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  • Dogs Of War (198something): Christopher Walken is a merc paid to overturn an African government. It's odd that it takes about 80 minutes of this film till you get to the first action scene. I was expecting Wlaken to be machine gunning people throughout. Actually, till then it just plays as a very muscular, very nicely edited thriller. A trashy, 80s evolution of a Melville film maybe. And eventually you do get Walken charging around with a grenade launcher.

    Solid if unspectacular entertainment for men of taste.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

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    • Saltburn: weird young man, with a tragic backstory, moves in with the family of his wildly wealthy friend and slowly reveals himself to be a lot more than he seems. For a long time this movie is recalling some classics. Theorema and The Lickerish Quartet to pick a couple and, unbelievably, it seems, for a time, to belong in that company.

      It has a strange, surreal vibe, a sense that it could go just about anywhere and do just about anything. Then, just when it's at its most intriguing, it drops all the balls and flattens the narrative out to show that what was going on was all a plan all along.

      How absolutely dull.

      The worst part is that it makes all the most interesting parts of the first couple hours feel like they must have happened by accident.

      Here's how you end the film: when the mum walks out of the Cafe in the last act snap to black. Movie done. All the mystery still there and the story open-ended for where it goes from there.

      The most disappointing film of the year but I still give it 4 stars because just for a while it had me thinking I was watching a film that would last and that doesn't happen a lot these days.
      "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

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      • Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special - A Christmas seasonl staple for me, I've long considered this to be the best Christmas special I've ever seen. It's hilarious and for all of its crude humor, profanity, and substance abuse the story really is, at heart, one true to the Christmas spirit.

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        • Originally posted by f.ramses View Post
          Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special - A Christmas seasonl staple for me, I've long considered this to be the best Christmas special I've ever seen. It's hilarious and for all of its crude humor, profanity, and substance abuse the story really is, at heart, one true to the Christmas spirit.
          Great Xmas pick! I love Ricky's confusion over Santa, Jesus and God. This show used to be so awesome.

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          • Often when I watch the Christmas special I think about how cool it might have been had we gotten a Halloween episode or special from TPB.

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            • Originally posted by f.ramses View Post
              Often when I watch the Christmas special I think about how cool it might have been had we gotten a Halloween episode or special from TPB.
              Well, the season 6 episode "Halloween 1977" is sort of Halloween-related, if not a full on Halloween special.

              I dig the animated series more than the post-Clattenburg live action stuff, although season 8 (the 1st without him) was decent. After that the show fell off a cliff. Hard.

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              • I didn’t get into the cartoon much but I did find it weird how they did a cartoon when that is what the last several live-action seasons have felt like compared to the earlier seasons. It just got too over the top when it went to Netflix and I really wonder if that was more them or Netflix, like would it have turned out the same had it just been a Swearnet show like they originally intended?

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                • Originally posted by f.ramses View Post
                  I didn’t get into the cartoon much but I did find it weird how they did a cartoon when that is what the last several live-action seasons have felt like compared to the earlier seasons. It just got too over the top when it went to Netflix and I really wonder if that was more them or Netflix, like would it have turned out the same had it just been a Swearnet show like they originally intended?
                  I'm not sure how big of a part Netflix's influence played in dismantling the show. I don't know how much creative control they enforce or how much creative freedom they generally allow. What is certain though is the fact that Mike Clattenburg, Barrie Dunn and Mike Volpe all left the show before the Netflix deal. I suppose it goes to show what a large creative impact they had on the original series, in addition to whatever the 3 lead actors and various other writers brought to the table.

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                  • I watched 498 movies in 2023. Here's my Top 30 that I saw for the first time this year (in no order):

                    01. Normal Life (1996)
                    02. Car Wash (1976)
                    03. Moonstalker (1989)
                    04. Barbarian (2022)
                    05. Tar (2022)
                    06. Body Count (1986)
                    07. Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
                    08. Number One with a Bullet (1987)
                    09. The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
                    10. Dogtags (1987)
                    11. The House of Yes (1997)
                    12. Beau Is Afraid (2023)
                    13. Get Carter (1970)
                    14. Brimstone (2016)
                    15. Wedlock (1991)
                    16. Play It Again, Sam (1972)
                    17. Inside Man (2006)
                    18. All My Friends Hate Me (2021)
                    19. Haunt (2019)
                    20. Slash/Back (2022)
                    21. Copperhead (1984)
                    22. Winter Kills (1979)
                    23. Goin' South (1978)
                    24. Heartbreakers (1984)
                    25. Housekeeping (1987)
                    26. Master Gardener (2022)
                    27. Roselyne and the Lions (1989)
                    28. Death in Brunswick (1990)
                    29. North Dallas Forty (1979)
                    30. When Evil Lurks (2023)

                    Bottom 5:

                    01. Angry Neighbors (2022) - This is a fascinating trainwreck. It's an unfinished movie that they obviously tried to complete in editing. Almost so-bad-its-good.
                    02. The Boss' Wife (1986) - Excruciating comedy.
                    03. Hot Under the Collar (1992) - More excruciating comedy.
                    04. Woodchipper Massacre (1988) - I wanted to shut it off. Shrill is the only way to describe it.
                    05. Stanleyville (2021) - Single worst film I watched this year.
                    Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?

