Films You've Seen Recently and Don't Know WTF to think

IdleRich

IdleRich
I just watched the 2021 Candyman film. It was ok. But one thing that struck me was that it was too heavy-handed - in fact that's not even the right word, cos I wanted to say that it was too heavy-handed in the way it dealt with race but really it went beyond that, it wasn't that that was an overly obvious subtext of the film, the film was just openly about race. And I think that that made it less interesting. It's well acknowledged that horror films often deal with a fear that society has - in the 50s all those films about giant ants or spiders were a sublimated fear of the atomic bomb or nuclear power. Only Lovers Left Alive has vampirism as a metaphor for heroin; zombie films are about various things such as consumerism and so on. Candyman was a film quite clearly about racism, that is to say that race and racism was its main theme, and it was less interesting for foregrounding that I think. Not that it was a bad film, it had some good bits to it - I liked the way that they highlighted the fakeness of explanations attached to art by having this thing where whenever an artist or a critic talked about art they sort of closed their eyes and reeled off these obviously memorised speeches in a monotone voice completely different from their usual one - but it wasn't really scary at all, in fact I found it less scary than the average run of the mill horror film that drops off the production line every now and again, and so in that respect it has to be viewed as a failure.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Since I moved to Portugal I've always meant to get round to watching Pedro Costa's films as I suppose he's pretty much the most (only?) known Portuguese contemporary director making internationally well-regarded films. But the thing is, I sort of knew it would be slow and worthy and.. that ultimately I would find it boring. And my instincts were pretty much spot on there it has to be said.

It looks beautiful, scene after scene is framed by the sedate camera so it becomes an oil painting by an old master; one that has faded or, at least got darker over the years leaving gloomy, heavy vignettes in a central pool of candlelight that gives way to darkness at the edges. In a sense the construction of the films is not that different from the Andersson films we've discussed recently; each scene appears to be a beautiful, grim painting laboriously staged at some length and then animated with very little in the way of camera movement and minimal, halting dialogue that just about drives the ghost of a plot.

Unlike Andersson or Paradjanov the vignettes feature much less variety in terms of location and far few characters so there is far less of a sprawling sense to what unfolds. Instead of numerous characters in different locations with connections that become apparent (or don't) as the film advances, here we have one closely linked candlelit scene after another in places which, even when they are different, are tediously similar. The story seems to be something to do with a woman from Cape Verde whose husband moved to Portugal ahead of her and then stalled her visit for the next forty years or so until she finally just came anyway - only to discover he had died three days prior.

I read that a lot of it is ad-libbed which sets up a curious contradiction between the - attempted - realism of the dialogue and the events which occur in (to me very familiar looking) Portuguese slums and squats - and the overall appearance which completely abandons, in fact directly goes against, any pretence of realism due to the painterly shooting. I don't know what the idea is with that, or why he obviously considered it childishly lightweight for anything to actually happen, or to put it even the slightest moment of humour to leaven the extremely important work he was creating.

And it's long. You know when a boring film seems much longer than it is? This does that but it's fucking long to start with and it just seems that after a while this really lessens the power of the scenes, even though arguably they get more beautiful as it progresses the sheer lack of variety cannot help but make it become less and less affecting, at least that was our experience.



Anyway, maybe someone smarter than me or with more patience can get more from this... and I will try at least one of his other films before giving up cos there is definitely something there buried under the ponderous weight of its seriousness.,
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
A few days ago Liza went to see this film the Triangle of Sorrow or Sadness or whatever it is, and that made me finally get my arse in gear and get round to The Square which seemed to top (or thereabouts) almost all the year end lists in 2017 or 2018 - depending on which year it actually came out presumably.

So we watched it and it was ok. Some good jokes and some bad ones, some scenes that hit and plenty others that missed. But overall I felt that the artificialness (definitely a word) of the almost-narrative and the way it pushed and pulled its characters around to get them into position for the often slightly-too-laborious jokes meant that ultimately it fell on the wrong side of the good/bad line for me. I would truly like to elaborate on that and explain what I think I mean but a) It's after 4am and we're going to the beach tomorrow morning and b) no-one will read it anyway - so I won't go into details.

