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Beltmann

Now Watching 2021

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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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One Night in Miami on Prime exceeded my expectations. More historical fiction than history, no doubt, but I enjoyed the dialogue and the performances.

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I need a recommendation of something uplifting...funny would be lovely, but not too slapstick. Something with substance and heart behind the jokes. Who's got one?

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On 2/21/2021 at 4:47 AM, kidsmoke said:

I need a recommendation of something uplifting...funny would be lovely, but not too slapstick. Something with substance and heart behind the jokes. Who's got one?

Ted Lasso on Apple TV.  You can get a free trial for Apple TV.   Very funny and sweet.  We loved it.

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On 1/13/2021 at 7:30 PM, Beltmann said:


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.

Sorry for the really late response on this!

 

Wow! I can’t even fathom watching 74 films over what I presume was a short window. 

Andrew Patterson’s next feature is a revenge thriller set in the honeybee industry. I can’t wait! 


You know that I was never aware of Jim Cummings or Thunder Road, until I came across The Wolf Of Snow Hollow. I’ve been meaning to rent it or track it down on one of the many streaming services, but haven’t rented it yet. Edited: I just checked and it’s on Amazon Prime Video. Hmm...I don’t remember seeing this on there last time I checked. 
 

Actually, a former co-worker of mine has a friend of his that interned on a film that Jim Cummings produced that just hit Tubi: Beast Beast. I haven’t watched that one either, but I’ve heard great things about it. 

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On 2/21/2021 at 5:47 AM, kidsmoke said:

I need a recommendation of something uplifting...funny would be lovely, but not too slapstick. Something with substance and heart behind the jokes. Who's got one?

I have the perfect film for that you completely won me over: Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar. It’s available wherever you rent movies, but it is $19.99 to rent right now. It’s well worth it though! 
 

Anyways, Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo wrote & created an instant cult classic that might be the most quotable film in quite some time. The comedy is all over the place and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s absurd, light, goofy, slapstick, and anything goes, but the 2 main characters are what makes the whole thing work. Their friendship is really well written, yet it is a sendup of female friendships in a particular age group. The comedic landscape that the film plays around in reminded me of Austin Powers mixed with Bridesmaids and a dash of Hot Rod for the music. 
 

There really hasn’t been much in terms of new comedies since the pandemic started and obviously we need to laugh. This definitely helped fill the void big time. I just wish that I could have laughed with a sold out audience.

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I remember my family having a VHS tape of this when I was growing up. The cover always made me uncomfortable so it remained one of the few movies from our collection that I never watched. Tonight though, after 30 minutes of browsing for a movie to watch, I stumbled upon The Silence of the Lambs on Netflix. The wife had seen it before but all I knew about it was that there was a scene where a character told another character to put the lotion in a basket and that Anthony Hopkins was supposedly good in this. That doesn't begin to cover it. This guy gives a very convincing performance as a total creeper.

Jonathan Demme, who I always thought of as a documentarian due to his movies with Neil Young did an utterly fantastic job. Yeah there's some early-90s clunkiness like the first 5 minutes of the movie just being credits. Aren't you glad that's not a thing anymore? But he shot a lot of the movie with extreme closeups of the actors faces looking almost directly into the camera lens. That's a goddamn BOLD move but it pays off wonderfully here, it just gives the movie an incredibly unsettling feeling when Hannibal Lecter is staring directly at you. Chills. While the credits were a little self indulgent the font it used was very reminiscent of Twin Peaks, which came out a year before this movie did. In fact the whole movie had a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe. Maybe not campy like Twin Peaks can be, but similar in the eerie and uncomfortable elements of Twin Peaks. I don't know how intentional that was or if it just was because it was two works of fiction from the same time period touching on similar subject matter.

My main criticism would be at the transphobia in the movie. Though even that is not as bad as other movies from the 90s (go back and watch Ace Ventura!) it's still there and I wonder how much harm this movie unintentionally caused the trans community in the decades since it came out. 

So while some of the subject matter doesn't hold up in our modern times, the directing and the acting definitely do. I give it 4/5 thumbs up. :thumbup:thumbup:thumbup:thumbup

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And there is now a TV show called Clarice and before that Hannibal.

 

There is also Manhunter (1986).

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5 hours ago, Analogman said:

And there is now a TV show called Clarice and before that Hannibal.

 

There is also Manhunter (1986).

 

Yeah I read that Clarice isn't very good, though it's early in its run. Supposedly Hannibal is great so I think that might be the next show we watch. Is 86 Manhunter any good?? They essentially remade it with Hopkins in the early 00s right?

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