                    Comment


                    • That's a great list Matt! Nice to see some more love for 'Slash/Back', and OMG, I can't believe you watched 'Get Carter' for the first time. What an experience.

                      Due to assorted life issues, I watched considerably fewer films in 2023 than I have in previous post-pandemic years, but still beat most of my pre-2020 annual totals.

                      My top 15 first-time watches were as follows:

                      1. Light Sleeper (1992)
                      2. Miami Blues (1990)
                      3. The Iceman Cometh (1989)
                      4. RRR (2022)
                      5. Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus (1976)

                      6. Clear Cut (1991)
                      7. The Swimmer (1968)
                      8. Un Témoin dans la Ville [Witness in the City] (1959)
                      9. After Hours (1985)
                      10. Slash/Back (2022)

                      11. The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963)
                      12. The Sniper (1952)
                      13. The Kiss of Her Flesh (1968)
                      14. Que la Bête Meure [The Beast Must Die] (1969)
                      15. Thieves Like Us (1974)

                      ...and my bottom five:

                      Night of the Strangler (1972) - Inept, boring race-relations melodrama misleadingly sold as a horror movie. No strangler; not much night.
                      Xtro II: Second Encounter (1991) - sequel to one of the weirdest and most imaginative films made in the wake of ‘Alien’ turns out to be one of the most lousy & tedious. Oh well.
                      Ritual of Evil (1970) - totally snooze-worthy, occult-tinged TV movie.
                      Death Ride To Osaka (1983) - In theory, Jonathan Kaplan directing Jennifer Jason Leigh in a sleazy TV movie about an American teenager who gets embroiled in a Yakuza prostitution ring sounds amazing. In practice though… oh dear. Probably not one that anyone involved feels very proud of.
                      Everything Everywhere All The Time (2022) - Unlike the members of the Academy it seems, I do not suffer from ADHD, so found this pretty painful to sit through. Still, nice that someone’s winning awards for ripping off ideas Michael Moorcock had 50+ years ago, and there’s an admittedly great performance from Michelle Yeoh buried somewhere amidst all the jump cuts.
                      BW Haggar
                      Senior Member
                      Last edited by BW Haggar; 12-31-2023, 01:07 PM.
                      https://breakfastintheruins.blogspot.com/
                      http://stereosanctity.blogspot.com/

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                      • My top ten first time watches:
                        1. The Woman In The Dunes
                        2. The Swimmer
                        3. Silent Partner
                        4. Blast Of Silence
                        5. The Evil That Men Do
                        6. Memories of Murder
                        7. Interrabang
                        8. Fuego
                        9. Onibaba
                        10. The Witches Mountain.

                        A surprisingly strong year for me. The Woman In The Dunes in particular knocked me sideways.

                        Worst seen this year:
                        1. Babylon. Would rank high in my top 10 worst films ever made. Unwatchably hyperbolic throughout and just pisses all over the medium it pretends to be celebrating.
                        2. Barbie. Had a very fun screening for this but the film is diabolical, a mindless Chevrolet commercial whose 'high point' is that demented speech where America Ferrara goes on about how its impossible to be a woman. Oh, you can't be too fat but you can't be too skinny? This is what's taxing you? This is impossible? I know people dying of cancer and they play it as it lays. Fuck you.
                        3. Rebel Moon. Man the critical notices for this are terrible. As terrible as they've been they're too kind. Zac knows nothing about film, he just wants to recreate comic covers.
                        "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

                        Comment


                        • So glad to see THE SWIMMER on both of your lists. It's one of my all-time favourite films. It's so haunting.
                          Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?

                          Comment


                          • Finished off the year with Strange Days as I often do. I love this movie but every time I watch it I wonder why people don't just take the SQUID thing off their head when the killer puts it on them... Also, that glint they added to the knife in the fight at the end ...lol, what the hell?!?! It looks even more absurd when you go through it frame by frame. Great movie though!

