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Added by VierasTalo on 9 Jan 2020 01:04

Film Journal 2020

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A terrifying fever dream about living in a state of psychosis and ending up in the worst possible circumstances for ever finding treatment or resolving it. The ending to this film is A LOT.

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I hate that a movie made me say to myself "I wish Colin Trevorrow‎ made this".

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People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Honey Boy (2019)
An audiovisually and performatively exciting film that I really wish took all this trauma and did something with it beyond showcasing it with pinpoint accuracy.

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People who added this item 94 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
I'm not crying you're crying

shut up
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
La llorona (2020)
I sort of love a lot of the things La Llorona tries doing but it doesn't feel like it fully commits to any of them aside from the one where it sets out to re-interpret the weeping woman for the modern age. I can't deny that it would fail at that. That being said, how it goes about it is... interesting. So, the film centers on a general who was integral in the mayan genocide in Guatemala. He's on trial for, well, being a bit of a genocidal ponce, and gets a guilty verdict which is immediately pardoned because of course it is. Anyhow, the movie takes place almost entirely in his villa where he has armed guards and his wife, daughter and grandchild, as well as a maid who calls for help from her village when every other maid quits on account of their boss being, well, a bit of a genocidal ponce. A new long-haired mysterious girl appears who sure likes dipping her face in some water for extended periods of time. No idea who that could be. Hey what's this La Llorona thing? Probably not wet.

Oh, right, so then the movie sort of takes a three-fold narrative: You have the general "dealing" with his... well, not guilt, he seems like a stone-cold genocidal ponce if you've ever seen one, but generally trying to stay alive as slightly spooky occurrences make him seem like an insane genocidal ponce. His daughter tries to deal with the fact that whatever father she once had she can no longer think of, and does damage control for the rest of the group, while also trying to take care of her own daughter, who, in the third plotline, befriends the new long-haired maid and has a lot of red herring scenes of running off with her. All these things are set against the backdrop of constant, unending demonstrators outside the house chanting slogans against the general. Though the narratives themselves don't do much of interest (though some of the red herring subversions in the young maid's story are very funny such as the blow dryer scene), the mood is very strong because those people never stop. Eventually when the sound dies down, you know some shit is up. And it's good when you know shit is up in a horror movie because that's usually what you came there for. Alas, here the payoff is super quick and abrupt, and doesn't really feel like much, though the linking of the climax to the genocide does work out alright.

All in all, though this has it's strengths, it's like 60% curio and 40% good movie.
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.2
The Manitou (1977)


See this movie.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7
I really enjoy Charlie Kaufman and have enjoyed joining him on this journey where he has consistently turned more and more inward with each successive film, be it a script or a directorial effort. Here that trend sure keeps going, occasionally dipping to slightly too self-indulgent territory (the Pauline Kael -inspired conversation and the dance scene in particular), but the vitriolic nature of his self-hatred and self-shame keeps this going admirably. It's literally ugly, as well as in content, with very little hope to it, outside of the concept that it's clearly making sure the viewer knows that was this person capable of actual hope, there would be hope for them. That's a silly sentence, but it made sense at some point in my head.

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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.4
That dog is too darn cute. For the first hour Penrod and Sam (... I have to admit I still don't remember who Sam was) is a charming slice of Americana that a number of directors have been trying to copy in any film depicting children playing. It's hardly terrific filmmaking in a traditional sense, but the kinetic energy of children seemingly actually playing silly games in tattered clothes is infectious. The comedy hasn't aged well but at least they sometimes go for something other than pratfalls, such as extended setpieces of tight escapes or a scene where the punchline is delivered at the end when you didn't even know this whole thing was going to be a joke at all. It takes a slightly morbid turn for the last third, and though I can't say it isn't effective, it slows the film to an unfortunate crawl that isn't satisfying.

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People who added this item 121 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Dead of Night (1974)
There is undeniably a bevvy of options within Deathdream for the viewer to project things onto the film, and I am willing to bet that
A) Growing up in the US or Canada
B) Living in the era of the war in Vietnam
would help a lot in doing that. The film also sort of deals with PTSD and grief, but being acquainted with both on personal level, I didn't find either of those to be very accurate or gripping portrayals.

