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Added by jaytoast

on 1 Apr 2012 07:56

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Dear Cinema Diary - Vol 3 E4 - April 2012

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Odd Double Feature - 1

Watched April 19th 2012

I had sort of been avoiding watching both of these films but watching them back to back actually worked. I'm not a fan of musicals so "Dancer In The Dark" was a nice 'cure' for my experience with "An American In Paris".
People who added this item 396  Average listal rating (237 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.3 
1. An American in Paris (1951)

As I said before I'm not really a fan of musicals. Yet, another genre of film making that I avoid.

However, I can see how this film would be considered a classic and even an important film to watch. Much of the first half of the film the impromptu song-and-dance numbers fell at odd places. Yet, what I did find impressive was the casual and almost 'un choreographed' way some of those moments felt.

The last twenty minute not a word is spoken. That time is take up with a 17-minute dance sequence dedicated to famous painters. This can be pretty rough for someone who avoids musicals. There is also a previous orchestra dream sequence (no sing or dancing) that again was 'interesting' but strange.

The worst aspect for me was the 'love story' that made me just want to start banging my head against the wall praying for this film to finally end.

After the film finished I felt like I had just sat through a very long and less entertaining version of The Lawrence Welk Show.

So, if you love the ballet or the symphony and yes... musicals then of course this film is a must-see. If your like me and prefer the opera... don't make this the first musical you watch.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1549  Average listal rating (843 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
2. Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Review by AgentLexi

I think I would have overlooked some important elements to the previous film if I hadn't watch this dark gem right afterwards.

There are a few moments that 'could have been a bit better' but for the most part this was pure magic. Yes, this is a very dark and depressing film. Yet, some how didn't feel wholly satirical with the musical aspect. An absolutely amazing cast. David Morse and Peter Stormare were wonderful to see in a musical.

I'm even left with perhaps a better appreciation for the genre of 'the musical' but I'll be taking baby steps before I venture back into the genre.
jaytoast's rating:

Odd Double Feature - 2

Watched April 20th 2012

After so much praise for "Lars and The Real Girl" I was surprised to see that Craig Gillespie directed the remake of "Fright Night". The films don't really work together as a 'director's showcase' but I will be curious to see what films he directs in the future.
People who added this item 1129  Average listal rating (715 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.4 
3. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

There is a strange fantasy-world aspect to the town where Lars lives. Which is fine as this film isn't really trying to depict 'real life'. Instead is an intresting story of how a delusion (mental illness) can be a powerful element of change and growth for the individual and those around him. So... yes... a very sweet film that surprised me... or should I now stop being surprised by films with Ryan Gosling.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 643  Average listal rating (415 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.4 
4. Fright Night (2011)

Review by PvtCaboose91

I'm glad that the remake of the film didn't attempt to capture the quirky charm of the first film. Instead gives the film a mildly different charm and vampires that are in fact scary!
jaytoast's rating:

Odd Double Feature - 3

Watched April 23rd 2012

Watching these films back to back really wasn't the best idea. Violent borderline black comedy with violent intense drama. Just really glad that I had been avoiding eating red meat for a little while now.
People who added this item 226  Average listal rating (133 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating 7.2 
5. Chopper (2000)

Info Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.

This is a violent and strange film. Sort of glad that I watched "Animal Kingdom" before this film as both deal with the Australian criminal world. Both films are considered black comedies... that doesn't underscore the brutality or bleak elements.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 122  Average listal rating (66 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 7.4 
6. Bullhead (2011)

Well, the only reason that I can think that this film *didn't* win the Oscar Foreign Language is that it was a pretty brutal film to sit through. I think having the film center on the criminal world of hormones and beef was a unique aspect that I hadn't really seen done before. Ah but that is just the arena that surrounds this dark and intense film.
jaytoast's rating:

Double Feature - 4

A Night with Peter Weir ~ April 26th
People who added this item 255  Average listal rating (153 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.5 
7. Gallipoli (1981)

If you are wondering, no "Mel Gibson" is not the 'star' of this film but is one of the primary characters. The character Frank Dunne (Mel) is introduced later and works to balance the other primary character Archy Hamilton.

I loved this film as it centered on two primary characters, one youthful and good nature and the other a little older and more pragmatic. Giving us not just two views on Australia's involvement in "The Great War" but also two views on the world around them.

