Author Topic: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?  (Read 307746 times)

Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1215 on: May 11, 2020, 08:13 »
Since my last post on what we have seen at home, we have checked out 何日君再来 (1991), 人吓鬼 (1994), The Lies She Loved, Ruben Brandt Collector, On Golden Pond, A River Runs Through It and these...





No Mercy is a 2010 South Korean action thriller film written and directed by Kim Hyeong-jun. Sol Kyung-gu won Best Actor at the 18th Chunsa Film Art Awards for his performance. In addition, the film has been picked up by audiences due to its shocking twist. Sol Kyung-Gu plays a staff member of the National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI) in South Korea. He attempts to uncover the identity of a mysterious serial killer who decapitates his victims. Ryoo Seung-Bum plays a environmentalist who holds clues to unravel the mystery. I thought I have seen all the best stuff from Korea and this totally flew over my radar. It’s riveting all the way to that final twist that made my jaw drop. The only weak spot is the villain(s) is/are not well-casted and well-developed. This one falls just a rung below Oldboy and that’s the biggest thumbs up for it.




The Story of Qiu Ju (秋菊打官司) is a 1992 Chinese comedy-drama film. The film was directed by Zhang Yimou and, as in many of his films, stars Gong Li in the title role. The film tells the story of a peasant woman, Qiu Ju, who lives in a rural area of China. When her husband is kicked in the groin by the village head, Qiu Ju, despite her pregnancy, travels to a nearby town, and later a big city to deal with its bureaucrats and find justice. I read somewhere that other than 3 professional actors, there rest were just playing themselves. Zhang shot everything using a hidden camera. In so doing, he came out with a film that is shot in natural light and people in their comfortable behavioural patterns. Humour comes in unexpected circumstances. Gong Li as a helluva stubborn person has not one tinge of glamour on her. The narrative got a little repetitive in the middle act because we all know she will keep on going up the hierarchy to get justice. Then in the third act something tumultuous happens that send her stubbornness crashing down. It was all going towards a happy ending and then Zhang gives us one more gut punch. An instantly memorable film that lets you see a China like never before.




Wildlife is a 2018 American drama film directed and co-produced by Paul Dano (in his directorial debut), starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. The screenplay, written by Dano and Zoe Kazan, is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Richard Ford. I like this a lot. It is your basic disintegration of family values, erosion of one’s moral core and the death of the American ideal narrative, but done without the histrionics. It has a rhythm and tempo that is distinctively its own. The acting is nuanced and finely calibrated. The ending is heart-achingly bittersweet. A superb directorial debut by Paul Dano, and you can feel it is a very personal project.

Then we went on a rich vein of American classics...




A Place in the Sun is a 1951 American drama film based on the 1925 novel An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser and the 1926 play, also titled An American Tragedy. It tells the story of a working-class young man who is entangled with two women: one who works in his wealthy uncle's factory, and the other a beautiful socialite. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning six Academy Awards and the first-ever Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. In 1991, A Place in the Sun was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". This is one lavishly mounted production and exquisitely acted. Montgomery Clift was superb in the role of a nobody becoming a somebody. He communicated so much with his posture, gait and mannerisms. Truly masterclass acting. You should be hating him from the get-go, but I am sure you will sympathise with him when he gets himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Elizabeth Taylor is stunning. From the first frame she appears in, I was seduced by her classy beauty. The film doesn’t even feel dated at all. We followed this up with another George Stevens film...



Woman of the Year is a 1942 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by George Stevens and starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The film's plot is about the relationship between Tess Harding—an international affairs correspondent, chosen "Woman of the Year"—and Sam Craig—a sportswriter—who meet, marry, and encounter problems as a result of her unflinching commitment to her work. In 1999, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". This is the first of nine collaborations between the two leads and their chemistry is electrifying. The black and white cinematography didn’t bother me one bit because I was entranced by their antics, believable situations and the numerous quotable lines. If you are getting married soon, you need to watch this to get the essence of what constitutes a marriage. Better to get in with your eyes opened and not closed thinking it’s going to be spring every day. There are so many hilarious scenes and for me the standout appears near the end. Tess finally understands why she needs Sam and wants to win him back... through his stomach. The prolonged sequence in the kitchen is filled with so many nail-biting gags that we laughed till our eyes streamed down.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1216 on: May 16, 2020, 11:44 »
Since my last movie post, we have checked out Dr Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fat Girl (2001), Two for the Road (1967), A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and these...




Coming Home is a 2014 Chinese historical drama film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Chen Daoming and Gong Li. This is Zhang Yimou’s minor masterpiece. It’s a weepie but there is an epic sweep to the proceedings. It’s one of Zhang’s fave narratives - how the communist government in one fell swoop changed the lives of people, but this time he chooses to study a married couple. It’s emotionally devastating to see this. At the end of the first act is an incredible sequence - upstairs, downstairs, in the driving rain, up the bridge and down the bridge... beautifully choreographed with a Hitchock-ian movement of suspense. The ending is a downbeat but it’s also a testament of everlasting love.




Carlos, also known as Carlos the Jackal, is a 2010 French-German biographical film/miniseries about the life of the 1970s Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez), covering his first series of attacks in 1973 until his arrest in 1994. This is a 5h 30min mini-series and I almost sat through in one sitting. It moves in a brisk pace and it’s not boring. Édgar Ramirez puts in a calling card bravura performance. Oliver Assayas’ direction is uncompromising and propulsive. It is essentially a fictionalised version of a terrorist’s life, but he kept to the timeline of the events, giving you a terrifying portrayal of an egotistical and cold-blooded terrorist and Europe was his playground. It is an astonishing film from start to end, it’s a history lesson based on thorough research. The cigarettes, women, explosions and guns... brilliant. If not for this CB I wouldn’t have taken the Criterion blu-ray for a watch, but now I am scouring my shelves for gems I have picked up.

Based on a bro’s recommendation we saw Fauda...




Fauda ("chaos") is an Israeli television series developed by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff drawing on their experiences in the Israel Defense Forces. It tells the story of Doron, a commander in the Mista'arvim unit and his team as they pursue a Hamas arch-terrorist known as "The Panther." Each episode is about 33min and hardly any time is wasted. It isn’t bloated like it’s American counterpart. Best way I can put it is this is Homeland without all the psychological and emotional hang-ups. You can also see that it doesn’t have the monster budget of Hollywood but yet they could tell a story in a powerful way.

