“Burnt By The Sun” 6/10
Brian Gilbert directs from the biography of Richard Ellmann
THE FOG (John Carpenter, 1979) – 3 out of 5 stars
BARBARELLA (Roger Vadim, 1968) – 5 out of 5 stars
Dredd – A
Killer Joe (rewatch) – A+
The Master – B+
Wouldn’t have expected The Master to be the least of the three, but I just enjoyed the others a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, The Master is a brilliant technical feat, and the performances couldn’t be better, but it just left me somewhat cold. I’m fine with the lack of a definitive ending, because it’s not a story that could really have one, but I felt as though there was no real climax. I kept expecting the tension to build and it never did. I’ll be going back to see it again, though. The theater was fairly packed in Tallahassee tonight at 8:20, so that’s nice. I wanted to see End of Watch, Trouble with the Curve, or Samsara, but it wasn’t possible at the right times. I went in to Killer Joe about 15 minutes late (bought a ticket, of course) because I wanted to see it again and there just wasn’t a better way to kill time until The Master started.
The Master 5/10
Joachim Phoenix has a dire expression on his face all the time and rages out at wall fixtures. Every emotional response of any of his characters takes itself with the utmost gravity and importance. The man brushes his teeth like the world is coming to an end, then rips the sink out of the wall, outraged at his failure to fight gingivitis.
Freddie needed an actor who could go at that speed and other speeds.
KEEP THE LIGHTS ON 3/5
Well enough made, and well enough acted, of course, I just felt no interest at all. At all. Roughly ten years of a dysfunctional same-sex relationship go by, with one partner’s drug addiction and the other partner’s addiction to being a human doormat supplying what drama there is. Pretty familiar stuff, frankly, and it never did anything to transcend the familiarity, or make me at all interested in what was going on.
Les dames des Bois du Boulogne
MWAHAHAHAHA, I HAVE EXPENDED SERIOUS MONEY AND ENERGY CONNIVING TO MAKE YOUR WEDDING AWKWARD! I’m still alone and, like, you actually really love her, and she’s been saved from a life of prostitution because of me, BUT VENGEANCE HAS BEEN SERVED! That’ll show you to break up with me once I’ve told you I no longer love you!
Geez Polaris, you say that as if it wasn’t a thing. Been there and done that all too often myself.
Certainly one of the best negative reactions I’ve seen to a film I liked.
If only it could be a meme as well (Le sigh.) . . .
The Cabin in the Woods 4/5….this deconstruciton of the horror genre is one of the best comedies of the year. Seriously…..I loved it.
^yep. I am not a fan of horror. I took a chance on Cabin because I knew there was a twist on the genre. enjoyed the film much more than I could have expected to. good acting too. I think they played it just right. didn’t go camp with it.
I am intrigued by this talk, I’ll have to check out the cabin… I love things that pose as one thing but are actually another thing entirely, sounds sweet.
Last House On The Left(original): Haven’t seen it in years. It’s pretty shit really, although it has one or two effective moments. Yes it’s still quite shocking, but there is nothing to recommend though, and all that Dukes Of Hazzards style tomfoolery gets really annoying after a while. It’s fairly incompetent across the board really, and Craven shows none of the (uneven) talent here that he displayed later on in his career, no matter how hard you try to look for it. The difference between L.H.O.T.L and Texas Chainsaw Massacre is that, while they are both cheap and amateurishly acted examples of early ‘shockers’, the latter is genuinely well made, while the former is not. 3/10
The Master 6/10
I agree with you, joks. A really terrible film unfortunately. I understand that some people like it because of the “themes” present in the film, but I failed to see any of these, and it doesn’t really matter as it’s just a bad film on a very basic level.
^^it is only retards that use words like ‘paracinema’ that see any serious ‘themes’ in it.
the rest us sane folk know that it is cheap trash that no intellectual justification can redeem.
I’ll stand up for Last House on the Left as a presentation of the violence and anxiety of the times reflected in its binary structure whereby first we’re horrified by the senseless act of violence, and then seek ‘revenge’ only to be similarly as horrified by the results, meaning even the victims are not sympathetic.
First to show up at an accident scene:PolarisDiB Bad Movie Defense Attorney
Polaris, that is a very charitable interpretation of the work, but it sounds like an ad hoc rationalisation on the part of the creators to me.
I especially don’t trust Cunningham, and see zero evidence to support that interpretation in the film. The structure just feels like a convenient ‘what if’ scenario to me rather than acting as a springboard for specific commentary.
The film is also poorly made.
Heh. Well, I too will, mildly, stand up for Last House, as sort of effective agitprop. The crude clumsiness of the movie removes the sort of aesthetic distance that acts as a buffer in The Virgin Spring where the same theme is pushed back in time and made palatable for artistic consumption where everyone can nod their heads sagely at the wisdom of the piece. Last House is made for a different crowd and as such is a more honest broker between its “pleasures” and its attack on the same. Maybe it’s hard to see now that it has been absorbed by history, but it was much more effective than say Haneke’s Funny Games and much the same end as it didn’t come prepackaged as the work of an “artist” so the response to the film was much more visceral since it didn’t come as a statement to which the audience would have a sort of already assumed agreement over the subject or morality of the piece. Last House effectively double deals its audience by giving them what they want them showing them what that want entails, or perhaps entrails. It ain’t high art, but it was pretty strong medicine.
