Last movie you watched

  • Banned

    Blade Runner 2049, for the second time. I don't think I'm ever gonna watch this again. I just don't like Denis Villeneuve very much. Most of his movies feel cold. BR 2049 makes itself out to be too important. Not only the story, which made Deckard and Rachael bigger figures in this cyberpunk noir than they ever should have been. I feel like they tried to make those few love scenes in the original more important than they had a right to be. The movie wasn't trying to be an epic. Anyway, it wasn't just the story that made itself to be too important, but even the contemplative way scenes are shot and the bizarre way Jaret Leto's character acts. Even the first scene bothered me. K lets go of his gun just so a fight can ensue, with some dumb justification that he needs to scan the victim's eye. I mean, Deckard wasn't a good assassin in the original either, but his kills didn't annoy me like this one. He never lowered his defenses after he was ready to kill. The score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is excessively loud, heavy and ugly, with the theme in which K and Joi leave greater Los Angeles and Vangelis' main theme at the end being among the only highlights. I do like a lot of the scenery, the way the city looks, but I still think Ridley Scott's team did it better almost forty years ago. I appreciate that they developed on themes of the original, like servitude, memory and environmentalism. K's story wasn't boring, but I don't like Ryan Gosling much. The movie is competent. It's not special.

    More on Shoah, which I mentioned a few posts above: There are some stories in the second part that are just horrific. One account is of how the piled bodies looked after being gassed in the chambers. The stronger, more able-bodied victims on top of the others because they tried to climb above them for air. Bodies being trampled, children's skulls crushed. Another account is of a Jewish member of a death camp's "special detail," one of the barbers who cut the women's hair telling a woman he knew from back home that she is going to be gassed and incinerated, that in about three hours she will be ashes. He told her with good intentions. The woman starts running around screaming and trying to tell the other women, who don't believe her and think she's crazy. Then she tells the men, who don’t want to hear it either after being in train cars for days. Left alone, she starts clawing her face bloody. The women are then sent off to the gas chamber, except for her. The gestapo beat and torture her, until she points to the man who told her, who is then thrown alive into one of the ovens. The others in the special detail are warned that the same will happen to them if they ever tell the new arrivals why they are here. I got teary-eyed as a barber in Israel, back then a barber in the special detail, tried to describe what it was like to cut the hair of unsuspecting women he knew from around his home town. He almost couldn't continue. The director had to remind him how important it was that he share his experience. The speed at which they gassed so many thousands of people, train after train, is mind-boggling and sickening. They had to work very fast to remove any signs of what happened there before the next train arrived, because unsuspecting Jews were easier to exterminate. A production line of death. These last two and half hours were enough to keep me from sleeping for part of the night. I just couldn't stop thinking about the barber's story and how unfair and coldblooded it all was. Only one of four segments to go now (another two and half hours).

  • The film festival has started, by the way - so I'm gonna be watching a lot of stuff over the next 24 days.

  • @tokyoslim John Wick 3 as a two hour fight scene? I'm absolutely fine with that! :-)

  • @binarymelon I completely agree. I think it suffers from a lack of imagination overall, and Thor as a character has become infinitely more interesting as the MCU has evolved. But, like you say, that first 1/3... it's decent!

  • @klinjon not literally, but functionally. There's the least amount of dialogue in any of the Wick movies, and most of it just goes to set up fighting.

  • Watched Pokemon Detective Pikachu (got the the last screening, it was an ideal viewing situation). It's pretty fun! I'm mostly in awe of how it visually looks at times, those night sections in the city are splendid. The pokemons look pretty great, seeing them on a big screen. Really enjoyed Ryan's performance, everyone else did alright. It does feel rushed and underdeveloped overall after the first third of the movie, which didn't help me feel the emotional moments. It's structurally average too, although some of the twists are neat. (6/10)

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  • I, too, saw Detective Pikachu last night. Really impressed with how well they integrated Pokemon in with live action, and there was a stretch from about minutes 10-40 where I genuinely loved the movie. I just wish it didn't have to lean so hard into being a kid's movie, and instead embraced the full-on dark absurdity of its premise a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The performances outside of the central duo were rough, which I think is mostly the fault of the direction and script. Still, very excited to see more movies in this world, and I'm hopeful they can learn from their mistakes. C

    On a completely different not, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping might be the most underrated comedy of the past decade. Dumb, juvenile humor with just enough layers to keep me laughing throughout. Finest Girl is a banger, and worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet.

  • Watched the WTF shorts program last night, which is among my favorite things at the festival year in and year out. Standouts were "Father Figurine", which I think it the longest of the shorts - in which the family of a wealthy deceased man must come to terms with an unusual request in his last will and testament.

    and "Piggy (Cerdita)" which is a short somewhat Giallo looking suspense-horror about a girl being fat shamed at a public pool.

  • No. 1 Chung Ying Street

    Two protest stories about the area separating mainland China from Hong Kong. In the 1960s there was a revolt against the British colonial rule by Maoist Chinese and in 2019 there's a revolt against the current govt taking land away from farmers and be selling it to build a mall.

    In both cases, it shows that the prevailing govt is not Democratic and that the protestors are often treated as criminals and trespassers when they are trying to save their own homes from demolition.

