Raxivace wrote:Well if it helps I don't like All the President's Men either.
Yeah. That actually makes perfect sense.
I'd have to think about which one I'd like better but right now I'd probably also go with the first one.Lord_Lyndon wrote:Police Story 2 (1988; Jackie Chan)
Very good sequel. I still think I preferred the first one because I liked the stunts/set-pieces in the first one more.
Ah I liked this.Kong: Skull Island (2017; Jordan Vogt-Roberts)
John C. Reilly was good, but this is mostly a disappointing effort. A couple of good action scenes, but it is mostly boring. I wouldn't recommend it.
Raxivace wrote:Speaking of Mangold, did you see Ford v Ferrari?
Raxivace wrote:Its my own least favorite of Mangold's films that I've seen, which makes me wonder how it might compare to something like Knight and Day.
Lord_Lyndon wrote:Raxivace wrote:Its my own least favorite of Mangold's films that I've seen, which makes me wonder how it might compare to something like Knight and Day.
What have you seen from Mangold so far? Other than Knight and Day, I've seen:
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Walk the Line (2005)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
I heard that Cop Land (1997) is really good too, and that Stallone is excellent in it. I haven't seen it yet.
I said it in Gendo's thread, but American Beauty is one of those films that shouldn't work as well as it does. It definitely has a bit of cheese and Oscar Bait-y aspect to it, but something in the combination of the performances, music, and general tone still works.Lord_Lyndon wrote:American Beauty (1999)
I rewatched this after 20 years. I liked it. It was funny.
City of God (2002)
Another rewatch. I think there are three reasons why I and everyone else liked it:
1) It is a very entertaining gangster film.
2) Its unique setting; favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
3) The film is made with some really audacious style; it features some really inspired camerawork and editing.
Another rewatch. I think this film is one of the greatest fantasy films of all time. Also highly recommended.
Hard Eight (1996)
I rewatched PTA's debut film. I liked it much more this time. It features some really nice ambiance; it is a very good character study. Philip Baker Hall is excellent in it. It is a minor film, but it is worth watching.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Great animated film that has something for everyone: an emotional story, great action sequences, lovable characters. Recommended.
Stir of Echoes (1999)
Film with Kevin Bacon that is somewhat similar to Sixth Sense. It came out the same year as Shyamalan's classic and it was rightfully overshadowed. It is a solid film that is worth watching.
Interesting serial killer film directed by legendary Bill Paxton. Most of the plot is told in flashbacks narrated by McConaughey's character. It is not quite as good as something like Se7en, but I have to say that I loved it overall. I would certainly like to hear your opinion guys (if you decide to check it out) as it seems the film is quite divisive.
Another film like Mendes' 1917 which has characters traveling from point A to point B. I liked this one much more. It was just so much more thrilling.
Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight) – 8.5/10
Here’s a wonderful surprise: an American animated from a studio besides Pixar that has aspirations to something beyond family entertainment—namely art. Laika was not a name I was familiar with, though I realize that I’ve seen their previous films—Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls. None of them were adequate preparation for a phenomenal success such as this.
It’s essentially a classic fable rooted in Japanese lore and culture: Kubo is a young boy who takes care of his ill mother on an isolated mountain while traveling to town and delighting audiences with his magical ability to bring origami to life while playing his shamisen. After being attacked by his evil, magical ninja aunts, his mother sends him on a quest to retrieve his father’s magical samurai items to guard against his grandfather’s evil. On his journey he’s joined by a talking monkey statue and an amnesiac Beetle/samurai warrior.
It sounds silly, and while Kubo isn’t without its whimsical humor it’s most remarkable for its darker elements—broaching the subject of mental illness and death—and the complexity of its themes, which are essentially told in an allegorical fashion: the association of the night/moon with coldness, forgetfulness, death, and anti-social behavior as a defense mechanism.
