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Cinema, 2019--The Future Has Arrived

Literary Snobs

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Jan 2, 11:21am Top

Watched our first film of 2019, Lynne Ramsay's "Ratcatcher".

Powerful and authentic look at lower middle class life in Glasgow in the early 1980s.

Takes no prisoners, never a false moment.

Highly recommended.

Edited: Jan 2, 11:16pm Top

Saw Malila: The Farewell Flower by Thai director Anucha Boonyawatana. "A man returns to his old village to care for his ex-boyfriend, who has been diagnosed with cancer." The film had high artistic aspirations but didn't quite deliver. I was impressed by the director though.


Also saw recently Dragon Inn, a 1967 by King Hu. This is a cheesy martial arts film in the Criterion Collection about swordsmen intervening to protect children of an executed General in 1457 China. It felt a little bit like a spaghetti western. The basic structure of the plot was solid but then specific situations were resolved so sloppily it was hilarious. The pace of the film was great. There was a fight about every 10 minutes. Lots of fun.


Edited: Jan 4, 9:12am Top

This looks interesting, anyone familiar with the guy?

“Artists in LA discover the work of forgotten Polish sculptor Stanislav Szukalski, a mad genius whose true ... they find him living in obscurity in an LA suburb”. Ripped off description of the flick. Link to trailer below.


Jan 4, 9:27pm Top

I've had my eye on that doc, which is currently featured on Netflix.

Weird, eccentric artists? Count me in...

Edited: Jan 5, 10:57am Top

Just got back from seeing "2001: A Space Odyssey" on the big screen at the Imax and I think, at last, my knees have stopped shaking.

What a film experience. I've seen "2001" at least 20 times but never in a theater so this was one special moment.

Now I've seen both Tarkovsky and Kubrick on the big screen now and my opinion of both directors has grown exponentially.

P.S. Sherron, who fell asleep both previous times we watched "2001" together (never making it past the "Dawn of Man" sequence), stayed awake throughout and was very, very impressed.

Jan 5, 4:57pm Top

>5 CliffBurns: Did you spot the one shot that didn't work in 70mm?

Jan 5, 5:25pm Top

Robert, I did not. I admit I might have been too twitterpated by the whole experience.

I was especially curious to see how the model/spaceship shots would stand up and they still looked amazing.

Jan 6, 11:49am Top

For my money, the one shot that didn't work was the one of the lunar shuttle approaching the Moon with one limb of the Moon illuminated. It was pretty clear to us that the Moon image matted in was a photograph, and whilst possibly the best Kubrick could get in 1967-8, was never intended to be blown up to IMAX size.

But that was the only one. And that was the amazing thing, especially when you think that some of the early CGI spectaculars are getting to look a bit tired now from beginning to end. (Apollo 13 is a prime example.)

The carousel still blows me away (as Kubrick intended it to). Keir Dullea runs around the carousel and we all think "Wow!" And then, just to show how much control Kubrick has over his processes, Dullea runs around it AGAIN. The fact that I know how it was done doesn't take away from the experience. And that (like the EVA pods) wasn't just a set; it was built by a major UK aerospace contractor (who probably considered it to be a useful practice run for future spaceship contracts).

Nonetheless, I still think the most prophetic line in the whole film was a throwaway one early on. When Heywood Floyd phones home from the space station, he asks his daughter (actually Kubrick's daughter - think about that!) what she'd like for her birthday. Her first request is "A telephone", to which Floyd replies "We have lots of telephones."

Spot on. I'm a single man in a one-bedroom flat and I have three.

Edited: Jan 6, 1:19pm Top

Dang! I signed up for the email alert when either the 70mm film or the imax was going to be available in my area but I have not seen a response. I saw the original with all the bells and whistles and it was great. Link to the original poster/ad for the movie in my area.


Edited: Jan 6, 1:18pm Top

#8 Ah, yes, Sher and I both remarked on that shot on the way home (an eight-hour round trip, just to see a movie).

And, like you, I was amazed by how well the film still stands up.

There are little moments, like when the early human is crouching amidst animal bones and then appears to...hear something. His eyes change as he gazes at the scatter of bones. Slowly, tentatively, he reaches out, plucks up one of the heavier pieces and...

Also, a nice scene with Bowman, after HAL locks him out--he recognizes the futility of arguing, comes up with the only possible solution, knows it will be dangerous tactic but is determined to try it anyway. His expression resolved, yet reflecting his dread of what he must do.

Jan 6, 1:20pm Top

#9 I have the movie poster hanging right over my desk--the Pan Am rocket leaving the space station. Iconic.

