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Added by lotr23 on 7 Mar 2013 07:50
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March-April 2013 Movie Journal

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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.2


"That first kiss happened way too quickly." It's a complaint I find myself having very often with romantic dramas and comedies: the future lovebirds kiss for the first time when the film hasn't developed their connection well enough for us to believe in it. In a lot of cases, it's easy to consider it a minor flaw, or to forget about it if the movie makes up for it later. But Hello I Must Be Going may feature the worst case I've seen of the couple kissing too soon. And to make things worse, the movie doesn't make up for it later, because the central relationship is developed very skimpily throughout the entirety of the movie. Melanie Lynskey and Chistopher Abbott inhabit characters who are interesting on their own, but the film does a poor job at getting us to care about the connection they supposedly share.
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People who added this item 370 Average listal rating (202 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6


My expectations on what A Royal Affair would be about were so totally wrong. I expected a movie about a suffering queen who would be forced to stay married to a stereotypically domineering/sexist king while secretly in love with someone else. Instead, I got something that was far more than a costume period piece about infidelity- A Royal Affair is much more politically insightful and ideologically conscious than most of these types of movies (certainly more so than recent releases Anna Karenina and Farewell My Queen). The idea that "power corrupts" is a tired message that we have heard in dozens of films. But A Royal Affair doesn't limit itself to telling us that power corrupts. The film is interested in exploring why power corrupts, and unlike most films, it's bold enough to admit that people who become corrupted by power weren't necessarily 100% evil from the start. Sometimes things just get out of control and the only way to get stability back is by being coercive, even if your intentions are good at heart. Politics aren't as black-and-white as most movies portray them, and A Royal Affair gets a lot of points for knowing it and for daring to say it. Of course, it also helps that the "stereotypically domineering/sexist king" character that we're used to seeing in films like this is nowhere to be found here, and what we get instead is an unabashedly insane creature who provides tons of entertainment of the "impossible to look away from" variety. Yes, there are some instances in which it feels soap-operatic, but that's almost inevitable, and it was never noticeable enough to become off-putting.
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People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Broken (2012)


Film Movement continues to impress me with their incredibly diverse and impressive selection of films. After The Dynamiter and Clandestine Childhood, I had a hard time imagining that they'd continue their roll, but it's now become clear that I've got to get my hands on anything and everything they release. Broken features several characters whose lives are interconnected, yet unlike most films that do that, the interconnection here never feels contrived. Here's a film that's willing to get raw and dirty when it comes to showing what it means to "come of age," rather than airbrushing it the way most movies would. It's a pleasure to see talented, big-name actors like Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy dedicate their time to small, worthy projects like this one.
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People who added this item 779 Average listal rating (523 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
Sinister (2012)


(Rewatch)

I don't get scared very much in movie theaters anymore. The supposed "horror movies" that come out in theaters nowadays believe that "atmosphere" on its own is enough to create dread and tension. For me, it isn't. That said, Sinister was the only 2012 film that I found to have genuinely scary moments. I thought it deserved a second chance, because I did see it in a theater that was full of teenagers who, as expected, did a lot of exaggerated screaming throughout the film. So, I watched it with four other people... in a dark living room. And I gotta say I think the experience was even creepier this time, particularly those last few scenes. Yes, the possessed kid thing is overdone and they really need to start coming up with other ideas, but considering that there's such a scarcity of scares in current horror releases, I'll take what I can get. It may be a 6/10, but it might be one of the best recent horror releases.
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People who added this item 163 Average listal rating (111 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.6
The Bay (2012)


It's simple: I like found footage films. A lot of people don't. That should already give you an idea as to whether you have a possibility of liking this or not. Obviously, everyone knows by now that found footage movies aren't actually real, and no one's fooled by any of it the way some were in 1999, but the fun for me is in seeing the attempt at creating that messy realism. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don't. The Bay is the found footage version of Contagion. It's interesting and reasonably entertaining, but I can't really go any further than that. I'm normally a fan of movies that are interested in making political criticism, but in this case, I think this particular movie decided to worry way too much about dropping as many hints of political criticism as it could, and in doing so, it kind of loses its focus at times, which makes the level of tension diminish. Still, at 85 minutes, and as yet another entry in a style of filmmaking towards which I have a positive bias, I can't say I regret seeing this.
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
(Yes, it's a total coincidence that, in the same week, I've seen two movies with the word "Hello" at the start.)

