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Movie Buff



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:12 pm    Post subject: Re: New threads galore :) Reply with quote

Internaute wrote:
sjcuk13 wrote:
Ok I will start a new thread for each movie I review Smile.

Agreement it's a good idea.

Seconded!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:12 am    Post subject: Kinky French Film Puts ‘50 Shades’ to Shame Reply with quote

The Kinky French Film That Puts ‘Fifty Shades’ to Shame
Filmmaker François Ozon’s (‘Swimming Pool’) latest pushes the sexual envelope in ways few American films do.
Nick Schager
02.07.18 1:15 AM ET

Following a brief opening credits sequence, Double Lover (L’Amant Double) commences in earnest with an early contender for shot of the year: a zoom out of an extreme close-up—from inside a woman’s vagina.

It’s a wait-what-just-happened moment of hilarious brazenness, especially since the image quickly transitions to that of a woman’s crying eye. And it boldly sets the mood for this most delirious of erotic thrillers, whose Valentine’s Day theatrical debut (Feb. 14) conspicuously coincides with the release of Fifty Shades Freed, the final installment in the E.L. James-created trilogy that’s primarily notable, on-screen at least, for the fizzling chemistry between Jamie Dornan’s bland S&M pretty boy and Dakota Johnson’s blank sex kitten.

That the French might craft an erotic thriller more uninhibited than that dreary American series is hardly surprising; I’ve had naps that were more sensually charged than the pairing of Dornan and Johnson. Nonetheless, with his latest, celebrated director François Ozon (Swimming Pool, 5x2) performs an impressively crazy Hitchcock-by-way-of-De-Palma routine, delivering psychological screwiness and passionate screwing with a ludicrousness—and tawdriness—that’s, ahem, arousing.

The woman with whose insides we’re immediately, intimately acquainted is Chloe (Young & Beautiful’s Marine Vacth), who during a gynecological exam complains about her recurring stomach pains, and is thus told to see a psychologist. That she does, in the person of Paul (Jérémie Renier, best known in America for Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s L’Enfant, The Kid with a Bike, and The Unknown Girl), a sensitive and handsome fellow who, without uttering a word, gets Chloe to spill her cavalcade of hang-ups.

A “tough” but “stressed” former model, Chloe lives alone with her cat Milo, is estranged from her “whore” mother, has lifelong abdominal issues (her stomach is “a second brain”), and cries because she thinks she’s “incapable of loving. I feel empty sometimes. Like something’s missing.” Oh yes, and she’s also always dreamed of having a twin (“A double, who would protect me”)—a confession made while Ozon employs a split-screen that captures Chloe from two different angles.

After a scant few sessions, Chloe’s cramps are gone, and she’s fallen in love with Paul—and then moved in with him. Snooping through his stuff, however, she discovers that his passport boasts a different last name. More puzzling still, on the bus ride home from her new job as a museum guard, Chloe sees Paul outside a building speaking to another woman. When, at dinner that night, he denies having ever left the hospital where he was stationed, Chloe investigates—and discovers the office of a psychotherapist named Louis who, it’s clear, is Paul’s identical twin.

The issue of doubling is, per its title, central to Double Lover (loosely inspired by Joyce Carol Oates’ short story Lives of the Twins), and Ozon makes it clear from the outset that he cares little for subtlety. Mirror images, dopplegangers, and competing desires run rampant throughout this hot-blooded tale, especially after Chloe begins an affair with her boyfriend’s sibling. Louis is the aggressive, domineering flipside to his more sensitive and compassionate brother, and his curt, cold demeanor with Chloe during their brief appointments is matched by his hard-thrusting ways in the bedroom (conveniently located just behind a door in his office!). He’s the deviant yin to Paul’s soft-and-cuddly yang, and it doesn’t take him long to start driving Chloe wild in the sack, her innermost cravings unleashed, to the point that he even tempts her with the idea of schtupping someone else.

Which she does, in a literal sense, after agreeing to marry Paul and taking him to a sex shop—where she buys a strap-on dildo that she dons, and uses roughly, with her new fiancé. Role reversals and identity switcheroos abound in this carnal fantasia, which Ozon paces with a fleetness that keeps the pulse racing as well as helps the material glide over any (or should I say, its many) narrative head-scratchers. The director’s camera slides through long passageways, penetrates architectural openings, and blends reflective-surface sights with such stylish shamelessness that one can’t help but chuckle at the form-content excess on display. And that’s without even mentioning that, during one heated romp between Louis and Chloe, the film plunges directly into her open, gasping mouth to discover, yes, another close-up of a vagina.

