2022: The Movies We Love (...and not so much)

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2022: The Movies We Love (...and not so much)

1CliffBurns
Jan 10, 2022, 11:46pm

First film of the year, Roy Andersson's "Songs From the Second Floor".

Brilliant.

Hints of Tati, Beckett and Keaton. Absolutely original and bizarre.

Available for free viewing on YouTube (if someone doesn't take it down in the meantime).

HIGHLY recommended.

2iansales
Jan 11, 2022, 3:04pm

Have seen the trilogy. Definitely worth seeing. Very odd, though.

3CliffBurns
Jan 12, 2022, 11:51pm

Tonight, a wild and wacky documentary on the making of one of the worst films ever, "Island of Dr. Moreau", starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.

Richard Stanley was slated to direct the 1996 film but circumstances and his two troublesome stars scuttled the production, causing New Line Cinema to bring in John Frankenheimer to take over. Things go from bad to worse and, well, you just have to see the doc to believe it.

Available on YouTube for a couple of bucks and well worth the investment of time and money.

4CliffBurns
Jan 22, 2022, 12:02am

Sherron's away visiting the grandkids so it was action movie night at Casa Burns (she hates car chases and shootouts).

Latest Bond film "No Time To Die".

Dear God, this film seemed longer than "Gone With the Wind" (possibly longer than the Civil War). It just went on and on...and, yup, there were extended chase scenes and shoot-em-ups but nothing that really got the heart racing. Its excessive length worked against the suspense.

Got it from the library and it didn't cost me a dime. A bunch of "Bonus" features, but I decided to give them a pass.

5RobertDay
Jan 22, 2022, 9:07am

>4 CliffBurns: If your disc was like mine, the "bonus features" hardly amounted to thirty minutes' worth. This seems to be a trend; time was when special features on a major release could be almost as extensive as the main feature. Now? A few "made for the web" ten-minute teasers at best. Poot.

6CliffBurns
Jan 28, 2022, 11:23pm

Tonight another great Roy Andersson film, "You, the Living".

I love this guy's stuff. Perplexing and fascinating and surreal.

Highly recommended.

7CliffBurns
Feb 3, 2022, 12:00am

Watched Jim Jarmusch's alt-western "Dead Man", starring Johnny Depp and a host of excellent supporting players.

The movie is odd, disembodied; not altogether convincing but definitely compelling...up until the last twenty minutes or so, at which point it drags like a sack of anvils.

Recommended...with reservations.

8CliffBurns
Feb 4, 2022, 12:40am

Classic noir tonight, Robert Wise's "Born to Kill".

This is one of the films Guillermo del Toro cites as an influence for his recently released neo-noir flick, "Nightmare Alley".

Tough and grim, with Lawrence Tierney as a cold-blooded killer and Claire Trevor as a woman eerily drawn to him.

Perfect noir ending.

Highly recommended.

9CliffBurns
Feb 9, 2022, 1:46pm

"Yojimbo", directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Classic cinema, a film that deserves its formidable reputation.

Very western feel to it and Toshiro Mifune is excellent, as always. The accompanying documentary was pretty good too. God bless Criterion Films.

10CliffBurns
Feb 10, 2022, 10:38pm

Went out for a date night movie tonight, first one since "Dune".

Sherron and I saw Kenneth Branagh's "Belfast". She liked it more than I did; I found it rather sentimental and unbelievable but she defended the film by saying it was told from a child's point of view.

I'll give it 3 1/2 stars out of five. Ciaran Hinds and Judi Dench were both wonderful, deserving of their Oscar nominations.

The movie itself is not.

11CliffBurns
Feb 21, 2022, 12:00am

Sherron's away so it was action movie night tonight. Watched "Nobody", directed by Ilya Naishuller--recommended by my oldest, who loves fight films and shoot 'em ups.

As far as these things go, it was all right. It really benefited from some unorthodox casting--Bob Odenkirk as an ex-assassin? Christopher Lloyd as his gun-toting father?

Entertaining fluff.

12CliffBurns
Feb 27, 2022, 10:58pm

Peter Bogdanovitch's "They All Laughed".

Romantic comedy? Tribute to old style Hollywood films?

Either way, it didn't work for Sherron and I. Contrvied, dewy-eyed, ridiculous. Not even the great Ben Gazzara could redeem it.

Please note, those of you who think Quentin Tarantino has any notion of film aesthetics: he called this one "a masterpiece".

