Rate The Last Film You Watched

Jul 29, 2012
18,474
3,789
Belfast, Ireland
Haven't posted here in a while, may as well as dump my latest film thoughts (Che: Part One and The Wind That Shakes...were re-watches) -

The Nightingale (2019)


The latest film from Jennifer Kent, the director of the Babadook (which I have not seen yet). It's a period revenge drama set in Van Diemen's Land, later to be named Tasmania, in 1825.

The plot concerns a young Irishwoman called Clare, now living in penal servitude. In addition to the regular duties/hard labour imposed by her criminal sentence, Clare also works as a servant for the local British officer Lt. Hawkins and sings as a form of entertainment for the soldiers. She is subject to both the hardship of penal labour, and the indignity of being leered at and harassed by the British soldiers. However, despite the tough existence Clare at least has some solace in her husband Aidan and baby daughter. However, things very quickly become even more bleak. Clare is raped by Hawkins and then, in a separate incident gang-raped by his men. Her husband, who tried to pick a fight with Hawkins is shot dead and their infant child is brutally killed. After her story is met with disbelief by the local authorities, Clare ventures into the wilderness, along with an Aboriginal guide called Billy, in order to seek her revenge against Hawkins who is travelling to Hobart to seek a promotion....

The first thing is that this film is up there with Come and See (1985) as one of the most brutal and relentlessly violent films I have ever seen. In the opening 30 minutes or so there are three extremely graphic rape scenes, a murder and a brutal infanticide. It is extremely tough to watch, and there were some seriously horrified people in the audience. However, this obviously serves to set the tone for the rest of the film and it is extremely effective. I won't go into spoiler territory but as the story continues there are also graphic scenes of horrific violence against the Aboriginals (including a further rape scene). There is a rhythm to the horror and it does not let up.

However, the violence is not gratuitous despite awful it is. As a historian by training I was curious about this, so I did some brief reading into the subject. As it happens, Van Diemen's Land was "a particularly terrifying colonial outpost" in which "a culture of terror shaped early colonists' lives, pysches and behaviour". Punishment against convicts was harsh and desensitized the local white populace to violence, whilst there were horrific acts of brutality committed upon the native population (Benjamin Madley, 'From Terror to Genocide: Britain's Tasmanian Penal Colony and Australia's History Wars', Journal of British Studies, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Jan., 2008), pp 77-106).

It is not a simplistic film though. While Clare is clearly the wronged protagonist, she also displays several negative characteristics. Although she is Irish, she is just as racist towards Billy (her aboriginal guide) as the British imperialist. She initially treats him as a lesser sub-human and repeatedly calls him "boy" while she barks commands at him. In a sense, although she is a convict from another colonised people and thus marginalised within the Imperial state she is also, in a sense, complicit in that imperialism. Although, the film doesn't delve too deeply into that implication it was still intersting. Over the course of the film, Clare does change her attitude towards Billy (whose real name is Mangana) as the two bond over their traumatic experiences and memories, as well as their commonalities as two colonised peoples and shared hatred of the British. Billy/Mangana speaks in Palawa kani at several points throughout the film, which is a reconstructed Aboriginal Tasmanian language, while Clare speaks in Irish. There is a particularly good scene in which Billy sings a native song, and Clare responds by singing one as gaeilge.

I will say that towards the final third of the film it perhaps suffered from some pacing issues...but on the whole it was an excellent revenge thriller set within the context of 19th century British Imperialism.

Che: Part One (2008)


The first portion of Steven Soderbergh's epic about Che Guevera (funnily enough). I have these on DVD from when I was younger and probably just thought Che was cool. So I finally rewatched now that I am more film literate, as it were. It has something of a mixed reputation but despite some drawbacks I find it to be a fascinating film. Part One covers the Cuban Revolution, while Part Two covers Che's failed attempts to bring the revolution to Bolivia and his death there. By only rewatching Part One there is a lot missing, I feel it works best as a single film...but I have seen the second part previously and much of the same things apply (although there are some crucial stylistic differences too).

