Classic Film : What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils

I must admit I've not dared venture on the TFA boards (Hell hath no fury like a fanboy disagreed with), but I did think before the film came out that there would be a "Come back George Lucas, all is forgiven" backlash somewhere along the way. As enraptured with CGi technology as he became, the way he's been rewritten as the worst thing to ever happen to the franchise he created by some of the 'George Lucas raped my childhood' brigade was bound to happen on some level to Abrams as well. Whatever his faults, Lucas did have a grand vision even if he wasn't so hot at realising it, where the new film feels like a studio combining the most popular elements that will get the best test scores. While Han Solo's exit from the franchise was pretty inevitable since Ford had been lobbying for it when he was doing Return of the Jedi, I do get the feeling that the new series is going to kill off the returning original cast one at a time as selling points rather than as a natural part of the story. But it would be nice if future instalments weren't quite so predictable.

"Security - release the badgers."

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils

But it would be nice if future instalments weren't quite so predictable.
Two bits of dialogue I do not want to hear in Star Wars VIII:

REY: I have to go, my friends are in danger.
LUKE: Wait, you're not ready!


KYLO: Rey, I am your brother!

You are alive and living now.
Now is the envy of all of the dead

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils


"Finn, you are the son of Lando Calrissian"

"Seriously? There's only ONE black family in the universe?"

I gotta apologize to some bitches. I'm forever changed by what I've seen here.

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils

To be fair, there seems to be only one white family in the Star Wars universe and they're all intermarried.

You are alive and living now.
Now is the envy of all of the dead

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils

Seriously, there are only two families in the entire universe?

I gotta apologize to some bitches. I'm forever changed by what I've seen here.

Re: Jedi, Deadpool, Grimsby, Finest Hours, Child 44 + Black Veils

Though there's still some doubt which one Chewie and Wicket belong to.

"Security - release the badgers."

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

Part 7 of my Asian Horror “Year In Review” playlist is now up. It covers movies released from 1983-1986:

Here are the films I saw this week.

Highly Recommended

The Tai Chi Master (1997) (Chinese Action) (repeat viewing) – Wu Jing stars in one of the most action-packed martial arts movies ever made. The first hour is peppered with entertaining fights, but the truly spectacular scenes are found in the second hour, which begins with a pagoda sequence (lasting 20 minutes) that showcases Yang Yu Qian's Tai Chi mastery against a Korean kickboxer, a Mongolian wrestler, a Miao pole fighter, a master of inner chi, a Japanese lady ninja, and a drunken monk. Afterward is the three-phase duel between Yang Yu Qian and Tung Han Shing (lasting 15 minutes), which includes a fight amidst hundreds of hanging swords. One of the few flaws of this film is the sub-par cinematography (this is a condensed 2-hour version of “The Master of Tai Chi” TV series), but this blemish cannot mitigate the great action set pieces herein, and even contributes a definitive old school charm to the movie. In the end, this film showcases the choreographical intricacies of Tai Chi very well, and introduces a likable main character to facilitate the viewer's experience.

Sunny (2011) (Korean Comedy/Drama) (repeat viewing) – This surprise blockbuster focuses on five women friends who reunite decades after their highschool years, which were set in the 1980s. Over half of the film consists of flashbacks from the 80s and showcases both the bonding and shenanigans of the schoolgirls. This film has great energy and is very charming, with characters that are loveable. It has a very playful tone and the comedy works. There's a schoolgirl gang conflict that is introduced early and often that culminates in an insanely hilarious riot sequence that is an instant classic. But there is also more than enough dramatic character interaction to leave a lasting impression, and this is especially true during the second half. This has a heart.

About the Pink Sky (2011) (Japanese Comedy/Drama) – A highschool girl, whose daily routine is rating newspaper articles, finds a wallet containing a large sum of cash. After spending or giving away some of the money, she eventually meets the owner – who promptly asks her to write-up a newspaper that focuses only on good news. The lead actress is great and very charismatic. A healthy infusion of everyday humor helps to keep the viewer entertained. The protagonist's interaction with her two schoolgirl friends is particularly funny, and includes a record-setting use of the word “baka.” This is very nicely shot in black-and-white.


Balloon Club, Afterwards (2006) (Japanese Drama) – After the founder of a hot air balloon club dies, the former members reunite and celebrate the man. This is a low budget film by Sion Sono, but I found the character interaction to be engaging. The drama strengthens quite a bit during the second half. The focus on balloons is also quite different. There are also some very hot women showcased. Hiromi Nagasaku has a supporting role as a sexy, enticing character.

The Volatile Woman (2004) (Japanese Romance/Drama) – A fumbling robber takes a woman hostage in her home, but gets more than he bargained for after they begin to enjoy each other's company. This is a slow and rather uneventful film, but it works because it focuses entirely on the two main characters. It has a quiet yet intense dramaticism about it. Not much dialogue.

Double Impact (1991) (American Action) (repeat viewing) – Jean Claude Van Damme plays a dual role as Alex and Chad, twins separated at the death of their parents. They reunite after 25 years to take vengeance upon the killers. The SFX, body doubles, and camerawork do a good job of convincing the viewer that Van Damme is indeed two different characters. The script is total crap from start to finish, but Van Damme is entertaining in both roles, which makes the slower moments engaging. The action is not particularly impressive, but there's enough of it. He fights a bunch of Hong Kong triads . . . and even himself! Bolo Yeung has a supporting villain role, and there is a good death scene near the end. Here's a fun drinking game: take a shot every time Van Damme screams “Come on!”