Double Lover is a consistently lurid affair, and it’s got enough steamy over-the-top sex to satisfy those simply looking for a titillating thrill. Nonetheless, Ozon isn’t just interested in helping audiences get their rocks off; nestled within his outlandish De Palma-esque set pieces are detours into a dreamy domain where the issue of what’s real and what’s illusion is up for debate. Is Louis an actual person, or a manifestation of Chloe’s fantasy life? If he is real, why does Paul deny his existence—and why do none of his friends at a cocktail party have any recollection of Paul ever having a brother? What’s Paul hiding in the private belongings he doesn’t want Chloe investigating? Does it have something to do with a woman named Sandra (Fanny Sage) who, Louis says, was the cause of the siblings’ estrangement—and was she a victim, as claimed by her mom (Jacqueline Bisset), or someone who played a part in her own downfall?

Ozon is after a hallucinatory vision of desire’s duality, a notion clear from the aforementioned intro credit sequence, in which Chloe’s long locks are cut away to reveal her face—a symbolic evocation of her roiling internal/external tensions. Before long, the director is diving headfirst into a body-horror-ish realm indebted to David Cronenberg’s 1988 gem Dead Ringers. The art installations that surround Chloe at work transition from peaceful swirling paintings to twisted overhead tree-branch structures to giant mutant-organic-mass sculptures, while Chloe begins losing control of her mental and physical self—and the world (and lovers) around her. Guided by the entrancing Vacth, who has a cagey, feline aura ideal for a character so fixated on her pet cats, and energized by Renier’s fervent twin performances as polar-opposites Paul and Louis, Double Lover proves a flamboyant funhouse of schizophrenic sexual turmoil, its minds and bodies entangled in ways that are all the more entertaining for being so outrageous.

This February, Mr. and Mrs. Grey may see you one last time, but if it’s kinky theatrical kicks you’re after, Double Lover has its stateside competition beat fifty shades to Sunday.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-kinky-french-film-that-puts-fifty-shades-to-shame?via=newsletter&source=AMDigestOrig_ABTest
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Anémone



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:11 pm    Post subject: ‘The Post’ and the Pentagon Papers Reply with quote

This article is very long, but justifiably so. The author deconstructs Spielberg's movie ("A Fairy Tale"), showing all the "behind-the-scenes" stuff underlying the story, and provides evidence.

I'll go see the movie tonight anyway, but I'll have been warned.

‘The Post’ and the Pentagon Papers
The new movie “The Post” tells the story of the Pentagon Papers from a curious perspective that ignores much of the drama of the real history, as James DiEugenio explains.
By James DiEugenio

Imagine a film about a backer of an American war in the Third World who, as a State Department official, decides to visit and observe that war firsthand. After many months he learns that most of what our leaders have been telling the public about the war was wrong. In reality, our side was not winning, and most of the claims made for the effort were false. For example, patrols reported to protect certain areas did not even exist. The written reports describing these patrols were simply made up. Therefore both American troops, and the foreign natives we were allied with, were dying by the thousands for fraudulent reasons.

When he returns from his tour abroad, the official learns about a secret Defense Department study. It exposes much of what he had observed. The study is being supervised by his old boss, who gives him access to it. He then meets with a politician who is against the war and they begin to share certain ideas about opposing it. That politician decides to run for president in order to end the war. But he is assassinated while on the verge of winning his party’s nomination. As a result, a new president takes office, yet he is not that interested in ending what has now become a continuing disaster. In fact, the new president actually expands combat operations into two neighboring countries.

The former hawk has now become a dove dedicated to ending the war. He decides his only option is to copy the secret study since it shows all the deceptions and failures of the war. He goes to Washington and offers it to four anti-war politicians to read on the floor of Congress. They all have reasons to refuse.

He then decides to go to an old reporter friend who, like him, went from backing the war to opposing it. His newspaper decides to publish a long series based on the secret study. But on the third day of publication, the new president goes to court to stop publication. So our protagonist goes to an old acquaintance at a rival newspaper, and that paper decides to publish. They are also sued but our converted dove gets copies to many other papers, nearly twenty in all. They all publish. And he finally finds a senator to read the documents into the congressional record. The new president charges him for theft and espionage. But the president’s administration uses several unethical means in order to indict him—including influencing the judge with a job offer. These acts are publicized and the charges dismissed. He becomes a household name and, quite rightly, a national hero.

Who wouldn’t want to see a movie based on that story? Who wouldn’t like to be part of making a movie based on that story?

