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> Cinemexperience: part deux., Some more filums you saw.
maian
post Aug 21 2010, 10:14 AM
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I love Adventureland. I wasn't that surprised by it, though, since I a) hadn't seen the trailer and so couldn't be misled and b) had heard a lot about it from people I knew in the U.S.

Waitress (2007)

It's a great credit to the warmth, energy and love of life that bursts out of Adrienne Shelley's final film that I didn't find myself thinking about her tragic death all the way through (though one line said in relation to her character, Dawn, did strike me as very sad in retrospect). Keri Russell is radiant as a Jenna, a waitress trying to escape her boorish husband (Jeremy Sisto), first by entering a pie-baking contest, which is permanently derailed when she discovers that she is pregnant, then through her relationship with her doctor (Nathan Fillion). At the same time, she talks to her friends at work - played by Cheryl Hines and Shelley - and they all try to muddle through as best they can.

There were times when it threatened to become an Indie-by-numbers quirk fest - the first time Jenna started to imagine making a new pie to suit her mood I found it quaint, but a bit annoying as the film went on - but Shelley always snaps the film back by focusing on the small town desperation that Jenna is trying to escape through those flights of fancy. It's almost as if she's forcing the story to focus, so the digressions and the embellishments just add flavour to the story, without completely overwhelming it.

It also helped that Keri Russell is a terrific actress who can play Jenna as both the hopeful optimist who thinks that salvation is just a couple of dollars away, and as the steely-eyed depressive who views her unborn child as an albatross around her neck that will keep her tied to her awful husband for all of her life if she can't get out now. Played by a lesser actress, the two sides of her character could have felt jarringly incongruous, but she shows us that they come from the same place - the desire to be free.

Really funny, moving and real, even in its moments of fairytale realisation (such as the classical music and rapidly spinning camera that are employed whenever Russell and Fillion kiss). It's not a perfect film, but it's indicative of a strong, distinct voice that was beginning to flourish, and was silenced too soon.

Edit: I did find the casting of Andy Griffith quite odd, since the film did seem to be mocking the sort of humble small town values that he spend much of his career quietly celebrating, but I suppose the fact that the film is at least partly about the way in which we save ourselves through our friendships is in keeping with the tone of much of his work. He also probably really relished the chance to be a real (fake) bastard.

Spellbound (1945)

Alfred Hitchcock psychological (or psychiatry-based) thriller starring an impossibly gorgeous Ingrid Bergman and a frightfully young Gregory Peck as a doctor at a mental hospital and the new chief who she falls in love with, respectively. It quickly becomes apparent that Peck isn't all he seems to be, and Bergman tries to help him figure out who he really is, and whether he has been involved in a crime, using psychiatry.

The Salavador Dali-designed dream sequence has justly been singled out as the most striking part of this film. It's a glorious piece of free association that recalls the eeriness of Un Chien Andalou (complete with a giant paper eye being cut in half) but with a considerably higher budget. It's woven into the plot of the film quite well, with the strange, disconnected images forming clues to the larger mystery, but just as a single squence it's really great and, in its disorientingly straightforward approach to the wooziness of dreams, seems to predict the work of David Lynch a year before he would be born. Maybe he was conceived after his parents watched a screening of Spellbound. It'd explain an awful lot.

The rest of the film is good but doesn't really distinguish itself from the other films Hitch was doing at the time. It's no Rebecca, Notorious or Shadow of a Doubt. However, it's good fun, moves fast and the two leads are engaging and managed to keep me invested even as I found the outdated view of psychology really distracting.

The Illusionist (2010)

I'm going to write a proper review for BOP, but for the moment I'll say that it wasn't what I was expecting, I loved it, and I found it to beautiful and melancholic and in a way which borders on the profound.

This post has been edited by maian: Aug 21 2010, 10:19 AM
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logger
post Aug 21 2010, 02:58 PM
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I love Waitress.

Doctor Zhivago

Lawrence of Arabia for girls. I mean this only in the most complimentary way of course, where Arabia reduces the epic to the existential, this reduces it to the personal. No wonder my mum loved it.