But animated films sink or swim on the strength of their visual imagination and this is where Kubo joins the ranks of the great. If not quite as gorgeous as the best Ghibli or, say, the films of Tomm Moore, it’s perhaps a step above Pixar and Dreamworks, with the most memorable sequence being an underwater adventure with the “Garden of Eyes,” huge monster plants/flowers whose gaze causes hypnosis and hallucinations.
Really, from the so-smooth-I-can’t-believe-it’s-stop-motion animation, to the superb voice vast—Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Roony Mara, Matthew McConaughey—who bring the perfect balance of levity and gravity, there’s only top-shelf quality here wherever you look; and perhaps most exciting is the thought there’s another serious contender in the animated age of Ghibli and Pixar.
I remember that film completely sucking ass.Lord_Lyndon wrote:8MM (1999)
Certainly a darker portrayal of pornographic world than something like Boogie Nights, which came out a couple of years before. I really wanted to like this film. It was written by the same guy who wrote Se7en, and Se7en is probably my favourite screenplay ever. But I didn't like it. I'm not 100% sure why. Schumacher's direction was actually pretty good, and the film is really well shot. I think it was writing that was a bit of a letdown.
At least I finished this film. There are more and more films I give up on after 30 minutes.
Both of these are awesome. Woo is a fantastic stylist, so you just have to appreciate his films on that superficial level and they're fine.Lord_Lyndon wrote:I rewatched two John Woo films.
Ridiculous plot. Over-the-top action scenes. Two hilarious performances by Travolta and Cage. Those are three reasons why this film is an action classic from the 90's. Definitely one of the greatest action films of all time.
The Killer (1989)
A Hong Kong action film about friendship, betrayal, redemption and honor. It is mostly elevated by Woo's direction of action scenes, but it is pretty good in its quieter moments too. I do think it is a slightly overpraised film, though.
While I really like the Indiana Jones Trilogy I've always thought they were slightly (only slightly) overrated. TBH, The Last Crusade might be my favorite, if only because I loved the ending and the chemistry between Ford and Connery as father/son.Lord_Lyndon wrote:Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981; Steven Spielberg)(rewatch)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989; Steven Spielberg)(rewatch)
Probably two best adventure films of all time.
There's Something About Mary (1998; Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly)
Finally saw this classic comedy in its entirety. I liked it. It was funny.
Sexy Beast (2000; Jonathan Glazer)(rewatch)
'A beguiling conglomerate of romanticism, perversity absurdity and bloody gallows humor.' Indeed. This crime film also must be watched because of Ben Kingsley's utterly bizarre and hilarious performance. That he was nominated for Oscar was an inspired choice by the Academy.
Wings of Desire (1987; Wim Wenders)
A story about an angel who yearns to be human. Didn't particularly like this one.
L'Argent (1983; Robert Bresson)
Brilliant film which examines corruptible nature of capitalism, all that done in Bresson's signature austere/minimalist style. Really loved this one.
Diary of a Country Priest (1951; Robert Bresson)
Film about a priest trying to uphold his morals/worldview while dealing with various people in his parish. This is essential Bresson.
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966; Robert Bresson)
Film about society's moral decay told from perspective of a donkey. It is a good film but I didn't love it like everybody else.
Satantango (1994; Béla Tarr)
An excellent film by Tarr which is basically a 7 hour long mood piece. Needless to say... this film is not for everyone. Also... this is not the longest film I've seen. I saw Rivette's legendary Out 1, noli me tangere (1971) which is 12 hours long.
Turin Horse is probably Tarr's most metaphysical/allegorical film. What, exactly, it's an allegory for is hard to say, but the longer that film goes on, the more it feels like they're trapped in a kind of hellish purgatory, with that home being the only shelter against the evils of the outside world. It also has something of a modernist chamber play to it, like a Beckett or Ibsen play.Lord_Lyndon wrote:The Turin Horse (2011; Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky)
Another film from Tarr in which nothing much happens; as we observe daily life of two people in long takes. He creates ominous mood using mostly wind. That was cool.