This isn't the typical 'war film' and it isn't even till well past the first hour mark that the characters arrive to where fighting is actually taking place. This is one of Peter Weir's finest films. There are a few moments where the soundtrack score is dreadful '80's techno' but they are minor and do little to mar the film as a whole.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1480  Average listal rating (1018 ratings) 6.9  IMDB Rating 7.4 
8. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Wo... (2003)

Meh, ships... fighting... at least it wasn't one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. The cinematography and technical achievements are great to watch. Still, this film perhaps is best saved for those who have read the books.
jaytoast's rating:

Double Feature - 5

Saturday Matinee with Walter Salles ~ April 28th
People who added this item 568  Average listal rating (369 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating
9. Central Station (1998)

A hard yet touching film. It was so nice to watch a film set in Brazil and wasn't a crime/action/thriller.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1286  Average listal rating (787 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.9 
10. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

Yep, figured if I was going to watch one Walter Salles film might as well catch up on an old favorite. So, while this was my second viewing, it is still a beautiful and fascinating film.
jaytoast's rating:

Top Picks...

People who added this item 52  Average listal rating (33 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.4 
11. Goodbye Solo (2008)

External Review @ Tiny Mix Tapes

This is the second film by Ramin Bahrani that I have seen. With that in mind I would recommend that you watch one of his previous films before you watch this particular film. I only say that because I think most viewers might find some aspects rather harsh or coldly handled.

This is a very sad and touching film. The lives that Ramin Bahrani depicts are so wonderfully complex and feel more real to me that anything 'Hollywood" has come up with. He continues to show a side of American life that no one else has been able to capture with such sensitivity and clarity.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 172  Average listal rating (100 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.7 
12. Bloody Sunday (2002)

External Review @
Roger Ebert

Plot: A dramatization of the Irish civil rights protest march and subsequent massacre by British troops on January 30, 1972.

If your going to watch one film about that fateful day, I would recommend this one. The handheld camera and documentary 'feel' is something that could have failed but worked very well in this film. There is an impressive technical achievement with capturing an authentic look and feel of Ireland in the 1970's.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 951  Average listal rating (513 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.5 
13. A Dangerous Method (2011)

External Review @ Roger Ebert

Have to say it has been strange to watch David Cronenberg do more realistic films. So, if your expecting a bizarre or abstract film this isn't the film to watch.

However as a historical drama I think it captured the subject matter quite well. At the same time it left some elements more abstract hopefully leading the viewer to want to explore the subject a little farther. Personally, I find that if a historical drama leaves me wanting to know more about the lives depicted, it has done its job.

While Keira Knightley gets a lot of hate around here, I did find her performance to be the weakest aspect of the film.

I'm impressed that any director would attempt to try to cover the huge impact that both Freud and Jung had on the world. So, it was nice that the focus of the film was the relationship between the two men.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 836  Average listal rating (570 ratings) 6.8  IMDB Rating 7.1 
14. Real Steel (2011)

Yep, even Mr Ebert was a bit surprised...

External Review @ Roger Ebert

Rock-em-Sock-em Robots meets father son tear-jerker.

I really expected to hate this film or even feel cheated by obvious attempts to educe tears. Sure, it was a bit cheesy and emotional but I was on the edge of my seat by the end. Yep, even shed a few tears... what can I say I'm a sucker for crap like this ;)
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 625  Average listal rating (419 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 7.4 
15. The Next Three Days (2010)

Featured List
Remakes from a different country

Fun action film with the goal to break into prison not out of prison. So, that aspect made it interesting.

Makes for a good popcorn action movie night but hardly noteworthy.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 760  Average listal rating (432 ratings) 6.4  IMDB Rating 6.3 
16. Chloe (2009)

I really wanted to like this film more then I did. This is not really a 'sexy' film nor is it a 'thriller' it fits mores as a dramatic film with erotic elements.

The last 15min of the film pretty much destroyed the whole film for me. As well as the ambiguous element in the last scene that is 'open to interpretation' much like the final moment of "Inception" for which I found contrived and 'cheeky'.

I can't say that I would recommend this film but it is still worth watching for the artistic merits. The cinematography and the sound design are noteworthy. Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried are amazing actors and worth watching their performances in this film. Each one is so capable of transforming a moment with a subtle glance and adds another texture to the dialogue that I don't think many other actors could achieve.

The main reason for scoring this so low is that I don't think Atom Egoyan achieve some of his goals with this film. Especially the development of the character Catherine and her cold statement that an orgasm is nothing more then a series of muscle contractions. I'm not sure Catherine's ever really evolved or it is even possible (depending on your interpenetration of the final moments) that she actually de-evolved into something more cold and detached.

Still, this hasn't change my love for Mr Egoyan and I still eagerly await his next film.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 72  Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating
17. Julia (2008)

Review by... Review by lotr23

Hum, after "I am Love" this is the second Tilda film leaving me rather disappointed. While it was a decent enough film I just found something in Tilda Swinton's performance lacking.

