Author Topic: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?  (Read 317617 times)

Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1230 on: July 08, 2020, 09:58 »
Since my last movie post, we have seen Lords of Dogtown (2005), The Naked Kiss (1964), Rumble Fish (1983), Stuber (2019), 7500 (Amazon Prime Video), Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix) and these...



The Sword of Doom is a 1966 jidaigeki film directed by Kihachi Okamoto and stars Tatsuya Nakadai. It was based on the serial novel of the same title by Kaizan Nakazato. This film boasts some of the most impressive swordplay of samurai epics. Visceral and violent, yet gorgeously choreographed to the tempo of exquisite death.

Ever wonder what happens if the most immoral person becomes a politician or a psychopath becomes a police officer (wait a minute... there are examples of this in real life!) or a sociopath becomes a samurai? Phew... the last example has not happened in reality. I love how Tatsuya Nakadai plays his character Ryunosuke with a sickening smile as he dispatched the umpteenth samurai. He literally looks like he gets off on it. At one point the wife of his opponent begs Ryunosuke to throw the match, offering her own virtue in trade. Ryunosuke accepts her offer, but still kills her husband in the match. This guy is looking to get the Scumbag of the Century award. The fella just goes around amassing vendettas like nobody’s business but he finally meets his match in Toshiro Mifune’s Shimada, a sword master. The climax is already deliriously teased out because Shimada is coaching a samurai on the technique to slay Ryunosuke to exact revenge for killing his brother and destroying his family. Oh man... I was rubbing my hands in glee with the prospect of a bloody finale. But in an extremely odd choice of narrative cop-outs, we do not get to see that climax. The movie literally ends with a freeze like a slap on my face, an unnecessary subplot diversion not withstanding. It almost feels like since Ryunosuke is such a scumbag that nobody cares about him and I too do not care what happens to him. From 5 stars, this became a 3 star movie in a split second.



Heathers is a 1989 American black comedy teen film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, in both of their respective film debuts. It stars Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty. The film portrays four teenage girls — three of whom are named Heather — in a clique at an Ohio high school, whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of a misanthrope intent on murdering the popular students and staging their deaths as suicides.

This dark satire was a hoot to watch. A brilliant and subversive screenplay, the very anti-thesis of a John Hughes movie about teenagers. It’s a movie that takes risks and scores. If it wasn’t done well, I am pretty sure there would have been many bodies of folks up in arms proclaiming that the movie promotes suicides in teenagers, but you will never get the feeling here. It’s audacious and outrageously funny. It’s no wonder it’s a cult classic.



Then we decided to watch a bunch of old monster classics from Universal Pictures... So far we have seen The Invisible Man (1933), Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). These days you probably won’t blink your eyes at visual effects on screen because everything can be achieved by the computers, limited only by the imagination of the filmmaker. I think the last few times my jaw dropped ogling at the big screen were Avatar, Jaws, Star Wars and Alien. But when you watch these old classics from the 1930s, I am sure you will be amazed by the visual effects thought up by the filmmakers. How did they make a man disappear? How did they create the giant sets? Wow look at the makeup for Frankenstein. The details with the humongous sets was also quite something. At an average runtime of 84min these movies never felt bloated, except perhaps Dracula which was quite prodding at times and a rubber bat that bounced on wire was hardly scary. Out of this lot, I would highly recommend The Bride of Frankenstein, but you will need to see Frankenstein first to get the clever references, one of which is Mary Shelley herself, the author of Frankenstein. This one is an undeniable masterpiece - the satire, the self-parody, the makeup, the acting, the writing, the visual effects, all up there. And it’s funny too and the humour never undercuts the horror. The subtext of our mankind’s fear and disdain of the outsider is palpable.


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Offline westendboy

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Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1231 on: August 05, 2020, 14:30 »
It has been quite a while since I last posted on movies we have seen at home. I didn’t keep track of everything we have seen, but I do remember watching Pixar’s Onward (it’s probably awesome if another studio did this, but with Pixar’s reputation this one just doesn’t cut it. Choo even said: “this is by Pixar? No way.” That probably sums it up), The Gentlemen (this is Guy Ritchie back to his rambunctious characters-talking-like-spitfires roots but the narrative framework used to tell the story grew tiresome), The Killing (1956), M (1931), The Way Back (2020), Police Story (1985), Police Story 2 (1988) and these...




