itt: movie/film discussion (spoilers lol)

dudes i watched inglourious basterds for the first time like three days ago and then django: unchained yesterday night and then today i watched inglourious basterds AGAIN because i could not stop thinking about it it's driving me CRAZY how good it is im like addicted to seeing that theater full of nazis getting burned to the ground and i would simp for shosanna
 
Hey hey haven't posted in a while but here's my top 13 of last year for anyone interested:

13. GLASS (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
Such a fun anti-superhero movie; takes on trauma, abuse and the friction between fantasy and brutal reality via some finely-tuned melodrama. Teasing a skyscraper-set grand finale before shoving its protagonist into a puddle is... *chef's kiss*

12. THE IRISHMAN (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Not too keen on Wolf of Wall Street or Silence but Scorsese's The Irishman is a return to form. Scorsese is almost in dialogue with himself here, reckoning the history of wayward mafia morality through De Niro's sociopathic character study. Final 30 minutes reverberates back across the preceding three hours. Much like GLASS, the film is interested in mythmaking vs mundanity.

11. MIDSOMMAR (dir. Ari Aster)
Hereditary without Ari Aster taking it seriously, so, read: much better. One big fat metaphor for a toxic relationship, examining concepts of empathy and grief in a Wicker Man get-up. All the power is in the inevitability of that climax, but each moment leading up to it plays like gangbusters. Those who think the boyfriend doesn't deserve his comeuppance are missing the point.

10. IT MUST BE HEAVEN (dir. Elia Suleiman)
Shades of Tati's Playtime! in It Must Be Heaven's slapstick choreography and mournful ruminations on displacement. A simple, gentle tone poem, and a joy to watch.

9. THE GIRL WITH A BRACELET (dir. Stephane Demoustier)
A fantastic slither of a crime drama, interested less in the verdict of a teen on trial than her stunted innocence and snatched childhood. A coming-of-age film where the teen isn't allowed to come of age; heartbreaking in its portrayal on family relations and how trust withers away with time. Beautiful.

8. FOR SAMA (dir. Waad Al-Khateab & Edward Watts)
One of the most powerful documentaries I've ever seen, and a necessary female perspective to the Syrian conflict. Launches staggering images at you every few seconds: a mother holding her child's corpse; a newborn brought back from the brink of death; children playing in dirty water from burst pipes, nonchalant to the background noise of airstrikes. Such an important watch.

7. LUX AETERNA (dir. Gaspar Noe)
Saw this at midnight in Cannes -- no chance of falling asleep. A nigh-unwatchable film I'd wholly recommend, as the split-screen film gives way to 20 minutes of strobe-lights. It sounds horrible to watch, but I can't stop thinking about it, and the experience of actively torturing the audience plays into the flick's themes on justification, pained euphoria, and female enlightenment.

6. PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (dir. Celine Sciamma)
Gifts us two uses of diegetic music so magical and scintillating that it becomes difficult to breathe. The sketches of a doomed romance, as the growth of attraction and infatuation is mirrored by the act of painting. All about how memory distorts, how a canvas shrinks and expands as a relationship develops.

5. EMA (dir. Pablo Larrain)
Caustic and sexy, paradoxical and sporadic, Ema is as much a testament to the free, fluid spirit of a new generation as it is a stylish parable on its self-serving abrasiveness. A film about what happens when you can't find the balance between liberation and self-obsession, and how to/how not to express it.

4. UNCUT GEMS (dir. Safdie bros)
Uncut Gems! Two hours of nervous energy culminating in a glorious heart-rendering finale. Quietly devastating, consistently thrilling, and ingeniously staged.

3. PARASITE (dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
Obviously this film's gonna be in my top 3. A film about class privilege, yes, but also about how the oppressive system of capitalism forces the working class into nefarious means of survival, and about how disparity between the upper and lower echelons of society is reinforced through non-overt means. A rollicking ride from start to finish, but it's the small moments - a couple dancing in beams of sunlight, or a mother remarking on the good fortune of rain - that stick with you. Thank *God* this won best pic.