Can't go any further without saying how spectacular Benicio Del Toro is as Che (and the actor playing Castro is also excellent). He inhabits the character such that even though he is a hugely well known actor, you almost feel like at points that you are watching footage of the real Guevera. Some may be put off by the style employed by Soderbergh (if not by the length). It is far from a straight-forward biography. There are two broad narratives; the planning of the revolution in Mexico City, then it's execution in Cuba (all shot in colour) and alongside this narrative there is separate scenes of Che following the revolution in the USA, speaking at the United Nations (shot in black and white). Structurally the film does not follow a straightforward linear pattern but rather moves between the two fluidly. Even within the narrative of the revolution itself, it progresses in order of course, but freely jumps ahead through time - at one point we are with Che has they are on the boat from Mexico, then suddenly a year ahead we find Che suffering from a asthma in the depths of the jungle. At different stages we also hear voice-overs from Che himself (Del Toro reading from his Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, or quotes from Che being interviewed by an american journalist) transposed over scenes from the revolutionary campaign.

So it's not a straightforward biopic nor a coherent story of the revolution as a whole, but neither is it necessarily a film which thoroughly explores Che as a cultural icon. I think people expecting either of those things would be disappointed. It's something more like 'scenes from a revolutionary life', particular snippets of Che's story and particular moments from the revolution, shot in a documentary style, forming a larger puzzle which provides some insight into the day-to-day reality of a guerrilla campaign. The style is extremely naturalistic, like a documentary as I said. Instead of explanation we simply watch the action unfold. Action acts as explanation. For instance, there is no introduction to the events which made Che a committed revolutionary (we join things in media res) nor is there an easy exposition into the revolution itself - for instance it's pre-conditions or the conflicting/competing revolutionary and leftist groups - but much of this is drawn out through action and dialogue. There is also a tension between the action itself and the various voiceovers and interview scenes in which ideas and thoughts are articulated - theory vs action. I have seen some complaints that the film is boring. Certainly it doesn't move at a fast pace. The momentum generated by something like a gun battle will be deliberately halted by quiet scenes of Che preparing his speeches for the UN and the like. But I feel that it contains its own particular rhythm which is well suited to its portrayal of the long guerrilla war. Until the final lengthy climax in the Battle of Santa Clara, the action largely occurs within the rough confines of the Sierra Maestra mountains in 1958 and Che: Part One is probably about as close as a big Hollywood film can come to depicting genuine guerrilla warfare. It works even better when the successes of Part One is tempered by the utter failure in Bolivia portrayed in Part Two.

The Battle of Algiers (1966)


One of the best films I have ever seen. Gillo Pontecorvo depicts the Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s in an incredibly vivid and naturalistic style. Working with almost exclusively non-professional actors the film depicts the escalating violence of the conflict with documentary precision. As you would expect both from the time in which it was released and as a film from Pontecorvo it is very sympathetic to the Algerian cause (and rightly so). However it's far more than a simplistic anti-French, anti-imperialist film, though it clearly does come from an anti-imperialist perspective. The Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) are the good guys in the sense that they are "on the right side of history". They are portrayed as being forced to turn to armed struggle, in the form of terrorism, as a consequence of oppression by the colonial state and the actions of the Pied-Noirs (the European settler class in Algeria). However, it is far from a simplistic black and white portrayal. This is probably what makes it such a brilliant film, along with the visual style.