Edited: Jan 6, 1:33pm Top

Oh yeah, are you sure about the IMAX being larger than the original screen? The screen I saw the original on was huge and curved slightly if memory serves. Ah my link is to the newspaper ad for the movie in my city $2 or $1.50 !

Jan 6, 1:51pm Top

...shot in Cinerama.

Sherron and I found the screen size almost overwhelming, it was hard to take in everything within the frame.

The 70mm print was old, imperfections and scratches, but we didn't mind a bit.

Jan 9, 10:44am Top

Watched "My Brother's Keeper" on Netflix, a documentary about four daft brothers who lived together on a remote farm in New York state. One of them is discovered dead, which sets off a chain reaction of investigation, arrest and trial.

Well worth the 90 minutes we spent in its company.


Jan 12, 1:04am Top

Plugged in Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" tonight.

Cynical, timeless, a ruthless American reporter exploiting a personal interest story, with tragic results.

Kirk Douglas is admirably slimy.


Jan 15, 12:29am Top

"The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid"--disappointing 1972 western by uber-director Philip Kaufman.

Contrived and unimpressive, despite his later credits.

Two letters sum it up: P.U.

NOT recommended.

Jan 19, 1:54pm Top

Watched a wonderful, original movie last night.

"The Aerial" was made in Argentina and we were completely enamored with its style and quirkiness, little homages to silent film classics. A very David Lynch-ian feel to it and fans of Guy Maddin will also find much to like.

Highly recommended and currently playing on Netflix.

Edited: Jan 24, 7:21pm Top

I saw the movie “White Boy Rick”, a kid who sold drugs/guns and worked as an FBI & police informant starting at 14, mentioned in an earlier post:


The movie was convincingly gritty but the online article mentioned {link below} still stunnned me more - maybe the outrage diminishes with repetition. As far as I know Rick is still in prison in Florida according to the movie while the person who shot him has been out for years and is advocating for Rick’s release.

The Trials of White Boy Rick by Evan Hughes

Jan 26, 12:11am Top

"Blindspotting" tonight.

A buddy movie set in the rough streets of Oakland. A promising first 3/4 but the film gets too contrived and preachy in the last ten minutes.

Worth a look.

Jan 27, 12:24pm Top

Fascinating documentary last night: "Three Identical Strangers", a true story of triplets who were separated at birth and raised in three different homes. The tale of how they get together is cool...but then things get weirder and darker as they begin to realize the reason why--

Well, no spoilers.

Check this one out, it's a dandy.

Jan 29, 12:35am Top

Upon the recommendation of my action-oriented older son, I watched "The Raid: Redemption" tonight.

Not my usual cup of tea, a mixed martial arts-oriented film set in an residential tower controlled by a crime lord, the police sent in the clean things out but the situation goes awry...

Fantastic stunt work, lightning fast editing, but this is pure fluff and entertainment to an old curmudgeon like me.

Still: worth noting that the same director, Gareth Evans, is also involved with "The Apostle", an intriguing horror film currently playing on Netflix...

Edited: Jan 30, 12:34am Top

Saw Children of Men by Cuaron. Had never seen it but got curious after seeing Roma. I found it both great and exasperating. The premise is moving, the environment fascinating, the plot never never stalls. The plot is so full of holes though, specially towards the climactic scenes. Situations are not believable even within the context of the movie. The acting is awful. Sometimes it feels like Julianne Moore is thinking "I can't believe I'm saying these stupid lines."

Jan 30, 1:53am Top

Michael Haneke's "Happy End" tonight.

Fantastic film, powerful and convincing.

Wonderful from the first frame to the last.

HIGHLY recommended.

Feb 5, 10:27am Top

Bertolucci's "The Conformist" last night.

Stylish, intelligent, filmed by the great Vittorio Storaro.

What more could you ask for?

Feb 8, 10:28am Top

Great piece on legendary screenwriter Ben Hecht:


Something tells me he and I would've gotten on well...

Feb 12, 12:18am Top

Watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind during the polar vortex for the first time since it first came out. The special effects were not as impressive but then again I didn't see it at the theater, and am not 12 yrs old. (I kept thinking of 70's rock arena concerts). Some details are a little bit sloppy. (That mother just gave up on the child way too easily when the aliens were pulling him away.) The images are so gorgeously composed though, and the story telling is exciting as always. That final section is still provokes wonder. Gotta like 70's Spielberg.

Also watched Dr. Zhivago recently. Gorgeous imagery, epic story telling. Nothing sloppy about this one. Many scenes remind you that is a very abridged version of a much richer story. The ending is a bit hurried. Kept wondering how a story like this would be received these days of political correctness. Should have seen this one during the summer, too much snow. Great movie though.