Suffice it to say that the overall coherence and structure can be best illustrated by the fact that the strongest scenes were so unconnected from the overall film that they could have been snipped out whole and used as a short or, ideally, edited into a better piece. In fact the whole thing just lacked any directional thrust, basically it was one of those that, while it didn't horrifically abuse its sprawling, meandering two and a half hour running time, can hardly be said to have used it wisely either. I didn't hate it, I laughed at bits, in fact some impersonations of conceptual art pieces (admittedly surely one of the easiest things in the world to parody - and in fairness they didn't lean too heavily on that, just gently left them in the background for a casual smile instead of piling in repeatedly for cheap laughs. I actually give them extra marks for avoiding that temptation) were so good that at times I truly felt nostalgic for the experience of being in a shit gallery looking at 3rd rate pieces.

One thing that amused me (outside of the film itself) was the fact that it seems that the main guy, Claes Bang was only really known for that before someone had the idea of taking this nerdy, almost-effeminate pseudo-academic, spindly legged shit-suit wearing gallery curator and then re-imagining him as the awesome fratricidal regicidal bad guy in The Northman. Not a criticism, I just find the idea of doing that quite strange, I guess it just goes to show if you give anyone a horned helmet and clad them only in a loincloth, tattoos and ankle length hair they will definitely end up looking like an invincible viking warrior (I tried it with myself and it definitely works).

Anyway, anyone seen The Square, or the Sad Triangle one or any of his other films? My friends tell me he's great but he's not got off to a great start with me, which I'm sure will bother him greatly of course...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
The other day they showed Psycho on telly, we watched it and... it's still really good. In fact, with hindsight it really is a genuinely interesting even unique film, the way that it starts off being about that girl who steals a load of money and goes on the run. It's almost impossible to imagine what it might be like watching the film cold, having no idea where it was going to go from there, but you have to think that for those who saw it that way it must have been a truly extraordinary shock as they followed that woman, were sucked into her nervousness, believed that it wa robbery film with her at the centre... and then she dies! She is murdered brutally, the main character has vanished, there is no main character. And then of course the twists and turns with the mother, and all the - pretty much standard for Hitch I guess - psychoanalysis stuff. Such a shame that it is effectively impossible for anyone to see the film without having some idea of what is to come. But whatever, it's a great film... however it's not the film that I want to talk about, I want to discuss the next thing that was on telly directly after it - yep, Psycho II, and then, although we haven't watched it (yet) there was Psycho III.

So.... Psycho II... the original film came out in 1960, it was in black and white, there had never really been a film like it before (leaving aside the ill-fated Peeping Tom for the moment) and it changed the whole landscape of what was permissible. And this is way before we get to the shower scene - under the Hayes code it was forbidden to show even a married couple in bed for some reason and, although I wasn't sure on the timings of things like that, when I saw the first scene which features the main character wearing little more than her underwear in (or at least on) a bed with her lover in a hotel in the afternoon I instinctively felt that it must have been very racy and hard hitting at the time.

We all know how strangely we experience time and a big personal thing about my relative experience of time is that it seems mad that 1983 when Psycho II came out was much nearer to the release of the original in 1960 than it is to now. But though it may indeed have been just over twenty real years, in terms of film development the difference is beyond enormous; Psycho was unique simply by virtue of existing and having that story line, the fact that it also happened to be something like a masterpiece too meant that Psycho II never stood a chance of being a worthy follow up. I simply cannot conceive of a world in which Psycho II received a rapturous reception with critics praising it as the second part that somehow surpassed Hitchcock's starter... can you?

What I'm saying is that Psycho II was doomed before it started, when it limped into the cinemas twenty three years after Bates and his mother were condemned to life in an institution it must have been evident to everyone that it stood no chance of being anything more than an embarrassing, irrelevant and completely unnecessary footnote to the original...