The FLN have the weight of history and of morality on their side, but this does not mean every action they take is legitimate, or at the very least their actions are not purely praiseworthy. For instance, they "clean up the streets" of the Casbah ghetto by getting rid of drugs and prostitution, acting as the moral judges of the Algerian people. In a sense this is praiseworthy as the French colonial state had implicitly allowed this continue. However we also see the human cost of this, as a poor alcoholic is shown being set upon and beaten by a gang of angry youths. Likewise the French are not presented as a purely evil colonial force. This is mostly represented in the character of Colonel Mathieu, the man in charge of the Paratoopers brought in to quell the situation. He uses tough but effective tactics to dismantle the FLN, but he is also an articulate humanist and a veteran of the French Resistance who is respectful of the Algerian fighters. In his actions and words he clearly articulates the French colonial mindset - 's it legal to set off bombs in public places?... No, gentlemen, believe me. It is a vicious circle. We could talk for hours to no avail because that is not the problem. The problem is this: the FLN want to throw us out of Algeria and we want to stay.The problem is this: the FLN want to throw us out of Algeria and we want to stay...' [and in the '50s there was a strong consenus in favour of crushing the FLN rebellion, even from many on the left], 'We are here for that reason alone. We are neither madmen nor sadists...We are soldiers. Our duty is to win'...'Therefore to be precise, it is my turn to ask a question. Should France stay in Algeria? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences.'

The film is in essence a treatise on the use of political violence. Pontecorvo shows how the tactics used by the FLN: assassinations, bombs, gun-battles and general strikes, and those by the French in response: barbed wire checkpoints and harassment (frequently involving racial profiling), martial law, and especially the use of torture, all play a part in a spiral of violence and counter-violence. After an increase in FLN shootings, the French plant a bomb in the Casbah (the poor Algerian quarter) indiscriminately killing several innocent Algerians in their sleep. In response the FLN uses women to plant bombs at Air France offices, a cafe, and an ice cream bar popular with young pied-noirs. In a sense the FLN violence is seen to be a legitimate and necessary strategy, but close-ups of the victims faces complicate this somewhat by reinforcing the human cost. At the very least it avoids glamorising the violence. Ultimately the FLN are defeated in the Battle of Algiers. Mathieu's brutal tactics are successful. However, the film of course does not end with this. In the climax we see how a couple of years later a mass revolt breaks out which ultimately succeeds in bringing about Algerian Independence in 1962. With this the film seems to suggest that the FLN acted as a revolutionary vanguard and set the stage for the popular rebellion. Ultimately Pontecorvo also questions the use of torture and repression in fighting against colonised peoples, particularly in the long-term although it may bring short-term victory.

The authenticity of the film is striking. Saadi Yacef, a real FLN leader even co-produced the film and plays a character modelled on his own experiences. It wasn't intentional that I watched this so soon after rewatching Che, I had been meaning to watch it for a while (particularly after having watched Operacion Ogro, a later film by Pontecorvo) but in it's style it's clearly one of the films whose influence can be seen strongly in the likes of Che.
 
Jul 29, 2012
18,474
3,789
Belfast, Ireland
Land and Freedom (1995)


Ken Loach film about David Carne (played by Ian Hart), a young Liverpudlian Communist Party Member who joins the republicans to fight Franco in the Spanish Civil War. When he first arrives in Spain Carne falls in with the POUM (an anti-Stalinist communist party) and their small militia. Initially we can see a strong spirit of solidarity on the republican side from civilians and fighters alike (for example a ticket inspector lets Carne off without a ticket because he has come to fight). We follow Carne throughout the film as he slowly becomes more experienced and learns the ropes within the Republican movement, eventually becoming a hardened fighter. There are some early successes by the POUM Militia at defeating the Fascists and initially things seem positive. However, the main focus of the film is on the in-fighting amongst different Lefitists and the way in which this debilitates the overall Republican war effort. There is an excellent scene in the middle in which the taking of a town - a big victory - quickly descends into an intense and heated ideological debate amongst those arguing for radical reform and communisation of land, versus those who argue for a more restrained approach. It is a very powerful and effective scene, which sets up the final third in which we see the Republicans fighting each other nearly as much as Franco. There is pressure from the Stalinist/Comintern aligned majority faction to re-organise the Republican forces into a "proper" professional army. Initially Carne joins the International Brigade (he is after all a Communist Party member, and believes it is the best way to keep a united front against the Fascists). However, Carne eventually becomes even disillusioned entirely due to the things he witnesses. The repression of the POUM by the Stalinist elements within the Spanish Left is the crux on which the film turns. It is therefore a kind of tragedy, in which Stalinist repression and internecine fighting amongst the Republicans played a huge part in preventing a Fascist victory. All in all, a nicely simple and well-told story which carries a strong emotional message. It's a wonder that more films haven't touched on the Spanish Civil War in all honesty.

