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TheLastWolf

Watch Watched Watching: Indie Art Cinema Wave #__?

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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

The theorizing on the forum was pretty epic during season 1, and that has helped improve the show in my mind.  The stuff we were coming up with was a lot better than what ended up happening.  There was a surprising amount of evidence for Marty's grumpy father-in-law being in the cult. 

(Yes I know the evidence was quite weak, but it did exist!)

That never occurred to me, but it would have made things more interesting. Then again, the father-in-law was a pretty minor character. There was no one major and important enough in the show that could have conceivably been a culprit (Rust, Marty and Maggie were the only actually developed characters, and maybe the daughter a bit), so I never expected that much from the murder mystery.

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8 minutes ago, Annara Snow said:

That never occurred to me, but it would have made things more interesting. Then again, the father-in-law was a pretty minor character. There was no one major and important enough in the show that could have conceivably been a culprit (Rust, Marty and Maggie were the only actually developed characters, and maybe the daughter a bit), so I never expected that much from the murder mystery.

Sure, but it's fairly standard to introduce a minor character who later turns out to be a villain.  And it's not like that guy would be the mastermind behind it all, he'd just be one of the guys in the cult.  It would have carried emotional heft because Marty was all about supposed family values and if his own family was involved (including his daughter which was foreshadowed extensively), it could have been an A+ ending.  But pulling that off without it seeming too forced is really hard, so instead they went with a simpler B+ ending.  Which is fine but still a little disappointing. 

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On 9/6/2021 at 4:15 PM, IFR said:

I liked Get Out, too. I have actively disliked everything that Peele has made since. Us was ridiculous, Lovecraft Country (even though he was only executive producer) was unwatchable in how cheesy it was (and its message on race wasn't exactly told with the intelligence of In the Heat of the Night), and Twilight Zone was a catastrophic husk of the Steiger version.

I must have missed or forgotten that he was also responsible for Lovecraft Country... Fuck that guy.

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Us had the potential to be great, but they lost the plot and logic, and the message was of the hit you with a hammer variety....

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I've been watching a bit of this and that of late. Still haven't gotten around to Wong Kar-wai's 2046, the sequel of sorts to In the Mood for Love. Lets see...

I finished the latest Cocaine Cowboys documentary from Billy Corben, about Miami-based Cuban drug kingpins Sal Magluta and Willy Falcon. I didn't realize that their story was winding down just around the time I started at the UM. Probably read some of the reporting in the Miami New Times, but didn't stick. In any case, interesting story of these two happy go-lucky, somewhat dopey-seeming drug dealers who somehow ended up running a billion-dollar drug empire. And for the most part without violence, until the long arm of the law finally caught up to them (after a substantial amount of amazing stupdity from law enforcement and the judicial system -- they managed to get out on bail, then "vanished" for years... while staying in Miami, funding and captaining a world champion powerboat racing team which put them on national television a few times, and no one in the FBI, DEA, or DoJ seemed to notice. Baffling. One of the interview subjects is Alexia Echevarria, who ended up on the Real Housewives of Miami but originally had a relationship with one of the lieutenants of Magluta and Falcon (a lieutenant who is also interviewed, and ends up with a pretty surprising revelation at the end of things.)

Then I watched Bo Burnham's Inside. A very interesting piece of art, blending comedy, musical, autobiography, cultural commentary.... but something didn't entirely click with me. It's definitely a very soul-baring sort of work, especially as it relates to Burnham's own mental health issues past and present, but I found some of the observations he made about social media and internet culture rather light-weight. Still, it's a bold piece of art, in its way.

After that, decided to rewatch Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Pitt really owns the movie, but DiCaprio's last segment playing the heavy in a pilot was fantastic. That said, the explosion of gory, over-the-top violence at the end of it really just ruins it for me. This is an issue I've been having with Tarantino since Inglorious Basterds, I admit. It's not as if the movies before were particularly less violent or anything -- I'm reminded of Daryl Hannah screaming and thrashing around after losing her remaining eye to Beatrix Kiddo -- but there's a remarkable amount of sadistic glee that starts showing up with Basterds and its successors. In any case, I really dislike that last segment of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Then a rewatch of Donnie Brasco, based on a real FBI operation to dig into a mob family. Excellent performances from Depp and especially Pacino as Lefty Ruggerio, a mid-level soldier with a gambling problem who takes "Donnie" under his wing. The ending is a wee bit manipulative, definitely making you think something happens to one of the characters that did not, in fact, happen to them. I did find Michael Madsen's performance as the volatile Sonny Black as a bit too obvious in its "acting" moments. He's done better work.