2. THE LIGHTHOUSE (dir. Robert Eggers)
A film for the senses. You can taste the salt on your tongue, feel the sea spittle around your legs, smell the boozy claustrophobic atmosphere. The Lighthouse isn't about much beyond the folly of masculinity, really, but it's so expertly plotted that that needn't matter. Archaic dialogue seems something of an Eggers speciality, but out of Dafoe's rancid mouth, it's liquid gold. Feels like a film plucked from the past - i'm fond of its lobster.

1. ZOMBI CHILD (dir. Bertrand Bonello)
So much going on here that it's impossible to explain in a small excerpt. Bonello’s film is slippery, elusive, and utterly transfixing. Applying a horror underpinning to dual tales of colonial discourse and cultural appropriation, the errors of the past and the deep-rooted identities of the present are awoken from their slumber. Such a transfixing watch.
 

Hulavuta

I do my killing after breakfast
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This summer, I decided to finally watch all of the Star Wars episodic films in machete order (4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9), one a week. Can't believe 9 weeks have passed already, felt like no time at all. I decided to leave out Rogue One and Solo this time around; they fit perfectly in chronological order but not very well in this order.

It was interesting to see the films in this order and how things were re-juxtaposed. A lot of these movies I haven't watched all the way through in years too, so there were a lot of smaller things I picked up on now that I didn't before. These movies have been discussed to death but hopefully I have a few new things in my perspective. I already bothered Gato every week so I'll share here too. These are not so much reviews; they are more like just what made the biggest impression on me during rewatch.


Star Wars / A New Hope

It's interesting to me to think of this movie as a standalone, as it was originally intended (or at least, was forced to be). If it ended here, there were so many things it set up. Luke never even uses the lightsaber for anything. We never really know what is going to go down with Han and Jabba. Darth Vader is knocked out into space and we still know nothing about him. It's something my generation kinda takes for granted since all of the movies were already made, so it's interesting to think about.

It's also interesting how slow and tense the trench run scene is. It's not really an action scene the way the rest of the adventure on the Death Star was. It's more of a suspenseful one. Bunch of ships on an impossible mission and get picked off one by one. More akin to Alien than Aliens. The lack of score over most of this scene helps too.

And now that I know that the idea that the Death Star was about to destroy the Rebel Base was done during the editing phase, I like to keep an eye out for how that was constructed. Very cleverly, they just put post-recorded intercom announcements over re-used shots or create new computer graphics, etc. Notice how no on-screen character ever mentions how the Death Star is approaching the base. It's very smooth; I wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't told that.


The Empire Strikes Back

Man, it was really surprising to me to see just how little actually happens in this movie, plot-wise. This of course is not a bad thing, as the whole point is to develop the characters and sit in the atmosphere. And that it does pretty perfectly.

Everyone just kinda accepts that this just the best Star Wars movie and like I agreed as well, and even put it in my top 10 films list back in 2017. After a rewatch...I'm not prepared to say it's not the best, but there were so many weird plot things that stuck out to me. I'm not sure if I feel like Luke is kind of uncharacteristically pessimistic in this, in his training with Yoda. Han and Leia's romance also comes a lot more out of nowhere than I remember.

The reason I'm unsure about these things is it's impossible to look at this movie contextlessly, as if it was my first time and I didn't know about all the other movies and other material. Perhaps if it was only three movies, the dark tone of it would stand out more. Looking back at my entry in my top 10 list, I really didn't offer any substantive reasons why this is the best. I guess I just kinda went with the bandwagon.

It took me until this viewing to really appreciate Lando as a character though. I'll get into him more during Return of the Jedi, but as someone who was never a big fan of Han Solo, I feel like Lando kinda fills that character role for me. Leia is a Princess of course, but she loses her people early on in A New Hope so we never see them. On the other hand, Lando's entire character here is constantly having to battle with doing the right thing vs. doing the pragmatic thing. Very compelling. And interesting that he's the outside character of the group. He doesn't know Luke at all, just that he's important because Darth Vader wants "someone named Skywalker". Then he's forced by Chewie and Leia to back and rescue Luke, and he himself is the one who goes out to retrieve him. I wonder what must be going through his head the whole time.



