/ November Film Thread

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Blue Straggler - on 06 Nov 2017

Saw three new films over the weekend.

The Death of Stalin, 7.5/10. Very good, clever, funny but most of all featuring a cast on top form, as this sort of material absolutely relies on that. Unlike Armando Ianucci's The Thick of It and In The Loop, this seemed tightly scripted rather than improvised. No issue there, just thought I'd mention it. For me it was a bit of a history lesson as I know very little about this sort of thing. Really quite unsettling to watch it and realise that it really wasn't all that long ago (and to realise that similar craziness and death lists etc. still go on around the world)

Murder on the Orient Express, 5.5/10. Sumptuously shot and a pretty cast performing perfectly well(*) but it was so unengaging that you feel it was a waste of talent. Mind you, I never particularly liked "whodunnits", especially Agatha Christie ones, not that I ever read any nor saw many (the occasional Miss Marple, and Ustinov's Poirot). So, can I blame Branagh when the fault lies with my not liking the genre or the source material? The "big reveal" in this story is just ludicrous. I'd be interested in the views of people who actually like Christie
* arguably all a bit theatrical/pantomimey but again that's part of the actual plotting in a "who's telling the truth" kind of story. Pfeiffer gets a chance to really shine for a very brief scene toward the end, and therefore "wins" the acting prize.


The Killing of a Sacred Deer, 7.5/10. New one from Yorgos Lanthimos whose "The Lobster" was my favourite film of 2015. Again starring Colin Farrell, this one still dabbles with the surreal but there's no quirky comedic feel to it (aside from a couple of one-liners). It's quite demanding and oppressive, very dark, and kind of hard to say WHY I liked it. Many people are referencing Haneke's "Funny Games" but I think that although there are some story similarities, it actually has more of the feel of Haneke's "Hidden" (Cache). Although maybe we just shouldn't bother referencing Haneke at all!
I find it refreshing that a bleak uncommercial film like this can still attract major stars and get decent distribution. For another example from this year, see also: "mother!".
Post edited at 12:25
Mooncat - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'd give The Death of Stalin a solid 8. Great cast, especially Simon Russell Beale.
I wasn't too sure about the first half hour but it gathered pace and became darker as the film progressed.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is next on my list.
Offwidth - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:
Finally saw Blade Runner... beautiful visuals and well worth seeing at the cinema and for such a long film it didn't drag but I was hoping for more novelty and less homage to the earlier film. I also thought the major plot developments were sometimes way too obvious before the 'twists' were delivered and minor plot necessities were sometimes just silly. Did anyone else think there was an impression that time had almost stood still (the headline dates when the action was supposed to be taking place were always ludicrous and should really have been dropped, but hey why not headline it this time!!).

Looking forward (or is it backward?) to Stalin.

Almost forgot to add, I quite enjoyed watching Outlander (from recording)... quite good fun pulp SciFi despite being a clear Beowulf rip-off.. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/outlander/
Post edited at 17:58
MonkeyPuzzle - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I watched Mother!, and I feel like I've been beaten up. Every time I thought I'd figured out what was happening it just cranked up another notch of f*cked-up. Jennifer Lawrence's character has actually no definable character, but is simply a mirror for Bardem's self-indulgent egomaniac. Considering Aronofsky is married to Lawrence, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing were an apology, a rebuke and/or a pitch black in-joke between husband and wife. Not sure I can say I enjoyed it, but I was glad I experienced it. Too discombobulating to consider marks out of ten.
Blue Straggler - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

They aren't married YET!

Lawrence is playing a sort of Mother Earth or Gaia spirit. Bardem is (a) God. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve. The house is Earth. And so it goes on. You can guess by now who the baby represents...

I admit I had to check all this after seeing it.
mav - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched on blue ray a Polish film called Life Feels Good. One of these films which i'm unsure how it found it's way onto my dvd subscription (cinema paradiso, following on from another thread).

I'd thoroughly recommend it: well made; well acted; emotionally affecting. the subject matter (a true story about a boy with severe cerebal palsy misdiagnosed as also having severe learning disabilities) brings obvious parallels with My Left Foot, but doesn't suffer from comparison. It also serves as an interesting period piece, beginning in Poland in early 80's behind the Iron Curtain and moving forward from there across two decades.
Offwidth - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I'll make an exception on the negative side. Prevenge... from the critics and the line-up and being a black comedy fan I should have loved this really but it felt like an art school short or TV episode with cells of good ideas that grew misformed like a cancer. The really annoying treatment of climbing didn't help.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/prevenge/

On the plus side I didn't find it anything like as bad as the admittedly truly original and even more acclaimed Aaaaaaah. A murderous primate inspired concept with what seemed to me to be over-indulged primate intelligence.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/aaaaaaaah/


Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Absolutely loved Sally Potter's 'The Party'. 5 stars. A perfectly pitched black comedy, massively entertaining, beautifully crafted, and very intelligent (making quite a change from some over-hyped movies I've seen recently.) Often on the edge of absurdity, but never flippant. A superlative script and outstanding ensemble performances from all, particularly Kristin Scott Thomas. The black and white photography superb. I'll definitely be watching this again, to savour both the cinematic craft and intricacy of the script.
Jon Stewart - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Interesting. Aronofsky has made some of my favourite ever films, and some of my betes noires. I suspect from what you say that this might fall into the latter category...

Please keep these threads going - even though I never get round to watching any of the bloody things..
Jon Stewart - on 09 Nov 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Absolutely loved Sally Potter's 'The Party'

Sounds right up my street.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
Thanks for confirming that Prevenge is as poor as it looked. From the trailers and even the poster, I never "trusted" anything that was said about it, as it looked childish and rubbish, and I do like a lot of what Alice Lowe does, but just not the look of this one.


I see that "aaaaaah" is also Lowe, reunited with fellow Sightseer Steve Oram. Are you having a themed week?!
Post edited at 09:35
Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No, I only just made it to the end of the film and wasn't reading the credits properly to spot the Lowe link. I thought Sightseers was a good piece of low budget black comedy.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Interesting. Aronofsky has made some of my favourite ever films, and some of my betes noires. I suspect from what you say that this might fall into the latter category...

I'd say it's worth watching just for the spectacle. You certainly can't accuse him of half-arsing it. Pi is one of my favourite films.
Big Ger - on 22:40 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

We saw "Murder on the Orient Express" last night.

I have Suchet as the perfect Poirot archetype, with Ustinov a pale second. So Branagh was not ideal, and was far too physical in the role. It was as incongruous as seeing Holmes played by a short fat bald bloke. Not only that but Branagh seemed to be playing Poirot AS Holmes, esp in the opening scenes.

That just didn't work for me. (Surprisingly the moustache was the least of the diversions.)

> He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. Even if everything on his face was covered, the tips of moustache and the pink-tipped nose would be visible.

Bitching aside, the film was beautiful, lush scenery, superb settings, wonderful attention to the Art Deco of the time, (that train!!!) The acting, well what do you expect from a cast like that? Depp was particularly impressive, Pfeiffer was dazzling, and Lucy Boynton, well...drop dead gorgeous....

Nicely shot, apart from some stupid scenes which were filmed from above, and just didn't work, and wonderful direction.

The story was reasonably true to the book. So all in all 7/10 from me.
DerwentDiluted - on 23:17 Sun
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Watched Hidden Figures last night. Really good film about some people I never knew about but should have done. Definately recommended.

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