The framing device used for the story is that of Carne's death as an old man, alone in his flat (with National Front and Anti-National Front graffiti spray painted on the walls outside, connecting the struggle to more recent times), his letters and various other papers from the time are then discovered by his granddaughter with the events unfolding as a kind of flashback. At Carne's graveside, she reads a William Morris poem she found in Carne's papers gives a close-hand salute perhaps suggesting hope for the future of the struggle.

The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)


It tells the story of the Red Army Faction from 1967 to 1977. The RAF were, of course, a German Left-Wing terrorist organisation which saw itself as taking up armed struggle in order to combat anti-imperialism and a resurgence of fascism within the West German state. The film charts the rise of the group from its origins in the late 60s to the dramatic events of the "German Autumn" in the late 70s. As the name suggests it primarily follows the key figures, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof from the foundation of the group, through their increasingly violent campaign until their eventual arrests. The final part of the film focuses on their hunger strikes and then controversial suicides (or not, as supporters argue) in prison.

All told it was a decent film. An interesting take on the subject matter. Unlike some films about similar topics and groups, this one was, on the whole, an extremely negative portrayal of the RAF. However, at the same it does manage to portray the various social and political factors which created the RAF and groups like them. At the beginning we see a crowd of young Leftist students protesting the state visit of the Shah of Iran being mercilessly set-upon and beaten by German police. In the chaos a young student - Benno Ohnesorg - is shot dead. Events like this served as fuel to the fire that was spreading around Europe at the time. Visually the film really drives home the brutality of the police, it is a very effective scene. This specific German setting is also placed well in the broader context of anti-imperialist movements, student protests and Left-wing nationalist terrorism and/or armed campaigns worldwide - American Civil Rights, the Protests of 68, Che Guevera, Algerian Independence, the Vietnam War, the PLO etc. etc.

It is hard not to sympathise with these elements, and it's this which prevents the film from becoming a one-sided polemic against the RAF. Ultimately it condemns them, but it also seeks to understand them and how they originated. One point on this is that the film does an excellent job of getting across the swinging 60s context out of which they emerged. Gudrun Ensslin is portrayed as hip and sexy, strutting around in a mini-skirt, while Andreas Baader is a cool and edgy figure of rebellion, together they are almost like a Bonnie and Clyde pair. It's easy to see how they struck and alluring figure for young, radicalised Germans.

That word in the title - complex - is extremely apt. At it's core the film is a psychological interrogation of the group's members and their mindset. While I would say the film is sympathetic towards the social movements and contexts out of which the RAF arose, it is extremely critical of the members themselves and their almost pathological desire for violence. They are not presented as possessing any kind of particularly astute theory of revolution. For Ulli Edel, the director, it is simply an almost childish need to act and lash out which drives them. Andreas Baader may strike a cool and alluring figure on the surface, but he is no Che Guevera...more like an angry, jumped up criminal who has found a cause to direct his anger towards. Ultimately the members of the group become so wrapped up within their superficial ideology that practically any act of violence can be legitimised, however horrific. The film portrays this complex as leading to an ever-spiraling cycle of violence and paranoia.

Carlos (2010)


It's a film which tells the story of Carlos the Jackal, real name Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, one of the most infamous Left-wing terrorists of all time. Unfortunately couldn't find a copy of the full five and a half hour film, so had to make do with the 2hr45 version (it has also been released as a three part series, and a much shorter version for the yank market). Nonetheless it was an outstanding film. It tells the story of Carlos - a Venezuelan Marxist-Leninist - from his early days in 1973 as a raw recruit of the of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), through to his eventual capture in Sudan and extradition to France in the 1990s.

