Happy New Year everybody! Been COVID free (as in NEGATIVE!) since last Dec. 29th, just in time to get back to work and make some overtime/holiday money over this long weekend. :-D I even got healthy just in time to use my AMC A-List and sneak in three new movies for next week's Best of 2021 list-a-palooza. Yay, happy times are here again!CLIFTON COLLINS, JR. TWO-FER!Clint Bently's JOCKEY (2021, theater) could be easily mistaken for a simplistic "Rocky"-like portrayal of veteran horse racer Jackson Silva (co-producer Clifton Collins Jr.) getting a once-in-a-lifetime shot at the type of winning that could change his and horse owner/bestie Ruth's (Molly Parker) lives forever. A friendship with a hungry-for-winnings young handyman (Moises Arias) and Silva's deteriorating body conspire to alter his plans. I wanted to escape this crappy COVID-ravaged world into a place I've never been to, and "Jockey's" crash-course into horse racing culture (the perpetual dawn sunlight, real jockeys cast as extras, glowing embers as perpetual backdrop to meaningless-but-deep conversations, etc.) was just what the doctor ordered. It's the type of 'desperate plight of the common man' sports drama Rod Serling excelled at, and during its best moments "Jockey" feels like the "Requiem for A Heavyweight" of horse racing flicks. Recommended if you're in the mood for a quality, sports-tinged drama about a flawed-but-fascinating character.After "Jockey" I walked to another AMC theater to catch Guillermo del Toro's NIGHTMARE ALLEY (2021, theater), and imagine my surprise seeing Clifton Collins, Jr. playing one of the many supporting characters working at the early 1940's traveling carnival that eventual carny trickster Stanton Carlisle (co-producer Bradley Cooper, taking over the Tyrone Power role from the 1947 original) takes refuge at. Though the basics from the '47 "Nightmare Alley" are present del Toro has raised the stakes considerably and made this take on the material his own (big difference to Spielberg's blind devotion to the original "West Side Story" in his remake, both movies from 20th Century Studio). Though thematically linked, the first act is all set-up for the classy, artsy and much more gripping final two acts that really milk Cate Blanchett's screen persona for every ounce of seductive weird she can muster. Some good actors (Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, Mark Povinelli, Ron Perlman, etc.) get lost in the stacked-deep cast, but a handful (Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Richard Jenkins, etc.) really make their limited screen stand out. Good-looking and decent all-around contemporary remake of a classic noir, but ultimately "Nightmare Alley" feels like a disposable one-off by a Best Picture winning filmmaking cashing in his chips. Worth seeing, but not going out of one's way to catch it in movie theaters.Denzel Washington's A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN (2021, theater) is a low-key, predictably competent, based-on-real-people romantic/family drama told well. Other than Michael B. Jordan playing the most wonderful man to have ever lived (a U.S. soldier blindly devoted to country, his men and girlfriend Chanté Adams) in such a way that every other male cast member is either gay best friend or stereotypical New Yorker, the out-of-chronological-order recap of how two African-American from seemingly incompatible worlds meets and fall in love is... unburdened by the need to surprise. Worth seeing, but also a decent dramatic work you can wait to catch at home.Started watching the first 25 minutes of THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001) as part of the Jury Room 4.0's weekly watchalong. Then it was time for me to go to work, so I missed the last hour. Me thinks I got the better end of the deal! :-P There's only so much aggressive mugging by Matthew Lillard the average movie watcher can tolerate. :'(
I haven't watched nothing of note recently, but i did order the Shaw Brothers box set that Arrow just released, Shawscope Volume One. That's gonna be fun
It's a nice Box Set, but that price... for what you get... yikes! :-O
I don't know where you get it, but for 12 movies on 8 discs, i thought i was not that bad. Everything is pricey anyway, we can't escape it
OOOOOO...i havent pulled the trigger but i will...that set looks AMAZING. Let us know what you watch and like.It includes two all time favs...Five Deadly Venoms and its sequel which i actually prefer more.
These 2 titles were the last nails that pushed me to get the set. And last year i went on a kung fu kick, but the movies were hard to find. I'm plugging a big hole with this set
woot! also you get bonus points for the phrasing of "i went on a kung fu kick". 'kick!'.
