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What Was The Last Movie You Watched?


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The Long Hot Summer ( 1958 )

BBC I player

Pretty good 

Paul Newman's con man causes conflict in Orson Welles' family , which includes Joanne Woodward 

Spoiler

but incredibly , thinking of Daddy Vriner and son , it all ends happily 

IMHO Paul Newman could play these roles in his sleep e.g. " Hud "

The answer is yes

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Gonna hold off on doing The Zone of Interest until I've rewatched it, so here are these two:

7. Samsara - Cinema

A very slow and atmospheric film that is partly set in Laos, partly set in Zanzibar and partly set in the plane between death and reincarnation. 

It has a terrific soundscape that transports you into all three of these locations, especially the nature of the Laos monastery which complements the dreamy score beautifully The grainy cinematography and colour grading also allows the orange robes of the boys in the monastery to pop against the greens and blues of the forest and water that surrounds them. That retro cinematography, peaceful soundscape and lack of story creates an incredibly relaxing experience that almost feels like the last knockings of life - but in a way that embraces what's to come. 

The second half in Zanzibar replaces the prominent orange with reds and yellows - which I'd imagine will have some meaning given the fact those two colours make up orange - and, interestingly imo, the Buddhist characters are replaced by those of different religions, some of whom are Muslim and others whose religion escapes me. I found that interesting because death and the afterlife are key to the whole film, so you get to see how all of these different cultures respond to the great unknown. This was never really at the forefront of my mind, though, as I got most pleasure from just soaking in the experience. That experience peaks halfway through the film, which will be what almost everyone will remember of Samsara. 

At the end of the section in Laos there is a message on the screen telling you to close your eyes until you finally hear silence. What follows is like the astral projection scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, only in complete darkness aside from the flashing lights that sometimes pierce through your eyelids. This is done with the intention of realising the idea of "bardo" - the space between death and reincarnation - and it worked perfectly for me as an incredibly unsettling experience. You hear an elephant, people chatting and other sound effects which I found disarming due to the feeling of having no idea where I was or why these sounds were happening, exactly like how I'd imagine the uncertainty and terror of being lost on a journey like that. I can't imagine watching this at home as that experience really needs to happen in the cinema, though I would like to 'cheat' and see what it looks like with my eyes open. It's ironic that such a brilliant cinematic experience requires you to not watch, but it does work in terms of transporting you beyond the cinema. The screening was pretty busy too, so, despite not being able to see how others are reacting, there is a communal experience to it. It's like collective isolation. 

8. American Fiction - Cinema

I found the trailer for this to be really funny, especially the premise of an author needing to live a stereotype to succeed, but that's a sideshow to the family drama stuff. I know that they just wanted to tell a normal story of a middle class man who happens to be black as opposed to feeling compelled to tell a "black story" which is obviously a meta quality of the film as the author is struggling with the same conflict, but I just found the normal story really quite dull and the other stuff really entertaining. That will naturally create a tonal imbalance which I think sometimes works in the film's favour to contrast the different directions Jeffrey Wright's Monk is getting pulled in, but that could also become jarring when it's interrupting scenes like the mourning of a character's death where a quite misplaced joke interrupts the emotion. That issue extended to the script for me too, as I though it was a bit disjointed due to being like vignettes of a family life that I didn't find all that interesting. 

It's not really stuck in my mind since seeing it last week, so this review might be a bit unfair, especially as I think it has some really interesting ideas about race and storytelling, but I just couldn't enjoy it as a piece. 

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021 El Conde -- Pablo Larrain's surreal satire that sees Pinochet as a centuries-old vampire ready to die is certainly ambitious and, more than anything, beautifully shot.  It seems to be aiming for territory that Armando Iannucci is able to occupy with ease, and maybe it's because the subject matter here isn't all that well-known that the humor flies under my radar. The Thatcher narration for this child of the 70s is unmistakable, though. Edward Lachman's Oscar nom for cinematography is well-earned and the real star of the show. Shot in a luscious black-and-white, the shots of a flying Pinochet as a bizarrely appropriate bat man are breathtaking and contrast very well with some more brutal images. Overall, the depiction of a monstrous dictator as an actual monster fell a bit flat for me but that might say more about my ignorance of Chilean politics than anything else. 5/10