I still think I'll stew on the film. It can be difficult to engage with an actor who is playing a character that is always lying. The two artifices overlap and for me personally came out slightly unbelievable all around.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 2168  Average listal rating (1385 ratings) 6.1  IMDB Rating 6.6 
18. The Beach (2000)

Ah, a film I had been putting off for quite some time. I do like the aspects brought up regarding trying to build a utopia from a purely hedonistic collective, with no philosophy principles.

So, sort of "Lord of the Flies" for the 20-something generation.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1164  Average listal rating (766 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating 7.4 
19. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Review by PvtCaboose91

One of the better entries from the Mission Impossible franchise.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 177  Average listal rating (96 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.3 
20. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009)

External Review @
Roger Ebert

OK, so I wasn't as impressed with the film as Mr Ebert. Still, with David Lynch and Werner Herzog running the show your bound for a strange times.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1416  Average listal rating (817 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.5 
21. The Constant Gardener (2005)
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1950  Average listal rating (1291 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.5 
22. Up in the Air (2009)
jaytoast's rating:

Foreign Language...

People who added this item 677  Average listal rating (324 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating 8.2 
23. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Featured List
Listal's 100 Films To See Before You Die

If there is a problem with "Fanny and Alexander" is that this really is a film you need to just plan most of your day watching. Especially if you watch the directors cut... which is about five hours long (312 min).

It is such a strange and beautiful film. Every moment spent watching was a moment I don't regret and every long speech worth every syllable. I actually plan on watching this film again very soon.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 559  Average listal rating (330 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.5 
24. A Separation (2011)

Featured List
Roger Ebert's favorite movies (2011) by johanlefourbe

Oscar winner for "Best Foreign Language Film of the Year" I was extremely curious to watch this film. Alas my local 'art house' theater put the film on hold due to an extended stay of "The Artist".

However, the film was worth the wait. This is highly rich and complex story that keeps twisting and turning till the end. I liked that the characters felt very real and compassionate. I didn't feel that any of the characters where based on some cultural stereotype. Just real people trying to do what they think is best for their families and themselves.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 160  Average listal rating (75 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.5 
25. The Housemaid (2010)

A man's affair with his family's housemaid leads to a dark consequences.

Even with some good reviews and a nomination at the Cannes, I almost put off watching this film for fear that it was yet another over hyped 'erotic thriller'.

So, just to be clear... this is *not* an 'erotic thriller. What may start as erotic quickly turns to tension and terror. I was horrified by the actions in the household and glued to film. I was never quite sure how the characters would react or what actions they might take. While the end might have been a bit predictable... the movie as a whole took me totally by surprise.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 551  Average listal rating (347 ratings) 7.9  IMDB Rating 8.1 
26. Ip Man (2008)

Recommend From Friend/Family

I have seen very few martial arts films. For various reason it is a genre of film making that I avoid and comments such as 'bad ass' make my flesh crawl.

So, this was a refreshing change. The story is A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun. The film focus a little on the philosophy/religious aspects of Chinese martial arts, which is more then almost any other film. So, I was glad that was included. I think there is still an idea that martial arts is about 'kicking ass' which is just one aspect of a rich cultural heritage.

Oh, and an odd note. For some reason the dvd I rented was dubbed and the other audio tracks didn't work. Which actually was fine, there are several points in the movie where one of the characters is translating and not translating what had really been said. I think this aspect might have been too confusing if the whole film had been subtitled. So, I think this is one of the few films where the dubbed aspect was appropriate.

jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 291  Average listal rating (182 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating 7.6 
27. Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (2010)

Recommend by the giraffe

I agree that if you watch the first Ip Man film that it is best to not put off watching the second film for too long. The story does follow the events of Ip Man's life right after the events in the first film.

Again the film was well done and yes... while heavy on martial arts. I still managed to not get bored during the fight scenes.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 498  Average listal rating (294 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.1 
28. Le Samourai (1967)

Another month and another Jean-Pierre Melville film. While I liked the more philosophical aspects of "Le Cercle Rouge". For some reason I liked this film a little bit more. Again the story is stripped pretty bare and the dialogue extremely limited.

I still have a few more Melville films to watch so I can't say which one would be best to start with as an introduction to his style of film making. Tho, I do think it is safe to say that if you disliked some of his other films you most likely won't enjoy this film. However, for a pure distillation of his directing style I would recommend this film.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 15  Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.5  IMDB Rating 6.7 
29. Blood of My Blood (2007)

Featured List
Sundance Film Fest

Description Writer-director Christopher Zalla earned a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2007 for this mistaken identity nail-biter about Pedro (Jorge Adrián Espíndola), a Mexican boy who sneaks into the U.S. to meet his real father, armed with important documents proving his pedigree. Unfortunately, it seems Juan (Armando Hernández), a criminal he befriended, stole them. Now, Pedro will have to stop him from stealing his identity, too.

