HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017) – 7/10
Catching up with the first movie again before watching HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U later this weekend. Although I remember enjoying this one in the cinema the first time around, I gotta say I was surprised to see it getting a sequel and it being released so quickly after the first. Made for only $5 million, HAPPY DEATH DAY ended up grossing $56m domestically and over $125m worldwide and has been a hit on VOD and streaming too – so actually not surprising that Universal decided to quickly switch the pale and continued milking this cash cow for all its worth.
Tree, Jessica Rothe, is a mean sorority girl who wakes up in some random guy’s dorm room after another heavy night out. It’s her birthday and she needs to get to class before being surprised by her friends with a party in the evening – unfortunately Tree doesn’t make it that far as she’s murdered by a killer in a creepy baby mask. And so starts the time loop whereby every time Tree dies she wakes up back at the start of the same day, in the same strange dorm room. Only finding and stopping the killer will break the time loop and let her live her life forward
The time-loop genre has been done to death at this point. We’ve had some excellent entries in recent years; EDGE OF TOMORROW, TRIANGLE, SOURCE CODE, but none have toppled the king of the genre GROUNDHOG DAY (which is actually referenced at the end of this movie). However, HAPPY DEATH DAY somehow manages to bring new life to the concept by mixing horror, mystery and comedy elements to create a fun and fast-paced pseudo slasher movie. All of the usual tropes are present as Tree learns the routine of all the people she encounters in the day and there are fun montages as she reacts to situations before they actually happen, but the key is that Tree knows she has multiple lives and so is liberated to become a killer-chasing bad-ass. The comedy is well judged with no designated comic-relief character, instead the laughs come naturally from the plot – although Rachel Matthew’s Danielle is pretty hilarious throughout. Not quite sure where the sequel is going to take the story as it’s wrapped up nicely here, I just hope it’s as fun to watch
PARADISE ALLEY from @101.films
First time watch and watching for Sports Week as part of the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19. This was always going to be a tricky week for me as I’m yet to be convinced that there are any quality sports movies out there, except boxing movies of which there are plenty of corkers. So, although I wanted to try and avoid boxing, I landed pretty close to it with a film about pro-wrestling – one of my personal loves, alongside music and movies of course. The sentence “writer, director, lead actor and theme-tune singer Sylvester Stallone” was all I needed to convince me that this was one for me
Stallone is Cosmo Carboni, a scrappy Italian-American scamp living with his two brothers in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. Brother Victor is a brain-dead beefcake with a heart of gold and brother Lenny walks with a cane after recently returning from Vietnam (I think). Although fundamentally different, the three are united in their pursuit of escaping the gangster-run back alleys they live in. When the 3 con their way into a sleazy private club, Cosmo convinces Victor to take on the local wrestler in the club’s nightly floorshow challenge with a $100 reward for victory. Victor wins and so the brothers decide that exploiting the wrestling talents of Kid Salami, Victor’s pseudonym, is their ticket to success
I can’t say this is a good film, but I can’t deny giggling all the way through it either. It’s a bad film that I enjoyed watching and a stupid film that would play well with friends and beers. So, doesn’t that mean it’s not a bad film then… I’m conflicted. Let me give you an example – it starts with a slow-motion foot race between Stallone and another greaseball with random freezeframes of Sly’s contorted face as his ridiculous self-sung theme tune croons over the top – that doesn’t sound good does it? and it isn’t good, but it’s also fucking brilliant! The film also features one of the weirdest character arcs I can think of as brother Lenny goes from wise, grounded moral compass to blood-thirsty scrooge in the blink of an eye. Also legend Terry Funk features and is fantastic. Also I don’t understand the ending, at all...
MARTYRS from #optimumreleasing
Martyrs are exceptional people. They survive pain, they survive total deprivation. They give themselves up. They transcend themselves... they are transfigured.