022 Society of the Snow -- The story of the Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashes in the Andes has, of course, been told already in 1993's Alive. While I saw that at the time, I think, I don't remember much of it but I recall enough for this version to feel like it covers old ground. That said, the setpieces of the crash and the avalanche are done exceptionally well here and the make-up and effects do a marvelously convincing job. It's a dark tale of human survival and the determination to live and although I knew how it was going to end, and arguably it took a bit long to get there, I was emotionally connected enough to have to flick a tear or two away. 7/10

023 They Called Him Mostly Harmless -- It's an intriguing tale of a mystery man found dead in a tent on a Floridian hiking trail and no one knows who he is, and then years later when someone figures it out, the story takes a turn. Patricia E. Gillespie's documentary maintains the intrigue through its runtime, partly through the distraction of how bitchy the online sleuth community can be to each other, and it manages to subtlely ask questions of ourselves, of who gets to see the real us, how long it would take for us to be identified, and who would miss us if we just packed up one day and never came back. 7/10

024 Upgraded -- I threw this on just as something to have in the background and ended up enjoying it much more than I expected to. It's a typical Cinderella-style rom-com that sees lowly auction house worker, Ana, get upgraded on a flight to London to help her boss in an emergency and in the hype of traveling first class, she inadvertently pretends to be the boss of the company to impress the cute guy, Will, she's sat beside. When it transpires that Will's mother intends to sell her fabulously expensive art collection through Ana's company, she finds that her deceit is likely to come back to bite her. Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux have a cute chemistry together, although he's a bit wet, but Marisa Tomei as Ana's ball-busting boss steals every scene she's in. It goes absolutely nowhere new but it covers a familiar track pretty well and throws in a few chuckles for good measure along the way. Not bad at all. 6/10

025 How to Have Sex -- Never, ever go on vacation as part of a trio. Someone always ends up getting sidelined and you're lucky if you all go home still friends. The odd one out here is sixteen-year-old Tara, who finds herself on presumably her first holiday without parents, instead going with Skye and Em, and it's difficult to decide which one to hate the most as they obnoxiously drink and smoke their way around Malia while looking for fun and a hookup. And therein lies the only real drama in the movie when Tara finds herself alone with the wrong boy. The movie plays more as a series of repetitive vignettes, although I found a few laughs in the familiarity of Brits abroad, before the heartbreaking finale. Molly Manning Walker writes, directs, and draws from personal experience here, and there were enough uses of reflections to make me think of After Sun here and there, and although the comparisons don't begin or end there, After Sun was a far better film. Mia McKenna-Bruce stole the show for me with a pretty rounded performance, but in the end, I wanted to be left with more than a few hints that everyone knew that the wrong 'un was a wrong 'un, as unsettling as that was, and as much as it demands more from those witnesses maybe the movie could've done the same itself. Rape is bad. The movie should have more to say about things than that, I'd suggest, and a closing sequence where all seems to have been forgotten in favor of chips. Extra half-star for the subtitles. I may have scoffed at them to begin with, but they were definitely useful. 5/10

026 Lisa Frankenstein -- The irony that this (sort of) take on Frankenstein feels like it's stitched together of so many different parts may just be the cleverest part of the movie. The 80s setting gives us a stonkingly good soundtrack but little else as Diablo Cody's story brings romance, horror, and comedy together but doesn't quite hit the mark on either component. I like Kathryn Newton and she does a good enough job here, and I like Diablo Cody's writing, but a lot of the jokes fell a bit flat, tried too hard, and landed awkwardly for me, particularly in the uneven first act, and when proceedings took a murderous turn, I felt like I checked out a little, which was a shame as on paper this had an awful lot going for it. For me, it just failed to deliver on that promise. 4/10

 

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On 09/02/2024 at 19:04, RuMoore said:

I'm going to give TGBH a try sometime in the next few weeks and that will probably decided if try a third one. 

What were your thoughts on Asteroid City? I mean I didn't think it was bad at all really just perhaps very different from what I expected. 

 

Haven’t seen it.   His last one, The French Dispatch, put me off a bit.  Going to wait till it pops up on Prime. 

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1 hour ago, Savage Henry said:

Haven’t seen it.   His last one, The French Dispatch, put me off a bit.  Going to wait till it pops up on Prime. 