And then a rewatch of Sense and Sensibility, inspired by Screen Draft's Jane Austen draft this week. Ang Lee's film using Emma Thompson's adaptation of the Austen novel. A wonderful film, with an amazing cast -- Thomspon, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, a small role for Hugh Laurie, and even smaller one for Tom Wilkinson -- and a stirring, memorable score. I did not realize that Thompson met her second husband, Greg Wise, on the set; he played the dark, handsome, romantic Willoughby. This coincides with her marriage to Kenneth Branagh falling apart when she discovered he was having an affair with Helena Bonham Carter. Personal dramas aside, the script from Thompson is just perfection itself, full of warmth and humor.

And then I decided to get back on the Once Upon a Time... train, this time with Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America, featuring Robert De Niro, James Wood, Elizabeth McGovern (and a very young Jennifer Connelly playing a younger version of the character), Tuesday Weld, a scene or two with Joe Pesci. It's a truly epic film about hoodlum Jewish kids in New York City becoming big-time gangsters, and their swift rise and fall. It's a tricky film in a lot of ways... and a surprisingly vulgar one, as Leone really let loose in a away that he seemingly felt constrained not to do with his other films. There's something of a dreamy, fairy tale quality to it, but the reasons for that may relate to a particular aspect of the story that may or may not inform one's understanding of what one sees. Score from Ennio Moricone, although admittedly it includes the recycling of scores that he was always known for ("Deborah's Theme", for example, was a rejected piece from another score he did.) Also, some contemporary source music, which I think was an unusual departure for Leone.

Oh, and I watched John Carpenter's debut film, Dark Star, co-written with Dan O'Bannon (of Alien and Total Recall fame) who also is one of the stars. It's a very, very odd little low-buget science fiction film. I was listening to a podcast discussing it and they pointed out that it's sort of a quintessential stoner film, and I guess that's true -- it does have a logic and style to it that feels like a lot of weed (or maybe a loot of booze) was consumed. The eponymous Dark Star is a scout ship with a small crew of oddball malcontents, sent on a decades-long mission to destroy unstable planets that may interfere with colonization efforts. Along the way they deal with interpersonal tensions, an over-eager talking bomb, a gaseous alien escapee, and more. The pacing and style of it is just very weird, and the ending is not a little bit nihilistic. You can see elements from this film in Alien and other films that followed it, as it was one of the first SF films to show a grimey, industrial, unpleasant spacegoing society.

Next up? Just saw Netflix finally got Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse, a film I have long wanted to see but missed when it was in theatres. And then catch up on Rick and Morty and What We Do In the Shadows.

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@Ran

I really like your viewing selection. A lot of wonderful movies.

The Lighthouse is unique! I'm excited for Eggers' forthcoming Viking movie.

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6 hours ago, IFR said:

The Lighthouse is unique! I'm excited for Eggers' forthcoming Viking movie.

I can’t wait for The Northman. I see it has an April release so it’s actually not that far off. Eggers is great, and the cast is phenomenal.
 

The Thing was on the other day so I had to watch it. It never gets old. I love during the classic blood testing scene when MacReady is called a murderer after the dead guys are proven to be not infected, and he could not care less. The score is so good too.

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I also watched Once Upon a Time in America over the weekend. It's a fringe top five gangster film, but I like it more than just about anything other than The Godfather and Goodfellas. It's a much more brutal film though, and its gritty realness probably is an accurate reflection of organized crime in the early 20th century. Highly recommend it, but it has to come with a massive trigger warning.

And yeah, Cocaine Cowboys was great. I highly recommend it.

20 minutes ago, Ramsay B. said:

The Thing was on the other day so I had to watch it. It never gets old. I love during the classic blood testing scene when MacReady is called a murderer after the dead guys are proven to be not infected, and he could not care less. The score is so good too.

Obviously.

Few films really scared me when I was a kid (I can't think of any that have really spooked me since I was in HS). The Thing is one of those films, and I still find a few of the scenes to be rather freaky. But yeah, it never gets old and still holds up really well given the visual effects limitations of the time. 

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The Thing is probably my favorite horror movie.

Anyway, this isn't enough to get its own thread, but I found this bit of news pretty exciting. The headline reads:

"Christopher Nolan Bombshell: Director Talking To Multiple Studios On Film He’ll Direct About J. Robert Oppenheimer & Development Of The A-Bomb In WWII"

Deadline article.