Mourning Recipe (2013) (Japanese Drama) – An old man's wife suddenly passes away, leaving him without the strength to live. Two weeks after her death, a spunky young woman (Fumi Nikaido) visits him and insists that she stay and help while they prepare for the 49 day farewell ceremony. Meanwhile, the man's daughter Yuriko (Hiromi Nagasaku) comes to visit him. Yuriko's own marriage is about to end. This is a slow-paced film that is also quite good. Performances by these actresses are good, as expected. It meanders a bit, but it has heart. One of the main themes is the pressures of not having children.

Punch the Blue Sky (2008) (Japanese Drama/Comedy) – Katsuo is a young boy dreaming to be a professional musician. He decides to go back to his hometown and recruit a band consisting of some of his long-time friends. This is leisurely paced and simplistic, but it's quaint enough to be enjoyable. The sassy schoolgirl is entertaining. Some nice natural environments to enjoy. It could have been a bit more eventful though.

Not Recommended

Get Outta Here (2015) (Chinese Drama/Comedy) – A Hong Kong-by-way-of-London vampire awakens from his century-long slumber when property developers dig up his coffin. There are a few positives, like the location shots and a decent lead character. Unfortunately, the script is too uneventful for its own good, none of the characters seemed to have much chemistry with one another, some moments were somewhat annoying, and the lead actress is obnoxious. The finale is also rather dumb.

She Remembers, He Forgets (2015) (Chinese Drama/Romance) – While struggling through a stale marriage, a woman remembers her highschool days. This is a very bland, generic, uninvolving film with characters who are totally uninteresting. The acting is decent, but this is flimsy fluff that you'll forget about in less than a day.

Hi! School – Love On (2014) (Korean Drama/Romance/Comedy) – High school students go through love and maturity as an angel becomes a human being after accidentally saving a male high school student. It's nice to see Sae-ron Kim in a lighter role for a change (she's usually getting abandoned, abused or kidnapped). Unfortunately, even she can't save this K-drama (20 episodes, 55 minutes each) because it is incompetently written and painfully repetitive. The opening 10 or so episodes are watchable, due to an infusion of humor, but after that it's all downhill. Conflicts frequently involve fellow jerk students who try to frame the protagonists for various offenses, which is sufficiently infuriating but also way too repetitive and shallow. The main dilemmas severely drag and are soap opera-ish. After a while everyone acts like a child (even the adults) while they mope around, pout, and complain about how much their life sucks. This creates a situation where everyone – even the protagonists – become unlikeable douchebags.

YouTube Asian Movie Review Channel


Just one for me this week.

Mademoiselle (1966, Tony Richardson) was scripted by Marguerite Duras, from a story by Jean Genet, and the result definitely bears the distinctive marks of both writers: a dark, twisted tale of a woman's repressed desire leading her to acts of wicked, destructive violence, it also contains a sensuous love interlude filmed with sharp close-ups that don't hide the body's imperfections: ripples of flesh, blemishes of the skin, crooked features. These are real bodies, and the palpable desire in these stark images, in the gaze behind the image, is animal, impulsive, pure and unthinking. Richardson's modernist style mixes stark, underlit close-ups with static widescreen landscapes, where figures are off-centered, eerily isolated in corners of the frame. The atmosphere is ominous, the rural French town's collective hate a time bomb of pressure waiting to erupt, fueled by sexual insecurities and a xenophobic intuition that is nevertheless indirectly accurate: never suspecting Jeanne Moreau, ever the proper schoolteacher, of the nightly attacks of arson, they blame the virile outsider, the object of her crazed desire which has in turn unleashed this biblical plague upon them. His innocent presence throws the town's harmony out of balance, not through his own sexuality but through the previously dormant, insatiable desires of the women, prompting the jealousy of the men to rise and swarm, a socio-sexual imbalance that can only be restored through communal, violent scapegoating. Such are humans. (35mm (First Viewing)

Feb 28th weekly dropping


The Pink Panther

Bachelor in Paradise


I'm just enjoying some Henry Mancini music this week.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen 🎇

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

'Pasazerka' looks quite interesting. I added it to my watchlist ages ago and your viewing has reminded me of my interest in it.

That's all, folks!

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

King Kong (1933)- 8/10. It was inovating for its time, great special effects, but after all it's like Transformers, a pair of monsters killing each other, a lot of bad acting, usually bad dialogue, but with some epic sentences "It wasn't the airplanes, it was beauty who killed the beast", thus I liked the moral message. I enjoyed it, but I would only watch once.
Broken Blossom (1919)- 10/10. The second Griffith film I've seen, it was amazing, the film is powerfull, great acting, it's intense, it completely manipulated my feelings and I liked it.

