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Syd
Posted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:35 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12714 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I'm finally watching Minari and learning that I don't to play any role playing game with this grandmother.

I also love that the mountain spring water drunk by the daughter is Mountain Dew.

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gromit
Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2021 3:09 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8900 Location: Shanghai
Rewatched most of Synecdoche NY, until I fell asleep (it was rather late). I mostly enjoyed it first time out. Trying to parse out what it was trying to say and where it was going. This time I was pretty removed form the proceedings. Things seemed clunkier and more disjointed this go. I wasn't too interested in following the medical issues theater director Cotard experiences or the various shades of poop characters may have.

So instead I paid more attention to the pretty stellar actresses throughout the film. Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton (not a fave), Dianne Wiest -- most of whom I quite like. Emily Watson is in there too, though I can't recall who she played. Plus Jennifer Jason Leigh with a German accent.

I still like how Cotard chooses 2 very dissimilar people to play himself after they neatly capsulize his situation. Though knowing this in advance on rewatch, plus other films using a similar technique (most notably that one Dylan film) somewhat blunted the effect. I like how watching other people act as him, makes Cotard a more caring, better person.

But overall it's a sprawling mess that didn't really interest me. It also has strange tonal shifts between being an abstract disconnected film, and at times bluntly saying messages very directly. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood, but I was in an objective mood. And while I still think it's okay, it seems both overstuffed and undercooked, and I can't really imagine watching it a third time.

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bartist
Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2021 4:56 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
Aside from the allusion of the director's last name....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion

...I wasn't much interested in whatever sort of experimenting Kaufman was up to. SNY is my least favorite Kaufman movie. The ones he's written (ESotSM, Adaptation, BJM) I liked way more than what he directed himself.

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Syd
Posted: Fri Jul 09, 2021 11:31 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12714 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I thought Minari was very likable with very good performances (particularly by the grandmother, who richly deserved her Academy Award, and the two kids). Very slow moving, but it gets into the problems with starting up a farm from scratch in an alien environment. Don't expect any kind of action: this is a family drama, based on the director/writer's life, which I appreciate a lot. It's likely the best film of the year, but so far I lean to "Sound of Silence," and really think the Oscar should have gone to "Da 5 Bloods" or "No Award." Perhaps they should have passed.

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bartist
Posted: Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:44 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
Thanks, Syd. Given the setting, and my sigboth having grown up in the Ozarks, and my own farming heritage, it's a must see here. But not on our streaming service. However, the library ordered the DVD in early June, so I should be able to check it out.

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bartist
Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 8:20 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
Saw Minari. I'd lean towards best film of 2020. The "you're not a real grandma" grandmother is a memorable performance, as was the whole ensemble. It was also the first time I've seen anyone weep with joy over a sack of anchovies.

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Syd
Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:46 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12714 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Soul is one of Pixar's best, the story of Joe Gardner, a jazz musician and music teacher who has lived his whole life dreaming of getting the big chance, and when he gets it is sidetracked on the way, finding himself first on the escalator to the Great Beyond (which of course means he's heading for the light), then to the Great Before, which is where new souls are taught before they are ready to live. Then he gets a second chance in company of a soul named 22 who doesn't want to be be born (I suspect as much out of fear as sheer cussedness), and 22 gets to experience life (including the senses of smell, touch and taste, and music) for the first time.

Lovely and moving film. I've only seen one of the other Oscar-nominated animated films (Over the Moon), but it's hard to imagine any of them being better than this. Jamie Foxx is Joe, Tina Fey is 22, and you have Phyllis Rashad and Angela Bassett in crucial supporting roles. I thought the animation of the Mentors in the Great Before was awkward, but it made sense how formless the new souls were.

I should mention the scene where Joe returns to Earth is absolutely hilarious and is about a half-hour into the film.

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gromit
Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:41 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8900 Location: Shanghai
Rewatching The Best Years of Our Lives (probably for the 3rd or 4th time).
A few small observations:

- One business exec expects the war boom to dissipate within the year and the country to return to depression. We're so familiar with the post-war boom that it's hard to imagine folks worried about 30's style Depression taking hold again.

- Al the ex-banker has a bathroom with a separate shower stall right next to his bathtub.

- Al's son is highly ambivalent about the war, particularly the atomic bombings which forced Japan to surrender.
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I like how the hometown folks think the war heroes must be bored back in small town USA, when the truth is they are thankful to return to normalcy, even if readjustment isn't easy.

Also, the homefront folks think the soldiers saw the world, whereas they mostly were on ships or in planes and hardly saw much of the countries/people they were fighting with/against.