First time watch and watching for “New French Extremity Week” as part of the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19. The New French Extremity movement describes a series of transgressive films made in France at the start of the 21st century; films that generally include excessive violence, sexuality and gore to convey a social or political criticism. It’s safe to say that MARTYRS ticks most of those boxes and is, more importantly, a deeply disturbing and affecting piece of horror art that will fuck you up!
Lucie is on a revenge mission – to find the people responsible for her kidnapping and torture 15 years earlier and to make them pay. Along with her best friend Anna they locate the family responsible but interacting with her former captors triggers Lucie’s mental instability as Anna uncovers more terrifying truths than the pair could have imagined. I’m being purposefully vague here as the plot swings all over the place and there’s no need for me to spoil the fun.
This is such a hard movie to even begin reviewing and rating as the subject matter and approach to the story are so harrowing and unapologetically brutal. It should come with a warning as I’m sure many people may be repulsed at the story being told and the realism of the film making. For me this worked predominately as a chilling horror movie, using a typical genre concept and taking it to unique and surprising places. But it also works as a drama on the effects of abuse and the ways people deal with extreme trauma, suffering and ultimately anger. It’s edited to be a visceral assault on the senses, and I have a feeling this will stay with me for a long time to come.
Both lead actors, Mylene Jamponoi and Morjana Alaoui, are fantastic in intensely emotional and physical roles and film fanatics should make time for “The making of” documentary that features on this disc. It’s an excellent look at the on-set film making process, particularly focused on the special effects and stunt work
LOST IN TRANSLATION – 9/10
For relaxing times, make it Suntory time
My favourite Sofia Coppola film and one of my favourites of the 21st century so far. The wonderful Bill Murray is ageing Hollywood star Bob Harris, visiting Tokyo solo to star in an advert for Japanese whisky for $2m. The equally wonderful Scarlett Johansson is Charlotte, a newly(ish)-wed in her early twenties travelling with her photographer husband. The two are lonely lost souls who start to enjoy conversations at the bar of their lavish hotel, which blossoms into a romantically ambiguous relationship as they explore the treasures of Tokyo
From someone that does a fair amount of travelling, this is one of the best cinematic examples of the isolation and loneliness you can experience when spending time in a foreign place. Discovering the quirks in different cultures is what travelling is all about, but you are voluntarily putting yourself in a vulnerable position, made worse if your mindset is fragile at the time - certainly the case for Murray and Johansson’s characters. So LOST IN TRANSLATION refers as much to the main characters search for purpose in their lives as it does to the culture of the country they’re staying in, and the balancing of the two ideas is I think what makes the movie connect so well
Murray’s performance was something new for him at this point in his career, using his obviously fantastic comedic skills but introducing a level of apathy and pathos designed for dramatic effect rather than laughs, and it plays perfectly with Johansson’s curious, inquisitive Charlotte. This movie is only going to work if you believe in a relationship with a substantial age difference and so both actors deserve huge amounts of credit. A big discussion point for many is the inaudible whisper that ends the film, of which I’m a huge fan; the nature of the relationship is never plainly revealed to the audience, and we’re given every reason to believe the characters themselves aren’t sure what kind of bond the two share, so I love how that idea is reinforced by the ending. Minor negative point, some of the cultural representation of Japan hasn’t aged amazingly well in the 15 years since release
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME from @indicatorseries
You'd be proud of me now, mother. All the kids like me
First time watch. One of the most fun things about getting into genre films later than most other film types is there are so many favourites that I still need to work my way through. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME is one that’s been recommended to me a lot over the years and now I’ve seen it I can understand why, although I fear it’s more for the memorable moments, crazy kills and twist endings, than for the complete movie – unfortunately the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
Virginia Wainwright has recovered from brutal car accident that required her to have brain surgery and is now a member of the Top 10 clique, formed from the coolest / smartest students at her private school. But as the group start getting picked off one by one in a series of gruesome murders, she must work out what is happening to her friends and whether she is somehow responsible?