Well, evidently, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg wouldn’t. Instead, they have produced a movie, “The Post,” depicting a very different set of events.

Those first few paragraphs describe the ordeal that Daniel Ellsberg went through in order to expose what came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. By copying those secret documents and disseminating them to an array of newspapers, Ellsberg and his friend Anthony Russo risked going to prison for a combined 150 years.

Russo did go to jail for refusing to testify against Ellsberg. Their trial went on for several weeks in Los Angeles in 1973. But while in process, it was revealed by the Watergate prosecutor that the FBI had illegally wiretapped Ellsberg, that the White House had sent burglars to break into the office of his psychiatrist, and that President Richard Nixon and his domestic aide John Ehrlichman had offered their judge, Matt Byrne, the directorship of the FBI while the trial was proceeding. As a result of these abuses, the charges against Ellsberg and Russo were dismissed.

All of this, and much more, is profusely detailed in Ellsberg’s 2002 book, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. That book provides the scaffolding for a gripping story full of both epic and personal drama. In the 457 pages of Ellsberg’s fine book, Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee is mentioned exactly once, on page 392. Katharine Graham, the owner and publisher of the Post, is not mentioned at all. But it is upon Bradlee and Graham that Hanks and Spielberg decided to base their film about the Pentagon Papers.
[...]
A ‘Feel Good’ Fairytale

Because the film was directed by Spielberg, it is quite skillfully made. He has almost always been a visually acute director. But he has also said about himself that—unlike Alfred Hitchcock or Michelangelo Antonioni—he really does not have a visual style. He added that he saw his function as serving the writer’s intent, therefore adapting his style to the material. He does a nice job of that here.

The montage sequence where the Post gets out its first-day story based on the Pentagon Papers is a well shot and paced paragraph of action: going from the copy desk to the delivery trucks. The scene with Graham in her den deciding to publish the documents surrounded with differing opinions by her business and editorial advisors is shot from above, conveying the idea that powerful forces are pressuring her into a fateful decision. The penultimate scene with Graham and Bradlee in the printing room after the court decided in their favor, and they can now publish again, is nicely composed: the camera pulling back until the two characters are dwarfed by the image and sound of the printing press getting the Pentagon Papers out.

Meryl Streep is Kay Graham. She delivers her usual studied, technically sound, precisely prepared performance. My only problem with her acting is that the character is written as if this was Graham’s first day on the job. At this point, Graham had been in charge of the paper for eight years. The idea that she was just finding her way into her position is hard to swallow. To say that Tom Hanks plays Bradlee would be a misleading statement. Streep does what Hanks does not do: she uses her mental and emotional powers to create someone else. Hanks is—for all intents and purposes—Hanks, not Bradlee. With one exception, the rest of the characters seem cast on appearances: They look like board members or cub reporters. That one exception is Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk who shows some genuine acting range in his portrayal of Ben Bagdikian.

Read more:
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/22/the-post-and-the-pentagon-papers/
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:00 pm    Post subject: 28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month Reply with quote

28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month
Our chief film critics have chosen essential movies from the 20th century that convey the larger history of black Americans in cinema.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/01/movies/28-essential-films-black-history-month.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_el_20180208&nl=at-times&nl_art=5&nlid=15636404&ref=headline&te=1
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:54 am    Post subject: Darkest Hour Reply with quote

I have just seen this movie, and I heartily recommend it!

Darkest Hour Is a Thunderous Churchill Biopic
Joe Wright’s new film stars Gary Oldman as the British prime minister, and explores both his bullish public image and his angst-stricken private life.

Viewers don’t meet Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) for the first 10 minutes of his new biopic, Darkest Hour. The director Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) wants to give the British leader an appropriate drumroll: The film melds impressive archival footage of troop buildup in Europe as the Second World War gets underway with scenes in Parliament of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepping down and debate raging over who his successor should be. Churchill is the only man palatable to the opposition parties, but he’s a horror to the reigning Conservatives, including the stuffy Lord Halifax (Stephen Dillane), who commiserates with Chamberlain over the brute they’re about to invite into their midst.

In short, Churchill’s reputation precedes him—both in Britain in 1940 and for any viewer watching today—and Wright knows that. He’s happy to celebrate the theatricality of the man, the thundering bulldog who became emblematic of the British blitz spirit, and an international symbol of resistance to Nazi rule. When Churchill finally enters the film, it’s in the grandest manner possible, first shrouded in darkness, then briefly illuminated as he lights his cigar. But, as it turns out, he’s ensconced in bed at home, fretting over his own worthiness for a post he’s sought his entire career.

