Just watched L'AVVENTURA for the first time. SO BORING. I really wanted to love it. But it gave me every reason to hate it. I love Italian culture (like a healthy infatuation, actually), but damn. Great Italian movies are few and far between, in my humble opinion. I might get skewered for that comment but it's my truth! L'AVVENTURA was a great lesson on what not to do. Which is bore the audience for over 2 hours with no payoff.
Is this your first Antonioni? You have to watch a few of his movies to get into his rhythms, his motifs, his misse-en-scene. The more Antonioni you watch the more interesting and, yes, entertaining they become. The man's bread and butter are arthouse movies through and through, so don't go into them expecting mainstream-friendly happy endings and such. :-I
Hey J.M., thanks for your response. Yup, this was my first Antonioni film. I believe you when you say you have to watch a few of his movies to get into his rhythms. That's the only possible explanation after 2 hours and 26 minutes of not getting into his rhythm. I kind of compare that to when people are selling me on a Netflix show and they say "the first 4 or 5 episodes are really slow, but then it gets good." There's way too much great content out there for me to justify enduring 4 or 5 episodes of boredom before getting to the good stuff. That's just my opinion though. I just prefer to watch those movies and shows that can entertain me while they happen to be artfully crafting a compelling story. I get that Antonioni made arthouse films, but there are so many examples of arthouse films that are not boring that I can't give him a pass for this one.
I am a big fan of Italian cinema in general, Kyle. With genre films, comedies, and arthouse films to choose from, there is likely something that will appeal to you.I enjoy Antonioni's films but have yet to get through L'Avventura. I tried watching it once many years ago. L'Eclisse, The Red Desert, and Blow-Up are more engaging. I have to give Antonioni some credit for daring to use boredom as a narrative technique. Have you watched any of Luchino Visconti's films? Vittorio di Sica? Pasolini? They tend to have a livelier style than Antonioni.
One day of my first FTM columns was about this film: http://www.fthismovie.net/2011/09/shting-on-classics-lavventura.html?m=1I agree with you.
JB - excellent pre-Halloween mix, my friend!!
Thank you! Put a lot of time into that one.
A Casual Listener- thanks, I'll keep trying. There's still plenty I haven't seen. Actually Cinema Paradiso is one of my favorite movies, so I know there is hope for me and Italian cinema.JB- I enjoyed reading your column about L'Avventura! I found it honest, funny, and well-articulated.
Another week, another dose of quarantine-backed movie goodness! :-DPowell and Pressburger's I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (1945) is the lesser-known of The Archers' post-WWII output, but still carries the attention to detail and charm (cute opening credits) that characterizes their AAA films. Working-class Brit Joan (Wendy Hiller) travels to a remote Scottish island to marry an older, richer man. Weather conspires to keep the dream wedding/life Joan's wanted her entire life on firm ground, where a friendly Scotsman (George Carney) and a parade of quirky small town characters change her priorities. Though predictable "IKWIG" is a class-conscious picture that feels both authentic to its period/location (including a Scottish Cèilidh dance scene that clearly inspired a similar scene in James Cameron's "Titanic") and hopelessly romantic. Highly recommended. Alex Cox's WALKER (1987) is a now-forgotten attempt to do for Nicaragua what Oliver Stone did in "Salvador" for El Salvador, except with Cox's punk-like sensibilities giving his infrequent-but-notable flights of cinematic fancy some visual flair. Inspired by a real-life American mercenary's antics in Central America before the Civil War, "Walker" lucks at having a lead (Ed Harris) and supporting cast (Xander Berkley, Rene Auberjonois, Peter Boyle, Marlee Matlin, etc.) that makes a muddled and slightly-confusing narrative more tolerable. Worth revisiting for a unique cinematic representation of the ageless truism that we're destined to repeat the mistakes of the past again and again.Woody Allen's HUSBANDS AND WIVES (1992) is neither a comedy or a drama, though it leans heavily on the latter to deconstruct the personalities of its half-a-dozen New Yorkers struggling with relationships. Best known as the film that came around the time Allen and Mia Farrow separated, time has been kinder to the supporting cast than the rather-forgettable leads. Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis put an acting clinic together and separately, Juliette Lewis is an above-average young love interest ("Because I'm worth it") and Liam Neeson plays lovable urbanite rogue perfectly. Carlo Di Palma's shaky cam (a trend in Allen's 90's movies that he abandoned in the 2000's) and a proto-attempt at reality TV-style off-camera interviews stood out back in '92, one of the few quirks in a pretty 'meh' film in the director's vast filmography.Paul W.S. Anderson's ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (2004) at least has a healthy amount of practical effects (miniatures, puppets, trick photography) to go with passable CG effects. It's the only positive in a thinly-written excuse to bring together two iconic sci-fi characters to cash-in on the then-year-old "Freddy Vs. Jason" bandwagon. The only thing more generic and bland than the premise (an underground temple used by Predators for a once-every-century rite of passage bug huny) are the watered-down gory moments and good actors (Lance Henriksen, Sanaa Lathan, etc.) literally sleepwalking through the implied slaughter happening around them... off-camera. Turns out "Prometheus" was only a continuing slide into incoherence from where "AvP" (and its ignored sequel) left off. Also watched (with fan-recorded commentary tracks): 1987's MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (glad that Dolph's acting improved greatly, though Frank Langella's Skeletor owns the pic from start to finish), 1989's GHOSTBUSTERS II (I love the first one to death, but this ill-advised sequel offers more interesting insights on repeat viewing), 1992's HELLRAISER III: HELL OF EARTH (my favorite in the series, mostly because we get much more Doug Bradley w/o Pinhead make-up), 1993's JURASSIC PARK 3D (keeps getting better, especially compared with the "J. World" follow-ups) and SPEED (1994) (young Sandra Bullock is a doll and just as ageless as boyfriend John Wick).
Hello to everyone. I have followed all of the posts for the 10th anniversary of FThisMovie! this week. Congrats to Patrick and and company. I did not, unfortunately, have the chance to take part in watching the films on Thursday. With the approach of June, I got around to warming up a little with some appropriate films for that month. THE FIVE VENOMS (1978) – A kung-fu classic that I did not particularly enjoy. My reaction to it is not a knock against the quality of the film. The cinematography is better than most Shaw Brothers films (no out-of-focus shots) and full of color. The story is more sophisticated than the typical SB production. I think it is Five Venom’s style that bothers me. Maybe too lighthearted or theatrical? It is hard to pinpoint. I have had similar reactions to the other films starring the Venom group of actors. The Masked Avenger is probably the only film with them that I unconditionally liked. I would choose Gordon Liu over the Venom group any day. ERIK THE CONQUERER (1961, dir. Mario Bava) – A Viking film in the style of the Italian sword and sandal films, ERIK is an entertaining ninety minutes of battles, political intrigue, family and romance. The pacing, which is often slow for this kind of film, does not drag much until the conclusion. Being a Bava film shot in color, there are plenty of beautiful visuals to take in. The restored version on Prime is gorgeous. Definitely worth a watch for those curious about Mario Bava’s work outside of the horror genre. ROMANCE (1999, dir. Catherine Breillat) – You know that when Catherine Breillat makes a film called Romance it will be far from romantic. When it comes to depicting relationships between men and women, I cannot think of anyone more cynical than her. Marie, a young teacher, is involved with a male model who has completely cut off sexual activity with her. Satisfying her sexual desires with other men does not bring Marie any peace, though. Breillat’s female protagonists are unique, to say the least. I doubt this was made to entertain anybody; the story is unremittingly harsh. But that is the Breillat style. Not her best film but better than something like Anatomy of Hell. Fat Girl is due for a re-watch, but Brief Crossing is my favorite of her films. It was a was a tale of two Sam Fullers this week. TCM showed a coupled of his films, HOUSE OF BAMBOO (1955) and THE CRIMSON KIMONO (1959). House of Bamboo is an A-list studio production that was shot on location in Japan and had some stars. Robert Ryan is terrific, as usual. It is a very entertaining film. With the bigger budget, however, came less creative control. In The Crimson Kimono, a B crime picture, the dynamic Fuller style is allowed to run loose. Though the script is not as good as that for House of Bamboo, Kimono is full of evocative black and white cinematography and the crackling dialogue that I associate with him. The interracial romance was unusual for the period. Both films contain interesting nuggets of Japanese culture.I ventured back to the world of mondo films with a film released as White Angel, Black Angel; Witchcraft '70; and Angeli Neri, Angeli Bianchi. (Available on Youtube.) This was not my first watch of this artifact of crappy exploitation "documentary". It explores the spiritual trends of the late 1960s in the most sneering manner possible, dismissing the nascent Wicca movement, Macumba, Hare Krishna, and other religions as servants of dark spiritual realms. That particular footage is genuine but is badly misrepresented. The genuineness of some of the other footage is highly questionable, though. The film is a blast from the past for me (early 2010s period).
