Movies Serious Movie Discussion

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by Bullitt68, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Dreams (1990)
    [​IMG]

    Considered purely in visual terms, Kurosawa's Dreams is an absolute five star masterpiece. The cliched phrase "visual feast" comes to mind. It is full of sumptuous imagery and gorgeous sets. Genuinely stunning. However, unfortunately the film itself doesn't even come close to matching this.

    There is no single plot, but rather a series of eight little vignettes. Inevitably with that approach you're usually gonna have something of a mixed bag. However, in this case I think the bad and boring outweighs the good. One or two tales are interesting, particularly the first couple. A lot of it is rooted in the nature of memory and in Japanese folklore. However, most of them simply involve a load of dull moralising. It's not that the ideas aren't important or interesting - environmentalism, nuclear disaster, the tragedy of war and so on - it's that it's all told in such a reductive, on the nose fashion that it carries practically zero emotional resonance. Just incredibly boring for the most part.

    Still, at least I got to see Martin Scorsese with a dyed ginger beard playing Vincent Van Gogh in one of Akira Kurosawa's dreams, and that's not something you can say everyday.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
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  2. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Lamo. I read that without proper context and though you were refeering to the original Suspiria (by the picture). So I assumed that you were yanking on my tail for humerous effect. If I sounded mean-spirited then my humor really didn't translate, sorry.
     
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  3. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Ach well never worry, lost in translation :D
     
  4. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    Looks like borderline curfew over here. Maybe it's good time to write few short reviews of movies I've seen past week or so:

    Death Ship
    Really cool 80's horror. Possessed ghost freighter rams and sinks a cruise ship, takes survivors on board and starts killing them one by one. Written by Jack Hill and that really shows on b-movie grooviness. Seems like it's 99% shot on location on some rusty freight ship and that makes the movie really unique.

    Sex Hunter: 1980
    Nikkatsu's Suspiria influenced erotica. Young dancer gets abducted by a ballet school headmistress. Quality stuff within the genre. I spotted Argento influences only briefly and the most memorable scene is pure Japanese sleazy madness.

    Bronson
    Refn is a hit-and-miss director for me, so I was sceptical, but got to agree with the hype. This is definitely one of the good ones.

    Spider-Man Far From Home
    Current Spider-Man incarnation is the only superhero franchise I'm currently interested in along Lego Batman and this one definitely delivered. Peter Parker -storyline was lots of fun and Mysterio got nicely original treatment.

    Vox Lux
    Somewhat curious arthouse movie about a pop-diva. I've never been a fanboy of artists like Madonna, so I didn't get much out of the concert finale for example. Director has talent, so I'll definitely watch his debut Childhood of a Leader too.

    Contagion
    I liked the realism and appreciated the non-epic treatment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
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  5. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    I love the pre-code Hollywood arrogance of blowing a mega budget on 90 minute romcom that's based on one of the most tragic love stories in the history.
     
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  6. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Harakiri (1962)
    [​IMG]


    Holy shit this was absolutely brilliant. An immaculately crafted film with some incredibly potent visual imagery. The plot unfolds perfectly, sculpting a profoundly human story from it’s brutal subject matter.

    Hanshirō , an aging and impoverished samurai, comes to the estate of a local clan and requests the use of their courtyard to commit the ritualised self-disembowelment of seppuku, or harakiri. Within the highly militarist samurai culture this is surely the best and most honorable way for such a man to end his life. Yet in 1630 Japan is now at peace, leaving thousands of samurai with no wars to fight and no masters to serve. In this climate rumours swirl of unscrupulous ronin who turn up and ostensibly request to be allowed to commit seppuku, in the hopes they will be given a job or else money to go away. The senior counsellor tells Hanshiro of another samurai who had visited previously with exactly the same request. It seems that the two incidents are perhaps connected in some way…

    I won’t go any further in describing the plot as it would do the film a disservice and rob it of much of the emotional resonance, but the way this interconnected story gradually unfurls into a greater and greater tragedy is so powerful. Through this story Masaki Kobayashi dissects the authoritarianism of Japanese society, as well as the stifling oppressiveness of the traditional Samurai code of bushido. A code which ultimately suppresses human compassion and decency in favour of pride and vanity masquerading as honour. Our characters are trapped within this culture and while they might temporarily rebel against it, attempting to change these entrenched attitudes is futile.

    Just brilliant, full of excellent performances, a haunting soundtrack which underscores the sharp tension and, as I said, just a touching, human story. Also, a particularly stunning duel scene it must be added.
     
  7. HenryFlower

    HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    i liked the new one a lot, @europe1 be damned.
     
