Hey gang! I had a hell of a week at the movies. The one small indie theater in my town occasionally runs small series of films from different European countries. This week was French week and the three classics they showed were amazing!Eyes Without a Face and Les Diabolique were both great thrillers, but I can't escape the feeling their impact has been lessened by decades of films influenced by them. I really enjoyed them, but I can only imagine the impact they would've had 60 years ago.The Wages of Fear, on the other hand, hasn't aged a day. It had been a bad day and my mind was on some dark stuff when I sat down to watch it, but the movie totally sucked me in and had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much the whole runtime, which I was thankful for. Now I can't wait to see Sorcerer, which I recently bought but haven't watched yet.Other than that, I've mostly been rewatching Marvel movies to get my mind off stuff. I guess they're my happy place.So what have y'all been watching? And have a great weekend!
Oh yeah, I did see earlier in the week I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Robert Zemeckis's first film and a really fun teen comedy, and Escape from Liberty Cinema, a Polish comedy about a government censor investigating movie characters suddenly coming to life and talking to the audience at a nearby theater. Worth a watch if you're a fan of political discourse through absurdist cinema.
It is good to see you are enjoying the theater experience again, Mikko.Time is usually a factor in how a film hits a person. Even the most revolutionary of films can seem ordinary once a concept or style has been repeated over the years. One film I would have loved to see in its first run is Psycho. Eyes Without A Face is a film that has gotten better for me with repeated viewings. The sadness of the story has gotten heavier with each one. I wonder more and more about what is going on in the daughter's mind as the horrors accumulate around her.
Speaking of Wages Of Fear, have you ever seen Sorcerer, based on the same novel. It is a different mood, but as great as the first one. It came out at the same time as Star Wars, but it should've had more success. Now it's just a cult favorite
I own Sorcerer on Blu-ray but haven't watched it yet, Kunider. Definitely will in the next couple of weeks though.
You're in for a treat. You're going to be blown away by Sorcerer.
It's a great looking bluray, but it deserve a better treatment. A la Criterion, Arrow or Shout
I recently bought Sorcerer as well, and it's high on my list to watch soon.
Compared to the past two weeks, there was not a lot watched.CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) – While watching the film I was more intrigued by the style than the story. That does not mean it is not a fun film, though. I kept thinking, “This is the kind of film you would get if you crossed Jason and the Argonauts with Star Wars.” I missed the opening credits, so when I saw the producer of JASON was shown as the producer of CLASH I was not surprised. Harryhausen’s stop-motion work is at its peak (the Medusa sequence is rightly famous), but a different era of special effects was coming in. I enjoyed how old-fashioned the film feels. GET THRASHED: THE STORY OF THRASH METAL (2017) – As a music documentary it is decent, but I cannot say it scratched far beneath the surface of the history of the thrash style. All the Big Four bands (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax) get discussed. Other bands get a quick mention, though not to the same extent. There are inevitably a few fan boys thrown into the mix, but, to the doc’s credit, it is not overdone. If you know the music already, you are probably not going to learn much that is new. I was thinking about movies more than I watched them this week. The major task of the week was putting together a preliminary list of films for Scary Movie Month. I settled on Mexican horror as a theme this year. I have recently discovered how many horror films were produced in Mexico from the 1950s to the 1980s. Having watched only a few, it would be fun to delve into some new cinematic territory next month, especially since Turner Classic Movies is not showing much that I have not already seen. It will mean dealing with Youtube versions without English subtitles, but I think I can manage. I have already done so with plenty of Italian films. Another goal is watching the Phantasm series, which I am almost completely unfamiliar with.This week I also picked up a couple of films. I found a Kino Lorber DVD of Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye at Dollar General and the Scream Factory blu-ray of Candyman at FYE. I was thrilled to find a cheap four-pack of Jimmy Stewart westerns at Dollar General, but I put it back because two of the films are full-screen. I tend not to be picky when it comes to formats but want widescreen versions of widescreen films. I have been looking at televisions recently. Does anybody know of companies that make smaller televisions- 40 inches or less - which offer the option of 4:3 aspect ratio? Some of my physical media is older and looks terrible with only widescreen options.
I was looking for Get Thrashed, and there is a documentary from 2006 with the same name. Is that the one you watched?
It looks like you are correct, Paul. Sometimes you cannot trust the dates on Amazon Prime.
So I just watched Charlie Kaufman's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" the other night on Netflix and boy was that a head trip. I really appreciate that Kaufman respects the intelligence of his audience, but damn is it a frustrating watch. The movie continues to dive deeper and deeper into a surreal dreamscape and just when you think you might be given some sort of sliver of as to what's happening, you don't. I'm still grappling with it, but overall I think I enjoyed it. I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil anything (though I don't think I could spoil it even if I tried)but there was a long sequence in the farm house that reminded me a lot of the final sequence of 2001. Anyone else watch it? I'd love to hear some thoughts.