Concluded my James Cameron binge-watch this week. Started the week with Titanic. I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for this movie. I’ve heard the criticisms, that the romance is corny, the dialogue is hacky, and so on. All that is true, and yet the movie nonetheless really plays. For me, at least. Once the iceberg hits, events just keep escalating and escalating, and it’s relentless, crackerjack pacing. The undersea documentaries are what you’d expect from undersea documentaries, but they’re interesting enough. Ghosts of the Abyss has the benefit of showing off the real-life Titanic, making it the better one. Aliens of the Deep tries to equate deep sea exploration with space travel, and then it makes that point over and over. Cameron calls the Terminator 2 3-D show at Universal Studios a “true sequel” to T2. I’m obviously missing a lot by watching it on YouTube instead of being there in person, but it still feels more like Terminator fanfic. Then there’s Avatar. I’m torn. If this was just an old-fashioned gee-whiz Flash Gordon style space adventure, I’d love it. But the plotting and world building are frustratingly inconsistent, and the whole thing takes itself way too seriously. I want to like the movie, but instead I can’t get beyond “It’s just okay.” Finally, I watched the Deepsea Challenge documentary, about Cameron’s record-breaking dive. It’s… a lot of James Cameron. That’s another two weeks down. What to binge-watch next?
Ah, but have you seen Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron?! The last section has some interesting brainstorming on how, with 20/20 hindsight, the sinking might have resulted in fewer deaths.
How about a James Mangold binge-a-thon Mac? A nice trek to see the lead-up to Mangold earning a crack at directing the next "Indiana Jones," Or Denis Villenueve? Few movies, but all of them perfect career builders toward the promising "Dune" remake.
I recommend checking out George Miller's filmography, which I just finished watching because my second favorite podcast, Blank Check, are currently covering him. The man made both Mad Max and Happy Feet, so there's variety, and he's a madman, so it definitely won't get boring. Just look at the list:- Mad Max- Mad Max 2- Twilight Zone: The Movie (Miller directed one of the segments)- Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome- The Witches of Eastwick- Lorenzo's Oil- Babe (Miller wrote and produced but didn't direct)- Babe: Pig in the City- Happy Feet- Happy Feet Two- Mad Max: Fury Road
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I was actually thinking of a Joe Dante binge next, but 21 (22?) movies in two weeks is a lot. Gaith, I'm all Cameron'd out for now, but I'll definitely check that out in the future.
Happy 10th to FthisMovie, I had a great time laughing with you all watching Funhouse and Turbo kid, thanks for a the laughs we have shared and all the great memories we have had together, Thanks also to Erika who puts up with all this craziness with only positive vibes, its all significant, do for it, much love
Oops and of course how can I forget thanks to Patrick for his time and commitment to creating this friendly community. You could tell from the chatter on Twitter we all know each other enough to have some good banter together. On another topic I hope all the blurays survived the flood and none was permanently damaged. Best Den
Revisited Mission Impossible 2. I'm a big fan of the franchise EXCEPT for this one. It's not fun at all, there is literally no action sequence of substance UNTIL THE 1 HR 7 MINUTE MARK of the 2 HOUR RUNTIME! Unbelievable how boring this film is until then. Typical Woo slow motion for no reason, Cruise is almost an entirely different Ethan Hunt and the villain is painfully dull. Thandie Newton is pointless and their chemistry (or lack thereof) is so forced and sped up that it's non-existent. I gave it a second shot and unfortunately it's as bad as I remembered. I just act like this one doesn't exist. Part 3 redeems itself in a big fuckin' way as that is my 2nd favorite of the franchise.
On top of all that, the whole Chimera Virus plot/McGuffin doesn't make for fun viewing in the age of COVID-19. :-(
That "plot" is a joke regardless. You never once feel there is any threat whatsoever.
The complete opposite of "Ghost Protocol," where you can feel Hunt and his team give it their all to barely, barely save San Francisco from you-know-what. It's all in the execution and committment of the cast/crew, and other than Cruise and Woo's stunt team everybody's coasting in "M:I 2." Even the electronic "MI" score feels as lazy as Anthony Hopkins' haircut. :-P
Haha, yes! What the hell was Hopkins doing in there anyway?!