I'm not a massive Wes Anderson fan but I did like Asteroid City. FYI it drops on Sky Cinema a week on Friday

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9. The Zone of Interest - Cinema

A great film on so many different levels, but one that didn't really affect me as much as it has with others. 

It starts with an extended black screen with weird sort of sci-fi sounds rumbling in the background, which I think sets the scene perfectly for what's to come as it helps you understand right from the off that the sound of the film is the most important part of it. That's because this is a dry domestic drama which has the inconvenient backdrop of Auschwitz. You only see one shot inside Auschwitz during the Holocaust and even that's framed upwards towards the sky. The rumbling sound transitions into a normal scene with a family down by the river where they're immersed in the sound of chirping birds, however those peaceful noises get replaced by rifle fire, incinerators and screaming that is at points hard to distinguish from a baby crying or children playing in a garden, which I think is essentially the crux of the film. Despite noise playing such a huge part in it, there's a very stripped back score in the form of occasional interruptions from similar electronic pulses, adding a sense of surrealism to something very dry. 

In addition to the soundscape, the cinematography framing Auschwitz alongside the "paradise" that the family have created for themselves remains striking throughout. Like with Jonathan Glazer's previous film Under the Skin, he uses hidden cameras to create a clandestine atmosphere which provides a sense of detachment and lack of empathy towards the family, however it also gave me an insight into the deeply repressed guilt that they might feel; a nagging feeling that they know that this paradise is built on evil, so they want to revel in it but don't want to be closely observed doing so. I'm not quite sure if that's a fair reading though. I found the psychology of the married couple interesting due to that question of whether they've come to live with the Holocaust being the soundtrack of their life, or if it is always playing on their mind. There's a scene where Rudolph Hoss thinks he can hear a bird in the distance, so the fact that he can make that out suggests that he can always hear the other horrific sounds too. There are also a couple of scenes where a heroic act plays out while he reads a story to his kid which I found to be another example of deep, deep inner turmoil as he reads a good vs evil fairytale while committing such evil acts in his job. 

Turning the Holocaust into a woman trying to protect her status and a man trying to climb the corporate ladder also relates it back to pervasive themes of power and class and what you're willing to overlook to achieve them. I'm still not sure why it didn't provoke much of a reaction in me other than admiration for how it's made. 

10. The Iron Claw - Cinema

I loved the director's first film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, which was the main selling point for me to go see this, and they're actually surprisingly similar considering that was about a woman escaping a cult and this is a wrestling picture. I knew sweet f.a. about the Von Erich family going into The Iron Claw, so I could only really see it as a story rather than an account of their real-life rise and fall, and in that respect I thought this was absolutely excellent. 

Like Martha Marcy May Marlene, this looks to explore abuse and the ripple effects it has. There's talk of the Von Erich Curse and the thing I found most interesting about the film was that it agrees with the characters that there is indeed a curse on the family - just not the one they initially think. They don't have a supernatural entity haunting them, but the four sons were cursed by being brought into a patriarchal family where their father pushes them to wrestling success and anything less than being number one is seen as failure, which is maths that doesn't add up when there are four of you. I thought the characterisation of the four brothers managed to convey the detrimental impact of their father's attitude while still letting them be individuals in their own right - individualism that their dad tries to eat away at. One of the brothers was left out altogether, which I didn't know about until after, but I thought it worked in terms of keeping the flow of the film, however I can see why others might find it to be a bit disrespectful. 

Zac Efron was genuinely perfect as he has the kind of face that suggests there's very little going on between the ears, so combine that with being absolutely jacked and you've got a main character who you wouldn't automatically assume is dealing with such inner trauma. The fact he manages to fight through that to deliver a really agonising performance is impressive. His in-film dad, played by Mindhunter's Holt McCallany, didn't work for me quite as much, as I think he pitched the performance a bit too high, not helped by him having to deliver a couple of the more on-the-nose lines. 

The wrestling scenes were, on the whole, intense with a lot of closeups in the ring which kept the focus on what the characters were going through in those moments rather than just trying to depict a cool wrestling match, however there were a couple of big moments that they chose to shoot either entirely from a distance or through a television screen. I've seen complaints that the film didn't quite convey just how big of a deal the brothers were from a cultural standpoint, but I thought that worked in its favour as it never glamourised success and always kept a focus on what the brothers should be striving for rather than what they were achieving for their father. 