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  8. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    I like how the movie almost starts of as a very dark comedy. You have this moocher who arrives at a castle looking for handouts, and it ends with him coerced into committing suicide with a goddamn bamboo sword of all things. Divorced from backstory and context, it's absurd like some cosmic joke. Then when you get the context, it leaves a very different impression entirely.

    Not to go all meta here but one could argue that the very existence of the film argues against that considering it ends with them trying to hide their crimes for vainglory's sake.;)

    When I finally become president of the world you're going to be the first to die.
     
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  9. HenryFlower

    HenryFlower (sheesh!)

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    you know how to warm a man’s heart right to its core <3
     
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  10. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Exactly, I didn't wanna go into too much spoiler detail but its so brilliant the way it unfolds like that. At first, the sympathy is with the Iyi clan members forcing this rotten scoundrel to commit harakiri. He asked for it after all, so it seems like the just and honourable thing. But as we learn more about the actual human motivations behind the request it just devastatingly undercuts our initial reaction.

    To a point yes, if we are talking in terms of the longer term decline (which the use of the guns even hints towards). But I was more referring to the way the characters are themselves trapped within it. Hanshiro rebels against it and criticises the samurai culture up to a point, but even at the very end he himself chooses to commit seppuku, painfully disembowelling himself even though he is about to be shot dead anyway. He's still inseparably bound up with that culture and world view, which is why he couldn't bring himself to sell his swords.
     
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  11. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    First actual lockdown movies for me:

    La grande bouffe
    Revisiting old favourite and what an aborable portrayal of bourgeois decadence it still is! I’m not giving away the simple premise, but this is the perfect movie to watch if you like arthouse movies and think a bit of black humour would cheer up your lockdown.


    Mask of Fu Manchu
    I finally got around watching this yellow peril classic from 1932. Most of all I loved Fu Manchu’s headquarters’ set designs that wonderfully combine orientalism and modernism. Too bad that Boris Karloff’s performance as the villain gives away movie’s campy approach way too eagerly and that killed mystery, exotism and tingles of guilty pleasure for me. Maybe I need to watch this again with adjusted expectations. Btw, I spotted a pretty obscure pun:

    upload_2020-3-19_14-33-24.jpeg

    Rewatching all those Coen bros. movies and Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes finally pays off!
     
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  12. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    The Sword of Doom (1966)
    [​IMG]

    "Evil mind, Evil sword".

    This one is a study of the swordsman as psychopath. Our main character Ryunosuke is not the typically valiant, bushido-upholding hero. He's not even a Yojimbo-esque anti-hero. He is a cold-blooded killer possessing neither a moral code, nor any sense of purpose in his life beyond his sword. The film opens with Ryunosuke brutally murdering an old pilgrim on a lonely mountain top, for no reason at all. Throughout he commits a variety of evil and callous deeds, rarely showing anything approaching remorse. It ends with him driven to complete insanity.

    Pretty interesting film overall, with some wonderfully stylised killing and strong visual composition. Through a lot of the middle sections I did feel like it began to drag as side-narratives somewhat halted the momentum of the main story. I would even say that I was starting to lose some patience with it, that is until the incredible ending sidelined me out of nowhere. That least sequence, and that last frame...

    I believe there were meant to be sequels, but I actually think I much prefer this brutally abrupt ending, sharp as a sword cut.
     
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  13. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Got to respect a guy who keeps a gigantic bell around just for civilized torture.

    [​IMG]

    Honestly, my favourite line was probably when Fu Manchu screams to the horde of villians: "We shall sacrifice her to our Gods!"

    Yes, the Gods of Asia. A unified pantheon. <45>

    I'm in agreement that the movie's ludicrous set-design is it's strongest points. However, from what I remember, I just think the movie lacked narrative muscle. Like, showdowns didn't feel all that spectacular or fun. It was just a series of smile-worthy set-pieces. I mean, before I watched Fu Manchu I thought that racism was a pretty bad thing. But now I think that racism is kinda hilarious.;)

    Also, Boris Karloff and Myrna Loy has THE BEST chemistry.

    Man you've escaped with the skin of your teeth on this one, Rimbaud! There was a time when I could punch-up a 100-page analysis on Sword of Doom out of the blue. Now, I've forgotten most of it.:confused:

    The Sword of Doom is based on one of the longest novels in existence. There are 3 other filmatizations of it, all full-blown trilogies. I've seen two of them, the Raizô Ichikawa one and the Cheizo Kataoka version (which is hilarious since it has a crusty 50-year old playing a 20-something guy) Btw, the novel achieves this herculean length by having one-GAZILLION subplots!!!! so don't let the length impress you.