First the positives and this is undoubtedly a fun slasher. The characters are interesting enough and there are a couple of kills that are truly unique – favourites for me are the weight lifting crush and, of course, the kebab poke of doom featured on most of the posters and this blu disc cover (although with a completely different actor I think?) There’s also some impressive stunt work and special effects / make-up on show that elevates the film above a lot of the average slasher fare out there. The last 15 minutes are really good, a couple of excellent and (nearly) plausible twists, and help pull the film together… and this is where my criticism starts. This film is 110 minutes long which is 20 minutes longer than it needs to be. It really sags in the middle with lots of needless conversation and red herrings that I don’t think the audience are ever going to buy. Once you get to the twist ending and understand the events of the film, it becomes very easy to start picking holes in the plausibility of many of the actions supposedly taken. I don’t want to be critical though as this film is a fun time, kind of unbelievable that it came from J. Lee Thompson who also directed THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and CAPE FEAR
KING OF NEW YORK from @arrowvideo
From now on nothing goes down unless I'm involved… You guys got fat while everybody starved on the street. Now it's my turn
First time watch and watching for “Post-80's Neo-Noir Week” as part of the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19. Well this one crept up on me and blew me away – from no expectation to holy-fucking-shit in roughly 5 minutes. This must be one of the best crime dramas of modern cinema, how do more people not know about KING OF NEW YORK?
When Christopher Walken’s drug-pushing Frank White returns from prison to the streets of New York, he does so with the ambition to wipe out all his crime boss competition and share his wealth with the poor and lower classes. It only takes him a few hours of freedom to cause major across the city’s underworld, his name guarantees a high body count, and 3 local policemen make it their primary mission to catch Frank White for good. Lines of morality become blurred as we root for a heinous gangster who’s using his money to save derelict hospitals, and rally against 3 policemen who are stepping way outside the law to stop him
This film is most championed for Walken’s crazed vampiric performance as he mixes unhinged war-lord with angelic serenity, swaggering / floating through filth-soaked back alleys and diamond encrusted charity fundraisers alike. He manages to convey so much just through subtle facial expressions that the few moments of explosive energy mean that much more. Listen to any Abel Ferrara interview and his stuttering, drug-affected manner and you’d be forgiven for writing him off, but this film proves he is much more than a hack exploitation director. His self-admittedly stylised and exaggerated story tackles themes of class, wealth and politics to great impact, while still retaining an authenticity and the ability to entertain through thrill and shock. Supporting cast is insane too – Caruso, Fishburne, Buscemi, Snipes etc
For, Ferrara fans it’s well worth picking up this @arrowvideo
version of the movie as the disc comes with the awesome ABEL FERRARA: NOT GUILTY documentary which follows the eccentric, scrappy director as he shambles around NYC
SPLIT – 7/10
You like to make fun of us, but we are more powerful than you think
In preparation for the release of GLASS I’ve decided to go back and watch both UNBREAKABLE and SPLIT, as GLASS acts as a joint sequel to them both and all 3 are from director M. Night Shyamalan. I’ve watched both movies before, UNBREAKABLE at home a few years after its release and SPLIT in the cinema on its release in 2016. I should start by saying that I’m not a big fan of super-hero movies in general, which is a shame for me as there are so many around these days that lots of people really love, but for some reason I’ve never connected with the genre (the only exception is Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which transcends and is obviously totally awesome). However UNBREAKABLE and SPLIT are loads of fun and present the origin stories of two semi super-heroes in grounded and unique ways that separate them from the heavily patterned contemporaries
SPLIT follows James McAvoy’s Kevin as he learns to live with the 23 different personalities that occupy his head. In doing this Kevin discovers that some of these personalities can manifest actual physical changes in him, most obvious in his “Beast” persona which gives him super strength, speed and the ability to climb up walls. These are super-powers explained with enough plausibility, as exaggerated as they are, that it keeps me engaged with the story and not picking holes in the logic. The other benefit of using multiple personalities in the story is that the character of Kevin acts as both the super-hero and the villain making the film feel fresh and unique. UNBREAKABLE is similar, although Bruce Willis’s powers are more fantastical, in that it’s a believable portrayal of a normal person discovering he has abnormal abilities and the different ways that might effect someone. In my opinion their basis in reality and avoidance of colourful worlds and “world being destroyed by massive beam of light” endings make both movies special standouts in the genre
I’m going into GLASS in the hope that Shyamalan keeps the same aesthetic, although the trailers worry me slightly in that respect. Overall, I hope it’s going to be as much fun as its prequals
YOUR NAME from @alltheanime
Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.