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District 9 (rewatch) - Love this film on so many levels, creative, terrific acting, non stop from the get go. Really hope they finally get round to making a sequel. 

8/10

Argyle - Really enjoyed this, first trailer I've seen in a while that actually looked interesting and it delivered and then some. Won't say much on the plot as its only just came out but I thought it was fantastic, very silly, visually enjoyable and fundamentally just a fun thing to watch. Can imagine people from all ages enjoying it.

9/10

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027 Lover, Stalker, Killer -- I dunno if it's because I've watched so many of these Netflix documentaries, but because of the way they set out the players at the start of this, it becomes fairly obvious fairly quickly what the real story is. That notwithstanding, Sam Hobkinson's film is still interesting enough and maybe even something that would've been astounding to watch 10 years ago as it follows the tale of a man who got more than he bargained for when he opened up a Plenty of Fish account. 5/10

028 The Color Purple -- After enjoying Wonka so much, it almost fooled me into thinking I liked musicals. Thankfully, The Color Purple comes along to remind me that I really don't. It's such a shame because so much of this is first-rate: the acting, the cinematography, and the lighting is *gorgeous*, but every time it threatened to make an emotional connection with me, a big ole song in its size 12s would come along, trample over that good work, and make an already long film feel even longer. 6/10

... and then I went to see the five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts ...

029 Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó -- "Documentary" seems too grand a term for this nevertheless delightful short about the elderly grandmothers of the filmmaker, Sean Wang, who live and grow even older together. There isn't an awful lot to this, except the quirky, sharp, amusing old women who laugh and dance and fart and seem to gain energy whenever Sean comes to visit, but who measure the summers they have left as under five. Very pleasant but overall maybe just a bit too twee and offers too little that lingers. Even the farts. 6/10

030 The Barber of Little Rock -- I loved this short documentary about Arlo Washington, a man who set up a barber college in Little Rock, AK but has given so much to his under-privileged and ignored community. Arlo articulates brilliantly the generational poverty that afflicts those born on the wrong side of I-630, and the ridiculous additional hoops they have to jump through for financial services and loans. Washington is an inspirational character, doing something great for the community he loves, but the film also provides an interesting history lesson for those in need to learn. 8/10

031 Island in Between -- I'm a sucker for geographical quirks such as Kinmen Island shown in this documentary short, which despite belonging to Taiwain, lies a couple of miles from the Chinese mainland. What was most interesting, along with relics from the civil war, was the propaganda that swayed those on Kinmen away from the evil Commies across the water that seemed to be immediately dispelled once a ferry between the two was opened. S Leo Chiang's film doesn't get much deeper than that and fails to convey the tensions that still exist. 5/10

032 The ABCs of Book Banning -- If you weren't aware of the books that find themselves either restricted, challenged, or outright banned, from school libraries in the US, it's unlikely you'd expect to see The Hobbit on the list. And yet here we are. This short documentary interviews kids on their views of the books on the list that mostly appear to promote conversation around race, sexuality, and religion and whose talking points are squashed. You've got to be fucking kidding me, is the general view of the youngsters and it's hard to argue against it. Bookending this are the thoughts of a 100-year-old woman who gives an incredible speech to a Floridian school board, reminding them that the freedoms that people fought and died for include the freedom to express thoughts that some may find challenging. You get the impression that some of the soundbites are a bit manufactured, but the message remains incredibly strong. 8/10

033 The Last Repair Shop -- My pick of the bunch of the 2024 Short Documentary Oscar nominees focuses on the last repair shop in Los Angeles that fixes musical instruments for tens of thousands of school students. There's a pretty clear metaphor that the instruments aren't the only things that get broken or fixed, but the film handles this pretty smoothly. The craftspeople in the shop bring their own stories to the table along with those of the students and it's a hugely uplifting experience and a worthy reminder of the importance of music in children's lives and how playing an instrument can take you anywhere. Beautiful stuff. 9/10

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9 hours ago, MSU said:

027 Lover, Stalker, Killer -- I dunno if it's because I've watched so many of these Netflix documentaries, but because of the way they set out the players at the start of this, it becomes fairly obvious fairly quickly what the real story is. That notwithstanding, Sam Hobkinson's film is still interesting enough and maybe even something that would've been astounding to watch 10 years ago as it follows the tale of a man who got more than he bargained for when he opened up a Plenty of Fish account. 5/10