This weekend A Letter to Momo by Hiroyuki Okiura was a bit of a disappointment. The animation was great and the characters had a lot of potential but it just didn't amount to much. Metropolis by Rintaro was based on a story by Osamu Tezuka. For the first 15 to 20 minutes it was pretty impressive, a kind of Fritz Lang meets Blade Runner meets Les Miserables. Gritty, art deco, and epic. Unfortunately the movie is 147 mins and by the end it is just a a big cheesy mess.

Speaking of aliens:

Feb 12, 1:09am Top

Watched Cuaron's "Roma" tonight and we loved it.

The actress playing the housemaid, Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), is a revelation, but the entire ensemble is excellent, even the kids, and both of us were very taken with this small, personal film.

Highly recommended.

Edited: Feb 12, 1:54pm Top

My wife and I got to see "Roma" in a San Francisco movie theater and thought it was terrific.

Also, Peter Jackson's reworking of historic World War I footage into the documentary, "They Shall Not Grow Old," is astounding.

In addition, a recent, powerful viewing that comes to mind is the documentary about Nina Simone, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" from 2015.

Feb 12, 2:07pm Top

I'll put that Peter Jackson flick on my "To Watch" list.

Edited: Feb 12, 6:00pm Top

>29 mejix: I saw Dr. Zhivago when it was first released in CinemaScope 70 mm film at the same theatre I saw 2001.

As I remember it the film opens with a train zooming across the screen showing the Doppler effect as it speeds from right to left towards and then away from the screen.- made the audience nearly jump from their seats as the stereo system sound followed the train .

Anyone who says I teared up {as a sub teen boy} at the end of the film is a liar. Cinematography was stunning though out the flick, especially for the times I guess.

Roma is on my watch list, waiting for a good time to view.

Feb 12, 6:11pm Top

What I remember most about "Zhivago" is that awful fucking theme music ("Lara's Theme"), played ad nauseam throughout the film.

Personally, I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than watch it again, in 70mm or otherwise. Ponderous film, one of Lean's worst.

That one and "Sound of Music" will be the double bill I'll encounter when I'm finally consigned to hell for my various sins...

Edited: Feb 13, 5:17pm Top

Well, Cliff, you've managed to diss two of my mother's favourite films, but I'll let you off. I was taken to see them numerous times in my childhood, and they probably made a great impression on me (and explain much). The scene in Zhivago where the train is sidetracked to allow the Great Bolshevik General's personal armoured train past, and as it thunders across the frozen steppe there's a reveal to show that said General is a character we last saw an hour ago getting wounded on the Eastern Front - at that moment, I wanted to be that Great Bolshevik General and thunder across the frozen steppe in my own armoured train!

(The railway scenes were mainly filmed in Spain, oddly enough, including that one; though some were done in Finland, I understand.)

OTOH, especially when l've watched the film in more recent times, the final scene "And what does your boyfriend do?" "He's an Operator." "And what does he operate?" "THIS!" (Cut to footage of Great Soviet Engineering Miracles, No.55: the Hydro-Electric Power Station, accompanied by the most surgingest of surging iterations of the film's main theme) now strikes me as very much of a nod to Soviet social realism and a bit of a sop to the real achievements of the Russian people after nearly four hours of a novel that was banned by the authorities, and more than a bit obvious.

As for "Sound of Music", don't get me started on that film's crimes against historical accuracy (or geography, for that matter). A key example of the wilful re-imagining of Maria von Trapp's personal history.

Feb 12, 8:13pm Top

>33 DugsBooks:
I can't remember if I saw in the theater when it first came out, but yeah this is definitively a movie for the big screen and stereo!

>34 CliffBurns:
I love the theme song but it does stick to your brain. Hehehe

>35 RobertDay:
Yeah, that's another thing, some scenes felt very "movie made during the Cold War."

Feb 13, 10:15am Top

Watched another gem on Netflix last night, an Italian film called "Happy as Lazzaro".

Odd, quirky (things I love in a movie), with a dash of magical realism.

This one will definitely make my year end "Best of..." list (along with "Roma").

Feb 20, 12:34am Top

"First Man" tonight.

Convincing and powerful depiction of first moon landing.

The space flight scenes are stunning, I would've loved to have seen this one on the big screen. Excellent foley sound effects, in particular.

Superb effort, highly recommended.

Yesterday, 10:41am Top

A triple bill last night:

"Nightfall", a noir film directed by Jacques Tourneur. A little over an hour long, not a minute wasted. Seen it before but still fun (available on YouTube).

"Red Stuff", a documentary on the early Russian space program. Some terrific archival footage but otherwise only so-so.

"Starman", a doc on Yuri Gagarin--again, footage I'd never seen before but the film itself is merely okay.

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