Dust in the Wind (1986; Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Goodbye, South, Goodbye (1996; Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Not sure what to say about these two, except that the first one was very good and second one was only good.
Distance (2001; Hirokazu Koreeda)
Underrated film which tells a story of people brought together by a traumatic event in the past. In that respect, it is sort of similar to another good Japanese movie that came a year earlier. It is called Eureka (2000). Both are recommended.
Chunhyang (2000; Im Kwon-taek)
Solid film which combines traditional Korean storytelling called 'Pansori' (singing narrator accompanied by drums) with cinematic storytelling. Certainly an interesting experiment.
The Double Life of Véronique (1991; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Excellent film from Kieslowski that is mysterious, haunting and sumptuous. I loved it so much that it probably rivals 'Red' as my favourite Kieslowski film.
Neither Rax nor I liked this one. We discussed it a lot a while back. Here was my review:Lord_Lyndon wrote:Spotlight (2015; Tom McCarthy)
I know you didn't like this one, Rax, but I thought it was fabulous. Sort of reminded me of a classic film All the President's Men (1976).
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy) 5/10
The plot of Spotlight involves the Boston Globe’s investigation and unveiling of the Catholic Church’s coverup of
the pedophile priest epidemic. The film is told with all the factual detail accruement of a great documentary,
all the drama of bad fiction, and all the aesthetic style of a string mop. How the Academy went from awarding
one of the most aesthetically daring mainstream film in recent memory like Birdman to awarding this is a
On the plus side, the performances are uniformly excellent. Watching this veteran cast do their
things is one of the film’s few real highlights. Unfortunately, the writing doesn’t do much to create or develop
them as characters. Instead, they exist mostly as cogs in a procedural structure.
All of this could’ve been forgiven if the film had managed to generate real drama or excitement, but there’s
even very little of that. There are a few attempts made, but they’re mostly impotent: the conflict over whether
to run with the story or wait, the growing realization of how deep it goes and how many are complicit, the
constant threat of it being hushed up or buried; but none of it really materializes into anything of substance.
Compare this to a film like Zodiac where the ambiguous atmosphere of paranoia and fear hovering over the
detailing of facts concerning a case could become almost oppressive.
Ultimately, this is another mediocre Best Picture whose only saving grace is the interesting story, the decent
writing, and excellent performances, but which has nothing to offer beyond that.
Scent of a Woman is another of my parents' favorites. I never cared much for it but Pacino's performance and that speech is a lot of fun.Lord_Lyndon wrote:Scent of a Woman (1992; Martin Brest)
Pretty solid film with two highlights: Al Pacino's performance and one scene near the end where he delivers one of his trademark speeches.
Fist of the North Star (1986; Toyoo Ashida)
A Japanese animated film. It is a very bloody post-apocalyptic martial arts film. It isn't the most narratively focused thing ever, but I really liked it.
Ninja Scroll (1993; Yoshiaki Kawajiri)
An excellent Japanese animated samurai film. I would recommend it.
Police Story 2 (1988; Jackie Chan)
Very good sequel. I still think I preferred the first one because I liked the stunts/set-pieces in the first one more.
Yeah, Two Women is one of those I saw from that Loren/DeSica box set I got, but it was pretty damn forgettable.Lord_Lyndon wrote:Two Women (1960; Vittorio De Sica)
An Italian neorealist film. Sophia Loren won a Best Actress Oscar for it. I really liked the last 30 minutes, but the rest was just too much talking and nothing really interesting happened. Overall, it's just a solid film.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982; Nicholas Meyer)
I decided to see this because everyone was saying it's the best Star Trek film. I thought it was only okay. Call me crazy, but I enjoyed the ones directed by Abrams much more.
St. Vincent (2014; Theodore Melfi)
A solid dramedy with very good performances from Bill Murray and Naomi Watts. I guess it is worth watching.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007; Gabor Csupo)
An excellent film that is essentially 'Pan's Labyrinth' for children. I really recommend it.