The Phantom Menace

I always thought that The Phantom Menace was a great name. Very mysterious. I also strongly feel that this is the best of the three prequel films. Liam Neeson is a good enough actor to be compelling as the lead, even though as many have pointed out, he really should not have been the lead. It really is a shame that Obi-Wan's story is kind of sidelined when it should've been the main arc here, but oh well.

When people discuss the best character or performance in the prequels, the two most commonly brought up are Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. I actually disagree with Ewan McGregor; even he can't save the awful lines he was written from becoming meme material. Ian McDiarmid does a good job balancing the many faces he has to wear: warm and welcoming, mysteriously ominous, and then cartoonishly evil. He's definitely up there. But I actually think Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker is the best performance in the prequels for one main reason: her performance actually pulls out some emotion. Jake Lloyd gets a bad rap but their scenes together are actually quite moving and it is genuinely heartbreaking when he has to leave her behind. In a series that gets flack for being so sterile and lifeless, I feel like the mother-son relationship in this movie is legitimately powerful.

Another interesting thing is, if you didn't watch the special edition of A New Hope, this is where you first see Jabba, rather than Return of the Jedi. He's removed from the context of Han Solo as well, so I'd be curious how a first-time viewer would take that.


Attack of the Clones

I never hated this movie as much as most, and I actually put it over Revenge of the Sith in most of my rankings. Rewatching it though, a lot of its problems became a lot more apparent to me. I hadn't seen the whole movie straight through since perhaps in theaters in 2002, so I was really surprised to see just how MUCH of the film was devoted to the incredibly awkward and embarrassing love story. There are parts of it that are set up to work...Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman do have a degree of natural chemistry, and John Williams' love theme is very good (it is kind of funny to look at the bonus features and see interviews where he basically has to pretend he is composing for a story in the tradition of the great tragic love stories lol). The "I don't like sand" bit was never weird to me, it seems normal for teenagers to be making small talk about things like that (it's no weirder than talking about what you like to eat, really). Them speaking about their love in extremely faux-poetic ways to each other is what is awkward.

There are a lot of little things in this movie that just don't add up, as has been said to death. One thing I will give this movie is that has a lot of cool characters. Kiwi Jango Fett and Zam Wessel have really killer designs and are a blast (though I will admit it's because I know of their relationship and adventures in the EU; obviously they don't get to do much here), I always loved these characters as a kid. Count Dooku is one of my favorite Star Wars characters, and my favorite Sith Lord. Christopher Lee as always is amazing in this movie, but really, the reveal that he is in league with Darth Sidious makes his plan make almost no sense. Really, all of the cool characters are squandered with premature ends, unfortunately.

The action scenes are really cool here legitimately, and once again Shmi Skywalker, in her one scene, has the sole emotional moment in the scene. Perilla and Hayden also have pretty good chemistry and it's a legitimately heartbreaking departure.


Revenge of the Sith

People have always said this was up there in at least the top 5 Star Wars movies and I...I just don't see it. I am rarely a nitpicker, but this is one of those cases where there are just a bunch of tiny things that prevent me from thinking this is a great movie. I don't see why it makes any sense that Dooku, a political leader, not a military one, would be out there on the front lines to get killed like that (you could say Sidious told him to or something but...come on). Dooku, the actual character, is killed early on in favor of Grievous, a complete non-character (a shame, as again he is interesting in the EU) who is just there to get Obi-Wan out of the way so Anakin can be tempted. The whole Darth Plagueis scene comes WAY more out of nowhere than I remember. It's so out of nowhere it's unbelievable that Anakin doesn't know right away. The Anakin vs. Obi-Wan scene goes on for quite a bit too long.

I acknowledge Lucas's roadblocks in writing this. The Jedi have SO many resources and numbers in this that it's difficult to have them lose in a way that's not overly contrived. But there are ways to do it that are more believable. The idea that the Jedi were turning against their own ideals is a good one, and a good foundation to keep. But I've felt that a better specific conflict to be the last straw would be the Jedi finding out about his secret marriage to Padme. That doesn't take too much reworking of the script, and it builds on what was set up already in Attack of the Clones. Losing her to childbirth sets up that unbelievable idea that Anakin turned on a dime because of a vague rumor. The Jedi are already against Anakin for being with Padme, they just don't know about it yet.

