Movies: The Official "Movie of the Week" Club Thread III

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by TP, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. Jevo Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,330
    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    81
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    The Love Witch (2016) dir. Anna Biller

    Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is a witch, after an unfortunate incident where she kinda killed her ex-husband, she leaves San Francisco and goes north to Eureka, California, where she has rented an apartment from a fellow witch. Elaine is deeply into love magic, which she believes can help her get a man who will stay with her. She wants nothing more than a man. She has her theories about how to get a man, and it mainly involves giving him everything he wants, which she says is mostly sex. The unfortunate thing is that all the men she meets and gets involved with, tends to end up dead.

    The Love Witch has a wonderful late 60s-early 70s aestethic to it. But it's not set in that time period, it's sorta contemporary, there's mobile phones and modern cars. But clothing and sets are often build in this style which evokes feelings of the late 60s-early 70s time period, and the whole witches thing is a sorta free spirited hippie kind of ordeal. There's a great little scene in the beginning of the film where Elaine rolls up to her new apartment in a beautiful 60s Mustang cabriolet, and Trish comes in a modern car, and it sets up this whole weird blend of old and modern. The movie is called a horror, but it's not, there's no real horror elements in it, but it borrows some horror aestethics sometimes. The movie is a blend of many things , there's some sexploitation influences in it, and a weird marriage sequenec which seems like something out The Wicker Man. There's also the police subplot, which seems like something out of a bad police procedual. This seems something that should never work, but credit to Anna Biller, because she definitely has a vision for this film, and she pulls it off perfectly. Biller directed, wrote, produced, made the music, edited, did production design, art direction, set decoration and costume design. It's quite clear when watching The Love Witch, that nothing in this movie is by accident, every little detail in sets, costumes, everything, is exactly as Anna Biller wants it. And I quite like what she has done with it. The Love Witch is a trip, but a fun trip.

    I'm not sure if Anna Biller would appreciate me calling the movie camp, but I think the movie certainly has fun with itself, both it's subject matter, but also the visual style and the style of acting, which always seems to be just slightly off in a way that seems to show how the movie is aware of itself. I'm not sure there's too many movies being made which can be called feminist comedies, but The Love Witch is one of them. The movie subverts the traditional gender roles often presented in mainstream films. Elaine is the typical Hollywood love interest as written by a man, who has no idea that women possess selfdetermination. She exists to give men sex when they desire it, look pretty, and otherwise stay out of their business. She also spends a significant amount of the movie naked, much to the delight of men in the movie. Contrary to the traditional Hollywood movie, the men in The Love Witch don't just experience pleasure when they get involved with Elaine. Being with her leads to eventual pain, suffering, and death.

    There's not a lot movies being made which are anything like The Love Witch. It may not go down as an all time great, but it deserves to go down as a cult classic. I sure thought it was fun.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  2. Jevo Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,330
    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    81
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    My next pick will be Nocturnal Animals.
     
  3. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    [​IMG]

    The Love Witch
    (2018) Directed by Anna Biller

    Elaine, a beautiful young witch, wants men to love her but her potions keep going overboard. The (male) bodies pile up. Ostensibly a horror film, The Love Witch never develops enough fizz to fit into that genre. Many critics classify the film as a feminist satire, but, if so, it went way over my head. There are a couple of clever things about it: the bright, cheery colour scheme and the clever mimicking of a '70s "B" movie, complete with stilted line delivery from its actors. But despite its allegedly feminist credentials, I found it indistinguishable from old-school soft porn, albeit with better production values. Decades and decades ago, CITY TV here in Toronto would run "Blue Movies" at midnight on Friday night. They were quite popular as TO was a pretty staid place at the time. The Love Witch would have fitted right in perfectly. Its 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes baffles me.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  4. Amerika Ye lyin'dog

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10,779
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    Trophy Points:
    186
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    None, or '' Starlet ''
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    wrong thread
     
  5. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Loveless
    Zvyaginstsev (2017)
    “I think he just sits at home.”

    Boris and Zhenya are divorcing. They’re at ends. In a more maudlin tale their 12-year-old son Alexey would be between the two warring parents. But here, neither want him. He’s an inconvenience. They’ve probably always felt that way, but now that they’re splitting, the burden of having a child is something neither want to carry forward. Making matters even worse, Alexey knows it. His parents argue loudly about their desire to send him to an orphanage and he overhears it. We see their new lives. Boris has impregnated a younger woman. They’re tender. Zhenya is with an older man. There’s passion. Meanwhile Alexey disappears. He hasn’t gone to school in two days, a realization that comes to his parents all too late. Boris and Zhenya are forced back together for the sake of their son, but that doesn’t last long. A procedural unfolds. Interviews, exploring abandoned buildings, combing fields and forests. There’s a false alarm — but the reveal of the dead child finally brings the parents to emotions other than burning hate. It’s a punch. A coda leaps ahead a few years. Their lives go on, not much more fulfilled. A streamer Alexy threw into a tree still flaps in the wind. That and some lingering fliers are all that are left in his sad tale.