2021 was a good year for box sets. Arrow's Years of Lead and Severin's All The Haunts Be Ours sets particularly interest me, and there are a couple slated for release this year that are tempting. I have also looked closely at that Shaw Brothers set. Beyond money, the amount of movies already in my collection that I have not watched keeps me from picking up anymore sets for a while.
Thank you Mashke, that was non intended 😁
HAPPY NEW YEAR F THIS GANG!!!!!!!! Lets hope its a good one..or maybe a better one? MOVIES ABOUND!The King's Man (cinemark,2021)Tablesetting: 1) I LOVE Kingsman,find it endlessly rewatchable, and really like the sequel. 2) I skimmed a lot of reviews of this new prequel that said it had "tone" issues and i went into it hoping to prove them wrong.Review: Its not really connected to Kingsmen at all..until it is...and holy cow does it have weird tone issues.Its realllllllllllly a weird movie. Here's my spoiler free breakdown: 80% of this movie is more or less a stand alone WW1 drama about a rich kid wanting to enlist to stand up for his country and his rich dad saying no. No silly action...no quirky james bond riffs...just a well done WW1 drama with a small amount of intense trench warfare. 5% of this flick is a weird world domination plan with random related country leaders. 15% of this flick is pure Vaughn stylized action and wackyness..most of which is in the final 15m of the movie. So its a hot mess and while i respect its weirdness, i didnt come to see a WW1 drama..i came to see a Kingsman prequel...i wanted alot more than the 15-20% of that kind of movie. Raging Fire (redbox 2021).Action fans...if you havent already...rent.this.movie. Its a classic police martial arts flick starring the constantly amazing Donnie Yen (IMO..one of the last of the 90s HK action stars to consistently do creative fight choreography) and is the last movie for the great action director Benny Chan. Its very much in the vein of a flick like Heat. There there's a solid through line story of good cops vs bad ex cops combined with incredible action scenes. Normally with these flicks you want to jump to the next action setpiece but i think the writing/plot makes the non action stuff just as good. One of the best action flicks i saw last year and would pair wonderfully with Wrath of Man.We Need to Do Something (2021 Hulu).Watched this thanks to a Patrick tweet referencing a suggestion from Elric. Its bonkers. Less said the better. Its the story of a family of four trapped in a bathroom during a storm and shit gets weird. Its a movie that doesnt answer every question nor necessarily is meant to be taken at face value (lots of interpretation around whats real vs whats metaphorical) but its a crazy fuking ride. (one fun fan theory i came up with....slightly spoilerish ahead...theres shades of tone from 10 Cloverfield Lane which was retconned into the Cloverfield universe. this flick, while not specifically made to do so, could be dropped into that universe as well..or maybe The Myst.)Ok F This gang...looking forward to finding so many more great clicks to pick thanks to you all this year....lets find some movies to love...loath...like...learn....lament...laud... ..list....(running out of "L" word).... Peace .n. Best Wishes GangMash
"Raging Fire" kicks so much it's ridiculous, but that's just the appetizer. The duel of wits between Donny Yen and Nicholas Tse is worthy of "Heat" comparisons. What a cool, compelling and mesmerizing bad guy Yau turns out to be, right down to the statue abuse at the very end. Caught it in theaters early this year, and would very much love to see it again. :-D
HAZAA! im with ya JM....i knew going into it that i'd like the action but i was really blown away by how much i loved the story and interplay between Yen and Tse. And i hold Heat in such high regards that i wouldnt reference it unless i felt it was worthy..you totally got that. Happy NY to ya movie lover.
Happy 2022 everyone!The theaters in Finland were shut down at Christmas because of covid restrictions, but I found one theater an hour's drive from me that's still open (different regions, different restrictions), so of course I took the trip so I could see The Matrix Resurrections. And it's... something. Some parts had me smiling from ear to ear, while others were just clunky. But it definitely wasn't a cookie-cutter sequel, so I have to give it major points for that. A messy movie is always preferable to a boring, predictable one.Other than that, I really loved the dialogue in The Lion in Winter, and fell in love with Fargo on my second watch. Encanto is charming and Don't Look Up isn't great.I also watched New Your Ninja. It's an unfinished action movie from 1984 that Vinegar Syndrome found, edited, dubbed and released on disc. And it rules!