One thing I'll say it does well is carry a consistently dark tone throughout the whole thing. And I think Hayden Christensen actually carries being the lead very well here.


Return of the Jedi

I heard a podcast interview with Sam Witwer (he plays Darth Maul in some of the animated shows) defending this movie, and it has given me more appreciation of it. The second Death Star kind of HAD to be built if you think about it. In a narrative, we see it as repeating the same trope. But in the real world, when something important gets destroyed, well...you fix it. The Senate was also dissolved on the premise that the Death Star would be replacing them, so it was their policy to have it. I think the issue here is that it seemed unforeshadowed, and therefore it appeared like they had run out of ideas. I think a quick line or two in Empire saying that they need time to work on the second Death Star would alleviate those concerns. It goes from being a recycled idea to something set up and earned over two movies.

I still don't like the Ewoks, but Sam's idea that it is the payoff to Yoda's teaching to Luke actually makes a lot of sense. Luke arrives on Endor and stays with the gang long enough for them to ally with the Ewoks; it's paying off his lesson to not judge things based on their size. I like Lando in this too of course. I think he makes a good foil for Han; he's the only one who really gets him. Luke and Leia are always trying to get him to change, but Lando comes from the same world as Han, and they treat each other like friends.

Aside from that, this movie has some of my favorite moments, including the throne room stuff where Vader saves Luke. Very wholesome family values! I disliked the idea that Palpatine was going to die anyway when the rebels destroyed the Death Star, as it takes away from the impact of that. But I'll get to that more when I get to Rise of Skywalker.


The Force Awakens

It is really weird to watch this movie right after Return of the Jedi, lol. Without the time skip in real life to feel like time has passed, it's super jarring to jump ahead 30 years the very next day. Return of the Jedi does not have a denouement establishing the galaxy's new status quo, it ends right after the battle of Endor. So we go from that battle to now a new Empire. Han and Leia finally realized they loved each other, and then immediately they're 30 years older and separated. This isn't a fault obviously, since this was determined by real-life circumstances. But just interesting. Perhaps it'd be better to read some of the books between watching Return of the Jedi and TFA, ha.

I was never a big Han Solo fan in the original trilogy. Didn't dislike him but for reasons I can't explain he was never that interesting to me. It took me until this rewatch of The Force Awakens to really appreciate and like him. I think I like this older and less cynical Han the most. He hasn't lost his edge or sense of humor but I like him more in the mentor role.

As for the First Order...Kylo Ren is definitely a Zuko-type character: sympathetically incompetent (less often than Zuko though), pushes away the unconditional love of his good mentor in favor of an eviler one, wants to be evil more than he actually is evil. For that to work, we really needed the Zhao-like figure to be a good foil for him. Someone who is a more standard, not-too-complicated, threatening villain. That SHOULD have been Hux, who should've been like the Tarkin in this series. And Hux is written right but...just cast all too wrong. Hux is way too young and makes the First Order look like it's just a bunch of frat boys. At least the actor takes it seriously and tries to give it all he's got, but actors only have so much range. Perhaps Phasma could've done it, with more screentime?

I don't like Starkiller Base as a concept, and we know pretty much nothing about the political situation of the galaxy so it has no impact. But at least it has a really cool visual with the sun and snow. Aside from that...I think Finn vs. Kylo Ren is probably the best lightsaber duel in the series. Feels the most real and raw. The first time I can see and feel the equal and opposite reaction on the wielders when the blades connect. Rey spends her duel running away a bit too much for it to be very interesting.


The Last Jedi

When I came out of this movie the first time, I felt that it may just be my favorite Star Wars. It's interesting looking back, as my post contained more criticisms than praises. Of course I've heard all of the complaints about this film over the years and it's weird because, well, they're all valid. But as I rewatched this movie, I found myself the most engaged I had been with any of my rewatches. There are so many problems with this film but for just entirely subjective reasons that I cannot defend, they just don't bother me at all. Why is Holdo allowed to wear a dress in a military situation when no other woman is? It's dumb, but it doesn't affect that much. Why did Yoda or Obi-Wan never show up to guide Luke before? I guess that's a bit of a bigger problem. Why are there so many horribly awkward jokes? Dunno. Why does Canto Bight look a little too much like real-life casinos? Eh.

