Last Movie you Watched?

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  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    @Lancaster007 I've seen Day of Anger, which itself is a brilliant experience, especially looking at the two lead actors who carry the film with no pressure nor forced effort. It has an outstanding soundtrack, too. I'll be watching it sometime after I see the two Ringo movies with Gemma.

    ***

    10. My Name Is Nobody (1973):

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    This semi-comedy of a Spaghetti Western stars two leading men who cemented their names in the world of cinema with utmost popularity and cult following. Terence Hill plays a mysterious but lighthearted figure of a character going by the moniker 'Nobody', a sobriquet often addressed to as a pun in a line during dialogues and conversations. The second protagonist whom Nobody looks up to is a "legendary bounty hunter" who made a name for himself as a quick-draw gunslinger and killed more bandits than one could think of, a middle-aged man called Jack Beauregard, played by the late great Henry Fonda.

    The story revolves around Nobody following Beauregard around as the latter goes to hunt down a corrupt gold mine owner whose beneficiaries had the former's brother killed in a botched deal of business partnership. In the meantime, Beauregard wants to get out of the west and leave for Europe with the intention of having this life of bounty hunting and gunfights left behind, only to find Nobody in his way who indirectly insists that if he wants to go out, he has to go out in style, thus making Beauregard all the more cautious of him, despite finding him on his own side for the most part.

    Hill's scenes play out in the jocular comedic tones that he was made popular with in the Italian cinema. He doesn't intend to harm anyone with edginess nor shows a rough side, despite his malicious stares telling the viewer sometimes of his existent dark side, making him a character not to fiddle with. A tone in his films I personally enjoyed over the years, thus making me a fan. Henry Fonda, on the other hand, plays a hero this time as opposed to his villainous character in Once Upon A Time In The West (1969), behaving more like himself as well as coming off halfway between a grandfatherly and uncle figure to those around him, often showing wisdom through his expressions and philosophical explanations. A rather enjoyable entry that I look forward to seeing again, sometime.

    11. The Big Gundown (1966):

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    Fresh out of the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966), Lee Van Cleef takes on the role of a heroic protagonist again rather than his charismatic albeit terrifying villain he played in the aforementioned film. Playing a similar character to that of Henry Fonda's in My Name Is Nobody, a renowned middle aged gunslinger named Jonathan Corbett who is thinking about retiring from the bounty hunting game and run for senate, whose campaign is promised to be backed by Brokston (Walter Barnes), a railroad tycoon, as long as Corbett himself supports Brokston's plausible cause. Soon after the town is terrified by the news of a twelve year old girl being raped and murdered, a few witnesses claim that they saw a petty Mexican outlaw called Cuchillo (Tomas Milian) being responsible for which Corbett goes out to hunt him down and bring him to justice. As the game is afoot, Corbett finds out at leisurely pace that things are not as they seem, nor Cuchillo, who's smarter and craftier than he pretends to be, is actually behind the crime he was accused of.

    The film is somewhat slow-paced, but does tend to get exciting every now and then as Lee Van Cleef dominates the whole picture, which is why he's my all-time favourite among all the actors who starred in Spaghetti Westerns. Tomas Milian, on the other hand, plays himself, or at least his screen self he's often known of embodying the templates he's given throughout his career, which is interesting for some, whereas I'm indifferent to him. The one actress however who steals some scenes is the beautiful Nieves Navarro, playing a rather ruthless queen bee of a figure with many armed goons of men on her payroll. A femme fatale if you will. Enjoyable experience overall, but not entirely recommended for the regular viewer. It's only for Spaghetti Western purists and completists.

    12. Long Days of Vengeance (1967):

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    Made in a time when the westerns were being reinvigorated by the Italians, this one feels rather different from the rest of the Spaghetti Westerns, and does not rely on the formula of The Dollars Trilogy or the Django franchise, resembling the 1950s American made westerns with an Italian spin given to it, as well as the escapism forming large part of the movie's tone. Starring Giuliano Gemma as Ted Barnett, a man who was framed for the killing of his father and a Mexican General, he escapes imprisonment after three years of sentenced with working labor, travelling back to his hometown to find out the truth behind all the schemes that was planned against him.

    According to a Spaghetti Western historian, Marco Giusti, the film is a loose adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, which furthermore resonates with me as that story happens to be one of my all time favourites. It's a typical Giuliano Gemma film that feels very much the same as most of the rest of his westerns, and he always brings a certain Italian charisma with him on the screen. As in The Big Gundown, the lovely Nieves Navarro makes yet another appearance, and this time in a more prominent role that helps Barnett unearth the truth and evidence against a decorated arms dealer who set him up in the first place. Then, there's the lovely actress Gabriella Giorgelli who plays a leading lady that's unlike the other women in spaghetti westerns in general, and she's definitely not a damsel in distress but a rebel of a girl who fights her assailants as much as she can without being defenseless. Armando Trovajoli's score elevates the film's value more so than the visuals of the screen, but then again, the film is yet to be remastered in full. The title describes the film perfectly as it does feel like long days of vengeance. A fairly watchable western that's recommended as a one-timer for the general audience.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    edited April 2018 Posts: 28,231
    Michael Clayton (2007)
    Maikls-Kleitons-4.jpg
    "I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor."
    -George Clooney as the eponymous Michael Clayton

    Michael Clayton is a slow burn legal thriller written and directed by Tony Gilroy of Jason Bourne franchise fame, with a heavyweight cast including George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Sydney Pollack who all play inside a finely crafted, paced and tight script. I remember hearing about this movie a decent amount upon its initial release where it may've even picked up some awards buzz, but since then I rarely hear it talked about, if at all. Which is a shame, considering that I find it to be worthy of much discussion and praise.