It operates both as an effectively tense thriller and psychological study of the 'terrorist as celebrity'. I say psychological, but the film makes no cheap attempts to explain Carlos's internal thought processes per se, nor is there any outright denunciation of his political analysis. Where the film is especially critical is in it's depiction of Carlos as essentially a narcissistic pyschopath. Whatever the political analysis which originally drove him to join the PFLP and commit to armed struggle (and as I say this is not necessarily criticised on a fundamental level, though obviously neither is it praised), with his increasing fame comes an ever-growing ego. Carlos is portrayed as being motivated as much by a desire to fuel his own celebrity as by a deeply-held political conviction. There is one scene early on which exemplifies this. After having committed one of his early attacks, we see Carlos admiring his naked body in the mirror...in this element I would say there are obviously some similarities to the Baader-Meinhof Complex (2008), which I recently watched as well, but this is a much better film.

However, as much as it is a character study of one man, it also does an excellent job of portraying the wider political world of the time, ie. the political and sociological context which allowed a figure like Carlos to emerge and operate. Through Carlos' life and various stops around the world it brilliantly shows the geo-political context in which the Palestinian armed struggle was able to draw support from other Arab countries (though not all of course) and from the Soviet Bloc; as well as the manner in which radical Marxist-Leninist ideals were impacting Europe (Red Army Faction and their links to the PFLP, Italian Brigate Rosse etc.), and obviously South America (where Carlos was from after all) through the 60s until the 80s. As the Cold War melts, the world moves on and the socio-political context which created Carlos melts with it. With the fall of the Berlin Wall the entire political situation is so radically altered that Carlos finds himself increasingly isolated and unwanted. As the film progresses through the decades Carlos moves from an almost glamorous, terrorist-chic to a disheveled and hunted figure. With his eventual capture by French authorities, it seems that time has finally left Carlos behind.
All in all an excellent film, I will have to watch the full length version when I can.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006)


One of the best Irish history films without doubt, hell one of the best history films in general.

It is honestly a close to perfect depiction of the War of Independence and Irish Civil War. Unlike the ridiculously Hollywood-ised, historically inaccurate Michael Collins it takes a micro-cosmic look at the period rather than a grand narrative and as a result it does a far better job portraying the reality despite the use of entirely fictional characters - two Cork brothers Damian and Teddy.

Teddy is the commander of the local IRA unit whereas Damien starts off as a skeptic of the republican movement, intending to leave for England to follow a career as a Dr. However, through his experiences of British repression Damien's latent Nationalism is converted into direct support for the IRAs armed struggle....

The film perfectly depicts this spiral of violence. Starting from IRA arms seizures on small village RIC barracks, to the assassination of crown forces leading to reprisals on the Irish civilian populace, in turn leading to further support for the IRA (though it not in all cases in real life it should be noted). The film then later shows the high-point of the conflict which saw large scale operations by what are popularly known as flying columns who carried out guerrilla style ambushes on the British Army and Auxiliaries and then melted back into the countryside. That's the theory anyway; the actual extent and operational effectiveness of these columns varied greatly from region to region, but in some areas they did indeed carry out a number of attacks exactly like the one depicted in the film. For instance, the Clonfin Ambush, or the Kilmichael Ambush (probably the most famous, and as the film is set in County Cork the one it is probably modeled on). The one in the film is depicted brilliantly.

The British forces are the bad guys in the film. Of course. I have to laugh at the Little Englanders that were triggered when the film came out. There was an overwhelming diplomatic mandate for an independent Irish Republic and the British forces (the RIC, Black and Tans and the Auxilaries) were suppressing this. However, despite the depiction of British brutality and repression it does make attempts to explain their mindset. One officer, when confronted by Damien, screams "...that is not my responsibility, I am just a solider sent by my government.....these men fought at the Somme!!!". Likewise, the IRA men escape from prison with the help of some other British soldiers, they aren't portrayed as purely evil.