Hello Lonesome consists of three separate stories. One of them moved me deeply, one of them I found funny in a "wtf" sort of way, and the other one has absolutely no reason for existing. The first one could've been a great movie on its own. The second one might've made for a funny short film. And the other one should've never been shot in the first place. I find it hard to speak in general terms about the movie because the stories are all so different. And I'm definitely not surprised that I'm the only person on Listal who's seen and rated this, haha.
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Smashed (2012)


Smashed is an affecting independent film that succeeds almost entirely thanks to the greatness of its lead performance. The movie's problem might be that it's too short, which is something I usually welcome, except that, in this case, the short running time makes it so that Mary Elizabeth Winstead outshines everyone and none of the other characters get room for development, which is especially problematic with regards to Winstead's co-star, whose character we should've been able to get to know much better, in order for us to become invested in the sucess/failure of the central romantic relationship. Smashed deserves credit for identifying dishonesty as one of the major problems that comes with alcoholism, but it chooses to examine the dishonesty issue through an unfortunate subplot involving a fake pregnancy- it's a subplot that's made more problematic by the cartoon of a character played by Megan Mulally, one of those characters whose words and reactions are all completely inorganic, because they respond entirely to what the plot needs her to do in order to move forward.

Still, this is an hour and 20 minutes of a young actress completely at the top of her game, giving a multi-layered, terrific performance, and the movie's worth seeing entirely to witness that. I'm kind of proud of myself because, seven years ago, Winstead was the lead in a Final Destination movie, and it occurred to me then that her acting skills seemed far superior to the project she was in. In 2013, she's teaming up yet again with Smashed director James Ponsoldt (whose first film, Off the Black, I really liked as well) and with the writer of (500) Days of Summer for something called The Spectacular Now, which I'm very much looking forward to seeing.
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People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (179 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5


Now I'll be reminded of the Frankenstein silhouette every time I see a Brendan Fraser film.

(There's a caption at the top of the end credits that says everything that needs to be said about how stupendous the acting is in Gods and Monsters.)
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People who added this item 102 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Barbara (2012)


The most fun I had with Barbara was right after the movie was over, when I sat down to read the synopsis, which identified the movie as a "Cold War thriller." The word 'thriller' made me laugh very hard. This is one of those movies in which absolutely nothing of interest ever happens, but critics apparently felt a misplaced obligation to praise it, because the movie is "supposedly" about important things. I've been told in the past that "nothing happens" in certain movies I like. And Barbara would have to be my answer to that accusation. This one's a total snoozer. Though I did manage to stay awake all the way to the end (unlike both of the people who were sitting on either side of me).
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People who added this item 191 Average listal rating (141 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Sleep Tight (2011)


There's something that feels a little too... "procedurally perfect" about the ending of Mientras Duermes, but aside from that, this is consistently entertaining (more thriller than horror movie, unlike the idea the poster might give you). One of those films that takes care to develop the villain's motivations and to explain his psychological background to us, so that we can better understand why he does the things he does, regardless of how reprehensible we may find them to be.
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People who added this item 285 Average listal rating (163 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8


This is a welcome light alternative to those gritty, dark, crime family dramas that had been released in the years prior to 1985. (Though I have to imagine that Angelica Huston's Oscar win for this was entirely due to her being part of a generation of former Oscar winners, because I certainly can't conceive how it was deemed that her performance was sufficiently noteworthy). This one's at its best during the scenes in which Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner share the screen with one another.
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People who added this item 712 Average listal rating (449 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
Side Effects (2013)