    This is an anti-Before film, a Marriage Story with some true, bitter venom. It’s a painfully well-observed tale of a pair of frustratingly frail but real humans. Bergman-esque at points in its bleakness. The scene of Alexey crying (WORLD class crier, that kid) is heartbreaking in the moment and even moreso in retrospect when you realize it’s the last time we see him. Zhenya is vocal in her lack of desire to be a mother throughout and it’s salt in the wound. Boris isn’t as vocal, but clearly isn’t better. These are people who’ve compromised their lives and the cost of doing so (a child) is something they no longer want to pay.

    The 40 minutes or so that Zvyaginstev dedicates to Boris and Zhenya’s new lives is an effective trick. We pretty much forget Alexey as well as we get these snapshots of not only how Boris and Zhenya are living. Boris is loving and tender with his new gal. Zhenya is hot-blooded and passionate. More importantly it’s a peek at what they clearly think they’ll be doing in the future. We see that future later. It doesn’t hold. Boris seems to be repeating the past. Zhenya is just running in place. Maybe it’s them?

    Still, when confronted with a dead body who might be their son, all the toughness fades and they’re devastated.

    This is a confident film, unafraid to compromise for the sake of giving the watcher relief. It’s cold and grey and wet. It isn’t hard to imagine an American-ized version of the story where the loss if not re-unites the couple, at least brings them to some sort of understanding (probably in the springtime). No such comfort can be found here. It’s still cold.
     
    kihei and Amerika like this.
  6. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Wait, was Alexey/Aloysha the dead child at the end? If so I completely missed that. Though why I should believe anything Boris or Zhenya say is on me.
     
  7. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    The Love Witch
    Biller (2016)
    “Love me ... love me ... love me ...”

    Say there honey, you look great but maybe you shouldn’t open your mouth so much. That feels like a snarkily appropriate dismissive one-sentence review of The Love Witch. It’s not me, it’s you, baby.

    I absolutely loved the candy colored look. I dug the jazzy Quincy Jones riffing 60s score and I truly enjoyed Samantha Robinson’s guileless performance as Elaine. The movie around her though? I found it to be a bit of a slog, which is too bad for something that’s pitched as at least camp if not outright parody. I don’t know where to land on this scale because I’m not convinced the movie does either. It looks and feels like it should be fun and I think its creators certainly were having fun. But I didn’t, at least not beyond a few surface pleasures.

    The Love Witch
    wears its politics and philosophy on its sleeve. That wasn’t a problem for me at all. Thumbing ones nose at the ideas of 50s/60s domesticity is almost a genre of its own at this point and there’s the slightest inversion here in that our lead is the antiquated believer of such things and it is the people around her who don’t. But the cleverness dried up real fast for me and then it became a little tedious. Oh here’s another horny doofus following his johnson to an early grave.

    I know the hokiness is fully baked in. A feature, not a flaw — in theory. But it was a flaw to me. The purposefully bad acting beyond Robinson was just bad even for “bad acting.” I don’t know how to explain it, but I know it in my bones. Think back to Black Dynamite. You have to be good actors to be that “bad.” The stylized badness here was just bad.

    This feels SUPER nitpicky and maybe unfair, but the culty content and nudity is very 60s grindhouse, but the actual sheen on the picture is classic poppy peppy technicolor. It’s practically a musical, visually. If you’re aping the former, it needs more grit. The latter and it needs less full frontal. I try not to be a stringent TWO-THINGS-ist in insisting that things must be one thing only and not two things, but that juxtaposition didn’t work for me.

    In the end, I kinda wish they would have just played the same material straight, rather than having their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks.
     
    kihei likes this.
  8. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    I, too, wasn't sure the first time I saw it, but after four viewings I think the answer is absolutely yes. Boris and Zhenya's responses are attempts at denial, with Zhenya's hysterics followed by Boris dejectedly slumping against a wall a reaction by them to the unthinkable., i.e., that the mutilated body is indeed their boy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  9. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Makes sense in retrospect. Definitely was trusting them in the moment though. All the more gutting. Great pick. It's still stuck with me days later.
     
    kihei likes this.
  10. Jevo Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,330
    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    81
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    I had the same reading, even if I wasn't 100% sure. They definitely feel a lot of guilt, even if they don't want to show it, and it all comes out here. Having the scene being ambigious in regards to whether it's their boy or not is a real stroke of genius. Because everyone who watches it are debating in their mind whether it's the boy or not. Because Zhenya and Boris are the type of people who would deny it in such a situation. It's such a great scene.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  11. nameless1 Apathy is great!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    17,178
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    141
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    When I first watched Loveless, I thought that the morgue scene is more relief that the body is not their son's, and the subsequent outburst is a cathartic release of all the emotions that has been suppressed throughout the film. kihei's explanation also makes a lot of sense, but this scene is just one example of what a masterful director Zvyagintsev is. Both explanation actually works, and they both make the ending that follows effective, heartbreaking and poignant.