Nope.

13CliffBurns
Mar 9, 2022, 12:03am

Take it from Sherron and I, Guillermo del Toro's "Nightmare Alley" is just as good as you've heard.

Saw it tonight and it was marvelous.

14CliffBurns
Mar 28, 2022, 2:12pm

On a whim, I rented "I Married A Monster From Outer Space" from YouTube and Sherron and I enjoyed it.

For a 1958 schlocky SF film, it has some real tension and director Gene Fowler handles the material with dignity and respect.

Only $3.99 to watch, a fun popcorn movie.

15DugsBooks
Mar 31, 2022, 12:21pm

>13 CliffBurns: Yep, want to see that flick soon! I really liked Pan's Labyrinth.

16CliffBurns
Mar 31, 2022, 3:29pm

"Nightmare Alley" is del Toro's best film thus far. Even better than "Pan's Labyrinth" (in my opinion).

Currently reading the novel the movie was based on and, man, it is grim stuff. It makes me appreciate Del Toro's adaptation all the more.

Just a hint: the author killed himself in a hotel room in the 1950s, dying an alcoholic, alone and all but forgotten.

17CliffBurns
Mar 31, 2022, 3:31pm

Our 1950s SF film series continued last night with "This Island Earth".

Impressive effects, robotic acting, a fun movie to heckle. Which helped Sherron stay awake for most of it.

18CliffBurns
Edited: Apr 27, 2022, 12:47am

"Dick Johnson is Dead" tonight, a brilliant and touching documentary by Kirsten Johnson, portraying her father's descent into dementia.

Highly recommended.

19CliffBurns
Edited: Apr 27, 2022, 12:47am

"Titane" tonight--winner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Bizarre, sick, original; not without its merits but a grim ordeal at times.

Sherron gave up about twenty minutes in, but I hung in there because I'm a stubborn cuss.

Curious what other folks think of this odd beast.

20CliffBurns
Apr 29, 2022, 1:01am

"Bright Star", Jane Campion's biopic of John Keats.

Impressive, especially as Campion used Andrew Motion, who wrote a great bio of Keats, as her script adviser.

Not usually a fan of either biopics or period costume dramas but this one breaks the mould.

Recommended.

21mejix
May 2, 2022, 11:31pm

Movie night at the Mejix household had High and Low by Kurosawa, a movie that I had been meaning to see for the longest time. I couldn't get into the plot, which was intended to study very specific problems of postwar Japan. The artistry though was exquisite. The storytelling, the camera movements, the framing, all exquisite.

22Cecrow
May 3, 2022, 7:12am

"Taxi Driver" appeared on Netflix, finally got to see that. Not the ending I expected. Great performances.

23CliffBurns
May 3, 2022, 1:33pm

I've seen "Taxi Driver" a number of times (though not for some years), and it still puts the whammy into me.

There's just something unsavory about that film, a nihilism at its black heart I have a hard time accommodating.

It leaves me unsettled and sick inside, not a great feeling.

24CliffBurns
May 7, 2022, 11:02am

The trailer for the new David Cronenberg film, "Crimes of the Future":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_bbLcJAHEo

25DugsBooks
May 8, 2022, 1:24am

>24 CliffBurns: Aha!, Still looking for Eraserhead II I see…

26iansales
May 8, 2022, 5:18am

>24 CliffBurns: He used that title for one of his early films.

27CliffBurns
May 8, 2022, 11:16am

I'm not impressed by the trailer of Cronenberg's film. Seems like he's going over old ground, just with better actors.

>25 DugsBooks: I would love to hear the pitch for that movie.

28mejix
May 9, 2022, 8:18pm

The Beaches of Agnes it's a kind of autobiography on film by Agnes Varda. I had never heard about it but it had high scores on a few websites and I gave it a try. Not disappointed at all. A very original, playful film. Very idiosyncratic and full of verve. I ended up thinking that Varda is more of a conceptual artist that happens to be known for her film work. This is only the second of her works I've seen, the first one being Cleo from 5 to 7. They both leave you a sense of a joyful filmmaker.