    Anyways, the theme of Great Boddisatvas Path (the novel's name) is to observe karma in-progress. Karma is a slow-moving cosmical force, you see? So you need a really extensive plotline to unveil its mystical workings (or so the logic goes). The moral consequences of one action can have no apparent until years down the line. So it's purpose is to sketch how cosmic moral forces affect a guy like Ryunosuke, and that there actually is a higher power that governs the world, which capsizes his entire worldview. The other filmatizations stuck closer to this theme (with varying effectiveness).

    Before proceeding further, let's just elucidate Ryunosuke's philosophy first shall we? The guy essentially doesn't believe that actions have consequences. There is no grand order which governs the Universe -- dispensing truth, justice and all that good shit -- and therefore he has no qualms about killing on a whim. Believing in no objective truth that governs him, he wrecks shop however he sees fit, living solely for the visceral pleasure he gets from his sadistic actions. Moral truths are just wind. So why care?

    Anyways, Sword of Doom mostly strips away all of this cosmo-karma-stuff and instead becomes all about observing a psychopath in action. It turns the cosmological and makes it psychological. Take for instance, that late scene where he encounters the daughter of the pilgrim that he murdered. In the other filmatizations, this is basically cosmic-karmas first "prod" at him. It's the first hint that there will be comeback due to his heinous actions, that there is an order set-in-place to judge him. Through a million-to-one chance, he has encountered someone whom he randomly wronged, a hint that there are consequences for ones actions and they come back to haunt you. However, comparing it to the breakdown in Sword of Doom is almost funny. He basically gets mad and then treats the incident like a bad hangover!<45>

    While in the other filmatizations this scene serves as a "prod", in Sword of Doom its a full-on psychological breakdown. The guy just unravels straight into crazy-town. This Ryunosuke basically still hold the same worldview as the other iterations. However, unlike the others, the focus isn't on some cosmological lesson but on how fragile the worldview of crazy people are. One simple random encounter that contradicts his understandings just undoes him like threadwork, making Ryunosuke have to face the fact that by killing he causes pain and suffering and so the ghosts of his past victims come back to haunt him with sepulchral wailings. But being crazy, the only way he can respond to their suffering is by slashing at shadows, hoping to kill them again so to be rid of their consequences.

    I also love how his shadowy victims transition into real assassins and Ryunosuke barely seem to notice.

    upload_2020-3-21_3-32-59.jpeg

    Ahah! But there is a reason for that, Rimbaud!

    The middle part is a lot of political manoeuvring. In the other filmatizations, this was treated as important shit. "The Shogun's taskforce is moving on Hokkaido!" someone yells, and then the camera cuts to a close-up of someone shouting "Nani!!?"

    However, in Sword of Doom, all of this is treated offhandedly and with much disinterest. It's just going through the motions. Why? Because its a reflection of Ryunosuke's psyche. He is disinterested in all this political jabbering that surrounds him, and therefore, so is the film, since it's only interested in his psyche. He is only in this government-feud as an excuse to kill people. And so the storytelling reflects on that fact.

    I dunno that decision may only seem impressive if you've seen the other films.<45>
     
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  14. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    [​IMG]

    There's the europe1 of SMD days gone by. Some good movie-thinking there. Yes I read the film as more of a psychological study of a pyschopath driven to madness by his actions. Though obviously it was pretty clear that meeting the girl was what instigated this.

    I feel like this is the sort of thing that probably would have been more effective if I was either a) Japanese at the time this film was released or b) europe1

    If I was Japanese then I would probably have been aware both of this incredibly popular novel and the story more broadly through different kinds of media. If I was europe1 I would have seen the older adaptions. So the way that Sword of Doom subverts that narrative would be a lot more effective. Of course, I understand enough of Japanese history to understand the setting in which the film takes place and the various cultural and political forces in play at the time. The film sets it up very early on too, even at the first kendo match there are political machinations whispered in the crowd. But then, as you say the film treats it very offhandedly. However, though I did feel it dragged a little bit, I still thought it was great on the whole and I actually loved how none of those loose-ends are really tied up. We just end on a freeze-frame of Ryunosuke deep in a bloodthirsty craze, because to him nothing else actually matters.
     
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  15. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Also one @europe1 will be pleased about...