  • Funke:
    A documentary about one man's obsession with handmade pasta, the disappearing art of making it, the prevailing notion that it's not worth the intensive labor in a world built upon razor thin margins, and how he's managed after losing his restaurant and being sued and disgraced. 4/5
    Youtube Video

  • In Fabric:
    A heavily Giallo inspired story about a cursed dress. While I think some of the dialogue, especially that of the shopkeeper is amazing,, I found the story to be overall pretty lackluster. 3/5
    Youtube Video

    10 Years Thailand:
    A series of 4 vignette style shorts envisioning the future of Thailand in 2028. The first is a stark look at the future of artistic censorship. The second is a world run by humanoid cats who've hunted regular humans nearly to extinction. The third is a neon happy religious order run by a chubby mama-san and a mummified general in a wheelchair, who go out and collect defective people and bring them in to be "repurposed". The fourth is a conversation taking place around a roundabout under construction with what is apparently the statue honoring a brutal dictator in the center of it. Nobody mentions it. I really enjoyed 3/4 of the vignettes and didn't really "get" one of them. So I'm giving it a 3.5/5
    Youtube Video

  • El Angel:
    1970s Argentine criminal Carlos Robledo Puch gets the Goodfellas treatment. It's fascinating and somewhat chilling to fall in with this sociopath, be charmed by his swagger and carefree life - only to be shocked out of it time and time again by him unhesitatingly murdering people without an ounce of remorse. The film's Scorcese-lite music scoring works, I think, and the acting is superb. 4.5/5
    Youtube Video

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    I've been an unapologetic Godzilla fan since I was a kid, staying up late on Saturday nights to watch a man in a rubber suit destroy model cities. When Godzilla 2014 was released, critics praised it for breathing new life into the beast but I thought it was utter trash - the main focus was on the humans and Godzilla had about five minutes of screen time, as each time a fight was about to break out, it would cut to something else. With this release, critics absolutely hate it... and it's exactly what I wanted. Big ol' monsters duking it out and (most) of the movie serves to showcase how awesome they are. Some of the shots with Ghidorah, Mothra, and Godzilla are absolutely breathtaking and guess what? They fight! Multiple times even! Way better than I expected, still too many human scenes though which does make the film feel a bit too long.

  • Deadwood: The Movie

    Time flew by fast with this one, it was a joy to return once more to Deadwood. Not the best we've had from the series, and I didn't expect it to be such, but nevertheless a long awaited epilogue for everything. I mean the hope was pretty much dead for a very long time to have any kind of closure to things, so now as a surprise bonus finally I was just more than happy to welcome this fim.

    Seth Bullock is practically the best thing out of best things, was back then and was still now. And as Olyphant is basically my official man-crush because of Deadwood and Justified I couldn't stop smiling when Bullock, for instance, called out Hearst from the middle of the street, stating "you murdering cunt". Hah. :D The use of language remained exceptional in the movie, meaning all that Shakespearean level convoluted phrase structures and what have you are all around the dialogue and at the same time an absurd yet fitting amount of cursing and swearing balances the scales with that. Out of the side characters I'm giving my shoutouts to Charlie Utter and Johnny Burns who warmed my heart.

    And Garret Dillahunt seemed to have been given his third role in the show. A nice touch, that one. Blink-and-you-miss-it.

  • I got distracted from watching the two blu-rays I got sometime ago. So here's two other movies:

    Moonrise Kingdom
    This is my first full Wes Anderson movie, and boy I'm excited for more. I love his style here, it just feels so jolly and heartwarming to me. I'm mostly in awe of the cinematography, I can't properly describe it but it speaks so much to me: how shots are framed, what is dominant in the shot and how the camera moves. The one scene that pops up to me right now is when the two main characters are speaking next to a big trampoline that's being used by a boy. The way they enter the frame, then talk, and exit while the boy is just bouncing happily just warms my heart. I also love how the movie is being colored: it starts with bright colors and gets more playful as the movies gets crazier. There's simply too much to love here, technically. I can go on for hours talking about all the scenes here.

    Story wise, I didn't expect the movie to get a bit serious halfway through, but that just made it stronger for me. It's more exciting to see how the story is being told rather than seeing how it all plays out (not saying it's weak plot-wise though). Also, I thought the two main actor-actress duo nailed the awkwardness of their characters. The length of the movie is fitting, can't say I got complaints about how it's paced. (8/10)

    John Wick
    It's a sin of mine: I've never watched any of the John Wick movies until now. I had friends showing me clips of them on Youtube, which I enjoy very much. I can see why this got people's attention. The action scenes are so goddamn slick, they really made Wick look and act like the dangerous professional the baddies made him out to be. I also adore the criminal world lore that they are building up here. (7/10)

  • Then That Follow:
    It's a tense drama about a snake handling church pastor's daughter when she discovers she's pregnant with an illicit sin baby. Bill Pullman's son, Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever (also in Booksmart right now) Thomas Man from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Jim Gaffigan, and a bunch of other interesting folks.


    Update: trailer just released

    Youtube Video

  • Late Night:

    Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling are great. Light comedy, some emotional moments, John Lithgow is also in this film and he's such a great, underrated actor.