As such, I projected very little, being mostly bothered by the extremely predictable nature of the ongoing events. I can't fault the execution of the film for the most part (the Savini-effects and the sound design, as well as some of the actors, are very good), but aside from the father's story line of coming to terms with his own lack of traditional masculine traits in the face of crisis, this really pushed very few of my buttons throughout. I really wish it had some twist to the traditional formula at some point because I might just love it at that point.
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People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
You know, it's very hard to wish for specificity in a film made in 1920, and that is the earliest surviving film directed by an African American. I would love to see more detail on what makes some of these characters tick – particularly what drives the good rich white lady disagree with the racist rich white lady – and without that level of specificity existing, it's occasionally hard to see Within Our Gates as anything other than a naively hopeful fable on how the world will fix itself and stop viewing people who aren't white as inherently inferior. That being said, that is probably exactly the sort of message that black people in America needed in the 1920s, and further specificity on the hows and whys would take away from the relatively uplifting feel of the film (even if the actual ending, with the patriotic speech about how our leading lady loves America and has just misunderstood everything, is terrible). As it is, it has strong performances and definitely doesn't shy away from saying most things exactly as they are, including that terrifying flashback scene.

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People who added this item 2932 Average listal rating (1868 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Tarzan (1999)
A wet fart of a major Disney adaptation that only excels in occasionally striking visual moments, falling back on tired tropes in just about everything else. I can't say this does a disservice to the material since it honestly feels like it barely does anything with it.

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People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
Enola Holmes (2020)
A perfectly pleasant film I can barely remember a week later.

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People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Ema (2019)
An audiovisual tour-de-force with killer performances with characters whose despicable natures are on par with those of Emily Brontë's creations and I would love it even more if it didn't give me some major "this majorly male-lead crew sure loves making nude ladies fondle each other in front of a camera" -vibes that make a significant portion of the sensual content falter.

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People who added this item 101 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.7
Gemini Man (2019)
Someone give Ang Lee this budget and let him spend it making a HFR action nightmare that he actually wants to make, script and all, because holy shit does this thing show that he only cares about the visual scenes, be it loading a bullet into a gun or an intricate shootout, and the sparse pieces of dialogue he has clearly ham-fistedly inserted into the screenplay to make something remotely interesting out of a 90s JCVD-vehicle. This is especially highlighted by him shooting every other piece of dialogue like a Walter Hill -film, deadpan with close-ups from the front, character in center-frame. It makes for an exceptionally dull 90 minutes for a film that actually sort of excites you with how bizarre it can look during the other 20+ and as such sort of validates that this HFR gimmick might actually be fun to explore in something actually explicitly born to do so.

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People who added this item 373 Average listal rating (246 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.6
Police Story (1985)
The action in this is pretty much incredible after the initial shootout but a lot of the comedy pales in comparison to what came before and after in HK comedies and as such doesn't strike a chord with me.

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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.6
I am quite keen to the fantastical world and art that this movie showcases. Less so on the not-entirely-compelling melodrama it centers on. I wish it maybe kept a bit more of an eye on the search for a moral justification for what happens towards the end of the film rather than writing it off with the first possible solution. You know it'll ring hollow eventually to some of these characters. Either that or they're just... quite... indifferent? about the lives affected or lost by all this.

That being said, banging OST that's synced with the events on screen I am a sucker for.
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People who added this item 269 Average listal rating (187 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5

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People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.4
Mulan (2020)
I dunno, it's nice to see one of these things with some semblance of a soul even if it's all under a veneer of... well, Disney. Wish this leaned a bit more to the wuxia. Also wish whoever edited this hadn't taken their inspiration from Taken 3.

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People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (21 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.6
Host (2020)
I think I appreciate Host not necessarily for it's quality but for showing that a movie like this can be done in under an hour and leave you totally satisfied with it. Take note, every other friggin' dumb spook-em-up out there.

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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
Auli'i Cravalho is so good at this it's a shame she's in a movie of this quality. But then...

All Together Now isn't a bad movie. It aspires to be great. There are moments when it nails that. Then there's the big letdown, for me at least. Well, along with the part where it sort of showcases homeless life in modern America as somewhat... non-threatening, I guess, is the word. You can just chill in a bus with your dog! You can fall asleep on the park bench and at worst your backpack is stolen! I really needed Larry Fessenden from Wendy & Lucy to show up in one of these scenes.

