Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom 4/5.
Funeral Procession of Roses (1969)
Bara no sôretsu (original title)
Toshio Matsumoto on drugs, violence and sex
THE 39 STEPS 10/10
Still fresh and entertaining, a snapping good film.
Looked unreal on the criterion BD ^ am I right sir? ::gunshot::
I really like the idea of the film and at the start I was thinking a 9 or a 10, but I think it took some odd directions. Particularly with the role of the German in the story. For a British film made during World War II, it sure portrays Germans as having superhuman strength, fortitude and cunning. Were British people in the 40’s really buying into Nazi propaganda to the point that they thought “Okay, they are superhuman machines, but they’re evil anyway”?
GOD BLESS AMERICA: It’s a long rant about our current cultural decline put to film. Common criticism, but it’s the truth. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but the problem here is that once Bobcat establishes the basic narrative and character arcs there is absolutely no further development. From this point he relies on the satire and the shocks to get him through, and the quality of the performances help considerably in this regard, but it’s not enough to sustain a feature length film. What this movie lacks, and what World’s Greatest Dad had it spades, is an underlying humanity, a reason to care. Bobcat wants us to have some investment in these misguided characters, and to a certain level we do, but they often feel like vehicles for his obvious sermonising rather than fully fledged characters. The whole concept is a little thin to me. The more i think about it, the less i like it. It is funny at times though, undoubtedly, although Bobcat still doesn’t know how to stage a moderately elaborate sequence, and the ‘action’ towards the end is poorly done. Overall, a great idea that falls desperately short of its potential, but it has its moments. Even i’m not smug enough to love this one! 5.5/10
sorry about tht
mind blown – the mother in black swan was played by barbara hershey. did not realize this until reading a review.
NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais, 1955) – 5 out of 5 stars
L’eclisse – It’s pretty damn incredible how perfect every frame of this film looks, but it still didn’t really hit me. I think it is the Antonioni film that seems to most fit that stereotype of his films being well made films about nothing with inconclusive endings. Not meant as a criticism of course, I love his style, and even though this is possibly the weakest film I’ve seen from him, I still really liked it and I definitely need to watch it again to completely make up my mind. And that montage sequence at the end is so good!
Antonioni films aren’t about nothing, they’re just about nothing specific.
I think I just inspired a Jazz thread.
Last Life in the Universe (2003)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s dreamy meditation
JIRIN: well said. They have a slippery quality to them that either works for you or it doesn’t. on the subject of slightly ‘slippery’ films:
RAMPART: I’m not that familiar with Elroy, but i can see why those expecting the usual crime-investigation-redemption cop film were really disappointed here. Although there are plenty of cliches in the script, the director has really chosen to approach the story from odd angles. There isn’t much background information here or even a strong context; we just thrown into this dirty cop’s life, and we watch his life go from moment to moment, in a way that seems almost disconnected. There is a (deliberately) hazy quality to the narrative, and even the visuals, at times, that seems to complement the character’s escalating moral and ‘emotional’ estragement from his job, his family, his friends, and basically everyday life. This is all done well, even if a few of the stylistic choices are questionable(the use of jump cuts etc).
The problem i have here, and that many critics also seemed to have, is that there isn’t really much of a dramatic arc. In Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, a corrupt cop moves closer to ‘God’ through self annihilation. The film doesn’t really have much of a ‘point’ until the end, but the seemingly disconnected, almost impressionistic, moments, have remarkable cumulative power. The same can not be said for Rampart. We just watch a selfish, destructive man plunge deeper into the abyss, and we are not really given a reason to care at all. There just doesn’t appear be much at stake here, so we have no real investment in the character’s further decline. The ‘objective/neutral’ perspective is fine, but there are so few indelible moments in this film, so little that’s truly definitive, that it’s hard to really be impressed by it in a passionate way.
Towards the end there are moments i believe we are almost meant to feel sorry for him, and Harrelson is impossible to dislike entirely, no matter how terrible he behaves—and he is great in this film, no doubt—but the film itself lets him down. The director seems so adamant to avoid and confound all expectations of the genre he is operating in that he has produced a film that only feels 3/4’s complete. There just doesn’t appear be much at stake here, so we have no real investment in the character’s decline; emotional, intellectual, or otherwise. Having said that, it is quite watchable, mostly due to Harrelson, and also because of this very insistence displayed by Moverman, oddly enough. I’d give it a 6.5. Mostly because of Harrelson, and also because it captures the seediness of the milieu well, but it doesn’t really work as a gritty, hard hitting police drama, or as an ‘artistic’ character driven mood piece.
I watched Miss Bala last night, and it was really, really great! The camera movements were really well-done, I thought, being nicely stylistic without calling too much attention to themselves, and tracking shots throughout created a ton of tension. Best of all, though, was the sound design and music – which was designed and incorporated into the film with a perfectly subtle touch. Several scenes with just a steady low bass rumble were perfect. And the acting was really great (in a Bressonian kind of way), too. The characters were well-drawn, without too much exposition or cheesy “character development.” The relationship between Lau and Lino was very well-done – ambiguous, poignant, and terrifying.
Really, just a masterful film – I can’t wait to see more from Naranjo. I can’t believe Miss Bala hasn’t been talked about more here.
Black River (Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 1957)
Brutal stuff here. The subject matter serves as a nice precursor to the Japanese New Wave. The ensemble cast is beautifully balanced. It’s not on par with Harikiri or Samurai Rebellion, but Black River is well worth watching.
The Flat – Arnon Goldfinger (2011)
5/5 – and yes it is that good.
Best documentary I have seen in a while.
I didn’t mean to imply that’s what I believe.
The Turin HorseA
LIFE LESSONS – 5/5
From the NEW YORK STORIES anthology film. A splendid short film, one of Scorsese’s finest works. Man, what he used to be able to do.
Overrated. It fails to address its “man can be evil by nature” theme and substitutes it with the usual boring survival sequences.
I thought those survival sequences were very intense, especially when you take into consideration there was still one guy left who had a gun.
If I’m ever trapped in a horrific situation, I want Dude there to remind me how boring it all is ;)
@lover: I think the thing about Deliverance is how it isn’t really about trying to survive a horrific situation as it is trying to be about a depiction of the loss of the good natures of men in desperate situations. But, as I said, it’s trying to be. There’s nothing in the film that addresses this, and it’s such a shame that the plot gave a chance to.
@bijoux: I know, right? I’m such a pessimist.
Ruggles of Red Gap 5/5
Probably one of the funniest damn films I’ve seen. Laughton gives a very ‘different’ performance which illustrates the range this man had.
I love that movie, Tommy.