I guess what keeps me most engaged is the Luke x Rey x Kylo Ren stuff. Luke was always the more interesting character to me compared to Han and Leia, and 30 years is enough for anyone to change so it's a little hard to claim that anything is out of character. Trying to take on the entire Jedi legacy onto his shoulders changes a man. It is interesting to note though that Luke and Han kind of end up where the other one started. Han the cynic ends up saying "it's true, all of it" and Luke the idealist says the Jedi need to end. I do like how it tied in this (unintended by Lucas, but conveniently fitting) modern reading of the prequels that suggests the fucked-up things Lucas came up with were actually the Jedi losing their way which led to their downfall.

It's frustrating to me that Hux was turned into just a complete joke, indicating that they're not even trying now, and he wasn't replaced with someone a little more competent. Snoke dying is not a bad twist, but we did need a little more time with him. Rian Johnson said there wasn't any place to fit in Snoke's backstory without messing up the pacing but...I think Luke's flashback scenes would be a great time to work it in. I think most of the issues with this movie can be explained away, but I think it is poor to have to "explain" a movie; storytellers should be able to anticipate the biggest points of confusion or contention and proactively address them intelligently and appropriately within the story itself.

Aside from that...Luke's final appearance was extremely earned and wonderfully done. He gets the hero welcome fans wanted with the whole resistance watching on in awe and talking of him like he's a legend. Johnson said he didn't want to make the Force too much like a superpower with Luke just pulling ships out of the sky with the force and stuff. The whole projection thing gets to have it both ways: it's a powerful technique we hadn't seen before, but it also taps into the more spiritual and emotional side of the force with this whole thing playing on Kylo Ren's anger and Luke's complete calm. Really cool.


The Rise of Skywalker

I really disliked this movie when I first saw it. On rewatch, I liked it just a little bit more. Palpatine coming back is not a bad plot point at all...it just had to have been set up from the beginning, with TFA. Not nearly enough time to have a satisfying resolution to the whole Rey's parents thing either. It would be great too, as I always felt like this trilogy did not have enough connective tissue with the original trilogy in terms of continuity (obviously in terms of narrative structure, it took a lot). This negates my problem with Palpatine's death being basically inevitable in Return of the Jedi. It makes sense as well, with the knowledge we got from the prequels, that he would find a fucked up way to cheat death.

It just really bugs me that this movie set up so many fetch quests instead of taking the time to develop the characters, especially with how drastically different Rey and Kylo Ren are by the end. Kylo Ren does not really have a believable reason to turn, it also just happens so instantly. Adam Driver is just such a good actor that we buy it.

Pryde is the character that Hux should've been, and I'm glad they realized it and created him...but the problem is we still have Hux and they just came up with the dumbest and most out-of-character way to get rid of him. Ah.

I feel like Poe and Finn were just turned into a pair of fools. Finn being in love with Rey was part of his character from the very beginning, and that was fine. They have never been equals power-wise but they had a connection by being two kids trying to find their way. Here, they don't even seem like friends at all. It comes across that Finn is some kid Rey has to take care of. Poe for some reason becomes cartoonishly incompetent whenever around Rey as well. It is just strange. I loved Rey in TFA and TLJ but she just comes off as so unlikable here, and every character she's around suffers in order to make her look better. Poe was "wrong" in The Last Jedi, yes, but his wrongness was extremely proactive and competent. He organized the mission for Finn and Rose and kept it a secret, he successfully pulled off a mutiny, etc.

My biggest issue here is just that the characters have no arcs. Even the ones that change, nominally, have no logical reason for doing so. The climax with Rey suddenly having the power of all the Jedi, and Lando showing up with a bunch of ships, feel so completely unearned and hollow, compared to the climax of The Last Jedi.



Some overall takeaways:

For both the prequels and the sequels, there are complaints that it "doesn't feel like Star Wars". I have to say, rewatching them, these movies feel much more similar to other films of their time, than to each other. The Original Trilogy has a slowness of pacing and dialogue style that isn't the same as today, to say nothing of look. The sequel trilogy definitely takes after a Marvel-style pacing and has more modern dialogue. I don't think that is a bad thing though, just a cause for why the films all feel different.


