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Rate the last film you watched out of 5


Raoull duke
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Wrath Of Man (2021)

Solid crime/revenge thriller, a remake of a French film by the looks. Guy Ritchie holds it all together although there's little or no humour here, he sticks to a gruff tone, direction is straight down the middle. As is always the case Jason Statham doesn't stray far from his normal on-screen persona. Nothing else to say really, it does what it does well, can't really argue with it.

 

3.5/5

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The Big Boss (1971)

3/5


Bruce Lee may take on The Big Boss, but The Middle Management - who is more directly involved in evilness - escapes unpunished. There's probably a lesson somewhere in that.

 

This wasn't Bruce Lee's film debut - he'd been a child actor in Hong Kong - but it was his first starring role in a martial arts movie, following his US experience with things like The Green Hornet.

 

He throws a couple of punches in an early brawl, but it's a whole 45 minutes before he really takes centre stage in a fight scene. (The plot justification for this is that he's promised his mother to never fight.) Until that point, his co-star James Tien takes the lead in the action.

 

This delay means that every time Bruce Lee gets provoked, or stands idly by watching women and children get bullied by gangs, you're wondering when he'll finally snap and let loose. And it's very satisfying when he does.

 

Although the concluding one-on-one fight against the titular Boss (played by Han Ying-chieh) still stands up really well, in general the fighting and editing is definitely not as fluid and slick as many more recent martial arts films. Subsequent HK action films became more "realistic" in the sense that they did a much better job of disguising the fact that many assailants were waiting their turn to attack. The film is also really in love with using low-angle shots of jumps against the sky to imply that Lee is jumping over opponents' shoulders - or that dogs are leaping up to attack him. I'm not sure how true this is, but on the film's audio commentaries it's suggested that the strongest, most grounded sections of fight choreography are those where Bruce Lee had most influence on the action direction, whereas the weaker, more fantastical bits were by the film's credited fighting instructor Han Ying-chieh.

 

But any complaints about datedness or cheesiness don't really matter, because the main appeal of the fight scenes is that you get to see the one and only BRUCE LEE in action!

 

Of course, it's impossible to judge the man's acting in isolation from all the accumulated cultural baggage surrounding his persona, reputation, influence, and early death. But I did my best to set all that aside and focus on the performance rather the icon, and still found him magnetic to watch. He had that indefinable charismatic quality that people call "screen presence".

 

That's something whose importance I don't think I've ever really appreciated when watching Lee's films before. For example, I first saw Enter the Dragon nearly 20 years ago (long overdue a rewatch!), in my initial post-Matrix/post-Crouching Tiger hunt for martial arts films, and I remember being disappointed because the style of fight choreography didn't live up to what I loved about the those two. Even when I watched Fist of Fury just a couple of years ago, a remnant of that unfair comparison was still there. Hopefully next time I watch those two (plus The Way of the Dragon and what exists of Game of Death), I'll be able to appreciate them more fairly.


(Coincidentally: after I finished watching The Big Boss, I changed the TV channel and happened to see that Channel 4 were premiering QT's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, just a few minutes before its Bruce Lee scene!)


Note on audio tracks:

The Blu-Ray edition I watched (Mediumrare Entertainment's 2015 release) had the following audio tracks: Mandarin 5.1 (which I watched), Mandarin mono, Cantonese, English 5.1, and "English mono (Japanese Theatrical)". Plus two commentaries: one by Andrew Staton and Will Johnston, the other by Mike Leeder.

 

There are many differences in music between the track options - the Mandarin one I watched features several instances of a cool James Bond Theme-esque twangy guitar riff. Some versions of the film use unlicensed Pink Floyd and King Crimson music, but unlike the similarly unauthorised samples in Jackie Chan's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, that audio doesn't turn up on this disc. However you can still hear remnants of it: Staton and Johnston were were watching that version when they recorded their commentary track, and you can hear "Time" very faintly in the background of their commentary!