First time watch and watching for “Animation: No Disney, No Ghibli” week as part of the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19. Although a fan of Pixar and Disney animation, I’ve often struggled to connect with Japanese animation and Studio Ghibli films. SPIRITED AWAY doesn’t really do anything for me, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE likewise, and its only GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES that has struck a chord with me (I know I’m doing a disservice to all animation by focussing on Ghibli here but I’m a total novice in this area and Ghibli is what I’ve seen). I’m glad to say that I really enjoyed watching YOUR NAME today, a heartfelt and gorgeously animated film that feels like a great example and gateway into the genre.
Mitsuha and Taki are high-schoolers living opposite lifestyles around Tokyo, Japan. Mitsuha lives in a small village in the boondocks with her Grandma and sister and Taki lives in a small apartment with his father in the centre of the city. A comet passing dazzlingly close to earth appears to have a magical effect on the two as they start to randomly switch bodies and must live days at a time as the other. As Mitsuha and Taki adjust to their new lifestyles they learn more about each other and form a strong connection that they must chase once the phenomena abruptly ends.
Although the film leans towards a mid-teen aesthetic throughout, from the soundtrack to the high-school drama voiceover, it is actually dealing with some really complex adult ideas (which I won’t spoiler in this review). It manages to retain elements of Japanese culture while also feeling very modern and being willing to go to some abstract places. There are moments of amazing beauty and, as mentioned before, the animation is stunning – director Shinkai uses a mix of hand-drawn and digitally enhanced images to show spectacular widescreen shots of sky and landscape to help explain his intricate story. As I watched I grew anxious that the film would lose me at its ending, but most importantly Shinkai sticks the landing and doesn’t short-change the audience with his final few scenes.
THE AWFUL TRUTH from @criterioncollection
First time watch. The classic, and perhaps underrated and underseen, THE AWFUL TRUTH is a fantastic, revolutionary screwball comedy from prolific American director Leo McCarey. As with all the best movies from this time period it’s the superstar performances and razor-sharp dialogue that mean it’s still an incredible viewing experience in 2019; even more impressive once you learn that most of the movie was improvised on set and that both male leads were very unhappy and wanted out!
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, paired together for the first time in their careers, are a married couple on the rocks as both suspect the other of extramarital affairs. Although independently free-spirited and successful, they both make an extra effort to undermine the others attempts at finding new romance – Dunne’s to Ralph Bellamy’s simple Oklahoma boy and Grant’s to upper-class Molly Lamont. Film fans with any experience in the romantic comedy genre wont be surprised at the story arch here but, even if the destination is obvious from the outset, the journey there is a hell of a lot of fun
Cary Grant is fighting it out with 3 or 4 others for the illustrious title of @bluraybuddha
’s favourite actor, an achievement that I’m sure would have meant a lot to him, and it’s because of uber-cool performances like this. Grant has a very special combination of Hollywood leading man good looks but mixed with more than a dash of Jack Lemmon style loveable loserness. If the content on the disc is to be believed, THE AWFUL TRUTH is the first movie that Grant mastered what would become his trademark persona, and that it was Leo McCarey who helped create it with him. Irene Dunne is an excellent foil for Grant as they exchange rapid fire banter and excellent physical comedy moments.; Dunne’s reprisal performance of “My Dreams Are Gone With the Wind” is the funniest moment in the movie, Dunne ballroom dancing with Bellamy is the second. Although dialogue is certainly a highlight, the movie also contains some great silent movie style set pieces, many centered around the talented Mr. Smith aka Skippy the wire-fox terrier. Excellent blu-ray, a must buy!