Rob and I will talk about it at some length on next week's podcast (during "Have You Seen Anything Good Lately"), which was recorded already last week.
Excellent! Can't wait to hear your thoughts.
I watched Bad Boys (1983) starring Sean Penn. Really enjoyed it but I'm a sucker for prison movies. Was most impressed by Reni Santoni (aka Poppie from Seinfeld) as the tough but compassionate warden. Coincidentally this movie was released the day I was born (along with The Outsiders, Fire and Ice, and Spring Break). Has anyone else gone through the exercise of watching the movies that were released the day/week you were born? Kinda interesting.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985, dir. Paul Schrader)A biopic of Yukio Mishima, one of Japan's greatest modern writers, filtered through Schrader's outsider filmmaker sensibilities was something I wasn't quite ready for. Executive produced by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola and scored by Philip Glass, there's just some powerhouse talent at work here.Schrader adapts three of Mishima's novels, recreating them as stageplay-like vignettes, that dovetail thematically with the author's life. The artifice is amazing, the novels in striking vivid colors juxtaposed against black and white of his early life, and the story of the man himself is equally incredible. I have a soft spot for movies about Japanese history and especially considering the taboos surrounding Mishima, this film wasn't actually released in Japan. I read that Schrader considers this his masterpiece, and although I've only seen around half of his films, I'm inclined to agree.Side note: apparently the US release originally had Mishima's narration read in English by Roy Scheider, but the Criterion release has the Japanese actor, Ken Ogata, performing the narration in Japanese. The Grey Fox (1982, dir. Phillip Borsos)*Another* biopic, this one of an American stagecoach robber, Bill Miner, also knows as the 'Gentlemen Bandit.' Played with impeccable earnestness by Richard Farnsworth, this was one of Canada's most celebrated films of the early 80s. Recreating the first decade of the 20th century with period trains and a wildly spartan landscapes, it was hard not to be meserized by the locales.I enjoyed sitting through this one, but I didn't find the story terribly compelling. Title cards open the film to provide Miner's background, and then after 70 minutes, another two title cards. I got the sense that the production ran out of money to be able to portray some of the salient events and that weakens the film somewhat. In doing reading after the film, I found out that the ending invents a happy ending for Miner that conflicts with the historical record; I couldn't help but feel a bit robbed (see what I did there).O Lucky Man! (1973, dir. Lindsay Anderson)Malcolm McDowell's follow-up to Clockwork Orange was a jubilant experience for me. I'd listened to Mark Kermode interview McDowell a while back and went in knowing only that McDowell was given a great deal of license to help craft the story and his character. It's a 3-hour absurdist comedy about an overeager young man who wants to make his mark on the world, stumbling into increasingly improbable situations. Rather than describe them all and spoil it, I'll say that his adventures, interspersed with amazing musical interludes by The Animal's keyboardist Alan Price, are serendipitous and weird and tragic.I will admit that the long runtime presents a challenge, but McDowell's naive but ambitious Mick Travis are a real joy to watch. Bonus for a very young Helen Mirrent (damn, she is a foxy lady). Also, fun to spot all of the Clockwork Orange alumni cast in this film.
Groundhog Day. I don’t even need to watch this movie, it just plays in my mind on its own. I’m not sure if anyone can understand this, but I am Phil Connors. I would say “metaphorically” but I don’t wanna downplay the connection. (Yeah I know it’s silly but whatever). I always feel like I look at Phil at the end of his journey. No one ever looked more alive to me. He is a vision of being alive. My only favorite story above his is Les Mis, where Jean Val Jean became the best and most humble man. (My third favorite is Scrooge’s story, for obviously similar reasons). But I really appreciate the visualization of that transformation in Groundhog Day and getting to see Phil’s “last day”. By the last day you feel like he’s actually forgotten he ever had “a problem”. Somewhere along the way he forgot. It’s like in recovery (as some people describe recovery), when you stop wondering when the end will come and you just start facing the moments one by one. Can I say, that’s where I am. And it is NOT easy. I keep wondering where in Groundhog Day I am. Am I Phil toward the middle yet? Toward the end? Most importantly...have I reached that point where Phil is humbled by his lack of control of the entire situation and he is honest with Rita and at the end of their night together he reads from the book: “only God can make a tree”? That is the turning point where you give up. And you “let God”. And the next morning when Phil wakes up and looks out the window you see him take a deep breath in as he turns back to his life. This is where he “starts putting one foot in front of the other” and he just starts moving forward. With no certainty. Only hope. Phil can never know if life will ever change for him, and yet he tries. He’s no longer living to receive anything back. It’s just to keep trying. At the end he looks so grateful to be alive.I guess, in writing this, it does help me realize that if I’m so worried if I’m there yet, well, I’m probably not. Or hey, perhaps they couldn’t fit it into the movie but Phil had some relapses himself after that part. Never thought of that before!!When I was younger I had some mixed feelings about Rita. Mostly jealousy, that she could have so much insight into Phil, and stood her ground (something I usually fail at). She says “You’ll never love anyone but yourself”. Like wow, how could she know that about someone with so much certainty? How does SHE KNOW what love is and isn’t? But now, I am grateful that she was a light in his darkness. He was so lucky for her feedback. And, I will say, I’m just realizing this as I write- she knew a lot but even she could not know the end. And Phil proved her wrong. With God’s grace, he did change. I am struggling with so much self doubt personally. But yea I’m reminded by this- anything is possible through grace. No person can ever know or control the outcome. And it is only Gods Grace if I can even know how to take the tiniest step forward.