Side Effects is constantly engaging and, on occasion, it's even devilishly entertaining. It's too bad that it could've been even more than that. This starts out having the potential to be an extraordinary examination of what mental instability can do to people, but it eventually chooses to take another route, and in doing so, it descends into legal/police procedural shenanigans- these shenanigans aren't boring per se, but they can be exasperating, especially towards the end. The movie takes a series of trashy twists and turns during the final act that make it hard to avoid eye-rolling. More troublesome are the deficiencies in the performance given by Rooney Mara (who scored an undeserved Oscar nomination for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo solely because of her influence over Academy members), who, in Side Effects, does nothing other than play dead: I didn't buy the person she was at the start of the film, and I most definitely didn't buy the person she was at the end of it. I would've paid almost anything to see more of those terrific scenes in which Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones traded fiery verbal quips with one another and less of Mara's one-note turn.
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People who added this item 219 Average listal rating (134 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.9


If you've ever felt like a movie was made for you, then you understand how I feel. I'm not so sure about recommending this, because it feels like one of those I'd rather "keep for myself", so to speak, but what I will tell you is that you should ignore the obscene amount of pink in the movie's poster, because it's completely deceptive and doesn't reflect at all what the movie's about. Films tend to treat the event of losing one's virginity either as a joke of the bathroom-humor variety or as an exaggeratedly special, life-changing event- The First Time recognizes that it is neither of those two things, and in doing so, it treats it with grace and dignity, without fear of showcasing the level of awkwardness and disappointment that frequently accompanies that event. But in spite of the title, and in spite of what I've said here so far, the movie's about a lot more than that event. It's not often that I find myself believing so much in the connection between two characters, and more importantly, it's not often that I find myself so enthralled by watching them share things with one another. I don't think it's a perfect movie, but it may be the closest we get to a high school version of Before Sunrise. (I debated whether to give The First Time an 8 or a 9, and then the movie's last line came to mind.)
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People who added this item 389 Average listal rating (232 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.2
Umberto D. (1952)


It's as devastating as Bicycle Thieves, and it's also every bit as great at being both beautiful and sad at the same time. I admit to sometimes having a difficult time with movies that are evidently dated, which is why, when it comes to something that was released in 1952, it's inevitable that I'm gonna prefer something as timeless as Umberto D, which treats the themes of hope(lessness) and economic strife in ways that are equally affecting to someone living in 2013, at least to me. (Oh, and with all the crappy movies about dogs that get released in 2013, I would've never expected a dog to have such a profound emotional effect on me, as was the case during the last 20 minutes of Umberto D.) Thanks to Mr. X for the grade-A recommendation. :)
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People who added this item 909 Average listal rating (583 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.3
Election (1999)


Political satires don't get much smarter and more entertaining than this. Election makes sure to grab you from the very beginning, quickly introducing the story from various people's perspectives, and from then on, you simply won't want to stop watching. I do wish someone better than Chris Klein had been cast in his role, but aside from that, the cast is pitch-perfect. (A few minutes after I finished watching Election, I realized Legally Blonde 2 was on TV, and I saw a few minutes of it, and found it so depressing that Resse Witherspoon went from this... to that). What a treat of a movie. Many thanks to jaytoast.

Oh, and this made me laugh so fucking hard, both at the movie and at myself: "If you've paused the film in order to read this entire article, your time would be better spent renting Citizen Ruth from your local video store. Do you know how hard it is to write these fake few stories for newspaper movie props? I've got better things to do." It did, however, lead me to find out about Citizen Ruth and add it to the top of my queue, so I'm glad I paused it.
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People who added this item 770 Average listal rating (467 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Stoker (2013)