Wondering what to watch next, we searched Netflix and tried the first 15 minutes of this and that’s it... we were sucked in...




Bodyguard is a British police political-thriller television series created and written by Jed Mercurio and produced by World Productions as part of ITV Studios for the BBC. The six-part series features Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes. The series began broadcasting on BBC One on 26 August 2018,[2] achieving the highest viewing figures for a new BBC drama in the multichannel era and the highest BBC viewing figures since 2008. The series is set around the fictional character of Police Sergeant David Budd, a British Army war veteran suffering from PTSD, who is now working for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London's Metropolitan Police Service. He is assigned as the principal protection officer (PPO) for the ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics he despises. As the series unravels, the series comments on many issues regarding the controversy around government monitoring of private information and its regulation, and also on PTSD.

If you are looking for binge-worthy series that doesn’t stretched to forever, this is fricking it. It’s greatest strength is it’s the set-pieces and there are a few here that rival the best action movies out there. The first 3 episodes are solid stuff, moving at the pace of a volley of bullets. The characters are vivid and it doesn’t overwhelmed you with expositions. There is depth, just enough, to the main characters. At the midway mark, I was surprised it went on a sudden right turn into whodunnit territory and along the corridors of power everyone in high places is a suspect. The last episode went by in a breathless flurry. Okay, it’s over the top like crazy, but it succeeded in being superbly entertaining and I definitely hope to see a S2 down the road.




But the absolute best thing we saw is an Italian TV series called My Brilliant Friend. I fell in love with it instantly and will reserve my thoughts and feels after I have seen S2.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1217 on: May 18, 2020, 10:23 »
Over the weekend we had a themed movie marathon - Japanese. These are what we saw...




13 Assassins is a 1963 jidaigeki (period drama) film directed by Eiichi Kudo. I have seen Takeshi Miike’s blood soaked remake (2010) and have always been curious about the original. The story is simple - a band of 13 samurais plan to assassinate a cruel feudal lord. Interestingly, if memory serves me well, Miike was very faithful to the original, sometimes reproducing the same shot. I always like these numbered underdogs against an infinite number of scumbags movies. You know not all will survive, but you know they will die well. The first 3/4 is a lot of talk and recruiting, the last half hour is a helluva fight to the end and it is so well-staged I see the crimson red even though it’s shot in B&W. The catharsis hits the spot. Go see Miike’s remake, then check this gem out and you will realise Miike’s version is just a gimmicky and garish film.



Tokyo Drifter is a 1966 yakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki. The story follows Tetsuya Watari as the reformed yakuza hitman "Phoenix" Tetsu who is forced to roam Japan avoiding execution by rival gangs. The majority of the film takes place in Tokyo, but portrays the city in a highly stylized manner. The opening sequence consists of a mash of images from metropolitan Tokyo, meant to condense the feeling of the city into one sequence. The film opens in stylized black and white, which becomes vibrant color in all subsequent scenes which served to represent Tokyo after the 1964 Summer Olympics. This is my first time discovering Seijun Suzuki and it wouldn’t be my last. Tokyo Drifter is an exercise of style over substance. What style this has! The loyal and charismatic henchman saunters around humming his drifter tune before whacking all the bad guys down. Love his cool light blue suit that never gets one single blood stain. This guy is so cool, women want to have his babies, but he pushes them away because a drifter shouldn’t have a girl next to him. It would sully his cool. Narratively, this lacks structure but there is just enough to keep you on the road to one of the most bombastic climatic gunfights ever. I thought I have seen everything... heck! I am an amateur! I am cueing up his masterpiece Branded to Kill soon.



Onibaba is a 1964 historical drama horror film written and directed by Kaneto Shindo. The film is set during a civil war in the fourteenth century. Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura play two women who kill soldiers to steal their possessions, and Kei Satō plays the man who ultimately comes between them. This is my second time and my wife’s first time, a haunting and astonishing film. It feels like a parable, a horror story, a cautionary tale about possessiveness. Erotically charged, bursting with symbolisms, this feels like a critique on consumerism, the destructive nature of sexual desire, all caught in a sea of weaving reeds. The horror element only comes late in the movie, but by then I was already a goner. This is a must-see.



Ran is a 1985 epic action drama film directed, edited and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. The plot derives from William Shakespeare's King Lear and includes segments based on legends of the daimyō Mōri Motonari. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an aging Sengoku-period warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favor of his three sons. This is one of the best 50 films to grace the planet and if you don’t think so you know sh*t. I think it’s my third time seeing it and my wife’s first. This is a film that Kurosawa could never have made when he was younger, what it is is a representation of the twilight of his illustrious career and his life. The culmination of all his life’s philosophies and experiences exploded on the screen in vivid colours. It’s the apocalypse of humanity in a kaleidoscope of primary colours. Lots of directors use colours as symbolisms, it is a matter of taste whether the gimmick calls attention to itself. Here, it is incredibly used thematically and structurally. You see the humongous battle scenes but you will never be confused who is who. My wife caught a detail I have never seen even in my third time - the flags had lines, the number of lines symbolises which brother’s army it is. Ran is epic, full of metaphors (all great movies have that) and grand themes portrayed in grandiose ways. Everything is so operatic and opulent, making you think before you feel. There are no close-ups, everything is divided down the middle. It has an effect on you, making you see everything like an omnipresent God, never lifting a finger to intervene, preferring to lay back and see humans kill humans. You wouldn’t be able to sum up the whole film in a few throwaway lines. It’s one of those few films that teach you something about life each time you see it.



The Bad Sleep Well is a 1960 movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. It was the first film to be produced under Kurosawa's own independent production company. The film stars Toshiro Mifune as a young man who gets a prominent position in a corrupt postwar Japanese company in order to expose the men responsible for his father's death. It has its roots in Shakespeare's Hamlet, while also doubling as a critique of corporate corruption. Along with Stray Dog (1949) and High and Low (1963), it is one of three films in which Kurosawa explores the film noir genre. This one has its moments but overall it suffers from pacing problems and it is too long. The moment a reveal is dropped it slows down to a crawl when it should have gone up a notch. The ending withholds information that would have garnered sympathy for the hero. Instead, we are given the information through a verbose explanation that provides zero catharsis. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Where Kurosawa did stupendously well is his portrayal of the insidious nature of dirty corporation that leaves bodies in its wake on its way to lining their pockets with millions.



