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Veltigar

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Re-watched Capernaüm, Nadine Labaki's beautiful, moving film that won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2018. Set in Beirut, the cast is almost entirely unprofessional, and the film is really carried by the performance of the lead character, Zain al Hajj (played by Zain Al Rafeea). A scrawny, malnourished 12-year-old who lives in extreme poverty and has the presence and weariness of someone many times older. The film opens with Zain as a prisoner being taken to court, and the film reveals that he's been sentenced for five years for stabbing someone ("some son of a bitch" he repeatedly tells the judge), but the reason he's at court is because he has launched a suit against his deadbeat parents. The crime? Causing him to be born into the misery that has been his life.

The film goes back and forth from there, showing the tragic events leading up to his crime, and then to the revelatory moment when he lets all of Lebanon know about the sorrow he feels and the cause he sees in it. 

The film also has what may be the cutest toddler actor I've ever seen, Yonas, the son of Rahil, a young undocumented Ethopian woman who ends up taking Zain in for a time. (Funnily enough, I discovered that baby boy Yonas is in fact played by a baby girl, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole. But honestly, so cute.)

It's a really stirring film, with some very beautiful images. It reminded me, in places, of City of God and Shoplifters, but it has its own soul and heart. The aerial shots of Beirut are terrific. Another thing that surprised me: this is the biggest box office  of any Middle Eastern or Arabic-language film, thanks to the fact that it was a huge hit in China -- the $54 million it racked up there was like 80% of the total box office. Apparently it really struck a chord with Chinese filmgoers.

Spoiler

When Zain finally gives up his attempt to fend for himself and Yonas and returned home to try and get his non-existent papers, only to discover that his beloved sister Sahar had died from her pregnancy at the age of 11... my goodness, what a heart-breaking moment, as Zain keeps asking who had been at the hospital and then it dawning on him what had happened.

 

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I’m watching Crashing. It’s the British version of Insatiable. It’s ghastly. It’s crude and absolutely horrifying. I loath it on so many levels, and I can’t stop watching. Absolutely horrifying. 

Edited by RhaenysBee

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Think Sneaky Pete has burnt itself out. Really enjoyed the first season, great characters, fun plot, nice twists. Second season was a little weaker but seemed a reasonable follow up.

Third season feels really rushed and try hard. The writing is lacking any sort of subtlety and wit.

Its a shame that this was how the show went out.

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Giving Zaddy's "Army of the Dead" a spin. I've made the mistake of pausing it about 30 minutes in, as I am now certain I won't be coming back to it. I don't like not finishing films but... eh. The opening was dumb as hell, but the schlocky title sequence was about 5 minutes too long, and now I'm being introduced, slowly, to boring characters I can't see myself ever caring about. And for some reason, Snyder has chosen to shoot just about every scene in hand-held with the camera frequently going in-and-out of focus. Just... why? It might be aesthetically effective in some sequences, but not every single scene. It's just bothersome. Two people chatting at a table and we're getting all tight angles, shaky cam and the focus going haywire. It's just unpleasant. 

Otherwise, I rewatched Close Encounters of the Third Kind the other day and it remains an expertly crafted and engaging film with a great sense of wonder and magic. 

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I have to apologize to all the people who recommended Deadwood to me. Couldn't get the episodes straight away, so instead I decided to go all in on Friday Night Lights. I was hesitant at first, given the fact that its first season consists of 22 episodes of about 43 minutes. each..

Let that runtime sink in for a bit, it usually belongs to shows that have no business being any good (think Arrow or other CW excrement). I also have no particular affection or knowledge of American Football apart from the slew of concussion scandals that have been coming out over the past couple of years.

Safe to say that I wasn't feeling confident about my choice, but the show quickly dispelled any doubts I had about it. With the exception of possibly Hannibal (which is a very odd show to be on a network and I therefore feel reluctant to count), this is by far the best network show I have ever seen.

I think I saw the film version of FNL many years ago and I also saw Varsity Blues a couple of times which takes a lot of inspiration from the book on which FNL was based and I can say without a doubt that they can't hold a candle to the show version.

The cast is wonderful and it's great to see so many house hold names who got their first big break on FNL. What I like the most though is how immersive it is. Like I said, I don't know a thing about Football and I have got no experience with small towns like Dillon, Texas. When I watch this show however, I feel transported. I understand why Football is so important to the city and how it is the one source of pride and joy for the entire community (seeing how it isn't nice to live there, as DIllon is basically the PG version of Justified's Harlan County). I see how that is both a great thing as it creates a strong sense of community and identity that I wish was more pervasive around the world, but also a terrible thing as the town let's their obsession with Football come in the way of their children's well-being.

