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Default What I've Been Watching: The Catch-All Film Thread

July 21st, 2019, 21:18
My delve into the works of Akira Kurosawa continues. Once again, all wonderfully shot movies, but did any of them manage to entertain? These are all individual dvds and weren't part of any boxsets that were available:

Silent Duel (1949) (b/w) was a film I really enjoyed. So rarely do you see people discuss sexually transmitted diseases in the social discourse, let alone in movies. I mean, how many can you think of? Philadelphia? Right… and. And yet I consider this to be the actual problem with sex, possibly the only problem beyond rape.

A soldier catches an STD while in service and, when he's operated on by the staff surgeon, the surgeon gets infected by the disease, forcing him to push away his bride to be upon his return to civilian life. Highly emotional, extremely intelligent and, for me, had really nice pacing and believable scenarios. Maybe not a must-watch for all but if the topic interests you then it's a hidden gem if ever there was one. 4.5/5

Scandal (1950) (b/w) Is an incredibly poorly paced and dragging predictable film that suffocates its few good story beats. A newspaper makes up a story about an artist having an affair with a beautiful female celebrity for the money, to which our hero decides to sue against all hope of winning. See, on the face of it this story is as relevant today as it was then, this should be great, right?

Alas, that aspect of the movie only covers the beginning and end, the main bulk of the film is centred around the shady lawyer the hero hires, who's as bent as the newspaper guys. So we just watch a solid hour of this old guy ham up his damaged conscience with ever more frustrating slowness. If I wasn't trying my best to give Akira a fully fair shot because its Akira I'd have started skipping at about the 40 minute mark. 2/5

Rashomon (1950) (b/w) is one of Akira's all time, all time classics. I recently saw Terry Gilliam in a YouTube video where he was basically creaming in his pants over this film. And after watching it I can see why. However, the film itself is actually quite difficult to watch. None of the characters are particularly likeable, it plays for laughs more than it plays for solemnness, and the ham levels are off the charts, with many scenes no being so much chewed as scoffed like a hungry pig.

However, what it does is make you think about it long after you've seen it. As each hour passes, as each day passes, one's mind kind of blanks out all the excess and leaves you with the core essence of the film, and that essence is pure genius. Apparently this film inspired The Usual Suspects among others. It tells the tale of a murder, only it tells the same tale several times, each time from the perspective of a different witness, for quite mind-bending results. A genuine all time classic that will forever be as relevant as the day it was written, though a less hammy remake would be great at some point. 4/5

Kagemusha The Shadow Warrior (1980) (colour) Was a bit of a let down for me. This is Akira back doing what he does best with a visual treat of Samurai and warring states era of Japan, now in full glorious colour! He was even given huge backing from both George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to make this, both names used as promotion on the front cover. It's about a scummy rogue who happens to look like the emperor & so gets roped in to play the emperor after the emperor's death. Sounds fun, but its not.

It's mostly just very long and very boring humdrum things that happen with very little play made of the obvious potential. Sort of like the Star Wars prequels really, it always looks like something's happening, but nothing really happens. Even the big emotional ending kinda falls flat in a big *shrug* kinda way. After thinking about it afterwards I think this might be more of a big deal to the Japanese specifically as a big theme of the film is the morality of defensive rather than offensive warfare, which would obviously be a thing in Japan more than in the west, so there's a lot lost in translation as well, but even still, man do some of the scenes draaaag in the two and a half!!!!! hour film. 2.5/5

Ran (1985) (colour) is much more back on track. As the above but actually interesting and well paced. It probably helps as well that this is another of his Shakespeare reworks, this time transposing King Lear onto Samurai era warring states Japan. The primary difference here being that the kingdom is divided between his sons rather than his daughters. You could watch this without any knowledge of King Lear and it would still be equally as good. Take all my negatives about Kagemusha and reverse them and you have all the positives on show here, from great characters to great pacing and great character arcs. Quite possibly one of life's must watches. 4.5/5

Rhapsody in August (2001) (colour) Has Richard Gere in it for about 19 minutes. He even speaks some Japanese when he does show up, not much, but some. So what's it actually about beyond "having Richard Gere in a Kurosawa movie"? It's about this old grandma and the loss she and her generation suffered as a result of the bomb on Nagasaki, in her case her husband. Her grandchildren take up most of the screen time as they stay with her while their parents visit America. She refuses to go to America even though the kids desperately want to go. The kids visit lots of bomb memorials and stuff while they wait for her to decide if she'll go or not.