028 The Color Purple -- After enjoying Wonka so much, it almost fooled me into thinking I liked musicals. Thankfully, The Color Purple comes along to remind me that I really don't. It's such a shame because so much of this is first-rate: the acting, the cinematography, and the lighting is *gorgeous*, but every time it threatened to make an emotional connection with me, a big ole song in its size 12s would come along, trample over that good work, and make an already long film feel even longer. 6/10

... and then I went to see the five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts ...

029 Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó -- "Documentary" seems too grand a term for this nevertheless delightful short about the elderly grandmothers of the filmmaker, Sean Wang, who live and grow even older together. There isn't an awful lot to this, except the quirky, sharp, amusing old women who laugh and dance and fart and seem to gain energy whenever Sean comes to visit, but who measure the summers they have left as under five. Very pleasant but overall maybe just a bit too twee and offers too little that lingers. Even the farts. 6/10

030 The Barber of Little Rock -- I loved this short documentary about Arlo Washington, a man who set up a barber college in Little Rock, AK but has given so much to his under-privileged and ignored community. Arlo articulates brilliantly the generational poverty that afflicts those born on the wrong side of I-630, and the ridiculous additional hoops they have to jump through for financial services and loans. Washington is an inspirational character, doing something great for the community he loves, but the film also provides an interesting history lesson for those in need to learn. 8/10

031 Island in Between -- I'm a sucker for geographical quirks such as Kinmen Island shown in this documentary short, which despite belonging to Taiwain, lies a couple of miles from the Chinese mainland. What was most interesting, along with relics from the civil war, was the propaganda that swayed those on Kinmen away from the evil Commies across the water that seemed to be immediately dispelled once a ferry between the two was opened. S Leo Chiang's film doesn't get much deeper than that and fails to convey the tensions that still exist. 5/10

032 The ABCs of Book Banning -- If you weren't aware of the books that find themselves either restricted, challenged, or outright banned, from school libraries in the US, it's unlikely you'd expect to see The Hobbit on the list. And yet here we are. This short documentary interviews kids on their views of the books on the list that mostly appear to promote conversation around race, sexuality, and religion and whose talking points are squashed. You've got to be fucking kidding me, is the general view of the youngsters and it's hard to argue against it. Bookending this are the thoughts of a 100-year-old woman who gives an incredible speech to a Floridian school board, reminding them that the freedoms that people fought and died for include the freedom to express thoughts that some may find challenging. You get the impression that some of the soundbites are a bit manufactured, but the message remains incredibly strong. 8/10

033 The Last Repair Shop -- My pick of the bunch of the 2024 Short Documentary Oscar nominees focuses on the last repair shop in Los Angeles that fixes musical instruments for tens of thousands of school students. There's a pretty clear metaphor that the instruments aren't the only things that get broken or fixed, but the film handles this pretty smoothly. The craftspeople in the shop bring their own stories to the table along with those of the students and it's a hugely uplifting experience and a worthy reminder of the importance of music in children's lives and how playing an instrument can take you anywhere. Beautiful stuff. 9/10

Have you seen Holiday On the Buses?

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Moonfall - I'm normally a fan of these nonsense disaster films, including previous films from the same director, but I thought this was just complete garbage from start to finish The director seemed to have ideas for about a dozen different movies and decided to cram them all into one. The acting is also laughably bad, but they didn't have much of a script to work with.

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Don't have a lot of time this evening so I'm going to do quick reviews of these.

12 - Howl's Moving Castle

This is the third Hayao Miyazaki film I've seen and the one I've probably liked the least. It lacks the cutesy charm of My Neighbour Totoro and, even though it was set at a time of war, I didn't feel the same sense of peril with the main character and those close to her as I did with Spirited Away. I guess it was just a bit too fantastical for my tastes. That being said, I still enjoyed it. The Witch of the Waste going from being a domineering presence to a bug-eyed grandmother was the highlight for me, I laughed just about every time she was on screen after that.

