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Old 27th Dec 2017, 22:39   #1
Noumenon
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Default Filmlist 2018

My last one was left half done, I expect the same fate awaits this!

01 White Dog (Fehér isten), 2014
A strange Hungarian movie, which starts off quite realist but escalates in unusual ways. It follows a young teen girl, Lilli, whose relationship with her pet dog Hagen is undermined by her unfriendly, estranged parents (problematic adults proving nigh universal here). Girl and dog are separated and the story continues, but the film spends at least an equal amount of time on the dog's story - and it's quite a performance, easily able to hold the viewer's attention. The animal action never feels staged, exactly, but not exactly naturalistic either, especially when things go way off the deep end. The film has a home-made quality at times, or better to say that some of the shooting/editing used to get around elements of violence feels a bit old-fashioned; but the final scene is pretty powerful stuff, and the final shot... strange.

02 Paddington
I'd only heard good things, and the appearance of a sequel with an equal reputation pushed me into risking a warmed heart. A joy from start to finish (and I loved that author Michael Bond got a fleeting cameo and a tip of the hat from his creation).

03 Brawl at Cell Block 99
After I watched Bone Tomahawk, probably about a year ago, I found myself wondering if writer-director S. Craig Zahler felt some kind of personal grudge against that part of the human anatomy I've best heard referred to as "the chin-rest". Having now seen Brawl on Cell Block 99 as well, I've come to the conclusion that I was wrong: it's heads he's got the problem with... In every way a crunching bit of crime-and-then-prison drama, though "drama" doesn't really cut it. It all gets a bit medieval (as do the prison sets, with a definite slide from the modern to the old school to the grimly Gothic visually underlining an impassive Vince Vaughn's progressive imperilment). Grit your teeth and enjoy.

04 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
It was pretty good. I admire the scope, and yet I feel like these films try to juggle too many things and suffer from bloat in a way that the original trilogy didn't; and that sense of over-reach is, sadly, balanced by under-reach in terms of dialogue - in this vast universe, it seems there are only so many familiar-flavoured soundbites through which galaxy-spanning drama can be played out. I don't think they are doing for the culture what the originals did; maybe that's not possible any more, but I suspect there's a next-level pop-scifi narrative overdue (but it won't be a remake/reboot, and it won't be a Marvel).

05 The Levelling
Sombre UK drama, but well-written, directed and played throughout.

06 Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Courgette)
A beautiful little animated film, following a small French boy who is sent to a foster home after his mother's death. Difficult subject matter is handled frankly and simply, and the result is a sweet, funny tear-jerker, really wonderfully done.

07 The Florida Project
Set in the shadow of Disney World, The Florida Project is America-gritty with a healthy dose of humour. It follows, mainly, the daily lives of a handful of kids from various families semi-permanently living in a row of run-down motels just the other side of the wall from every child's dream holiday. This side of that wall includes sub-minimum-wage employment or worse, and in the case of the children no education except for what they make for themselves or gleam from the often questionable behaviour of the adults around. It melds an almost documentary air with some great juvenile performances, and the adults (led by Willem Defoe) get it all right too.

08 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Continuing a pretty stellar start to my viewing year, this is probably an Oscar-level effort on at least four counts: Francis McDormand for Best Actress, Sam Rockwell for Best (probably Supporting, although I'd say) Actor, and writer-director Martin McDonagh for either of those. Skates knowingly close to cliche but steers clear each time, and made me laugh aloud on several occasions. Not bad for what's at times a harrowing drama. Edit: I posted this just before the Golden Globes gave this three out of the four, so I was feeling pretty smug right then...

09 The Shape of Water
I'll need to think about whether three stars is too stingy, or whether (to take a fairy-tale tone) it's just right. Much like Pan's Labyrinth in that it transplants archetypal fantasy into an oppressive historical setting, here we have something akin to Beauty and the Beast played out against Cold War '50s America. It's not as good as that predecessor, but I found it enjoyable throughout - Michael Shannon is always a treat, and Sally Hawkins led the line well (she was good in Paddington too!).

10 Cop Land
Watched due to recently seeing someone on Youtube talk about the project's interesting history as a darling-script that was passed around Hollywood for years before finally being made, and (given limited success on release) its somewhat retrospective acceptance as a bit of a classic. And I thought it was not bad.

11 Coco
Really, very nice. A little predictable in the core twist but, as is often the case with me and animated family heart-warmers, there was not a dry eye in my face well before the end.

12 Jack Reacher
Tracked down and put away solely because the first JR novel was such a good read in 2017. And this is, meh, it's fine. Something to play in the background while you do other things. But not bad.

13 Zombieland
Repeat viewing, mainly because I've recently signed up to Amazon Prime in Spain (it's so cheap, about a quarter of the price for the UK!) and I'm trying it out (also why I tried Jack Reacher, come to think of it, and watched in a similar manner).