The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. It was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story of an event that occurred during the American Civil War. The story was adapted from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger. The film stars Buster Keaton who co-directed it with Clyde Bruckman. At the time of its initial release, The General, an action-adventure-comedy made toward the end of the silent era, was not well received by critics and audiences, resulting in mediocre box office returns (about half a million dollars domestically, and approximately one million worldwide). Because of its then-huge budget ($750,000 supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck) and failure to turn a significant profit, Keaton lost his independence as a filmmaker and was forced into a restrictive deal with MGM. The General has since been reevaluated, and is now often ranked among the greatest American films ever made.

I lifted the above from wiki... damn, I just don’t understand why the people didn’t adore The General in 1926. This is one of the greatest films I have seen. There are so many gags, all executed with verve and gusto. So many scenes stand out with a halo of authenticity. My fave is the one where he was rejected by his girl and he sits disconsolately on the drive rod of the locomotive engine; the train moves, moving him up and down, but he doesn’t notice it because his mind is still on his girl. This is a story of one man against an army, and the dude went on to change the course of history. Sometimes when you watch a movie you will have a skyscraper huge of a feeling that decades from now there will be people who will still marvel at the movie. This is one of those rare movies. It’s interesting why I took it down for a watch. It was all because of Police Story 1 & 2. I was going through the special features and one of it mentioned how Jackie Chan failed to find his niche in Hollywood and decided to come back to Hong Kong to make the movies he wanted to make. He went for broke with Police Story doing his own stunts. One of the stressed points for him was studios wanted him to be the next Bruce Lee, but he knew he didn’t cut it. If Bruce Lee fights, he wants to run; if Bruce Lee kicks, he wants to block; if Bruce Lee is a hero, he wants to be a reluctant one. So he channeled Buster Keaton and a little of Chaplin into all his roles. When Choo and I were watching The General, we would exclaim “OMG! That’s totally Jackie Chan’s style” and Chan modelled so many of his persona after Buster Keaton. I have just acquired The Cameraman (1928) and I can’t wait to see it.



The Hunt is a 2020 American horror thriller film directed by Craig Zobel and written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Both Zobel and Lindelof have said that the film serves as a satire on the profound political divide between the American left and right. Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are or how they got there. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, ruthless elitists gather at a remote location to hunt humans for sport. But their master plan is about to be derailed when one of the hunted, Crystal, turns the tables on her pursuers.

The American left and right wing politics is lost on me, but that didn’t stop me from having a blast. It skewers the wealth and class divide in hilarious ways and it had some great ideas. The first 15 minutes totally subverted my expectations - what I thought was going to be the main protagonist was gone in a jiffy and my mind went “wait a minute. What just happened?” I don’t think it succeed as a satire, but it definitely worked as a fun ride. Movies that can make guffaw like a nutcase when I see a dude explode are few.



The Outsider is an American horror crime drama miniseries based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Stephen King. It stars Ben Mendelsohn, Bill Camp, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson, Jason Bateman (who also directed the first 2 episodes) and Cynthia Erivo. We read the novel which was voted the Best Thriller on goodreads. Never one to shy away from film adaptations, we checked this out. It stays faithful to the novel, and even adheres to King’s narrative structure, especially with the first episode. The first two episodes are exactly as I imagined and sometimes even more - how can a person exist in two realities simultaneously? But after that the series plateaued and remained that way all the way to the end. I can’t say it’s terrible because there are a lot of great moments and the acting is great; Mendelsohn definitely put in a lived in performance of a truth seeker going from doubter to believer. For me, one of the reasons it didn’t scale the heights is because of Jason Bateman’s character who is gone by the end of ep2, so it felt like the series went on a slip road that is less interesting than Bateman’s character. What worked in print may not necessarily work on film; it also doesn’t help that Bateman is awesome in his role. The other reason it didn’t work is because it meanders too much with a huge plethora of characters spouting euphemisms. There is one episode which basically featured all characters in different cars going to different places talking and talking. This gravely needed to pare down its 10-episode laborious runtime.