29bluepiano
May 14, 2022, 4:11am

Watched a couple good documentaries this week: The Truffle Hunters & The Most Beautiful Boy in the World. Hunters is absolutely gorgeous-- not only the autumnal forest, where much of the film was shot, but the interiors as well are visually striking. Camera angles/perspectives, liighting couldn't be bettered. (And god knows how much useless footage there was before a doggie-cam finally caught dog's eye view of actually digging for truffles.) Beautiful Boy consistently interesting; avoids both voice-ever & inspiring/sobering emphasis of someone's touching attempts to overcome adversity gag me with a spoon and has a striking presentation, inasmuch only near the end is it revealed that yer man underwent experiences, esp. early in life, that would have made life difficult even had he not been made famous at 15.

So watched those & deleted them to make room for recording today of Teenagers From Outer Space. Oh my word: Director is also screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, SFX guy, actor and the attire of the aliens is modified unifrom of gas-station attendants.

30Cecrow
May 16, 2022, 10:01am

Some more catching up on classics I haven't seen, this time Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. That's a sad tale with some unusual turns. Gene Hackman earned his Oscar, in no small part thanks to the Richard Harris' sequence. Not the ending I would have chosen. I'm pleasantly unclear on who the heroes/villains are.

31mejix
May 17, 2022, 7:34pm

Army of Shadows by Jean-Pierre Melville. The pace is glacial, specially in the first part. Many episodes are just not believable (apparently the Nazis were as bad at shooting as stormtroopers). The 2nd half is more interesting and the ending is very strong. It has a dilemma that I found very compelling. I am surprised it hasn't been copied in other films. Overall a very good film. Like those novels that are better once they exist in your head as whole.

32CliffBurns
May 18, 2022, 11:02am

>31 mejix: Love that film, the tension that it imposes right from the initial scene.

Watch it back to back with "Battle of Algiers" and your life will never be the same.

33mejix
May 18, 2022, 9:42pm

>32 CliffBurns: Oh wow, Battle of Algiers. Haven't seen that one since college. That would be interesting!

34CliffBurns
Edited: May 26, 2022, 11:48am

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Big Bug" on Netflix last night.

Odd, of course, with a strange palette of colors. Not as enthralling as "City of Lost Children" or "Delicatessen", but a serio-comic look at a near future when intelligent A.I. decides it's going to supplant humans.

If you're a Jeunet fan, don't miss it.

35CliffBurns
Edited: May 26, 2022, 11:48am

This message has been deleted by its author.

36mejix
May 26, 2022, 1:25am

Finally got around to see Parasite by Bong Joon-Ho. Very well done, very tightly directed, well acted, gorgeous photography. Also a bit heavy handed for my taste. It's a farce after all. The excitement around the movie probably had to do more with its politics than with anything else. Good movie though.

37CliffBurns
Jul 2, 2022, 12:14am

Tonight Sherron and I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's "Licorice Pizza".

Not a huge fan of the director's, his adaptation of "Inherent Vice" is probably the film of his I like best.

"Licorice Pizza" was charming but, like so many movies these days, marred by an intrusive soundtrack that announced with every song that it was 1973. Never mind the cars, haircuts and fashions.

Better than most Anderson films, best I can do.

38CliffBurns
Jul 4, 2022, 11:10am

Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story" last night.

Sad story of two smart, talented people who just can't stay married any more. Despite best intentions, their separation becomes more and more acrimonious, especially when they both hire sharks for lawyers.

Well-acted, especially by Adam Driver, Laura Dern and Ray Liotta.

Recommended.

39mejix
Jul 5, 2022, 1:25am

Red Turtle by Michael Dudok with Studio Ghibli. The story of a castaway in a deserted tropical island and the changes he goes through. Very allegorical. No dialogue. The drawings are excellent. Very clean, very efficient, very intelligent. The story not that interesting.

Of Time and the City by Terence Davies. A kind of visual poem to the city of Liverpool, the city of his youth. Very lyrical, with lots of literary quotations combined with old footage and an exquisite soundtrack. Not sure how I feel about this one. Couldn't tell how it was organized. It was a bit repetitive towards the end. The movie has many haunting moments though, and Davies was attempting something really interesting.

Red Turtle (Trailer) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJK7gbPccrc
Of Time and the City (Full movie) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzcQvRtXnYg

40CliffBurns
Jul 25, 2022, 10:19am

I sometimes watch the Criterion site on YouTube where film makers are invited to go into Criterion's close and pick out their favorite films on DVD/BluRay and talk about them.

I started picking up some of their suggestions, including "Branded to Kill", "Mikey and Nicky" and, last night, the Maysles brothers' documentary, "Grey Gardens".

The latter details the lives of two eccentric women--both related to wealthy families--now living in a dilapidated mansion in the east Hamptons.

