Last movie you watched

  • @tokyoslim I'm usually never down for period prices like that or Jane Austin material. When I took a film class I actually slept through when we watched Pride and Prejudice. I thought Little Women was so jolly and cozy though. I was smiling the whole time.

  • In the Mood for Love
    Two neighbors become close after learning their spouses are cheating on them. Wong Kar Wai is a king of visual storytelling, and this film is no exception. The way he uses color and his framing to sell the intimacy and emotional arc of these characters is genuinely masterful, and Maggie Cheung nails that feeling of barely contained despair. I will say that I was hoping for a bit more catharsis by the end, but that's probably the point. Still an incredible watch. A-

    Battles Without Honor and Humanity
    The story of the Yamamori clan as the fight to make their mark in post-war Hiroshima. This is my first yakuza movie ever, and I watched it pretty much exclusively because I thought the title and poster were rad as hell. This film is about as '70s gritty as they come, with each kill punctuated by wailing horns and strings. The story itself is rather convoluted and disjointed, with characters switching sides and being offed at such a rate that even the narrator couldn't help me keep track of it all. It probably doesn't help that the characters speak in such a thick accent that they might as well be speaking Korean - even with closed captioning on, I had to re-watch some of the early scenes several times to understand what was being said. The cast is also sprawling. Major characters drop in and out of the plot for long stretches of time, and their re-introduction would almost always result in a head-scratching "wait, who were they again?" moment. The performances ran the gamut from solid to "remembering why I typically don't like the typical Japanese style of acting," with Sugawara being a notable standout. Ultimately, once I stopped thinking too hard and just let things flow I found myself having a good time, and I'm definitely curious to explore this genre a bit more. B-

  • My ISP just lifted the ban on Netflix sometime ago, and I got to subscribe for a month. I immediately watched My Neighbor Totoro, and oh boy it's one heck of a jolly time. I love how it embraces the mystical-ness of it's world, and showcase it with absolutely beautiful art and music. I also respect them not overdoing the music, and letting some of the scenes breathe on it's own. At about 90 mins of runtime, the pace felt quite energetic and there's never really a dull moment. (9/10)

    On a side note, playing Ghost of Tsushima and seeing how that game handles the mystical-esque aspects of the world makes me appreciate this movie more. It's awesome seeing how different arts try to convey that magical feeling.

  • Princess Mononoke
    A young man is cursed in a battle against a demon god to protect his village, and must journey west to find the source of the scourge and lift his curse. It's been about 15 years since I last watched this movie, and I felt it was time for a rewatch. There was so much I had forgotten, not the least of which how gruesome and dark it can be at times, but one thing that immediately struck me is how unlike other Ghibli movies this is. The most obvious difference is of course the male protagonist, but for the majority of its first act, this movie is - for all intents and purposes - a classic and conventional wandering ronin story. This is of course ultimately subverted as the movie becomes more fantastical (as opposed to largely spiritual) and metaphorical, but I think the structure of the movie makes its themes more impactful. I especially appreciated how complex its "villains" are, each of serve as a layered commentary on different facets of Japanese society. The last act runs a little long and borders on the far edge of what I consider "acceptable believability" within its established world, but even these moments mimic traditional Japanese fairy tales and storytelling in a way I found remarkable. One other thing that struck me was how relevant it still is; while Miyazaki was clearly condemning the rapid industrialization of Japan, it still works as a potent metaphor for mankind's indelible impact on the climate. When one character remarks in the face of devastation that it's too late, the sharp rebuke is a simple, "Human hands must give it back." Few filmmakers can create such a layered film so imminently watchable and enduring. This is truly Miyazaki at his best. A

    100 Yen Love
    After suffering a string of abuses and indignities, a woman finds the first healthy relationship in her life in boxing. This movie was billed to me as a sports romance movie. It is not that. This movie is a hard watch, especially in its first half where a graphic and realistic rape scene almost made me stop watching entirely. However, if you stick with it, you'll see a dark and oddly inspiring comeback story about a woman who just can't stop getting hit. While I'm not sure the ending entirely makes up for everything that's come before it, I would be lying if I said I wasn't smiling throughout the two (2!!) training montages and hoping for her to finally win something when all was said and done. Ultimately, what makes this movie worthwhile is Sakura Ando (Shoplifters), who brings so much pathos and humanity to this thankless role that I felt compelled to keep watching. It's a damn travesty that she hasn't landed more work. She's the best actor working in Japan. B-

  • The Walking Hills (1949), a (then) modern day noir western directed by John Sturges and starring Randolph Scott, about a motley crew from a Mexican border town going on a hunt for a rumoured gold-laden wagon train buried beneath the sand dunes of Death Valley.