Very impressed with how such a rather low key film can develop into such an intense thriller.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 738  Average listal rating (424 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating 7.7 
30. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Ryu sells a kidney to pay for his sister's operation, but the buyer rips him off, so his anarchist girlfriend hatches an alternate plan to raise the money: kidnap the daughter of a rich executive and demand a ransom.

A gut wrenching film of brutality and vengeance. Once the first body falls, the dominos continue to fall till the bitter end.

I forgot how beautiful this film was shot and the amazing use of sound. While I'm looking forward to watching or re-watching the other films from this trilogy, I wouldn't try to watch them all in one day.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 452  Average listal rating (289 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating
31. Troll Hunter (2010)

Review by PvtCaboose91

Yay, I finally got around to watching this film. Yes, and per the review from PvtCaboose91... do watch the film before the US remake hits the big screens. The story really doesn't make sense outside of the Norwegian setting.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 1651  Average listal rating (1029 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.8 
32. Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma; a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Yay, I had been waiting for this dvd to get to me in the mail for far too long. I found the film to be funny and very endearing. I enjoyed the insight into life in East Germany before the wall fell and about how that country disappeared so quickly.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 317  Average listal rating (214 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.6 
33. Headhunters (2011)

Thought it would be a good idea to try and watch the film before the remake gets underway. A very impressive action thriller from Norway with plenty of twists.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 66  Average listal rating (42 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating 6.9 
34. The Adversary (2002)

French film based on a true story.

There was something about the blending of the non-linear time line and story told from the killers perspective that didn't quite work for me.

Really, it ends up being another film that tries to understand the murders from the killers perspective and giving the inevitable answer that 'there is no answer'.
jaytoast's rating:

Classic Picks...

People who added this item 372  Average listal rating (209 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.9 
35. The Killing Fields (1984)

I put off watching this film for the simple reason that I figured it would be emotionally upsetting.

So, yes about the 30min mark into the film I was ready to start crying. This is such a sad and horrific story as well as an important one. There is a reason that reporters should *not* be embedded with US forces and if they had this story would never have been told. Yet, the film doesn't shy away from how even non-embedded reporting has a dark side.

I really liked that the film spent about half of the time following Dith Pran as he makes his way out of the country. It is through his story that we see the different factions and horrors of Cambodia.

Yep... the end had me in tears but the film wasn't as traumatic as I expected.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 233  Average listal rating (104 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.9 
36. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

Maybe it's just the whole world is like central casting. They got it all rigged before you ever show up.

Well, my movie watching for the month was heading down a dark road... might as well watch one of the most depressing films of all time.

This is a jaded and harsh film. It does use some flashback/flashforward and other montage techniques to tell the story. However, not quite as abstract as "A Midnight Cowboy". For the month it pairs well with "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" so glad I watched them around the same time.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 117  Average listal rating (62 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 7.7 
37. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Yay, it is another film that I wish I had watched sooner. Especially before trying to watch films from the British or American New Wave movements.

A surprising film in many ways and I don't think the social commentary aspects are too outdated.

After this film and a few others I feel I'm ready to re-watch "If..." and "Oh Lucky Man" with a greater appreciation.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 33  Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 7.2 
38. The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

Description Americans test a nuclear weapon at the Earth's South Pole at the exact moment the Soviets explode a device at the North Pole, jolting the earth's axis out of alignment and causing catastrophic changes in global weather patterns. To make matters even worse, the planet has been dislodged from its orbit and is now hurtling toward the sun. It's a race against time as a scientist brainstorms for ways to evade catastrophe.

Yay! Classic British Sci-Fi from the 60's.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 328  Average listal rating (175 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 7.9 
39. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

So, should really have watched this film before I watched "Rififi" (1955). While the films aren't identical, I did start feeling a little 'deja vu' with the film.

Other films have also made some pretty obvious references to this film which were a bit hard to ignore. So, I found the film a little boring but I love the actors and was worth my time.

jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 279  Average listal rating (141 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating 7.8 
40. Nanook of the North (1922)

This film is public domain so there are plenty of places where you can download or watch the movie for free. I still recommend the Criterion version... if your going to do something you might as well do it right.