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."- Norma Desmond

Euro-Hollywood mega-thrillers, Euro-documentaries bad and good

To begin at the bottom and climb. The bottom is, apparently, a kind of kitsch classic. It's also brutal, patronising and overpowered by an annoying, monotonous, persistent German voice-over, who talks above every interviewee with the nerve to speak something I understand, like English or Italian, or to have a slightly gentler voice or some expression. The name of this improbable gem of appalling taste is Reise ins Jenseits (Journey Into the Beyond): Die Welt des Ubernaturlichen (The World of the Supernatural), Rolf Olsen, 1975. A kind of German 'Mondo' film with as its subject the paranormal. Whether that's quasi-spiritualist charlatanism, ghostbusting, hypnotism or santeria, the film makes very little distinction, but it loves sensation: the more cutting nto living flesh and expulsion of bodily fluids it can observe, the better. It doesn't disdain the gory slaughter of a goat, either. Apparently it made a few people ill when it came out, and not, I fear, in the name of anything other than the pleasure of making the world go ewwwwwwww. This is not unworthy subject matter, but this is surely not the way to deal with it. Plus, as I mentioned, I object to being hectored in German and I hate voice-over translation. So NO. The reputation of the documentary genre will be saved later.

At this point I'll aslo throw in a fairly disposable short, I Got a Woman, Yvan Attal, 1997, a sketchy development of a subject related to his successful 2001 comedy My Femme est une actrice. His wife really is an actress, so we have to assume that, if it was already eating him in 1997, he really did feel some jealousy and discomfort in front of her big-screen exposure. Here he turns it on the Other Guy, a crass bloke (the stereotype of 'someone else's friend') who can't stop prodding Attal about how he stands it. The comedy of how to dispose of a social pest is one everyone relates to. There's nothing to it, except the crazy theme-song it uses: (enjoy).

But on the next stage up are two big-budget sixties spectaculars.
The Night of the Generals, Anatole Litvak, 1967. When a Nazi is also, for extra-Nazi reasons, a serial killer, is that sufficient reason to leave aside the Naziness of the Nazis? Yes, this Nazi is also a ruthless killer in the course of his dayjob, and with this too his colleagues are unimpressed. Yes, the higher politics put on show here are genuine, even if the characters are not, but are they sufficient reason to make so little of the Naziness of the Nazis? To allow its principal villain such a theatrical exit? I'm really not sure what this film is trying to do, except, probably, do its bit towards cementing Western European unity (without any awkward actual Germans) but it does it with compelling elegance, a little bit of mischief, and a hint of Hans Fallada - who wasn't involved, as far as I know. Every stage of the story is composed by the hand of a master. Whether or not it's about reconciliation, it doesn't hesitate to prong the 60s afterlives of Hitler's Wehrmacht in the Germany of the economic miracle. And it has that extraordinary scene in the art gallery. I know I've seen that before, used to demonstrate something - presumably, some version of the Stendhal syndrome; I can't remember in what context, or why, but it does have a unique power. mixed/yes

Arabesque, Stanley Donen, 1966 seems to be an attempt by the European branch of Hollywood to rival North by Northwest. Starring Gregory Peck in the Cary Grant role (and, forgive me, I'll take Peck without hesitation), as a mild-mannered Oxford Egyptologist dragged into the rough-and-tumble of Middle Eastern politics by a mysterious inscription which various factions will kill for and a beautiful and glamorous lady whose allegeances are murky but whose allure is extremely clear. Don't ask me to unknot the plot - it's not called Arabesque for nothing, and the animated credits hammer home that message - or to comment on the politics, which I assume bear some relation to the Nasserist Egypt of the time (Nasser, if it is he, is cast as the good guy faced with the capitalist machinations of the oligarchs of the day and the ruthlessness of guerilla movements which are simply not examined. But since oil and the deserts are also mentioned, it may not be Nasser who is in question.). Neither matter a great deal in a film dedicated to action, location, pursuit by agricultural machinery (this is Britain, it's a combine harvester), and the McGuffin to end all McGuffins. It's not all that memorable in detail, but Peck is genuinely lovely and, bless it, it never takes itself seriously, which allows me to offer it the kind of affection I could never muster for the Hitchcock. yes
ASIDE TO UK VIEWERS. Does Channel Dave always have reception problems, or is it specific to last week, or to me, or both? This kept disintegrating in a digital way (something which is usually traceable to the channel rather than the TV), including over the ads: it certainly added to the confusion, and now they've started running unusual classics I'd like to know if it's curable.

And, at the top of my weekly tree, two relatively recent French documentaries:
La Maison de la Radio (Radio House), Nicolas Philibert, 2013, follows a day in the life of the headquarters of Radio France. At least that's what it purports to be. I find this 'day in the life' a bit confusing given that it apparently includes both news of the Tokyo earthquake and tsunami (March 11 2011) and a stage of the Tour de France (which takes place in July); but in a sense it doesn't matter if it's a montage, because the centre of interest is the work which goes into broadcast sound, and the human interactions which take place in these recording studios. The first sequence shows a trainee reporter having his version of the news headlines replayed and criticised by his mentor. This is the three-minute summary which precedes anything really interesting happening - you probably never thought that those three minutes demanded much attention, you would be wrong. The mentor pulls the young man's work apart: 'you're giving figures - you don't have time and their eyes will glaze over!', 'you're raising other questions - they'll start thinking about that and stop concentrating', 'what do you mean it was in the dispatch? The listeners can't go and check the dispatch'. In other words the three-minute headlines are an art-form. Then we move on to the preparation for a pre-recorded drama. Here re-takes are possible, and every nuance of accent, tone and contrast in the reader's voice are assessed: in one take the first part of the sentence was shaky but it ended confidently, the next time the start was perfect and the end disappointing. We take the first part of one and the second part of the other ... (continuity, I assume, is a little easier when there is only sound). Then, we start to consider sound-effects: every rumble, every whisper must be right. Elsewhere, experimental musicians set up their apparatus of bottles and hammers; the news-desk filters the incoming breaks (' thousands of sardines washed up dead in California...' 'Where's that? Ah, got it .. thousands of .. no, it's anchovies..' 'It said sardines before..'); someone reads the shipping news; celebrities are interviewed for the population's listening and your viewing pleasure. Nicolas Philibert - along with the late Raymond Depardon one of the undisputed stars of French documentary - made his name with a film about deaf-mute children (Le pays des sourds). I think this betrays a fascination with the aural and its demands which really maintains the interest through the very random glimpses of broadcasting life which he offers us here. It's also, of course, a time-capsule whose value will only increase as it drifts further from the present. yes.