13 - The Apartment

A romantic comedy that was well ahead of its time with a concept that's more original and interesting than 99 per cent of romantic comedies which have been released since. Jack Lemmon is such a likeable and relatable lead, Shirley MacLaine is an enchanting presence and plays the messed-up, love-sick interest of the lead with just the right balance, and Fred MacMurray superbly goes against type as the manipulative Sheldrake. All three of them are perfect in the roles and that's what makes it. The script is funny and while you have a fair idea of where the film is headed, it throws in a few curveballs along the way to keep you on your toes. My only main gripe is that it's about 15 minutes too long. 

14 - Zone of Interest

The best movie released in 2024 so far for me. There is nothing much which happens over the course of 100 minutes and yet I was transfixed on the screen throughout. That's because the attention to detail is astounding. Talking about it with my partner afterwards, there were little moments we each picked up on which, once shared, enhanced our experience of seeing it. It's very much a film which is show, don't tell. I've hastened to use the word "enjoy" so far because it's not an easy watch by any means. Even as the film continued and I began to realise how restrained it was in any sort of dramatic elements, I still had a sense of dread coursing through me, which isn't all that surprising given the subject matter. It's a hugely important and brave movie to make, as well. It's just commonly accepted that Nazi's were monsters, which is what we tell ourselves as a society to bring comfort and banish the idea that something like that could happen again (of course, it already has happened again in some form elsewhere, just not in countries that the UK cares about, but I digress). When in fact they were not monsters, they were people, and people can do things so heinous that we don't have the words to properly describe them.

15 - American Fiction

There was a lot I liked about this. Movies and books only really showing black people living in poverty or being involved in drugs or crime isn't something that had crossed my mind before, so it posed some tough questions amid the well-balanced satire. It was also a lot funnier than I expected the movie to be and, despite just watching it by myself, I laughed out loud on several occasions. Furthermore, it was an interesting character study with regards to Monk and how he struggles to relate to the world around him. However, it's also a film about family and that's where I thought it was a little weak. As a drama it didn't get to me emotionally. I think the best way to describe why was the use of the mother's dementia. It's really just used as a reason to drive the plot. The scenes with Sterling K Brown are all great and I think it would've been better if they'd trimmed that part down and just made it about their dynamic and nobody else. But the biggest problem for me came in the third act. Had it all been tied together nicely then I think I would've liked it a lot more. As it was, I was left feeling a bit like the film was unresolved and narrative decision late on which really didn't work for me.

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Sure it’s been mentioned on here before but seen Aftersun for the first time at the weekend and still thinking about it now. Superb movie full of nostalgia, a great soundtrack and angst. Young Scottish actress Francesca Corrio is outstanding in the lead role. 

 

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Fans of creative swearing should enjoy Wicked Little Letters - Colman/Buckley, in fact most of the leads are very good in this. Would warn that if you've seen the trailer it's a bit of a misdirect -  it's a darker film that it lets on, but still has quite a few chuckles nonetheless.

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22 Bullets

Started watching this Jean Reno film on unofficial app on firestick with leggy subtitles. Apart from the obvious nothing much has happened in first 30 minutes so packed it in. Is it worth trying another time?

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The five Oscar-nominated animated shorts next, and they must be pretty short because the cinema threw in two Highly-Commended for good measure.

034 Our Uniform -- We started off the 2024 Animated Shorts Oscar nominations with this interesting Iranian piece that basically gives a young girl’s opinion of the hijab. The seven-minute film lacks a conventional story but the animation style using fabrics was really inventive. I’d have preferred a slightly longer short with a more traditional narrative. A decent start. 5/10

035 Letter to a Pig -- A short about the holocaust and generational trauma left me confused about the overall message and the violent twist it took about halfway through. The animation was sparse in places, but effective, and mixed well with some live-action / rotoscoping thrown in. I guess I just don’t get why the little girl wanted to kill the pig. Story of my life. 3/10

036 Pachyderm -- Animated like a children’s book for a fairy tale just gives this short more oomph as it details a little girl who spends her summer vacation with her grandparents, and the horror that very subtly lies within. I thought the style was very impressive and appreciated that the narrative didn’t need to check with the audience to make sure we all got it. My pick out of the nominations to pick up the Oscar. 7/10

