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Discussion in 'GMD Social Forum' started by no country for old wainds, Mar 25, 2019.
1. First Reformed
3. You Were Never Really Here
4. Hold the Dark
6. Den of Thieves
9. The House That Jack Built
10. Summer of '84
Imma bump this real quick as I'm catching up with last year's movies.
The Favorite will be the numero uno I think, with the Trier close second. First Reformed might be third - watched that based on this thread.
Here's the list of all movies I've seen from that year, I stilll have to watch Roma, as you can see.
hey guys remember this thread?
20) Claire's Camera (Dir. Hong Sang-Soo)
The only way to change things is to look at everything again, very slowly.
AKA in another country 2: hair of the dog
19) Den of Thieves (Dir. Christian Gudegast)
Fucking nice haircut, you fucking idiot.
i'll just repost what i said before: basically heat if you traded out pacino and de niro for gerard butler and the guy who played nick sobotka in the wire, replaced fancy chicago restaurants with LA strip bars and fast food joints, added a sprinkling of the usual suspects and GTA douchery, all while retaining those loud, sparse, tense and impactful set pieces, beach sunsets and the general sleekness. best thing about it is butler though, sloppily eating and drinking his way through the scenery in between swinging his dick around. still on netflix, get on it!
18) Mission Impossible: Fallout (Dir. Christopher McQuarrie)
"Hope is not a strategy."
"You must be new."
without its action chops it'd be skyfall and i'd think it was garbage, but gods, what chops. at least 50% of the ten or maybe even twenty best hollywood action set pieces this decade have been in mission impossible movies, seemingly the last of a dying art as far as big-budget old-school action 'franchises' go. each time they challenge themselves to outdo the last, to exhilarating effect.
17) Shoplifters (Dir. Hirokazu Koreeda)
This is what someone does when they love you.
double bill it with leave no trace, although the underlying themes and our allegiances in relation to them are more clearly signposted here even taking the third act sideswipe into account. the filmmaking is more graceful, however--the characters and spaces more shaded, their moments of connection more indelible. probably a mildly above-average palme winner for the decade, but they should’ve given it the best actress award instead; i’m in love with sakura ando’s performance here.
16) Mandy (Dir. Panos Cosmatos)
There were bikers, and gnarly psychos, and... crazy evil.
beyond the black rainbow ended with venom, its successor kicks off with king crimson, two perfectly appealing sensibilities that i'm not sure cosmatos ever quite reconciles here. the first half's hallucinatory bliss and subsequent elemental, scorched-earth purging leads to the most overwhelming audiovisual expression of grief and despair in a year full of them, but that otherworldly spell isn't really served by the increasingly self-conscious pulp of the second half. i mean, i can't fault a nic cage chainsaw fight, but in this context it's a little too much like populist pandering, a way of getting stoned, ironic teens into a movie that would be far too bizarre and tragic otherwise. still, that stuff is pretty damn fun even so.
15) The House That Jack Built (Dir. Lars Von Trier)
Why is it always the man's fault? No matter where you go, it's like you're some sort of wandering guilty person without even having harmed a simple kitten. I actually get sad when I think about it. If one is so unfortunate as to have been born... male, then you're also born guilty. Think of the injustice in that. Women are always the victims, right? And men, they're always the criminals.
the montage of verge photobombs is a top tier father ted joke and i love lars for that. an "enjoyable picnic" indeed.
14) Kaala (Dir. Pa.Ranjith)
Land is our right!
i watched this and peterloo back to back and, speaking as a total mike leigh homer, this kinda blew that shit away. it’s probably better double billed with lefty superhero flick psychokinesis, although superior for its epic scope, iconic images and sheer brio. i’m not typically an agitprop guy, but apparently i am an indian action musical agitprop guy, especially when the villain is this dastardly.
13) Climax (Dir. Gaspar Noé)
Dance is everything. It's all I have.
slightly tired premise to be sure, and this is easy to chide as hand-wringing about the dissolution of societal structures in the modern liberal west, but keep in mind the locked room does not protect the screaming child. noe’s is a cinema administered by a syringe and this is a collection of his greatest hits, pulsing with the flavors of death’s “extraordinary experience”, the horror and the ecstasy. this postmodern demise of culture and order, it thrills him just as much as it terrifies him.
12) Leave No Trace (Dir. Debra Granik)
The same thing that's wrong with you isn't wrong with me.
as exactly the kind of defiant individualist who would try to protect his hypothetical kids from normalcy and hypocritically resent them for not complying, this felt uncomfortably close to home at times. it isn’t without its sundance-y eyerolls and contrivances, but there’s a lot of compassion and complexity here; foster is never reduced to villain nor martyr, while civilisation is a source of sustenance and growth as much as danger or abandonment.