Godzilla is a 1954 Japanese kaiju film directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the first film in the Godzilla franchise and the Shōwa era. In the film, Japan's authorities deal with the sudden appearance of a giant monster, whose attacks trigger fears of nuclear holocaust during post-war Japan. The film spawned a multimedia franchise, being recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest running film franchise in history. The character Godzilla has since became an international pop culture icon, and the 1954 film has been largely credited for establishing the template for tokusatsu media. Wow! Just fricking wow! Forget all the Hollywood Godzilla crap! This is where it all began. Going into this film, I was getting ready to be wrapped up high camp and low cheesiness, but I had no idea I was in for such a superb time. In true monster movie fashion, the Japanese studios never throw in the iconic monster from the get-go. We get the after-effects when the shores of an island became its playground. Humans talk about it in all manners of seriousness. Then we get a roar, a thump and a rearing of a head, and the humans go ape-shite and likewise with us. The movie has the perfect balance between the human and monster elements. Heck! The Hollywood movies can never get this right. When Godzilla goes rampaging into Tokyo I became a small wide-eyed boy again. It’s not just a guilty pleasure, the film is filled with metaphors and symbolisms. They even put in one for Oppenheimer, the scientist who created the atomic bomb, and his profound sadness for seeing his invention gets used for destruction. His ultimate sacrifice is well-handled and hits a spot for me. And get this.... I actually felt for the poor thing that was Godzilla who could inspire terror and garner sympathy.


Penance, known in Japanese as Shokuzai (贖罪), is a Japanese television drama miniseries in 2012. It is based on a novel of the same name by Kanae Minato and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. We finished the novel by Kanae Minato who wrote the seminal Confessions. I had reservations about the book, but being a fan of seeing the art of translation from print to screen, we decided to check this 6-parter out. The first episode wore on too long but it’s too early to say much. I must say it stays quite faithful to the book, a story about violence begetting violence.

Next weekend I am planning a European movie marathon. I have to show her Nights of Cabiria (1957), one of my all time faves


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« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 16:45 by westendboy »
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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1218 on: May 22, 2020, 08:58 »
Since my last movie post, we have seen Quai Des Orfèvres (1947), Heavenly Creatures (2002), and these...



United 93 is a 2006 biographical drama-thriller film written, co-produced and directed by Paul Greengrass, that chronicles events aboard United Airlines Flight 93,[3] which was hijacked during the September 11 attacks of 2001. The film attempts to recount the hijacking and subsequent events in the flight with as much veracity as possible (there is a disclaimer that some imagination had to be used) and in real time (from the flight's takeoff). The passengers' response to the hijacking has come to be invested with great moral significance. The DVD was sitting on my shelf since God knows when and I am glad to take it down for a watch. What a tremendous experience - it’s an event I don’t want to relive and never want to forget. The film honours the victims in a respectable way. It’s the type of movie you know going in you already know the outcome, but the tension still builds and builds till a point you somehow wish it had never happened. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the 9/11 terrorist attack reset the world - it’s the type of world event that essentially demarcates the timeline of the world into two sections. It is a good choice to use unrecognisable actors for the movie. It really thrusts you into United 93 on the way to the White House. It’s tense, brutal and honest, with little embellishments. Watch this if you have not done so.



Shane is a 1953 American Technicolor Western film from Paramount Pictures, noted for its landscape cinematography, editing, performances, and contributions to the genre. The picture was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay by A. B. Guthrie Jr., based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Jack Schaefer. Its Oscar-winning cinematography was by Loyal Griggs. Shane stars Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur in the last feature (and only color) film of her career. This CB I intend to watch all the westerns I have in my possession, this is probably one of the last few. Should have saved this for the last because it is a superb film. It’s about a weary gunfighter who attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act. This one has a mythical sheen gleaming in every scene. It feels effortlessly timeless, an olden time cemented in your consciousness. Times may have changed, but people are still feeling oppressed in many parts of the world. The intimate storytelling has a stalwart integrity and it also has the ability to say a lot more without having to tell you a lot. One of those rare films I would gladly revisit.



Good Morning is a 1959 comedy film by Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu. It is a loose remake of his own 1932 silent film I Was Born, But..., and is Ozu's second film in color. I have seen most of Ozu’s celebrated films and this is the first time I laughed out loud. The story is so simple - two young boys in suburban Tokyo take a vow of silence after their parents refuse to buy them a television set. All of Ozu’s films are shot from the perspective of adults, but this one is from the petulant boys’ point of view. It is an enchanting portrayal of family life but using this deceptively simple framework Ozu gives a sharp critique towards the gossiping nature of Japanese folks, meaningless rituals and consumerism.



House of Games is a 1987 American neo-noir heist-thriller film directed by David Mamet, his directorial debut. He also wrote the screenplay, based on a story he co-wrote with Jonathan Katz. This one is about the world of the con man and a fascinating character study of a psychiatrist. That’s it... don’t find out more about the plot. Nothing is going to beat the first time you see this. What I can tell you is that this felt like getting lost in a labyrinth and getting your brains f*cked in the nicest of ways. The beauty of it is that you wouldn’t think you are lost in a maze until the end of the movie and you suddenly realised you have been conned. Hollywood don’t make these type of movies anymore. Everything out of there is mostly based on a template, going through the motions, nothing is original anymore. With David Mamet, you know his every word, comma, ellipse carries humongous weight and he writes killer dialogue. The gradual unfolding of the plot is sheer masterclass. This DVD sat on my shelf since forever ago and I remember buying it for only one reason - David Mamet. Watch this.... please. I end with Roger Ebert’s words: “This movie is awake. I have seen so many films that were sleepwalking through the debris of old plots and second-hand ideas that it was a constant pleasure to watch House of Games."

You will notice there are fewer movies watched. It’s all because of this Korean series that is the talk of the town...