Ultimately the film is not a simplistic narrative of the Irish vs the Brits. It also expertly portrays the various tensions within the Republican movement, primarily those between the IRA units themselves and the local instruments of Dáil Éireann such as the courts; as well as the conflict between radical elements within the IRA and more conservative types . In theory the Volunteers/IRA were under the control of the Dáil, but in reality this was not the case (in fact the Dáil didn't actually declare the IRA as the official army of the Republic until 1921, not long before the truce was signed). When the IRA leadership goes against the decision of a Dáil court because the exploitative businessman in question has been providing a source of funds for rifles, it leads to an an intense debate between the more radical Marxist elements within the movement and those who argue for a purely pragmatic approach to drive the British out. This debate scene, coming in the middle of the film, really made me think of Loach's Land and Freedom which I had not seen when I first watched this.

As much as it's a film about the IRA 'defeating' the Brits and obtaining independence (and it can simply be watched/read on this level as many choose too), I believe Loach also intended it to be read as a film about the way in opportunities for real change provided by the Irish Revolution were ultimately never fulfilled. The Truce and the Anglo-Irish Treaty of course does not lead to a 32 county socialist republic, but a 26 county free state within the Empire...others choose not to accept this - because they demand more radical change (ie. along the socialist ideals of the Republic declared in 1916) and because they are not happy with the symbolic oaths of allegiance to Britain and so on... This of course leads to the brutal Irish Civil War (which saw more bloodshed than the War of Independence). It is here that the narrative device employed by Loach - ie. focusing on the two brothers - comes into play especially. Teddy is pro-Treaty, while Damien - not even in the IRA at the start, but radicalised by his experiences - is anti-Treaty. Both men now find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict, with tragic consequences.

A truly marvelous film which does an incredible job of portraying the entirety of the conflict in microcosm. Without ever mentioning names like Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera or Cathal Brugha, and through a small localised lens it manages to tell the story of the Irish Revolution in all it's complexity.
 
Jul 29, 2012
18,474
3,789
Belfast, Ireland
Last night I watched

Vampyr (1932)



Was in the mood for something to remove the bad taste left from that utter, utter shite that is episode 3 of the latest BBC adaption of Dracula. Had thought of rewatching either of the two versions of Nosferatu (1922 or 1979), but as brilliant as they are I have seen before so opted instead for a film I had downloaded a couple of years ago but never got round to.

The first ever "talkie" (ie. film with sound) from Carl Theodor Dreyer, Vampyr is a film about...yep you guessed it, a vampire. It is a fascinating horror film, albeit a very strange and unusual one. It obviously dates from around the same time as the original Dracula film with Bela Lugosi (in fact I believe the release of Vampyr was delayed to allow for Dracula to premiered first the year before). Both are films about Vampires, released only year apart, yet tonally they couldn't be any different. Dracula is pure Hollywood camp, with a straightforward plot and a easy to follow style. Vampyr is a dark, enigmatic film with a somewhat confusing storyline in which the lines between the real and imagined are entirely blurred. The plot, such as it is, concerns Allan Gray, a student of the occult who arrives in the eerie village of Courtempierre and soon finds evidence that the place is under the sway of a vampire... It is not a straightforward narrative, but the story itself is a loose adaption of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's collection of Gothic tales In A Glass Darkly, which are actually incredibly interesting because they predate Dracula by over 20 years (and by another Irish writer, interestingly enough!). The story makes similar use of Vampiric folklore, including stakes through the heart and so on.

However, I would say the main strength of the film lies in it's impressive use of imagery and atmosphere to create a pervading sense of unease. The cinematography, the use of angles, effects and so on are all incredibly effective at creating a particular mood and tone. At points a bit opaque and confusing, it ultimately leaves an uncanny and disconcerting impression. According to Dreyer he "wanted to create a waking dream on screen and show that horror is not to be found in the things around us but in our own subconscious." I would say he was successful....
 

AntG

Scaredy Bat
Nov 16, 2012
3,309
2,431
Lancashire
The Godfather Part 3

Nowhere near as good as the first two films but then nowhere near as bad as some people would have you believe.
 
