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Old 01-16-2017   #351
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Re: Movie Recommendations

I watched Shudder yesterday, the most hyped Asian horror--second only to A Tale of Two Sisters- and it was a big disappointment. The plot was formulaic and some scenes were there just to check off a Asian horror list of Hair-Growing, Car Crash, Home Visit, Hospital Chase, and Suicide scares. I still have to give it points for using photography to narrate the story, I haven't seen it used before.

Second film I watched, Cache , was much better. As expected from Haneke, he never fails to cauterize my soul with his peculiar brutality. Though the film wasn't provocative as Funny Games or disturbing as The White Ribbon, the focus was still on the everyday man's cruelty. A normal person walking on the streets, a wrong long forgotten, insignificant people to you...all hide an irreparable tragedy.

"So in the end it remains advisable to accept whatever comes, to behave like an inert mass even if one feels oneself being swept away, not to be lured into a single unneccesary step, to regard others with the gaze of an animal, to feel no remorse, in short to crush with one's own hand any ghost of life that subsists, that is, to intensify the final quiet of the grave still further and let nothing beyond that endure." ---Franz Kafka, Resolutions
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Old 01-17-2017   #352
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Re: Movie Recommendations

I really like Michael Haneke's earlier films, like "Benny's Video" and "71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance". If you like Haneke, check out Ulrich Seidl's movies too. They are second to none, when it comes to bleakness:


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Old 01-17-2017   #353
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Re: Movie Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by Hanswurst View Post
I really like Michael Haneke's earlier films, like "Benny's Video" and "71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance". If you like Haneke, check out Ulrich Seidl's movies too. They are second to none, when it comes to bleakness:
I'm also a big fan of Haneke and Seidl.
I recommend Roy Andersson and Ruben Ostlund's films too. In particular:



And:

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Old 01-22-2017   #354
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Re: Movie Recommendations

EL CINE DE VAL LEWTON vol 1-2

Two Spanish box sets containing 5 films each. Really only four of them could be considered horror films but a few others have minor horror elements (other Val Lewton box sets don't include Mademoiselle Fifi).

They're mainly noir thrillers and there's two historical dramas. Lots of recurring actors between them, Boris Karloff and Simone Simon have three films each.

I think people really exaggerate the quality and sophistication of these films because there's some pretty silly stuff in some of them, they don't try very hard to make a lot of the characters seem French, German or Hispanic when they're supposed to be but they're mostly fairly enjoyable films and they look nice.
People tend to talk up the earlier films and I've heard some say the Jacques Tourneur films (the first three) are the only good ones but I don't agree at all, I prefer the later ones, Robert Wise directs some of them.

For some reason The Seventh Victim disc is extremely quiet.

THE CAT PEOPLE

The most famous and critically acclaimed of them. It's about a woman who possibly turns into a large dangerous cat when she becomes passionate in certain ways, it has its own little mythology. I like it fine but I think the Paul Schrader version is just as good but far too long.

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE

Voodoo zombies on a Caribbean island, actually maybe just one of two zombies. The scenes in the tall grass are beautiful and quite atmospheric but I'm not that big on this film. I used to think the tall guy really had eyes like that in real life but viewing it recently it's obvious the eyes are fake.

THE LEOPARD MAN

Based on Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich. A murder mystery involving an escaped leopard. This is the worst of the bunch. It has some good suspense scenes but it's really dopey in places: the fact that nobody puts much blame on the dancer for scaring the cat away, the leopard owner who becomes convinced he might be doing elaborate murders when he's drunk and some of the conversations about the crimes are ridiculous (especially the theory about when women put lipstick on). According to Wikipedia "It is one of the first American films to attempt an even remotely realistic portrayal of a serial killer".

THE SEVENTH VICTIM

A girl searching for her older sister who got involved with satanists. This is okay, the most noir-ish Lewton from the box sets and quite bleak but the portrayal of satanists seemed a bit daft to me.

THE GHOST SHIP

There are no ghosts, just an unstable captain of a ship. It's okay but apart from the extremely unconvincing scene when the captain convinces Russell Wade of his reasoning for leaving the ship anchor unsecured.
Lewton was sued for plagiarism and the film was not shown for decades.

THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE

Easily my favourite of the Val Lewton films and an odd gem. It's a very loose sequel that can stand by itself, a sometimes dreamlike family drama. The first time I saw this, the old woman telling the story of Sleepy Hollow spooked me. Simone Simon is adorable and hypnotic in this. Nice snowy scenes too. Beautiful film.

MADEMOISELLE FIFI

Based on Guy de Maupassant stories, set in occupied France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. A propaganda film with most of the cast not bothering to sound French or German. Nice to look at and not too boring.

This from the TCM site..

"Simon, happy with her role and her co-workers, was in high spirits throughout filming. To provide the "oomph" that was expected of a sexy star, she wore false breasts for films and referred to them as "my eyes." It was reported that, just before each take, she would command with mock imperiousness, "Bring me my eyes!" Her performance in Mademoiselle Fifi is considered by some to be her best in an American film."

Mademoiselle Fifi

THE BODY SNATCHER

Karloff and Lugosi film, loosely based on "The Body Snatcher" by Robert Louis Stevenson, about people who sell dead bodies to medical research. It's okay. Karloff reminded me a bit of Jeremy Irons, oddly.

ISLE OF THE DEAD

Set during the Balkan Wars 1912, the plague is everywhere, including the island a superstitious Karloff visits, which has a crypt, house and woods. Based on the Arnold Böcklin images but not as awesome as that sounds, although it's still a good setting but too much of the duration set in the house. Makes no sense that Ellen Drew is comfortable sleeping in the same room as the superstitious woman who threatens her.
It's one of the Lewton films I prefer because of the setting and a few of the scenes are pretty good.