    That reminds me of a discussion I had about Leviathan.
    Like Loveless, there are doubts whether the female main character died by suicide or is killed, but ultimately it does not matter, because both explanation works, and the conclusion will still be the same.
    Zvyagintsev is such a good storyteller, that even when he leaves details ambiguous, the audience will still reach the same ultimate destination.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  12. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    A piece of corroborating evidence is the fact that as far as Zvyagintsev shows us, Alexey is neither with his father nor mother at the end of the movie.
     
  13. nameless1 Apathy is great!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    17,178
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    141
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    I do not disagree with you, but I also saw it as that the parents gave up, and he is forgotten. That, to me, makes the ending even more chilling, and devastating.

    No matter what the ultimate fate is, there is no doubt that Zvyagintsev is a masterful storyteller. His films has all been near masterpieces to me.
     
    kihei and KallioWeHardlyKnewYe like this.
  14. Amerika Ye lyin'dog

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10,779
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    Trophy Points:
    186
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    None, or '' Starlet ''
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    I've watched it once and never believed that it was in doubt the mutilated body is not their boy. Hence the reaction from the father. The relief is reason for guilt and self-reflection.
     
  15. Amerika Ye lyin'dog

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10,779
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    Trophy Points:
    186
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    None, or '' Starlet ''
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    Wait, don't you think it's a cynical play on the parents complete inability to recognize their child?
     
  16. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    So:
    1. It is the child, they deny it in the moment but eventually realize the truth.
    2. It is the child and the don't realize it.
    3. It is not the child and the child's fate remains a mystery.

    Impressive that the movie can generate several equally meaningful beliefs.

    I know many movies have scenes and conclusions "open to interpretation" but I often find the choices are a good one and a dumb one. Mystery for its own sake and not necessarily for meaning. Here, I suppose it doesn't matter where you fall. It's equally impactful.
     
    kihei likes this.
  17. nameless1 Apathy is great!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    17,178
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    141
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Yeah, that scene when the mother looks to the camera near the end, can also both be interpreted as a longing for her lost son, or a moment of self reflection upon the realization that she has fallen into the same pattern as her last marriage. Everything about the film is superb storytelling and filmmaking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  18. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Heat
    Mann (1995)
    “I’ve got three dead bodies on Venice Boulevard. I’m sorry if the chicken got overcooked.”

    Heat is the tale of Neil McCauley, a slick and disciplined thief, versus Vincent Hanna, an equally slick and disciplined cop. They have their respective crews and families and missions. One group needs to bring in big scores, the other needs to stop them. The plot’s more intricate than this (crimes beget crimes beget more crimes) and the cast is sprawling. A detailed recap would be lengthy. A lot of time is devoted to minor characters, but most of it isn’t wasted. All have a role to play by the end. But ultimately, this is Neil and Vincent’s stories — hyper-competent professionals far more at home when on their respective jobs than in their own domestic lives. There’s a stubborn, self-destructive nobility about both men. You wouldn’t want them in your life, but if you needed their respective skills ...

    Not quite high art — though there’s much filmic stuff to like — but certainly high entertainment. Perhaps the best possible version of itself. Certainly the MOST possible version of itself. The amount of detail into not just the jobs, but the aforementioned sprawling cast is almost novel-like. Even minor characters leave an impression and play a needed role. A harsher critic may fairly argue that you don’t need a Waingrow as prostitute murder subplot, or Lauren the depressed stepdaughter or Breedan, the recent ex-con short-order cook. But I like it. This is a populated world in a way few movies are ever allowed to be, certainly almost never ones as minor in scope as this ultimately basic cops-and-robbers tale. Such largesse is reserved for historic epics. It steps into cliches a few times. Neil and Eady aren’t the most believable couple though I do like their awkward initial meeting. And there are a few points where characters are almost distractingly articulate. But again, I mostly dig it.

    It reminded me in small ways of The Day of the Jackal, though not quite as detail and process oriented. There is a precision about the entire proceedings though that comes straight from Mann himself, one of the great directors of muscular thrillers of the past several decades. Pieces slide into place expertly. “There’s the discipline,” a character says at one point. There’s a thesis statement.