14 Eastern Promise
Another spur-of-the-moment retread courtesy of online streaming. Viggo Mortensen is really good, but my reaction now is exactly as it was ten years ago - that the film is tonally weird, with Naomi Watts' soapish home life so flat it could be a photo, while all the other gangsters play it so over-blown you could be watching a scenery eating contest. Parts of the script are just clumsy, much of the on-screen style feels drab, yet whenever Mortensen in on screen he's fascinating. Apart from in that nothing final shot, which doesn't do what it ought to for me.

15 The Deer Hunter
It must be twenty years since my first and only previous viewing, and my recollections of The Deer Hunter were about 80% accurate. I think I imagined a tidier version of Cimino's film, one that was maybe half an hour shorter and ended on the striking symbolism of Mike's sparing the buck, rather than that moment preceding his return to Saigon to rescue Nick. Still an engrossing film; the ensemble cast embodying small-town life are excellent, and in the first Vietnam face-off the expression of traumatic emotional damage by John Savage, Robert De Niro and (especially) Christopher Walken is pretty devastating.

16 The Founder
Michael Keaton plays the man who founded-- well, actually, the man who found McDonald's and started turning it into what it is today. An entertaining biopic that deftly manages to avoid coming across as a total corporate promotional tool by progressively souring its central subject, a salesman whose admiration for a genuinely good thing never fully overcomes his avarice.

17 Santoalla
An interesting true crime documentary about the disappearance of a Dutch expat who vanished from a remote, almost deserted village in the North-west of Spain, leaving his wife alone with their only neighbours: a family of four whom they had gradually fallen out with over the years... Mostly composed of intimate interviews with the apparent widow and, surprisingly, the neighbours, this is a sad, painful story of a sweet dream realised, and then destroyed.

18 Public Enemies
I'll need to consider hard whether this actually makes it up to two stars, or whether one star is closer to the mark. I found this almost entirely unengaging, maybe the first and final five minutes were okay, but the rest was a great big nothing, starting with a script that would be most easily delivered by ventriloquist dummies, given how jaw-droppingly obvious every other line of dialogue turned out to be. And while sometimes it had a certain visual style, more often I felt like I was watching a TV show. Yeah, not good at all.

19 Airplane!

20 Fatal Attraction
---

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Last edited by Noumenon; 26th Jan 2018 at 22:30.
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Old 3rd Jan 2018, 1:30   #2
elwood
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Cool Films/Movies seen for the first time in 2018:

Books: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Films: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

½ The Lego Movie (2014)
- Jurassic World (2015)
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Old 6th Jan 2018, 1:42   #3
Daughter No.1
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Default Re: Filmlist 2018

Black Narcissus
A film that Junkmonkey (my father) has been meaning to show me for AGES. It is one of his absolute all time favourite films, which he could talk about for hours and hours on end, and would frequently do so if I didn't change the subject so often.
The film follows a group of catholic nuns, who are invited to run a convent from an abandoned brothel in the Indian countryside.
I quite liked it.
Welcome to Collingwood
A forgettable American heist comedy.
Alfie
(The original)
A rather good little comedy starring Michael Caine as the titular Alfie,a cockney arsehole whose hobbies involve using women and stirring up trouble, occasionally simultaneously.
The Graduate
Ah yes, the classic. My first time seeing it and I'm glad to say I liked it; the only problem arising with the occasional unironic use of "Hello darkness my old friend..." Something I can never take seriously.
[I have, somehow, developed a habit for going "Hm!" after watching this.]
The Old Dark House (1932)
A weird little horror movie, worth the watch if only for the extreme cinematic parallels [oh, how JM hates me saying that! I sound like a film student, god forbid.] With the Rocky Horror Picture Show. you could almost name the characters as they appeared, with the Columbia character Gladys entering with a whoop and a short tapdance.
Eraserhead
scared the crap out of me! I loved it!
It took me a day to catch on to title.
The Hunger
The first five minuets were brilliant! Everything you needed for a good night out: Bauhaus, David Bowie, a sleazy club, sex and brutal vampire murders! After that the film falls downhill, with Bowie growing old and getting shoved in a box so his vampire lover Catherine DeNeuve can have a fling with Susan Sarandon.
One nice little surprise was Sarandon's suspicious boyfriend was played by Cliff deYoung, who Played Brad in Shock Treatment. Janet 1.0 is snogging Brad 2.0! What a time to be alive.
Withnail and I
Shown to me by JM after the fact that Paul McGann would be attending our friendly neighbourhood Comic Con sometime in the middle-distant future.
I liked it off the bat, helped a little by the fact I had read the first ten pages or so of the script a few years ago.
I knew most of the most memorable quotes already, due to them being frequent bits of dialogue between JM and I, and let me tell you, finally getting some context around these have certainly added to the hilarity of calling anything vaguely cylindrical a camberwell carrot.


