Recently viewed films

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:22 am

As Jaws did for me forty some years ago in keeping me out of the water, Backcountry, written and directed by Adam McDonald, and viewed last evening with Ms. Lisa, will do for the woods. I intend to stay out going forward as they are 'lovely, dark and deep' as the poet knew well. Two 'babes', Alex and Jenn, as played by Jeff Roop and Missy Peregrym, are out for a seeming romantic outdoor adventure, hiking in a National Preserve in Canada. A pleasant 'walk in the wilderness'. But like Hansel and Gretel there is a primal under-story. Dread is consistently built up frame by frame as twigs snap, leaves are rustled, clouds gather and lightening flashes as night envelopes the landscape. When Alex boasts at the start of the 'adventure' that he does not need a map one knows no good can come of such hubris. That hubris is astonishing; the consequences frightening. The forest closing in upon the two is progressively unnerving-both to the characters within the movie and the viewers of the film. Something wicked this way comes and its 'naturalness' is all the more frightening as it has teeth and claws.

https://youtu.be/ey9fi6m95vo
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:18 am

"When Animals Dream" by Jonas Alexander Amby and staring Sonia Suhl and Lars Mikkelson last evening with Ms. Lisa and Justine and Jordan up for the weekend. It is a disturbing parable about cruelty and the consequences of not avoiding it. It is also an inventive twist on the lyconthrope trope- this time the beast being female. It also can be viewed as a takeoff on the terror many men feel about female sexuality and its emergence. You hopefully get the fact that this movie works on many levels-including just being a good old-fashioned scare without overdoing the blood and gore. Like other recent foreign re-inventions of old horror tropes such as "Let the Right One In" and "A Girl Walks Home Alone"-it breathes fresh life into a somewhat tired genre.

https://youtu.be/3vuW_58sAJ0
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby bambooneedle » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:44 am

Finally secretly viewed Brokeback Mountain on dvd... a deeply touching film...review to come...

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:42 am

I watched Cameron Crowe's Aloha last evening with Ms. Lisa. Throughout its 100 some minutes of running time I kept rooting for something better but it never materialized. Its components, a good script writer, some appealing actors, a Hawaii backdrop, never coalesced into an intelligent whole. There are bits that tease you and make you want to keep watching hopeful that this story will be more satisfying but that does not make a movie. Mr. Crowe may have had a rom-com in mind when he started putting pen to paper but he wound up in the editing room with a montage of epic proportions- the movie length equivalent of a two minute trailer-scenes start only to fizzle and story lines splinter going nowhere intelligibly.

https://youtu.be/kZyEAiQuHss
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby bambooneedle » Fri Sep 18, 2015 2:25 am

bambooneedle wrote:Finally secretly viewed Brokeback Mountain on dvd... a deeply touching film...review to come...


Still working on it because I have to watch it again. And again and again, such is its life-changing importance...

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:55 pm

I really enjoyed "Love & Mercy" last evening, the biopic about Brian Wilson by Bill Pohlard. It is an above average biographical depiction of a life. Starting with the very first image of an ear-not any ear but one belonging to Mr. Wilson-Mr. Pohlard telegraphs his intentions by showing he is moving directly inside the head of Mr. Wilson to explore the gorgeous sounds within[and unfortunately some other voices] and how they were able to emerge for all of us to enjoy. It is those sounds and notes and musical forms that get ample amplification in this movie. It was a smart choice to split the screen time using Paul Dano as the young genius in the 60s and John Cusak as the damaged musician who has survived into the 80s. It is a captivating story and I have rarely seen on film the creative process so warmly presented. The scenes of the interplay between Wilson and the Wrecking Crew in the studio as he patiently puts together Pet Sounds are exhilarating in their representation of the spirit of creativity. Brian Wilson has survived so much[Paul Giamatti as Eugene Landy is plain creepy]. Thankfully he found his way out of his sickness with the help of a loving woman and his brother, Carl. We are all the better for their efforts on his behalf. The final real scenes of Brian on stage, engaged and joyfully singing, are a welcome sight.