FLESH + BLOOD from @eurekaentertainment
First time watch. Paul Verhoeven’s interpretation of a medieval, sword and sorcery film is about as far away from the like-genred films of the 80’s (EXCALIBUR, KRULL, LEGEND etc) as you can get. Where the mainstream approach was fantasy, family-friendly fare, Verhoeven brings his unique blend of controversial subject matter and turns FLESH + BLOOD into an 18-rated, boob heavy, gore heavy exploitation movie. It’s doesn’t all come together for me but its certainly a thrill ride
When a gang of medieval mercenaries are betrayed by an evil king, they take revenge by kidnapping the king’s son’s bride-to-be, raping her and forcing her to become one of their troop. They follow the religious ramblings of a holy man that travels with them and the random commands of St. Martin lead them to hole up in a castle while war, plague and revenge hunt them down
This is one of those cases where the hard work put in by the good people at @eurekaentertainment
helped me assign some meaning to the general carnage on display here. I was ready to give this around a 4/10 rating, but by diving into some of the essays and supplemental features included on this disc I was able to understand some of the messages in the film that I didn’t get on initial viewing (the fact that they didn’t translate from the film is evidence that the storytelling isn’t great here.) I was really struggling with the characters as they are presented to us; who are we supposed to get behind and root for, if anyone, and who are the villains. Rutger Hauer’s Martin is the leading man, he is the focus of most of the film, but he’s too rapey and violent to be anything but loathsome. In fact, most of the men in this film have similar character traits, Stephen being the exception but he’s only in ¼ of the movie and is a total sap. View this film through the eyes of Jennifer Jason’s Leigh’s Agnes and it gets a bit more interesting – does she ever really have feelings for any of these fellas or is she just doing what she must to survive. So, I think this is ultimately about survival, unfortunately cinematic meaning is lost under the mass of sex, nudity and violence.
Top 12 of 2018 (based on UK release dates)
Okay here is the highly anticipated list. I've done my best to rank all the films I've seen released with year on my Letterboxd. If you're interested you can find the full list at https://boxd.it/1s7HC
Let me know what you think!
Below are the films I've not managed to catch up with yet, but I'm sure could feature high on this list once I do:
FIRST REFORMED, SHOPLIFTERS, BURNING, ZAMA, COLD WAR, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, THE RIDER, 120 BPM, LOVELESS, CLIMAX, SUPPORT THE GIRLS, A FANTASTIC WOMAN, MINDING THE GAP, APOSTLE, BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING THIS EVENING, UPGRADE
#blurayjunkie #bestof2018 #bestmovies2018 #top10films #bluray #bluraycollection #blurayshopping #cineworldunlimited #cinematrip
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER from @indicatorseries
After all, a lot of people are going to think we are a shocking pair!
Well it’s the weird middle period between Christmas and New Year, and the touching, socially conscious filmmaking of Stanley Kramer feels like the perfect thing to fill the gap. I’ve seen this film a couple of times before and my overwhelming memory is that the last ten minutes are so powerful and well-performed that they left me a tearful mess on both occasions. It’s a full-blown love story disguised and sold as a controversial film about interracial relationships, and it’s a great way to keep the special Christmas glow going
Sidney Poitier is visiting the white, middle-class, liberal family of his new fiancé, Katherine Houghton, for the first time. Despite the confidence of Houghton’s Joanna her parents are stunned to meet Poitier’s Dr. John Prentice as they discover he is a black man. Dr. John asks Joanna’s parents, played by the fabulous real-life couple of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, for their blessing before he flies to Switzerland with Joanna for a speedy wedding. The movie is about the decision-making process undertaken by Tracy and Hepburn, and eventually Dr. John’s parents too, as they wrestle with their personal politics, ethics and the emotions of their children
The tackling of racial issues is clearly what makes this such an important film and a film of its time, but it isn’t really the element of the film I like the most; in fact, some of the racial elements haven’t dated that well. The relationship between Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn is amazing in this movie, especially when you learn a little bit more about their off-screen relationship; an easy task if you own this @indicatorseries
blu-ray as the extras and booklet are excellent. Tracy and Hepburn had been a couple for 25 years when this film was made, but Tracy was very ill at the time of filming and both knew this would be his last performance – making the final scenes of this movie, and Hepburn’s teary-eyed reactions, completely remarkable and painfully moving to witness
Would love to see this on a double bill with GET OUT as the second movie!
