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    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2012
    Afternoon. I'm a regular in the Book Club, and, as well as books, I'm also something of a film nut. And I just realised we don't have a general film discussion thread. So ... /clicks

    I realise this might not work too well, what with asynchronous global release windows and such, but all the same, a place to talk about arthouse, multiplex, blockbuster, independent, subtitled, silent, action, horror, cinema in all its aspects and screen ratios. Out of courtesy to those in other countries or who just haven't got around to it yet, let's keep it spoiler free.

    To start off - I went to the opening night of Martha Marcy May Marlene yesterday. I went pretty cold, and I've been catching up with the reviews today. Critical reception seems good - I've heard it described as 'enigmatic', 'a psychological thriller', and Mark Kermode called it a horror film that doesn't know it's a horror.

    I don't know if I agree with any of those labels. Parts are genuinely horrific. I found it very unsettling, and extremely well done. It's decidedly not a thriller.

    The central performance is what has drawn a lot of attention, and Elizabeth Olsen is tremendous. Considering how her character's personality has been shaped by her time with the "family", the blank numbness she uses once she's with her sister is telling - like Martha has almost been wiped away, and she can't find a personality without the family to keep her as Marcy May. I think the way it's shot, all that sunshine and flare and oversaturation, presents such a dreamy quality that fits nicely with the fragmentary ways Martha's memories are revealed. Of course, it contrasts with the nightmarish side of life at the farm.

    The ambiguous ending: what did you make of it? I haven't made up my mind yet. Martha seems such an inherently unreliable narrator that the implication that the family has found her at the lakehouse seems like only one of the possible explanations. And would she want to go back to the farm? It's not clear to me that she wouldn't. She's obviously drawn back to it, calling up in the middle of the night.

    It's definitely stayed with me, and probably will for a few more days. The last film to unsettle me this much after leaving the theatre was Kill List, which, by the way, I thought was one of the best British films last year.

    So - what have you seen lately?
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2012
    Watched Unforgiven for the first time--really good flick.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2012 edited
    @Osmosis: Good call - i was going to see if there was an old movie review thread to revive or start a new one.I like the sound of what you just saw and i've yet to see Kill List.

    It's usually just superhero adaptations that tend to be discussed (maybe because there seems to have been so many of late) and we all know what the majority of them end-up being like.I'm more interested in what people think about what's on the big-screen on W/C than some bloke going on about current releases for a few minutes after the evening news once a week on TV,for example.

    I very rarely go to the cinema nowadays unless it's something special but i know i've missed some good stuff fairly recently.And some bad...

    The last thing i went to see was Columbiana(is that what it was called?)and when it started with free-running i was all "Oh,no!"
    Anyway,i was so tired i fell asleep.Yeah,pay money to go and sit in an uncomfortable seat and sleep;some film critic i'd make.That was ages ago now i think about it.

    I have to admit i'm quite intrigued by the look of Chronicle.Hasn't it just been released?

    It would be good to hear 'bout films just come to DVD,as well.

    @Jay Kay:Unforgiven.I thoroughly enjoyed that when it came out.It was a special western and there's not many in my opinion.It felt like Clint was playing a bust-up version of most of his western characters.

    Speaking of,i was slightly tempted to buy a second-hand copy of Jonah Hex yesterday.Yeah,i know,i've heard people on hear slag it but i've not seen it.
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2012
    It felt like Clint was playing a bust-up version of most of his western characters.
    Yeah, I really liked the idea that Unforgiven Clint was the Man With No Name, thirty years on. All that young man thrill gone, and just left with the memories, the pain, the weariness.
  1.  (10477.5)
    Jonah Hex is an awful travesty. Don't bother.
    • CommentAuthorScottS
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2012
    Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows ..... was ok. I saw it just under a week ago and there are definite holes in my memory about what happened at certain points. I didn't love it, didn't hate it. It was truly just "ok".

    On the other hand I saw MONEYBALL... and as much as I hate baseball, and even though I am ambivalent about both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, I have to say... it was excellent. I really enjoyed it, beginning to end. So that's a thumbs up from me.
      CommentAuthorJay Kay
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2012
    This is probably the best part of Jonah Hex.

    You don't need to see the rest.

    Watched Snatch with my folks for the first time--loved it, both of them had problems figuring out what the fuck anyone was saying.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2012
    I wanted to see something lightweight yesterday, and took in Mission Impossible III: Ghost Protocol.

    This is the kind of movie that I thoroughly enjoy watching in a theater, and that afterwards I kind of forget about, and neither want to nor need to see again. I guess I'd lump the Die Hard movies in that category.

    I enjoyed Moneyball as well. I don't think it's the blockbuster it's made out to be, but it is a well done look at a world I know nothing about.

    I need to hunt up Unforgiven. It is run often enough on cable . . . I'd like to catch it when it airs on one of the HD channels.

    Hugo was great fun; a caring-ly made movie. Saw it in 2D, and don't think I missed anything.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2012 edited
    Definitely give a shout for Kill List - wonderful transition between modes. Properly disturbing.

    Also saw recently and really liked:
    13 Assassins - magnificent samurai morality tale.
    The Fall - swoon. Never saw this until now, an amazingly well-told fantasy adventure story with real heart.
    The Guard - Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle as an Irish copper and an FBI agent, from the writer/director of In Bruges - so good.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2012
    Oh! Yeah, The Guard was wonderful. Gleeson's character was fascinating and complex.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2012
    While it wasn't in February, last movies I watched were District B13 and District 13:Ultimatimum.

