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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:34 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20472 Location: New York City
billyweeds wrote:
Okay, I still have to see a few contenders--Christian Bale in "Ford v Ferrari," Taron Egerton in "Rocketman," and Jamie Foxx in "Just Mercy"--but I'm laying down bets that neither Bale, Egerton, nor Foxx will change my mind. So here are my Best of 2019 picks at the movies.

BEST PICTURE: "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
(Runners-up) "Uncut Gems," "Us," "Marriage Story," "Her Smell"

BEST ACTRESS: (tie) Elisabeth Moss, "Her Smell," Lupita Nyong'o, "Us"
(Runners-up) Renee Zellweger, "Judy," Cynthia Erivo, "Harriet," Scarlett Johansson, "Marriage Story"

BEST ACTOR: (tie) Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
(Runners-up) Adam Sandler, "Uncut Gems," Adam Driver, "Marriage Story," Mark Ruffalo, "Dark Waters"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Margot Robbie, "Bombshell" and "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
(Runners-up) Julia Butters, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood," Margaret Qualley, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood," Laura Dern, "Marriage Story," Janelle Monae, "Harriet"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Bill Camp, "Dark Waters"
(Runners-up) Keanu Reeves, "Always Be My Maybe," Joe Pesci, "The Irishman," Christopher Plummer, "Knives Out," Steven Weber, "The Perfection"

BEST DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
(Runners-up) Josh and Benny Safdie, "Uncut Gems," Jordan Peele, "Us," Noah Baumbach, "Marriage Story," Alex Ross Perry, "Her Smell"


Have to add Paul Walter Hauser and Sam Rockwell to the list of Best Actors and Supporting Actors, respectively, for their astonishing performances in "Richard Jewell."
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bartist
Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:32 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6495
Gromit, maybe Uncut Gems needed more polishing. Yeah, I couldn't resist.

It doesn't sound like my kind of film at all. If someone swoops in and says, ah, but Sandler was just awe-inspiring, I'd still pass.

Watching On the Beach tonight, due to current news and due to it's been over half a century since it premiered. And because Ava Gardner.

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gromit
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:35 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8654 Location: Shanghai
bartist wrote:
Gromit, maybe Uncut Gems needed more polishing. Yeah, I couldn't resist.


Probably they just needed to unearth more facets of the story and characters.
(ha! I'm one up on you ...)

One thing in Uncut Gems which was interesting was that Howie owes money to a loanshark/mob guy who is a relative of his by marriage. This didn't really amount to too much, but maybe explained how mild the henchmen were for the most part. But it added a strange element.

Again though, I'm a detail guy, and without knowing the amount of the debt I couldn't assess the extent of Howie's problem or the foolishness of his actions. But you'd think someone with a long term gambling addiction would understand the nuances of arranging payment plans and keeping the goons supplied with enough on installment to keep them at bay.

Also, I understand Howie is supposed to be euphoric after his major bet pays off Big, but wouldn't he be able to release those guys out the other door, ie not into his shop but to the outside? And lastly the two goons ransacking the jewelry shop, uh wouldn't they have been recorded on security cameras for the past couple of hours, as well as during the robbery? Yeah, a burst of anger, etc -- but they just had two hours to cool their heels and come up with a plan of action, and that's what they go with? Seemed kinda stupid all around. Like everyone involved is an idiot with no awareness of consequences, despite having lots of time to think things through.

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gromit
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:41 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8654 Location: Shanghai
Re-watched On the Beach last month. Interesting film. I don't know why Gregory Peck's commander doesn't just take Ava Gardner on the US Navy sub and fuck her brains out all the way to San Diego. I mean, they're going to check if anybody is still alive in the US, which they doubt, so it's not like military protocol needs to be followed when the almost the entire US militarily and nation is presumed dead. And world wide death is spreading slowly around the globe.

A bit ironic that Australia is portrayed as the one safe healthy spot left on earth, while today it's an infernal catastrophe of ruin due partly to global effects.

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billyweeds
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:51 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20472 Location: New York City
gromit wrote:
Re-watched On the Beach last month. Interesting film. I don't know why Gregory Peck's commander doesn't just take Ava Gardner on the US Navy sub and fuck her brains out all the way to San Diego. I mean, they're going to check if anybody is still alive in the US, which they doubt, so it's not like military protocol needs to be followed when the almost the entire US militarily and nation is presumed dead. And world wide death is spreading slowly around the globe.

A bit ironic that Australia is portrayed as the one safe healthy spot left on earth, while today it's an infernal catastrophe of ruin due partly to global effects.


I haven't seen "On the Beach" since it first opened, but I remember being disappointed in it. Not that I expected greatness from a film directed by heavy-handed Stanley Kramer, but it was duller than I was ready for. And it proved once again that Fred Astaire, one of my all-time screen idols for his musical comedy genius, was really not much of an actor.
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bartist
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:28 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6495
I found a lot of clunky stuff, too. The Rube Goldberg thing with the window shade and coke bottle was ridiculous but I have to give credit for a sort of existential joke there, as in we're all looking for signals of civilization in what can be random beeps. Ava Gardner, as always, mesmerizing, here as a hot mess who struggles with self loathing and Peck's shell of denial that his family is gone. Peck seems to have trouble, as an actor, hitting his marks, and somehow never fully grapples with the awfulness of what is coming down. Also, why must Australia must be represented by one song that is surely one that even tavern drunks have grown tired of? I would have enjoyed a scene where a bunch of roughnecks set upon the trout fishing crew that keep drinking and singing it endlessly.