Fascinating character study.

41CliffBurns
Jul 30, 2022, 12:22am

An oldie but a goodie tonight, Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in "Sweet Smell of Success".

Filmed in 1957, a very dark look at the power of gossip columnists like Walter Winchell, Hedda and Louella, etc.

Beautiful photography by James Wong Howe. Noirish and very, very cool.

42Cecrow
Aug 17, 2022, 3:21pm

Finally made it a project this week to watch the documentary "They'll Love Me When I'm Dead" about Orson Welles and the making of "The Other Side of the Wind", and then the movie itself. The documentary was great, and the movie weirdly fascinating.

43CliffBurns
Aug 20, 2022, 11:41am

Watched a couple of classics while my wife is away.

"King Kong" (1933) still appeals after nearly 100 years. Quick-moving, no dialogue wasted and Willis O'Brien's stop motion photography still thrills.

"When Worlds Collide" (1951), not as good but quite a dark movie for its time with a dim view of humanity. The rocket ship on rails is fun...but the matte painting used in the closing sequence is...unfortunate.

44CliffBurns
Edited: Sep 3, 2022, 12:28am

Robert Eggers' "The Northman" tonight.

Entertaining, but nothing really new here. Pretty much a classic story arc, revenge at its core.

"Hamlet" with broadswords.

45mejix
Edited: Aug 30, 2022, 3:58pm

Licorice Pizza by Paul Thomas Anderson. Not sure what to make of this one. The directing is bold. Alana Haim is fantastic. The movie has many absolutely brilliant moments. On the other hand I didn't particularly care for the environment and I found the relation exasperating. At some point the movie became somewhat repetitive. I don't know if all these moments coalesced into something. The jury is still out.

The Bob's Burger Movie. They didn't quite know what to do with all the extra time. Some good lines here and there. Too much darkness and not enough laughter.

46CliffBurns
Sep 3, 2022, 12:28am

"Licorice Pizza" was odd--and sometimes off-putting--but overall I liked it.

Tonight we watched "Casting By", a documentary about, you guessed it, the role of casting directors (very unheralded job, there's not even an Oscar category for it).

Interviews with Marion Dougherty and numerous other influential casting directors, as well as lots of high profile film makers who praise their invaluable input.

Very enjoyable, as well as instructive.

47CliffBurns
Sep 4, 2022, 2:06am

SF cult favorite "Soylent Green" tonight (Sherron was out of town).

Haven't watched it in years and was quite impressed by how dark it was and prescient in its way.

Set in 2022, with a charming performance by Edward G. Robinson--we all know the punchline by now but...could the terrible truth revealed in the finale actually happen some day?

I shudder to think.

48Cecrow
Sep 4, 2022, 8:34am

Finished watching The Favourite about Queen Anne and Lady Marlborough. Entertaining movie, but I have mixed feelings when history gets manipulated like this. I don't trust the majority of audiences to do their homework afterward.

49BookConcierge
Sep 5, 2022, 12:11pm

Saw on TV this week one of my all-time favorite movies - Shakespeare In Love. The dialogue is just so clever and so many references to "show business" and, of course, to Shakespeare.

50CliffBurns
Sep 5, 2022, 12:23pm

"A Quiet Life", Terence Davies biopic of Emily Dickinson.

Slow-moving but realistic, though the period dialogue and mannerisms might seem over the top to some.

A very "quiet" recommendation.

51SandraArdnas
Sep 5, 2022, 4:59pm

>49 BookConcierge: My favorite among references was little John Webster and his fascination with blood and gore. Love that movie

52RobertDay
Sep 5, 2022, 5:29pm

>49 BookConcierge:, >51 SandraArdnas: But I now always think of that play with the two star-cross'd lovers as 'Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter'.

And whatever you do creatively, that film has the sound advice - "You can never go wrong with a bit with a dog in".

53CliffBurns
Sep 6, 2022, 11:34am

Last night "Everything Everywhere All At Once" by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

I know there were mixed reactions to the film, some hating it, others thinking it was the best thing since D.W. Griffith and Billy Bitzer used to hang out.

It IS very unusual; a bit hard to follow at times (the central character frequently finds herself in various personas within the multiverse), but consistent and fascinating. Sherron and I were utterly charmed by it and it will make my "Best of..." list at the end of the year.

