Saturday, August 11, 2018

Weekend Open Thread

In Space Force, no one can hear you scream.


  1. Good weekend to everyone.

    I was in a classic movie mood this week; all but one of the films I watched was made before 1960. I had a good selection to choose from, as well.

    SPEEDY (1928) – Harold Lloyd’s last silent film is a delightful comedy about saving a trolley line from ruthless investors. Not being a big Lloyd fan- my favorite silent comedian is Buster Keaton- I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The gags and humorous situations come thick and fast with great comedic timing. This is also a document of New York City in the late 1920s. Probably the best historical sequence is the Coney Island visit. There is a notable celebrity cameo: the legendary baseball player Babe Ruth.

    JAILHOUSE ROCK (1957) – Although the pacing of the film is slow at times, this remains an engaging 1950s artifact. I was not expecting a serious tone to the film, so I was taken a little aback by the negative depiction of Elvis Presley’s character. His cynicism and the general corruption of the entertainment industry that he joins gives the film a pleasantly pungent edge.

    HOPSCOTCH was the newest film I watched, a breezy 1980 spy thriller and comedy. Walter Matthau- who would certainly not have a Hollywood career today- is a CIA agent trying to discredit his boss by writing a book. It is clever cinematic fluff that I found very entertaining.

    I went back to the 1930s and '40s with the films of Jeanette MacDonald. She was a soprano, and a significant number of her films are operetta adaptions. Her 1934 film, THE MERRY WIDOW, directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch, is a gem. The unrealistically romantic European locales, the costumes, the lavish sets and melodramatic story create a dream-like atmosphere only the films of that era have.

    Speaking of melodrama, I caught a couple of Douglas Sirk's films. I am a great admirer of Sirk, who directed several beautifully shot subversive melodramas in the 1950s. WRITTEN ON THE WIND is a masterpiece of the form, perhaps his most overwrought film. It borders more than a little on the trashy side of storytelling.

  2. i think i made good choices this week

    PI : the first feature length movie (84 minutes) from Darren Aronovsky. That’s what I call putting yourself on the map. it features some great actor (Mark Margolis, mostly known for his role in Breaking Bad) and some less good performance. The main actor, Sean Gullette is not the greatest actor ever, but he does the job. The cinematography and the editing is where the movie shines and shows what Aronovsky is capable of, for better or worse. I personally like his energetic style, which will be perfected in his follow-up movie REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (again, some like it, some don’t). I loved this movie the first time I saw it and I still love it today

    MURDER PARTY : another awesome first movie from a talented director. Though this one is less ‘showy’ in his editing and photography, he nonetheless shows a lot of control over a crazy story and a lot of blood being spilled. And we need more Macon Blair in our movies

    PURPLE RAIN : this one i got for cheap in a used blu-ray bin. I never saw it before and knew nothing about it, other than Prince is in it. It’s a weird movie that doesn’t always work, but you still enjoy in the end (as much as you can ‘enjoy’ that type of drama). And now I get the end of Jay And Silent Bob Strikes Back

    BANLIEUE 13 (District B13) : awesome French action movie, featuring the inventor of Parkour. Listen, it’s cliché over cliché in this thing. The bad guys is maybe trying to be too bad and the various characters are maybe trying to sound too cool when delivering their lines, often one-liners, but the action is great and it features some great foot chases thanks to the Parkour guy, David Belle. The movie was remade in 2014 under Brick Mansions with Paul Walker (his last complete feature) and David Belle in the same role. It’s more competently made because of budget, but I obviously prefer the original. And I’m not talking about the sequel to B13, partly because I don’t remember much, but also because what I remember was not good (I might be mistaken).

    SPARTAN : I like when David Mamet write stuff, I love when he direct movies. And I love spy movies, so obviously I love this movie. There’s a flow to this story that i particularly like. And Mamet doesn’t take you by the hand, leaving the images telling you what’s happening. And the character is what we like: a guy that’s good at his job and dedicated to the mission at hand. Val Kilmer is great.

    APPALOOSA : great western directed by Ed Harris, and featuring a great supporting cast with Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons. There’s also Renee Zellweger as the love interest, which is as weird as you can expect. it's not always perfect. There’s a love triangle between Harris, Mortensen and Zellweger that serves nothing and basically goes nowhere. Mortensen narrates the story, but only in the opening and closing of the movie, nothing in between. It’s not bad, it's just useless. where Harris drops the ball as a director is right at the end, Mortensen finish his narration, and then the picture quickly fades to black, like in a tv show, and the credits start rolling with a very boring and modern sounding western song that has no place in this kind of western. Everything negative i said earlier, except the credit thing, is basically quibbles in an otherwise great western, well shot, good music, good shootouts, but the credit thing is just bad and wrong.

  3. I feel like Stephen King is insulting Muppets. Ouch. There are other ways, Stephen King, other ways.

  4. Watched "Let the Corpses Tan" and it's everything I hoped it would be! Highly recommended if you were a fan of the directors' previous films, "Amer" (2009) and "The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears" (2013). Both of these films were in my top 10 of their respective years and I can't imagine LTCT not being there as well by year end. This film is on Amazon Prime in the UK and will be getting a limited theatrical run in the USA starting at the end of the month courtesy of Kino Lorber.