I like how Fred was transformed from a local nobody to a hero by the war -- scoring a hot bride along the way in training camp -- but once he takes off the uniform it's hard to avoid slipping back into nobodyhood.

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Syd
Posted: Wed Jul 21, 2021 6:00 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12714 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
The business exec would probably have been familiar with the depression that followed World War I although part of that was caused by the influenza pandemic, like ours last year. Explains why the US recovered very quickly.

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Jimmy always ate apples and oranges during math class to obey the biblical commandment to be fruitful and multiply.
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Syd
Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:38 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12714 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Your Name is an animated film by Makuto Shinkai, who also did "5 Centimeters per Second' (one of the most beautiful and wistful films ever made), "Children who Chase Lost Voices," "The Place Promised in Our Early Days," (a personal favorite) and "Weathering with You". This one starts off deceptively simple as a story of two teenagers who find themselves exchanging bodies, which is complicated because one's a boy and the other one's a girl. (The movie gets a lot of outrage when she discovers he was caressing her breasts. Not so much over her discovering his testicles and penis.) Suffice it to say it's much more complicated than translations across space. Sufficiently so that it may take more than one viewing to fully understand it. But it's Makuto Shinkai, so it's always a pleasure to look at, and a very good story if you rust the storyteller, which I do considering his track record.

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bartist
Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:24 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
This piece relates Strangers on a Train to recent political trends. Sharply observed.

https://www.salon.com/2021/07/24/strangers-on-a-train-the-dark-bargain-that-destroyed-the-republican-party/

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Japanese animation seems to be a genre that can be viewed as distinct from other animation. Re Your Name, I approach body swap stories with the expectation that things can get silly, so am open to something that employs that trope with more depth.

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Peomising Young Woman was far more than the revenge flick I'd expected. Though it had some darkly funny moments ("what's my name?"), it is really more a tragedy about trauma and crushing remorse (the PYW cannot get past what she sees as her failure to save a friend from rape). And the lengths people go to in denying the seriousness of sexual abuse and predatory behavior. Carrie Mulligan's performance is outstanding. She's been outstanding every time she's appeared on a screen, AFAICT.

I had thought to skip the film, but it polarized opinion here enough that curiosity pulled me in.

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bartist
Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:36 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
https://mobile.twitter.com/vortixwx/status/1419133818854952961

Gromit, you doing okay?

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gromit
Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:15 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8900 Location: Shanghai
The typhoon was already downgraded to a tropical storm before it made landfall. I believe that has to do with max wind speed. Gusts up to 60 mph when it passed through. Actually touched down just on the south edge of Shanghai. SH sits around northern Virginia latitude, so typhoons normally hit a province or two lower (think North Carolina or Florida).

Lotta steady rain, wind, plenty of leaves, twigs, branches down all over, some minor flooding -- but basically a tropical storm. It's a wide slow-moving system, windowshopping along at 5 mph. So was petering out or damping down when still at sea. But we're scheduled for rain the next 4 days.

Mostly good for my jungly garden, though the banana leaves got fairly ripped up by the wind gusts. But those resilient buggers come right back. You cut a banana tree down at any height and it sets right back to work pumping out giant leaves within days. Two 25' purple bamboo trees are horizontal for now, mostly due to the weight of the water on them. Need to tie them back upright. Shanghai is adjacent to the mouth of the Yangtze, with even downtown in what used to be the delta flood plain, so plants grow tremendously well here in the rich soil, provided they can handle lots of rain.

Sunday the streets of Shanghai were largely deserted, with leaf and branch debris completely littering the sidewalks, with flooded patches. Pretty easy storm to deal with really, since it came through late Sunday afternoon/evening/night.

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bartist
Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 7:50 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
Glad you weren't washed away. Sounds like over a million in Henan are homeless from the earlier flooding there. I see Shanghai having challenges in the coming years if its downtown is situated in "what used to be the delta flood plain... "

We are moving from moderate to severe drought here. Smoke from the massive wildfires west of us wafts over all the time, sometimes turning the sun blood red. It's mostly in the stratosphere here, so it won't often smell smoky at ground level. (it drops back to the ground in places like Boston and Toronto) Definite End Times vibe...

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bartist
Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:25 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6759 Location: Black Hills
"The Hunt" is darkly funny social commentary and more enjoyable than expected, with Betty Gilpin turning in a winning performance as a smart redneck who gets the better of a cabal of wealthy liberals who hunt her (and other "deplorables") for sport. I had every intention of skipping this film but, as with Promising Young Woman, was persuaded to rethink. No regrets. I plan to attend future phone book readings from Ms Gilpin.

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