So, I have Robert J. Flaherty's "Man of Aran" (1934) slated to watch as soon as it arrives in the mail. So I figured I would take the time to watch the first film he ever made and perhaps his more famous film.

For the overly PC crowed be warned that this film follows Nanook around while he hunts down and kills various animals. I had to sort of shut off part of my brain regarding recent controversies.

That said, this is an absolutely priceless film. The world has changed so much since the making of this film that it now seems to hold a quality of being two documentaries. A film about the Inuit Eskimos and a time when documentary film making was rather new to the world.

This is a moment in time forever frozen in snow and celluloid.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 55  Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 7.6 
41. Man of Aran (1934)

So, sort of mixed feelings about this film. While the cinematography is much better and it is clear that Robert J. Flaherty has improved as a director. I simply didn't engage enough with the story. Still and important work of film making worth watching. Especially for students of film.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 988  Average listal rating (590 ratings) 8.4  IMDB Rating 8.4 
42. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Featured List
Italian Neo-Realism

I intended to watch this film as a double feature with "Shoeshine". Alas, I think I had hit my max for "art house films' for one month.

I can understand why this film is considered one of the 'greats' and yes... save yourself for the Criterion copy the restoration is quite wonderful.

Still, with the burden of so many accolades and volumes of critiques, I found it difficult to enjoy this film beyond a classroom level. Ah, but as I have said in the past the Italian Noe-Realist movement is one that I have always struggled with watching.
jaytoast's rating:

LGBT Theme...

People who added this item 255  Average listal rating (170 ratings) 6.6  IMDB Rating 6.8 
43. Goon (2011)

Three stars from Mr Ebert not bad...
External Review @ Reoger Ebert

First, to answer your question... "What is this film doing in LGBT?" Well, last month the NHL started a campaign to end homophobia in professional sports and have to say I'm very impressed. Read more here:
NHL Stars Support LGBT Athletes

So, was looking for a good hockey film to watch that wasn't "The Mighty Ducks". This was actually the perfect choice. Seann William Scott plays the character Doug Glatt a Jewish man with a gay brother and who's only skill in life seems to be his fists. The characters are vulgar, strange and each uniquely flawed. I like the simple message that if your good at something, work at it and do that. Not everyone aims to be rocket scientists.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 44  Average listal rating (27 ratings) 5.2  IMDB Rating 5.9 
44. Eating Out: All You Can Eat (2009)

Ah, actually not sure how to rate this. It wasn't horrible especially for yet another entry into the "Eating Out" franchise. If you have seen the first two films... you might as well drink the rest of your cool-aid.

However, even with some seriously 'preachy' moments, this is pure silly fluff. Cute, sweet yet... harmless and easily forgettable. Perhaps a film best left to the bargain bins but not a total disaster.
jaytoast's rating:

Movie Exchange Program

Movie Exchange Program

This are my choice of picks from Xanadon't package that arrived this month. I will save "Lady Vengance" for next month as I watch the first two films from the trilogy. Yep... I am *way too* concerned about watching films in order :P
People who added this item 1101  Average listal rating (660 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating 8.1 
45. Roman Holiday (1953)

Wow, really put off watching this film too long and is now one of the films I consider 'a film to watch before you watch anything else'. Far too many films have made reference to this film and for a good reason. It is a stunning film and Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are amazing together.

So, an extra big thanks to Xanadon't for including this film in the Exchange program.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 150  Average listal rating (87 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating 6.8 
46. Who's That Knocking at My Door? (1967)

I have the highest respect for Martin Scorsese, tho not always some of his films. There are quiet a few film references made throughout the film. This coupled with the blending of several different types of montages and editing techniques... that felt distracting. In that I was more aware of the film then the actual story or what might be happening. As a film about film I think it works on a certain level but as a narrative story it got a little confusing.

Ha! Of course many directors would mimic his style later so... this is a film I'll be mulling over. Which thankfully I have some time before I need to send it off to the giraffe, so I can always watch it again.
jaytoast's rating:

Horror Films...

People who added this item 426  Average listal rating (250 ratings) 5.5  IMDB Rating 5.9 
47. Dream House (2011)

Lowkey supernatural/psychological thriller. First, I'm really glad that I read *nothing* about this film before watching. Also glad I ignored the rather poor ratings.