On top of that, due to its age the show also has a bit of a time capsule feel. I read that it was legitimately ground-breaking in the way it targeted things like racism, sex and all that, but looking at some of the plot lines, I am pretty sure that they couldn't be made anymore today (which is good thing, I think the US has progressed somewhat on some of those issues). I can imagine some art history major or sociologist in the future having a field day analyzing the show to learn what mattered to people in small US towns in the early 2000s.

I am beginning to feel incredibly spoiled, as I have had the pleasure over the last couple of months to watch The Shield, Breaking Bad and Justified almost back to back. Friday Night Lights definitely deserves a spot in their company. Very curious what the four other seasons will be bringing to the table.

5 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

I rented Riders of Justice last night, a Danish [subtitled] film featuring Mads Mikkelsen, thinking it was more or less going to be a straight up revenge action film with a bit of buddy comedy.

It had all that, but was so much more. It was about trauma, and grief, and meaning, the shit we carry, and just being there. Absolutely loved it.

Highly recommend, definitely shot to the top of my list of films watched in the last year or two.

No idea that was out already! But is it only available to stream? I had hoped to see this one in the theatre.

Edited by Veltigar

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10 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

Let that runtime sink in for a bit, it usually belongs to shows that have no business being any good

The number of episodes/runtime were pretty standard for network shows at the time.  Anyway, I really like Friday Night Lights - although some of the later seasons dip in quality.  There are some particularly ridiculous storylines.  There's one specifically I have in mind but I won't spoil anything for ya.  Don't think I'd put it in the echelon of BB or Justified, but it's great wholesome fun.

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Samuel Jackson's top favorite 5 movies of those that he is in:

