Last movie you watched
naltmank last edited by
Judas and the Black Messiah
The (often untold) story of the assassination of Fred Hamption, leader of the Illinois Black Panther party. This movie is essential viewing. At the most basic level, it's an acting powerhouse - Stanfeild and Kaluuya knock every scene they're in out of the park - but it stands apart from other biopics through some really smart and unique stylistic choices. There's the grounded grit you'd expect from a true story like this one, but I really loved the way King had some scenes play like they were straight out of a Blaxploitation film. Really, though, the reason everyone needs to see this is because of how relevant the story is, and how easily you can see the past reverberate throughout the present here. I'm a fairly young millenial, but I can still see echoes of the themes discussed here in how I was taught about the Black Panthers, racial injustice, and the fight for civil rights, and how this shaped much of my worldview until the past 5 years or so. The fact that it does this while presenting itself as a taut and complex drama is an achievement in and of itself. If I have one critique it's that some of the secondary performances get overshadowed by the two leads, and the scenes involving the FBI feel a bit extraneous and heavy-handed - we already know they're the villains here, so there's really no point in hammering it in any further. Still, like I said above, this is a must watch. A-
The story(s) of two cops in the underbelly of Hong Kong, and the women that come in and out of their lives. This movies is essentially two movies thrust together by their setting and themes, and that's not necessarily a bad thing - the first half is almost a noire thriller rom com, whereas the second is almost a surrealist and ethereal affair. The transition between the two is both abrupt and completely natural, fitting in line with what I considered to be the themes of the movie (i.e. how do chance encounters set our lives on separate trajectories? how do are lives affect those around us? how much love are we blind to in the world around us through sheer happenstance? Is there a man with more raw sex appeal than Tony Leung? You know, a Wong Kar Wai movie). Typical of 90s cinema, there are some stylistic elements that have aged poorly (why did so many people love low framerate action back then?) and I don't think it's as visually luscious as some of Wong Kar Wai's other work, but I can't deny how much fun I had watching this whole film. The god-tier soundtrack certainly helps in that regard, too. A-
Oscar nominees are out. I really feel some type of way about Another Round not getting nominated for Best Picture. I was hoping it could pull another Parasite and just swoop in.
I really truly think Another Round was a fantastic uplifting and funny movie that plays out in an entirely original way. I like other films that are nominated here. I think it's a pretty solid list, but damn, I really thought Another Round was the best movie I saw from 2020.
bam541 last edited by bam541
I watched 2 collections of short films, the first one is Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre. The three short films here are quite distinct with each other, since they're made by different directors.
The first film is "Kanini & Kanino", which takes place in mostly underwater scenery, and features the two titular characters, who are a part of a miniature sized human species. This one is not very memorable for me, I thought the way the story unfolded was not very interesting and I didn't get attached to the characters.
The second film is "Life Ain't Gonna Lose", and this one's my favorite of the bunch. It's a slice of life story about a mother and his son who has a sever allergy to eggs. I absolutely love the art style and animation here, it makes the whole thing feel wholesome and warm. The film also presents the characters' struggles and personalities in a very relatable and clear manner. No complaints about this one.
The third film is "Invisible", and it's about a person who is invisible in more ways than one. I really like the grungy art style that it has for the most part, and I also like that the film gets crazier as it goes. I thought the ending wasn't quite satisfying, but it's not horrible by any means.
The second collection is Flavors of Youth: International Edition. I had a much better time with this one overall. It might had something to do with me eating delicious dumplings while watching...
The first film here is "The Rice Noodles", and it's a narration heavy story about a man's love for a particular style of noodles, and various memories that are intertwined with it. While the note that it ended on didn't quite sit right with me, and the narration can be a bit too much, it presented its story very well during its run, and I can't help but feel nostalgic about the whole thing. There's also a few food porn scenes here, and I think they're very neat.
The second film is "A Little Fashion Show." It features a photoshoot model dealing with a particularly bad spot in her career. It can feel quite intense and uncomfortable, seeing her getting more loose as it goes. It's my least favorite of the bunch, but it's nowhere near bad by any means.
The third one is "Love in Shanghai", which is a heartbreaking love story between two longtime friends. A fun aspect of this story is that the two uses cassette tapes to communicate with each other, and a strong story moment near the end used it to twist my heart to great degrees. This one is my favorite, but it would be even better if the film ended things on a more ambiguous note.