https://youtu.be/3atb-ykMR0Y
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:06 am

"The Overnight" last evening with Ms. Lisa by Patrick Koh-Brice and starring Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman[in one of his better performances], Taylor Schilling and Judith Godriche. It is an exceedingly funny and 'awkward' modern day sex-comedy that takes place over the space of a long and increasingly both uncomfortable and thoughtful evening spent with two couples. It is also an intelligent update on the same themes that "Bob&Carol&Ted& Alice" touched upon over 40 years ago- love and marriage and aging and middle class social anxieties-an unease about fitting in and the safety of convention. The director makes the viewer feel as awkward as the characters on the screen. How much is too much? How far does one go to counter anxieties over matrimony and maturity in the face of individual carnal desires? How does one push at boundaries in an attempt to seem young and fun and not old and un-hip"? This movie provokes those thoughts with its skewed scenes and it is greatly aided by the ensemble cast at work on the screen. They gamely and shamelessly expose their personal anxieties over the period of one night. Scenes that start one way more often metamorphose into results one does not expect. And when the sun comes up people have been changed.

https://youtu.be/v9bxPKQpf_8
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:49 am

Boulevard the other evening with Ms. Lisa- the final film by Robin Williams and directed by Dito Montiel. A professional cast including Kathy Baker and Bob Odenkirk. Williams plays a 60 year old Nolan Mark, an emotionally stunted and shrunken man who has been toiling at the same job for over 26 years. He is also in a shriveled marriage with only civil intimacy. His is that proverbial 'life of quiet desperation' Thoreau said most men live. It is the unraveling of that life that this movie documents in a far from cliched manner. Scenes flow casually, if not inventively, and the narrative is a cut above cliche. It held my attention is what I am saying. It is also hard not to speculate that the pinched, tired looking man on the screen might possibly have been the real man portraying the character given what transpired a few months after this movie was completed. I hope not.

https://youtu.be/mgPgGJDLRkw
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:31 pm

One of those 'little' gems last evening with Ms. Lisa- "I'll See You In My Dreams" directed by Brett Haley and co-written with Marc Barsch and staring Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott along with June Squib, Mary Kay Place, Rhea Pearlman and Martin Starr. Ms. Danner's character, Carol Peterson, is a widower for the past 20 years. She lives a quite comfortable life in Southern California and has a grown daughter who lives in NYC. Life is reasonably good for her with her circle of girlfriends and her daily routines and the companionship of her dog, Gracie. When the dog takes ill and has to be put down, Carol's life begins to lose its edge-she no longer has the zest one saw at the beginning of the film for living. Ominously a symbolic black rat enters her life. It is at this time that Mr. Elliott's character, Bill, enters her life in a laid back and delightful performance as a love interest. The chemistry between these two is palpable. What spins out of their developing relationship is natural and bittersweet. This is a movie with a human sweetness at its core. It is never cliched and its scenes are believable, humorous and easy to watch. 90 minutes passes quickly and one wants more of this cast's company. The 'rat' is contained and what remains of a human life is once again something to be enjoyed and savored. A most pleasant surprise for Lisa and myself.

https://youtu.be/ha4kEBtHDoc
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:19 am

Cop Car last evening with Ms. Lisa by John Watts and cowritten with Christopher Ford and staring Kevin Bacon and two audacious 10 year olds who in running away from home decide to take a cop car they find out on the grasslands of Colorado for a joy ride. This is a lean, suspenseful film noir which plays inventively with the conventions. What 10 year old boy would not jump at the chance to take a stolen car down a two lane country highway at over 100 miles? This movie is not inhabited by extraneous characters or plot situations. It is simply two naive 10 year olds and ultimately a long flashback you are watching without knowing it. Bacon never overplays and he fully embodies his sheriff character easily going from a folksy country police officer into a murderous hell-hound. And the boys grow up fast as the movie climaxes into a variation of cosmic violence straight out of a Coen Brothers movie. 86 minutes well spent.

https://youtu.be/Xn9GLjf49Qo
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:34 am