I won't really dwell on why they made it, suffice to say that they did. And so it came to pass that this unique, iconic, legendary milestone of cinema ended up being followed up with something that looks and feels like a tv movie of the kind you get on Fox Life on a Tuesday afternoon called Love In The Shadows. The world has moved on so much in twenty years that jaded audiences are no longer shocked and scared by seeing people stabbed so the sequel to the most famous horror film of all time isn't really a horror film as such, it feels more like a thriller or maybe a murder mystery type film. In the hands of a master the black and white film had been used to create an extra layer of gloom - to show the stark towering evil of the Norman Bates' house as it loomed over the motel and its guests, but in the sequel we are back to the most mundane of stock... with a Hitchcock zoom chucked in every time there is a dramatic scene to remind us that this film was very much definitely not made by Hitchcock.

And I could say loads more stuff like that... contrast after contrast, difference after difference that will tend to favour the original over the sequel as a rule. But that all goes without saying of course, I think it's more interesting to say that weirdly, the film is somehow sort of, in some ways at least, quite good. The mystery is in fact quite mysterious, we were sitting there going "could it be x, but then what about the thing in the whatsit?" and so on, despite ourselves we were scratching our heads trying to figure it out. Anthony Perkins turns in a decent performance as Norman Bates, the twists and turns are satisfyingly twisty, it's weird how he keeps thinking everyone is his mother, even young men... and then the end is a massive, ridiculous, completely implausible twist that no-one could swallow with a straight face... and yet it's a fun ridiculous twist.

Basically, what I'm saying is that, despite the fact that this film is basically the equivalent of a load of cartoonists from the latest Marvel Comic grabbing a load of renaissance artworks from The Louvre and scribbling their own stories over the top of them like a bunch of idiots who think it's acceptable for grown men to watch films with characters called Black Panther and Dr Strange - and yet somehow it's actually much more enjoyable than it should be, and the original Psycho (Mona LIsa in the analogy) is in actual fact not really ruined after all so what's the harm?

Don't think I'll bother with part three though.
 

Clinamenic

The Wild Drunkard
A few days ago Liza went to see this film the Triangle of Sorrow or Sadness or whatever it is, and that made me finally get my arse in gear and get round to The Square which seemed to top (or thereabouts) almost all the year end lists in 2017 or 2018 - depending on which year it actually came out presumably.

So we watched it and it was ok. Some good jokes and some bad ones, some scenes that hit and plenty others that missed. But overall I felt that the artificialness (definitely a word) of the almost-narrative and the way it pushed and pulled its characters around to get them into position for the often slightly-too-laborious jokes meant that ultimately it fell on the wrong side of the good/bad line for me. I would truly like to elaborate on that and explain what I think I mean but a) It's after 4am and we're going to the beach tomorrow morning and b) no-one will read it anyway - so I won't go into details.

Suffice it to say that the overall coherence and structure can be best illustrated by the fact that the strongest scenes were so unconnected from the overall film that they could have been snipped out whole and used as a short or, ideally, edited into a better piece. In fact the whole thing just lacked any directional thrust, basically it was one of those that, while it didn't horrifically abuse its sprawling, meandering two and a half hour running time, can hardly be said to have used it wisely either. I didn't hate it, I laughed at bits, in fact some impersonations of conceptual art pieces (admittedly surely one of the easiest things in the world to parody - and in fairness they didn't lean too heavily on that, just gently left them in the background for a casual smile instead of piling in repeatedly for cheap laughs. I actually give them extra marks for avoiding that temptation) were so good that at times I truly felt nostalgic for the experience of being in a shit gallery looking at 3rd rate pieces.

One thing that amused me (outside of the film itself) was the fact that it seems that the main guy, Claes Bang was only really known for that before someone had the idea of taking this nerdy, almost-effeminate pseudo-academic, spindly legged shit-suit wearing gallery curator and then re-imagining him as the awesome fratricidal regicidal bad guy in The Northman. Not a criticism, I just find the idea of doing that quite strange, I guess it just goes to show if you give anyone a horned helmet and clad them only in a loincloth, tattoos and ankle length hair they will definitely end up looking like an invincible viking warrior (I tried it with myself and it definitely works).