That’s the dichotomy Wright is trying to pick apart in Darkest Hour. He’s reminding viewers of the undeniable power of Churchill the politician at a pivotal time in his life, when his oratory helped bolster Britain’s resolve to stay in the war after the fall of France and before the entry of the United States. But the director also wants to get at the interiority of this famed public figure, to explore Churchill’s insecurity and fits of depression, and to present a portrait of a man who wasn’t entirely sure he was doing the right thing when he demanded “victory at all costs” from his country.

Wright’s approach works because of the narrow focus of his story. The film’s script, written by Anthony McCarten, is centered on the five weeks between Churchill taking office as prime minister in May 1940 and the evacuation of Dunkirk in June. At the time, Britain’s future as a nation seemed most under threat, and political leaders like Halifax were seriously entertaining negotiating peace with Hitler after watching him sweep through mainland Europe. Outwardly defiant yet inwardly fearful of failure, Churchill is Wright’s perfect embodiment of that tenuous moment.

Read more:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/darkest-hour-review/546497/
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:04 am    Post subject: Darkest Hour Reply with quote

I have seen it THREE times, twice in the original English version, and the third time, with my mother, in the French dubbed version. Cool

Although not always historically accurate,

Quote:
Historical accuracy

Writing in Slate, historian and academic John Broich calls Darkest Hour "a piece of historical fiction that undertakes a serious historical task," presenting the British decision to fight Hitler as a choice, not as inevitable. The situation in 1940 was as dire as depicted, but liberties were taken with the facts.

The on-screen shouting matches over possible peace negotiations were fictional, but Churchill did privately say that he would consider terms offered by Hitler. However he was not on the verge of seeking terms, as implied by the film. The ride on the British subway was fictional, and there is historical evidence that most British people were not immediately inspired by Churchill's speeches. George Orwell believed that ordinary people already felt subjugated and might not object to a "new order."

There is no conclusive evidence that Chamberlain and Lord Halifax were planning an imminent vote of no confidence, though that threat existed until early victories, and it is also historical fact that Churchill was an object of suspicion by his fellow Tories.

the movie really shows you the vital force and the oratory skills of a man facing History. In these times where our politicians give up too easily, I found this film thoroughly enjoyable (as said earlier, saw it thrice!!) Of course you have to replace it in the context of the 1940 debacle, with England left alone against the enemy...

As one MP put it, "He [Churchill] mobilized the English language and sent it into battle!"
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject: The 15:17 to Paris Reply with quote

In the early evening of August 21, 2015, the world watched in stunned silence as the media reported a thwarted terrorist attack on Thalys train #9364 bound for Paris, an attempt prevented by three courageous young Americans traveling through Europe. The film follows the course of the friends' lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the attack. Throughout the harrowing ordeal, their friendship never wavers, making it their greatest weapon and allowing them to save the lives of the more than 500 passengers on board.

Read reviews:
http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-1517-to-paris
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:34 pm    Post subject: Heroes of "The 15:17 to Paris" Reply with quote

Heroes of "The 15:17 to Paris"
Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone discuss whether it was scarier to thwart a 2015 terrorist attack or portray themselves in the film "The 15:17 to Paris."
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Published on Feb 15, 2018

https://youtu.be/Mwvf9_XGHbE


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:41 pm    Post subject: Beast of Burden Reply with quote

'Beast of Burden' strands Daniel Radcliffe in an airbound thriller with no landing plan
By Kenneth Turan

"Beast of Burden" places a number of burdens on the audience, almost none of which are worth enduring.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, who's displayed a taste for difficult fare like "Swiss Army Man" since shedding his Harry Potter shackles, "Beast of Burden" starts uncertainly and does little to improve its trajectory.

Written by Adam Hoelzel and directed by Jesper Ganslandt, this frustrating independent film is an ineffective knockoff of 2013's "Locke," which starred Tom Hardy and was written and directed by Steven Knight.

That film is a real-time drama that unfolds inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.

As played by Hardy, Locke is not only driving, he is engaged in an almost continuous series of phone conversations as he desperately attempts to keep the various parts of his life from collapsing in total ruin.

But while "Locke" creates tension, "Beast of Burden" becomes more irritating the longer it goes on.

The scene this time around is not a car but a tiny one-seater Cessna aircraft, where Radcliffe's character, a harried Sean Haggerty, is introduced staring anxiously at the dials on the plane's instrument panel. It turns out he has a lot to be anxious about.