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Ultrasound (2021)

Ultra-weird, low budget, glorious mindfuck that reminds me of Gondry x Carruth. Absolutely loved this and if you want a bit of a headwreck get on it. Trailer is great. Got cocky cunt out of Mad Men. Wonderful, uneasy vibe throughout. 4/5

Apparently based on a comic-book series: https://www.breakdownpress.com/store/generous-bosom-1

 

 

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This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

One of the best comedy films ever made, no question. There's so much crammed into 83 minutes, all the care and attention, the perfectly-pitched songs, the big memorable moments like going up to 11 but also lots of small details and visual jokes easily missed. I could go on but what's the point? Would be interested to know how this would go down with anyone under 30 though. This is absolute class and deserves to be considered a classic.

 

5/5

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Spider-Man No Way Home - 2.5/5

 

I was really disappointed with this, especially considering all the hype. The whole set up was completely ridiculous, they've just built a flimsy as hell film around the idea of bringing back old faces. I am a MCU fan, but the films are starting to feel like Scoobi Doo episodes now.

 

Please god just give us the X-Men now (and Don't fuck it up.)

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Sister - 4/5 (MUBI)

 

This is a fascinating watch, the often beautiful and often uncomfortable story of a 12-year old Swiss tower block kid stealing ski equipment from the luxury resort slopes up the road, then selling it to keep him and his much older sister in eddies. Transactional life is tough for these two youngsters, and then we learn more about their relationship and it becomes a very different film entirely.

 

This film is gloriously shot, the juxtaposition of slopes and low life is spot on, and the slightly incongruous inclusion of that guy from Line of Duty and Gillian Anderson as resort chef and wealthy ski mom blasting out the Ingliks just seems to add to the peculiar flavour. The two leads though, Kacey Mottet Klein as the kid and Léa Seydoux as the Sister, are just amazing.

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7 hours ago, ZOK said:

Sister - 4/5 (MUBI)

 

This is a fascinating watch, the often beautiful and often uncomfortable story of a 12-year old Swiss tower block kid stealing ski equipment from the luxury resort slopes up the road, then selling it to keep him and his much older sister in eddies. Transactional life is tough for these two youngsters, and then we learn more about their relationship and it becomes a very different film entirely.

 

This film is gloriously shot, the juxtaposition of slopes and low life is spot on, and the slightly incongruous inclusion of that guy from Line of Duty and Gillian Anderson as resort chef and wealthy ski mom blasting out the Ingliks just seems to add to the peculiar flavour. The two leads though, Kacey Mottet Klein as the kid and Léa Seydoux as the Sister, are just amazing.

What’s an Eddie?

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Martial Outlaw (1993) Amazon Prime

Pretty standard 90s STV action, Jeff Wincott kicks a load of Russian gangsters in the face in a bid to take town the boss, you know the drill. The paper-thin plot won't surprise anyone, and the foreshadowing in this is about as subtle as a dayglo catsuit. However you get plenty of surprisingly good fighting, albeit with a bit of family shit thrown in. The foley effects are about 50 times louder than the rest of the soundtrack too, class. It doesn't do much for originality but is definitely enjoyable.

 

3/5

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House of Gucci

 

I struggle to understand who they were aiming this toward really.  Some big name performers were absolutely awful, only serving to have Lady Gaga’s more native roots run rings around them.  Jared Leto in particular was just so bad, the weird little Gucci fanboy.  Pacing and the script were all over the shop as well.

 

1.5

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Microclimate - 4/5 (MUBI)

 

This is a really charming film, the tale of a Seoul cleaner who decides that scraping together rent is cutting in to her main pleasures in life (whiskey and cigs), so decides becoming homeless and couch surfing through her list of old mates should top up her funds accordingly.

 

In doing so she reconnects with them and gains insight into the equally difficult complexities of ‘stable’ life, which is not for her.

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The Matrix Resurrections (4K Blu-Ray) 

 

Starts off as some sort of revisit/reboot but by the 2/3rd mark I'm lost with the new ideas and concepts that have come on board that I'm struggling with it. Still, never mind, it's an action film right, so at least I have that? Well, no not really, the original trilogy was a masterclass of action direction and editing, but this (bar one or two sequences) is a mess! I'm not sure on the general consensus of the films plot, but for me the biggest disappointment here was the action direction/editing was poor. The Keanu/Carrie 1:1 scenes where the best thing about the film.