Anyway, anyone seen The Square, or the Sad Triangle one or any of his other films? My friends tell me he's great but he's not got off to a great start with me, which I'm sure will bother him greatly of course...
I've seen The Square and liked it, but don't have much to say about it really. More recently I saw Official Competition which I found tonally similar: arty takedowns of high art.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
What is Official Competition? Never heard of it. Thing is, taking the piss out of conceptual art and the art world in general must be one of the easiest things to do... in fairness to The Square they didn't get too into that, they could have easily made a film stuffed to the gills with idiotic artists, moronic critics and hilariously bad artworks but they chose not to dive fully into a film full of cheapshots, instead they ended up with... I'm not really sure what to be honest.

SPOILER

You know the scene when there is a conceptual piece in which the guy pretends to be a gorilla? It's a great scene in that it's completely believable.You can imagine being at that dinner and that huge guy starts jumping around and picking fleas off people - I found it very easy to imagine myself in that situation, the guy bullying you, being too rough, doing nasty things that cross the line to the point that they would certainly make anyone feel uncomfortable at the very least - what would you do? He is genuinely intimidating and it feels as though if you fought back you might get hurt, and of course, the whole thing is an artwork and everyone knows that so if you get properly annoyed and react to it in any way you will look like a bad sport, a humourless idiot. But at the same time, if you don't do anything then he is just gonna bully you and humiliate you. Imagine it, it would be so horribly awkward and the people he picks on are absolutely trapped. It's nasty and spiteful and all too believable. But at the same time, although it's a great set piece it really has very little, almost nothing to do with the rest of the film, you could take that scene out and put it in another movie, or you could just show it as a short film in its own right and it would be just as good. So to me, the fact that the best scene is one that is really totally unrelated to the film (in a sense at least) does not really reflect well on the film as a whole. In fact the same goes for the bit at the start when they nick his wallet - Liza looked that up and I think she said that that was something that happened to the director so he made it a bit more cinematic and stuck it in. I was left with the feeling that the guy could do some good bits, but a good film? Not on the evidence of this.

But for those of you who have seen it, what did you think about the monkey/chimp scene? Would be interested to know what others thought of it and even more interested to know what you think you would do if you were the victim - how would you react if you were picked on by a gorilla-man in front of everyone at that posh dinner like that?


SPOILER/ENDS
 

Clinamenic

The Wild Drunkard
What is Official Competition? Never heard of it. Thing is, taking the piss out of conceptual art and the art world in general must be one of the easiest things to do... in fairness to The Square they didn't get too into that, they could have easily made a film stuffed to the gills with idiotic artists, moronic critics and hilariously bad artworks but they chose not to dive fully into a film full of cheapshots, instead they ended up with... I'm not really sure what to be honest.

SPOILER

You know the scene when there is a conceptual piece in which the guy pretends to be a gorilla? It's a great scene in that it's completely believable.You can imagine being at that dinner and that huge guy starts jumping around and picking fleas off people - I found it very easy to imagine myself in that situation, the guy bullying you, being too rough, doing nasty things that cross the line to the point that they would certainly make anyone feel uncomfortable at the very least - what would you do? He is genuinely intimidating and it feels as though if you fought back you might get hurt, and of course, the whole thing is an artwork and everyone knows that so if you get properly annoyed and react to it in any way you will look like a bad sport, a humourless idiot. But at the same time, if you don't do anything then he is just gonna bully you and humiliate you. Imagine it, it would be so horribly awkward and the people he picks on are absolutely trapped. It's nasty and spiteful and all too believable. But at the same time, although it's a great set piece it really has very little, almost nothing to do with the rest of the film, you could take that scene out and put it in another movie, or you could just show it as a short film in its own right and it would be just as good. So to me, the fact that the best scene is one that is really totally unrelated to the film (in a sense at least) does not really reflect well on the film as a whole. In fact the same goes for the bit at the start when they nick his wallet - Liza looked that up and I think she said that that was something that happened to the director so he made it a bit more cinematic and stuck it in. I was left with the feeling that the guy could do some good bits, but a good film? Not on the evidence of this.