    Grudges, checkered pasts, and personal agendas make it brim with tension. Largely filmed on location to great effect, and capped with the best sandstorm sequence I've ever seen on film.

  • The film is over 20 years old but I watched Eyes Wide Shut for the first time last night. I absolutely loved it. Sometimes a movie clicks with me and I start unpacking its meaning as I go along, but I don't have much to say about this movie other than the fact it gripped me in its mystery. I don't feel like you need to unpack its symbolism to enjoy this wild ride.

    I know there are lengthy novels written about every Kubrick movie, but just on a raw entertainment level, I loved watching Tom Cruise sort of descend into his own mind and go on this rollercoaster of an evening.

    I think a good way to tell if a movie is great is whether its a long one, and you want to watch it again because you think there is more to see and understand better. I'd love to watch this again sometime soon.

    Solid 8.5-9/10!

  • EWS is great.

  • I went and saw TENET this evening.

    Not gonna lie, this was the hardest Nolan for me to follow so far. Damn that inversion messed with my head everytime it was happening! Nolan's most twisted time gimmick, this one. I mean I'm sure it's all been thougth through and that the narrative works when you pause to whole damn thing and inspect it at your own pace, I'm not questioning that. It was just super confusing most of the times to get a grasp of things. Again, sure, the big picture I got, but when trying to get a hang of details things got blurry.

    And the pace of the movie didn't help it at all. So much information in every sentence, honestly. So much new stuff to try and process in every conversation. The amount of any kind of emotional or intimate, even friendly convos was very minimal. This was so much about that whole time phenomenon.

    Visually and editing-wise this utilized the rewind button in a shameless way. Pretty glorious scenes when the two timelines moving towards opposite directions were at play in a same scene at the same time. Again, my face was propably like :O a number of times out there. As a Finn it was cool to see our neighbor Tallinn in Estonia in a big way in this, some pretty neat vehicle action there.

    I've got nothing bad to say about the actors. I was pleasently surprised to see Elizabeth Debicki in this one, I had no idea she was cast. Same thing goes to Branagh, I'd only seen one trailer ages ago. And only now at home I read that Ives was Aaron Taylor-Johnson, I simply didn't make that connection at all. Washington and Pattinson as the main couple were nicely on the same page with Nolan, I feel. They delivered what was asked and needed of them.

    So all in all this was a pretty wild ride. I mean I knew going in that there'd be some heavy gimmicky action and shit, but I was still blown away by the scale of things in that regard. A pretty challenging trick this time around, Mr. Nolan. An interesting movie, glad I saw it, but as my initial reaction now this won't propably place in my favourites from the man.

  • After stewing on it for a few days, I think Bill and Ted Face The Music is an adequate, though predictable sequel. I think that the core conceit B&T learned at the end of 2 was that they would need to put in the work to succeed and that they should/could use shortcuts to that end - using the time machine to train for six months in a matter of seconds - but Face The Music places them right back in the "maybe we can shortcut our way out of this situation" mode where they try to go to the future to steal a song they haven't written yet. Which was a little disappointing, IMO.

    I think Keanu especially struggled to reconnect with Ted's naivete - though this may just be my bias having seen him as Neo/Wick for years, Alex Winter on the other hand, and both the "kids" were great. I think Samara Weaving (The Babysitter/Ready or Not) is one of the most promising of the next generation of young actresses in Hollywood - and Brigette Lundy-Paine, who I'm less familiar with, so nailed some of the physical mannerisms of Keanu in the OG movies, that I could easily believe that they were related.

    It was definitely a fun movie. I figured out what the end "plot twists" were less than 10 min into it, though overall it was still enjoyable and the resolution of the film was still a nice message. I appreciate it for what it is, but selfishly wish that maybe it was a little deeper and more consistent. B+

  • Charlie Kaufman has the incredible ability to tap into the human experience like no other, and does it in such a way that you don't even know exactly why it affects you so. It's like his work just reaches inside of your brain, tapping into parts of it that you can't identify. I'm thinking of ending things continues that trend, and manages to be even more mystifying than his previous work. If you were to ask me what happened, I wouldn't be able to tell you. What I would be able to tell you however, is that I felt it deeply.

    The performances in this film are astounding. Toni Collette and David Thewlis in particular deliver damn near career-defining performances, bringing both heart and an unmistakable eerieness to it. Guy Boyd manages to be beautifully heartbreaking as well.