Anyhow, that big dip, for me, was that even though I appreciate and understand that your character arc being an independent person learning how to accept gifts, you really need to do a better, more functionally focused job of portraying that journey, because as it is, this movie feels like the following sentence: "You need to learn to accept gifts from those who love you" where they absolutely just skip the learning part. It's 80 minutes of tear-jerking misery followed by one emotional break and triumph. There is no learning, or if there is, it is so internalized within Cravalho's character that none of it leaks to the outside. As such, this is a movie about watching someone be miserable and suffer for 80 minutes, then some happy bullshit happens. It's really, really unfulfilling, and makes for a very frustrating watch when the movie has this good a cast and crew putting it together. I really wonder if the book was like this, where she just suddenly makes a turn towards this acceptance and that's it. Something tells me it super isn't.
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.1
I suppose I was wishing this to be a bit more interested in exploration of the memetic nature of the central idea rather than a very well composed story about harmony under duress. Sure, some people go off the rails, but acceptance brings people together eventually. I wish it had a bit more of... well, anything, be it a sense of dread, a stronger start or a slightly more intriguing method of presenting the transfer of an idea.

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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.7
You know, a movie doesn't just... become this odd on it's own. I don't think the flavor of quirk An American Pickle has going for it is the result of someone involved in the process saying "Hey let's make this a bit more kooky!". It feels like a passion project because that's how you get this exact tone to a movie. It isn't aggressively funny, it isn't aggressively sentimental, and it isn't aggressively preachy. It just sort of creates this little bubble that it exists in in which it gets to be it's own, somewhat warm, sort of humid thing. And you know what? I was somewhat amused living in that bubble. It has a peculiar sort of passion to it.

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People who added this item 172 Average listal rating (125 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
Shin Godzilla (2016)
There sure is a fucking mood to watching a movie about the government being woefully insufficient at responding to a national, fatal crisis in the year of our god damn lord 2020

Anno's choice to make Gojira itself a tabula rasa despite some of the stuff around him pointing strongly at Japan's tsunami response as a point of criticism is a powerful one that gives this otherwise topical film a sense of timelessness as you can project just about any fear to it. You know, like the pandemic. And then cry about it when no one can do anything and it just kills by existing.

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People who added this item 273 Average listal rating (143 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
An infinitely deeper film than anything said about the story within it can encompass and as such I will just say you should probably watch this movie.

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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Though it barely does anything, Voices of Kidnapping does just about everything. Archaic footage of Colombian rain forests are coupled with audio of transmissions sent to those very jungles on a weekly basis that enable the relatives of kidnapped people hopefully communicate them, in one direction. It is a heartbreaking, completely un-melodramatic portrayal of people in terror, defiance and every damn thing in between. The imagery helps you seep in to your own thoughts on the random nature of life and the wavering nature of existence.

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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7
Hot Dog (2008)
A dog gets into some wacky hijinks while trying to become a fireman. It's very cute and energetic. Has some of that good Looney Tunes energy.

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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.9
Yes, God, Yes (2020)
I haven't seen the short this is based on, but you don't get that feeling of this being based on one on account of this also being quite short. It's a swift 77 minutes or so which definitely doesn't leave much space for filler. Instead it's an occasionally fun, but especially earnest depiction of living in a bubble and briefly realizing and maybe partially exiting one. It does a great job of leading you into it, and even if it's a bit of a shame to see great talent like Donna Lynne Champlin sort of go to waste in an absolute bit part, the alternative of making the film longer probably wouldn't have been all that. As I said, the earnest nature of the film makes it for me. Depictions of Christianity often feel inherently fake or performative for an outsider of that religion like myself, and you don't get that feeling with this film, save for the parts where the film is expressly saying these parts are fake or performative. And that's a rare thing to see!
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People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.3
This is quite a lot.

So, I don't think any joke in particular in this movie works all that well. They rarely land, and there's a fair bit of them that get way too much screen time for how significant the misses can be. That being said, when it isn't trying to be outright funny, it often is way more funny. Teens wreaking havoc across a Japanese school, people doing some very extreme measures just to achieve simple goals, or just the all around out-of-bounds nature of every single costume choice give this movie charm and energy, which are occasionally (primarily during the second half) matched by the editing and overall film making. By the time it turns into a full post apocalyptic no-killing action movie at the end you're in it. Unfortunately along the way you have to sit through some very unfunny, attempting-to-be-funny rape scenes and genital mutilation that goes a step too far for a movie where the general tone is this dumb.