Wow tonight is also the first night that I feel like maybe I need to stop comparing myself to Groundhog Day lol. Bc I’m really obsessed with hitting that end point and I watch it over and over again and wonder when I will. Come to think of it, the therapy book I read for codependency does actually NOT talk much at all about what life will be like when you “finish your journey”. When the experience is “done”. So, anyway. That is food for thought. Hard to give up my beloved Phil and Groundhog Day obsession. But perhaps. But not sure yet.
Alright! One more thing I just remembered. He really does have to find his way step by step and is not immediately a perfect person. There’s that interesting part where he tries to save the old man from dying, and after his last attempt and failure he looks up at the sky. He tried to control something outside his control, but he realized he couldn’t. So yea, he still has some ups and downs after the the middle part.Thanks so much for bearing with me in my Groundhog Day moment, FTM. This has actually been...quite helpful. It’s helped me see I’m still...kind of obsessed with perfection. Oh man.
Hi, I'm a recent fan and I was wondering if you could do a show on Psycho Beach party from 2000? Thanks a lot for all the shows. X
Yes, PBP need some love man.
Last week I watched The Getaway (1972, Peckinpah) and enjoyed it a whole lot! It's a heist/getaway movie where they're running for the Mexican border. Our hero, played by Steve McQueen, is a bad person, a thief and a killer. But everyone else is as bad or worse (with the exception of McGraw, who is Bonnie to McQueen's Clyde). I loved the "real streets" feeling of the movie, with all the grit and dirt and feeling lived in. The car stunt work is plentiful but not overdone; they're all leaning towards crazy, but not unbelievable. There are some suspenseful shootouts which are as good as anything Peckinpah has done, with the trademark slow motion. Really fun movie that is telling me to check out more Peckinpah.
Sam Peckinpah is definitely a filmmaker worth exploring. He does not often make you feel good about human nature, but the films are compelling. Ride the High Country, The Wild Bunch, and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia are all top-quality Peckinpah.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue is also personal favorite. It has a lot of charm and some gentleness, not a quality usually associated with Peckinpah.
Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't seen any of those, but I am planning to watch Alfredo Garcia next. The only ones I've seen this far is Cross of Iron and Major Dundee, which I both enjoyed, especially the latter.
Other than that, I haven't watched too many other movies. Eurovision, which was fine. Bill and Ted Face The Music which was better than I expected (the podcast was a lot of fun though!). Venom which was Venom. The other big highlight is that I finally started watching Deep Space Nine! Which I've never seen before. Enjoying the first season so far, and everybody tells me the first 2 seasons suck, so it's just going to get better.
With all the hype about the new Twilight book, the fans are coming out of the woodwork to argue that Twilight is actually good, so… I watched all five Twilight movies. The frustrating thing is that there are moments when Twilight almost works. I liked whenever Edward got all angry and shouty. Those scenes had genuine intensity, and showed that Robert Pattinson is capable of a lot more than standing around looking sad. Jacob gets strung along for way too long, but he makes a good argument in favor of not getting bit by a vampire. Most of these movies end with an Edward/Bella dialogue, where they talk things over after that movie’s various adventures. These scenes are Twilight at its best, getting to the heart of what the series is all about. But Twilight is still Twilight. The stuff everyone jokes about -- the sparkling, the baseball, and anything about the baby -- remains just as risible as ever. Moreover, the movies are striving for an old-fashioned romanticism, with big sweeping emotion. That’s a difficult thing to pull off without it becoming unintentionally comical. So, yes, Twilight is better than people say. But it’s still not all that great.
I did the same thing a few years ago, watched every movie back to back, and I agree. They're far from masterpieces, but i didn't hate my time with them.