Stoker may be over-edited and it may prefer to compel your interest through visual storytelling rather than through a cohesive/straightforward narrative, but that's easily forgiven when you're dealing with something as engrossing and deliciously macabre as this. Yes, I like macabre when it's done well, and this is a perfect example of macabre done well. Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska are absolutely on top of their game. I do think Matthew Goode is miscast- he's given good villainous performances elsewhere (see The Lookout), but he has the same look on his face throughout the entirety of Stoker, and it's not a look that inspires the kind of eeriness that his character is obviously meant to inspire. As a result of that, the disturbing effect that is obviously intended in several of the film's key scenes was only accomplished partially for me, because Goode didn't quite cut it for me, but the other two leads most definitely did. In the depressing wasteland that have been these few months at the theaters, it's "refreshing" (even if this isn't at all what you'd call a refreshing movie) to find something as gripping and visually appealing as this. (And hey, when I was at dinner after I got out of the movie, I remembered to say "No, thank you" after I was offered something... so, there's a thought for all those who think movies like this only inspire sick thoughts and malevolence in those who see it.)
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People who added this item 130 Average listal rating (76 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6


It's nothing special, and it sure as heck feels dated (considering that webcams have existed for several years now and landlines are almost ancient history), but I laughed effortlessly during several scenes, and the movie's short enough not to wear out its welcome. Despite the apparent raunchiness of the film's premise, this is actually a really sweet-natured movie, in my opinion, and it did the trick for a solitary rainy Friday night.
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People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Zero Day (2003)
It's disturbing and at times freakishly compelling, but the whole business with the phone operator during those climactic scenes really makes the film lose a lot of its power and believability.
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People who added this item 77 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7
Citizen Ruth (1996)


As it turns out, it was a great idea for me to "cheat" while watching Election, because it led me to discover this early gem from Alexander Payne. Citizen Ruth deals with a hot-button subject, but it never feels like a "political" film- instead, it focuses more on the lengths to which people will go to get what they want and how that can blind them deeply. And it's one of the funniest and most entertaining films to have ventured out to do that, featuring a terrific lead performance from Laura Dern.
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People who added this item 508 Average listal rating (338 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Trance (2013)


This is basically a more badass, much more visually appealing version of Inception. Trance is a labyrinth that you'll inevitably get lost in, as there comes a point at which it becomes nearly impossible to know what's real and what isn't. But that doesn't matter, because contrary to other films that do that and cause nothing but frustration, Trance mesmerizes throughout. In fact, this is such a great labyrinth to get lost in, that it's kind of disappointing when one arrives at the end of the maze, due to how anticlimactic it feels. You see, the movie has a spectacular, adrenaline-pumping climax, but once that's over, the film's final 5 minutes or so place certain characters in certain positions that one can't help a feeling of "All this for that?". Still, while the endpoint may be a letdown, all the twists and turns that lead to it are profoundly engrossing. Just let yourself get lost in it. (And hey, if you happen to hate it, the movie has an idea or two on how to forget all about it once it's over.)
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People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (40 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5


As much as it relishes dark humor, It's a Disaster may actually be one of the most socially relevant comedies of late, because it does such a good job of capturing the aloofness and flat-out insensitivity of today's world of people who pay more attention to their phones than to their friends. Yes, the aloofness does start to feel repetitive and hard-to-believe towards the end, when we'd expect the characters to be at least somewhat worried about the danger they're in, but that's all part of the fun.
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People who added this item 428 Average listal rating (268 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.3


So much stereotype, so much slapstick and so much stuff involving farm animals tarnishes what could've otherwise been a really sweet and appealing story. I like the premise that starts the movie off and I like the note on which it ends, but I really dislike everything in between. (By the way, not that I'm a moralist in any sense of the word, but this film definitely goes overboard in promoting teenage reckless driving- feels really irresponsible and unnecessary, and even worse, it's not even funny.)
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People who added this item 41 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.9


The playful brilliance of the title is only one of the many charms of the Aussie gem Not Suitable for Children. I guess I'm bound to be kind to any movie that features the Gorillaz in its soundtrack (I'll never listen to "Feels Good" the same way again). But there's something to be said about a comedy that has a premise like this one yet constantly avoids being gross or crass and instead is fun and gives us characters who make it very much worth watching. It's been a while since a movie's final frame has made me laugh so hard.
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People who added this item 206 Average listal rating (116 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
No (2012)