                            Of my 847 viewings last year these were the best of what I watched for the first time:

                            Libido (1965)
                            The Lorely's Grasp
                            Sudden Impact
                            Possessor
                            The Last of the Cowboys/The Great Smokey Roadblock
                            El Violador Infernal
                            The Congress
                            Crooked House: The Knocker
                            The Cellar (2022)
                            Evangelion 3.0+1.01: Thrice Upon a Time
                            Rusted Body
                            The Witch 1 & 2
                            Calamity of Snakes
                            l'Inferno (1911)
                            Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin
                            Hanger (2009)
                            Out There Halloween Mega Tape
                            Nefarious
                            Testament (1982)
                            Death on the Nile (1978)
                            Dagon
                            Cruising
                            Coma
                            Robin Redbreast
                            A Cold Night's Death
                            It's a Wonderful Life
                            ...Hanno Cambiato Faccia (They Have Changed Their Face)


                            No bottom 5 as when I went through the log I found a lot of movies that I didn't even remember. lol

                            One other notable viewing was 7 Doors of Death. I put it off forever because it's VHS but it was really cool to see The Beyond with the alternate soundtrack even if it was also cut.

                            Comment


                            • Saltburn
                              (Emerald Fennell, 2023)


                              An odd choice for a New Years Eve movie, but hey - I didn't make it.

                              Anyway, the problem with getting old as a fan of movies/culture in general is, you've see it all before.

                              This is a perfectly well-made, compelling film, and if I had watched it when I was within the same age group as the central characters, I might have found it all pretty enthralling and original.

                              As it is though, by the halfway mark I already had it pegged as 50% 'The Talented Mr Ripley', 40% 'The Servant', and 10% some random ITV drama about the lives of the rich and priviledged - and thus spent the remaining run-time wiishing I could re-watch / re-read the first two of those again instead.

                              As in Fennell's earlier film ('Promising Young Woman'), innovation largely stems from the unconventional and kinda manipulative / unfair games played with the audience's sympathies, and the deliberate holding back of certain pieces of key narrative information.

                              Despite a few nods to classic gothic imagery, the whole affair also feels aggressively 'modern' - in the sense that there's lots of pervy, umcomfortable sex stuff going on (but nobody actually enjoys any of it, or gets naked for it), and the characters all swear and say nasty things to each other incessently.

                              None of which is necessarily meant as criticism - just an indication that I can feel the generation gap yawning wide when I watch stuff like this. (Although, mercifully, it's at least set in 2006, so they're not all banging on about their 'socials' and covertly videoing everything all the time.)

                              Barry Keoghan is a very striking central presence - an old man's face on young man's body, with a weirdly disconcerting muscular torso, he's like the genetically engineered mutant gandson of Dirk Bogarde's character from 'The Servant', or something.

                              Difficult to say whether this movie will totally make his career, or whether he'll be forever cursed by Anthony Perkins-esque type-casting, but either way - he certainly makes an impression.
                              https://breakfastintheruins.blogspot.com/
                              http://stereosanctity.blogspot.com/

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                              • The Boy and The Heron
                                (Hayao Miyazaki, 2023)


                                Began 2024 the right way today, by going to see this at a lunch time screening.

                                And what can I say? It's bloody magnificent.

                                It's probably a redundant observation to make about a Miyazaki film by this point, but this is such an aesthetically beautiful film - the attention to detail in the background of nearly every frame speaks to a lifetime of dedicated craftsmanship and visual research, and the gentle, gliding pace of the cel animation is - of course - exquisite.

                                I confess I've found most post-'Spirited Away' Ghibli projects too frantic and whimsical for my tastes, but the more sombre, more ambiguous tone adopted here suited me perfectly.

                                The fantasy aspects are mysterious and intriguing, with a persistent undertow of existential menace and flat-out scariness, and, like all of Miyazaki's best films, the human drama takes a potentially sentimental subject, but steadfastly refuses to dumb it down for a 'family' audience or engage in manipulative heart-string tugging, meaning that (whilst not exactly original), the core tale of a boy processing trauma and grief through a retreat into imagination remains incredibly moving, in a way that almost defies verbal explanation.

                                Admittedly, the film does lose focus here and there - the opening "real world" section may prove too slow for a mainstream audience to latch onto (although I liked it just fine), and later on things get a bit lost for a while in an endless cavalcade of stuff exploding/collapsing, brightly coloured creatures flying/flapping around and weird fantasy-world logic etc; perhaps a tighter edit might have helped?

                                But, this is a minor criticism; there is so much here that is good, it almost makes me feel like, if the human race can knock out something like this once in a while and leave it for future civilizations to find, all the shit and pain that comprises life on earth will be worth it.

                                I'm unsure how things stand with Miyazaki at present (I thought he had retired, until this one popped up as a new release?), but if this turns out to be his final film, he'll be going out on a high - definitely one of his finest ahievements, for my money.
                                https://breakfastintheruins.blogspot.com/
                                http://stereosanctity.blogspot.com/

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