Same as everyone else working on the picture: collecting a fat studio paycheck and doing to Spaniard whores then what grocery stores are doing to our pocketbooks now. :-(
R.I.P FRED WILLARD.. :'(
Hey everyone! Didn't have time to watch that many movies this week, but still got a few in. And it's been great reading all the 10th anniversary articles and comments. I'm happy to consider myself a small part of this community.Woman at War is an Icelandic movie about an eco-terrorist who opposes multinational corporations taking over Iceland by sabotaging power lines, and the effect it has on her friends and family, especially her pending adoption application. An engaging drama with good actors and a fun little quirk of having the score being played by musicians visible in the scenes but apparently invisible to the characters.93 Days is about an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and the threat of it spreading to the megacity of Lagos. So, you know, not recommended if you're in any way anxious about the current state we're in. It was also the first ever Nollywood film I've seen. It's solid filmmaking but felt very by-the-book, like it was written following a "Screenwriting 101" book by the letter. Danny Glover's in it, so that's nice.And Mixed Nuts is a bland Christmas movie from Nora Ephron, with Madeline Kahn and Rita Wilson as its bright spots. Kahn is really funny as the uptight coworker and Wilson is charming as all get-out. Too bad Steve Martin as the lead plays such an unlikable character. Come to think of it, I often find Martin's characters unlikable, and not in a fun way. I've never counted myself among his fans.Also, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Mummy (1999) are still loads of fun.
I like when Steve Martin plays those unlikable roles, Mikko. There is a darker side to many of the characters he has played, even in his comedies. It is his role as the unscrupulous traveling salesman in Pennies from Heaven that I most remember him for. Nollywood is a film industry I have been curious about for many years. At some point I will get around to watching its movies.
Looking for Film book recommendations. History, theory, technical manuals. Anything. Hit me with your recommendations!
Making Movies by Sydney Lumet. It's great. Half memior half movie making guide. oh and Hitchcock/Truffaut François Truffaut.
The Making of The Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz, Bambi Meets Godzilla by David Mamet, and A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema by Robert Ray...
MAKING MOVIES is easily the best book on filmmaking I've ever read. http://www.fthismovie.net/2019/04/five-things-to-love-making-movies-by.html
Ted Kotcheff's "Director's Cut" is a great read of a journeyman director's path from the Jewish slums of Canada through the European cinema boom of the 60's and 70's, culminating with Ted finding mainstream success in American 80's cinema before settling into TV work. Good, interesting read.
Being a fan of 1970s Hollywood, Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" is a book I have found informative. It mixes details of the state of the film industry at the time with a lot of personal anecdotes. A book that I remember well from my college days is "Movie-Made America" by Robert Sklar. It mainly covers motion picture history up to the 1950s. The decades after that are dealt with in a more cursory manner.
"Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures" by F-This Movie's own Heather Wixson
Usual busy movie watching week.Because I was at work during #FThisMovie10 I was able to rewatch Funhouse later on that night. And look, I really do love this movie, I adore everything about it. It just hits everything I want and need in a movie.I showed my partner After Midnight, which he mostly liked. But I still love it. It might be my favourite movie of the year so far. And it one of my favourite movies of 2019 as well. Judgment Night lives up to it's repretation. And the soundtrack is being played a lot this week in the house.Yesterday I had a Murderious Jigalow Double with Shadow of a Doubt and Guilty as Sin. Yes, Shadow is great. It's Hitch - he knows what he is doing and it's a great movie. But I really did have a lot of fun with Guilty as Sin. Johnson is just gleeful as the most evil man in a nice suit. It's a movie without artiface or any red herring. It wears everything on it's sleave, and turns into a different kind of beast than it's contempories. It's a Larry ohen script directed by Sidney Lumet and it is so much fun.
Arizona's Alamo Drafthouse branch files for bankruptcy. l've been to these Alamo theaters when visiting my folks; one's 5 minutes away by car from their Chandler home (which in AZ qualifies as being next door). So sad. :-(
I doubt that it will be the last movie theater operator to file for bankruptcy. The closures here in Pennsylvania have lasted more than two months now; that is a significant drain on any company's finances.
Watched Preminger’s BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING & it’s very much like an early version of a 2000s Dark Castle Films movie.
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just watched Valley Girl (2020), featuring our favorite girl from 2017, Jessica Rother, and the most hated guy on youtube, Logan Paul. despite 'him', it's a darn fun film filled with cool classic hits from the 80s. it's not perfect (what movie ever is?), but i recommend it. BE WARNED, it's a musical. basically Glee if it was set in the 80s
it looks kinda cute. making a musical is always very brave. only thing is Nic Cage was the dreamiest dreamboat back then.