Yes, Astaire's acting is underwhelming, though he does offer some ruminations on the folly of humankind and our penchant for wars that nobody really wants...his words still seem applicable. The Grand Prix race is rather hokey, and we are supposed to believe an egghead professor, if dropped into a well-tuned Ferrari, will emerge victorious. It's oddly dull and would have done no harm to the film if left in the cutting room. The film raises so many interesting possibilities of what people might do at the end of the world which are mostly unexplored. Maybe, in a sad way, that's the point: most opt for meekness and denial.

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billyweeds
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:35 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20472 Location: New York City
One of the most memorable moments of my entire life was one five-second interval. I was sitting at a bar in midtown Manhattan when Ava Gardner appeared behind me. Turning around and gasping for air, I saw her flick her hair. The literally breathtaking beauty of the woman and the effortless sexiness of the gesture was indelible. That happened in the early 60s and I still recall it as if it were yesterday.
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bartist
Posted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:54 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6495
I believe a moment of awestruck silence is called for.




You could write a poem about that brief sighting.

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gromit
Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:52 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8654 Location: Shanghai
On the Beach is a little stiff and clunky at times, but it's an interesting unsettling premise and thought-provoking. I liked the Coke bottle and window shade sending messages into the void. It's weirdly deflating,
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As for Uncut Gems, people who liked the film mostly praise its adrenaline and tension. Which I didn't find. To me, the frenetic camera work and the electro-music try to provide such a mood. But what's on-screen isn't tense or amped up for the most part. In fact the big climax comes with a guy watching Tv while 3 guys who don't like him sit in a vestibule, stuck there for hours.

I also was underwhelmed by Sandler's Pacino impression. Which was serviceable but nothing more.

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knox
Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 18 Mar 2010 Posts: 1200 Location: St. Louis
I've heard Bill Hader does a killer Pacino impression, but haven't bothered to look it up. I hated the trailer for UG, but I hate a lot of trailers, so that doesn't mean much.

I think the emotional fulcrum of OTB is that each character, in their own way, decides that if everyone they loved is dead then they might as well be dead, too. I thought the guy who swam ashore in radioactive SF Bay and then went fishing made the quintessential character of the film. Peck can't find passion because passion requires some sense of ongoing life. The only character who achieves that is Astaire, because he narrows the scope of life to the length of an auto race and puts just that in laser focus.
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gromit
Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:49 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8654 Location: Shanghai
knox wrote:
I thought the guy who swam ashore in radioactive SF Bay and then went fishing made the quintessential character of the film.


I liked that a lot too. He's just going to go back to his old routine as much as possible until the fallout kills him. His AWOL ties into the trip to find the source of the garbled telegraph signals, which might be why I like that a good deal too.

It must have been spooky, this idea that something you can't see or feel has the power to kill you slowly over a relatively short period of time.

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gromit
Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:51 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8654 Location: Shanghai
I like the b&w stark Lighthouse. A keeper and new assistant interacting and clashing. it's a lot of rugged chores done in closeup between meals. Creates an atmosphere and a lot of nice grimy compositions. Good use of sound too. A film with integrity.

I actually fell asleep midway through late last night and just going to get back to it.

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Befade
Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 3653 Location: AZ
Lighthouse, Dark Waters, and the Brooklyn movie are 3 Iíve missed. Last night I saw Terrance Malickís The Hidden Life. It was one of the best film experiences Iíve ever had. It needs to be viewed in a theatre. The landscape of Austria and the focus on the farm work was dazzling. The courage of the farm couple defying Hitler was inspiring. Words arenít adequate.

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billyweeds
Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:53 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20472 Location: New York City
Alfre Woodard has long been one of my favorite actors. And in the current anti-capital punishment drama "Clemency" she may be said to have topped herself. As the warden of a prison who has overseen 12 executions, she is able to demonstrate, without ever going over the top, how this kind of trauma can damage the human soul. We see the evils of capital punishment more through the eyes of the still living than through the pain of the condemned. The movie is hard to sit through at times (it begins with a botched execution that almost made me cover my eyes), but is worth it. And Woodard gives a searingly beautiful and indelible performance.
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Syd
Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:29 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12570 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Nothing on 1917 here yet? I liked it, and wouldn't be upset if it won Best Picture, though there are other films up I liked better. Best aspect to me is the feel that you really are in the trenches. The long shot technique in which they are edited to give you the feel that it's all (or mostly) one take, works reasonably well, but is not really necessary (and there's one scene where obviously the actors can take a break). It was also used a few years ago in Birdman (to great effect)*, which is why neither this or Birdman got an editing nomination. Acting is okay; better than it's given credit for. The technical aspects are the real stars here, which is why most of its nominations are in things like sound, makeup. and cinematography. And there is quite a bit of tension. And there's an obvious title for the sequel.

*Yes, I know Birdman has some edits, but not many, and the scene where Keaton gets locked out and has to do a scene in his underwear is not one of them.

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