 

2.5/5

 

 

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Whitney: Can I Be Me ? - 2 out of 5 - BBC IPlayer 

 

I grew up with Whitney Houston's music as my mum is a huge fan. Maybe this is why I bounced so far off this documentary. Its Nick Broomfield so its competently made but it lacks any heart and leans into the pain and misery.

 

For all her faults Whitney was a once in a generation talent. Her life was heart breaking but it could be much better covered than this.

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Men in Black 3

 

A game of two halves where it starts really poorly and roughly half way through it goes from first to fourth gear. The problem with most of Smiths performances is that he is just playing fresh prince again and again. That’s certainly the case here and I’ve grown very tired of his act. Luckily Brolin is brilliant and Stuhlbarg steals the movie with an unforgettable performance. 
 

Good fun, but nothing special 

 

3/5

 

 

The love punch

 

Not recommended for anyone under 50, I really rather enjoyed this. Brosnan and Thompson bounce off each other really well and it knows it’s audience well. Trash, but hugely entertaining trash.

 

3.5/5

 


Point of no return aka The Assassin 

 

Nikita is pretty much a perfect movie for me. Along with Betty Blue and Jean De Florrette it cemented my love for euro cinema. When they announced that there was a Hollywood remake on the way I was horrified. I refused to watch the remake. Still, 29 years is a long time to hold a grudge so I thought fuck it and gave this a watch. Mainly this is a fun film with Fonda, Byrne and Keitel  all on top form. It’s well directed by Badham who has a good style that suits the movie well. It’s a little too close to the original in terms of plot but I suppose most Americans haven’t seen the original.  Zimmers score is terrible, easily his worst. 
 

3.5/5

 

 

Cruella

 

Yet again I am very pleasantly surprised with a film. I let out an audible groan when I saw the film was 2 hours and 14 minutes long and it could easily have 15 minutes cut and the film would lose none of its impact. Just as well then that everything else about the film is absolutely spot on. It looks fantastic, is well plotted and scripted, has great performances. Stone is simply perfect in the lead role with an incredibly nuanced performance that shows yet again that she is perhaps the finest actress of her generation. 
 

4.5/5

 

 

 

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Blood Simple

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086979/

 

The owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife. A chaotic chain of misunderstandings, lies and mischief ensues after he devises a plot to have them murdered.

 

The Coen Bros. debut feature. A twisty, film-noir with some great visuals and sound design. And some great acting - John Getz and Francis McDortmand are great but the star is M. Emmet Walsh as a grotesque private detective. Every scene with him is electric, he's so sweaty and gross and there seems to be insects landing on him the whole time and he really revels in the sleaze. 

 

The plot is fairly straightforward but there's some nice surprises and you need to keep your eye on the screen - we're very much in 'show don't tell' territory here. It comes in at a tight 90 minutes and there's barely a second wasted.

 

An amazing start to the careers of two of the best.

 

4.5/5 

Edited by Silent Runner
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50 minutes ago, Orion said:

Whitney: Can I Be Me ? - 2 out of 5 - BBC IPlayer 

 

I grew up with Whitney Houston's music as my mum is a huge fan. Maybe this is why I bounced so far off this documentary. Its Nick Broomfield so its competently made but it lacks any heart and leans into the pain and misery.

 

For all her faults Whitney was a once in a generation talent. Her life was heart breaking but it could be much better covered than this.

 

And it was done better by Kevin McDonald. His doc is on All4.

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The harder they fall.

 

Meh. I think I lost interest at the white town bit. Then they blow up a thing and then lots of people got shot. Much style over substance.

And as for the ending, well that was an anticlimax. There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling dialogue to listen to.