No looks like a movie about politics, but it isn't. It's about advertising. Then again, when you're done watching this, it's not unwarranted to conclude that they're the same thing. The movie does get repetitive by a certain point (kind of like when you're watching TV and the commercials feel longer than usual), but it's an insightful and well-made piece, worth checking out as an examination of the way in which weak minds are manipulated during electoral processes.
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People who added this item 368 Average listal rating (225 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8


I've been very close-minded when it comes to musicals. But ever since I was shocked recently when I did NOT hate the latest adaptation of Les Mis, I've been more open-minded to giving them more of a chance. And "open-minded" is a key word when it comes to this extraordinary film. Its moments of exuberance are nothing but pure joy, and its moments of heartbreak are horribly painful, and the film never misses a beat in negotiating those two things during its three hours of greatness. An enormous thanks to Mack for the wonderful recommendation. :)
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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
Simon Killer (2012)
From the same little production company that brought you Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene (and you should really already know whether you need to keep reading further or not), Simon Killer will be viewed by many as a statement on the subconscious misogyny of most young American males, but I see it as something deeper and actually less perverse than that. The movie struck me as a meditation on loneliness and on the waywardness that you experience when you've just finished a phase in your life and you tell yourself: "Now what?". In that particular sense, I found myself relating to the title character. Don't let that freak you out. You shouldn't see the movie, but if you do, don't blame your anger and frustration on me. Like the two other films made by these producers, Simon Killer is one of those films that I admired for what it wanted to do and for what I saw it wanting to do in every scene, rather than one that I actually liked for what it actually did.
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People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.6
Angels Of Sex (2012)


This little IFC film from Spain is heavy on contrivance during its last 20 minutes, but by then, I was so won over by the charm of its leads and by its refreshingly positive take on the diffuse nature of sexuality that it was very easy to not get too turned off by the neat way in which things are wrapped up. It's nice for once to see a film like this not drown itself in sorrow and in scenes of people yelling "How could you betray me?!"
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People who added this item 3072 Average listal rating (1805 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8


Umpteenth rewatch

Sometimes good things happen...

In the time I've spent during the past few years visiting movie forums, reading professional and amateur reviews, and just generally checking out people's thoughts and reactions to the films they watch, I find that there's always a debate going on (whether explicitly or implicitly) as to what it is that makes a film good or great: Pure and simple entertainment? Emotional satisfaction? Artistic appeal? I don't know what the answer is. It might depend on the movie or on the person... all I know is I change my mind constantly as to which of the three matters to me most. What I can tell you is that this miracle, this masterpiece, this monument of a fucking movie is the only film that I can tell you accomplishes all three of those things to perfection for me. It's the only film I've ever seen that, immediately after finishing my first viewing, I immediately needed to put it on again. It's the only film that has made my jaw drop at a moment in which I'm not watching it but I'm sitting down pondering it, because I'll suddenly realize something that I hadn't realized before. There are layers upon layers of greatness here. I discover more each time I watch it- that's what a masterpiece does. Contrary to a lot of people's opinions (and contrary to a lot of other films), I don't find Mulholland Drive confusing in the least bit- it all makes total sense, logically, symbolically and emotionally. It's one of those films in which everything is important. Repeat viewings are opportunities for more and more fascinating discoveries. Naomi Watts could do whatever she wants with the rest of her career, but no one will ever take away from her the fact that she gives here the best performance in cinematic history, aside from definitely being one of the most multi-faceted ones as well. And yes, Mulholland Drive is a visual beauty and its score is the most breathtaking I've ever listened to. I don't know what my favorite film of all time is- but if I were forced to choose, I can't imagine selecting anything else.
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Keeping the bi-monthly format for now, as I have a feeling that I've actually watched significantly less films in 2013 than I usually have in the past by this time of the year. As it's turned out for me, full-time work has been more time-consuming than being a full-time student. It might also have to do with the fact that these early months are kind of a wasteland when it comes to stuff playing in theaters, so we'll see if things get any better soon. It's possible that the month of September will deserve a journal of its own, though. :)

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2013 Movie Journals (7 lists)
list by lotr23
Published 4 years, 7 months ago



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Comments

Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Mar 15 5:53
Glad to see you enjoyed Gods and Monsters. :)

Evidently I'll have to check Sinister out one of these days.
Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Mar 15 9:06
And luckily September is an odd numbered month! Oh wait, but then do you lump Oct, Nov, Dec all together? Or do you continue the monthly trend the rest of the year? Hmmm. Something tells me it'll be worth having to sort it out...