I'm pretty obsessed with the Manhattan Project. Marry that with the talents of Christopher Nolan and this is already a movie I am very eager to see. Hopefully Nolan brings back Kip Thorne as a consultant. An interesting sidenote: Kip Thorne's mentor and coauthor of Gravitation and other works, John Archibald Wheeler, was involved in many aspects in the development of the atomic bomb (and nuclear physics in general - he was a very renowned physicist, who happened to also coin the term "black hole"). He also happened to lose highly classified documents on the hydrogen bomb while on a train ride. This was especially horrifying because Klaus Fuchs, another person intimately involved in the Manhattan Project, had not too long ago been revealed as an espionage agent for the Sovient Union.

Edited by IFR

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14 hours ago, IFR said:

The Lighthouse is unique! I'm excited for Eggers' forthcoming Viking movie.

Yeah, The Lighthouse was wild. That ending...

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It's what you folks said. The Lighthouse was a glorious descent into madness. That cinematography from Jarin Blaschke is to die for, and the performances from Pattinson and Dafoe were transporting. Dafoe, in particular, inhabited his salty "wickie" and his old time Maine-ish accent. I loved The Witch, I may actually like The Lighthouse slightly more.

Very eager to see The Northman and its take on the ur-Hamlet tale.

Also knocked off the final two episodes of season 5 of Rick and Morty, and those were terrific, especially the finale.

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Malignant. Holy shit, I can’t believe this movie got a theatrical release. Wow. If you enjoy watching badly made movies in order to laugh at them I would recommend this one. I wish I still got high; I might have laughed so hard I’d have peed myself. 

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I started watching Anne with an E. It’s a peculiar experience. I find Anne absolutely insufferable in any and every way possible. Yet I still sympathize with a lot of her feelings and I do admire many of her qualities including ones that get on my nerves. I also connect with the Cuthberts on a deep level and the so far every episode had me crying at one point or another. 

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The Anne of Green Gables books is very different from this dreadful reworking by Netflix.  Every bit that made the books classics for generation after generation of girls in Canada and the US is lacking.  Instead they stuck in a boy and crime and all sorts of violence.  All of which would have been around in that era but isn't part of the world that Anne enters when she joins the Cuthberts.

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8 minutes ago, Zorral said:

The Anne of Green Gables books is very different from this dreadful reworking by Netflix.  Every bit that made the books classics for generation after generation of girls in Canada and the US is lacking.  Instead they stuck in a boy and crime and all sorts of violence.  All of which would have been around in that era but isn't part of the world that Anne enters when she joins the Cuthberts.

Yes I had a strong feeling that the adaptation has very little do with the novels it was based on. It does indeed reek of netflix but as of right now the positives outweigh the negatives. Not sure the series will be able to keep this up for another 2 and 2/3s of seasons  though. We shall see. 

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The first season was the best.  I skipped a lot of the second and couldn't watch the third at all, though I tried -- and decided life was too short.

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On 9/9/2021 at 2:56 PM, Ran said:

This is an issue I've been having with Tarantino since Inglorious Basterds, I admit. It's not as if the movies before were particularly less violent or anything -- I'm reminded of Daryl Hannah screaming and thrashing around after losing her remaining eye to Beatrix Kiddo -- but there's a remarkable amount of sadistic glee that starts showing up with Basterds and its successors. In any case, I really dislike that last segment of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

It's definitely accurate to say Basterds is when he started to merge wish fulfillment with gratuitous violence.  Which is..disturbing.  That being said, there are parts of the climactic scene in Once I liked..

Spoiler

Pitt's reaction when the break-in starts is classic.  "...and you were on a horsey!"  Also when asking Tex's name and being like "no, it was dumber than that."  I also enjoyed the employment of Chekhov's flamethrower.

 

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I recently found a tv series from New Zealand called Celebrity Treasure Island.  If Survivor was more like CTI, which emphasizes the challenges and minimizes the "social game" of building a strong alliance within one's team, then I would start watching it again.

Survivor used to be one of my favorite shows.  I started hating it when they asked Colton to return for a second season and he quit for a second time.

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Just saw "The Card Counter" and really liked it. A great character piece. Not really a sports movie, despite the title, and only a little violence. The main character is a former torturer at Abu Ghraib and the few scenes from there were extremely disturbing to me. Tiffany Haddish was excellent and I wish we had got to spend more time with her character. The film really bores down on Oscar Isaac's William Tell character. 

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