Jun 10, 2013
4,205
2,992
Last night I watched

Vampyr (1932)



Was in the mood for something to remove the bad taste left from that utter, utter shite that is episode 3 of the latest BBC adaption of Dracula. Had thought of rewatching either of the two versions of Nosferatu (1922 or 1979), but as brilliant as they are I have seen before so opted instead for a film I had downloaded a couple of years ago but never got round to.

The first ever "talkie" (ie. film with sound) from Carl Theodor Dreyer, Vampyr is a film about...yep you guessed it, a vampire. It is a fascinating horror film, albeit a very strange and unusual one. It obviously dates from around the same time as the original Dracula film with Bela Lugosi (in fact I believe the release of Vampyr was delayed to allow for Dracula to premiered first the year before). Both are films about Vampires, released only year apart, yet tonally they couldn't be any different. Dracula is pure Hollywood camp, with a straightforward plot and a easy to follow style. Vampyr is a dark, enigmatic film with a somewhat confusing storyline in which the lines between the real and imagined are entirely blurred. The plot, such as it is, concerns Allan Gray, a student of the occult who arrives in the eerie village of Courtempierre and soon finds evidence that the place is under the sway of a vampire... It is not a straightforward narrative, but the story itself is a loose adaption of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's collection of Gothic tales In A Glass Darkly, which are actually incredibly interesting because they predate Dracula by over 20 years (and by another Irish writer, interestingly enough!). The story makes similar use of Vampiric folklore, including stakes through the heart and so on.

However, I would say the main strength of the film lies in it's impressive use of imagery and atmosphere to create a pervading sense of unease. The cinematography, the use of angles, effects and so on are all incredibly effective at creating a particular mood and tone. At points a bit opaque and confusing, it ultimately leaves an uncanny and disconcerting impression. According to Dreyer he "wanted to create a waking dream on screen and show that horror is not to be found in the things around us but in our own subconscious." I would say he was successful....

Great movie... I reviewed it previously in this thread, though not in quite so much detail.

https://www.checkhookboxing.com/index.php?threads/rate-the-last-film-you-watched.101/page-597#post-3727663
 
Reactions: Matty lll

kf3

Jul 17, 2012
5,090
2,603
South London
rurouni kenshin

watched all 3 this week, fucking good.

i didn't really care about it because i like the cartoon a lot but was recommended so i gave it go.
plus = good acting/casting and has the right ending that the cartoon story didn't.
bad = couple corny action scenes/shots, lacked the comedy of the cartoon which takes a dimension away from all the main characters and their relationship(all 4/5 of them not the kenshin/kaoru love story).

they didn't explain why he looks so young, is because magic n shit, it don't really matter for the film but would have bothered me if i didn't know it.
 
Jul 6, 2019
1,830
2,053
30
Mrs Doubtfire :lol:

Still holds up. Very broad comedy, but is still fun. Gets too schmaltzy towards the end though.

Weirdly, they keep referring to Mrs Doubtfire as English, despite the fact that Williams is doing an accent that is vaguely Scottish if anything.

If you want to rewatch then you better do it soon, it will no doubt be banned for being transphobic before long.
 
Reactions: NSFW
Jun 10, 2013
4,205
2,992



The Prestige

Not only is this clearly Chris Nolan's best film IMO, but I'd say it's THE best film of the past 2 decades and one of the best of all time.

I don't think I've ever seen a movie more gripping from start to finish - despite a run-time in excess of 2 hours, the brisk pacing and unceasingly tense atmosphere never fail to keep me glued to the TV. In addition to Nolan's fantastic directing, the movie is also driven by powerhouse performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale (plus a little eye candy from Scarlett Johansson :hey ). There's so much underlying depth and complexity to this movie as well - I've seen it dozens of times, and yet every time I do, I still pick up on something I hadn't noticed before.

And the tagline on the above poster is ACCURATE in my case - I watched it TWICE in the same day when it first came on TV. I'll always regret that I declined the chance to see it in theaters.

Rating: BestMovieOfThePast2Decades/10.
 