037 Ninety-Five Senses -- An old man tells the story of his life through the five senses and rips the rug from under us when he reveals his rap sheet extends to more than just stealing a magazine from a hair salon. The conceit is fine, but it asks for suspension of disbelief to be extended a bit further than was acceptable. However, I liked how each sense had its own animation style and team of artists. 6/10

038 War is Over! -- Horribly manipulative and twee, this short uses a video game engine to tell us that chess is like war, and ask if we’re sure we can’t just get along? A pigeon flying over the trenches is the real star, the Lennon and Ono influences are less of a coup (coo!). Will probably win. 2/10

039 Wild Summon -- How typical that my favorite Oscar nomination short wasn’t even nominated. This Highly Commended offering from the UK follows the life cycle of a wild salmon but pictures her and all the other salmon in a pseudo-human form with swimming flippers and goggles. The hurdles that have to be swam through seem all the more stark when happening to something that doesn’t look like a fish. Gorgeous scenery and a brave approach to animation, I thought this was already excellent before Marianne Faithful’s narration. 9/10

040 I'm Hip -- Paula Abdul wants her animated feline music video back. 1/10

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Finally, Oscar nominated Live Action shorts.

041 The After -- This short has an awful lot going for it, most of it in the shape of David Oyelowo who plays a father whose life is turned upside down by a terrorist incident. But after a strong opening, it doesn’t really go anywhere and the things that do happen feel inconsequential. It bears more than a passing nod to 2020’s winner, The Long Goodbye, but benefits from not having Riz Ahmed do some slam poetry at the end. 4/10

042 Red, White, and Blue -- And the Oscar for most ill-judged twist goes to… I liked quite a bit of this as it seemed to be a tale of the lengths that a woman has to go to to get an abortion in the US these days. Brittany Snow gives a strong performance but the focus drifts and someone involved should’ve really had some notes about the ending. 5/10

043 Knight of Fortune -- Changing a light bulb in a mortuary has never been so funny. This Danish short was as odd and quirky as you’d expect but while it has a fairly dark premise, it chooses to go in a humorous direction and is all the better for it as it examines grief and the struggles men have in dealing with such matters. My pick of the bunch from 2024’s selection. 8/10

044 Invincible -- This true story of a Quebec kid detained in a youth center, or juvenile detention, doesn’t offer many paths into the heart of the tale. As a consequence, it remains unclear why Marc, our young protagonist, plays up when his good behavior allows him family outings at the weekend as a reward. It’s full of angst and anger but with no real background or hint to the cause, it’s pretty hard to care. 4/10

045 The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar -- Hey, Wes Anderson! Wes Anderson just called. He wants his Wes Anderson movie back. It doesn’t matter which one. 3/10

... and then ...

046 Bob Marley: One Love -- When Ziggy Marley comes on before the movie starts to tell you how much he and the family approve of this film about his dad, and then when you see the number of producers who share a last name in the credits, you know you're in for a somewhat sanitized version of events. And so it proved to be, with Marley's dalliances outside his marriage dealt with by a female figure in the distance looking back over her shoulder. The music and Kingsley Ben-Adir are both wonderful, but neither is enough to raise this overly-safe biopic into interesting territories, not helped by a flashback-heavy approach to the storytelling. 4/10

047 Drive-Away Dolls -- I should know better than to look forward to movies released so early in the year. On paper, a lesbian road trip movie starring Geraldine Viswanathan and Beanie Feldstein, and directed by a Coen brother should've been the pick of the year so far. As it is, it's not even the pick of this week in February. The most difficult thing about reviewing this movie is to establish what I hated most about it. Margaret Qualley's irritating Texan accent? The lack of character development? The misguided opening that I guess was meant to be a light-hearted introduction to the characters but honestly made me want to leave after ten minutes? The many psychedelic interludes? The fact that it's set in 1999 for no other reason than to explain why no one has a cell phone? Just nothing worked, and it somehow continued to not work all the way through one of the longest 90-minutes films I've seen in years. It's one of those movies that makes you wonder how anyone watching the rushes thought this in any way was progressing as planned and worth pursuing. It manages to raise itself to 2/10 because I saw The Neon Demon a couple of nights ago and it's better than that, and its sexuality is unabashedly front and center, but honestly, not even a half-hearted attempt at a Coen-esque pair of bumbling baddies or a mandatory Matt Damon cameo are enough to save this car wreck. 2/10

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