"Bird People" last evening with Ms. Lisa. Directed by Pascale Ferron and starring Josh Charles and Anais Demoustier, it is a 'light' fable in which sadness and isolation is graphically brought to life in its opening sequences when one can see that we are never more alone and isolated in this world than when we are among a moving crowd-not unlike a flock of birds in flight. The movie charts the sorrow of existence as seen through the lives of two people- a young woman adrift and a man approaching middle age and coming apart. Both seemingly feel a deep spiritual and moral emptiness and a disconnect with the world around them. Where Ms. Pascale takes this movie mid-way through is a joy to watch-unlike Lost in Translation this movie goes off into magical realism territory like a good Haruki Murakami novel-it is a thing of beauty to watch in a very sad movie.

https://youtu.be/WmOa6KOdUKY
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:02 am

"Wild Canaries" written and directed and staring Lawrence Michael Levine, and his wife, the other evening with Ms. Lisa. They are a couple in Brooklyn with real trust issues about both their relationship and their interactions with their neighbors and friends. It is in the grand style of Old Hollywood classic screwball comedies-just think Cay Grant and Irene Dunne when the dialogue is crackling- but it has the feel of contemporary life. It is Nancy Drew meets "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and it frequently comes across on the screen as exceedingly funny and charming.

https://youtu.be/BS0Xdl-Iuj4
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:25 am

The Walk-written and directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Phillipe Petit, the airelist who astonished the world back on August 7, 1974 with his audacious walk between the Twin Towers. We all know the story; its outcome is certain. But Zemeckis has managed to refreshingly recapture the magic of those steps on a wire 110 stories above the ground with no safety line or netting that early summer morning. It is bravado and hubris and his movie is ultimately about creativity-of being in the moment. "The Coup", as Petit calls his art, is magical. It is amazing that it even came off. His crew of 'accomplices' is a ragtag bunch-the logistics staggering, but when Petit's foot is planted on the wire, soon to be followed by the other, the mundane stops and beauty is created. I have never felt so part of a moment on the movie screen as I felt Saturday night. I, too, was in the clouds and walking on that wire. To be reminded of possibility and being in the moment is rare- this movie accomplishes that supremely. It also needs to be experienced in 3D.

https://youtu.be/GR1EmTKAWIw
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:19 pm

"Populaire", written and directed by Regis Roinsaurd and staring Romain Durin and Deborah Francois the other evening with Ms. Lisa. This is that tried and true story of boy meets girl meets typewriter- a gracious, funny throwback salute to the classic movies of the 50s with Rock Hudson and Doris Day and their gorgeous technicolor presentations. It celebrates impending social change and the encroaching beginnings of feminism and the consumer society that has overtaken us. It has a generosity and kindness at its heart that infrequently shows up in the movies of today. It is a longing dream for a past that will never be back. It is cute but not in a cloying way. It passes easily before you and manages to reverberate when the screen goes black. It does not disappear in the mind when the lights go dim.

https://youtu.be/i6upoz9I7eg
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:56 pm

I have been meaning to mention this movie for more than a few days-Spy by Paul Feig, the director previously of Bridesmaids which also starred Melissa McCarthy at her comic best. This time he has concocted a gloriously funny and inventive spoof of espionage/thrillers. Ms. McCarthy plays an intelligent but discouraged woman working for the CIA and living vicariously through the action adventures of her ear piece partner played by Jude Law. With her friend, Nancy, adroitly played by Miranda Hunt, she labors in the rodent infested basement of a CIA office while she dreams of running with the big boys. When Jude Law's character is compromised she gets her chance and is sent out into the field by her boss, the cynical chief played by Allison Janney in a fine turn. Her villain target is played beautifully by Rose Byrne who was such a great foil to McCarthy and Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids. Here she proves the equal of any Bond villain. These ladies have a 'license to kill' us the audience with good nature d and empowering humor. This movie is blessed with an actual plot for a comedy and is not just a series of one off gags. And everyone in it is professional and funny when the camera shines on them. That includes a daffy Jason Strathan and Bobby Carnavale. My favorite sequence might well be the Jackie Chan style fight scene involving pots and pans and kitchen knifes and two women. This is one of the funniest movies I have seen in several years- since Bridesmaids in fact.