The Long Kiss Goodnight

A Time To Kill

Jackie Brown

The Red Violin

One Eight Seven

https://uproxx.com/movies/samuel-l-jackson-names-his-favorite-movies-stephen-colbert/

~~~~~~~~~

1 hour ago, DMC said:

The number of episodes/runtime were pretty standard for network shows at the time.

Ya -- It was a bit earlier a series, but think of how many episodes are in a Buffy season; the first had only 12, but after that they were up to the usual 22.

I could not stay with Friday Night Lights (2006-2011 -- on more than one system).  It was too soapy for me perhaps?  But then I watched ALL the episodes of ALL the seasons of Army Wives (2007-20013)!  Binged 'em, in fact.

 


 

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2 minutes ago, Zorral said:

It was too soapy for me perhaps?

It definitely can get really cheesy sometimes, yeah.

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

No idea that was out already! But is it only available to stream? I had hoped to see this one in the theatre.

Apparently it’s in some theaters, check your locals.

Such a great movie, still thinking about it. 

Edited by JEORDHl

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4 hours ago, DMC said:

The number of episodes/runtime were pretty standard for network shows at the time.  Anyway, I really like Friday Night Lights - although some of the later seasons dip in quality.  There are some particularly ridiculous storylines.  There's one specifically I have in mind but I won't spoil anything for ya.  Don't think I'd put it in the echelon of BB or Justified, but it's great wholesome fun.

Agree on this. I stopped watching after 3-4 seasons. My wife and daughter loved it though. Daughter would walk around and randomly say, clear eyes, something heart cant be stopped??? Whatever the quote is.

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5 minutes ago, dbunting said:

Daughter would walk around and randomly say, clear eyes, something heart cant be stopped??? Whatever the quote is.

How can you not remember?!?  Kyle Chandler is so dreamy and inspiring!

 

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6 hours ago, Veltigar said:

Let that runtime sink in for a bit, it usually belongs to shows that have no business being any good (think Arrow or other CW excrement).

 

 

These days, but there was a little window after long-form TV started to become a thing, roughly alongside the HBO Golden Age but before everyone started trying to replicated it and created 'prestige TV' and before streaming services became a real thing, that network shows were going for this kind of quality. Battlestar Galactica has its filler and lost its way towards the end, but at it's best it's as good as any show I've seen. Babylon 5 supposedly did something similar and was part responsible for the explosion in long-form storytelling in the first place, though not having seen it I dunno if it holds up, and West Wing is also mostly pretty awesome even if its political optimism has dated like milk.

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9 hours ago, DMC said:

The number of episodes/runtime were pretty standard for network shows at the time.  Anyway, I really like Friday Night Lights - although some of the later seasons dip in quality.  There are some particularly ridiculous storylines.  There's one specifically I have in mind but I won't spoil anything for ya.  Don't think I'd put it in the echelon of BB or Justified, but it's great wholesome fun.

The bolded I'm well aware off, I'm just surprised it's any good to be honest. When I look back on most network shows I find them extremely cringe-worthy. 

I'm halfway through season two now and I'm going to already hazard a guess about the story line you might be talking about

Spoiler

Is it the one about the murder of Tyra's rapist?  I don't hate it yet, but it definitely stands out as a sore thumb. In a sea of plausible, local stuff that could happen to these kids it is the one plot point that feels distinctly soapy and unreal to me.

Anyways, I'm curious to see how it evolves. While clicking through the Sepinwall reviews of Justified which Ran posted earlier; I found one where he compared season 2 of FNL to season 5 of Justified as the one season that was inexplicably much lower in quality than the others.

If that's true and the coming seasons reach the heights of season one, I'll be very happy.

9 hours ago, DMC said:

Don't think I'd put it in the echelon of BB or Justified, but it's great wholesome fun.

I'll have to see what I think about it after 5 seasons, but that first one taken in isolation for me deserves to be a member of that exclusive club :)

8 hours ago, DMC said:

It definitely can get really cheesy sometimes, yeah.

I think the binging helps to cope with that. I think I noticed that for the first time years ago when I watched three of four seasons of Suits on a bender and then when the next season came out and all of a sudden I had to find out on a weekly basis what kind of dumb shit they were pulling, I quickly lost interest.

5 hours ago, dbunting said:

Agree on this. I stopped watching after 3-4 seasons. My wife and daughter loved it though. Daughter would walk around and randomly say, clear eyes, something heart cant be stopped??? Whatever the quote is.

CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN'T LOOSE 

2 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

 

These days, but there was a little window after long-form TV started to become a thing, roughly alongside the HBO Golden Age but before everyone started trying to replicated it and created 'prestige TV' and before streaming services became a real thing, that network shows were going for this kind of quality. Battlestar Galactica has its filler and lost its way towards the end, but at it's best it's as good as any show I've seen. Babylon 5 supposedly did something similar and was part responsible for the explosion in long-form storytelling in the first place, though not having seen it I dunno if it holds up, and West Wing is also mostly pretty awesome even if its political optimism has dated like milk.

I wish they still tried to do this. I usually prefer shorter seasons due to time commitment issues, but having a great story with many episodes is quite an interesting experience and a real luxury to booth. Perhaps I one day have to revisit other shows from the era.

8 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

Apparently it’s in some theaters, check your locals.

Such a great movie, still thinking about it. 

Nothing where I live, but most annoyingly of all, no info on the release date. I could probably stream it somewhere and I would if this doesn't come out here or only comes out in say October.  

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2 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I'm going to already hazard a guess about the story line you might be talking about

You are correct sir.

3 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I found one where he compared season 2 of FNL to season 5 of Justified as the one season that was inexplicably much lower in quality than the others.

Yeah, that may be true.  Been awhile since I've watched FNL, but season 2 sticking out as particularly bad doesn't sound unreasonable.  I'd still say the first season is considerably better than all the rest though.

6 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I think the binging helps to cope with that.

I binged it too, never watched it when it aired.  It could still be a little much/heavy handed.

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26 minutes ago, DMC said:

You are correct sir.

Do I get an award? :D 

27 minutes ago, DMC said:

Yeah, that may be true.  Been awhile since I've watched FNL, but season 2 sticking out as particularly bad doesn't sound unreasonable.  I'd still say the first season is considerably better than all the rest though.

I hope I'll end up disagreeing with you on that last sentence, but I could totally see that happen. It's a tall order to maintain a quality comparable to season 1 throughout.

29 minutes ago, DMC said:

I binged it too, never watched it when it aired.  It could still be a little much/heavy handed.

Perhaps I'm just less critical than you :P I am after all notoriously mellow XD

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Latest episode of Fear the Walking Dead (season finale):

Spoiler

with multiple nuclear warheads going off...  I just thought it was funny the very first thing I noticed Lennie James in was the post-nuclear-apocalypse show Jericho.  Now he gets to do it again. 

Texas is a no-go wasteland for the next millennia i guess.

Edited by SpaceChampion

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Lupin, Part 2, up on Netflix today!

Also In the Heights is up on HBO -- but only until July 17.

 

 

Edited by Zorral

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