And oh yes, this movie is dumb. Setting aside the actually harmful rape aspects or the excusing of bad behavior as lack of sports, it is gloriously stupid to the point of hilarity. When people reveal their licenses to kill, whether they be laminated giant slabs that say LICENCE TO KILLER on them or permissions to carry arms from the ministry of education, or the prominent nazi iconography all over the place, or... well, I could go on, but the point is, this is one stupid movie, and when you take it as such and let the sheer pure energy of it drive you ahead, it's good. Until it gets dumb about stuff it probably shouldn't, which can be very jarring.
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 5.7
The Rental (2020)
Hey, remember that article by Gay Talese on The New Yorker about that dude who had bought a motel and renovated it so he could peep on his guests from the air vents while they have sex? What a great article! It's completely insane that all the stuff in it happened! Such thrilling writing.

Hey, remember how Toby Huss transformed from a middle manager business dude into an incredibly well thought out fountain of wisdom through four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire? What an amazing show! It really had it all, even Scoot McNairy. I wonder what he's up to these days?

Hey, remember how Alison Brie is absolutely adorable on GLOW, a show filled with absolutely adorable performances of which she still somehow manages to climb above all the rest? She's so funny and cool! I wish I had even five percent of her coolness.

Hey, remember how Sheila Vand starred in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and performed a transgressive shift in how musli...

What? This movie? Oh, I guess it happened in the background. It sure did remind me of great stuff though!

So, getting back to all of that, remember Joe Swanberg? Oh what a guy! I will forever remember that time when h
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 5.8
Honestly who needs patients when your asylum has a dozen people working around the clock! The ratio between employees and patients is like 4:1 and it is an outrageous waste of resources but whatever, I guess they got paid. Anyhow, this movie, it's pretty good if you can get past the occasionally horrible depictions of various mental illnesses (particularly the already too often maligned schizophrenia).

It's shot at some absurdly opulent mansion so it looks like a million bucks, and every single character outside the audience surrogate nurse is basically a giant red herring screaming "I am the killer!", whether it be by randomly showcasing various pointy objects (who doesn't carry an 8 inch knife in their pocket to cut bread with at a dinner table) or basically just saying "trust me this is OK" when a body is found and nothing happens. It says a lot that the least suspicious character in this whole movie from this set of folk is a lady whose skin was burnt off in a lye accident and now wonders the upper corridors of this clinic at night in a black robe – a robe seemingly every character in this movie owns since it's also the robe of the killer.

The film occupies an interesting space between being a straight up giallo and a krimi, as the screenplay is clearly more from the latter, being a cohesive thriller with little concern over having elaborate murder set pieces, whereas some of the visual effects and the overall look of the film are setting a precedent to what would follow in the former genre.
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 4.7
How I wish this movie didn't have your traditional paranormal nunsploitation young priest who comes in to investigate all these weird events...! This carries an unnatural energy for a Bruno Mattei movie as it starts with a hammy monologue about the evils of sex delivered by a nun in the midst of cutting out a uterus from a dead nun...! Which is of course done by sticking a knife into her crotch twice and pulling out some tiny glob of red goo. We're treated to non-stop paranormal events from things catching fire to a rubber bat fucking a Christ on a crucifix until eventually we go to the Church's office or something and a handsome young priest is assigned to investigate all this nonsense.

Though the film still has it's moments (for example coupling "eerie laughing" with a shot of a mysterious cat meowing way too close to the camera and the occasional inspired milieu of a room full of hung baby dolls) it becomes a bit of a bore until the absolutely insane final twists start kicking in. I won't spoil those, but rest assured, if you think this movie isn't worth it, just stick with it. It'll totally be.