The World of the Married is so addictive and compulsive... we have 6 more episodes to go. I will reserve my thoughts till we are done. Forget Crash Landing on You, this is even better.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1219 on: May 23, 2020, 12:54 »


My European movie weekend is about to begin. Wifey made pizza and we have red wine to go with the food and movies. See ya on the other side.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1220 on: May 25, 2020, 09:32 »
Really wanted to squeeze as many great movies from Europe as possible, but finally we just took it easy. Wifey made pizzas to go with them... perfect.




Nights of Cabiria is a 1957 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Giulietta Masina, François Périer, and Amedeo Nazzari. Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a prostitute in Rome who searches in vain for true love. Besides the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for Giulietta Masina, Nights of Cabiria won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This was the second straight year Italy and Fellini won this Academy Award, having won for 1956's La Strada, which also starred Giulietta Masina. I love this to bits because of Giulietta Masina’s incredibly naked performance. Yes, she is a prostitute, she lives on the fringes of society, but so what? I love how Masina plays her - a plucky and spunky girl that grabs life by the balls. She is Chaplin and Keaton all rolled into a waif of a girl with aspirations for life. Who says a hooker don’t deserve happiness? Her fallback basic instinct is to search for truth in lies and happiness in sadness. In her you will see a blueprint for living your life - she knows she is a loser, but the difference is she doesn’t want to be one forever. The last scene is heart-achingly beautiful - a teardrop laced with mascara congealed on one eye and the scene plays with perfect juxtaposition and emphatic contrast to the scene of jubilant celebration all around her. Is it a cruel joke, is it her doing a mental system reset? Cabiria conveys a resolute notion that you don’t have to worry about her. I know it’s just a movie, but each time it ends I always say a silent prayer she will eventually find true love. She deserves it. All my life I have met many women, sometimes I find instances of Cabiria in some of them, but there wasn’t any who comes close to a living embodiment of Cabiria (I have a friend who for the longest time was searching for Faye Wong’s character in Chungking Express. I say this because I need to let you know I am not crazy). Forget Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Nights of Cabiria is the best film about a prostitute with a heart of gold.




The Conformist is a 1970 political drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, whose screenplay is based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite. The film is a case study in the psychology of conformism and fascism: Marcello Clerici is a bureaucrat, cultivated and intellectual but largely dehumanized by an intense need to be 'normal' and to belong to whatever is the current dominant socio-political group. He grew up in an upper class, perhaps dysfunctional family, and he suffered a major childhood sexual trauma and gun violence episode in which he long believed that he had killed his chauffeur. More than anything, it is Bertolucci‘s style that engaged me. It’s poetic, rich and so baroque. It plays with light and shadows to sublime effect. There is a scene near the end that happens in the woods - a woman screams and runs through the trees, sunlight streamed down through the canopy, shots ring out, faceless men in trench coats shooting at her. It is a stunning scene - a scene of violence in a sea of nature.




The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The film was made in France and is mainly in French, with some dialogue in Spanish. The narrative concerns a group of upper middle class people attempting—despite continual interruptions—to dine together. The film received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Most people I know who have seen this tend to summarise it as a movie about six people who never got a chance to have their meal. That’s a little too easy - it’s like saying Field of Dreams is about baseball and Star Wars is about good versus evil in space. This is my third time and I still managed to catch some gags I have missed previously. There is no plots, only situations, but what situations they are - the three ladies ordered tea but there isn’t any, they switched to coffee but soon the waiter tells them they have ran out of water. Another - they were invited to dinner, they sat down, then curtains were drawn and they realised they are participants in a play and the audience are shouting their disapproval. It’s subversive, it’s outlandish, and so many years later it still works like a charm.




Russian Ark is a 2002 experimental historical drama film directed by Alexander Sokurov. In Russian Ark, an unnamed narrator wanders through the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, and implies that he died in some horrible accident and is a ghost drifting through the palace. In each room, he encounters various real and fictional people from various periods in the city's 300-year history. He is accompanied by "the European", who represents the Marquis de Custine, a 19th-century French traveler. The film was recorded entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian State Hermitage Museum on 23 December 2001 using a one-take single 96-minute Steadicam sequence shot. Russian Ark uses the fourth wall device extensively, but repeatedly broken and re-erected. At times the narrator and the companion interact with the other performers, whilst at other times they pass unnoticed. Forget Birdman and the recent 1917, this is the granddaddy of the one-take movie. This is a cinematic tour de force through 300 years of Russian history, filmed with a cast of thousands, three live orchestras and an army of technicians who all hit their marks at the precise timing. If you want to learn Russian history, immersed yourself with this.




Rome, Open City is a 1945 Italian neorealist drama film directed by Roberto Rossellini. The picture features Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani and Marcello Pagliero, and is set in Rome during the Nazi occupation in 1944. The title refers to Rome being declared an open city after 14 August 1943. The film won several awards at various film festivals, including the most prestigious Cannes Grand Prix and was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar at the 19th Academy Awards. Rome, 1944. Giorgio Manfredi, one of the leaders of the Resistance, is tracked down by the Nazis. He goes to his friend Francesco's, and asks Pina, Francesco's fiancée, for help. Pina must warn a priest, Don Pietro Pellegrini, that Giorgio needs to leave the town as soon as possible ... Shot near the end of the liberation of Rome, this is the pioneering film of Italian neorealism. It is a very accomplished war drama film made during a dangerous time. There is little embellishment, it is a film about the essence of tragedy and the facts speak for themselves without a needless romanticised tale. Chances are you may not have seen this but an image of a woman running after her husband-to-be captured by the Nazis and getting mowed down in a hail of bullets will befuddle you - where have I seen that? That’s one of the iconic shots.

That’s it for our European weekend. Originally, I wanted to see three more since today is a holiday, but I am quite attuned to Choo’s disposition with these arthouse films. I have to comment she kept her enthusiasm as high as she could and that’s a mean feat. I shan’t “torture” her anymore. I will do the rest on my own. So in the midst of going through these plotless arthouse emperor’s-new-clothes movies, we tried this...




Pride and Prejudice is a six-episode 1995 British television drama, adapted by Andrew Davies from Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth starred as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy respectively. Critically acclaimed and a popular success, Pride and Prejudice was honoured with several awards, including a BAFTA Television Award for Jennifer Ehle for "Best Actress" and an Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special". The role of Mr Darcy elevated Colin Firth to stardom. A scene showing Firth in a wet shirt was recognised as "one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history". This mini-series currently sits at #50 of IMDb Best TV Series list. This is so fricking good.... I love the gentle comedy of manners, exquisite acting and the spoken English. In these present times, we kill each other with f-bombs, then they kill each other with wit and sarcasm. Give me a time machine man!


