Saturday, August 27, 2022

Weekend Open Thread

22 comments:

  1. I go first this time? I guess so.

    On a whim, I put on the first three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies this week. I've gone from thinking these movies are merely okay to really liking them. I just enjoy spending time in this weird and borderline-nonsensical fantasy world they've built.

    POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE (1986). Speaking of borderline nonsensical, I suppose we should applaud the filmmakers for adding to the mythology, but did the Poltergeist mythology need any more to it? Some cool HR Giger effects, though.

    POLTERGEIST III (1988). Not sure what to make of this one. The story is all over the place, but some of the visuals are delightfully creepy. I wonder if this would be more well-received by horror fans if it was a stand-alone and not a sequel.

    And now for F This Television: SANDMAN is sublime, SHE-HULK is more Marvel fun, and Disney's AMPHIBIA is surprisingly excellent. Best of all, the 1993 series KEY WEST is on YouTube in its entirety. It's Northern Exposure but set in Florida, and I love it dearly.

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    1. I have only ever seen the first Pirates movie, first during a Fthismoviefest (or maybe a pandemic birthday thing?), and a 2nd time with my son. I really liked it, but we've never gotten around to watching the others despite wanting to. As they are teenagers and have their own social lives, the time we have to spend watching movies together is diminishing. I could watch them myself, but I'm saving them in case we ever get the chance to watch together.

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  2. Howdy Team F This!

    The Platform (2019. Netflix. Spanish Origin dubbed English).

    This film was completely off my radar. A friend described the premise and while the plot is different, his description gave me strong strong "Cube" vibes. Dystopian future, prison-esque structure of similar rooms, folks trapped, etc. Cube is a flick i really dig and admire in execution so i decided to check it out. Honestly i'd say if any of that sounds interesting just stop here...i wont go into spoilers but ill give a little more shortly. This flick is a very creative dour dystopian future scifi concept melded with some f'd up horror and massive social commentary.

    Still here? Ok...ill describe the premise a bit further...the premise is that in the dystopian future there exists a prison of vertical identical rooms...we dont know how many. Each room contains two occupants. Each room has a hole in the middle where an elevator like floating platform drops each day for a few moments. The platform starts at the top (floor 0) and is loaded with amazing food. Each day it drops to each floor for a few moments at which point the occupants can eat whatever they want from whatevers available. Thats all you need to know. Its a f'd up concept and execution with some pretty solid commentary on mankind. Give it a try!

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    1. We visited my sister this spring, and hadn't seen them since before the pandemic. In the meantime, my nieces had grown up and have gotten very into horror movies! They had practically exausted all the movies available on their streaming services. We watched The Platform, and as you said, it was very good. Reminded me of Cube a lot too.

      The younger kids were disappointed and crying because they wanted to watch a movie with all the rest of the kids, so I watched Monkey Trouble with them the next morning to make up for it. It was delightful!

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    2. hahaha! love the story Paul!

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    3. It was kind of crazy not having seen them in so long. Kids change fast at that age. My nieces very quickly went from watching "kids" movies, to watching any horror movie possible. Mostly it's surprising for me, because my own kids want nothing to do with horror movies at all. Mostly the oldest one oddly. Although I guess I was the same as a kid, and only ever watched horror when forced to during a teen get together (peer pressure is real) and would get nightmares afterwards.

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  3. As the summer moves toward fall, my thoughts are shifting to Scary Movie Month. In the meantime, there are plenty of things to watch.

    SHOOT-OUT IN MEDICINE BEND (1957) – Starring western legend Randolph Scott, I did expect more out of SHOOT-OUT than the film delivers. Scott and his two army friends (one being a young James Garner) confront a corrupt businessman in a frontier town. Everything about the script and sets feels generic. Despite some great black-and-white cinematography, there were many scenes that reminded me of the look of the western TV shows of the era. Definitely not one of my favorite watches this year.

    THE EASIEST WAY (1931) – Constance Bennett, one of the big stars of 1930s Hollywood, was featured this week for TCM’s Summer Under The Stars programming. This is one of her first talking pictures, a good production from the period. Bennett portrays a young woman from a New York tenement who becomes the mistress of an advertising executive (a wonderfully salacious performance by Adolphe Menjou). Nothing is masked about the nature of their relationship. The drama comes in the way she has to deal with the disapproval of her family and the man she loves. Clark Gable had one of his early movie roles here.