(Most of the dialogue from JM following the viewing revolved somewhat around "it really was like that, I tell you." and "i knew arseholes like that" and "I'm so glad I stopped.". Makes you wonder if he had planned a sort of paternal "lets scare the kids away from drugs and booze!" moment.)
The Fly ( 1958 )As I had declared myself bedridden for the day, and had to be coaxed out of my small sickness cave for a least an hour otherwise there would be no hoping of me going to sleep, JM and I decided to watch a movie. "Something Scary" I requested at 1pm. At 9pm I had somewhat changed my mind, and so, intimidated by the scary "18" certificates, I chose this in preparation of the day I watch the Cronenberg remake. It wasn't bad!
The THING from another world
"An intellectual carrot! The mind boggles..."

Last edited by Daughter No.1; 7th Feb 2018 at 20:49. Reason: Decided that my writing of (1958) heralded a smiley face.
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Old 7th Jan 2018, 14:57   #4
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Default Re: Filmlist 2018

8. Finding Nemo - ½ Simply can't stand Marlin....
7. Love's Labours Lost -
6. Beauty & the Beast - live-action
5. Beauty & the Beast - Disney
4. Bambi -
3. War for the Planet of the Apes - I loved a PotA film, and this was great, even though Caesar ended up playing Moses. Musically and stylistically and narratively and locations-wise, they did a good job of beginning to develop the iconography of the 1968 film.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming - ½
1. Paddington - Can't wait to see the sequel.
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Old 26th Jan 2018, 2:06   #5
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Default Re: Filmlist 2018

January
  1. Black Narcissus - which just gets better and better every time I see it though I was annoyed with myself for spotting a continuity error this time which I will now never unsee.
  2. Welcome to Collingwood - not as funny as I remembered it. So much so that it has found itself demoted from the shelves where DVDs sit in cases to the folders where they languish in polipockets making room for more better movies on the shelves.
  3. Alfie - the original for the first time.
  4. The Graduate - for the first time in ages, and funnier and better than I remembered.
  5. The Old Dark House (1932) - peculiar little horror film directed by James Whale
  6. Eraserhead -
  7. The Hunger - Arty vampire nonsense with David Bowie dying from latex poisoning and Susan Sarandon and Catherine Denueve (and/or their body doubles) naked between the sheets.
  8. The Handmaiden - Korean drama based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Walters. It's a long time since I read the book but from what I remember of it this seemed pretty true to the intent of the novel if not the detail. (For one thing the novel is set in Victorian England not 1930s Korea. And I don't remember quite so much sex in the book - but then literary sex is notoriously difficult to write, and sometimes impossible to read - whereas people can happily watch young bodies coupling in interested and varied positions for ages without getting bored. (Well I can.)
  9. Eating Out - Low budget queer film in which a straight guy pretends to be gay to seduce a straight girl who lives with the guy he dates - who in turn is secretly in love with the straight guy's gay roommate. (That was a spoiler by the way.) Not as complicated as it sounds with far too much stagy dialogue but it had its moments. Gay male sex for a change.
  10. The ABCs of Death (2012) - 26 short films, each by a different director. Each director was dealt, at random, a letter of the alphabet, a limited budget and final cut for a maximum of 4 minutes of screen time. I suspect a request was made that they open and close on a red or predominantly red screen to make the stitching together of the films more seemless. (Kudos then to Adam Wingard for opening his segment "Q is for Quack" with a shot of a film studio Green Screen). Like most portmanteau films some bits were good, some excellent, some dire. The Japanese entries were the oddest. The one where the kawaii school girl gets sucked up her teacher's bum ("F is for Fart") has to be one of the weirdest screen moments I have seen for ages.
  11. Withnail and I - a repeat watching. Even funnier than I remember but that may well be because I was watching it in appreciative company (with #1D this time, knocking another off the 1001 list).
  12. Against The Wind - An Ealing Studio film about the Belgian resistance during WW2. Some nice moments but too much plot (and too many little side plot lines) for the length. Not overly complex, it wasn't difficult to follow what was going on, but it all looked a bit sketched-in and cursory. Not enough space to engage with the characters. First film I have watched for weeks without an overtly gay storyline involved.
  13. Flesh + Blood (1985) - Paul Verhoven's first English language film (?). Some toe-curlingly bad performances and lots of nudity. A bit like a Corman movie (echoes of the Masque of the Red Death) but with a bigger budget and less style because of it. Plot wise it's a bit of a creepfest too, relying as it does on the idea that women enjoy getting raped and then fall in love with their rapist...
  14. Interstellar - with Number 2 daughter. I liked that! Just as Star Wars back in 1977 (ish) put all that Gosh Wow!, thud and blunder pulp SF of the Gernsback era pulps up on the screen, early 21st Century Hollywood cinema has finally gotten round to the Campbell era of SF. #2D was bowled over. As was I - for the first half. I loved that we the audience, didn't have everything spelled out for us. We were trusted to be smart enough to work out what was going on and assumed have enough SF in our collective DNA to understand . The second part was a bit less impressive. I struggled a bit towards the end with some of the film's science - some of the time dilation stuff was bit off and I'm really dubious about the 'you can come out the other side of a black hole event horizon if you go fast enough' - I'm not sure that's quite how it works and if time was going so slowly (relatively) on the planet wouldn't it be going even MORE slowly the nearer you got to the hole. Millennia would have passed before all the hand-wavy air science (it's like air guitar but with a slide rule) needed to get our hero back to his own solar system. And why did the villain opening that airlock door cause that huge explosion on the ship - other than the script says the film needed an explosion at that point and it the bad guy need to leave the plot without damaging the morality integrity of our scientist heroes.
  15. Hairspray (1988 ) - D#2 is going to see the musical - so I make her watch the original first. She loved it. Job done.
  16. Beautiful Creatures (2000) - another chunk of pre-millennial Lottery/Arts Council money pissed up against a screen. I imagine if you took all the out-takes, and deleted scenes from Bound, Thelma and Louise, and Shallow Grave and played with them for a bit you might end up with something a bit like this. About half way through I realised it was supposed to be a comedy.
  17. The Abduction Club (2002) - mildly amusing costume Rom Com with lots of scenery, a few good jokes, Sophia Myles (hubba hubba!), and far too many candles. Why two pairs of runaways hiding in a church would light every candle they could find - while the lighting crew were flooding the windows' ingos with moonlight was a puzzlement. As was the director's habit of having characters appear out of nowhere centre screen. Wide shot of three characters on a beach with no one else in sight, cut to a medium close up of the smae characters - with a fourth suddenly appeared from nowhere. It happened at least twice.