I have a question for people more familiar with it, when Rod Steiger rapes Julie Christie the screen goes black and it jumps to straight after. Obviously this is a fifty year old film so it wouldn't have been gratuitous but it seemed a little butchered for somebody like David Lean and I wondered if it had been cut for tv as it was being shown in the afternoon.
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sleeping_pirate
post Aug 22 2010, 10:49 AM
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I knew I would love this, and it didn't disappoint. Fantastic storyline, great characters, and some truly heartbreaking moments. Loved it.
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Ade
post Aug 22 2010, 11:03 AM
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The Damned United

Cloughin' excellent. That Michael Sheen's a chuffin' chameleon, in't 'e? Great supporting cast too. While I enjoy the occasional sports themed flick, I've never been one for those of a soccer bias for some reason, but the excellent performances alone keep this thoroughly engaging throughout. Well worth a punt.
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Kick in the Head
post Aug 22 2010, 11:18 AM
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QUOTE (logger @ Aug 18 2010, 11:44 AM) *
Mother

I'm a big fan of Joon-ho Bong's previous two films so I was really interested in seeing this, although I was also a little bit wary because of a synopsis I had read, which turned out to be pretty wrong in fact, (Spoilered, wrong synopsis just in case you don't want any idea about the films plot - A mother discovers that her son has murdered someone and has to decide whether to tell the police or cover it up), and had made me think it would be really heavy going. I was surprised then to find not only was the plot different but that it was actually as funny as it was. It is also at turns tragic, tense and creepy. Joon-ho is an exceptional director and is not only able to set up scenes that are comparable to Hitchcock, Lynch and even Kubrick but is also able to seamlessly blend them into each other, where a scene can start out funny, then full of suspense, turns to repulsion and then return to comedy creating a strange mix of responses that comes across like a dream. Add this feeling to a plot that is full of twists and turns and the viewer is literally left not knowing what to expect next and while this is one of the films great strengths it is also its main problem as it seems to get a bit lost in the third quarter and things become a little stretched before it tightens up again for a fitting conclusion.

As you'd expect from him, it looks great and you can see the extra money that has gone into this kind of film following the success of The Host. And a lot of praise should go to Hye-ja Kim who gives an absolutely brilliant performance at the center of the film, more than equal to the demands of the story. I don't know how accurate a portrayal of small town Korean life it is, sometimes it feels a little forced but that could just be how things are. It's also a bit uneven at times but there is so much good in there that this is easily covered up and if you want to see a funny, moving examination of the absurdity of despair and devotion then you won't go far wrong here.



There are a lot of new films out this week, but I too would highly recommend Mother. Superb.

Air Doll - what sounds like the set-up for a goofy Hollywood sex comedy (inflatable doll comes to life) is in fact in the hands of director Hirokazu Koreeda (director of Nobody Knows and Still Walking) one of the most moving and strangely beautiful films I have seen in a long time, and certainly one of the best to come out of Japan in a while. "Sex Toy Story" may be a glib throwaway summation at first, but it certainly mirrors some of that franchise's melancholy, and themes of abandonment and neglect, with elements of Pinocchio and Amelie as well. At times funny, at times unsettling, at times poignant, Air Doll is buoyed by an exquisite central performance from Korean actress Bae Doona (The Host, Linda Linda Linda, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance), with wonderful music from one of my favourite Japanese musicians, World's End Girlfriend. Ultimately, it's a 21st century fairytale about the loneliness of modern society, the objectification of women, and the nature of humanity.
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logger
post Aug 22 2010, 12:13 PM
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QUOTE (Kick in the Head @ Aug 22 2010, 12:18 PM) *
Bae Doona

I like her, I'll have to check this out.
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Zoe
post Aug 22 2010, 03:01 PM
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'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

Good stuff. Intriguing mystery with interesting leading characters, and it didn't feel like a TV show (which is tough for 'detective' fiction like this).

The sexual violence was very well dealt with - as well as it possibly could be - and in context I felt it was justified.

I look forward to the next part of the trilogy.