A drug mule flying heroin across the border for one of those super-ruthless Mexican drug cartels, Haggerty is on this night playing a risky double game.

He's trying to convince the cartel everything is on the up and up, though he's planning to betray them to Drug Enforcement Agency operatives who have promised Haggerty a new life and expensive medical treatment for his ailing wife.

Though he's nominally flying the plane, Haggerty spends almost all his time having a series of phone conversations with the people who are pushing his anxiety level into the stratosphere.

First there is wife Jen (Grace Gummer), who has no idea what her husband does for a living and is frantic about her medical condition.

Then there is Bloom (Pablo Schreiber), the DEA operative who desperately wants a laptop filled to the brim with critical cartel information and has no hesitancy in calling Haggerty "a beast of burden on borrowed time." That has got to hurt.

Also phoning in are various representatives of that dread cartel, the most sinister being Mallory (Robert Wisdom), who sounds like he eats small potatoes like Haggerty for breakfast.

Though all this looks acceptable on paper, experiencing "Beast of Burden's" inept dialogue and uninspiring direction on screen is a continual trial.

Though "Locke" kept faith with its concept for its entire length, "Beast of Burden" hedges its bets, devoting just over an hour of its running time to Haggerty's troubled flight, which includes the man giving himself stirring pep talks on the order of "You're fine, Sean, just do your job."

The remaining half hour is spent in a number of low-voltage pursuits. We get time with Jen and her husband at the doctor's office, meet some members of the cartel and endure endless shots of that Cessna moving through the clouds that look like they came out of a 1930s Republic serial.

And, not to give too much away, the film's conclusion takes place on the ground as well. Yes, it is nice to get outside that claustrophobic plane, but any pleasure "Beast of Burden" provides is decidedly short-lived.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-beast-of-burden-review-20180222-story.html
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: ‘Black Panther’ and the Real, Lost Wakandas Reply with quote

‘Black Panther’ and the Real, Lost Wakandas
The blockbuster movie imagines an advanced African nation untouched by colonialism. That’s not fiction, it’s true history that was covered-up by racist Europeans.
BY Clive Irving

Black Panther could blow one of history’s greatest lies right out of the water.

The movie creates the technically potent black African city state of Wakanda that has somehow evolved without being touched by colonialism. Fantasy, right?

Well, yes, in its comic book inventions it is. But this misses the point about one of the most insidious effects of colonialism in Africa. The whole history of the continent has been rigged by Europeans to suggest that before the arrival of the white man Africans had been incapable of creating any semblance of modern urban civilization.

So let’s get this straight: long, long before any of those colonialists turned up there were cities and civilizations built by Africans that, in the context of their time, were every bit as kick-ass smart as Wakanda.

There’s a compelling irony in seeing a Marvel superhero collide directly with another fantasy, the remarkably durable Eurocentric view of world history in which the only legitimate origin of civilization is the one that began in the ancient east from the Nile to the “Fertile Crescent” bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Many educators have yet to catch up with the truth. Maybe they don’t want to, or are not ready for the implications. But—thanks more to modern archaeologists than to white historians—we now know that there were great cities in Africa as early as 900 BC.

Let’s begin with the elusive Nok Civilization. In 1928 some tin miners working in central Nigeria came upon some strikingly beautiful life-sized terra-cotta statues. Since then excavations have revealed a fully developed center of civilization, the realm of a people named the Noks, originating around nine centuries before Christ.

At that time the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia had already been around for several millennia. But the Noks were advanced enough to create, sui generis, a society governed by laws, just as 800 years earlier in Babylon the man regarded as the intellectual father of all judicial systems, Hammurabi, had established the basis of Assyrian judicial codes.

With little evidence to go on, we have to assume that the Noks’ level of sophistication occurred independently among a people to whom the ancient east was just as unknown as West Africa was to the folks lounging around the hanging gardens of Babylon. The Noks thrived until around 200 AD and then, apparently, the whole society and culture just disappeared.

Early history across the world is timelined with frequent disappearances that remain unexplained; this one, like others, could have been as a result of sudden climate change, in the form of drought, as a result of some kind of plague, or war.

We will probably never know, but the millennium of the Noks spanned the time when Persia, Greece, and Rome built the first world empires and began the whole idea of conquest and colonization, spreading as far west as Ireland and as far east as India.

What we do know—with much more detail—is that on the east coast of Africa from the 10th century onward, some of the most advanced city states of the Middle Ages appeared, the equal of Venice in their impact on trade and culture.

Read more:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/black-panther-and-the-real-lost-wakandas?via=newsletter&source=Weekend
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