Jul 6, 2019
1,830
2,053
30



The Prestige

Not only is this clearly Chris Nolan's best film IMO, but I'd say it's THE best film of the past 2 decades and one of the best of all time.

I don't think I've ever seen a movie more gripping from start to finish - despite a run-time in excess of 2 hours, the brisk pacing and unceasingly tense atmosphere never fail to keep me glued to the TV. In addition to Nolan's fantastic directing, the movie is also driven by powerhouse performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale (plus a little eye candy from Scarlett Johansson :hey ). There's so much underlying depth and complexity to this movie as well - I've seen it dozens of times, and yet every time I do, I still pick up on something I hadn't noticed before.

And the tagline on the above poster is ACCURATE in my case - I watched it TWICE in the same day when it first came on TV. I'll always regret that I declined the chance to see it in theaters.

Rating: BestMovieOfThePast2Decades/10.
Haven't watched this since it came out.

I liked the film but wasn't keen on the ending.
 
Jul 6, 2019
1,830
2,053
30
Not sure why, but I get The Prestige mixed up with The Illusionist.
Came out about the same time I think and both feature magicians. Prestige is the better film if I remember correctly.

One of those weird Hollywood coincidences where a raft of similar movies come out at the same time.
 
Reactions: NSFW

BigBone

Sugalowda!
Jun 13, 2012
11,661
2,195
Tycho Station
Doctor Sleep (2019)



Who the fuck watches a movie with that title? Check box office: no one. Is it a dream themed animated flick? A bedroom romantic comedy? Astral plane comic book adaptation? Nope, it's.... wait for it... the positively and unexpectedly awesome The Shining (1980) sequel which is the most pleasant cinematic surprise of recent times. I don't give a rat's anus about the original novel or if this is based upon one, the title is still silly, the point is: Kubrick's horror is cinema masterclass not to be tempered with.

Which is why it's so good to say this movie, barring the horrible title, pays homage but more importantly works entirely on its own. Far from perfect, yet 3 hours of the director's cut came and gone, it's visually very solid, has plenty of gore and disgust, some chilling moments and a solid villain in Rebecca Ferguson. It does not go as meta as the original but also isn't a fan service which good. My only gripe is the lack of a certain cameo. :( Other than that, and not the exactly picture perfect finish, this movie (not going to say the silly name) comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
 
May 25, 2013
6,684
3,140
Mrs Doubtfire :lol:

Still holds up. Very broad comedy, but is still fun. Gets too schmaltzy towards the end though.

Weirdly, they keep referring to Mrs Doubtfire as English, despite the fact that Williams is doing an accent that is vaguely Scottish if anything.

If you want to rewatch then you better do it soon, it will no doubt be banned for being transphobic before long.
Knowing how Hollywood loves a remake they'll probably redo Mrs Doubtfire but instead of him simply cross dressing they'll have him transition fully to a woman, lol.
 
Reactions: Bob Weaver
Jun 14, 2012
13,828
6,410
Doctor Sleep (2019)



Who the fuck watches a movie with that title? Check box office: no one. Is it a dream themed animated flick? A bedroom romantic comedy? Astral plane comic book adaptation? Nope, it's.... wait for it... the positively and unexpectedly awesome The Shining (1980) sequel which is the most pleasant cinematic surprise of recent times. I don't give a rat's anus about the original novel or if this is based upon one, the title is still silly, the point is: Kubrick's horror is cinema masterclass not to be tempered with.

Which is why it's so good to say this movie, barring the horrible title, pays homage but more importantly works entirely on its own. Far from perfect, yet 3 hours of the director's cut came and gone, it's visually very solid, has plenty of gore and disgust, some chilling moments and a solid villain in Rebecca Ferguson. It does not go as meta as the original but also isn't a fan service which good. My only gripe is the lack of a certain cameo. :( Other than that, and not the exactly picture perfect finish, this movie (not going to say the silly name) comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
It's the name of the sequel book to The Shining.
 
Reactions: BigBone