Whether I feel like the prequels or the sequels are "better": Both trilogies have the opposite problem, and it all depends on whether you value films as films or Star Wars as its own brand and franchise. The prequel films do not really hold up well as films, but they push the universe forward a lot. The macro story of Palpatine creating a fake war to get into power is really good. The contributions of the designs and lore of the prequels are just as much part of the consciousness of Star Wars as the original trilogy now. So there is a lot of material there to bake the overall "pie" of Star Wars.

The sequels, for the most part, all work as films. They're competently made. Again, I'm particularly fond of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. But it's also true that they just reset the galaxy back to the Empire to achieve the same ending that was already achieved in Return of the Jedi. With those in-between 30 years not in any movie, it does feel like nothing has changed at all. The designs don't feel distinct enough from the OT either. So it doesn't push the whole universe of Star Wars that much further, even if the movies themselves are good.



Anyway, those are just my thoughts and some opinions after rewatching all these movies. I would love to hear what others think. Every fan has different things that they expect out of Star Wars, so it's interesting to me to see how that leads to them to liking certain elements and certain films over others.
 

chimp

Link Together With All
Apologies if this has been discussed already... but I just watched 'Lady Bird' and I am conflicted.

First off, I'm totally cool with movies that don't necessarily have a "point" or convey a message. I like Inglorious Basterds, for example, and that movie doesn't really have a message. I mean, other than fuck nazis... but thats a given. So, I'm open to coming-of-age stories that are light on actual plot in lieu of focusing on minor events throughout the protagonists adolescence. However, this movie in particular, especially the last 15 minutes and ending, really, really give me the impression that the movie was trying to convey.... something. Reading reviews for the movie, it seems a big take-away for many people is that its about family, especially the relationship between mother and daughter. And, while I am neither of those things, I did leave the movie feeling as if it missed the mark?

SPOILERS but the movie ends with the main character, Lady Bird, calling her mother up to thank her and to tell her she loved her. The reason I think this misses is because, while Lady Bird certainly isn't a stellar, flawless person, it really isn't on HER to try and redeem the fractured relationship she has with her mother. The mother spent the entire movie being extremely toxic to Lady Bird, in a way that goes beyond the stereotypical "I'm the stern parent but I do it because I want whats best for you" movie trope that many parents in coming-of-age stories often fall in to. The mother spends the entire movie antagonizing, insulting, demeaning and just in general putting down Lady Bird. I mean, there's a point in the film where the mom refuses to speak to her own daughter. Just, blatant refusal to acknowledge her. The reason? Because Lady Bird didn't tell her she applied and got into the college she wanted to go to.

Lady Bird's mom is probably the most interesting character in the film. The film makes attempts to show her 'true' personality- there is even a character who basically spells it out to Lady Bird that her mom is actually a really nice woman. However, her ideals are clearly focused on money, finances and she clearly takes out her own intrapersonal conflicts out on her daughter. We are meant to feel conflicted about the character because she clearly has a deep love for Lady Bird but is incapable or too proud to show it. Because of this, the burden of redeeming herself should not fall on Lady Bird. In fact, the only reason Lady Ball calls her mom is because her mom wrote a bunch of letters to her.... a bunch of letters she threw into the trash, discarding the intention to actually give them. They only ended up in Lady Bird's possession because her father rooted them out of the garbage.

I think a more satisfying ending would be just Lady Bird reminiscing nostalgically about Sacramento and her childhood home. Maybe cut to credits as soon as she finds the letters. Leave it up to the audience to decide whether or not the mother wrote something that is worth being redeemed in her daughter's eyes. Instead we got like 10 minutes of nonsense that seems to undermine the deeply interesting conflict between Lady Bird and her mother.

But, eh. Maybe I'm thinking too hard about this or maybe I totally missed the point. I did like the movie though, and I think the characters were especially well written, which is exactly what a slice-of-life coming-of-age story should have. My favorite character was James. Would like to hear what other people have to think about this!

anyone wanna do a film club. each week we can watch something and discuss it
I'd be down.
 
