best possible movie starring an athlete and based on a soda commercial. I don't think its good, but I don't regret seeing it (with moviepass)

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  9. https://youtu.be/fVlXbS0SNqk

    For anyone who hasn't yet seen this newly surfaced Japanese documentary made after the production of The Shining, it's worth checking out, mostly for the bits with Kubrick's youngest sisterda, Vivian. It seems that she had so much promise (and the inclination) to follow in her father's footsteps. It's an interesting look at what could have been had and not had a falling out with him, followed by a devotion to Scientology.

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  10. I do not understand new television screens. They make film look like cheap handheld TV episodes. They alter the tone and mood of a film and are overly bright, you’d have to make up for the brightness with a really dark film perhaps. Maybe that’s one reason modern movies are so dark and blueish with crushed blacks and vignette effects. Hm.

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    1. Modern TV's have so many different settings now, so try changing them up until you get the look you want. Most come stock with some sort of motion alteration already on which usually gives it that soap opera look. Try turning it off.

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    2. Ahhh interesting. Thanks for the tip!

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    3. I always turn off the motion setting on my television while watching movies. The motion is distracting to me.

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    4. Guys, I never knew these things, this will be so much better, thank you.

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    5. A lot of people don't know about it, and thst feature is always on by default

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  11. I watched a double feature of The Tingler and Matinee (both first time watches). The double was a little on the nose but I loved them both.

    And I have just finished The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford. Wow. This is such a gorgeous movie, it feels like Roger Deakins was let off the leash to be able to do anyting.


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  12. Found a fun little half-hour mashup of horror movies made as a sequel of sorts to The Shining (and as a tribute to Stephen King). It's well made and even kind of makes sense.

    The Overlook Hotel

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