(Yes, I’m aware I mixed contradictory metaphors in that explanation, but that’s how I see it, both as an honest broker to its convictions, and at the same time double dealing the audience to illustrate those convictions. Those kinds of contradictions are almost unavoidable in even vaguely commercial films.)
By the way, the stars name was Sandra Peabody, any relation?
Sandra Peabody was born on June 15, 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island
Don’t know her, but probably a distant relative.
Prometheus (2012, Ridley Scott) 2/5
At the time Last House on the Left came out, the Japanese were making pinku films, the Italians were making giallo, and the Americans were making sexploitation flicks, all of which used a ‘vengeance’ narrative to justify two hours of rape and violence with five minutes of the victim getting her own in a splatstick manner, usually rushed.
On the contrast, Last House on the Left gives us our vengeance, and early, and quickly that vengeance becomes just as horrifying and no less ‘cathartic’ than the original violence that invited us into the theatre in the first place. The only moment of where the camera rolls back and allows a sense of aesthetics is when the girl has her death throes in the water and her victimizers look on, their expressions morbidly detached re: the horror that they realize they are watching and their responsibility for it.
If we were to get philosophical and say that this scene is about the death of innocence, we’d be incorrect because it’s the point in which the victimizers emotionally detach from the scene in order to be able to claim later innocence. The movie then takes their ‘perspective’ and the horrors are re-enacted again in a circular structure. The girl leaves the house ‘innocent’ but that innocence is a lie because she’s a lot more aware of adult concerns than she seems, and then becomes a victim, the victimizers leave the scene of carnage they caused ‘innocent’ but that innocence is a lie because they’ve incited the violence that is going to kill them.
Another useful structural way to compare this movie is to double features, also a popular theatrical experience at the time. Craven gives you a two-for-one special in a single film, and whereas I would not claim that this is Craven’s ‘intent’ per se, it’s worth pointing out that the movie in how it is presented does sort of make you wonder how many times you can feel invited to engage in violent cinema before it becomes too much. His intent I feel was more along the lines of pushing it further so that audiences desensitized against it would still feel affected by it, but the reason why I think it still succeeds after violence in cinema has been pushed further and further is because of its diptych structure.
Narratively miming Boogie Nights in how a wandering straggler gets caught up in a ‘family’ made up of social rejects, nevertheless a rather unique vision from PT Anderson. What’s great about it is how Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s false composure breaks down so very quickly into verbal abuse, showing that he’s just as apeshit fucked in the head as Joaquin Phoenix’s character. Great fun to watch these two destroy each other for no other reason than that they don’t belong to civilization.
4 of 5 stars.
Chicken with Plums
Old-school romantic style with Amelie like digital aesthetics. I wasn’t expecting much but it ended up becoming no more than a few good laughs and some neat After Effects era transitions. I really enjoyed watching it but probably won’t be able to muster up the interest of seeing it again, as there really wasn’t much I wanted to digest from it. I think in the end it was a good fable for the young romantics lot, if they still exist in this form anywhere in the world.
End of WatchA
Amazing entertainment. Not only does it deliver on the action and bromance (great performances from Pena and Gyllenhaal), but I was surprised how it put me through the emotional trials. Joy, fear, sadness, laughter, awe…
A personal issue I had was during a scene (potential spoiler) where a large gangster horrifically brutalizes a female police officer. It is an upsetting scene, but then two female officers pop up and say something along the lines of “I knew she was gonna get it” when they have been treating her like crap before. It was probably just there to show how desensitized some can become when working that job, but it made me despise them.
The villains are weak, except for Big Evil who has one scary-ass presence.
How do you follow up There Will Be Blood? Well, here you are.
@Polaris, I don’t think that interpretation of the film works seeing as (as has been said) it is such a poorly, unconvincingly made film. I don’t think the violence is at all convincing or disturbing, which makes it even worse looking at such a pathetic attempt to shock the viewer.
@Greg XThe crude clumsiness of the movie removes the sort of aesthetic distance that acts as a buffer in The Virgin Spring where the same theme is pushed back in time and made palatable for artistic consumption where everyone can nod their heads sagely at the wisdom of the piece.
I’ve read a couple of times about the “clumsiness” of the film enhancing it for interpretation or whatnot, but it really just seems like an excuse for bad filmmaking to me.
Captains Courageous (1937) 9.5/10
“I don’t think that interpretation of the film works seeing as (as has been said) it is such a poorly, unconvincingly made film. I don’t think the violence is at all convincing or disturbing, which makes it even worse looking at such a pathetic attempt to shock the viewer.”
Those are all just qualifiers I don’t agree with. In terms of production value/acting it’s definitely a first time director and shot raw, but the violence convinced and disturbed me. But yes the attempt was to shock the viewer… as per its point.