Les Invisibles, Sébastien Lifshitz, 2012 reprsents a move into documentary by a fairly prominent director of queer fictions (the rather wonderful Wild Side). The interviews he carries out are with middle-aged and elderly French gay men and lesbians, some as couples, some as individuals. They talk to Lifshitz' camera (he, the interviewer, remains an invisible and inaudible facilitator) about their childhoods, their families, their sexual discoveries, their current lives, their experience of the militant days of the 60s and the trauma of the AIDS crisis, their lives now, their relationship to old age. One or two of them are fairly famous, but Lifshitz takes all possible trouble to avoid making this known: credits are given by first name only, and the emphasis is on private or collective experience, not social achievement.The system is similar to the one adopted two years later by Gianni Amelio in Felice chi è diverso - probably the French film had some effect on the Italian project, though I have no way of knowing this - but where Amelio's interviewees were all men Lifshitz gives at least equal space to women (the force of their characters somehow leaves one with the impression that they had more screen-time, but I'm not certain). Given that all the selected interviewees have stories to tell and are exceptionally lively raconteurs, the film positively sizzles with wry, amused, energetic recollection. Many things are harsh, but almost nothing is sad, until the last minutes when the conversation turns to age, to the passing of time, to the childhood places that store the past. Any number of themes could be filtered out of this, but there was one in particular which anchored in my mind: the unexpected, complex, persistent importance of the rural as a place of fulfilment. Whether it be the Parisian lesbian couple who decided to jack in office-life to follow the younger woman's lifelong dream and rear goats in a dilapidated farmstead in the back of beyond (they're still there, happy and cheese-productive, thirty years on), or the mischievous old countryman born and bred on the land he still farms, recounting his active and varied sex-life in all possible directions, refusing labels, explanations, decisions and most of all resignation - he's 83 and he's not done yet! The river, the trees, the fields, and the neighbours too - 'very traditional', all agree ('two women alone: they thought we must have had our hearts broken!'), but helpful to newcomers, respectful, discreet, and always around for old acquaintances. This - the latter character particularly - reminds me of Alain Guiraudie's very particular world - not L'Inconnu du lac which is weekenders' scenery, but earlier films like Le Roi de l'évasion, with its cheerfully matter-of-fact peasant-gay scene which I thought surely must have been wishful thinking. If this guy is to be believed, not necessarily. Could the land, which Lifshitz' camera loves and allows full scope to bloom, be French queer cinema's most natural habitat?

These are people worth meeting. yes/YES

I: Detective Story, recognised by Addison de Witt
II: Les Intouchables, recognised by Friend of Millhouse
III: The Man with the Golden Arm, recognised by melvelvit
IV: The Sound of Music, recognised by Friend of Millhouse
Like I said, very hard: Jacques Bral's 80s Parisian noir Polar
Hard too, I guess, but not quite as hard as the last one. This is Les Ripoux III, the last in a successful and lovable series.

Revision I
Not The Name of the Rose.
To Friend of Milhouse, Becket

Revision II
Promptly to sol: the 60s Casino Royale

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?

Re: Revisions I + II

Some wild stabs in the dark:

Revision I - Der Name der Rose?

Revision II - the 60s Casino Royale?

Most people think I'm mad. At least I know I'm mad.

Re: Revisions I + II

II is right - I should never have used that picture but I'm sure you see why I couldn't help it!. I is wrong.

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?



You are alive and living now.
Now is the envy of all of the dead

Re: I.

That's it.

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

Brave (2012) - 8/10 - great Disney/Pixar animation.

Priests and Little Boys

Nazarín (Mexico-1959) dir. Luis Buñuel
In turn of the 20th century Mexico, an idealistic priest tries to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, but the Church, society and human nature get in the way.
Luis Buñuel, renowned atheist and anticlericalist here delivers a thoughtful and honest examination of the values of Christianity.

The Secret of Kells (Ireland/France/Belgium-2009) dir. Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey
In medieval Ireland, at a monastery in constant fear of Viking invasions, a young novice helps complete the Book of Kells.
Great-looking animation film employing a drawing-style reminiscent of illuminations in the real-life Book of Kells ( Unfortunately, the story is no match for the visuals.
While steeped in Irish culture and lore, this movie about life in an early monastery and the writing of an early Christian text seems determined to ignore Christianity altogether. The monastery seems strangely non-denominational with an Asian and an African priest, and while time and again the book is referred to as 'the book that will bring light into darkness', since the film completely ignores the content of the text, focussing instead solely on the illustrations, it's never made clear exactly how it's supposed to bring light into darkness or why completing it is so important.
Still, it's refreshing to see an animated feature that doesn't try to look like the latest Disney/Pixar and does exciting, innovative things with the medium.