3 seasons, 26 mind-melting episodes. We are done. Seriously, I don’t know how to write a review; words elude me.

Dark is a Netflix Original. I always find Netflix tagging the word “original” to its namesake tacky because there aren’t many shows that are original in terms of ideas or scope. IMHO Dark is truly the only show that is original on Netflix. This one leaves a high watermark for sci-fi, particularly time-travel, shows.

Remember the time honoured adage that says the present self can never meet the past or future self because the space-time continuum will be messed up? Remember the theory of bootstrap paradox where time loops will cause more time loops and the origin can never be determined? Dark rubbishes everything you know about time travel in the most profound ways. There are scenes in S3 where three different versions of the same person at different ages work together.

The atmosphere is foreboding and each season and episode builds on it. The suspense is spellbinding. The information and revelations are jaw-dropping. The acting is sublime. The storyteller never for once dumbs down the story just so a 10 year old will understand it. This one demands your absolute attention - no checking your social media, no looking out of your window and no fooling around with your significant other.

“What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.” This quote kind of sums it up very well. I can’t profess to understand all the inner-working of the plot, but I think I get the whole picture. It’s like multiple time-lines of the characters interweaving with each other. Everything they do has repercussions. Pain drives them, brands them, propels them. The whole ensemble resembles hamsters running endlessly on wheels - they can’t stop running because they know they will cease to exist if they do. To live they have to kill themselves.

Dark ends on one of the most bittersweet extended gracenote moments I have ever experienced. This one takes star-crossed romance to a whole different dimension. Dark is definitely one of the best and most intelligent series on Netflix. I can’t say it’s for everyone and definitely not for Choo who asked me tonight during the final episode “when is this going to end?” So you are warned.



Not wanting to read subtitles, we decided to try Servant on Apple TV+. This only took us 2 days to finish because each episode is only 30min. It really made us wonder why some TV series need to do 90min per episode.

A Philadelphia couple is in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.

I lifted the above vague synopsis from IMDb. The genre is psychological horror and it does a damn good job in creating a creepy and intense atmosphere. The weird camera angles, drab lighting, pregnant pauses, vacant stares and characters sometimes speaking in double entendres, all lend to a gripping experience. There are shades of Rosemary’s Baby and Fatal Attraction, but it surprises me by going to unusual places.

As these types of genre go, it throws up more questions than answers, but there are enough revelations to make you want to stay glued to it.

Oh... it does have some disturbing culinary scenes. One about an eel comes to mind. The scene falls just a notch below that skinning of a live rabbit scene in Nekromantik (1997) in terms of stomach churning potency, and I meant it as a huge compliment.


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« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 14:40 by westendboy »
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Offline westendboy

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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1233 on: August 19, 2020, 15:49 »
Since my last movie post we have seen My Brilliant Friend (S2), The Songs We Sang (...again. Still hit us in the feels), The Old Guard and these... The reason we have not been checking out more movies is because we are rooted with Itaewon Class.



Les Misérables is a 2019 French drama film directed by Ladj Ly in his full-length feature directorial debut. The film, set in the commune of Montfermeil in the aftermath of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is based on a real-life occurrence of police violence which took place in the city on 14 October 2008, and was observed and filmed by Ly. The story follows several characters within the commune, as a theft from a teenager spirals into the threat of a large crisis. The film's title is a reference to the Victor Hugo 1862 novel of the same name, written in Montfermeil and partially set in it; in the novel, Montfermeil is also the setting of the meeting of Jean Valjean and Cosette, a girl abused by her adoptive parents. The film depicts abuses against poor citizens, especially teenagers of sub-Saharan African or Maghrebi ethnicities, thus stressing the continuity in the fate of the poor in Montfermeil. It had its world premiere on 15 May 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. It was released in France on 20 November 2019 and received critical acclaim, earning twelve nominations at the César Awards and winning four including Best Film. Among other honors, it was selected as the French entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, eventually achieving the nomination.