While I really like both of Kieslowski's "Short Films," I do feel they work better in the context of Dekalog. If anything, it's possible to just watch Dekalog, but watch the "A Short Film" version of those two episodes.Lord_Lyndon wrote:I'm back.
A Short Film About Killing (1988; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Very good and aesthetically pleasing film that seems to be a condemnation of not only capital punishment, but any kind of violence/murder. It is available on Youtube with English subtitles.
A Short Film About Love (1988; Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Another good film by Kieslowski with shades of 'Rear Window'. It is also available on Youtube with English subtitles.
Ordet (1955; Carl Theodor Dreyer)
This is considered as one of all-time great films and I'm not going to dispute that. I loved it (especially the ending).
Breaking the Waves (1996; Lars von Trier)
Tieman said that this is a 'gritty sequel to Dreyer's Ordet' so I decided to see it right after Ordet. I thought it was only good.
The Devil, Probably (1977; Robert Bresson)
Now an actual film by Bresson himself. It is incredibly bleak and depressing. Unlike Dumont's film, it offers no hope for its protagonist and society as a whole.
The Color of Paradise (1999; Majid Majidi)
An acclaimed Iranian art film. I was a bit bored during this one.
Andrei Rublev (1966; Andrei Tarkovsky)
There is not much to say here. It is an epic film that is magnificently directed by Tarkovsky. I would recommend it.
The Sacrifice (1986; Andrei Tarkovsky)
It was his last film. Not only is it in Swedish, but it feels much more like a Bergman film. I thought it was solid.
Nostalgia (1983; Andrei Tarkovsky)
This, on the other hand, fells like an actual Tarkovsky film. I loved how he filmed/used architecture in this one. Absolutely brilliant. His trademark directing style is apparent in this one.
The Cranes Are Flying (1957; Mikhail Kalatozov)
Another excellent film by guy who did 'I am Cuba'. The story itself is nothing special (two lovers are separated by war), but his excellent direction really elevates things. He was a master with camera.
Couldn't find my one for Nostalgia, but I think I gave it the same rating. To me, they're strangely opposite films where I think Nostalgia is more consistent, while The Sacrifice has much stronger highers, but much lower lows too. If forced to pick I'd probably take The Sacrifice if only because it's memorable bits are among the best of Tarkovsky's career.The Sacrifice Andrei Tarkovsky 8/10
Shot in Sweden by Sven Nykvist and starring Erland Josephson, it’s hard not to think of Ingmar Bergman
watching Tarkovsky’s last film. Even the premise, which involves Josephson’s Alexander praying and offering a
“sacrifice” to a servant girl (who may be a witch) named Maria to save them from a nuclear holocaust, is like
a cross between Bergman’s Shame and Winter Light.
The difference between the masters is that Tarkovsky lacks Bergman’s sense of drama, which leads to much
The first 20 minutes consist of little more than a superficial philosophical conversation between Alexander and
his friend, Otto, shot at a great distance; and the final 30 minutes seem an interminable and turgid creep
through the process of Alexander burning down his house to offer his sacrifice (someone should’ve told
Tarkovsky he isn’t Victor Fleming and this isn’t Gone with the Wind). One also can’t help but recall Tarkovsky
had also chosen a similar ending with his previous film.
The middle 100-minutes-or-so, however, is some of the most beautiful cinema ever crafted.
Because of the lack of dramatic momentum, Tarkovsky was at his best when his characters were more like
sculptures in a silent space, allowing the maestro to conduct his haunting symphonies with his moving camera.
There are scenes and images of rare visual and poetic power, from something as simple as a curtain billowing
in a room pregnant with light, to seeing the news of the impending nuclear war as flickering lights across the
faces of the frozen-with-fear characters.
Ultimately, this film is typical of the cryptically poetic Russian; simultaneously beautiful (often peerlessly so)
yet hollower than his greater predecessors like Bergman and Dreyer.