Isn't Daniel Craig too good looking to play Blomkvist in the remake? It's going to change the whole nature of their relationship.
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maian
post Aug 22 2010, 03:08 PM
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In the book he's a bit closer to Craig than he is Michael Nyqvist, but he's not the most handsome man in the world or anything.
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Zoe
post Aug 22 2010, 03:13 PM
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I liked that he wasn't handsome, if he was handsome it would change my perception of how he gains her trust etc.
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maian
post Aug 22 2010, 03:24 PM
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It suits the story much more. I suppose they could make Daniel Craig look a bit more schlubby (think Matt Damon in The Informant!) but they might see it as counter-productive to have the star hide his star quality. Also, you can't really do that much to hide the fact that he's Daniel Craig. Unless they make him wear a mask or something.
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mcraigclark
post Aug 22 2010, 05:19 PM
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9

A scientist invents a machine that makes other machines, and that's meant for peaceful purposes. The machines turn against humanity, mankind is destroyed. Little living burlap rag dolls are all that's left, and they have to find a way to combat the machine in order to survive.

It's very dark and surprisingly beautiful.
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monkeyman
post Aug 22 2010, 05:24 PM
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Been meaning to watch that. Really liked the design aesthetic from screenshots/the one trailer I saw.
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maian
post Aug 22 2010, 05:36 PM
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It is really good.*

I'm seeing Mother on Tuesday after work. I'm really looking forward to. Between then, I've got to get Manderlay, Days of Being Wild and Woodstock watched. I think I'll watch Days of Being Wild this evening, since it'll probably be a tad more upbeat than Manderlay, and a good deal shorter than Woodstock.





*Disclaimer: I have only seen the first 45 minutes, at which point the super shitty Blockbuster DVD my friend rented crapped out, so I don't know if it stays as good as the first half.
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Hobbes
post Aug 22 2010, 05:37 PM
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Adventureland was OK, but I wish it'd stopped trying to ram how cool it was down my throat. After a while it became an unstoppable torrent of references to Lou Reed which made me want to hit things. Films that are actually cool don't have to try and be, this was an example of a movie trying to be too cult.

Also, between getting with Kristen Stewart and Emma Stone in other -land suffixed Zombieland, Jessie Eisenberg has got a really goos gig going at the moment. And he's in The Squid and the Whale. Whadda guy.

QUOTE (maian @ Aug 20 2010, 12:02 AM) *
Anyway, it's not like she's Mandy or anything.


It's amazing to think a guy as good at creating fantastic characters as Sorkin could create such an intolerable sack of crap. At least he had the foresight to dump her after one series: she couldn't handle the dialogue anyway. Fitz, on the other hand, is fantastic. When he gets killed later on, it was genuinely upsetting for me.
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maian
post Aug 22 2010, 06:01 PM
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I don't think that Adventureland was trying too hard. I thought that it was an honest representation of who Greg Mottola was at that point in his life and the Lou Reed stuff was indicative of the music-obsessed teenager that he would have been. I know that if I wrote a film based on my teenage years, it'd be crammed full of references to The Smiths and The Pixies. Not because I wanted to appear cool, but because that was the stuff that I thought about and cared about more than was healthy.

West Wing stuff:

For me, the problem with Mandy wasn't so much Moira Kelly, who I think is a good actress who did a decent job with what she was given, but that she was clearly intended as a character who was meant to question the more wide-eyed members of the administration and act as an antagonist from within the core group and, after a while, that just got dull. It worked at the beginning because she ruffled a lot of characters' feathers, particularly Josh's, but as the first season went on, and you realised that she would have been with the administration for about a year, it just didn't make sense for her to be so obstinate. It was an unashamedly idealistic show about people who liked each other working together to do the best they could for their country, and her negativity meant that she never fitted into the dynamic. (This is the very same reason why I hate what the show did with Toby in later seasons, as indeed does Richard Schiff. His treason, well-intended or not, didn't fit into who he was or a character and wasn't at all in keeping with the way the show worked.)

Also, all credit for Sorkin for realising that potential relationship between her and Josh had nothing on the sexual chemistry between Josh and Donna. One of his great skills as a television writer was that he understood the evolutionary nature of the medium, and accepted that if something wasn't working then you should ditch it and focus on what does.

This post has been edited by maian: Aug 22 2010, 06:07 PM
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