This is one crackerjack of a movie, like seeing the ignition of an explosion in slow motion. So much tragedy could have been prevented by all parties doing the right thing, but no, because of pride, arrogance, and racism, they let everything snowballed to a huge mess. You will watch the movie but I have no doubt your mind will harken back to the 2005 riots in Paris which lasted 3 weeks. Every big cataclysmic event happens because of small innocuous events. Choo didn’t like it and half an hour in she declared, “Hey! What is this about?” I told her to be patient and everything will collide. She didn’t complain after that.



Black Orpheus is a 1959 romantic tragedy film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring Marpessa Dawn and Breno Mello. It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is itself an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela ("slum") in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film is particularly noted for its soundtrack by two Brazilian composers: Antônio Carlos Jobim, whose song "A felicidade" opens the film; and Luiz Bonfá, whose "Manhã de Carnaval" and "Samba de Orfeu" have become classics of bossa nova.

My first encounter with the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice was through Neil Gaiman’s retelling in The Sandman called The Song of Orpheus. It was so painfully tragic. It is one of those rare stories that is instantly memorable. Interestingly, Marcel Camus’ approach to the Ancient Greek myth isn’t straight forward. He juxtaposes their doomed romance with the gaiety of the carnival; the madness and unbridled joy is an extension of their romance. The tragedy only came in the final half hour and even though what will transpire I still feel sad for them. Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, the movie is also famous for introducing the world to Bossa Nova and the craze started from here.



Sweet Bean is a 2015 Japanese drama film directed by Naomi Kawase. It was selected to open the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The film centres primarily around the themes of freedom and joy, suggesting that by embracing our sensory experiences we may attain richer, more rewarding lives.

The manager of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade red bean paste convinces him to hire her, which starts a relationship that is about much more than just street food.

The food depicted here is dorayaki, Doraemon’s fave food; it’s two honeyed pancake “embracing” red bean paste. It’s something simple but the art in making it is anything but. I swear we watch this with a huge smile plastered on our faces. So Zen and downright therapeutic. This one will give you a booster shot for living your life to the fullest. I like how it’s about people living on the periphery of Japanese society, and how they all have a spot in the world after some soul-searching. The photography is gorgeous and the central message of learning from nature and enjoy the wonder of life moment by moment is earned manifolds, amplified by a lovely tone and rhythm. So many wonderful scenes that will stay with me for life. Like all great films about food, it starts with attention on food but it gradually extends its embrace to so many things about life. If I were to create a list of great movies about food, Sweet Bean will be in the Top 10. Oh God... I so want to get me some dorayaki now.


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Offline westendboy

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Offline westendboy

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Re: Your All Time Favourite Movies & Whathaveyoubeenwatching?
« Reply #1235 on: September 14, 2020, 12:47 »
Since my last post on movies seen at home, we have checked out #Alive, Indian Matchmaking, Raat Akeli Hai, Shakuntala Devi, Bringing Up Baby, Mystic Pop-up Bar, The Legacy of the Bones, Project Power, Ordinary People, The Raging Bull, but I will say a little more of these...



The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges which stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. Returning from a year up the Amazon studying snakes, the rich but unsophisticated Charles Pike meets con-artist Jean Harrington on a ship. They fall in love, but a misunderstanding causes them to split on bad terms. To get back at him, Jean disguises herself as an English lady, and comes back to tease and torment him.

If you want to know what great writing is all about, you can’t do better than The Lady Eve. This is one of those rare films you can actually close your eyes and just listen to the rambunctious dialogue and I swear you will be giggling. So many quotable lines, so many sharp turns and the best part is through just plain dialogue you are already forming opinions about the two main protagonists. There is a scene very early on where we see Jean basically laying on lines and thoughts of women trying to catch Charles’ attention that is just incredible. You are already salivating at the prospect of her in action and action here she comes... oh my goodness. Somewhere past the 20th minute you will see her twirl Charles up into a sexual frenzy in one continuous take. This has got to be one of the best scenes in a rom-com ever. All through it, you wouldn’t feel Charles is a poor sod because he is a genuine man, but he also has his faults. You know what? Hollywood just don’t do this type of movies anymore - sweet and full of heart, and the writing is stellar.