    Tl:DR version - Good action flicks if you're the type who likes lots of stunts and acrobatics plus decent enough acting. Longer review here.
  2.  (10477.12)
    I caught an early showing of Cronenberg's newest A Dangerous Method and liked it so much, I gave it a write up on my blog.

    Due to Cronenberg, I rewatched his 2002 Spider and enjoyed it all the more for the noticeable difference in his age as a director. Anyone else a Cronenberg junkie?

    I recently saw Tangled for the first time and I have to say that I just love that too - it's villains are exceptionally, unashamedly musical-theatre [so film-musicals, I suppose] and the composition is brilliant, not to mention too much about the horse.

    On another Disney related note, I saw their Atlantis for the first time and it was a really enjoyable, well-made animation. I can't say that it blew me away or that it would win any awards [don't quote me on that as I haven't checked] but it was definitely enjoyable. It's sequel however was terrible and I may never let my nieces persuade me to watch another sequel ever again.

    @ScottS - I saw Sherlock Holmes 2 [as I think of it] and loved it. I do however, dress in something akin to this everyday. [I'm the one on the right. The man. Yes, I'm sure.]

    I saw War Horse the other day and cried my chest out of its proper location. Dammit does Speilberg know how to wring humans like oversized, tear-filled, cloths. I could see every moment where he was going to pull on my strings and yet I couldn't help it - there was a moment where I was breathless with the heaving of crying and I was thankful, thankful that I'd stopped breathing for a moment because I didn't have to try and keep it quiet. Had I been in the cinema on my own, I'm sure an usher would have run in asking if there was a fire. It probably doesn't help that the same thing happened when I saw it on the stage for the first time...and I was on a date. Yeah - fuck you very much, War Horse. All the same, I'd go see it again for the staggering expanse of the filmmaking world they found in their locations.

    So erm...yes, I may be with you on the film buff thing there, Osmosis. Even if I am currently living back in the middle of nowhere Wales, I'm still a buff.
  3.  (10477.13)
    @Ben: Mike Mignola was the storyboard artist on Atlantis, and his designs are very apparent in places like the underwater cavern with the carved stones.
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2012
    You've always been a buff, Ben ... Good to see you back around these parts.

    I'm quite excited to see A Dangerous Method. Intelligent Life recently did a recap of Michael Fassbender's career to date, saying Shame was a movie purporting to be about sex, but really about psychology, with ADM of course a movie purporting to be about psychology, but really about sex.

    The Guard made me snort a fizzy drink out my nose.
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2012
    I get to try out some philosophy of film lectures on the Sonoma State philosophy club this semester, in preparation for co-teaching a class on the subject with my thesis adviser in the fall. I don't think I'll have a ton of time (not even a whole class period) to test out my lectures and do a screening for the club, but so far I'm thinking of showing Taxidermia, Being There, Moon, Something by Lars von Trier, and Cemetary Man (Dellamorte Dellamore), with a few others on my mind.

    If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them. I want to try and work on getting a thesis around Wes Anderson films, but they're not cerebral enough to sink my teeth in too hard, from a philosophical perspective.
  4.  (10477.16)
    @Tedcroland - Peter Greenaway's work stands up pretty robustly to philosophical dissection, and Greenaway was Wes Anderson's muse.
    • CommentAuthorGordon
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2012

    I watched Martha Marcy May Marlene last night and couldn't agree more that it's a haunting, often horrific film made all the more so by the beautiful way it's shot. The non-linear structure is a great way of getting you into the head of Martha - just like her and her fractured psyche you can never be sure when and where you are and what's around the corner. Brilliant stuff.
  5.  (10477.18)
    "@Ben: Mike Mignola was the storyboard artist on Atlantis, and his designs are very apparent in places like the underwater cavern with the carved stones."

    Mignola only did concept design for Atlantis. I don't think he's ever done story boarding that was used for a film. I think that Atlantis would have at least looked a lot better if they just went with a more Mignola-ish design sensibility. Atlantis looked like it was designed by committee. None of those characters looked like they belonged in the same film. Sad.
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2012
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was virtually unwatchable, confusing, muted, and so flatly, subtle that it had no pulse, the first time I watched it.
    The second time I watched it, it is the best film I saw all year. It is an amazing film. Not only is Oldman spot on and quietly perfect, but the rest of the cast is just as good.
    I watched the 7-part television version after seeing the new film. Poor Alec Guinness had his career high performance trampled. To be fair, he didn't stand a chance. The George Smiley in 1979 was not in a big budget film. While there were flashbacks, much of the story had to be explained. George Smiley in 1979 was a blabbermouth. Subtlety was not an option for him.

    Also Drive just hit DVD. It is a fantastic film as well. Super contrasting tones. Very quiet scenes. Very violent scenes. Very tense scenes. Worth your time.
  6.  (10477.20)
    @Osmosis - thanks for the welcome back, sir. good to see you too.

    @Greasemonkey & William - I had no idea that Mignola was involved [even at concept stage] but did find some of the scenes impressive. The characters were a bit of a hodge podge and unfortunate racial stereotyping but, perhaps due to the beauty of the animation in the first 10 minutes, I just sorta went with it. Like I said, not winning any awards but enjoyable.

    @emonster Drive - yes