Points for the occasionally fun camera work and the entirely inappropriate use of old Goblin music.
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People who added this item 110 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.7
The Old Guard (2020)
A very smart screenplay with wonderful performances that for whatever reason is scored like a midly less emotional episode of Grey's Anatomy and I could not get over it one single iota

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People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
Palm Springs (2020)
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are now stars and I for one will not be requesting a refund

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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 5.4
For all the good old-fashioned Italian horror nihilism all over this movie, it has a few poor choices that don't carry it. The disorienting camera and editing tricks never really do what they need to outside the purest of narrative conceits (like saying "She's woozy!") which is a very boring reasoning to make your movie partially stereoscopic 3D without glasses. It doesn't put me off, it just hurts my eyes. The occasional gore feels more like a needless tribute to the originators of this type of film, as it's never the strength of this film. What is, though, is setting up a well thought out adversary, delivering on that to a T on an ideological and narrative level, and having likable, intelligent...ish people duke it out with that threat. It's dynamite and I wish this movie had a bit less of that red herring stuff for the first 45 minutes and just cut down to the lean bone right off the bat.

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People who added this item 298 Average listal rating (179 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
The first time I have seen Fassbinder the poet. His mise-en-scene is some of the most thought-out, brutally honest and beautiful I have seen in film. The shifting dynamics between the characters and their relation to the rest of the world are fascinating, but holy shit did the look of damn near every single frame here blow me away.

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People who added this item 176 Average listal rating (137 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.3
Genisys continues to be the best Terminator-sequel, but I was quite surprised to see the most unabashedly right-wing big budget action film to come out of Hollywood in quite a while, what with all the "machines take our jobs!", "Guns are my right and I am a supercomputer so when I say it it counts" and love of the military this movie has.

Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton are terrific though and should star in *checks notes* EVERY FILM
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People who added this item 246 Average listal rating (160 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Welp, this is probably the best Walter Hill -film. I often take umbrage with the way he shoots everything very matter-of-factly, just panning his camera with the targets center-frame, but having this film be non-stop scored with music on the basis of it being a rock fable makes it a very dynamic whole, something he's forced to cut and frame around in a way that isn't his usual style. And he's... fucking awesome at it? Like, I wish he had pivoted more to making music videos with the way this thing is so sharply cut.

And it's such a warm, feel-good story despite being set in what often feels like a post-apocalypse despite being orderly. The opening stating this is "another place" is apt because that's what it really feels like. The movie constantly throws stuff at you that you know on a trope-level from westerns but then twists it to fit the weird, weird modern tinge and it transforms it to something that often feels new and fresh.

Also how much money do I have to pay to get a spin-off starring Amy Madigan's character because I will.
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People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 4.4 IMDB Rating 5.3
Kevin Bacon's character and performance in this movie is a fucking M O O D and a half and I love it. Koepp also does a fantastic job writing the most mundane-ass dialogue in the world which gives this movie an insane vibe that I wish it had the chops to capitalize on.

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People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 5.7
Becky (2020)
For a film that pivots hard into being schlocky exploitation and the beginning of the BCU (Becky Cinematic Universe) this sure does paint itself with this bizarre veneer of dire circumstances. It really wants you to care and think about the effect these horrible events have on this little girl while also absolutely reveling in all of it, attempting to titillate you every step of the way. Can't really have your cake and eat it too. Wish this went full on into the exploitation from the top because you could have fun with it.

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Uhhh I mean OK


This movie is kind of alright right around the time when the puppet does... the... stuff... which is basically raping a lady. Sure, it's ridiculous, exploitative, gross, terrible, but like, it's also deeply, deeply stupid. So stupid. Oh my god how stupid it is...! But at least that's a thing. That's something that makes you feel stuff. You don't see that every day! Can't say I've seen a puppet lick a lady's nipples for several minutes too many times in my life.

Unfortunately... I guess? Or fortunately because it means less rape? The puppet sort of goes away and there's about 50 minutes of puppetless film here. That film is still equally ridiculous, but aside from the Casio-score being very funny in a disco, the movie itself becomes a complete bore at this point.

I dunno, I have the feeling that watching two of this auteur's films in like two weeks is waaaay too close to one another and it thoroughly soured me on their... style. Yeah. Let's call it style. I'm feeling generous today.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 3.4 IMDB Rating 4.4
Like a Boss (2020)
Legit don't know how to react when your film has two highlights and they are
Billy Porter exiting a restaurant
Salma Hayek pronouncing Etsy
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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 3.9
Munchies (1987)
Munchies is an amazing trip when it's introducing it's world which is like a mix of John Waters and Tim Burton suburbia filtered through a very PG-13 lens. The titular sock puppets, the constant upskirt shots, the evil billionaire storing toxic waste under the city which he uses to make beef jerky and fund endless TV commercials, the random adrenaline-seeking grannies... It's a lot and it peaks very early, which is why it's a bit of a shame it goes into a bit of a lull when the Munchies eventually start rampaging more. When all the players and locations are known it loses the charm, only occasionally regaining it when we get to see another insane setpiece in a new location.