    ONE WAY PASSAGE (1932) – A man going to the gallows and a woman with a fatal heart condition have a ship-board romance in this pre-code melodrama. The leads, William Powell and Kay Francis, had a lot of on-screen chemistry, and the rest of the cast is fun to watch. A worthwhile 69 minutes of pre-code Hollywood.

    LA CÉRÉMONIE (1995, dir. Claude Chabrol) – The woman hired by a wealthy French family to be their housekeeper turns out to have some issues. Being a Chabrol film, the story unfolds at a deliberate pace and with plenty of talking. His style is sometimes too subtle for my tastes. Although I was not completely in the right mindset for this, the quality of the production kept me watching. Isabelle Huppert gave an engaging performance as a villainous character, and the ending is one that is not easy to forget.

    Friday night at the Mahoning Drive-In was a triple bill of Walter Hill films: THE WARRIORS (1979), HARD TIMES (1976), and THE DRIVER (1978). I would rank the evening as one of the finest I have had there. Though the first film is very deserving of its cult status, Hard Times and The Driver are better films. Hard Times is an utterly engaging story of a bare-knuckle boxer (Charles Bronson) and his charming and reckless manager (Charles Coburn) in the Great Depression. Hill knew how to use locations very effectively. Finishing the night with The Driver was a perfect choice. The way the car chases are edited puts the viewer right into the action. Seeing it on a huge screen heightened the immersive feeling. Ryan O'Neal excels as the getaway driver who does not care about life anymore, but it's Bruce Dern's performance as an unscrupulous policeman that really gives the film its kick.

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    1. The Driver and Hard Times are 2 movies sitting close to the top of my "watch soon" list. Unfortunately, it's a huge list. I wish there were an extra day in the week, an extra 24 hours I could spend just watching movies.

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    2. Understand completely, Paul. My watch list only seems to grow. Even with all the time in the world for movies, it would probably still seem impossible to watch everything you would want to.

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  4. Finally watched RRR this week, and man did it live up to the hype. Just insane over-the-top action, dancing, and melodrama, all of which I expected. What I did not expect was a really compelling story that makes all of those over-the-top setpieces have weight and meaning. This movie is like a masterclass in setup and payoff.

    I know I'm really late to the party on this one, but if you still haven't seen RRR, please do yourself a favor and take this intravenous shot of joy that is readily available on Netflix right now.

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    1. omg...i MUST watch this movie. must.must.must. thanks Andy!

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  5. 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955)
    I watched some Kim Novak movies this week. This movie supposedly inspired OCEAN'S ELEVEN and Martin Scorcese to make CASINO. That's pretty easy to see, it has a similar plot. I don't think it's great but it had some seeds of greatness.

    THIRD GIRL FROM THE LEFT (1973)
    Kim Novak plays an aging/fading chorus girl who's life starts to fall apart when they demote her onstage and her boyfriend of 13 years (Tony Curtis) still doesn't want to marry her. She contemplates running away with a super young delivery boy.

    It's been a long time since I've seen a movie so degrading to a woman character that it's like a punch in the gut. I mean at her lowest low low lowww they make a crack about "how unintelligent she is" and she AGREES with them! Ack! I think I always love Tony Curtis. Even when he had small parts he put the effort in.

    BULLET TRAIN is BRILLIANT, I saw it TWICE. And by brilliant I mean whoever thought of putting Aaron Taylor Johnson in a blue striped 3 piece suit. Sometimes I hesitate to say this because he's so good looking that I fear my judgment might be askew...but nahh, I really do think he's a GREAT actor AS WELL as looking godlike. Cannot wait for Kraven the Hunter next February.

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    1. Oh, thank you. Now I'm much more enthusiastic to check out Bullet Train. I usually try to avoid trailers, but I did see that one, and it kind of turned my off from watching it. I'm not sure why. The action felt very CGI laden if I recall.