11) Winter Brothers (Dir. Hlynur Pálmason)
"Why should I be like everyone else?"
"Not like everyone else. Just more relaxed and less dark and aggressive."
a disorienting experience which isn't easy to pigeonhole, as evidenced by comparisons to everyone from p.t. anderson to grandrieux, kaurismaki to the farrelly brothers (and eastern promises for that one fight scene). it's about a semi-retarded dipshit working at some backwater chalk mine brewing toxic moonshine and jacking it over his brother's girlfriend; think the master if it was made by some deadpan scandi. it's impressive that this debut director's showy formal left-turns only strengthen his off-kilter authorial voice rather than muddying it.
10) Burning (Dir. Lee Chang-Dong)
To me... the world is a mystery.
a post-antonioni revisionist noir, with all the alienating abstracted backdrops, self-conscious ambiguity and generational ennui that implies, although it’s tethered to a rural neet’s perspective here (he’s ostensibly a blank slate, but also a would-be novelist--this seems largely a story of his own invention) and the screenplay is meticulously shaped, full of clever callbacks and foreshadows, but also some rather more obvious signifiers and genre tropes bordering on the conventional (and implausible). the threat, confusion, isolation and resentment amassed during the slow sink into these deep blues and oranges really linger, though, like "a bass that resonates to the bones".
9) The Day After (Dir. Hong Sang-Soo)
I'm not a leading character. Not in the least.
if claire's camera echoes in another country, the day after seems a loose sequel to the day he arrives in spirit, although we're now in a transitional phase as hong processes the fallout of his well-publicised extramarital affair with habitual lead actress kim min-hee. the transition, in this case, is kim moving from side-character to protagonist, given a moment of liberation--even divinity--in the back of a taxi while hong's narcissistic, spiritually bereft stand-in forgets she ever existed. hong would be the first to tell you they aren't enough, but i can't help believing these recent gestures to be genuine, and this film is among his very best in visual and formal elegance despite its relative simplicity.
8) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Misanthrope? I don't hate my fellow man, even when he's tiresome and surly and tries to cheat at poker. I figure that's just a human material, and him that finds in it cause for anger and dismay is just a fool for expecting better.
the coens' savaging of the western and all its purported american values and icons is as black with fatalism as you might expect, a compendium of pathetic, selfish struggles in the dust and dirt that always culminate the same way. it's also far too autobiographical to be dismissed as mere misanthropy, however, with bookends that anticipate the criticisms and suggest how to read it. it seems we're offered the opportunity, alongside the brothers themselves, to look into the eyes of those who "try to make sense of it", this transient, miserable existence, and in doing so we may find a few gold nuggets of meaning, be they fleeting snatches of beauty, art, love, even god. just don't expect to find it in a dollar bill.
7) Bodied (Dir. Joseph Kahn)
At least you knew I was Korean. Far as I'm concerned that's culturally sensitive by battle rap standards.
those familiar with joseph kahn's detention won't be surprised he followed it up with his scott pilgrim vs. the world (or perhaps an anti-la la land by way of whiplash), but did anyone expect such a politically incendiary eminem-produced sports musical? it's a dizzyingly dense, mean, obnoxious mess of a film (and not all of its satirical targets are fairly drawn), but i doubt the clusterfuck that is america's contemporary political discourse can be explored any other way, and what emerges is the need for debate, context and empathy.
6) Western (Dir. Valeska Grisebach)
You're either with us or against us.
by transposing the tropes and iconography of the western onto a modern, colonial milieu complete with an elliptical naturalistic style, grisebach cannily highlights the contradictions of masculine self-image, the indirect and incoherent ways men assert their identities and project their anxieties upon land, beast and people, and how these dangerous flaws are bound up in their appeal.
5) The Favourite (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
As it turns out, I'm capable of much unpleasantness.
this is the first lanthimos in which his style seemed a little like schtick to me, not quite in tune with the material (which, of course, he didn't write). the stone bunny scenes are helpful examples: the former is more tender than anything yorgos would dream up, while the latter has his black footprint imprinted onto its back. both of these sensibilities really shine in places and it's such a fun script, hence its spot on the list, but sometimes this push/pull made them seem respectively tame and gratuitous on first viewing and i didn't dig it quite as much as his previous two.
4) The Other Side of the Wind (Dir. Orson Welles)
Who knows, maybe you can stare too hard at something, huh? Drain out the virtue, suck out the living juice. You shoot the great places and the pretty people... All those girls and boys. Shoot 'em dead.
not sure i’ve ever seen a film so relentlessly, exhaustingly self-regarding. it’d be unbearable if it wasn’t so sad. as much pleasure as welles takes in his winking last stand before the antonioni apocalypse (the film-within-a-film here is a spot-on zabriskie point piss-take that's also as visually stunning as anything antonioni ever did--you can almost hear welles barking "i could make boring cinema like this better than anyone if i felt like it"), it’s the bitterness and self-loathing that really dig in by the end. it’s the work of someone who felt personally and professionally doomed, even anticipating its own legacy as an unfinished holy grail destined to be pieced together as others saw fit (not that such a fate was ever remotely far-fetched given welles' history). deceptively heavy stuff.