https://youtu.be/mlWo4E4NzK8
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:15 pm

One of those occasional surprises that come out of the blue- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Alfanso Gomez-Rejon and cinematography by Chung-Koon Chang and written by Jesse Andrews from his young adult novel the other evening with Ms. Lisa. It stars Olivia Cooke as Rachel, Thomas Mano as Greg and RJ Cyler as Earl. This movie could have been so mawkish- the tale of a geek spending time with a seriously ill girl[leukemia]-but wonderfully it is not. Instead it has a fresh, disarming and funny voice that comes through frequently in the voice overs. It is Michael Gondry-esque in its telling of the lives of these two 'co-workers', Greg and Earl, Greg's best friend since childhood. It is a terminal teen drama, a story of an interracial friendship and a coming of age story all wrapped in a fresh perspective. Self-consciousness never consistently creeps into the narrative. This movie resists sentimentality whenever it threatens to take over the story. What you watch is a masterful take on growing-up, making and losing friends, dealing with life and death and negotiating the world around one's self. It is also about goofing off and being confused. It's truths are earned and not forced upon the viewer. Catch it.

https://youtu.be/2qfmAllbYC8
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:27 pm

If you are a crier, stay away from the movie Room. Based on a true life event where a kidnapped young woman has a kid while in captivity and brings the child up in one room for five years is very intense. The first half of the movie takes place in Room, as the kid, played by Jakob Trembley, calls the location. Jakob and Brie Larson, who plays the mother both do an excellent job. I would not be surprised if Brie wins Best Actress. The second half of the movie is, obviously, about how they cope outside captivity
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:24 pm

"Brooklyn" by John Crowley with an engaging and funny screenplay by Nick Hornby from the novel by Colm Toibin over the Holiday weekend with family in Boston. It is 1950s Ireland and prospects for Eilis Lacey are next to non existent. America beckons thanks to a helpful Priest who has arranged for her passage and a job as a shop clerk at an upscale Department Store in Brooklyn. Off she goes determined and scarred at the same time to make a new life, to fight the loneliness and alienation she will encounter in a new world. Her story is the story of so many emigrants-how to establish oneself and fit in and feel comfortable. It also is complicated by the fact that she falls in love. Played perceptively and keenly by Saoirse Ronan, Eilis is a wonder-she will take no nonsense. Her intelligence is striking and her empathy and ability to sniff out 'cant' and 'cruelty' is outstanding. There is no whiff of sentimentality in this movie. Every scene is earned and memorable. The movie has a delicious humor, as well. I freely admit I was crying not too far into the movie but many of those tears were from the humor which is interspersed throughout the stories telling. This is a movie that makes me want to spread the word- get out and seek it; it is that good.

https://youtu.be/15syDwC000k
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:06 am

Couldn't agree more. As a big fan of Colm Toibin (who I enjoyed seeing at the Cambridge Lit Festival earlier this year), I loved the novel, but this was the perfect adaptation. I thought Saoirse Ronan's performance was incredible. Apparently they wanted Rooney Mara, but great news that she wasn't free. Great to see a book you love well adapted, reminded me of John Huston's version of The Dead.

The film I'm dying to see right now is Carol, which my son said was the best new film he'd seen in years.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:40 am

Otis, it was a 'perfect storm' of a movie for me- perceptive and funny screenplay, superbly played by its actors-particularly the lead, Ms. Ronan, haunting cinematography and skillful direction which never allowed cheap sentimentality to intrude. It has been some time since I both laughed and cried throughout a movie as I did with this one. How is Mr. Toibin in person? I have not read the book but plan to now. I have read some of his stories as they have appeared in The New Yorker. He teaches at Columbia these days. I most recently read his chapbook on the poet Elizabeth Bishop. He made her come alive for me as a person.

