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My first screening of 2021 was The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. This new re-edit of The Godfather Part III confirms my view that part three is a highly personal, long underappreciated piece of the saga. Overall, the changes are relatively few but significant. The opening is dramatically different (the knighting ceremony is gone) but more streamlined. The ending, with an aged Michael alone in a chair, has been shortened but the edits radically change the meaning of both the scene and the movie. It's better, more tragic.

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The Hill 

My favourite Sean Connery film, or tied with The Man Who Would Be King. Don't think I've see it since I was a kid, when it had a big impact on me. Nice camera work.

 

Paul McCartney at the Cavern Club

 

Spiral

Last ever series of the flic-nor starts tonight.

Edit: Still so good. Auntie Beeb has all previous series on iPlayer now. May have to go through them all again if lockdown continues.

 

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Here are 2 of the best directorial debuts that I watched in 2020:

 

Natalie Erika James used the haunted house sub genre of horror to weave a tale about something that we all have to deal with eventually as we get older and so do the people around us. This felt like an extremely personal film as a form of therapy. (Might be on Hulu soon due to their exclusive deal with IFC Films.)
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Andrew Patterson’s The Vast Of Night was a breathtaking sci-fi experience and shows what you can do with a $700k budget. It felt like watching a hybrid of early Spielberg movies written by Richard Linklater with his long take camera work following all of the action and an overall feeling that Rod Serling was behind the whole operation. I can’t get over how amazing this film looked and gripped me from the beginning. And the 2 leads were superb unknown actors. It’s felt like a long time since a debut film has knocked me on my ass. I’d probably go as far back as Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko. (Available on Amazon Prime Video)

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The Wolf Of Snow Hollow was a pleasant surprise that mixed small town humor with some decent horror. Robert Forster is great here in his last film role, but writer/director/actor Jim Cummings is fantastic wearing all 3 hats. (Available to rent on iTunes etc.)

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A somewhat interesting & innovative biopic that I found to be extremely familiar after watching The Current War (much more compelling film) a few years prior. Ethan Hawke’s performance is better than the kitchen sink style of the film. Hawke has a great singing voice in this film...about Tesla. (Available on Hulu, even though it is not a Hulu Original.)

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This is one of the best films that I watched in 2020. I won’t spoil the plot for you, since I had no idea about this film other than it had Aubrey Plaza who gives one of the most amazing performances last year. I will say to try to watch it with someone following CDC guidelines, so that you can dissect it after. There’s a lot going on. (Available to rent on iTunes etc.)

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Finished binging all six seasons of The Americans last night.  Great series.  If you haven't seen it, it's worth the time investment.

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Usmar Ismail's After the Curfew (1954) is a politically tense Indonesian drama that charts the PTSD of a returned soldier who had been ordered to commit war crimes during the tumultuous period after the nation declared independence from the Netherlands in 1945. While watching, I couldn’t help but think of The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), William Wyler’s celebrated portrait of WWII vets facing domestic challenges (and a quick search confirmed that Wyler’s film was indeed an influence on Ismail). But I also thought about The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s nonfiction diptych about the butchers who purged Indonesia of “undesirables” after General Suharto’s anti-communist coup in 1965. Like those films, After the Curfew is about a postwar Indonesia poisoned by its legacy of blood.

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On 1/5/2021 at 1:07 PM, u2roolz said:

This is one of the best films that I watched in 2020. I won’t spoil the plot for you, since I had no idea about this film other than it had Aubrey Plaza who gives one of the most amazing performances last year. I will say to try to watch it with someone following CDC guidelines, so that you can dissect it after. There’s a lot going on. (Available to rent on iTunes etc.)

 


u2roolz, I was fortunate to catch Black Bear as part of a virtual film festival. It was the first movie that I screened, and it speaks to the film's originality that it somehow remained near the top of my mind as I navigated another 74 feature films!

I, too, really liked The Vast of Night. Sound is elevated to a fascinating motif, whether it means speaking (the rat-a-tat dialogue is a compendium of ‘50s slang), listening (there are several long monologues, including one over a black screen), or recording (remember reel-to-reel machines?). But the visuals are often captivating, too, especially a 10-minute shot that showcases a young woman simply processing her next steps and also one show-offy shot that travels through several roads, fields, and buildings, including the local gymnasium where most of the town’s residents are gathered for a basketball game. I found the payoff unsatisfying, but based on this fleet, suspenseful, Spielbergian effort, I’m eager to see what Patterson does next.

Jim Cummings really is a fascinating figure. I presume you have seen Thunder Road (there's a short and a feature)? Like The Wolf of Snow Hollow, it's an off-kilter genre hybrid with an edgy Cummings performance at the center.

I was less enamored with Tesla. I was on board for only about thirty minutes; I think I agree with you that The Current War is a better experience, but it's tough to compare since they are radically different types of works. I also didn't care for The Relic, but I suspect I really need to give it another chance.

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This documentary about the distribution of wealth in the world is currently streaming on Netflix. I'm no economic scholar, but I did learn a thing or two from watching it.

 

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