But for those of you who have seen it, what did you think about the monkey/chimp scene? Would be interested to know what others thought of it and even more interested to know what you think you would do if you were the victim - how would you react if you were picked on by a gorilla-man in front of everyone at that posh dinner like that?


SPOILER/ENDS
I thought that was a great scene too.

Official Competition is a comedy that came out this year about this wealthy corporate figure who decides to finance a high art film. Penelope Cruz plays the eccentric visionary director he hires to direct it, basing it on an adaptation of a novel, and Antonio Banderas plays a famous low-brow movie star who is brought on to act alongside a renowned theatrical actor, who was played by Oscar Martinez.

The film was pretty much about the zany rehearsal techniques Cruz put the two ego-maniacal actors through, such as the scene where she saran-wraps the two actors together and forces them to watch her destroy their various acting trophies, and I thought it was well done and funny, but not particularly impressive beyond that.

Official_Competition_film_poster.png
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I thought that was a great scene too.

Official Competition is a comedy that came out this year about this wealthy corporate figure who decides to finance a high art film. Penelope Cruz plays the eccentric visionary director he hires to direct it, basing it on an adaptation of a novel, and Antonio Banderas plays a famous low-brow movie star who is brought on to act alongside a renowned theatrical actor, who was played by Oscar Martinez.

The film was pretty much about the zany rehearsal techniques Cruz put the two ego-maniacal actors through, such as the scene where she saran-wraps the two actors together and forces them to watch her destroy their various acting trophies, and I thought it was well done and funny, but not particularly impressive beyond that.

View attachment 13331

Ah I think Version shared the trailer for that at one point, certainly I've seen the trailer but from watching it I had no idea what the film was gonna be about.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I just watched enfant Terrible, the fassbinder biopic. Makes him out to be a super cunt. Which is troubling if you like the films, as I do.

Watcged it on this streaming service which is honestly the worst I've ever dealt with, pop ups in the middle of thd screen while you are watching.
 

version

Well-known member
I just watched enfant Terrible, the fassbinder biopic. Makes him out to be a super cunt. Which is troubling if you like the films, as I do.

Isn't that one of the most well known things about him? Had you not heard that before?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Nah, I've never heard of it before.

Oops, sorry, mixed up.

I just watched enfant Terrible, the fassbinder biopic. Makes him out to be a super cunt. Which is troubling if you like the films, as I do.

Watcged it on this streaming service which is honestly the worst I've ever dealt with, pop ups in the middle of thd screen while you are watching.

I believe that he used to pressure his actors into having sex with him didn't he?
 

version

Well-known member
This is a particularly memorable story about him,

Hanna Schygulla, in a 2017 interview with The Guardian revealed the depths of Fassbinder’s cruelty towards Hermann, which included promising to sleep with her if she (a dedicated vegetarian) ate a steak in front of him. When Hermann vomited, he said. “I said eat it, not puke it up,” he fumed. “If you want to make it with me, you’ve got to keep the meat inside you.”
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
This is a particularly memorable story about him,

Hanna Schygulla, in a 2017 interview with The Guardian revealed the depths of Fassbinder’s cruelty towards Hermann, which included promising to sleep with her if she (a dedicated vegetarian) ate a steak in front of him. When Hermann vomited, he said. “I said eat it, not puke it up,” he fumed. “If you want to make it with me, you’ve got to keep the meat inside you.”

She wanted to sleep with Fassbinder? To the extent that she was prepared to go through bush trial type gubbins? Seems like the opposite way round to what I'd expect and pretty much everything I've heard.
 

catalog

Well-known member
This is a particularly memorable story about him,

Hanna Schygulla, in a 2017 interview with The Guardian revealed the depths of Fassbinder’s cruelty towards Hermann, which included promising to sleep with her if she (a dedicated vegetarian) ate a steak in front of him. When Hermann vomited, he said. “I said eat it, not puke it up,” he fumed. “If you want to make it with me, you’ve got to keep the meat inside you.”
This is in the film, except its a bloke.
 

catalog

Well-known member
It sort of made me wonder why they'd bothered, in a sense. Or maybe they like the films and then looked into him a bit more, couldn't get past it. Just a strange feel to the film.
 
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