54CliffBurns
Sep 14, 2022, 11:49am

Finally got a chance to see my most-anticipated film of last year, Ryusuke Hamaguchi's "Drive My Car", and it was well worth the wait.

Not a second overlong, even at nearly three hours--and it's that rare thing these days, a movie for and about adults and adult topics (death, grieving, guilt).

Very subdued, almost undetectable soundtrack (the way I like 'em) and every performance is first rate.

Highly recommended.

55CliffBurns
Sep 18, 2022, 1:12am

Quick plug for Miranda July's debut movie from 2005, "Me and You and Everyone We Know".

Interlinked stories, great acting...a confidently made film and, of course, she's gone on to bigger and better things.

If you haven't seen "Kajillionaire" yet, you're in for a treat.

56CliffBurns
Sep 26, 2022, 11:10am

"Coherence" last night--cool little indie feature from the States, about a get-together with friends that turns very, very weird in the midst of a passage of an mysterious comet.

Really trippy and quite suspenseful, really plays with your mind.

One of Patton Oswalt's favorite SF films.

Recommended.

57CliffBurns
Sep 30, 2022, 2:25pm

"Antlers", horror movie directed by Scott Cooper, produced by Guillermo Del Toro.

Meh.

Not an original notion in the entire movie.

58CliffBurns
Oct 12, 2022, 5:44pm

Watched the new David O. Russell film at a theater (a rarity for us) and it was...unusual. The stylized language took some getting used to and the overlong ending hurt it, but an interesting, not altogether satisfying, experience.

Also...here's a look at the mind behind the controversial psychological horror film, "Peeping Tom":

https://crimereads.com/the-complicated-life-of-leo-marks/

59mejix
Edited: Nov 9, 2022, 10:29am

Watched the animation version of My Dog Tulip by JR Ackerley. Lovely. Great drawings and the storytelling is visually clever. I suspect the book is even better.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b-CEDsZstdI

60mejix
Nov 12, 2022, 10:52am

"Museum Hours" by Jem Cohen. An Austrian museum guard becomes the friend of a Canadian woman taking care of her cousin. A meditation on art and life. Understated gem.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MqctCwhunjE

61mejix
Nov 25, 2022, 2:27am

Everything Everywhere All At Once. Kind of Matrix-ish, kind of Run Lola Run-ish. I felt that it was trying to hard. It ends up being kind of a mess.

62mejix
Edited: Dec 1, 2022, 9:14pm

The 2022 edition of Sight and Sound's Greatest Films of All Time decennial list.

https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/greatest-films-all-time

Some baffling choices, including #1. Happy to see films like Moonlight, Close Up, and Cleo from 5 to 7 included.

And don't forget to check out the Directors' poll:

https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/directors-100-greatest-films-all-time

63CliffBurns
Dec 1, 2022, 11:56pm

The Directors' poll is MUCH closer to what my final roster would resemble.

64DugsBooks
Dec 2, 2022, 12:03am

>62 mejix: neat to browse!

65mejix
Edited: Dec 2, 2022, 11:40am

>63 CliffBurns: I felt the same way, to be honest.

66justifiedsinner
Edited: Dec 2, 2022, 9:44am

>62 mejix: >64 DugsBooks: >65 mejix:

Agreed. The BFI is weird - Godfather II missing !!!.

Although, why anyone would include Mulholland Drive....

67iansales
Dec 5, 2022, 3:52am

Some good films on both lists that deserve to be celebrated, but a lot of baffling choices. Jaws doesn't belong on the director's list, The Godfather films are just not that good, and All That Heaven Allows is a much better choice for Sirk than Imitation of Life. They could have picked a better Sembene than Black Girl too.

68CliffBurns
Dec 5, 2022, 11:20am

Stanley Kubrick was wildly jealous of "Godfather"--it was everything HE wanted: a hugely successful film that was aesthetically sound. That's why Kubrick made those unfortunate casting choices: Ryan O'Neil in "Lyndon", Nicholson in "The Shining" and Cruise in "Eyes Wide Shut". He wanted a blockbuster as badly as any director.

I just finished watching the Spierig Brothers film "Predestination" and found it a surpassingly good. Normally, I avoid Ethan Hawke flicks like spitting vipers but this one had a nice edge to it.

Time travel and paradox and the inevitability of sadness.

Full marks.

69CliffBurns
Dec 14, 2022, 1:26pm

Great piece on what it was like to be an actor working with Godard:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/12/19/molly-ringwald-on-filming-shakespe...