Ah, but as for the here and now:

I very nearly went to see Hello I Must Be Going in theaters last year. Further confirmation that I did myself a favor in not going.
It's simple: I like found footage films.

See? That's all you had to say. I'll stop making fun of you for it now ;)

Yep- mostly similar feelings about Smashed, despite the difference in our ratings (system). I agree that the Not Really Pregnant bit was the weakest aspect of the film in some ways. I'm not sure that I objected to Megan Mulally character as much as you did. Even though I will say that hers is the one performance that pulled me out of the film now and then.
the short running time makes it so that Mary Elizabeth Winstead outshines everyone and none of the other characters get room for development, which is especially problematic with regards to Winstead's co-star, whose character we should've been able to get to know much better, in order for us to become invested in the sucess/failure of the central romantic relationship.

This is one way of looking at it, and I do think that it's a valid one in its own right. And in some ways I even agree with you because what we're shown of these supporting players is very interesting indeed and for that reason I would've like to see more. But... I'll share my ultimate take on it (and by ultimate I mean things may still be occurring to me as I go, haha), because I'm interested to here what you think:

For me the tight focus on Kate made sense and worked for the film for a couple reasons. Most basically it is her film. And I don't just mean performance-wise. I mean in the sense that this is very much a character-study film, and something of a case-study as well. It felt okay to me that Charlie (or anyone else) didn't get more development than they did, simply because it's not really their movie, nor is it their life that the director is expressly interested in. The course of Kate and Charlie's relationship is very important to the movie, for sure-- but I was actually impressed with how much we were able to learn about them in such an efficient way. It felt like there were a lot of small scenes, gestures, a few words that said a whole lot in a small amount of time.

Also, the alcoholism, and the struggle to overcome it is (and some of this is conjecture, but I'll say that a certain amount of it is not) a deeply personal ordeal. While of course support systems --no matter what shape they take-- are hugely important, so much of the struggle is an individual thing. Particularly in the early stages-- recognition/admitting to the problem, the decision to attempt change, the myriad smaller personal decisions that reinforce that effort to change. In many ways there's a profound loneliness to it all, of course, despite A.A. Meetings, support systems, etc.

Thematically, I felt like this was actually reflected nicely in the fact that we don't get more of Kate AND Charlie. Kate is forced to exist in a way that's more alone than she's ever been/felt if she wants to be successful. Sounds counter-intuitive, but obviously in the context of the film that is the only way she has a chance to succeed. The film's intense focus on her character at the possible expense of short-changing the other players reinforces this idea. Certainly she does not want to short-change her marriage... but she's arrived at the point where that marriage is basically a poison to her- at least in the stage that she's at-- and the only thing to be done is to turn her focus entirely on herself. Talk about liberation through pain. All in all I found that whole dynamic to be extremely fascinating.

Holy shit, I should've PM'd you. Sorry...
Obviously there's something going on with that movie that I really enjoy discussing it! (Of course, the fact that it's still so fresh in my mind just makes it worse.)

Okay, well hell, I've taken up this much damn space, what's a few more sentences...

I'll have to look up Off the Black and definitely am now intrigued by The Spectacular Now. I already like the title. And if Winstead gives a performance that approaches how great she was in Smashed it should be one to see!

I'll try to limit myself to one post for the rest of the month. Oh shit... March/April. Gah!
Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Mar 15 13:32
Now, how come I haven't heard of Gods and Monsters before? It seems like a film for me.
Posted: 4 years, 8 months ago at Mar 22 21:25
Excellent point about the premature kisses. One of the reasons I love "The Sure Thing" so much is because (as Roger Ebert so astutely pointed out), the kiss in that means more than so many kisses in so many other movies due to how well the picture developed the connection between the two eventual kissers.