PARIS, TEXAS from Axiom films - 8/10
First time watch, and another one inspired by the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19; a great way to encourage yourself to get through that ever growing watchlist! This is not only my first viewing of the classic PARIS, TEXAS but actually my first Wim Wenders film too. I think this is probably Wenders’ most famous and revered movie as well as holding a massively positive reputation with both European and American cinephiles alike.
The late Harry Dean Stanton is Travis Henderson - a mute, scrappy-looking man who we meet wandering aimlessly across the Texan landscapes, his brain frazzled by the sun, seemingly without any memory of who he is or where he’s going. When his brother, played by the underrated Dean Stockwell, finds him and takes him back to Los Angeles Travis is reunited with his 7-year-old son Hunter, who he seemingly abandoned 4 years earlier. From here the movie is a family drama centred around Travis’ attempts to reconnect with Hunter as the two of them go back on the road to track down Hunter’s mother, Jane.
For the first 2 acts I was kind of waiting for this thing to impress me, to live up to its glowing reputation. I was certainly enjoying the tranquillity and care of the story telling, Robby Muller’s cinematography is stunning throughout, and Harry Dean’s performance is excellent (even more poignant after his death last summer). Then, in the 3rd act, Travis finally tracks down Jane. These two actors work with Wenders to create one of the most affective and astounding conversations in cinema, as Travis finally fills us in on what happened 4 years ago and in doing so gives the proceeding 100mins of film a stinging context. The 3rd act, including the ending which I understand has a few haters including HDS himself, is masterful. I think the ending is perfect as Travis’ sacrifice mirrors the sacrifice Jane herself was forced to make 4 years earlier, in a movie all about connection, loss and redemption. Heart-breaking last 2-3 minutes. I’d also like to throw some credit Hunter Carson’s way – child actors can easily take me out of the movie, especially when so key to the plot, but Carson is really a natural.
MIDNIGHT COWBOY from @criterioncollection
Uh, well sir, I ain't a f'real cowboy. But I am one helluva stud
First time watch. John Schlesinger’s 1970 Academy Award Best Picture winning MIDNIGHT COWBOY is one of a few American films to which the birth of the Hollywood New Wave of the 70s is accredited. With its preference for character and performance over plot, its deviation from linear narrative standards and its frankness in presenting taboo themes, MIDNIGHT COWBOY is a fantastic representative of the style of the best director-driven American movies of the decade
Jon Voight, in the role that made him famous, is John Buck - a Texas stud naively dreaming of making it big in New York City as a male escort to wealthy women. As the pressure of the big smoke, the isolation it brings, and his own stupidity start to weigh heavy on his shoulders he befriends Dustin Hoffman’s Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo, a nickel-and-dime con-man from the Bronx, and the two form an unlikely bond as grime and poverty threaten to bury them forever. As the duo’s situation becomes more perilous, the friendship between them becomes stronger and they scrape and claw for the opportunity to escape to their Floridian paradise
The reality presented in the movie is its most entertaining element and much of the praise must go to Voight and Hoffman who both put in excellent, committed performances as very difficult, often troubled characters. Voight’s starry-eyed cowboy is so effective because he can hint at loneliness and trauma in Joe Buck while presenting his energy and kindness in the same moments. Hoffman clearly does a great job with the physicality of Ratso, the accent the limp etc., but it’s the stutters in his delivery and the way he looks at Buck that makes the final scenes so heart-breaking. Schlesinger’s portrayal of seedy New York, although probably much less shocking today than in 1969, is still tangibly gritty and bleak and hopeless, with fascinating characters around every corner – an exaggerated view of the USA from an opinionated British-born director is a wonderful playground for this tragedy to play out in
Presentation on this disc is class. Loads of cool extras included!