And this is the kind of film where reviewing it just consists of telling you the plot, because there's not really much else to say. It's a nice film. You know, a nice film. A film you could watch with the whole family and everyone can be equally unexcited and equally duty bound to say how nice it is. You just go along with its niceness until it stops, nothing really negative to say but nothing positive either, but with such a well meaning theme that it's impossible to really go against any of its lame aspects. A nice piece of Oscar bait that isn't over the top Oscar bait kind of thing. 3/5
Last edited by lackblogger; July 22nd, 2019 at 00:18. Reason: wrong reference
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July 21st, 2019, 23:25
Just a quick remark about your initial "STD movies are rare"… Nah.

About STD, I can think instantly of belgian Conscript on top of my head. Yea, it's old too, but there was time I still accepted to watch drama/war/history rubbish. Recently I've refused to watch indian movie Sometimes because, again, bloody drama.
Of course there were quite a few with the same thematic, but in the end I never cared. The only STD movie I ever liked is It Follows - the disease in it is nonexisting in reality yet deadly. Or… We sure it doesn't exist?

For those interested in USA history and STDs (I'm not so I didn't want to watch Mengele 2) I have to suggest, unless you've already read about it elsewhere:
Miss Evers' Boys



Quoting my old post about news that someone is trying to retell Rashomon as series:
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
After years I couldn't believe noone tried it, it finally happened:
https://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/1…on-of-rashomon
Amblin TV has announced they’re developing a small-screen adaptation of the 1950 classic from legendary Japanese film writer/director Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon.

The original film, co-written by Kurosawa and Shinobu Hasimoto and directed by the former, revolves around the rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband and sees the story told from four different perspectives, that of a bandit, the bride, a woodcutter and the ghost of the samurai.
The series, … , will adapt the story into a 10-part mystery drama surrounding a single event, which has yet to be announced, and will tell the story from each of the different characters’ perspectives.
It's not a remake obviously, just a storytelling style about human nature.
Note that the closest thing to Kurosawa's masterpiece was basically HBO's Wire and Channel 4's Red Riding. Noone else was brave enough to get even closer till now. Even if Amblin yells "caution", I'm happy.

EDIT:
Just to add. Rashomon is one of those movies you need to watch before you die. Okay? If you didn't already, stop whatever you're doing and go for it!

EDIT2:
Pardon my ignorance, seems someone already tried it, but I've never heard about these two before (thanks google!):

Vantage Point
The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.
And of course I'll remain an ignorant fool - I don't care about american presidents.
But you… Well, maybe it's worth checking.

Virumandi
The take on death penalty told through the story of a temperamental villager caught in between two village clans. Told through an offbeat screenplay inspired by Korosawa's Rashomon, the film narrates two versions of the same incidents.
I'd go for this immediately, but where to find it damnit.
If it matters, IMO you're not supposed to like anyone in Rashomon. You're supposed to be disgusted.
The movie's job is to show us how "perfect" humanity is by a style unseen previously and rarely, if ever, seen after.
If anyone asked me not what my favorite movie of all times is, but what movie I believe is the most important ever made, it's Rashomon.
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Last edited by joxer; July 21st, 2019 at 23:52.
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July 21st, 2019, 23:45
I don't know about discussing the problem, but the recent queen movie comes to mind. I don't think that is what you meant though

Joxer, for foreign movies, checkout ad fundum.
https://imdb.com/title/tt0106218/

For some reason this one came to mind, but it is actually about all the crazy stuff students do at University. From the same director as the loft, which flopped in the US.
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July 22nd, 2019, 00:01
I've seen a few movies and shows already about or with "hazing" and I believe it's retarded practice enjoyed only by sadistic psychopats. But if I understood it right, in this one a de facto murder during "initiation" gets covered up.
If I find that one somewhere, will give it a shot. When it comes to corruption, I'm always in.
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July 22nd, 2019, 00:15
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
If it matters, IMO you're not supposed to like anyone in Rashomon. You're supposed to be disgusted.
The movie's job is to show us how "perfect" humanity is by a style unseen previously and rarely, if ever, seen after.
If anyone asked me not what my favorite movie of all times is, but what movie I believe is the most important ever made, it's Rashomon.
Yes, that's certainly true of Rashamon, it's one of those movies that's better than what it is. It has greater importance value than any other metric. I wouldn't say it the most important movie, but that it joins many others in that category of undeniable classics of human nature, from Shakespeare to Twelve Angry Men. The kind of movies you could nod off to if you're in the wrong frame of mind but if you're on the ball while watching they'll blow your mind. Ace in the Hole is another good example, which is relevant here because of how poor Scandal was in comparison with such a similar theme.