How do you get your VS releases, Mikko? Do you get them from the company? I know Vinegar Syndrome ships internationally.I picked up a few things from Vinegar Syndrome's Black Friday sale. New York Ninja was not one of them. I did get Dial Code Santa Claus, which was one of my Christmas watches last week. It is a surprising film. Another one that I acquired is the Fun City Editions release Walking The Edge. It looks like an ideal Junesploitaion film. What do you think about Rare Exports? That was another of my Christmas watches last week. I found the film weird and and entertaining.
I don't own many Vinegar released, but most of the ones I do own I ordered straight from them. There's also a store in Helsinki I visit occasionally that sells them, but their prices are pretty steep, it's cheaper to order straight from the source.It's been a while since I saw Rare Exports, but I do love it for how weird it gets. I also really like the original short film that inspired the movie.
I liked the Rare Exports short films a lot, probably more than the feature. They were on the DVD I watched. Sometimes the need to expand a story into feature length dilutes the impact the original version has.
TOY STORY 4 (2019). A real oddity, so tonally different from the previous three. And the much-hyped new character Forky isn't in it all that much. FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (2010). It's a mismatched partners action-comedy. One's a tough cop, one's a pencil-pushing diplomat. Travolta goes overboard playing the part as the ultimate tough guy, but the action is relatively low-key, never quite matching his over-the-top hysterics. It's a misfire. TAXI (2004) Another set of mismatched partners. A cop who can't drive (!) teams up with a taxi driver with a high-tech cab full of James Bond gadgets (!!). That might sound like a ridiculous good time, but it's trying too hard to be cool rather than lean into the silliness of the premise. Queen Latifah is super charismatic, and the stunt drivers earned their pay, but there's not much else here. THIRTEEN GHOSTS (2001). Whew, another clunker. Some cool visuals and likable character actors here, but the script is nonsense. With some sharper, more focused writing this could have been an all-timer. But instead, it's all over the place. THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS (2021). Not sure what to think. I liked all the head-trippy stuff of the first half-hour. But when it turns into just another Matrix sequel, it's... just another Matrix sequel. The problem is, Neo's quest is to free humanity from the Matrix, but if you do that then you lose the virtual world premise that makes the whole thing so compelling. Therefore, I don't see any way a Matrix sequel could ever work. Keanu and Carrie-Ann were great, though. AMELIE (2001). Everyone on social media was using New Year's Eve to proclaim gloom n' doom, so I attempted to ring in 2022 with something upbeat. Viva la Jeunet!
It is amazing to think about Amelie coming out twenty years ago. Time has been on my mind a lot recently, though. It seems like everything has changed just in the past decade.
I rewatched it recently. Still very good
My first movie with my later-to-be wife was Amelie. I didn't speak French at the time (there were no subtitles), and I didn't understand a single word anyone said, but it was still quite enjoyable.Crazy to think of everything that has happened since. Marriage, kids, kids growing up, divorce. Seems like a lifetime ago.
You, me and the world keep changing, Paul, but Amelie remains the same young, cheerful, positively uplifting movie character forever. :')
Happy new year to everyone! I rang in the year with Turner Classic Movies’ marathon of Thin Man movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as a Nick and Nora Charles, a couple who share life and criminal investigations together. The ones I caught were 1939’s ANOTHER THIN MAN and 1941’s SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN. The ridiculous plots are secondary to the characters. The chemistry between Powell and Loy is the highlight of the films. STATE FAIR (1945) – A musical about an Iowa farm family that experiences things at the annual state fair. There is not much more than that going on among the sentimentality and random songs. STATE FAIR is not the most engaging musical made in the 1940s, but that Technicolor photography does look good.THE BASILISKS (1963, dir. Lina Wertmuller) – I was surprised to see Wertmuller’s name appear in Turner Classic Movies’ 2021 remembrance feature. Seeing this, her debut feature, on MUBI inspired me to watch it as a tribute to her. The Baslisks is the story of a Southern Italian town facing a rapidly modernizing Italy. The old ways of life are changing, poverty is still rife, and many of the young people are leaving for work opportunities in northern cities. I believe the title refers to lizards basking in the sunshine, which is basically what the young men at the center of the film do. They walk around and talk about what they are going do ad nauseum. Though they are not getting anywhere in life, they seem content with that. BEHIND CONVENT WALLS (1978, dir. Walerian Borowczyk) – The film career of the Polish-born Borowczyk tends to border on the murky edge between art and pornography. This nunsploitation production, which I saw many years ago, focuses on the mother superior’s efforts to curb the sexual desires of the nuns under her charge. All kinds of shenanigans are going on behind her back. Though a provocative film, there is a comical tone throughout. The script is messy, and the soft-focus cinematography presented here became a hallmark of Borowczyk’s style. I am still trying to figure out where this film was shot. The same location was used by the director Joe D’Amato for a later nunsploitation film.LOVE RITES (1987, dir. Walerian Borowczyk) – Borowczyk’s final feature film is a modest effort about a man who meets a mysterious woman on the Paris metro and follows her around the city in an elaborate and bizarre courtship ritual. With pretentious dialogue that is badly translated (I relied more on my French skills than the subtitles) and the inclusion of random scenes, there is a lot to get frustrated about with Love Rites.