Tenet is good af, Nolan finally learnt how to make action scenes and it’s such a pleasure to watch. Very interesting soundtrack by Ludwig Göransson, who has almost nothing to envy to Zimmer. The actors aren’t transcendent but they’re doing the job very well. The numerous twists are getting pretty predictable though not gonna lie. Go watch it.
 

BKC

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the action scenes were admittedly a nice change of pace - the opening scene and jd washington's first fight were standouts. I also like jdw as a whole ("I ordered my hot sauce over an hour ago!" was very funny) and he was great throughout. however, tenet as a whole was a mess. it was every negative nolan stereotype cranked up to 11. after the great opening scene, the protagonist hops from country to country, with four consecutive scenes of different characters explaining the plot to him. (don't forget nolan's propensity for namedropping as many big international cities as he can!) it doesn't end there, though - the majority of the dialogue overall was exposition. as if that wasn't bad enough, half the time that dialogue is drowned out by the absurdly loud music, so you have even more trouble following the specifics of the convoluted plot. then, of course, there is zero emotional attachment to characters you're supposed to be invested in - they're just plot devices. finally, the fact that the protagonist is actually called the protagonist is unforgivably stupid; like this movie, it is not nearly as clever as nolan thinks it is.
 
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Yeah we all know dialogs aren’t Nolan’s greatest asset ; he seems to always be hesitating between some James Bond ish lines and pure exposition, and he definetly didn’t find the right balance here.
I disagree with the rest though, as convoluted plots are Nolan’s trademark and I liked the music quite a lot, especially its evolution throughout the movie (from Zimmer type to something very unique that I can’t really describe in english). I liked the characters but I can definetly understand your point.
Not a masterpiece (considering this guy’s standarts) but not a mess either to me
 
The music is fine/subjective/whatever but the sound mixing was some of the worst I've heard in a movie, I seriously struggled to hear multiple lines and it got to the point I was borderline uncomfortable with how loud it was lol. Someone I know who went to see it a second time said it was less bad on his second viewing so it's something that'll probably get "fixed" for future audiences but I still don't really get if it was a mistake that wasn't caught due to limited early screenings or something, I guess it was intentional though based on his previous movies.
 
I just watched Eyes Wide Shut. Idk, Kubrick might be trying to tell us something here.
The fact he died to a « heart attack » 3 days after submitting the movie to the Warner while he was in great form according to his wife, and that the Warner cut at least 15 minutes of scenes from the original movie might be meaningful.
The title of the movie as well as the countless esoteric and kabbalistic references in every cut of the movie might not only be there for the sake of pure cinematic entertainment.

Everything has a meaning is this film and it’s time to open our very shut eyes shall we ? Epstein is nothing.
 
Daisy Ridley said in an interview that for a while, Rey was supposed to be a Kenobi. And that would've been such a freaking fitting twist. It could've been fit into IX too, given Rain Johnson left VIII open enough that one of Rey's parents could've been Obi's kid (who could have been a nobody from a lot of persepctives!). After rewatching the films the last few weeks as well as The Clone Wars tv show, it would've been pretty synergistic to have a Kenobi as the protagonist. Whether she saved Kylo, or killed him, there's a lot of poetic justice there. Either she did what Obi Wan failed to do (save Anakin from the dark side) or wouldn't do (kill Anakin). It would've tied the prequels to the sequels nicely too. I didn't find TRoS horrible, but it was very underwhelming. There's also the complete upending of the prophecy, which was the thing tying the end of VI to the prequels. Anakin fulfilled the prophecy in the end; he killed Palpatine and brought balance to the force. That's a simple redemption arc, but it works. But suddenly out of nowhere... Palps can be killed by his own bloodline? The prophecy could have referred to a temporary balancing or something like that, but it makes everything that much more convoluted.

The constant switching of directors was a huge huge detriment. I thought Rain Johnson did an ok job with his movie too. But there was just soooo much tone shifting. Say what you will about the MCU, but throughout the huge number of movies, there's a clear plan. Maybe it shifts sometimes, but not as haphazardly as Star Wars did. Everything after Ultron was working towards an endpoint and a larger arc. There may have been small differences put in (who ultimately died in Infinity War or Endgame, who appeared in Civil War, maybe there isn't an Ant-Man 2 and Scott Lang is just a credit scene in Infinity War if Ant-Man bombed, etc) but the map was consistent. And if one area tweaked, the other parts would shift along with it. No such thing in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, despite both being under the House of Mouse umbrella.