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Offline jdc115

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1221 on: May 25, 2020, 10:54 »
Have you seen Victoria:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4226388/

It will fit your theme, it also manages to be a 2.5 hour, single cut film, largely improvised to the story outline. Quite an intense ride and accomplishment.  Birdman and 1917 are just made to look like it is a single cut but aren’t.  I will try to seek out Russian Ark

Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1222 on: May 25, 2020, 14:13 »
Seen it. I remember it was cool movie


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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1224 on: May 29, 2020, 12:34 »
We were at a loss after The World of the Married. Movie-wise we saw The Blues Brothers (1980), The Colour Purple (1985) and The Virgin Suicides (1999). We also tried 2 episodes of Sharp Objects and gave up. It felt like a 4-episode story stretched out to 8. Each episode has one reveal and is basically screaming how damaged Amy Adams’ character is. Somewhere in the second episode, Adams wakes up in a jolt from a nightmare and she gets in a car in the middle of the night. I immediately announced: “she is going to a pub to drown herself”. I was right and that spelled “the end” for Sharp Objects and we dropped it like a stone. Then we tried this...



Show Me a Hero is a 2015 American miniseries based on the 1999 nonfiction book of the same name by former New York Times writer Lisa Belkin. Like the book, the miniseries details a white middle-class neighborhood's resistance to a federally mandated scattered-site public housing development in Yonkers, New York, and how the tension of the situation affected the city as a whole. The miniseries was written by David Simon and journalist William F. Zorzi, with whom Simon worked at The Baltimore Sun and on the HBO series The Wire. It was directed by Paul Haggis.

One of my sieving methods on what to see is definitely the writer. With David Simon, I always know I will never be wrong. Ever since The Wire, probably one of the best top 10 series of all time (if you don’t agree, you know crap), the man always writes from the heart. This miniseries examines the notion of home, race and community through the lives of officials, bureaucrats, activists and ordinary citizens in Yonkers going bonkers because of class, race and a false sense of entitlement. I see it as allegorical tale of people refusing to share and the caustic behaviour that comes with it. It is also a character study of a broken man who is imprisoned by his own ideals of himself, ultimately leading him to burn all his bridges, including the one to his soul. Oscar Isaac turns in an incredible performance. Give this a shot.



Kiss Me Deadly is 1955 American film noir produced and directed by Robert Aldrich. The film follows a private investigator in Los Angeles who becomes embroiled in a complex mystery after picking up a female hitchhiker who has escaped from a psychiatric hospital. I have seen many mashups of genres, but I believe this is the first time I see a mashup of noir and apocalyptic sci-fi. It dials into the Cold War paranoia palpably and it features one of the coolest opening credit sequences of all time. I won’t share what it is. Remember the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Tarantino definitely lifted the idea from here. Remember the climatic scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the ark was opened? Spielberg definitely paid homage to Kiss Me Deadly. Really enjoyed this tremendously. It played with so many noir conventions to great effect.

Then we put this Ingrid Bergman’s TV series on and 5 amazing hours went by...



Scenes from a Marriage is a 1973 Swedish Television miniseries written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. The story explores the disintegration of the marriage between Marianne, a family lawyer specializing in divorce, and Johan, spanning a period of 10 years. Bergman's teleplay draws on his own experiences, including his relationship with Ullmann. After initially airing on Swedish TV in six parts, the miniseries was condensed into a theatrical version and received positive reviews in Sweden and internationally. Scenes from a Marriage was also the subject of controversy for its perceived influence on rising divorce rates in Europe.

Initially, I thought I would have to break up the series for a watch, but I sat through 5 hours in one sitting, bearing witness to some of the best acting I have ever seen. When it ended, we were emotionally exhausted, our hearts and souls had gone on a wild rollercoaster ride. I can’t help comparing this to The World of the Married, which is no doubt entertaining, but it’s completely artless. Twists and turns are announced with heightened music cues and close-ups. Scenes From a Marriage also chronicles the death of a marriage albeit in less spectacular ways, but no less absorbing and in a more truthful way. Bergman is never interested in happy families because they are happy in the usual ways; the auteur is interested in unhappy families because they are unhappy in unique ways. This is one of the most honest and truthful portrayal of a marriage. Oh man... on the surface they are the epitome of a happy married couple, but underneath the surface is repressed feelings and desires. This is one intense character study and is not something you can watch while munching on chips and sipping beer; this one will make you look inward and ponder if you did the right thing in marrying the person sitting next to you. I want to say a lot more but my words are utter crap and I know crap about marriage as it turns out. One last thing... being a film-buff I love creating movie lists like “best action scenes”, “best ending scenes”, “best lines” and “best sex scenes” (don’t worry, I am not a pervert ) and in this last category I have sub-categories like “most sleazy sex scene”, “most heartwarming sex scene” and something called “saddest sex scene”. The one that almost happened in ep3, it is the episode Johan basically drops the bomb that he is going to leave her for Paula, has deposed the one that I adored in The Wings of the Dove (1997). It was utterly heartbreaking to see Marianne plead with Johan to make love to her one last time. My heart broke into a million smithereens.

On the TV series front, we are now ready to cycle back to Korean stuff and we have chosen Reply 1988. Saw the first episode last night. It hasn’t endeared me yet but hey... it’s the 80s and in my book it’s the best decade ever.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1225 on: June 03, 2020, 09:54 »
That’s it for our 2-month of movie odyssey through the oldies, classics and masterpieces from all over the world. It has been a fantastic journey. If it weren’t for this CB I wouldn’t have taken these movies down from my shelves for a watch. The missus is back to work and it’s no fun watching challenging movies on my own, but we will try over the weekends. It has been fun writing about them in a stream of consciousness (without checking for grammar ). Since my last movie post, we have seen The Night Manager, Dabangg 3, Good Newzz and these...



Michaelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960) is very much lauded by film critics. Wong Kar Wai said this film was a great inspiration for him. Martin Scorsese lists this film in his Top 10. It constantly appears in Best Film lists. But OMG... the film flatlined my brains and I am just hoping by just “talking” about I will get my senses back. We were actually going to continue with The Night Manager, but our brains were totally fried.

The simple premise is this: a bunch of rich Italians is on a cruise off the coast of Sicily when a girl, Anna, in their party disappears. Her boyfriend Sandro and her close friend Claudia search for her, but the search turns into a love story and the mystery goes out the window.

Watching the plot unfold reminds me of Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police. The memory of Anna dissipates from everybody’s consciousness, except for Claudia who tries in vain to hang on to it.

I find it baffling but not in a frustrating way. Antonioni seemed to be playing with film language and its grammar. He succeeds in showing you that films do not have to be centred around major events, little drama can happen and yet it can be fascinating to its audience.

Wifey and I are just not on the same level as Wong Kar Wai and Martin Scorsese in film appreciation. Near the last 20min of the 2h 24min runtime, I turned to her and said: “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” “Gimme the bad news first,” she replied and I answered, “The bad news is that nobody bothers where Anna is anymore and the good news is it’s just 18min more.”

I will probably go through the commentary and special features next week on my own when she goes back to work. No point in two persons getting white hair over it.

PS - I went through Jack Nicholson’s readings of Antonioni’s essays on this film and his rumination on the man, watched the documentary and I am halfway through the insightful commentary. I definitely have a better grasp of what Antonioni was doing in the movie. Pretty impressive and poetic. Second time is definitely the charm.



Branded to Kill is a 1967 Japanese yakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara and Annu Mari. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer, whose methods threaten his sanity as much as his life.

The studio was unhappy with the original script and called in Suzuki to rewrite and direct it at the last minute. Suzuki came up with many of his ideas the night before or on the set while filming, and welcomed ideas from his collaborators. He gave the film a satirical, anarchic and visually eclectic bent which the studio had previously warned him away from. It was a commercial and critical disappointment and Suzuki was ostensibly fired for making "movies that make no sense and no money". Suzuki successfully sued Nikkatsu with support from student groups, like-minded filmmakers and the general public and caused a major controversy through the Japanese film industry. Suzuki was blacklisted and did not make another feature film for 10 years but became a counterculture hero.

The film grew a strong following, which expanded overseas in the 1980s, and has established itself as a cult classic. Film critics and enthusiasts now regard it as an absurdist masterpiece. It has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Jim Jarmusch, John Woo, Chan-wook Park and Quentin Tarantino, and composer John Zorn.

I lifted all the above words from wiki. It is important to know that information while watching this crazy movie to understand the nonsense the movie throws at you. Actually, “nonsense” is probably not a good word to describe it. It’s bravura gonzo filmmaking. Suzuki dreams up crazy scenarios and just shoots it exactly how his fevered brain imagined it. The editing goes through starts and stops with no regard to continuity but you will have no trouble following the general story. It’s about a hitman hall-of-fame chart that only has 3 entries. I think nobody cares about the chart except for the three dudes. Oh... there are lots of nudity and some full-frontals by a nubile girl and another stunner whose dream and aspiration is to die. I think she did not receive the memo that everybody dies eventually. There are some inventive shootouts (even crazier than Tokyo Drifter) and the last half hour is one helluva absurdist wet dream. I love this shite. We laughed at so many crazy moments (stuff I have never seen before) and it’s instantly memorable.



The King of Comedy is a 1982 American satirical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro (in his fifth collaboration with Scorsese), Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard. Written by Paul D. Zimmerman, the film focuses on themes such as celebrity worship and American media culture.

Wow! Joker totally ripped off the idea from this movie, but it made an inspired move to get De Niro in a role of the talk show host which probably sets the tone that Joker is a homage than a copy of The King of Comedy. The funny thing is you can see Joker as a spiritual sequel to this brilliant satire. We enjoyed this tremendously as it brilliantly skewers celebrity fascination and blurs the line between reality and dream. The ending was surprisingly uplifting and makes the point that sometimes you need to think up creative ways to get noticed and have the courage to f*cking do it.


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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1226 on: June 10, 2020, 09:39 »
Since my last movie post, we have seen Sophie’s Choice (1982), A Silent Voice (2016) and these....



Harriet is a 2019 American biographical film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard, it stars Cynthia Erivo as Tubman.  A biography about Harriet Tubman had been in the works for years, with several actresses, including Viola Davis, rumored to star. Erivo was cast in February 2017 and she received nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild. We enjoyed this because it isn’t heavy and doesn’t scream the same old black injustice platitudes. It’s actually pretty entertaining to watch with even shades of superhero tones. Yes, it’s formulaic but it’s sincere.



Center Stage, also known as Actress and Yuen Ling-yuk, is a 1991 Hong Kong film, directed by Stanley Kwan. Maggie Cheung won Best Actress award at Berlin International Film Festival in 1992 for her delicate portraiture of silent film star Ruan Lingyu. The film is based on a true story: the tragic life of China's first prima donna of the silver screen, Ruan Lingyu. This movie chronicles her rise to fame as a movie actress in Shanghai during the 1930s. Nicknamed the "Chinese Garbo," Ruan Lingyu began her acting career when she was 16 years old and committed suicide at age 24. The film alternates between present scenes (production talks between director Kwan, Cheung, and co-star Carina Lau, interviews of witnesses who knew Ruan), re-creation scenes with Cheung (as Ruan, acting inside this movie), and extracts from Ruan's original films including her final two films The Goddess and New Women.

This was one of those sitting lonely in a pile of arthouse films that I have always wanted to see, but for some reason or another, never did. It was captivating and absorbing until the last act. Maggie Cheung deserved all the accolades because it was a difficult role - she not only played the Luan Ling Yu, she has to play herself. Stanley Kwan’s stylistic choices were interesting - using drawn backdrops, romantic lighting and painterly pacing, he paints a captivating period in time. I particularly enjoyed the sub-plot of a possible budding romance between Luan Ling Yu and a young director played by Tony Leung Ka Fai. Who knows what could have happened if they had had the courage to embrace their love. Just like many young female actresses, Luan made a lot of bad choices when it came to love and it was malicious gossips that made her commit suicide. Okay, I enjoyed the movie all the way until the final act. Maybe it’s just me, but I had no idea what Kwan was trying to achieve with all the false endings and I lost count at number 3. Every one of them sapped the energy which was so lovingly built up till it ended on a whimper for me.