      See! I would have been excited about a new Brad Pitt movie without the trailer. He's an actor I very much enjoy and he's usually good at picking good productions. Boo to trailers! Actually, I enjoy watching them AFTER the movie. I'll sometimes check them out after getting home from the theatre, or after watching at home. A good trailer is a artform in itself, but more often than not, they follow a pretty standard formula and are mostly a highlight reel of scenes from the movie, spoilers be damned.

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    2. Oh, wait, Paul, no! I was kidding! Not about Aaron Taylor Johnson, but as far as action movies go, this one...well, I rolled my eyes through the whole thing. It's just silly and fluffy. I don't want you to waste your money based on my review if you're looking for a good action movie (or even a good Brad Pitt one!), but if you just want to see something dumb and fun I DO give it a thumbs up ;) ...it helps if you like Aaron Taylor Johnson in a suit. Just sayin.

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    3. Most of the characters I have seen Kim Novak play are not assertive or used in some way, Meredith. Vertigo comes to mind, but her role in Kiss Me, Stupid is especially strong in the "being used" category. The Legend of Lylah Clare is one of her films that I have intended to see for a long time. Have you watched it?

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    4. Whoa, no, but I want to, Casual! Wiki says it's a satire about Hollywood and Kim Novak plays a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to a starlet who "mysteriously died" 20 years ago. It might have been bad then but it sounds like a must-see now!

      Yes I was just thinking last week after watching PICNIC 1955 (have you seen that one?) how analogous Kim Novak's characters are to a cigarette being dropped on the floor and snuffed out, remorselessly. VERTIGO was my favorite movie in high school actually but now I can't even watch it, it's just so gut-punching what they do to Kim Novak. She's "Every girl wants to be me, every guy wants to do me and dispose of me like used cigarettes".

      I'll add that the crack they make about her "lack of intelligence" in THIRD GIRL FROM THE LEFT is directed to the audience, like we're all in on how dumb she is. Then, she agrees. Yikes. But I guess I shouldn't have been as shocked as I was.

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    5. Thanks for the clarification Meridith lol

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  6. I've been following along with the Blank Check podcast and watching the early Kubrick movies which were all new to me. Fear and Desire (1952) was garbage and barely a movie. Killer's Kiss (1955) was also a short, and it was ok. The Killing (1956) was his first feature length movie, and pretty great. Paths of Glory (1957) was a (pardon the overused expression) goddamn masterpiece! Powerful and moving. Probably the greatest anti-war movie I've ever seen, and it stayed with me for days afterwards. I was expecting more of an action movie, but it's much more of a court procedural type of movie.

    Last night I watched Spartacus (1960) which was pretty awesome. I've watched a bunch of the epic Swords and Sandals movies over the past year, so it felt familiar. I think it might have been the first movie I've seen Laurence Olivier in, and he was captivating to watch. I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen when he was in a scene.

    The only Kubrick movie I haven't seen at this point is Barry Lyndon, which I'm immensely looking forward to. Most of the others I don't need to rewatch for the podcast, the exceptions being Lolita which I barely remember, and Dr. Strangelove which I didn't really like much, but definitely deserves another shot.

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    1. Actually, I've seen Olivier in Battle of Britain (1969) which I definitely watched with my dad, but barely remember. And in A Bridge Too Far (1977) but I don't remember exactly his character. Also, nearly everybody was in that movie! Giant cast.

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    2. If you are looking for a great Laurence Olivier performance, the 1960 film The Entertainer will not disappoint.

      Stanley Kubrick was my favorite director in my twenties. I was absolutely crushed when he died in 1999. Though I have moved on to other domains in the cinematic world, I will always have a fondness for his work.

      Going through his career is always interesting. His early independent films show potential, but the leap he made with Paths of Glory is quite remarkable. The Killing is one that I have deliberately not watched, but it is not because I do not want to see it. Avoiding the film still gives me a chance to experience a Kubrick film for the first time.

      Barry Lyndon is a film that seems to divide viewers, particularly the first watch. Even with 2001 in his filmography, Barry Lyndon may be Kubrick's coldest work on an emotional level. It has grown on me over the years and looks more beautiful with every viewing. I just read that one of the main actors in it, Leon Vitali, died this month.

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    3. If you want Laurence Olivier being a comedy genius, you can check out LOVE AMONG THE RUINS for free online.

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    4. Thanks for the recommendations!

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