    Saw "Deadpool 2". I liked it enough. I liked the first one better but I've always been a Reynolds fan and his energy and charm for these movies makes the experience less cringe worthy with the non-stop jokey-jokes.

    Been watching "Castle Rock". I'm not really a fan and Bill Skarsgard is super annoying in it.

    Gonna check out "Along Came the Devil" and "Aura" (2018) tonight.

  5. This week I have watched Predator and Predator 2. Predator is the manly movie ever. It’s subtle enough to flip the script on the Guns, Lots of Guns cliche. Predator 2 is the definition of derivative. It thinks that being cranked up to 11 and being meaner and more violent are what made the first so good. Isn’t funny that both sequels to McTiernan classics (Predator and Die Hard) suffer from not understanding what made the original’s work and deciding to be as ugly as fuck.

    Question...what are the best action movies ever in your alls opinion. Mine start with Predator, Die Hard, Mad Max Fury Road, Point Break, and Heat.

    1. I remember watching Predator when it first aired on HBO around 1988. I saw it many times back then, and it remains a favorite film from my youth.

      I have never had a problem with Predator 2. Even when I watched it back in the '90s, I regarded it as a having little connection with the first one and had fun with it. Re-watching it a few years ago, it struck as an overblown monster film in an urban setting, a B-movie to turn your mind off with.

      As for great action films, I have always regarded the first two Terminator movies highly. The Road Warrior has terrific set pieces. Hong Kong has also produced some great action cinema. The Iron Monkey, which I re-watched for Junesploitation, has exceptional fights.

    2. Hard Boiled is the greatest action movie ever made. It’s not even close IMO.

    3. Yeah, Hard Boiled is right up there with the bests

    4. Die Hard is the greatest action film ever made. Followed by The Raid. hard Boiled is in top 5 though, for sure.

    5. Gonna have to go with Fury Road,even if I hate putting recent movies in a best of all time slot.

      I'd also put The Raid and The Killer up there.

    6. gonna have to throw First Blood and Lethal Weapon in there

  6. I've been watching all of Disney's animated theatrical features in sequence, and the other night finally got to A GOOFY MOVIE, and why the heck did I skip this at the time? The first 10 minutes or so are very, very 1995 but then it starts getting funnier and funnier while also being very sweet. It's a damn good piece of work that really deserves a more prominent, funny place in the Disney Renaissance.

  7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017): Mind-blowing! This movie is sensational. Unique, beautiful, intense, and really funny (for those with super-dark senses of humor). Performances are amazing. I loved it. Bonus: it was filmed in my home town of Cincy and showcases the city perhaps better than any movie... At least since Airborne...

  8. Airborne getting some love. Talk about an underrated gem of the rollerblade genre. Love that movie!!

  9. Finally caught up with Peter Berg's The Kingdom on Netflix, and, whaddya know, it's damn good. It doesn't quite transcend the action genre the way Sicario does, but it's a gripping, well-made Middle Eastern contemporary terrorism thriller featuring Kyle Chandler that, unlike Zero Dark Thirty, bothers to tell a coherent story the whole way through, not just in its second half. Django aside, Jamie Foxx hasn't had quite the leading man career I expected of him since Collateral (which I now see really stumbles in its last act), but this movie showcases his star power on full. Also, Kyle Chandler!

    Oh, and Patrick, a Valkyrie podcast, please! Kthx. :)

  10. I am neck deep in the Melbourne International Film Festival. It's getting to the point I cannot remember a time before MIFF, I have spent most of the time in a theatre of some kind. But man have I seen some stuff.

    Let The Corpses Tan - really enjoyed it, art house western/giallo though the sound of leather has completely changed for me,

    Three Identical Strangers - turns into a smart, sad and quiet Doco.

    Climax (Gaspar Noe) - this movie infects you like a virius. I cannot stop listening to the soundtrack.

    Tampopo - a Japanese Classic and great movie about food. Like Ramen this movie is a bowl of happiness.

    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - It doesn't completely work and is over long but that didn't stop me from loving it.

    First Reformed - Wow, just wow. And a surprisingly good double with Don Quixote.

    Mandy - One of those old Unicorn Fantasy paintings from the 70s come to life. Strange, surreal, metal and very purple it's one of the best of the year. I saw it in an all night Cage marathon (totally worth it). Though my main take away is Red Rock West needs to be talked bout more often, cause that movie is awesome.

    I still have the likes of the Anthonlogy Field Guide to Evil, Good Manners (Brazilian Werewolf Movie), the Haruki Murakami adaption Burning and the movie Shoplifters. This is my life now.

    1. Gaspar Noe is a fascinating director. I'm curious about his latest

      And of course, as a big fan of Terry Gilliam, Don Quixote

    2. For me Adam Driver and especially Johnathan Price make Don Quixote. They are incrediable.

  11. New Jack City. On HBO go. Must be a good 20 plus years since I have seen this but it really stands up. So good. Mario Van Peebles really made a great one there. So sad that it went south for him later on. The guy is clearly very talented.