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The Thief

What was the last movie you saw?

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Darkest Hour -- I enjoyed it a lot. Makes me want to learn more about that part of WW2.

I also saw an episode of Twilight Zone (modern version) called The Comedian that I liked a lot. I was pleasantly surprised as I am prejudiced with remakes.

Then the AbFab movie. I am not into AbFab anymore, but some moments, after the part where they get onto the Budget airplane, made it worth watching.

A documentary on Stephen King. I didn't know that much about him and his work, and now I want to read some of the books, like Carrie.

Bicycle Thieves, also. I really liked it. Reminds me of Hanif Kureshi or Mike Leigh movies a bit.

Re-watched Leon, and it's overrated, despite a beautiful cinematography. The little girl gets annoying way too fast. But I remember hearing that Besson wrote most of the plots early in his life before he was able to make them into movies, which could explain why movies like Subway, The Big Blue, Nikita are quite simplistic. The Fifth Element was somewhat deeper.

 

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new twilight zone was controversial but i think it was mostly alt righters/old people who lost their memory getting mad at it for daring to be faithful to serling's own love of embedding antiracist or progressive political messages in sometimes unsubtle ways. in other cases where media by POC creators is angering alt right we get large counter-response but that didn't happen here because some younger ppl in jordan peele's fandom hadn't seen much of the original show so they couldnt effectively dispute the false narrative of peele being unfaithful to it, and may have assumed those critiques were accurate. also, peele was not super hands-on as a producer, and most of the writing and directing was handled by other sf/horror TV veterans. the strongest episode of the first four I watched is A Traveler, which is set in alaska and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (Girl walks home alone at night, one of the best movies of the decade), written by Glen Morgan (cowriter of classic x-files episodes such as Home, Squeeze/Tooms, Ice, Die Hand Die Verletzt, One Breath, plus Final Destination) and guest starring Steven Yeun.

rewatched fifth element this year and "deeper" is not a word i'd use for it. that was one of my faves as a kid and the production design is still incredible (especially seeing it in the cinema on opening day in '97) but it absolutely doesn't hold up as a movie and i'm pretty sure i would've disliked it if i saw it back then as an adult. the script/story is so bad, yet aside from tricky's scenes (which i had no idea of at the time, and now realize was one of my first exposures to "alternative" music) lacking enough humor and self awareness. i luckily never saw leon as a kid because it's creepy af. that film is autobiographical about 30something luc's affair with a teen, maiwenn, who plays the diva in fifth element. by the time she was 21 he left her for milla jovovich.

 

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The last movie I watched was A Spell to Ward off the Darkness, which I can imagine a lot of people who used to be on this sub would like. It starts out depicting a very annoying and superficial bunch of largely American and western European hippies colonizing some area of Estonia in the early 2010s. The one black man in the community doesn't get much screen time, mostly just listening to these other characters' dumb stoned babblings. Halfway through, it takes an interesting turn when we follow said man as he wanders away from the community and into a remote wilderness (which is identified as being filmed in northern Finland). Then the film ends with him putting on whiteface makeup and being in a black metal band (filmed in Oslo, once again showing a vague approach to Nordic geography) performing for an audience that appears to include members of the commune. https://cinema-scope.com/cinema-scope-magazine/tiff-2013-cinema-scope-56-preview-ben-rivers-and-ben-russell-on-a-spell-to-ward-off-the-darkness/

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On 11/3/2019 at 7:54 AM, hedgehog in the fog said:

who plays the diva in fifth element. by the time she was 21 he left her for milla jovovich.

smart move!

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S'en fout la mort (aka No Fear, No Die) by Claire Denis, which is on Youtube with English subs. It's good, and interesting to see a much younger Alex Descas, who later starred in 35 Shots of Rum. It's a film centered on two guys (the other is Isaach de Bankolé) who run a cockfighting operation, and if she was able to do a film of that nature without even harming the chickens (credits claim no animals were harmed), it's really unforgivable that Haneke killed a horse to film Time of the Wolf.

I've now seen all Denis's stuff except Let the Sunshine In. Beau Travail and White Material might be some of my least favorite of her films (even after seeing both twice), although critics seem to love them best. I think her masterpieces are I Can't Sleep (need to rewatch tho, saw it a long time ago), US Go Home and 35 Shots of Rum. I generally like all the others (High Life included) but I couldn't connect with L'Intrus, Nenette et Boni and Bastards very much, and should probably rewatch those sometime (although I doubt I ever will with Bastards, which is super depressing).

One thing that really stood out in No Fear No Die was the jazz soundtrack. It's not overbearing (there's actually less non-diegetic score than her later works) but the music, created by a band led by Abdullah Ibrahim and produced by Rudy Van Gelder, is several cuts above what Tindersticks and Stuart Staples came up with on her later movies, and those weren't exactly weak soundtracks in themselves. I think she may have boxed herself in a bit by only working with Staples on every project. He's an excellent composer but his range of moods, tempos and tones is quite limited, particularly when vocals are being farmed out to Robert Pattinson. Jonny Greenwood is a million times more versatile than Staples and I still feel like PTA is beginning to be boxed in by needing to create the type of images Jonny can write music to. Hearing a less funereal style of instrumental music in Denis's early film was a revelation (even though I can't say I'm super familiar with Ibrahim) and, even though the personal loyalty of artists to one another is nice to see, I do feel that the biggest flaw in many films is a director who didn't have the heart to tell their usual musical collaborator that maybe a new sound would do justice more to the film.

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