3) First Reformed (Dir. Paul Schrader)
This isn't in some, like, distant future. You will live to see this.
it's as aggressively referential as taxi driver, and overshaped into something dichotomous and thesis-like in totality, but this is nevertheless a quiet, lived-in work by schrader’s standards, trusting in hawke’s ability to evoke spiritual lack without much help beyond the gently imbalanced ways he’s framed against the correspondingly fraudulent church-cum-gift-shop locale. the transcendent flourishes are bold and rapturous, but it’s the despair that's stayed with me; poison leaks from these words and faces, each inadequate to contain or rationalise all the suffering of the earth, let alone do anything about it. a desperate, frightening film.
2) Thunder Road (Dir. Jim Cummings)
It's a lot for some people.
a guy from collegehumor with no wiki page made and starred in one of 2018's most ambitious films. cummings' willingness to resist cheap jokes and sentiments in favour of a disarming generosity toward deeply flawed characters is revelatory--think jody hill but with a big fucking soul. the one misstep is the way the estranged wife is discarded to facilitate a happy ending, and it really is incongruously cruel, but in his defence this is a very tricky tonal tightrope and he largely aces it.
1) Night Pulse (Dir. Damon Packard)
He thought he found a Poison video. It is in fact a secret illuminati ritual.
a sidesplitting retinarupturing cinematic brain hemorrhage about the struggle to survive the nineties apocalypse (its vomitpile of early nineties rubble includes kim fowley, bono, julia roberts, william friedkin hot off the set of the guardian (@Oblivious Maximus you would love this), sade, dick cheney, vanilla ice, new jack city, multiple jackson sisters and, of course, rush) with your culture, sanity, basic human form and, y'know, evil illuminati domination still intact. it's definitely not for everyone and probably not for almost anyone, but to me this is pure fucking genius and i need to see everything else packard has ever done.
1. night pulse
2. thunder road
3. first reformed
4. the other side of the wind
5. the favourite
8. the ballad of buster scruggs
9. the day after
i'll count this up soon. i guess it'll be time for the 2019 thread before long lol
Allow me an edit for proper formatting
4. The Witch in the Window
7. Puppet Master : The Littlest Reich
9. Summer of 84
10. Head Count
We all knew this was going to be my number one, right? Cage, Hallucinogens, Mayhem
This film really lived up to its hype, in hindsight. Absolutely visually nasty when it wanted to be... and when Igor here had her head removed, biggest fuck yeah moment in years for me in a horror film
The first time in a while that a Halloween film has felt like a goddamn Halloween film.
4. The Witch in the Window
One of those weird slow burning ghost stories I like so much. I watched this under the influence of LSD and when the Witch finally came out of her chair, I retreated into my couch like a fucking turtle into his shell. Minimalist and claustrophobic as fuck. No gifs of this film exist. ha!
scifi psychedelia? Like this one a lot too. Wish the animals inside could have been explored more, because... well...
I wanted to like this one more than I actually did but I still thought it was a solid zombie film in the post Walking Dead era.
7. Puppet Master : The Littlest Reich
HOLY FUCK IS THIS MOVIE MEAN SPIRITED. I thought the others were kind of light hearted in their goofy puppet killers theme but this one doesnt follow them I guess. Maybe the goriest film on my list?
Really fun film. Take an albino King Kong, give him a couple bad guys to fight, loosely tie in to an old video game, add in The Rock for good measure. Great King Kong/Godzilla/Kaiju knock off.
9. Summer of 84
Im a sucker for 80s style kid adventure horror films. I assume because them being on cable are some of my earliest childhood movie memories of the 90s.
10. Head Count
This would have been a fairly cool film about a doppleganger amongst friends at a weekend getaway party had they never shown the monster. (monster is so bad I cant even find an image of it) Tbh the movie basically fell on its face at the end because they absolutely butchered it. Still had a cool premise and was at least a bit eerie through the first half or so.
How long did it take you frame Climax in that way?
when it comes to climaxes i have a lot of stamina
@no country for old wainds did you not like YWNRH or did you decide to consider it a 2017 film?
I was binge-watching GQ's Youtube channel yesterday, going through all the "actor talks about most iconic roles" interviews and Cage's was by far one of the more interesting (for example he told a crazy story about going on ambulance ride-alongs while preparing for Bring Out the Dead and one night a young black guy had been shot in the ass and while he was being attended to in the back of the ambulance, Cage was freaking out about the gum in the guy's mouth, that he might choke, so he leaned over and took it out of his mouth and the guy looked up and seemed confused as fuck... because Cage is in the ambulance with him lmao), he said that Cosmatos wanted Red in the second half of the film to be a kind of homage to Friday The 13th, but because Cage wasn't very familiar with slashers and could draw no inspiration from that particular film, he based his performance on the biblical golems, killing machines animated by a higher power.
