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billyweeds
Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 10:01 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20552 Location: New York City
bartist wrote:

Would you believe I have no memory of seeing Frenzy? On the list it goes. I suppose bad movies are always a potential guilty pleasure because you come out knowing better what it is you want.


The most horrible thing about Frenzy is that, despite its loathsome plot and sensibility, it's by far the best-crafted movie Hitchcock made in his final decade-and-a-half. There's one tracking shot in particular that is masterful and memorable. But I'm a contrarian. I happen to pretty much love Family Plot, which most people think is mediocre. Pretty ordinary in terms of camerawork and pacing, but Barbara Harris and Bruce Dern are undeniably terrific, with the kind of comic and romantic chemistry you can't buy. As a comedy thriller, it has it all over The Trouble with Harry, which I think has a stronger reputation. The only things about TTwH I like are the photography of New England in autumn and the film debut of one of my favorite movie stars, Shirley MacLaine.
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bartist
Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 8:35 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
SPOILERS AHEAD

Watched Frenzy - I didn't find it vile as much as pedestrian, with some moments of Hitchian dark humour for a little relief, that one great tracking shot leaving Bob's flat and silently out into the street as a murder happens, and a peculiar focus on a detective's wife's experiments with French cuisine. That last not misogynistic in the overt sense but a sort of pedestrian march of feminine stereotype that was possibly getting stale even in 1972. Overall, I felt that Hitch indulged in overlong scenes with the sordid and brutal (potato truck finger-breaking, the rape/murder), giving me the feeling of a director trying to keep up with the times rather than stick to his strengths.

Amusing curtain line, though the final scenes feel sort of rushed, and again Hitch can't seem to resist another gratuitous sordid moment where John Finch takes a couple whacks with a tire iron at a woman's corpse (mistaking the figure under the bedding to be the villainous Mr Rusk). It could be a clumsy way to further lead the viewer to believe Finch deserved his ordeal and time spent locked up. And again, by making the hero something of an anti-hero, a directorial stab at staying relevant.

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bartist
Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:13 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
Which I guess this thread isn't.

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billyweeds
Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:42 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20552 Location: New York City
bartist wrote:
Which I guess this thread isn't.


To me it is.
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Syd
Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:09 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12640 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Random Hearts (1999) demonstrated that you can get Sydney Pollack directing, Harrison Ford, Kristen Scott Thomas, Charles S. Dutton and Richard Jenkins together and still get a movie that is boring, foolish and unbelievable. I thought the congresswoman would have more likely to get a restraining order than have anything to do with Harrison Ford's policeman.

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bartist
Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:58 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
A similar loathing dynamic emerged when I tried to watch "Anesthetic," a 2015 film with Sam Waterston as a philosophy professor at Columbia who gets mugged, and then the film flashes back and follows multiple characters that intersect during and after the mugging. As with RH, a fine ensemble - Waterston, Gretchen Mol, Corey Stoll, Kristin Stewart, and Glenn Close - that simply cannot save a pretentious snoozefest that squanders the potential of both philosophy and the rigors of urban life. The ending is abrupt and robs the viewer of any chance to derive a bit of meaning from the professor's fate. The film is lazy art. Let's throw ideas and characters at a wall, see what sticks...

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billyweeds
Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:35 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20552 Location: New York City
bartist wrote:
A similar loathing dynamic emerged when I tried to watch "Anesthetic," a 2015 film with Sam Waterston as a philosophy professor at Columbia who gets mugged, and then the film flashes back and follows multiple characters that intersect during and after the mugging. As with RH, a fine ensemble - Waterston, Gretchen Mol, Corey Stoll, Kristin Stewart, and Glenn Close - that simply cannot save a pretentious snoozefest that squanders the potential of both philosophy and the rigors of urban life. The ending is abrupt and robs the viewer of any chance to derive a bit of meaning from the professor's fate. The film is lazy art. Let's throw ideas and characters at a wall, see what sticks...


bart--It took some research to find this movie, since you misidentified it. The correct title is "Anesthesia." And I'm glad I didn't read this review in the NYTimes before I saw your takedown.

https://tinyurl.com/y5nnd9gs

Sam Waterston is a classmate of mine and I try to see his work whenever possible, but I trust you more than Stephen Holden, so...hard pass here.
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bartist
Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:28 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
Thanks for your trust (though I wouldn't advise trust with something so subjective) and for typo spotting. Autocomplete got me again. (that will be the epitome on my tomboy, no doubt)

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billyweeds
Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:31 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20552 Location: New York City
bartist wrote:
Thanks for your trust (though I wouldn't advise trust with something so subjective) and for typo spotting. Autocomplete got me again. (that will be the epitome on my tomboy, no doubt)


Actually, since the flick is available on Netflix, I may go back on my trust thing and start watching it. Worth a tumble, for Sam if nothing else.

And btw, LOL on your "epitome...tomboy" comment.
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bartist
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:48 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
Midsommar

What a waste of talent to put Florence Pugh in this inept pastiche of Nordic legends, folk tales, Bergman, and The Wicker Man (the 1973 one). It is relentlessly grindingly soul-numbingly weird, as it seems to plumb dark depths of the Swedish psyche that, really, should be allowed to fester in peace. In this modern-but-ancient-rooted commune in central Sweden, a midsummer Festival happens every year, but this year's is one they only do every 90 years when they go all out on ritual suicides, human sacrifices, sex with strangers, putting your pubic hair in a pie for that special fellah you're interested in, guzzling hallucinogens, and gutting bears so they can stuff bad boyfriends into the sticky remains before setting them on fire and having a nice group wail (think of that eerie wailing scene in Persona multiplied by several hundred.). That's just a small sample of what goes on, as our American heroine does her level best to not be a party pooper and navigate the awkward social situations which, as you might imagine, arise frequently.

Anyway, I hate this movie, hate that I felt some fascination and even some titillation as I watched, and hope all of you can watch it too so that we can all join together in hating it. I also hate that the land of my ancestors (central Sweden) was played by some fields in Hungary. That's just not right.

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bartist
Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:36 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6634 Location: Black Hills
Having seen a film riff off The Wicker Man, I had the silly impulse to see another film with wicker in it. Wicker Park, which proved to be an inferior American remake of the French film, The Appartement, which is in turn loosely based on A Midsummer night's Dream. The American version, though lushly filled with the beauty of Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne and Josh Hartthrob, is mainly a set of preposterous contrivances to keep the principals properly mystified. A 2004 film, which makes it eight years newer than the original, has more difficulty in presenting the missed chances for communication that it relies upon - had anyone used email or a cellphone, the whole ridiculous stack of cards would have toppled and Byrne 's deceptions unsustainable. Not that ducking technologies couldn't generate a charming throwback to an earlier period, but this wasn't such a film. I guess if I'd never seen the original French film, it might have generated more suspense and engagement generally.

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