Steve Jobs (US/UK-2015) dir. Danny Boyle
Despite superb performances and terrific visual direction by Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs is really a writer's film, with Aaron Sorkin dividing Jobs' life into three chapters, each taking place on the brink of a major product launch, while Jobs deals with a slew of personal and professional problems. It's a great way to keep the pressure on the character and the movie, with Kate Winslet running behind him as a walking, talking clock ("Steve, we have six minutes!"), but the gimmick comes back to bite him in the third chapter, when Sorkin needs to provide resolutions for all the story-threads and some of them, particularly the relationship with his daughter, feel unsatisfying and, well, rushed.

Spotlight (US/Canada-2015) dir. Tom McCarthy
The latest (surprise) Best Picture winner is a solid drama about the Boston Globe's uncovering of a child-sex scandal within the Catholic Church, but, given the subject matter, I would have liked to seen a little more engagement as well as a little more visual inventiveness instead of what comes down to a perfectly decent TV-movie-of-the-week.

You are alive and living now.
Now is the envy of all of the dead

Finishing 1999 - Salvation - Garment - Coyle

Wild Wild West (1999)

Steampunk Blockbusterdom!

Barry Sonnenfeld's Wild Wild West is a film that I have avoided for over 15 years. I have no frame of reference with the source materials, but even though I'm a big Westerns fan, it wasn't this, or the critical pounding it got on release, that kept me away. It was the original trailers for it, it just looked like a garbled over budgeted mess - which it kinda is.

However, that's not to say there isn't fun to be had, because for all its many failings (poor effects, poor script, waste of a strong cast, superficiality), there is some verve and swagger, excitement, Will Smith's likability and some splendid gadgets. Having very low expectations no doubt helped me out, but I would hardly call this a 1/10 type of film. I say chill out with a beer, turn the home cinema speakers up and just roll with it, because thinking about it too deeply could possibly make you angry... 5/10

The War Zone (1999)

Darkness in Devon.

Tim Roth dons the directing hat for the first time and brings to the screen a shattering tale of incest and child abuse. Alexander Stuart adapts from his own novel and it stars Ray Winstone, Lara Belmont, Freddie Cunliffe and Tilda Swinton. Story is about a family who have moved from London to the Devonshire coast. The son, Tom, is unhappy and feels alienated in the new surroundings, but when he discovers a dark family secret, things become much much worse.

It's an uncomfortable viewing experience at times, making it a film you don't readily recommend, but Roth's approach to the story gives out a powerful message without exploitation or sermonising. The script is deliberately taut and sparse, while the marrying up of the crashing waves and jagged rocks of the locale with the emotional turmoil is a deft piece of directing. The use of newcomers Belmont and Cunliffe add a potent sense of realism to the whole thing, aided no end by an intelligent screenplay that doesn't go for conventionality. Quite simply it's an unforgettable film, a claustrophobic emotional battering ram of celluloid. 9/10

Due to Oscar night I haven't been able to review these yet >

Grey Owl (1999) Paucity reigns as a bio-pic, but a story well worth telling and it's fricking beautiful to look at. Animal lovers sure to be confused. 7/10

Three Kings (1999) As astute as a judge and as cunning as a cat. 8/10

Girl, Interrupted (1999) Brilliant "other" performances forgotten due to Jolie's Oscar win? You betcha!! A touching and poignant picture. 9/10

The Hurricane (1999) Powerhouse Washington drives it forward. Some smoothed over Hollywoodisations a little annoying, but it packs a great upper-cut punch. 9/10

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Hmm, yes, ok! It plays as a little bit indulgent in run time and in trying to be arty-farty. That said, I never left the sofa upon watching it. A good point of reference as to why so many critics and film fans trumpet Jude Law's talent. 7/10

The Salvation (2014)

Sometimes you gotta sacrifice a single sheep to save the rest.

The Salvation is directed by Kristian Levring and Levring co-writes the screenplay with Anders Thomas Jensen. It stars Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Jonathan Pryce and Douglas Henshall. Music is by Kasper Winding and cinematography by Jens Schlosser.

1871 and ex-patriot Danish soldier Jon Jensen (Mikkelsen) is, after 7 years of foundation building, welcoming his wife and son to a new life in America. But after they all board a stagecoach bound for their homestead, events will see that journey not be completed. And thus begins a tale of retribution and redemption.

There are few smiles in The Salvation, in fact viewers will need to grab onto the sparse offerings of such very early in the piece. For it's a film of blood, brooding and misery, of intensity and a paucity of the good side of human nature. Levring has managed to successfully blend the traditions of the American Western with the feel of the Euro Spaghetti Oaters. There is so much for Western fans to enjoy here. It's a classic revenger pumped by a good versus bad heart, yet as pared down and as simple as the story may at first seem, there's interesting asides of worth.

The issue of Euro immigrants trying to make it in the Wild West is noteworthy, while there's a delicious juxtaposition between two soldiers from different continents, and different wars. Jensen fought the Germans in Europe, while his nemesis, Henry Delarue (Morgan), has been through the Indian wars. A most interesting comparison, one where the characterisations are vividly opposed to each other. Add in a good old town in the grip of a tyrant theme, and a bit of carnal desires upon thine brother's spouse, and it's a spicy hot pot.