As far as recent horror films with 'plot twists' go... nothing is worse then "The Ward" or "My Soul To Take". At least I cared enough about all the characters to want to know what happens to everyone by the end.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 212  Average listal rating (134 ratings) 5.7  IMDB Rating 6.1 
48. Grave Encounters (2011)
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 33  Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.1  IMDB Rating 5.7 
49. The Devil's Rock (2011)

Featured List
Orlock's Movie Journal for April

This isn't your typical horror film where the most interesting aspect is wondering who is going to die next. There are very few characters in this film that didn't keep the film from being gruesome and suspenseful.
jaytoast's rating:

People who added this item 131  Average listal rating (84 ratings) 6  IMDB Rating 6.2 
50. Fragile: A Ghost Story (2005)

I give this film credit for being a straightforward ghost story. There aren't any stupid twists (I am the ghost or I am the killer) nope just pure and simple film that is low on gore and body counts. It still held a nice suspense through the whole film.

I put my crochet down to actually pay attention, which is saying quite a lot for modern day horror films.
jaytoast's rating:


Cinema Diary for 2012
The Year of The Dragon

This is a scrapbook of ideas, impressions and information about the movies I watch. It is basic, rough and raw in an effort to expand my personal viewing experiences. This is a creative exercise not a critical one. I hope you enjoy.

Other Diary Entires:
Dear Cinema Diary - May 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - April 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - March 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - February 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - Jan 2012

Diary Entries for 2011

October thru December | September | August | July | January

Diary Entries for 2010

December | November | October | September | August | July

Added to

7 votes
My Film Diary Index (28 lists)
list by jaytoast
Published 2 years, 4 months ago 2 comments
24 votes
2012 Movie Lists I Am Following On Listal (66 lists)
list by portlander
Published 2 years, 5 months ago 12 comments

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Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 6 5:08
I had problems with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance when I watched it. Also with Lady Vengeance, but I think my problems for both largely came from the fact that I didn't enjoy either in the same way I did Oldboy. If I respond to Lady Vengeance better this time around I'll probably give Sympathy a re-watch too. We'll see.

Looking forward to your thoughts on Ip Man.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 6 5:10
I had the same expectations as you about Real Steel, which is why I have not watched it yet, it sounds like a movie I have seen many times before, but if it is good enough for you and Roger Ebert - it is good enough for me, so I will check it out. I think I saw The Day The Earth Caught Fire, probably on the late, late show many years ago - but it sounds like a movie I would enjoy seeing again. I will be looking forward to reading your reactions to Roman Holiday and Who's That Knocking at My Door, and I also think I would like to see the other movies in the Vengeance trilogy at some point since I liked Lady Vengeance so much.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 10 1:34
Wow! What an impressive start to the month. If I'm lucky I'll have as many titles under my belt by month's end as you have currently.

Happy to see that you caught A Separation and enjoyed it so well. Ip Man seems to have been stuck in the back of my mind with nowhere to go for a long time now. You're thoughts on it have re-sparked some interest though. Not sure if I can stop taking myself too seriously long enough to go rent Real Steal... it may take a few fingers of whiskey.

Glad to see Dream House worked better for you than it did me. Sure, I think you're a bit out of your mind on that one, but hell, always good to know that a friend enjoyed themselves :)
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 10 4:39
Yep, Ip Man is one of the better martial arts films for the reasons you mentioned. When I was younger I used to love the genre purely for the ass-kicking, but as I've grown older that's mostly come secondary for me. Since you enjoyed it, I recommend you watch Ip Man 2 which carries on the story. And if you do it's best if you do so sooner rather than later, as it relies a little on your having seen the first one. Maybe not a Great film, but definitely worth watching.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 11 20:27
U shed some tears on Real Steel??!! C´mon man. It´s ok to cry on let´s say when watching Shindler´s List but not when Real Steel is rolling.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 13 17:40
@Xanadon't Crap... ah... ya... Friday the 13th and 24 films under my belt. Ah... and there are a few that I watched and I'm not going to bother listing. Getting drunk and trying to watch all the "Mission Impossible" didn't seem all that impressive.

@the giraffe My Blockbuster queue has been rather messed up lately and what has been getting sent is rather random but I'll push Ip Man 2 to the top and cross my fingers.

@Rocconeverdies Well, I wasn't running to the next room for a box of tissues or anything besides pretty sure I lost the 'real man' competition years ago. I found it odd that I didn't cry during "Hachiko: A Dog's Story"... I make up for it by having random emotional outburst in the Safeway check out line. Emotions... I try not to try to make too much sense out of them.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 13 18:15
Ha, yes I can see how a Mission Impossible marathon may not be all it's cracked up to be, drunk or not. In fact I think the series title describes the endeavor itself quite well :) I would hit a major wall with the second installment, and likeable as the third may be, I'm just not sure it's a bright enough light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Glad you liked Troll Hunter so well. Quite a lot of fun, isn't it?
2. Thanks for the list feature on Grave Encounters. At least I'm not the only one that doesn't think it's some kind of found-footage messiah.
3. I had to smile at your comments for MMMM. It's not often I watch a movie alone and find myself shouting aloud to the TV, "END! Thee end! C'mon, end it already!... Thank you." Oh, and like you, I didn't sense any blending of real and not real either. In fact, I was surprised reading just now that people read it that way.
4. I've been afraid that Tiny Furniture will be another The Future (2010 or 2011), so I think I'll continue avoiding it.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 13 18:24
Yes, it is true that even drunk there were points in the "Mission Impossible" marathon where cleaning the bathroom became more exciting.