Then this.... only shite....



Tumbbad is a 2018 Indian Hindi-language period horror film directed by Rahi Anil Barve. Starring Sohum Shah in the lead role as Vinayak Rao, it follows the story of his search for a hidden treasure in the 20th century British India village of Tumbbad, Maharashtra. I usually pride myself knowing all the good movies coming out of the Bollywood machine, but this totally skipped my radar till a friend who on my prodding signed up for free trial on Amazon Prime Video for Paatal Lok and The King of Comedy. He scoured through the entire catalog and told me to see this horror flick. That evening, I told Choo we are going to check this out. She enquired about the genre and I replied “thriller, recommended by Chee Yong and he doesn’t make many mistakes with his recommendations.” See, if I had told her it’s horror she wouldn’t have been keen. We sat there for a lean, mean 104 minutes traumatised in the most wonderful way. So many movies, especially from Bollywood, are copy-and-paste stuff. This one f*cking laid down a marker and gave the Hindi horror genre a big kick in the a*s. Best not to find out more about it going in. Let’s just say it’s a horrific cautionary tale about greed and its nightmarish consequences. I love how the filmmaker situate the story in three chapters in the early part of the 20th century, so electronic devices haven’t come into play. I love the intense atmosphere. And I love how the story eschews metaphors rather than using genre conventions to tell the tale. I love the solid twist in the ending that had us scream OMG. This is damn original in its storytelling, like a bedtime story told by an evil grandmother. The nightmares will never stop come daylight. Later on that evening, the remnants of the movie still playing in our consciousness, we started discussing how the protagonist can one-up the dire situation and we came up with many creative ways. I will not share them because it will ruin the movie for you, but the thing is, the fact that we were coming up with many cool ideas show only one thing - deep down we are all greedy people, and I am sure, just like you and me. Watch this tonight. Switch off your phone and pee before you start the movie. Thank me later, just like how I thanked my good pal who recommended this.


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Offline westendboy

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Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1227 on: June 15, 2020, 12:26 »


This is the Thai remake of the Korean classic called The Classic (2003) and it just dropped on Netflix. Don’t waste your time with this. It doesn’t hold a candle next to the original movie. Of course, if you have not seen the Korean one you may actually like this, but my advice is to seek out the 2003 movie.

Truth be told, I couldn’t remember much of the movie except the cafe scene in the last act. I cried my eyes out and it’s an ending that will stay with me for life. Here, on this windy night, not a single rivulet of tear rolled down. Likewise with Choo.

As I watched this, I started to remember the same scenes in the original, so this is a very faithful remake. Perhaps too faithful. Trust me, go find the 2003 movie and see it with your significant other. Make sure you get ready a box of tissues and Son Ye-Jin played the girl. She was in something called Crash Landing On You. You may have heard of it.

A joke... I don’t think Choo would mind. There is a scene where the guy and gal are at an island with the haunted house. She was running and fell, spraining her ankle. The guy then carried her. Choo turned to me and asked whether I would do that. I said most definitely and without hesitation, and I would even walk in slow-motion so everyone around us would see. Choo LOL. I think it’s a good joke. Guys, if you are in a relationship long enough this question will always come up. You can use my joke. I give you permission

Anyway, Choo made a special request to see the original over the weekend even though she has seen it once (me twice). Oh... one more interesting tid-bit... I have a friend who used the Korean movie to sieve out the girls whom he would like to know more. Like me, my friend is very serious about movies.



Our movie weekend started with My Darling Clementine, a 1946 American Western film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp during the period leading up to the gunfight at the OK Corral. It is regarded by many film critics as one of the best Westerns ever made. I am slowly finishing off all the great Westerns and this is a great one. Usually, the gunfights and fisticuffs are the highlights of a Western, but not here. This is a gentle love story and about a man learning about love. It’s also about nobility. What I like about this one is the way it says so much without doing much and you will get it. Watch out for the scene where Doc Holliday challenges Wyatt Earp to draw in a saloon. I love how Earp basically tells him it’s a gunfight he can’t win and yet give him face. The tone of the movie is idyllic, like a love letter to the Wild West.



Gulabo Sitabo is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film directed by Shoojit Sircar. Set in Lucknow, it stars Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana as warring men. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was not released theatrically, but was released worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 12 June 2020. Any movie that stars Bachchan is a treat because you know he brings his A game. His superb acting not withstanding, this is a huge disappointment. It’s the 101 of storytelling failed. One of the most important aspects of a narrative is theme. In my writing classes, I usually use a simple analogy to illustrate what themes are - imagine your fave t-shirt lying in a heap on the bed; you can’t see the design because of all the haphazard folds, but once you hang it on a hanger, you see everything. Theme is the hanger; it is what gives the story shape and Gulabo Sitabo has no idea what its theme or themes are. Is it a little people against the unscrupulous government story? Is it a story of solidarity and flashing a middle finger against the government? Is it a comedy of two persons up-manship against each other? Is it a story of retribution? I think this is a semblance of all of these themes in the story but it just didn’t know what to focus on. The other huge mistake is that the two thespians are absolutely unsympathetic characters. What a waste of a premise.

Then I suggested taking a break from Reply 1988 to try something fast and furious. Nope the franchise, but the Harlan Coben’s Netflix miniseries. The thriller writer signed a 14-series contract with Netflix and I believe 4 of them are already up on Netflix. I googled for the most highly rated one and it turned out to be The Stranger...



A mysterious stranger tells a man a secret that has a devastating impact on his seemingly perfect life. This Stranger is a woman in her 20s with a baseball cap, and is learned to be correlated with more secrets as the series progresses. This secret affects the man's wife who goes missing as a result. Holy molly... we blitzed through 8 episodes over the weekend and it’s a blast. I mean it isn’t award-winning stuff but it succeeded in being part of our minds and souls for a while. The plot is twist-and-turny and it probably draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s Othello; how one secret learned will basically consume one’s entire life. Choo had trouble with the narrative and kept saying “I don’t like this... it keeps dropping mysteries without any explanation”. I told her it’s Harlan Coben and you just have to trust the storyteller. But I know why she said that because this one has more intricate gears and cogs like a Swiss watch. Then, with the last 2 episodes all the disparate narrative threads start dovetailing together and we were completely satisfied with the ending. You want something binge-worthy, here it is. Makes me want to check out another Coben mini-series, maybe The Woods, heard some good things about it.