P.S. I forgot to mention that the films from Flavors of Youth also had really good soundtracks.
I've been watching so many movies since I last posted so I can't even remember what I've seen anymore but here are some based on 'Recently Played' from my Plex server:
- Pusher (A) (never seen this series before, it's amazing. A crime series without shootouts, car chases, or explosions)
- Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands (A+)
- Martin Eden (B+)
- Mulholland Drive (C)
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (C-)
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (A+) (also jumped up into one of my favourite movies)
- The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (A+)
- Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (A-)
- Little Dieter Needs to Fly (A+)
- Punch Drunk Love (C+) (not as good as I remembered it)
- Chasing Amy (A-) (better than I remembered it, hold up well despite a character being homophobic)
- A Thousand Cuts (A-)
I think A Thousand Cuts is a must watch. People in the West think what happens in the East isn't pertinent to them, but Durtede's rule in the Philippines is a ground zero testing ground for how governments can get away with misinformation and using bots to sway the public one way or another. His ascension is terrifying and I know people in the Philippines though my family who had to flee the country because they are scared to be murdered by the police due to their former addiction issues.
- mother (2009, Bong Joon Ho) (B-)
- Nomadland (A+)
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The Talented Mr. Ripley (A+) (also jumped up into one of my favourite movies)
TokyoSlim last edited by TokyoSlim
The Dry: a taut and suspenseful mystery/thriller. A big-city police officer goes back his hometown to solve the murder of his childhood friend, with whom he may or may not have been embroiled in the death of a girl as a teen. Basically, two mysteries in one that unfold nicely. B+
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Also recently watched My Octopus Teacher, which I enjoyed.
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TokyoSlim last edited by TokyoSlim
Riders of Justice:
From the writer/director of Men and Chicken. Starring Mads Mikkelsen.
Wow. Not what I was expecting!
Parenting, unlearning toxic behaviors, the value of therapy, overcoming trauma, the perils of oversharing on social media (the irony of this post is not lost on me!)... and Mads going full on John Wick on a biker gang! Highly recommended! A- to an A
I've been on a Mads Mikkelsen binge since watching Another Round and I think he might be one of my favourite all time actors.
The Pusher series I mentioned earlier is co-starring Mads where he is a minor character in the first film, then the focus is on his character in the second film. Pusher 1 is one of those plots where one character is way in over their head and continues to make terrible decisions pretty much like a Danish version of Bad Lieutenant Port of Call or Uncut Gems, but the main character is a little less unhinged and more along the lines of being really stupid. I highly recommend the series.
Bad Trip - B+
This has no business being as funny as it is, but I really really enjoyed it. Jeff Tremaine is basically the defacto big budget hidden camera public prank storyteller so it's no surprise his production company made this.
What separates Bad Trip from Jackass public pranks or Bad Grandpa is that the story writers (Eric Andre, Kitao Sakurai, Andrew Barchilon) made the really great decision to tell the plot throughout the pranks. Whereas Bad Grandpa has pranks but then has a scene or two of plot before getting back into the funny moments. Essentially, every scene in this movie except for maybe one or two short driving scenes are not only storytelling, but also public pranks and stunts. There aren't any lulls.
This movie actually has a really good pace, a solid and simple plot, and the pranks are just funny and outrageous. The gorilla is my favourite by far, Jesus fucking Christ. It's also nice to see how different people react to different scenarios whereas sometimes Jackass in its early years on MTV just went to Japan because filming in public is legal there so you only get Japanese people's reactions. Everyone here is American but you get a good group of people reacting to these pranks which kinda adds something extra.
Collateral - B
I finally saw this for the first time. The Insider and Heat are two of my favourite films so I figured I'd watch what many consider to be Michael Mann's best but I think it was just alright. It has its thrilling moments but it suffers from some disorienting scenes. One scene takes place at a club and you can barely tell what is happening, who is shooting at whom.
I also don't buy Tom Cruise as an imposing presence. He just comes off as too chill and unintimidating and by that same token, Jamie Fox just seems too meek when he is actually a relatively brave character. I don't know, I love the premise and set up for all of the scenes, but the execution is off. I definitely don't think it's Michael Mann's best film.