Thought that was a cool little insight, especially because as much as Cosmatos crafts these otherworldly pieces, it does always end up being rooted in popular culture, like heavy metal or slashers.
The Other Side of the Wind is next up in my watchlist. Very excited, as F for Fake is one of my favourite films ever.
the other side of the wind is a difficult watch in some ways and would be a tentative recommendation even for welles fans, but it definitely left an impression on me by the end. i think it's 'cause it's so meta and smug and snarky that i didn't really notice the brutal bleakness of it all until it sneaked up on me. i do wonder how welles himself would've done things differently, but tbf it's probably closer to his actual vision than some of the ones he was alive for.
YWNRH didn't really do it for me on first viewing. i don't think i've ever seen you write much about it so feel free to elaborate on why you love it so, might make a second look more fruitful for me.
@no country for old wainds what did you think of Hold the Dark, if you saw it at all?
i never ended up seeing it in the end! there's quite a few i didn't get around to due to being, y'know, 6+ months late already lol. i still wanna see it though. seems like the reaction in general has been pretty lukewarm compared to his previous stuff but i know a couple of you on here really like it.
I had this reaction too, and would also be interested to hear more people's thoughts.
The entire thing struck me as an unfortunate mix of being both too slow and too hastily contrived (confusing/improbable). There is a suggestion, I think, that perhaps the narrative is an experiment in solipsism (Joe as figment of others' imaginations, or others as figments of his, or some combination between the two), but too much of the plot felt underdeveloped and disengaged.
Understandably so, in many ways it's his most conventional film. Planning to rewatch it soon and see how I feel now that the hype has worn off.
my reading wasn't anything as complex as what you're suggesting, i just thought it was singularly focused on inhabiting the headspace of a traumatised, despairing man, with the plot essentially being an afterthought beyond how it externalises phoenix's loss of innocence etc (i guess that ties in with what you're saying, it could be something he's dreamed up, the title maybe alludes to that as well? i don't think it necessarily matters either way to ramsay as she's more interested in conveying an emotional state than addressing questions of what's real or not).
none of that is a negative for me in the slightest, but i think that despite ramsay's withholding of graphic violence or catharsis, the overall approach is just too direct and heavy-handed for my tastes these days; the bombardment of self-destructive imagery and PTSD flashbacks and violent outbursts etc had a numbing effect rather than sweeping me up in the emotional currents. first reformed is an instructive comparison for me: it's another film about a guy potentially being resurrected from the depths of violent despair with the help of an innocent cipher, except those feelings bubble subtly beneath quite a placid, mundane surface aside from the occasional geyser, whereas in YWNRH that stuff constantly is the surface and is pretty much assaulting you into sharing it, so it was never able to sneak up on me and catch me off guard in the same way.
although i should say that it was kind of a mixed bag for me regardless of the above; some stunning shots and i always enjoy phoenix/greenwood and i'll never hear 'angel baby' the same way again (that whole sequence with the surveillance cams is very eerie), but the singalong for example was a bit cute for me rather than hitting the pathos it was going for, and the final suicide gotcha didn't haunt me so much as feel like a forced attempt to shock. eh, i guess it's not surprising that a film which peddles in subjectivity generates subjective ergo wildly varying responses.
closing this soon so please finalise your lists if you haven't already. if you edit anything please make it clear what's been added and dropped, thx
Replaced Black '47 with Summer of 84 for my 10th place.
Added Leave No Trace @ #2, pushing Mission Impossible out of the list.
Man, so many movies to watch. Those eyes on the cover of Night Pulse are fucking wild though. I really enjoyed Climax though and that would've been on the top of my list. Climax has an amazing soundtrack, the improvised dialogue was a great move, the cinematography, and though the story was simple it was awesome and loved the way it played out.
I was too lazy/busy to make a list. But the movie Apostle that's on Netflix was awesome for 2018. Dark/foreboding/creepy and it was pretty intricate the way they weaved everything together. Apostle may be similar to The Wicker Man, but I feel like it stands on its own especially moreso than Midsommar. This one was very opposite, and the main character is an alcoholic trying to ween himself off of it.
Also Birds of Prey, the same director Embrace of the Serpent. That would've been on mine as well.
The cult... was much different. It has some comparisons but many not super warranted because I thought it stood on its own. Midsommar was too much like The Wicker Man... the tone, the delivery.... the weirdness of the cult. Everything. This was really so different and tbh I liked it better.