Dust in the Wind is perhaps the most wistful film in existence. There's just something about that film that captures the passage of time so beautifully. Even after having seen it three times I couldn't tell you much of what the plot is about, but the whole film feels the way that nostalgic memories feel. Goodbye South, Goodbye isn't one of my favorite Hou's, but I think it's interesting because it was his first mature film that really focused on the present rather than the past, and his distaste for Taiwanese youth and especially the gang culture is pretty evident in how he depicts them as aimless and lost. There's some great moments in that film but I don't think it quite works as a whole, and I also think his style here is a bit at odds with the themes; it's a bit too superficially beautiful. I think with Millennium Mambo (and the modern section of Three Times) he found a style that was much better at depicting the problems he saw with Taiwanese youth. FWIW, it's really best to watch Hou in chronological order starting either with The Boys from Fengkuei or The Time to Live and Time to Die (the latter is his first masterpiece, but the two films before it are pretty good too). The reason being is that his style has radically evolved over time and you really get a much better idea of where he's coming from as a filmmaker going chronologically in a way you don't otherwise.
Cool that you've seen so much Hou. I haven't even seen The Sandwich Man yet! You should definitely Flight of the Red Balloon, which is also a masterpiece, and Good Men, Good Women, since it's basically the final part of his "Taiwan Trilogy" after ACOS and The Puppetmaster. Here's my rating/rankings:Lord_Lyndon wrote:Here is what I've seen from Hou so far. I will try to rank them from my favourite to least favourite.
1) A City of Sadness
2) Café Lumière
3) Three Times
4) The Puppetmaster
5) A Time to Live and a Time to Die
6) Flowers of Shanghai
7) Dust in the Wind
8) The Assassin
9) Millennium Mambo
10) Goodbye, South, Goodbye
11) The Sandwich Man
I loved the top 8. As for the bottom 3, I only liked them. I'm not a completionist, so I don't know if I'll ever see more of his films.
Hot Fuzz (2007; Edgar Wright)
Fabulous film. I was expecting a murder mystery with a slight comedic touch for some reason, but this is more of an unabashedly post-modern dark comedy/action film. Highly recommended. Simon Pegg stars and he co-wrote it.
Baby Driver (2017; Edgar Wright)
I think Gendo saw this. It is a very good film which owes a lot to Mann's classic 'Heat' and even more so to Hill's 'The Driver'. It does get weaker as it progresses, but I think it's worth watching.
Gendo wrote:Have you seen Shawn of the Dead and The World's End? I need to re-watch Shawn of the Dead now that I understand Edgar Wright, but I remember liking Hot Fuzz a lot and really love The World's End.
Raxivace wrote:Is there a film you'd recommend starting Angelopoulous with?
Short on time again, but I'll make this quick: The Traveling Players is his masterpiece, but it's nearly 4 hours and steeped in both 20th century Greek history (mostly the WW2 period) with tons of references to classic Greek literature. If you plan on reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus, wait to see TTP until after you've read that, or just familiarize yourself with the House of Atreus mythology. His most accessible films are, as Lyndon said, Landscape in the Mist and Eternity and a Day. The former has a reference to TPP, though it's not a huge deal if you miss it. Ulysses' Gaze was the first of his I saw and I love it too, and it's probably more visually interesting than Landscape or Eternity. So take your pick. I will say that most of his films are peerlessly beautiful.Raxivace wrote:Is there a film you'd recommend starting Angelopoulous with? I've eyed his filmography a few times over the years (I think I've seen Jimbo recommend Ulysses' Gaze before) but I have yet to take the plunge into it.
Thanks for the writeup. I did pick up a copy of The Oresteia btw, and was planning on read it sometime after I finish the few Euripides plays I have.Eva Yojimbo wrote:If you plan on reading The Oresteia by Aeschylus, wait to see TTP until after you've read that, or just familiarize yourself with the House of Atreus mythology.
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