Then we ended the weekend with Choo’s request, The Classic (2003). This is hands down the better film than the Thai remake. The humour is so unforced and natural, unlike the Thai remake which had sound effects to punctuate the funny scenes. The casting is spot-on and the use of music is sublime, unlike the Thai one. With its focus on letter writing, it was a movie after my heart. Surprisingly, I wasn’t moved at all the heart wrenching scenes, probably because my mind was busy looking at the differences between the two movies, but Choo was tearing up at all the sad scenes. This is a gem and Son Ye-jin was only 21 here.


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Offline westendboy

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Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1228 on: June 24, 2020, 09:53 »
I have two weekends more before I go back to work. As much as I am looking forward to going back, I am so going to miss the weekend movie marathons I have with the missus. On the TV series front, we are have finished Upload and started on Hospital Playlist. On my own, I have just finished Good Omens, Neil Gaiman is a genius and I have two more episodes of The Americans to go.



The Circus is a 1928 silent film written, produced, and directed by Charlie Chaplin. The film stars Chaplin, Al Ernest Garcia, Merna Kennedy, Harry Crocker, George Davis and Henry Bergman. The ringmaster of an impoverished circus hires Chaplin's Little Tramp as a clown, but discovers that he can only be funny unintentionally. The production of the film was the most difficult experience in Chaplin's career. Numerous problems and delays occurred, including a studio fire, the death of Chaplin's mother, as well as Chaplin's bitter divorce from his second wife Lita Grey, and the Internal Revenue Service's claims of Chaplin's owed back taxes, all of which culminated in filming being stalled for eight months. The Circus was the seventh highest grossing silent film in cinema history taking in more than $3.8 million in 1928. The film continues to receive high praise.

This is probably the final Chaplin film I wanted to see and it is a great one. Knowing the film’s troubled history including the knowledge that this was released during the onset of silent cinema’s obsolescence will give you new eyes and ears to appreciate it. The Circus had to compete with The Jazz Singer, the first sound film, which just opened and it would herald the most fundamental periods of change for the film industry. The movie is a helluva of fun to watch and it has some of Chaplin’s most sublime gags and slapstick comedy. These days if something is difficult to shoot, CGI and special effects will come in, but watching The Circus will provide you a sense of wonder because your mind will scream “how the hell did Chaplin do that?” Just look at the climatic tightrope sequence, the scene with the monkeys, lion and many more. The man was a genius and he added a sublime melancholic tone throughout. It’s like he had a tap line on the duality of circus performers - in the rink they thrill you and make you laugh, but once the show is over the joy is erased. On top of everything, Chaplin’s defiance of sound cinema shone through... “I would as soon rouge marble cheeks. Pictures are pantomime art.” It all culminated in a profoundly philosophical and poignant ending.



Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. Filmed in the then recently introduced CinemaScope format and directed by Nicholas Ray, it offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Natalie Wood. The film was a groundbreaking attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations. Over the years, the film has achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon Dean, fresh from his Oscar nominated role in East of Eden and who died before the film's release, in his most celebrated role. This was the only film during Dean's lifetime in which he received top billing.

This is an extraordinary film, filled with the fervent fire of the disenchanted youth and lifted up by James Dean’s seminal and iconic performance. Dean disappeared into his role. Nicolas Ray’s use of light and space to bring out the characters’ troubled emotions is also exemplary. Sometimes an actor can come along and steal every scene he or she is in, Dean did that here. His portrayal of the loneliness and frustration of a post-war teen is up there in the stratosphere; it is so amazing that anybody who comes along and does something a little different will be compared to Dean’s powerful performance and I don’t envy that actor.



La Vérité (occasionally released under its English translation The Truth) is a 1960 French film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, and starring Brigitte Bardot. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Unconventional, troubled, and suicidal, the beautiful small-town girl and the family's black sheep, Dominique Marceau, moves into a cramped Parisian apartment with her violin student sister, Annie, to flee from a suffocating life in the province. However, instead of finding liberty in the bohemian city of light, the liberated Dominique will find herself accused of a hideous and shocking crime: the gruesome murder of her young lover and hopeful conductor, Gilbert Tellier--Annie's soon-to-be husband. Little by little, as both judge and jury delve deeper and deeper into Dominique's lifestyle and her past, a provocative social kaleidoscope starts taking shape. Was Tellier's killing premeditated or was this a crime of passion?

On my goodness... Clouzout once said that he was going to make Brigitte Bardot a star and he did that many times over. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Bardot. Her wide-eyed gaze and her wild abandon, was a force of nature. It didn’t start out that way but soon Bardot’s Dominique knows she can weaponised her sexuality and make men spin like tops all around her. If I can throw myself into the movie, I would want her to spin me like a record and I want to make music with her. If you are a dude and proclaim you can resist her feminine wiles, you are so full of shite. I adore Clouzout’s choice of narrative framework to tell the story of a misunderstood and mistreated girl which is intricately constructed. It is an uncompromising character study and it also served up a harsh verdict against a hypocritical and moralistic society. It might be a portrayal of a society in 1960, but you tell me if things have changed now when we can judge someone we don’t even know so harshly from a photograph and a sensationalised headline.



Salem's Lot is a 1979 American miniseries television adaptation of the 1975 horror novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Tobe Hooper and starring David Soul and James Mason, the plot concerns a writer who returns to his hometown and discovers that its citizens are turning into vampires. Salem's Lot combines elements of both the vampire film and haunted house subgenres of horror. This one does have atmosphere but it just felt a little dated for it to be truly scary. I remember watching this way back in the 80s and it scared the living daylights out of me, but watching it again only managed to serve as a window to storytelling techniques of the past. My wife is usually frightened by horror flicks, but this one only managed to tickle her.


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« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 09:57 by westendboy »
Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

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Offline westendboy

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Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

My movie and music blog:
http://reelthoughtsfromageek.wordpress.com

All things books:
http://fictionmattersfromageek.wordpress.com

 

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