Abandoned in January:

Macbeth
(2015) I got to the murder of Duncan and quit. Striving for muddy 'authenticity' it made you wonder why anyone would want to live in the rainsodden, barren desolate representation of Scotland portrayed here, let alone plot and scheme, and murder to rule it. Other throwing things-at-the-screen moments were prompted by the vast amount of candles in every interior (and flambaux and bonfires outside), and the total lack of any visible infrastructure to support the vast number of candle makers and firestokers that were obviously needed in Scotland at the time. Just mud. Mountains, more mud, and rain.

I live in Scotland and yes it is cold, wet, muddy, and rainy - BUT NOT ALL THE TIME!

Macbeth's castle that-
"The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,
Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
The air is delicate."

Is represented by a wooden shedlike structure, a couple of tarted-up army surplus marquees (that presumably doubled as location craft services, costume and make-up tents), and loads more mud.

All the dialogue, recognisably Shakespeare's (what was left of it) was delivered in modern 'realistic dialogue' type whispering mumbles. Close to mike, looped studio acoustic everywhere: field, tent, or shedlike structure, all sounded the same. Hard to hear, uninflected, diction-free muttering. All accompanied by mildly discordant, middleeasterny sounding, stringed instruments. The music sounded oddly interesting, ethereal, and unsettling for the first few minutes but got very irritating very quickly.

Some of the photography was nice.

No Tomorrow (1999) - I finally find a Pam Grier movie I couldn't watch. In the opening sequence some sort of illegal arms deal goes wrong and ends up in a gun fight with endless explosions and the same three stuntmen falling off the exploding stuff (sometimes on fire, sometimes not) for ten minutes. I got bored, fast forwarded a bit to find Pam Grier info-dumping to an assembled team of cops, info-dumping all the stuff that any decent script would have shown us instead of all those explosions I'd just FFd through - after about ten minutes of a slideshow of villains, and other villains, and some other villains' friends and known associates I figured it was time to quit. Which is probably why it was only 25p in CEX.

February
  1. Avengers Assemble! - with D#2. A bit overlong but ok.
  2. The Fly - before we watch the modern remakes in the 1001 List D#1 thought we should watch the originals. Better than I remembered - though the coda was a little twee and superfluous.
  3. The Thing from Another Planet - Great sound! Lots of tight overlapping dialogue. Love that sort of stuff. And a wonderfully strong female character (for a piece of 1950s SF).
  4. Godzilla - the latest one - went on for a bit, looked rather groovy in places, and I was totally uninvolved. I did spend a lot of my time wondering if citywide blackouts do always progress across the city from left to right (or right to left depending on which way the camera is panning) or whether everything just goes OUT pooph! just like that. A lot of the action in this movie flowed wonderfully, carefully orchestrated mayhem that just happened to follow on to the next bit like a huge exploding domino topple as the camera panned across just in time to catch it. It got rather dull after a while.
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