    When The Raven Flies (1984)
    [​IMG]

    This Icelandic revenge tale is a strange one which takes the tropes of Spaghetti Westerns and transposes them to 10th century Iceland. Of course it equally draws on the original Icelandic Sagas to craft it's bloody tale: a young Irish boy witnesses his father's brutal murder at the hands of marauding vikings, twenty years later he comes to Iceland to get his revenge. In the process the plot plays out something like Yojimbo/A Fistful of Dollars as this stranger (or Gest) pits two groups against one another in order clear the way for his bloody vengeance.

    It is an weird combination of gritty historical realism and 1980s camp. In some respects it is certainly a lot more authentic than other viking films and breaks a lot of the silly tropes you often find (horned helmets, skulls and the like). I believe a lot of the props and costumes were recreations of actual artifacts based on the directors research. Yet on the other hand we have an Irish fella running around killing people with throwing knives like some kind of ninja. There is also an utterly bizarre soundtrack full of synths and drum machines which I thought totally clashed with the historical setting. You can certainly tell it's from the 80s <45>Of course all this campness might be appealing to other people.

    But 80s stylings aside it was a pretty solid revenge story exploring the cyclical nature of violent blood-feuds. This narrative is also framed within a dichotomy of Christian dogma and Norse paganism, and set against a backdrop of early medieval Scandinavian politics (Harald Hairfair and the struggle for the Norwegian Crown). Though this is firmly in the background.
     
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  16. moreorless87

    moreorless87 Straba

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    Those two 60's Samurai classics to me seem like whilst there both taking negative views of the culture there doing it at different levels. Hara-kiri seems more focused on the corruption of ideals by the establishment, as pointed out the lead character doesn't really reject the nature of samurai honour but rather fights against an establishment that uses it for its own ends. We see the obvious heartless self interest but also by the end we even see that the samurai involved simply aren't very good warriors, the ending becomes less some superhuman many vs one feat and more a display of incompetence and cowardice to the degree they resort to muskets(pretty clear WW2 parallels there IMHO) to finish him off.

    Sword of Doom is more the individual that's questioned, taking the mysterious Ronin anti hero and turning him into a full blooded psychopath who's only interest in events is killing people. I don't think you need to have seen the other films made from the same source(I haven't) to pickup on the way the film keeps upending expectations in favour of him simply being a compete cunt. I like the way that his style of swordplay becomes a kind of chicken/egg situation as well, did it attract someone of that nature or did it create him? That becomes almost a sense of entitlement, a lead character who often sees what he does as the logical nature of his profession.
     
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  17. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    I don't mean in the sense that he is a complete cunt and subverts broader genre expectations as a result. He obviously is and you don't need any other knowledge to get that. I was just referring specifically to the way the political stuff is presented in the film.
     
  18. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    His crew was very pan-Asian, so maybe it was an ecumenical sacrifice for every single Asian God from Allah to the Japanese Kami.
    <mma4>

    Mask of Fu Manchu is making campy fun of yellow peril racism that was trendy 20 years before the movie was made. One of the writers is a gay Jew and I think the director is Jewish too, so I think they can relate to both stereotypical vilifying and (being accused of) sentiments of racial superiority, hence the absurdist inside joke sign Goy Lo Sung Bazaar (Goy being Jiddish word for non-Jewish person so sign would translate ”bazaar of non-Jewish Lo Sung”).
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
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  19. Yotsuya

    Yotsuya Purple Belt

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    Accidental lockdown movie: The Man Who Captured Eichmann

    Movie based on recently deceased Mossad legend Peter Malkin’s account on Israel’s opetation to capture Adolf Eichmann for trial. After kidnapping Eichmann (Robert Duvall) the Mossad crew needs to lay low in Buenos Aires waiting for extraction and hiding from Odessa operatives. During his guard duties with Eichmann Malkin tries to understand the man who organised the logistics to get seven million shipped to their death in consentration camps. Chilling story.
     
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  20. steeldragon

    steeldragon Blue Belt

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    Gonna watch the platform when I finish work tonight. Heard if I liked the cube this. Hoping Netflix has it englished dubbed since it's a Spanish film

    This is a quick description from someone on IMDB
    The plot is fairly simple - a prison-like vertical underground pit where each level houses two people. Once per day, a platform containing a vast array of food set out like a banquet lowers itself through each floor. The people on each level are given two minutes per day to eat and then the platform moves down a level until it reaches the bottom. There are three simple rules

    (1) Each prisoner may bring one item into the prison. (2) No food may be kept off the platform from the platform else your cell will be heated or chilled to extreme temperatures. (3) Every month the prisoners are moved to a different level of the prison.

    Won't be surprised if they make a sequel replacing food with toilet paper where everyone on the lower floors can't wipe their arses
     
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