Filmed at dusty South African locations, there's a scenic beauty surrounding the harsh story. Westerns don't have to be filmed in America to look authentic, and this is a case in point. The town of Black Creek has been called fake looking in some quarters, not so. This is a new up-coming town, it's meant to be wooden and sparse. Hell! The saloon is also the local store, the mayor is also the undertaker, this is a basic Wild West town without frills and fancy.

Elsewhere the costuming is splendid, especially Morgan who is nicely dapper in black hat and crimson mack, and there's a whole host of face fuzz on show, which is needed to keep up the whole mud and blood, hard West factor. Levring has an eye for a nice shot, such as a full moon bearing witness, even a traditional slow-mo piece. All that said, irks do exist, Green's character is sketchily drawn, but she's playing a heaving bosom mute (her tongue was cut out by the pesky Indians), so scope for development is admittedly limited. While Winding's score is a bit too modern sounding for the key shoot-out sequences.

Ultimately it's great to see the Western is still thriving in this day and age of CGI and blockbuster pandering. From the shattering and moody first quarter to the bloody and excellently staged finale, The Salvation keeps the Western genre well and truly alive. 9/10

The Garment Jungle (1957)

Unity is powerful.

The Garment Jungle is directed by Robert Aldrich and Vincent Sherman. The screenplay is adapted by Harry Kleiner from "Gangsters in the Dress Business" by Lester Velie. It stars Lee J. Cobb, Kerwin Matthews, Richard Boone, Robert Loggia, Gia Scala and Valerie French. Music is by Leith Stevens and cinematography by Joseph Biroc.

Alan Mitchell (Matthews) returns from the War to help his father Walter (Cobb) run the family fashion designer factory. Unfortunately he finds a business being protected by local hoodlum Artie Ravidge (Boone), who has the backing of Walter, and who is defiant in not letting the Union into the company. Things are about to turn very ugly and Alan is right in the middle of it.

Robert Aldrich is uncredited in a lot of sources, but the film was 98% his work. Cobb had a sulk about where his character was going, it all came to a head and Columbia head Harry Cohn, not needing much of an excuse to fire Aldrich (who was sick as well), brought in Sherman to finish the film. Or at least that's the party line story...

Aldrich's mark is all over the film, the harsher edges involving racketeers and violence are unmistakably his. The characterisations are pungent with varying degrees of menace, betrayal, cowardice and stoicism, with morals and ethics brought into sharp focus. Much of the pic is filmed indoors, which is a shame because when Biroc gets to photograph outside in the New York locales, we can see that we could have had a visual film noir treat. Instead we get a very good pro Union drama with noir tints, though the softening of a key character, which Aldrich didn't aspire to, leaves you wondering just how much more spicy things could have been. 7/10

Neo-Noir Quest 2

Memento (2000) -
Deep Cover (1992) -
Hammett (1982) -
Marlowe (1969) -
Point Blank (1967) -
Point of No Return (1993) -
The Black Dahlia (2006) -
Thief (1981) -
Chinatown (1974) -
Femme Fatale (2002) -
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) -
Black Widow (1987) -
Jackie Brown (1997) -
Ruang talok 69 (1999) -

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Everybody oughta listen to his mother.

Boston criminal Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle (Robert Mitchum) is in the mire, the cops have him bang to rights and he's facing a long stretch in the big house. However, if he turns informant he will keep out of poky...

For far too long this film had been stuck hidden away in pirate hell, thankfully it finally saw the light of day and can be seen for all its glory. Peter Yates directs and Paul Monash adapts the screenplay from the George V. Higgins novel. Supporting Mitchum are Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats and Alex Rocco. Music is by Dave Grusin and cinematography by Victor J. Kemper.

It's a film noir lovers picture, a throw back to the halcyon days of the first wave of noir back in the 1940s. So who better than a battered pug faced Mitchum to front up the story? Pic is perpetually downbeat, with the air of despondency hanging over our protagonist like the grim reaper. The underworld painted by Yates and his team is smartly stripped down to basics, it's a world that is after all, always moving in secretive circles. There's no frilly glamour here, there's crime and consequences, realistic street operations, and brilliantly there's believable characterisations.

With dialogue dominating the narrative, it's not one for the action junkie - though the set-pieces are superbly staged by Yates, this is a neo-noir of high respect to previous blood lines. And it boasts a quite brilliant turn from Mitchum whilst not copping out at the finale. Noir heads rejoice! 9/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Red Dwarf - The X Files

Red Dwarf (1988)

Boy did Seasons 4 & 5 raise the bar!

Camille (1991) 9/10
D.N.A. (1991) 10/10
Justice (1991) 9/10
White Hole (1991) 10/10
Dimension Jump (1991) 10/10
Meltdown (1991) 9/10
Holoship (1992) 9/10
The Inquisitor (1992) 10/10

The X Files (1993)

Tooms (1994) Mutant of the Week Part 2 - 10/10
Born Again (1994) Reincarnation - Telekinetic of the week - 9/10
Roland (1994) Autistic of the Week - 9/10
The Erlenmeyer Flask (1994) Alien Conspiracy of the Week - 6/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Wild Wild West (1999)

As a fan of the television series [I wonder how it holds up?] I unhesitatingly gave the film a 1/10 rating. I've seen worse movies which I rated a little higher, but I factor "potential" into my ratings and this one blew it.