    I have not read the book, and after seeing this film I don't think I want to. Not because I think I won't like it, but because adding any more clarity to this film could ruin the beauty of it. I have no clue what it means, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    4.5/5 Stars

  • Youtube Video

    Streaming free on Kanopy with a library card.

  • I'm thinking of ending things
    Charlie Kaufman A young woman meditates on life and humanity over an increasingly bizarre trip to meet her boyfriend's parents. If you've watched any Kaufman, you know what you're getting into. This is a deeply metaphorical movie that's difficult to describe without spoiling (or at least - spoiling what I believe happened in it). Kaufman's intentions are apparent fairly early on in the movie, to the point where formal techniques to enhance his meaning become distracting as opposed to enthralling. The performances and cinematography across the board are outstanding, and this movie certainly made me feel things that few others have, but ultimately it’s mostly a curiosity that falls apart by the end. It's a difficult recommend, but if you're at all interested I suggest you at least have a friend on hand to talk to after you're done. C+

  • Rewatched a couple movies over the last few nights.

    Went on a Denis Villenuave kick after seeing the trailer for Dune, so I did a double feature night and watched Prisoners and Sicario. Prisoners I think especially holds up with the feeling it gives off. It has a cozy feeling that's permeated with this camerawork from Roger Deakins that creates this layer of dread with different creeping shots. The acting is pretty awesome from Jackman, and the questioning of morality as things go on, especially from the perspectives of a regular set of lower-middle class family people against the opposing character story of Gyllenhall's detective thread is pretty harrowing. It runs a little long and there are some questions that I think could have been explained better, but overall it's an awesome mystery with a chilling atmosphere in a unique setting.


    Sicario is a completely different kind of movie, but still has things that I feel are distinctly of the director's flavor. There are plenty of slow, beautiful scenic shots, specifically sunset shots in this one with silhouetted characters that are awesome. While the story takes a long time to explain itself and get going, leaving the audience in the dark with the main character, it really pays off at the end. The final shot, after all the pieces have come together and we understand why and how the events as a whole fit together is chilling, and makes you think from the perspectives of a lot of different people coming from different angles and cultures. Acting from all parties here is top notch, especially Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin who are perfect cocky counterbalance to Emily Blunt and Daniel Kaluuya's audience surrogate characters. Definitely one you just need to see a second time after you've seen it the first time.


    Also rewatched Silence of the Lambs last night. I hadn't seen it since High School, but did a brief study on it in a film course I took more recently. It's pretty fascinating how all the shots are designed to unsettle the audience from the perspective of the protagonist by having characters speak and look directly into the camera, and therefore the audiences' eyes. In the course mentioned, we talked about how it was crafted to be uncomfortable from the perspective of a woman in a male dominated profession, or to give you the cautionary and uncomfortable feeling many women have in a daily basis when speaking to people or being in situations, and the camerawork does this extremely well. Anthony Hopkins still kills at his role here and I forgot how little he's actually in the movie given the impact he has. I'll definitely have to read this book at some point to see what sorts of missing information is there that didn't make it to screen. I think the standout thing here is the pacing, as there isn't a lot of actual action or violence. It's all a slow burn buildup to the finale, as we slowly uncover clues and investigate with Starling.


  • Ni No Kuni
    Two teens are transported to a fantastical world as they fight to save their friend in a movie that serves as the most definitive proof yet that we'll never have a good video game adaptation. Seriously, it's unreal to me that they managed to screw this one up. The first ten minutes or so show some promise; it carries some of the lovely mystical air that made the game world so enjoyable, and I appreciate the effort to center a disabled character. In general I guess you could argue that the base story here is fine, but the storytelling is stilted to high hell, the character development is horrendously rushed, and the animation is shockingly bad at times. There is a 15 minute stretch or so that's supposed to be a major battle sequence/conflict, but ends up playing out as a series of characters expositing important information over bad CGI. Even when viewed as a kids movie, the main beats here are asinine in the way that they play out. The only thing that I genuinely liked in this movie is the score, which owes most of its power to Joe Hisaishi's score from the original game. I say watch the first ten minutes and then skip the rest. C-

  • @naltmank have you seen that Dragon Quest movie that came out recently? I was curious.

  • @happygaming lol that's what I was going to watch instead of this one originally. The animation was great from what I saw, but I could tell from the get go that it was gonna be an insane rush job so I gave up pretty quickly. DQV is a very special game to me, though, so I was sort of setting myself up for failure there. That said, I did read up on the "controversy" around it and think it's hilarious. Pretty sure I'm not missing much.