Wow, another Borowczyk fan. 😱😄 Most people can't make it through the opening minutes of "The Beast," but l find Walerian's work utterly enchanting in its embrace of classy vulgarity. "Immoral Tales" remains the man's most underappreciated work, IMHO. 🧐😎
I have appreciated Borowczyk since 2010. Seeing several of his films on the MUBI streaming service is really what pushed me to sign up for that. A few of examples of his animation are on there too. Borowczyk's early feature BLANCHE is next on my viewing list. The early films are quite different in style than the later stuff like Behind Convent Walls. Have you ever watched GOTO: ISLAND OF LOVE? So far, IMMORAL TALES seems like the best balance between the restrained early films and the freewheeling provocation of his later work.
Happy new year!I spend the last couple of days with watching movies from 2021 (on stream and in the cinema). The first one... isn't really a movie, but I really liked BO BURNHAM: INSIDE. It's creative, funny, made me laugh and smile, while swallowing some bitter pills on the way. Good stuff. Also on Netflix I watched DON'T LOOK UP which was okay, funny at times, but really self-indulgent and with no hope at the end. I also went on Disney + to watch CRUELLA (I do get why Adam likes it so much, it's more fun than I thought), SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (which had some nice action scenes, but just wasn't for me, didn't liked the special effects in the last third at all), BLACK WIDOW (or the Florence Pugh show - I liked this one way more than SHANG-CHI and I'll watch everything with Pugh in it), and LUCA (nice, small story, but also a bite more of the same by Pixar? - still had to cry)!In the cinema, MATRIX RESURRECTIONS came and went, I really didn't like the film overall. Some might find enjoyment in the first third of the movie, I did not even that. There are ideas, but to make this one was a bad one overall. THE HOUSE OF GUCCI on the other hand was fun, even if I was unsure if that was intended all the time. I may have to rewatch it with "fun" in mind, maybe it'll be more for me. And, last but not least, I had great times with PIG and THE GREEN KNIGHT. The trailer for PIG is misleading as hell, but I liked the direction it took a lot. THE GREEN KNIGHT is a movie I somehow could not believe had been made in 2021. Loved it.
I really liked Cruella too! It was just a lot of fun. Top 10 this year? I guess that depends whether it's a 10 movies I enjoyed the most, or 10 best movies.
Riders of Justice (2020 Hulu. Note: Danish with subtitles)This movie is a masterpiece. I checked it out thanks to Patrick and JB's recent podcast about Underrated Overrated and Ugly. I really dig Mads Mikkelsen and always enjoy a good Revenge Genre flick. What i didnt expect was a movie that so poignantly and beautifully delves into no less than..processing grief, internalizing loss, the randomness of the events that affect us, psychology, the importance of friendship, nerds rule, and help comes from the most unexpected places. Its this wonderfully all-over-the-place tone that somehow just works perfectly. Oh, and its hilarious. Its one of the best movies ive seen in a long,long time. Thanks Patrick and JB for bringing it to my attention.
Glad you liked it! This is one I'm looking forward to watched too after the underrated show.