 

1.5/5

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House of Gucci. 1/5

 

Irredeemable drivel, one of the worst films I’ve seen in years. Despite being overlong no one’s motivations made any sense, there’s no attempt made to explain why they turn on his uncle, or why Driver suddenly leaves his wife. Instead you’re treated to scene after scene of quite spectacularly bad dialogue:
 

Quote

Can I ask you a question?
You just did.
Huh?
You just asked me a question.
And what you really want to know is whether you can ask me two questions, one of which you’ve already asked.
[laughing]
That’s good. Domenico, very funny.

 

Yes Domenico, very funny. That’s actual dialogue from the film. Written, you have to assume, by an 11 year old.
 

The performances are uniformly dreadful too. Jeremy Irons gives up on his terrible Italian accent after the first few scenes which is actually something of a blessing. You sense Adam Driver was desperately trying to find the exit throughout the film - you can’t blame him but it’s problematic given he’s the lead. Lady Gaga at least tries and is arguably the best thing about the whole sorry affair but that’s a really low bar and her performance is still clumsy and at times wooden. Leto’s makeup is impressive but you have to wonder why they bothered, his character is irritating and ultimately pointless.

 

 Other than that, great stuff. 

 

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16 hours ago, petrolgirls said:

House of Gucci. 1/5

 

Irredeemable drivel, one of the worst films I’ve seen in years. Despite being overlong no one’s motivations made any sense, there’s no attempt made to explain why they turn on his uncle, or why Driver suddenly leaves his wife. Instead you’re treated to scene after scene of quite spectacularly bad dialogue:
 

 

Yes Domenico, very funny. That’s actual dialogue from the film. Written, you have to assume, by an 11 year old.
 

The performances are uniformly dreadful too. Jeremy Irons gives up on his terrible Italian accent after the first few scenes which is actually something of a blessing. You sense Adam Driver was desperately trying to find the exit throughout the film - you can’t blame him but it’s problematic given he’s the lead. Lady Gaga at least tries and is arguably the best thing about the whole sorry affair but that’s a really low bar and her performance is still clumsy and at times wooden. Leto’s makeup is impressive but you have to wonder why they bothered, his character is irritating and ultimately pointless.

 

 Other than that, great stuff. 

 

 

I liked Leto playing Wario.

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17 hours ago, petrolgirls said:

there’s no attempt made to explain why they turn on his uncle, or why Driver suddenly leaves his wife


Anyway, this bit is wrong - it’s because he skied down a hill. It was in the film.

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22 minutes ago, ZOK said:


Anyway, this bit is wrong - it’s because he skied down a hill. It was in the film.


… and bumps into Andrea from Call My Agent. Actually you’re right - that does make sense come to think about it. 

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18 hours ago, petrolgirls said:

House of Gucci. 1/5

 

Irredeemable drivel, one of the worst films I’ve seen in years. Despite being overlong no one’s motivations made any sense, there’s no attempt made to explain why they turn on his uncle, or why Driver suddenly leaves his wife. Instead you’re treated to scene after scene of quite spectacularly bad dialogue:
 

 

Yes Domenico, very funny. That’s actual dialogue from the film. Written, you have to assume, by an 11 year old.
 

The performances are uniformly dreadful too. Jeremy Irons gives up on his terrible Italian accent after the first few scenes which is actually something of a blessing. You sense Adam Driver was desperately trying to find the exit throughout the film - you can’t blame him but it’s problematic given he’s the lead. Lady Gaga at least tries and is arguably the best thing about the whole sorry affair but that’s a really low bar and her performance is still clumsy and at times wooden. Leto’s makeup is impressive but you have to wonder why they bothered, his character is irritating and ultimately pointless.

 

 Other than that, great stuff. 

 

Lol I love all of your review - I feel seen as this captures so much of what I couldn’t in my notes.  Wasn’t it just a load of shit?!  Jeremy Irons definitely Jezzed it!

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7 hours ago, Triple A said:

Lol I love all of your review - I feel seen as this captures so much of what I couldn’t in my notes.  Wasn’t it just a load of shit?!  Jeremy Irons definitely Jezzed it!

 

He Dungeons & Dragonsed it.

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