BLACK BOOK from @101.films
I never knew this would happen. To fear the liberation
Paul Verhoeven brings his unique blend of sexual content, overt violence and social satire to the Nazi spy movie genre. Perhaps that’s not an obvious fit but one that works itself into an entertaining movie with plenty of memorable moments, some great character actors and an excellent central performance from Carice Van Houten
Van Houten starts the film as Rachel Stein, a Jew in hiding with a strict Christian family in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII. When her attempted escape into Belgium ends in tragedy, she works with the Dutch resistance to infiltrate the regional Gestapo headquarters as Ellis de Vries and infiltrates the underpants of SS officer Ludwig Muntze. Ellis plays super spy caught between her affection for Muntze, the political and personal motivations of the resistance and her own crusade for justice against the forces that murdered her family. To recap the entire plot is nearly impossible as this thing twists and turns all over the place with most characters changing motivations and allegiances at least once, but often more
It’s weird to think that a movie that deals with the most intense period of Jewish persecution at the hands of Nazi Germany can be described as good pulpy entertainment… but really that’s what Verhoeven serves up here. At 145 mins it’s not a short film yet it zips along at a ridiculous pace with so much narrative crammed in. Van Houten is the glue that holds this all together and her performance rightly launched her career stateside, where she’s now probably best known for her role in GAEM OF THRONES. The film ends up having an exploitation feel to it at times especially with the sex and nudity that’s included, see topless Van Houten being covered in shit and piss, which can be slightly jarring given the horrific reality of the time period. For me, I would rather have done away with 2/3s of the plot and cast and focussed much more on some specific characters, as we rarely learn anything about who these people are and what’s driving them on
are doing some excellent work with their black label range and this is no exception!
SHERLOCK JR from @eurekaentertainment
My very first attempt at watching and learning about the classic silent comedies of the early 20th century and it couldn’t have gone better. I’ve been taking part in the @letterboxd
Season Challenge 2018-19 for the last ten weeks and it’s opened me up to many cool films that I might not have watched otherwise, and also some absolute dross but let’s not focus on that. This week’s challenge was to watch a classic silent comedy, a somewhat daunting task given the legendary status of the main payers in this genre coupled with the fact that I’ve never seen a second of any of their work before
I turned to the SilentOlogy website, who have a fantastic article on where to start with silent cinema. Their recommendation was to start with comedy, specifically Buster Keaton and specifically a selection of his short films to build up to watching Sherlock Jr as the first full-length feature (although still only 45 mins). So, thanks to @eurekaentertainment
for putting out both a wonderful collection of all Keaton’s short films and then an equally impressive boxset of his best-known features and making it easy for me to follow SilentOlogy’s instructions. I binged THE SCARECROW, ONE WEEK and THE GOAT amongst other shorts before settling down to finally watch SHERLOCK JR
At 94 years old, the most remarkable thing about SHERLOCK JR is that it still genuinely shocked and amazed me. Keaton is one of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen; from his dead-pan, pained, subtle facial expressions, to his ability to perform the most nuanced sleight of hand and skill (see pool table scene here), to his ridiculous, risky stunt work. I’m sure people would be put off by the age or the style of silent cinema, but the hard-work, imagination and innovation on show here is truly magical and puts many modern CGI messes to shame. So glad I’m on board and rolling with Buster and still have more of the boxset to watch next!
Letterboxd Challenge - https://letterboxd.com/bmilot56/list/the-letterboxd-season-challenge-2018-19/
Bluraybuddha Letterboxd profile - https://letterboxd.com/LukieBabie/
SilentOlogy website - https://silentology.wordpress.com/