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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Best kidz movie eva

National treasures
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I appreciate the sound of this movie on occasion (the insane Casio score and the hella modulated ghost voices) but oh man oh man would I just love to be able to hear even a single sentence of the dialogue to completion just once. The violence is surprisingly unsettling, though I find a lot of the ideological conclusions this reaches vis-a-vie suicide and whatnot offputting in a much more real and obnoxious way than the violence's positively shaking quality.

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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6
The Lodge (2020)
Just a heads up, there's a lot of spoilers below.

The Lodge ranks among the more controversial-in-my-own-head films I've seen in a good, long time. It's structured in a way that simultaneously delights and infuriates. During the first forty or so minutes it is so clear what is going on that it feels offensive: The kids are driving this lady to... leave, basically, as kids can do in situations as nuanced and terrible as this. But since they do it in secret the film sort of pretends like "ohh maybe this isn't what's really happening" even though uhhh it 100% is until you present any, literally any, alternative to it. This part of the film is real iffy because it's just a clash between your instinct to not go with this solution of the kids doing the spook-ems because it's so obvious and your instinct to trust that the filmmakers have something more clever in mind. Now, they sort of do, eventually, but it doesn't pan out in any way you'd actually want or imagine, so this whole segment is just a bit too frustrating of a trip just looking at obvious stuff, then going "oh that's obvious."

Then it eventually swings so big with the events that the kids become a non-issue. Clearly they can't be doing it because the change is massive and they are suffering so visibly and frequently, and even the dog bites it. Then you really don't quite know what's going to happen or what's going on until eventually the kids, of course, reveal that they still are, in fact, trying to get her to... leave, still. Kids work that way. Like, seriously, they do, I've worked with a lot of them. Not until it becomes evident that she will die from this do they try to break the act. By then it's too late and The Lodge becomes arguably the scariest film I've seen in many years, but absolutely not in the way I expected to be creeped out by a movie with this much people panning flashlights into darkness in a spooky cabin.

No, it taps into my fear of relapse. Having an incredibly traumatized lead character, then forcing her off her medication, then forcing her to confront that still very active, still very painful trauma with zero help from her environment, is so much more painful a process than these kids could ever have predicted in their will for her to just leave, and it leaves her unhinged.

And look, there are unhinged characters in cinema, sure. The fucking Joker will walk up to you and slap your head in a pencil or whatever, but there is a very, very strong difference between a traditionally crazy villainous character like that and what Grace eventually becomes in The Lodge. In cinematic language predictability is a prominent part. You see The Joker, or someone who might become The Joker, you think about all the twisted shit this dude's gonna pull! You see a man in a hockey mask wielding a machete, you sort of know that ain't ending well for any horny teens in the vicinity. Hell, you see a spooky ghost somewhere, you know this movie's going to be covering some horrible event from the past and that ghost is either a demon or just trying to get out of it's ghastly existence. The monsters in horror become tropes very fast, and they pull from one another to the extent that experiencing true horror from one is damn near impossible.

Of course, Grace doesn't become a monster. She is just actually unhinged, in a state of violent psychosis. She is more reminiscent of Isabelle Adjani's Anna in Zulawski's Possession, but where Zulawski had clearly crafted this tabula rasa into his image of a woman he feels no one could ever understand, Grace is in fact a woman who no one can understand. There is no tentacle monster to explain her ails. You could say you can reach her through her trauma, but the depth of her psychosis is the thing this movie nails so brilliantly and makes me so, so scared because of: She is no longer in this state because of whatever cult ongoings happened to her as a teenager. She becomes something other in the days she spends walking circles in the snow on her knees talking to herself. She undergoes a transformation that only she will and can ever know of unless she gets some rapid aid from a multi-professional group of mental health professionals. Since The Lodge is a horror movie, we're instead forced to follow children and an adult try to deal with something they don't understand one bit, and that something lives in the carcass of a human being. It IS a human, even if all our comprehension and understanding can never empathize with her in this state to the point where we would get through to her.