If I remember correctly you didn't like "Fish Tank" so... I don't think you would like "Tiny Furniture". Also why I stuck the film in "Mixed Bag"... liked but wouldn't recommend.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 14 5:35
Yay for more love for Troll Hunter! Glad to know Ghost Protocol will at least be worth watching whenever I get around to it. I too would not be able to sit through the 2nd one again, but I love the first enough to own it & mostly enjoyed the 3rd. Kudos for watching them all marathon-style.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 19 7:40
Oh excellent! I'd read Ebert's review of Goon last week and was pleasantly surprised, and I'm happy to see here that you share his esteem for it. Not often I do the Amazon rental thing, but I might have to give it a watch.

Your comments on Goodbye Solo really brought that remarkable film back for me. Glad you watched it, and now I'm gonna have to look into other titles from that director.

And congrats on hunkering down for Fanny and Alexander, an undertaking that I just haven't been able to talk myself into. But from your comments, maybe I'll shoot for this decade rather than next.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 19 7:41
Ah, and now I see that Bahrani did Man Push Cart and that makes perfect sense to me. Guess I better check out Chop Shop.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 21 7:33
Glad to see you enjoyed Dancer in the Dark and Lars and the Real Girl. Too tired to comment further at this time, so I'm off to bed.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 21 10:10
I've been meaning to rewatch Dancer in the Dark for some time now... even if just to watch something from Van Trier that agrees with me.

So glad you thought so much of Roman Holiday! As I was putting my film package together I was a bit surprised that you hadn't seen it yet. Happy to fix that for ya!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 21 19:27
You have been busy this month -
I like musicals and I agree with you about American In Paris, it is not one of my favorites because I didn't find the story or songs all that interesting and the final number goes on way to long, but I did like Gene Kelly in it - I would recommend Singin In The Rain if you want to start into musicals again - it's a much better movie. I haven't heard of Dancer In The Dark before, but it sounds interesting so I'll put it on my want to watch list.

I'm not in a rush to see Mission Impossible, because I can't imagine it being that much different than the first three movies, which I thought were good but not great, but I probably will see it eventually.
I saw The Killing Fields back in the 80's and haven't watched it since because it was such a tough movie to watch, but you are right that is a terrific movie, maybe it is time to give it a rewatch.

I wasn't sure what to think of Roman Holiday after I first watched it, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it and it became the first of Xanadon't's movies that I added to my own DVD collection, and I agree that it influenced many movies that followed.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 21 19:39
Regarding Martha and the question of whether there's a blending between what's real and what's not real, it sounds a bit like you're making reference to what I wrote about the movie, so I feel compelled to at least respond. :) Earlier in the review, I made reference to a scene in which she tells her sister "Do you ever get the feeling where you can't tell if something is a dream or a memory?", so that made me jump and wonder whether the scenes of the past were objective flashbacks or if they were things that were in Martha's head- and if they're the latter, it then brings the question of whether these are all things that she truly remembers happening or if some of them are just nightmarish thoughts that are in her mind due to the trauma she experienced at the cult. I too wish, though, that the secondary characters hadn't felt so stereotypical.

I was ready to give Tiny Furniture a lower rating... and then... somehow once it was over, I kinda felt like I also liked these people more than I usually do characters who show up in the dozens of angst-filled indie dramas. I'm really surprised that Criterion decided to make it part of its collection, especially since it's such a recent movie.

Kudos on watching such an impressive variety of movies, and still with several days left on the month!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 22 0:06
@lotr23 I have actually come across several reviews that have mentioned 'a blending of real or imagined' memories. I think there is even one on MUBI that states something similar. So, it wasn't just you ;)

The film directly follows the short film "Mary Last Seen" so you can take the two films as a whole or digest them as individual films.

Traumatic or repressed memories tend to have a 'dream like quality' to them thus allowing the individual to only half believe in events and continue to function until the memory is dealt with or totally blocked out. It is actually Martha stating this thought that would lead "an dime store therapist" like me to actually believe the events were more real then the individual would care to admit.