Regards not supposed to like any of them, sure, but you can make unlikable characters likeable rather than just irritatingly unlikable, it's what marks out the best actors and the best direction when someone can make the most reprehensible characters the characters you find yourself rooting for. I actually made a huge mistake in my review where I said Se7ev was based on it when I actually meant The Usual Suspects, and, of course, I feel real dumb now, so I'll go edit that right away, but The Usual Suspects did exactly that, it made you like all of the despicable characters.

It's a very fine line to tread, which is why its never been retried I suppose, it's such a mammoth feat to achieve that specific theme of presenting characters who you loathe and are supposed to loathe while also making them not seem cartoony or pulpy. The Usual Suspects went the pulpy route and succeeding in making it very watchable but at the cost of having a serious unpinning of the concept, it doesn't have that sense of impact to your very soul, just an impact to your sense of thrill, like when watching a magician.

But mostly the problem was the hamming, the overlong silly sword fights, stuff like that. One of the core problems with Akira that you'll find in all his movies I've noticed is that he's not shy of lingering on a scene for too long, trying to make every scene have too much of an impact, which usually just succeeds in making his movies too long for their own good and dilutes the moments that deserve the lingering emotional cues. In this regard he reminds me a lot of Clint Eastwood, another director who for some reason hates editors.

I'm not sure if this format would work for a tv series, let alone a ten parter. This is the kind of story that really needs to be fast and punchy, the whole message taken in in one go like any good mind bending drug. PoV is quite old hat but telling a perfect tale in the length of a movie is the gold dust. Like, imagine if An Inspector Calls was made into a ten part series, yeesh, doesn't bare thinking about.
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July 22nd, 2019, 20:23
Ok this is a really short 1 minute film but ya gotta watch it. When mommy tells you not to pet the wild horse and you don't listen….
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https://news.yahoo.com/horse-kicks-m…180244014.html
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July 22nd, 2019, 23:04
Watched a couple of movies I quite enjoyed. The Perfection, which successfully ambushed me, as it sets itself up as one type of film, and then mutates into… something else. Not a great film, but it held my interest.

Then saw I Am Mother, which I thought was a solid bit of old-fashioned sci-fi. Not very original, but quite deliberately-paced and bleak, which is how I like my sci-fi.
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July 25th, 2019, 14:17
Partial quote:
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Wasn't sure what'll happen, but I actually like Viy.
<cut>
Lower your expectations, fire it up and I promise you'll have fun.

Viy 2 will appear in a few months and won't be happening in Russia but in China. Jason Flemyng will remain in his role, while newcomers in the sequel are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and Rutger Hauer. Hollywoodcentric youtube channel Looper predicts Viy 2 will be rubbish, because, yeah, it's Russia|China|USA joint production so it has to suck. Maybe it will, but I just can't wait to watch it.
Here's a middlefinger to Looper.
It took more than a few months. But it's finally coming. Viy 2 got Aug. 16 release date in China and Russia.
https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/…lm-to-release/
The film was originally shot in 2017 and even had a teaser trailer released for it back then. If you haven’t heard about The Mystery of the Dragon Seal despite the fact that it is the first time the pair has appeared together in a film, that makes sense. It’s a sequel to the Russian mega-hit Forbidden Empire (also known as Viy), which never really made it outside of the country in any big way. However, given its success there, the producers decided they’d go bigger and hopped on the trend of aging action stars beating each other up. (Or at least the teaser trailer suggests a Chan/Schwarzenegger fight). It’s the one matchup that The Expendables couldn’t pull off.

The movie will continue the adventures of the English explorer played by Jason Flemyng (Jonathan Green) as he maps the Russian Far East. On that trip, according to the official plot description, he’ll meet monsters, princesses, dragons, and martial arts experts.
I know everyone here is eagerly waiting for the next superhero movie, or perhaps Transformers 34785638754.
I'm kinda superexcited over the exotic above. The first one was fun, I don't care USA or India market completely ignored it, maybe it's for the better as then there wasn't some silly remake (although Viy was a sort of a remake), thus I bet the sequel will get even more crazy.
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July 25th, 2019, 20:57
The Raid - 6/10

Very well done, considering the budget. Still a stupid action movie.

John Wick 3 - 4/10

Incredibly hollow and stupid - but I guess it looks kinda cool.

Hold the Dark - 7/10

Very atmospheric and rather engaging. Not exactly a masterpiece - and a little too pretentious with too much violence for the sake of violence.

Still, it had something about it.

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July 25th, 2019, 22:36
Saw the movie Skin, with Jamie Bell. It's based on the true story of a nazi skinhead who covered his face and body with extreme tattoos, and then what he went through to change his life and get them erased.