As the affection grew between them, so did my own for both. That's what it takes for a movie kiss to actually be a thrill. I'll never forget how much my heart was pounding the first time I watched the picture and reached the moment when the kiss finally happened. This doesn't happen very often, as kisses in so many films feel obligatory, rather than truly earned.
Posted: 4 years, 8 months ago at Mar 23 23:25
Hey alright!! Always nice to see Umberto D. find an appreciative audience. Seems to be one of those world classics that people have forgotten about a bit. I'm due for a rewatch myself. Maybe try to track it down so I can watch it along side Bicycle Thieves.

Oh, and glad to have The First Time on my radar now.
Posted: 4 years, 8 months ago at Mar 23 23:27
How have I spent so much time on this page and neglected to vote until just now? This kind of lack of attention to detail makes me think that I would be terrible at doing what you do for a living :)
Posted: 4 years, 8 months ago at Mar 29 2:37
(And hey, when I was at dinner after I got out of the movie, I remembered to say "No, thank you" after I was offered something... so, there's a thought for all those who think movies like this only inspire sick thoughts and malevolence in those who see it.)

Ha! Awesome. :D

I don't think I've seen Mr. Goode in ANYTHING else, so I don't have much to judge his performance on...but I did get a creepy vibe off him the entire film, though I'll grant that his facial expressions could have used more variation. So that'd be a complaint from me as well. Anyway, definitely a refreshing change & well worth me placing at the top of my anticipated films list for this year. Glad you found as much to appreciate as I did!
Posted: 4 years, 8 months ago at Apr 3 1:55
Glad you liked "Election" I know a few people who actually hate that film. Ah, also looks like I might need to move up my plans to watch " Umberto D."... nice to read someone's option on the film.
Posted: 4 years, 7 months ago at May 2 5:34
I love the passion and thoughtfulness of your "Mulholland Dr." comments. No wonder you were so enthusiastic responding to the part of my latest list related to this picture (thanks for the comment and vote on there, by the way)!

I've only seen "Mulholland Dr." once, about ten years ago, but the film left such a strong impression on me that I've never forgotten it. On paper, it doesn't sound like something I would enjoy, for many reasons.

I tend to like pictures with more simple, straightforward, and intimate stories. I tend to prefer when the focus is on characters with strong personalities rather than what happens to them. I tend to find symbolism, abstraction, and vagueness in films tiresome. My attitude towards such qualities is usually - get to the point, dammit! I don't want to have to try to figure out what the hell is going on!

Yet despite having elements that turned me off in other films, "Mulholland Dr." totally satisfied me on every level. I'm reminded of what Ebert said about David Lynch when he reviewed it. After years of being frustrated by the guy's pictures, this was the moment when he felt Lynch finally got everything right. This was what Lynch had been building towards for his whole career. He'd made his masterpiece at last.

Now I really want to watch this sucker again. I'm currently in the process of watching "Twin Peaks" for the first time. Maybe after I get through with that, it will be an ideal time to give this tremendous achievement another look. Thanks for reminding me that I need to revisit it.

Incidentally, another plus about this film seems to be that it can bring together people with some generally different tastes. To give an example from a personal anecdote - when I was in university, I had this really intellectual teacher that I was having trouble connecting with. It was frustrating because I really liked him and his class, but couldn't relate to him and wanted to so that we could work together better.

He once said to me that he liked stories where everything isn't spelled out for you - where there's an unconventional storytelling method so things don't proceed along a traditional narrative trajectory. I responded, "Like Mulholland Dr.?", and he answered, "I love that movie". =)
Posted: 4 years, 7 months ago at May 2 19:48
From the same little production company that brought you Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene (and you should really already know whether you need to keep reading further or not)

I can see that there are a bunch more letters forming words, presumably talking about Simon Killer, but I have no idea what they say ;)

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