BEDLAM

Based on William Hogarth's "A Rake's Progress" images. 1761 in London, Anna Lee is appalled by living conditions in an asylum, attempts to improve the situation and gets locked in there. It's one of the better films and has a few funny moments. Marred by a scene in which Anna Lee doesn't try that hard to avoid being locked in with a seemingly brutish man.

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Old 01-23-2017   #355
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Re: Movie Recommendations

I watched a horror film called Session 9 yesterday. Modern horror rarely gets to me (I didn't enjoy The Witch or The Babadook as much as many did on here – solid as they were), but this one got under my skin with its mouldering building ambience. I'm still shaken and disturbed today.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 01-23-2017   #356
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Re: Movie Recommendations

"Mary fell down, Doc... She needed someone to help her. So I... introduced myself."

It's a wonderful film, one that I watch at least once a year. I started following Brad Anderson's work after first experiencing Session 9.
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Old 01-28-2017   #357
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Re: Movie Recommendations

Watched the movie 'The Eyes of My Mother' earlier today. I thought it was a fantastic film. Beautifully bleak and profoundly disturbing. One of the best films I've seen presenting humans as the scariest monster of all. It was the directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce. Really looking forward to his future works.

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Old 02-05-2017   #358
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Re: Movie Recommendations

Kaidan, Ghost and Horror
Great bootleg store. Will buy more as this is the only place to get a lot of these films with English subtitles.

This is the best string of films in seen in years probably. It was a good weekend. I must thank that youtuber Asian Movie Enthusiast because he recommended all of these, although I already had my eyes on Ghost Story Of The Snow Witch.

GHOST STORY OF THE SNOW WITCH/THE SNOW WOMAN/KAIDAN YUKIJORO

I've always found the Japanese snow woman to be one of the most compelling legends, not really for the romance story but just the images of her gliding around snowscapes. This film has some really satisfyingly beautiful and eerie scenes, good visual effects, sound effects, music and it gets surprisingly emotional. There's a clumsy scene in which the husband stands by and watches an old woman beat his wife for a minute before he does anything but this is a real gem.
The bootleg I bought was advertised as remastered but it doesn't look it. I'm tempted to get this from a Japanese site even if it doesn't have subtitles, to see if there's a better looking version. Still, well worth getting as is.

SECRET CHRONICLES OF THE GHOST CAT/HAUNTED CASTLE/HIROKU KAIBYO-DEN

This is really awesome. Another ghost cat film but with a ton more energy. It seems ahead of its time because the ghost cat woman has a ferocity in 1969 that wasn't really normal in monster films until after The Excorcist, Suspiria, Evil Dead and Demons. Earlier ghost cat women were often a tad silly looking but this one is quite scary. I felt quite sad when she stopped rampaging because I wanted her to keep killing. Most of these kaidan films have an avenging ghost but they really taken the rage seriously this time. The part when the sky is flashing is really great.
Not only am I saying this is better than Ghost Cat Of Otama Pond, Kuroneko and all the other Japanese historical horror films I've seen, I'm hailing this as one of the very best horror films of the 60s. Please watch it.

Tanaka Tokuzo also did Demon Of Mount Oe and Ghost Story Of The Snow Witch so I might go for his other films like his Zatoichi and Sleepy Eyes Of Death series and Betrayal.

SNAKE GIRL AND THE SILVER HAIRED WITCH

The first screen adaptation of Kazuo Umezu's comics (he appears in this as a taxi driver). It's a typical Umezu story with a good little girl finding her original parents and a mysterious disfigured sister.
This is from 1968 but it seems almost retro, maybe they were keenly aware of the weak special effects and decided to make it look like an older b-movie. But there's some shoddiness like dubbed voices (in the original Japanese, not dubs for a different language) over characters not even moving their mouths.
It seems like it might have been aimed at children but it's quite violent considering that, just like Umezu's comics. It's quite fun and despite the low quality of the special effects it's quite good looking too.

UNDER THE BLOSSOMING CHERRY TREES

A Masahiro Shinoda film about a man in the mountain forests who kills travellers and steals their women to keep in his house; he steals a woman who doesn't seem to mind that he killed her husband and she quickly starts to boss him around and shame him into doing things for her, demands which get crazier and sicker.
According to the film, people used to have a superstitious dread of cherry trees, saying that the blossoms drove people mad; the main character wants to overcome this fear.
Very good film, a bit more macabre than the title would suggest, great shots of the mountain forests and a Toru Takemitsu score.

Really want to see Shinoda's Demon Pond someday but I might have to get one without subtitles.

GHOST CAT OF THE CURSED POND/BAKENEKO: A VENGEFUL SPIRIT (interrupted, unfinished viewing)

This is directed by Yoshihiro Ishikawa, he written Nakagawa's Yotsuya and Black Cat Mansion films and directed Ghost Cat Of Otama Pond. This is pretty much a black and white remake of the latter and it seemed pretty good but my disc kept jittering and jumping towards the end, making the last three chapters unwatchable, so I'll need another way to finish the film. There was some impressive scenes but I don't think I'd like this as much as the Otama Pond version.
Isao Tomita was mentioned in the credits but IMDB doesn't have that soundtrack listing for him.

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Old 02-21-2017   #359
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Re: Movie Recommendations

An underestimated weird film of the doppelganger variety. Slowly paced but atmospheric with beautiful cinematography. Jake Gyllenhaal has made some excellent choices in film projects.

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Old 02-22-2017   #360
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Re: Movie Recommendations

Absolutely agree about Enemy. Denis Villeneuve is a master and I'm highly anticipating his Blade Runner sequel and Dune adaptation.
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