"He was a poet, a scholar and a mighty warrior."

Re: Wild Wild West (1999)

I wouldn't be trying to convince anyone to seek it out. I gave it 5/10, which is very close to the IMDb rating (4.8), I think that's about right. But like I say, I know nothing about the show (wasn't there a comic as well?) so expectation of a 1/10 movie almost certainly helped me to kick back and roll with the loud excess of it all.

Chris Rock made a Smith gag about it at the Oscars.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

From the City of Millions to Gradiva

Hi zetes and Everyone,

Horror (and fantastique)- related viewings last week (in bold)

Masters of Non-fiction/Horror Board's 2016 Documentary Challenge:


Die Stadt der Millionen (City of Millions, 1925) - Adolf Trotz. 8/10
Als de halmen buigen (When the Stalks Bend, 1929) - Johan van Canstein. 8/10
Le mystère Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso, 1956) - Henri-Georges Clouzot. 9/10
Le joli mai (The Lovely Month of May, 1963) - Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme. 10/10
Kiss (1963) - Andy Warhol. 9/10
Point of Order! (1964) - Emile de Antonio. 9/10
Good Times, Wonderful Times (1966) - Lionel Rogosin. 9/10
Der lachende Mann - Bekenntnisse eines Mörders (The Laughing Man, 1966) - Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann. 8/10
Sanrizuka: Dainitoride no hitobito (Narita: The Peasants of the Second Fortress, 1971) - Shinsuke Ogawa. 10/10
Les pornocrates (The Pornocrats, 1976) - Jean-François Davy. 8/10
Trop tôt/Trop tard (Too Early/Too Late, 1982) - Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. 9/10
Winter adé (After Winter Comes Spring, 1989) - Helke Misselwitz. 10/10
Starting Place/Point de départ (1994) - Robert Kramer. 10/10
Gallivant (1997) - Andrew Kotting. 9/10
Atarashî kamisama (The New God, 1999) - Yutaka Tsuchiya. 9/10
Genet à Chatila (Genet in Chatila, 1999) - Richard Dindo. 9/10
Fei cheng (Ghost Town, 2009) - Zhao Dayong. 10/10
Studien zum Untergang des Abendlands (Studies for the Decay of the West, 2010) - Klaus Wyborny. 10/10
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) - Alex Stapleton. 7/10
Eurociné 33 Champs-Élysées (2013) - Christophe Bier. 7/10
Atlas (2013) - Antoine d'Agata. 7/10


Misère au Borinage (Misery in the Borinage, 1933) - Joris Ivens and Henri Storck. 9/10
Oil: A Symphony in Motion (1933) - M.G. MacPherson. 7/10
The Face of Britain (1935) - Paul Rotha. 9/10
Tomorrow's Saturday (1962) - Michael Grigsby. 9/10
Cigányok (Gypsies, 1962) - Sándor Sára. 9/10
Snow (1963) - Geoffrey Jones. 9/10
Ohnivé rieky (Fire River, 1966) - Ctibor Kovác. 10/10
Opus (1967) - Don Levy. 9/10
God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance (1968) - Les Blank. 8/10
Besonders wertvoll (Of Special Merit, 1968) - Hellmuth Costard. 7/10
Interviews with My Lai Veterans (1971) - Joseph Strick. 9/10
Stolarz (A Joiner, 1976) - Wojciech Wiszniewski. 10/10
Gradiva Esquisse I (Gradiva Sketch I, 1978) - Raymonde Carasco. 10/10


Re: From the City of Millions to Gradiva

Comments on Mystère Picasso and Borinage?

Interesting project for the Horror Board! Though I know it's always been cutting-edge as boards go.

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?

Re: From the City of Millions to Gradiva

Lots of bloomin' obscure marvels 'ere, Jorge. I fink I saw Stolarz when I were working in Poland durin' the 70s but I can't wecall too much about it.

Sandor Sara is another diwector I quite admire so I is fair dinkum glad that you seem to 'ave liked his Ciganyok. I wemember being wather moved by his observational and brave Feldobott ko when I saw it all them years ago. This unflinching look at Roma existence in a hostile, uncaring society has stuck wif me down the years it 'as!

God Save the King

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

A delightfully compassionate fantasy from Starewicz:
'La voix du rossignol' (1925, dir: Wladyslaw Starewicz) - 9/10

Three talky and distinctively observed features from 1999:
'Serebryanye golovy' (1999, dir: Vladimir Maslov, Yevgeny Yufit) - 8/10
'Sicilia!' (1999, dir: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub) - 8/10
'Stakleni topcheta' (1999, dir: Ivan Tscherkelov) - 7/10

Four erotic, playfully irreverent, and inventive shorts from Italy:
'La coccinella' (1999, dir: Nello Pepe) - 7/10
'Sogno' (1999, dir: Nicolaj Pennestri) - 7/10
'Stringimi forte i polsi' (1999, dir: Walter Martyn Cabell) - 8/10
'Ultimo metrò' (1999, dir: Andrea Prandstraller) - 8.5/10

The found footage spectacles of Tscherkassky in 1999:
'L'Arrivée' (1999, dir: Peter Tscherkassky) - 7.5/10
'Outer Space' (1999, dir: Peter Tscherkassky) - 8/10