See also, for what could've been (not Rey Kenobi related, but in general).
 
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I mean, the best choice for Rey's parents would be that they *are* nobodies. Shows that anyone can be a Jedi and it's not just one massive soap opera dynasty. I think that was Rian's most thrilling choice in The Last Jedi (out of many thrilling choices), and Rise of Skywalker going back on that plot development was symptomatic of many of the final instalment's flaws.

Anyway TENET was great, fantastic spectacle, a kinda experimental film in the fact that it streamlines what Nolan sees as superfluous (character development, natural exposition, coherent dialogue), stripping it to the bare bones to produce an entirely visceral product that doesn't care for conventional criticism (e.g. 'the protagonist doesn't really have much characterisation grrr'.) Is this an overly elaborate way of excusing its flaws?? Prob but i'm not too bothered because it plays like gangbusters in the moment.

I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS is also fantastic imo but you have to be 1) Entirely on board with how self-indulgent Kaufman can be and 2) emphatically depressed in order to get the most out of it. First watch I was less interested in plot, reason and explanations and more focused on mood and atmosphere (which it had in spades), second watch was all about realising what was playing out and why, and how Kaufman's formal instincts fed into the film's overarching thesis. Buckley is goin places

Other films I've seen recently:

JOHN WICK 3 -- peaks in the first 20 mins, love the choreography even if the plot and lore is so unnecessarily baggy
PAPRIKA -- Thought I'd love this but there's no heart to it, just an endless series of noise and action delivered w/ (unquestionably beautiful) animation - but lacking the spectacle that made a film like Tenet worth it. Like all your synapses firing at once. Not a pleasant experience.
PALM SPRINGS -- pretty lame

Also been bingeing a bit of Akerman and Rohmer since the start of the year, two of my fave directors, Rohmer literally my fave. Would recommend THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, A SUMMER'S TALE, CLAIRE'S KNEE and THE GREEN RAY from Rohmer, and LES RENDEZVOUS D'ANNA and PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG GIRL from Akerman xx
 
I watched a serious man. Great coen bro’s movie to no surprise. This movie takes the spiritual human experience and does it’s best to tell us yes these things happen but you’ll go mad just not taking these as miracles of god and instead trying to find the secret meaning. This is summed up in the best scene of the movie. It’s on Netflix . It’s a really funny movie too.
 

BKC

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it's been about a year since this post by Triangles sparked a bunch of top 25 lists, and I figured I'd start that up again, given how much I've watched in the past year.

1. logan
2. taxi driver
3. the cremator
4. the terminator
5. in bruges
6. goodfellas
7. children of men
8. the incredibles
9. blade runner 2049
10. clerks
11. scott pilgrim vs. the world
12. mary poppins
13. prisoners
14. whiplash
15. pulp fiction
16. sorry to bother you
17. little miss sunshine
18. hot fuzz
19. jojo rabbit
20. the lighthouse
21. nightcrawler
22. mean girls
23. lost in translation
24. one flew over the cuckoo's nest
25. there will be blood / come and see

some tough choices (I'd especially have liked to include what we do in the shadows + eternal sunshine...), but hey. looking forward to adding movies I haven't seen from others' lists to my own watchlist.
 
I'm abysmal at picking something as definitive as a 'top' anything, and I refuse to overthink this over a tag. Just call this 25 films I've been thinking about a lot recently in a positive fashion, ordered roughly.
  1. Stalker
  2. The Thing
  3. Funeral Parade of Roses
  4. Oldboy
  5. Anomalisa
  6. Possession
  7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  8. Viridiana
  9. Patterson
  10. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
  11. Funny Games (1997)
  12. Ichi The Killer
  13. Moonlight
  14. Cure
  15. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
  16. Naked Lunch
  17. An Elephant Sitting Still
  18. Ratatouille
  19. Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
  20. Black Dynamite
  21. Kwaidan
  22. Hedwig and The Angry Inch
  23. Sisters (1972)
  24. The Happiness of the Katakuris
  25. November
 

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