I actually would have been happy with the film if it had managed to capture some real sense of Martha interpreting or reinterpreting past events. The film didn't pull that off for me. I'm willing to go further in that I don't think that any of Martha's post trauma/cult-life behavior was believable. While I respect Sean Durkin dedication to 'realism' personally I don't think what he was trying to capture can be done in a cinematographic emphasis on realism. Nor do I feel that he did his homework on psychiatric behavior or cult programing and de-programing.

However, what do I know... they loved him at the Cannes.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 22 7:41
Wow! You have been busy, dude!!

First of, like you, I got really emotional at the end of 'Real steel' and of course, it is silly but we are just humans. Second, I don't have time right now on all the movies but I'll be back...
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 23 5:21
Yeah, as I watched Ip Man 2 I found myself a little confused who a couple characters were at first, which is why I recommended you watch it as soon as you could. Glad you enjoyed it!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 23 9:14
My 2 cents :

- 'An American in Paris' : Like you, I don't really like musicals but I love movies and I tried to watch those classics from time to time. Personally, I loved the songs and the dancing more than I expected. Too bad the story was really worthless...
- 'Dancer in the dark'. Even though I have lot of respect for Lars von Trier, I'm actually not a big fan of his work. So, I didn't really enjoy this flick much.
- 'Real Steel '. like I said before, I got really emotional at the end of 'Real steel' and of course, it is silly but we are just humans. A decent blockbuster.
- 'The beach'. Probably, the most hated movie directed by Danny Boyle. I think it had a lot to do with the backlash concerning 'Titanic'. Anyway, I thought it was pretty good then and I still think so nowadays.
- 'Fanny and Alexander'. Oh boy... I had a hard time with this one.... Of course, It is a must see, of course, I should love it... Eventually, I did like it but it didn't blow me away. I guess I'm too dumb or something....
- 'Goodbye Lenin'. Even though I really liked it, I was expecting more somehow. A very good movie though.
- 'L'adversaire'. I loved it but maybe it's because I'm French.
- 'The killing fields'. A very good flick. Need a re-watch
- 'Roman Holiday'. It is a classic, it is a good movie but I'm still not a fan. Too light for me, I guess
- 'Who's That Knocking at My Door?'. I love Scorsese's work so I liked this movie but it is actually nothing amazing.
- 'Fragile'. a nice and underrated ghost flick
- 'Ladies in lavender'. I thought it was so disappointing... 2 terrific actress lost in a boring and sappy story. Still watchable though

And you made me want to watch tons of movies, thanks a lot!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 24 3:49
"Fanny and Alexander" I found to echo many of my feelings or thoughts about life and what is important. All while still being rather endearing.

Hum... seven more days to go and I have managed to watch the darkest and harshest films in one month then I think I managed all last year.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 25 15:20
I haven't been able to get into Lawrence Of Arabia, but I own a delux version of the DVD so I'm sure to be giving it another chance - I really love Peter O'Toole, so the movie will click with me eventually.

I agree about Who's That Knocking at my door being confusing, but I did enjoy the movie references, I thought it was pretty good for a first time out by Scorcese.

I love Monsters Inc. but I gave up on buying animated DVDs because I always end up giving them to my nieces and nephews, and then I have to buy them all over again.

All Of Me is one of my favorite Steve Martin movies, the ending gets to me every time.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 26 8:51
I'll definitely be interested to revisit Who's That Knocking- One of those films I've only sat down with once and I'm not real sure how long it was between watching it and 'rating' it on listal. The early conversations sitting on the bench about John Ford films are what stick in my mind the most. Along with some Catholic imagery and religious guilt motif that runs through a lot of Scorsese's early work. The montages are something I'm not remembering at all, so obviously I'm not overly familiar with the film. Glad you didn't hate it:)
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 30 16:40
Yay, new Listal Cinema Diary record with 62 films watched. Granted, I think only 14 of those were on my NY Times check list of a 1,000 films to watch leaving me with only 727 more films to watch! (AKA. never going to happen)

Ah, and yes... as per tradition the last day of the month is saved for doing anything but watching films. So, this is the complete wrap up for the month.
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 30 19:17
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at Apr 30 22:53
Congrats on reaching your goal of 60+ movies for the month!
Posted: 2 years, 4 months ago at May 1 6:57
Ha you watched 3 times as many as I did this month. Plan on finishing up my list tomorrow whenever I get enough time to do so. I suppose I COULD lose sleep & finish it now, but sleep sounds wonderful so :P
Posted: 2 years, 1 month ago at Jul 15 7:02
Linked to your list from my July 2012 list. :)

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