Solid movie - nothing too original, but well made.
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July 25th, 2019, 23:01
Crawl - went in thinking it would be awful but left enjoying it. Strong leading actress helped a lot - but some stuff that just was a bit over the top…
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July 29th, 2019, 14:59
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

Not sure if it's just me or if Tarantino has lost his mojo, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. For one thing, it was waaaay too long, and most of it was filler that wasn't all that entertaining. The final 30 minutes gives us a cool twist on a real-life event, but you have to sit through 2-1/2 hours of mostly "meh" to get to it.

6/10
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July 29th, 2019, 15:01
I'm not expecting much from it.

Tarantino was always about doing the superficial movie-because-movie stuff really well. But such things can only go on for so long.

I'm gonna check it out one of these days, but I'm not in a hurry.

I thought Hateful Eight was awful - and it didn't even work on a superficial level.

In a way, Tarantino is just another variation of the Marvel movies. It's pretty much the same thing over and over again, based on the success of the original formula.

At least he's planning to retire.

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July 29th, 2019, 15:10
I didn't like Hateful Eight either. You'd have to go all the way back to 2009 (Inglourious Basterds) for the last time I really liked one of his films.
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July 29th, 2019, 15:36
Yeah, something like that - IB was fun. I liked Django Unchained until the last 30 minutes or so.

I think my favorite is Kill Bill - but I never thought of his movies as anything but superficial popcorn stuff. Pulp Fiction obviously changed modern cinema - but I never really found it to be a great or profound movie. Highly entertaining, though.

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July 29th, 2019, 15:45
I wish I could join this debate but I've been avoiding hollywood's mainstream as much as I can thus hateful eight and inglorious bastards are still waiting (could do them in next few days though, the heat is making me not in the mood for games).
Should I? I have so many other titles to watch, each more crazy and exotic than another.

Lemme put up two examples from last week.

Gozu is one of the craziest movies I've seen in my life, impossible to describe in a few sentences. Truth to be told, I can't describe it in any number of sentences, all I can say is that I can't believe the seriousness of every actor in it. Another thing I cannot pinpoint is it's genre, has everything possible in it and more. A genre of it's own perhaps? Numerous surreal and insane scenes weren't enough, it also contains the anti ME3 ending. While ME3 tried to copypaste Evangelion but ended as an overlong phylosophical bullshit with choose a number you'll fail for sure TV Hugo game idiocy, Gozu cuts it short in a way "did you like what you saw? yes? well fuck you."
A masterpiece for 18+ you need to watch before dying.

Woman at War is not an adventure nor comedy. As usual, imdb adds genres randomly and incorrectly. It's a not boring drama about an eco activist who forgot she applied for child adopting 4 years back and now she has to choose between sabotaging ecology threatening big companies backed by currupt politicians or forgetting it all to become a mother.
The scenery is absolutely amazing, I've never had an idea Iceland looks so beautiful. Chased by helicopter scenes are top notch art, characters are awsome (example: a helper who doesn't care about any of eco bullshit, but well, she might be his cousin so he helps).
And finally, this is a first time I'm seeing music used in the movie performed on screen with active participants. An instrumental trio appears out of nowhere when needed, the same goes for ukrainean vocal trio (sound similar to famous Trio Bulgarka, maybe they're called trio ukrainka? Or it's just a pop reference, dunno). Not only they play/sing some music but also add to the story, turn off tv via remote for example. I loved this uniqueness, some might not.
This movie is not for everyone. Skip if you suck at singing (MC leads a choir) and if you can't believe a movie can be good - without explosions.
Watch definetly if you want to taste something exotic.
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Last edited by joxer; July 29th, 2019 at 16:05.
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July 29th, 2019, 16:07
I quite liked Hateful Eight. It was beautifully shot, and loved the actors and all the little scenes. I've found it very tense. I also loved Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.

For some reason, being in Germany right now, I can only find an English VO for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in august, so I hate to wait until then. But I'm excited. All I want from his movies is tense situations with people talking about different stuff. He's managed to keep the tension with just that, so I'm excited.
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July 29th, 2019, 16:30
I've always found Tarantino very hit and miss, but I do think he has a touch of brilliance. When he's firing on all cylinders, like Pulp Fiction and Basterds, it's something unique. He takes an idea that shouldn't work at all, and does it in a style that's original and very engaging.
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July 29th, 2019, 21:55
Good or bad; Tarantino always manged to be bloody.
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August 1st, 2019, 11:49
Tarantino is someone I'll always head out to the cinema for, all circumstances being practical. Failing that and I'll usually get them quite quickly on DVD. He's never made a real duffer as far as I know, I haven't seen Grindhouse/Deathproof yet but that's the only directorial work of his I haven't seen, so I never feel like I've been robbed like I do with some other releases, even if he's below par by individual personal tastes.

This one doesn't release until mid-August across the pond.
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