A further selection of assorted shorts from 1999:
'Black XXX-Mas' (1999, dir: Pieter Van Hees) - 7.5/10
'Desserts' (1999, dir: Jeff Stark) - 7/10
'Grand Central' (1999, dir: Jeff Scher) - 9/10
'Kleingeld' (1999, dir: Marc-Andreas Bochert) - 7/10
'When the Day Breaks' (1999, dir: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby) - 8.5/10

A twisted and imaginative French animation and two ho-hum shorts:
'Des souris (un chat) et des hommes' (2011, dir: Camille Bovier Lapierre) - 8/10
'Jumble Up' (2015, dir: Leo Karmann) - 6/10
'Sardine' (2015, dir: Christel Delahaye) - 5/10

Schlöndorff's heartfelt though cinematically underwhelming remembrance of Nazi reprisal victims in occupied France:
'La mer à l'aube' (2011, dir: Volker Schlöndorff) - 6.5/10

And a slight yet smile-inducing comedy-drama of two brothers, a supposed sister, and a missing father:
'Tristesse club' (2014, dir: Vincent Mariette) - 7/10

That's all, folks!

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

Thoughts on Sicilia! (My number 2 for the year)

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?


Hello ali!

I'm glad that you asked about this one because it's a film that has really stayed with me in the days since I viewed it. I was aware that it was one that you value particularly highly and that actually played into my wanting to see it in conjunction with the 1999 poll.

It is undoubtedly a quietly amazing sensory experience. The definition and striking contrasts between blacks and whites in the cinematography carries a vividness and tonal subtlety that assigns importance and individuality to everything that passes before the lens. I have read reviews that have described the observational qualities of Straub and Huillet as seeming austere and even boring. While I do have question-marks and perhaps some reservations about their approach to film-making, I think that the sparse, sharply defined compositions exhibit a beguiling and captivating artistic sense that leads to the film being utterly memorable.

This was my first foray into the films of Straub and Huillet and perhaps I don't appreciate fully yet the subtlety of their melding of a humane marxism and cinematic form. Their cinematic language is challenging yet tranquil and meditative too. The aesthetic inclusivity that lingers upon empty spaces as sounds fade naturally displays an inventiveness and an openness that allows one to look at one's own ways of perceiving and presents opportunities to watch and listen in newly attentive and attuned ways that might confound inculcated expectations of rigid regimentation as well as questioning the finely honed strictures and orderliness of filmic presentation that we as viewers have become accustomed to digesting. This willingness to ascribe just as much importance to silence and blank space leads to a continually captivating and unsettling work. And key to all of it is of course the nature of the dialogue. I should perhaps mention that the copy I watched didn't carry any subtitles. In a way, in retrospect, I am glad that this was the case. The words spoken were only one aspect of the communication in the film. The cadence of the dialogue and the emphasised delivery proved transfixing and succeeded in going beyond the immediacy of the spoken word to probe deeper qualities of individuality and the inherent complexity of human expression. Despite not picking up all that was said, I feel that the way I experienced the film allowed me to appreciate it in a more enriching and involving fashion than if I had been reaching down for subtitles and continually averting my gaze from the on-screen discussions. I found it a challenging film to watch but I suspect that it is a work that I will come to value even more as I gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Straub and Huillet and their stylised explorations of film language. 'Sicilia!' makes for a humanistic, contemplative, and startlingly inventive entry (at least to the uninitiated!) and I certainly look forward to exploring more of their output over the coming months and years.

That's all, folks!

Re: 'Sicilia!'

>>>I think that the sparse, sharply defined compositions exhibit a beguiling and captivating artistic sense that leads to the film being utterly memorable. <<<

Couldn't agree more. I think their aesthetic is amazing: there's an enigmatic clarity to it which both sharpens the senses and makes everything mysterious.

I do think you missed out a bit from not understanding the texts - because they are texts: S & H are in some ways very literary film-makers, and this is a constellation of verbal portraits made photographically vivid, of Sicilian life and living. But yes, the sound in itself is just is vital - hey, they've drawn on music too, daring to 'film' both Bach and Schoenberg formally.

If they organise the revolution like they did this meeting, what'll happen?

Re: 'Sicilia!'

Flippin' heck, shipmate! Few sentences in there of the long-winded vawiety.

God Save the King

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

-There's Always A Woman
-You Can't Take It With You
-The Wackiest Ship In The Army
-Berlin Express
-Women's Prison
-Head Above Water
-The Tall Men 1955

--Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning 7 times?--

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This message has been deleted.

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)


😴👉i slept on the sidewalk by the side of the castle in the Magic Kingdom👈👸

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

Over Memorial Day weekend, we watched The Best Years of Our Lives.
Great film. It depicts the WW 2 service men coming home to their families after the war and the adjustments all of them make.

Fasten Your Seatbelts….
It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night!

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

It's the best movie of its kind, IMO. Great story, great cast.

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

It's definitely among my favorites. 👍

Fasten Your Seatbelts….
It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night!

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

I saw some of that yesterday on TCM. I only discovered this movie a few years ago, but it is now a favorite.

I asked her if she liked it.
She said "Stupid movie."

Re: What classics did you watch this week? (2/22-2/28)

I never get tired of it.
It's nice knowing that people are still discovering it and really liking it.

Fasten Your Seatbelts….
It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night!