I am scared shitless of entering an unending psychosis and this is a movie about a person being forced into one and we get to follow her initial actions in that state. There is nothing more unpredictable than that. It is true unpredictability, and this film admirably transfers that feeling of a lack of control to the audience. It's often said in horror films that the audience is helpless when watching, but that isn't really the case. You can always come up with ways of getting out of a situation no matter how fantastical. Grab the knife from the kitchen, cut Jason's head off with it. But the center of the horror in this film isn't that victim running from Jason. It is the process where you end up as Jason. When you're trapped in that state, after you've shot someone in the head and it has thoroughly kept you unflinched in your stalwart belief, and you still look on at what happens next, you are mortified. Or, well. I was.

In that sense I felt the abrupt ending was a relief. A weight lifted off my shoulders. I no longer have to experience my worst fear.

Then I come to Letterboxd and write this much text.

I'm pretty sure I will be experiencing it for a while longer.
VierasTalo's rating:
People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6
The Lovebirds (2020)
It was a thing that was on my retinas for a set period of time and a few times Issa Rae made me laugh and wish I was watching the newest episode of insecure. instead.

VierasTalo's rating:
People who added this item 211 Average listal rating (148 ratings) 3.9 IMDB Rating 3.8
Double Dragon (1994)
Seeing a whole lot of single/single-and-a-half star ratings for this one in my contacts and I will just say please do re-consider your stance on this. It is a bizarre visual pastiche of Italian post-apocalyptic and horror cinema mixed with the color palette of the early 90s. Robert Patrick makes the strong choice of doing an absolute shit job at impersonating Michael Wincott in a glorious misfire of a villain and Scott Wolf being paired as Mark Dacascos's brother is... also a choice. As are a lot of the costumes in this movie, from Alyssa Milano's cutrate Tank Girl stuff to dozens of random punks dressed in, among other things, underwear (on their heads), varsity jackets, mailmen, white face paint, misguided mohawks, two Asian martial arts masters that turn out to be Jewish stereotypes at the end...

Honestly this is the most movie I have ingested in 95 minutes in this year and I sort of loved every minute of it.
VierasTalo's rating:
People who added this item 1493 Average listal rating (963 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
Rushmore (1999)
It is profoundly weird to see a Wes Anderson film where people can still emote in a manner that isn't directed at the lens of the camera and where the camera often moves in a natural rather than constructed manner and the narrative has a rather traditional structure. I feel like it diminishes his (and co-writer Owen Wilson's) sense of humor, but it definitely helps the performances actually hit home on occasion. Alas, it's all a bit worn territory for me on the emotional front, so this didn't go too hard on me and I would've preferred the humor to shine through a bit more. Now the best chuckle I got was the revelation about the whisky being ordered. Still, it's Wes Anderson, so it's entertaining and fun.

VierasTalo's rating:
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People who added this item 113 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
Extraction (2020)
Netflix churning out technically proficient films without a soul or any thought placed behind them just so they can have more content is starting to be a bit of a bummer, at least in the action genre where odds are your actors are too busy being mopey to actually bring any spark to the material. It'd be fine if this was 75 minutes of action but two hours with like absolutely nothing for an hour in the middle oh my gggg

VierasTalo's rating:
People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (60 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.1
Teen Witch (1989)
This movie spends an hour doing nothing but hot dogging and grand-standing, moving from one insane setpiece to the next (to name few: a sex ed class where we get to hear all sorts of words subbed in for a penis and the whole class chanting "condom", an impromptu Bob Fosse eqsue choreographed dance set to a song about girls liking boys including a "two women in a towel to look like a very tall person" sight gag, the now infamous rap scene (and more of them to boot!)) seemingly without a care in the world. Eventually our titular Teen Witch grows complacent and the movie slows down, but until then it is a wild ride and it feels downright John Watersian in the way it sort of ignores any semblance of reason or sensibility and just does whatever the hell it pleases. Bonus points for every single article of clothing and every hairpiece.

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Movies I've seen in 2020. Updating as I feel it, you can follow in more real time over at my Letterboxd: letterboxd.com/vierastalo/

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2020 Diaries I'm Following (14 lists)
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Published 9 months ago

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