Come and See is a 1985 Soviet anti-war film. Directed by Elem Klimov and starring Aleksei Kravchenko and Olga Mironova. The film's plot focuses on the Nazi German occupation of Belarus, and the events as witnessed by a young Belarusian partisan teenager named Flyora, who—against his mother's wishes—joins the Belarusian resistance movement, and thereafter depicts the Nazi atrocities and human suffering inflicted upon the Eastern European villages' populace. The film mixes hyper-realism with an underlying surrealism, and philosophical existentialism with poetical, psychological, political and apocalyptic themes.

I made the mistake of watching this after we saw Tenet in the morning. One hour in, Choo was losing interest and I don’t blame her. The tone was weird and uneven, and I suggested I watch the rest on my own. I should have asked her to hang on because just after a scene where the boy and girl ran out the back door and the girl looked back as she ran out the door, we see her reaction first and then we see what she saw. It is a scene that is seared into my brain. There are many memorable scenes that are haunting and immediately become soul-shattering like the tracer bullets cutting through the night sky and most definitely the scene where the Germans obliterated a village that will break your heart into a thousand pieces. Love the use of close-ups that shows how the boy aged in just days; anybody would in those dire circumstances. This is a great anti-war film, no it isn’t great, it’s a masterpiece. If I am still with MOE I would urge schools to screen this for kids but probably from JC level onwards.



The Way of the Dragon is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts action-comedy film written, co-produced and directed by Bruce Lee, who also stars in the lead role. This is Lee's only complete directorial film. The film co-stars Nora Miao, Robert Wall, and Wei Ping-ou, with Chuck Norris playing his debut screen role. Way of the Dragon was released in Hong Kong on 30 December 1972. The film went on to gross an estimated US$130 million worldwide (equivalent to over $700 million adjusted for inflation), against a tight budget of $130,000, earning a thousand times its budget. It was the highest-grossing Hong Kong film up until Lee's next film, Enter the Dragon (1973).

I recently acquired the Criterion box set and have been itching to watch it but it was tough to watch it with Choo because she has already seen them all. She doesn’t have the inkling to revisit movies like me. I think I was a very good boy one night and she finally relented and immediately cued up The Way of the Dragon. This seriously isn’t Lee’s best film but it is his only directorial debut where he had total artistic control. I have special love for this because I saw it at the cinema, of course I didn’t see it in 1972. There was a special Bruce Lee film festival in the late 1980s and a friend called me one night, one hour before it was to be screened at the now defunct Odeon-Katong and I just threw on some clothes and rushed there. I remember it was just less than 10 in the whole cinema, f*cking criminal, but it didn’t matter. Right from the cool music credits roll we became little boys watching our first Bruce Lee Kungfu movie. Seeing it again, it really isn’t a great movie except for the 10-minute fight scene between Lee and his student, Chuck Norris. If I were to compile a list of Top 10 fight scenes, this one may be in the Top 3. From the set-up at the Coliseum to the warm-up to the ebb and flow of the fight to the mutual respect between pugilistic opponents, this is just incredible. The idea of using a kitten as counterpoint and a “referee/observer” and slow-mo shots are also inspired. What I love most is the idea of the Tao of the fight communicated not with bombastic words, but with action. Brilliant. And Criterion did an amazing job.



Mirage is a 2018 mystery-drama film co-written and directed by Oriol Paulo and starring Adriana Ugarte. Two storms separated by 25 years. A woman murdered. A daughter missed. Only 72 hours to discover the truth. This is what Tenet should have done - not try to explain the time travel concept so assiduously. This one trusts the audience to connect the dots and also to tell us the mechanics of it isn’t important; what’s important is the emotional stakes. So far I have seen Oriol Pauli’s The Body (2012) and The Invisible Guest (2016), and this dude doesn’t miss with these genre movies. The twists and turns are delirious and he knows how to hit you emotionally with a sledgehammer. In Adriana Ugarte, Paulo has found the perfect actress to carry the movie and she is wonderful. Within a few minutes, you will be focused on her all the way to the final scene. But this one gave Choo a sleepless night because she was trying to figure out all the time travel machinations. I slept like a baby... I told her the next morning “don’t try to understand it. Feel it.”


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