Me first again? Okay. BULLET TRAIN (2022). I agree with what everyone else has said. It's way too long with too many characters. This is another sign of feature films and TV series merging into a single form. This could have (should have?) been a 5-6 episode series under Netflix's "binge in one weekend" tab. GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH (1990). This movie is nonsense, but what joyous, entertaining nonsense! THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL (2022). I might have enjoyed this if it were more comedic and tongue-in-cheek, like a Princess Bride or even an Ella Enchanted. But it takes its fantasy lore and magical conspiracy plotline way too seriously, forgetting the humorous premise. Also see my TV/movies comment above. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991). I use antlers in all of my decorating. INTERCEPTOR (2022). Despite some generous fisticuffs, this is more a hostage thriller than an action movie. And the movie's politics is the heaviest of heavy hands. It's fine, but Under Siege is better. And I caught the early show of M3GAN (2023) this morning. It's better than it has any right to be, big on satire with a lot to say about parenting and technology. Consider me pumped for a sequel!
As my kids were growing up, I ended up rewatching most of the Disney classics (and some new ones too) over the past decade, but Beauty and the Beast is one we never watched together. I probably haven't seen it since seeing it in theatres upon release. From what I gather, it's considered top tier of all the Disney animated movies, so I should make time for it someday.
I had a little more time for movies this week. I could have gotten to more if I did not go down the Youtube rabbit hole again. (One video leads to another.) In any case, I am trying to get through my Mubi watch list.BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (2010, dir. Panos Cosmatos) on Mubi – In an isolated compound of a guru who promises to bring happiness, strange things happen. Channeling films like 2001 and THX-1138, Cosmatos, the director of MANDY, creates an intriguing cinematic world, but I cannot say there is a much of a coherent plot. As a purely visual experience, I did enjoy this. Definitely a film for when you are in the mood for something of an avant-garde nature. MOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS (1961, dir. Jerzy Kawalerowisc) on Mubi– Based on the same story as Ken Russell’s The Devils, this stark Polish film focuses on the aftermath of the possession of the convent and the burning of the priest. A monk goes to the convent to exorcise the demons of the mother superior but ends up confronting his own demons. Is it demons from hell or just the craziness of being human? Though not quite nunsploitation, there is an irreverence to the material that is in line with those films. The black-and-white aesthetics were more appealing to me than the muddled narrative. With the long takes on small sets, the film frequently feels like a play.
I've been interested in watching Beyond The Black Rainbow ever since seeing Mandy, but unfortunately it's not available to rent or stream digitally anywhere here.
It is scary how a film can disappear from circulation like that, Paul. With BTBR being a Canadian production, one would think that it would be easily available where it was made. It has been a while since I watched Mandy. The style of that film is present in BTBR, particularly the color saturation. Although there is more narrative structure in Mandy, Cosmatos does not let story get in the way of a creating some weird imagery for that film, either.
I think it was on Tubi when I checked a year or two ago. Fortunately, I see that it's available for free on YouTube. Not the best quality, but it looks to be around DVD quality. On a side note, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man is also not available to rent in Canada, but I found it on Youtube as well. Patrick mentioned it during the last podcast.
I didn't have much time for movies this week, but I managed to watch a few:Clearcut (1991, dir. Ryszard Bugajski) was on Rosalie's top 10 and it's a great Canadian film! More of a thriller than I realized going in. Starring Graham Greene as a militant indigenous activist who eventually kidnaps the owner of a logging company. The movie plays with the audience. You sympathize with the natives and their cause, but at the same time their response is violent. The lawyer representing them appears to be trying to do whats best, but he's profiting off of their plight. It's unclear who is the villain and who is the hero. It's on TUBI if anyone is interested in watching it. Shallow Grave (1994, dir. Danny Boyle) is a tight little crime/comedy movie (similar humour as Trainspotting). Very entertaining. I've seen much of Boyle's filmography, but I'm looking forward to filling in the gaps, and this was a fantastic start. The Blank Check podcast is covering Boyle's films for the next few months.Cop Land (1997, dir. James Mangold) was another crime movie with a huge cast. I don't know how I missed seeing this in the 90's. The real standout to me was Stallone as he flexes his acting chops, going from a sad and broken small city cop to taking on the big city cops that have gone corrupt.
I remember very well the release of Cop Land back in 1997. (A quarter of a century already!) There was a lot of buzz about Stallone taking on a more serious role. There were a lot of movies coming out at that time, so it would be easy to have one fall through the cracks.
When was the last time you heard a reference to the lambada? To cap off my Saturday night, I watched a 1991 comedy I had not seen before, SKI SCHOOL. It is on Prime. Randomly throw together all the elements of 1980s T&A sex comedies and add in skiing, you get Ski School. And do not bother to set up the plot and characters much. Despite all that, I had fun with the film. The actors, especially Dean Cameron, brought a lot of energy to the material they had to work with. With all of the homophobic humor and female objectification involved, this is definitely a product of its time.
One of my resolutions this year was to get back into movies (I was a multiple times per week moviegoer pre-pandemic and then basically watched nothing the past couple of years) – so far I’m keeping my average over 1 picture per day and playing tons of my old favorite episodes from the podcast too!What I’ve seen this year, chronologically by viewing:In the Mood for Love; The Night of the Hunter; The Banshees of Inisherin; Marty; Sabotage; The French Dispatch; House of Usher (1960); Up in the Air (rewatch); Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery; Emily the Criminal; The Royal Tenenbaums (rewatch); O Brother, Where Art Thou? (rewatch); John Wick (rewatch); The Last Detail (rewatch); Five Easy Pieces; The Shooting; Carnal Knowledge; Singin’ in the Rain; Jackie Brown (rewatch); Dead End; Planet of the Apes (1968); Throne of Blood; The Player; Paper Moon; The Gold Rush (1925)A local theater here was playing Carnal Knowledge so I turned the occasion into a Nicholson marathon the night before, rewatching my beloved Last Detail and then seeing Five Easy Pieces and The Shooting for the first time. The Shooting is one of the damnedest things I’ve seen yet in a good way. It was so interesting to see Art Garfunkel try to be romantic in Carnal Knowledge, I liked the movie a lot but I was disappointed that Candice Bergen doesn’t appear again in the second half.I also saw Planet of the Apes again in a theater this week and it’s hard to beat that film with an audience for sheer fun value. And you just can’t replicate the impact of Jerry Goldsmith’s score on home speakers.Also – Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter, is there anything creepier?! I’m going to be singing ‘Leaning on the Everlasting Arms’ randomly all year.Speaking of singing, after a decade plus of listening to JB on the podcast, I finally put on Singin’ in the Rain for the first time while I wasn’t feeling well last weekend and my god if that film won’t immediately melt your ice cold heart I don’t know what will.This week I’m going to try to make screenings of Vertigo, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Tokyo Twilight, the last of which would be new to me. Here’s to a new year and a renewed love of movies!
It only took a decade to get you to watch Singing in the Rain. My work here is done.
truly a musical for people who do not like musicals! you drove a hard bargain sir
I'm still teary-eyed from watching WOMEN TALKING. Polley knocks it out of the park, and it's a cast firing on all cylinders talking about faith and personal safety and what they can do for each other. It's a masterpiece.