    The color palette is is steely blues and greys. These guys dress to look like polished guns.

    Too many good scenes to name. I’m a fan of the one where the cops are tricked into revealing themselves out in the open in a shipping yard. The crown jewel, of course, is the bank robbery and subsequent shootout about two-thirds in. It’s a masterwork of automatic fire and shattered glass and styled suits and frankly, filmmakers should stop trying to emulate it (Christopher Nolan, Ben Affleck). Speaking of Affleck, I rewatched The Town not too long ago and thought it’s fine, the fact that his character not only escapes as a good guy but that the movie WANTS him to is appalling. Heat has the good sense to not dodge the fact that Neil, when pushed, is a cold blooded killer of good and bad indiscriminate. No heroes here.

    Finally, the acting. It’s a nice snapshot of two of the cinema’s greats — DeNiro and Pacino — right as they’re in the early stages of moving into full blown blustering paycheck mode. Ying and yang. Both svelt and sturdy. They’ve both had better performances in the past 25 years but not many ...
     
  19. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    So this next pick is a bit of a curveball since it's a concert movie so the experience may live and die on your feelings about the band involved. If you have objections or lack of interest, I take no offense and can easily suggest something else. But if there are no objections then I say Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense.
     
  20. nameless1 Apathy is great!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    17,178
    Likes Received:
    159
    Trophy Points:
    141
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    I love Heat. That film is so much fun, and at the moment, I cannot think of an action flick that is both exciting, and most importantly, not stupid. I remember one commentator mentioned what makes Heat great are the characters, as their presence extend beyond their screen-time. They can come on-screen, do their job, and then go back home. There is a true connection with the audience, because they feel like regular folks.

    This is also probably Pacino and De Niro's last true hurrah. This is part of the period in the early 1990s when the acting giants has started their decline. Pacino is still great but has begun to really ham up his performances, while De Niro has pretty much settled in and started to phone it in. Meanwhile, Nicholson is pretty much on fumes, and Streep has gotten uneven critical reviews. That is why I tend to celebrate this film, because now, I see it as an end of an era of sorts.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  21. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    [​IMG]

    Heat
    (1995) Directed by Michael Mann

    Heat
    is one long movie. I wasn't much enamoured with it at the time of its release and age and distance hasn't improved my attitude. I find nothing about the film out of the ordinary or fresh or even worth paying attention to. It's a formula cops and robbers script with too much emphasis on relationships with self-sacrificing, much younger women--in De Niro's case she could be his grandaughter. And I don't think the thing fits together very well. Despite the epic near three hour length, the script sometimes pays little attention to necessary detail. One small example, so surveillance is called off the bad guys, but by whom and why? By people who aren't even in the movie? Too many shortcuts, too many "gosh, how did they get there" moments. As for the action sequences, only the opening robbery works. The rest of the action sequences are noisy and a gross waste of ammunition. Much ado about nothing.

    So what's that leave me? That good opening sequence of a botched robbery and a terrific cast. That being said, the acting weighs in by the pound from the likes of creepy Ted Sizemore; Jon Voight; Ashley Judd, and not infrequently Al Pacino himself who throws in a couple of Nick Cage moments. Meanwhile, Robert De Niro understates (or is just plain detached from the project) as Val Kilmer--monkey see, monkey do-- tries to follow suit in similar fashion. There is the Big Scene where De Niro and Pacino go head to head against one another for the first time at the movies, but this brief restaurant table confrontation lacks any real sparkle or snap. Me, not a Tarantino fan, kept wishing for some Tarantino dialogue, but not a single memorable exchange occurred. Why care about either of these guys? Despite the movie's considerable efforts, I felt no emotional involvement with anybody in the film. To me, Heat was just one big nothingburger.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  22. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    Stop Making Sense is an inspired choice. I can't wait to move this one up the queue.
     
    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe likes this.
  23. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Hey! We won!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    14,019
    Likes Received:
    850
    Trophy Points:
    214
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Good. I feel like maybe I owe you one after Heat.:)

    Now curious about your Michael Mann thoughts. I had debated both Manhunter or The Insider as well.
     
  24. kihei Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    33,620
    Likes Received:
    3,148
    Trophy Points:
    235
    SB Cash:
    $ 0
    Location:
    Toronto
    Hey, no one ever owes me one. Negative reviews are as much fun to write as positive ones, sometimes more. Will get back to you on Mann tomorrow.
     
    invictus likes this.
  25. Amerika Ye lyin'dog

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    10,779
    Likes Received:
    1,915
    Trophy Points:
    186
    SB Cash:
    $ 100,000
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    None, or '' Starlet ''
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    I remember enjoying Manhunter. Much more than Red Dragon.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"