Lisa and I want to see Carol, too. I am also eager for In the Heart of the Sea, a book I greatly enjoyed years ago. But I am scarred by the trailer I have seen-it seems Mr. Howard has sensationalized the story making the whale seem a behemoth on the screen, malevolent and looming. Well that may not be so bad as the story of the Essex did directly inspire Melville.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:50 am

Toibin is engaging with a drawl to his brogue. He is witty and enjoyable as a speaker and a good reader. His prose is incredibly clean and avoids 'effects', but the writing is very exact and psychologically always very engaging. Nora Webster, his last book, which has some connections of Enniscorthy personalities with Brooklyn, is sublime. He read a bit from the Bishop book too as it was just out. His Testament of Mary is an astonishing book too.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:23 am

Carol was wonderful. Brilliantly directed, filed, acted, set, and a totally engrossing story. the kind of film you see once and want to see again. Interesting that the two films I've been most impressed by this year (this & Brooklyn) are both set in the same place in the same decade.

Dying to see Haynes' Mildred Pierce now too (which awaits on DVD), and also Velvet Goldmine, which I missed at the time.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:37 am

Trainwreck by Judd Apatow and starring and written by Amy Schumer. It is exuberantly funny as well as an accomplished physical comedy, that redeems Apatow after several duds including the depressing "This is Forty" which was nearly unwatchable and which thrusts Ms. Schumer into the comedy limelight. Bill Hader, Colin Quinn, Brie Larson and Tilda Swinton ably assist Ms. Schumer in a story that calls out sexism and inventively reverses the traditional male/female roles in a rom/com. Sexism is a 'people' thing this movie screams and it is normal for a woman to like sex with men and not have to insist upon monogamy as the standard until emotions come into play. The jokes are pertinent, the site gags are earned, and the story resonates. Perhaps the biggest surprise in this film was how good Lebron James can be at comedy. He might have a future after basketball. This is a Hollywood comedy that works. It provokes laughter and surprise; it turns convention on its head.

https://youtu.be/2MxnhBPoIx4
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:55 am

Christmas Day "The Big Short" by Andy McKay and featuring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling. My way of celebrating that holiday of 'greed' by watching an exuberantly funny and maddeningly madcap comedy made out of the story of the worst financial mess suffered since the Great Depression. How does one explain economic hubris and catastrophe? Answer- High comedy. High Finance as fun and games featuring those hilarious twin acts- collateralized debt obligations and credit-default swaps. It is the age old combination of fraud, stupidity and greed combined with social instability and political self service and indifference. Sadly you laugh, shrug your shoulders and leave the theater knowing this is going to happen yet again because as the movie ends you realize nothing has really changed and literally no one has been punished outside of one mid level trader in England. Oh that and the countless millions whose homes have been lost, jobs and careers upended and whose futures have been destabilized and derailed. You know, you and I..........

https://youtu.be/vgqG3ITMv1Q
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby bambooneedle » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:36 am

bambooneedle wrote:
bambooneedle wrote:Finally secretly viewed Brokeback Mountain on dvd... a deeply touching film...review to come...


Still working on it because I have to watch it again. And again and again, such is its life-changing importance...


I was just kind of kidding, but I really was not (because in fact upon reflection I don't think i ever WILL (part of the life-changing effect it had) even joke about gay stuff like that anymore but instead just be realer)... in fact since watching the film I've pulled up people at work and so on who make cheap jokes concerning gay people just because I consider it so easy and cheap and outdated these days. My review is "just go and check it out for yourself". It IS a great film, but not, as it was marketed, so much a "gay film", not at all - that was just what was necessary to bring it to as large an audience as possible. It cleverly played on its existing homophobia. Because homophobia is by and large just bred into us as individuals who are part of "society", when we don't realize that society is just what we as individuals will make it. Phew! I hope that makes sense. But it's just really a great human and real film above anything else, and that's why I liked it so much. Aesthetically, for sure - I love that 60's and 70's Americana stuff, the cars, the drawling accents, the scenes, etc. But it was just a very moving human story above all and one that I can relate to from experiences in my life.


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