    As far as legal thrillers go, Michael Clayton is a surprise. While the usual elements of a legal drama are there, including heavy court jargon, battling attorneys and scenes where the tenets of law are bent so far backward you think they'll break clean in half, this movie very much stands apart from those in the genre. For one, this is a legal film without any actual scenes in a court, as it is far more driven by the events outside the court and between the characters who are often warring with each other or at the very least constantly looking over their shoulders in a state of paranoia. But even more than anything else, this movie is far more lethal than your usual legal drama, which is where the thriller aspect comes in. Within the first ten minutes of the movie it becomes apparent that in Michael Clayton the characters have more to lose than a simple court case or their career reputations. Their lives are on the line too.

    The special ingredients of this film are assuredly its tightness, mood and structure. There is no moment wasted in its storytelling, no indulges allowed, leaving behind a brilliantly paced film where literally every second has a purpose that advances the narrative and leaves you little room for a breather. The mood is at times ominous, at other periods deceitfully quiet, like the kind of quiet that can be the prelude to a sky shattering thunderstorm. One quickly gets conditioned to realize that these moments of silence are never as they appear, as there is always something sinister going on underneath the surface. The structure of the film is perhaps its most manipulative wonder, as the movie plays with the viewer's senses and perceptions from the beginning. The first ten to fifteen minutes of the movie are consciously and purposefully mysterious, aloof and obscure. A lot of dialogues and visuals are thrown at you out of sequence in the larger chronology of the narrative that you only get proper context for later on, the engaging result of any story that begins in medias res. Because of this structure, part of the fun in watching Michael Clayton for the first time is experiencing the sensation of the puzzle pieces slowly moving into place as the story progresses, where what once seemed so random and meaningless is anything but.

    Beyond these film conventions, the cast is absolutely immaculate, and every performer plays so brilliantly off one another it becomes easy to forget you're watching a film. While Wilkinson is perhaps the biggest scene stealer, Clooney really impressed me as a quiet, introspective and troubled Clayton as he led the film on. Three years after this film Clooney would star in another movie of his I love, 2010's The American, a Eurospy film that is as ominous, reflective and quietly acted as this one. I always sensed that both films would make for a fitting Clooney double-bill, and my first watch of Clayton only enforces this earlier perception. In both films Clooney plays the role of a man working in a dirty and consequential business, nasty work each character does too well, meaning they are constantly drawn back into the fold by many outside forces. But there's always a sense of resentment for the work these characters feel, as Clooney plays both the hitman of The American and the fixer of Michael Clayton with a jaded and haunted sense of memory, men who always seem to have their hand on the doorknob below the EXIT sign. It quickly becomes a underlying theme of these stories to ask yourself, "How much can one man take?"

    In Michael Clayton Clooney shows why he's a true star beyond his ownership of the Hollywood pre-requisites of charm and charisma; here he joins the legions of other actors like Cary Grant or Gregory Peck, showing a range that far exceeds his sex symbol status and more frivolous film roles that he's more widely known for. It's always nice to see him handed quieter scripts now and again that show his dramatic side, as opposed to more predictable Hollywood vehicles that rely far more on exaggerated performances than the more thoughtful and introspective fare here. It's always engaging to see Clooney play a scene with just his eyes, and I often find myself rewinding a few frames just to study his face in a voiceless scene, simply to get a feeling for the character he's crafting. He has a real knack for conveying the exhaustion and paranoia of his characters as well as the weight that can often pile up over their shoulders. This is especially relevant to the claustrophobic story of Michael Clayton, where the most engaging scenes are always those that set the fixer back and where forces outside his control box him in and have him clamoring for oxygen. The self-described janitor quickly gets handed a mess that even he may not be able to clean up.


    For those that enjoy movies that gradually build to a crescendo and remain character driven from start to finish while playing with film conventions of mood, atmosphere and structure in a fine package, I think Michael Clayton would impress a good many here. I'm mostly thinking of folks like @bondjames, @Creasy47 and @ClarkDevlin, but the film has an espionage sort of mood that could apply to many kinds of Bond fans as well, especially those who enjoy the Craig and Dalton films. The movie feels like it could've been made in the 70s, sharing the same sort of identity as the best movies of that period, so it may also appeal to those like me who are nostalgic for the ways films used to be made. I think this is a movie I'll be coming back to many times in the future.
  • Lancaster007Lancaster007 Shrublands Health Clinic, England
    Posts: 1,874
    Regarding Caligula I recall a version that had x rated porn scenes added
    There is a lot of naked flesh, and not just the inserts added by BG.
    This version @chrisisall does actually feature 'strong real sex' as it says on the certificate notice. This includes: penetration, masturbation, fellatio, cunnilingus and a couple of ejaculations. Also plenty of violence and sexual violence.
    Boy was that Caligula NUTS!
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 34,256
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, I saw it when it came out and haven't since, so I recall so very little from the movie. I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really, it's been so long. I'll have to give it another go in the future.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Hotel Kali-Yuga
    Posts: 40,821
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really,

    That sounds really familiar.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited April 2018 Posts: 23,883
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, good review of Michael Clayton. You're right that this is the sort of film I enjoy. I'd actually go so far as to say that it's one of my favourite Clooney films and performances. I'm a bit biased though because I used to work in a partnership (accounting rather than law in my case) some years back and had a role where I was directly reporting to senior leadership during a major internal crisis. Let's just say that I could very much relate to some of the ambitious characters in this film and their self serving behaviour.

    The final confrontation is top notch and as you say, Clooney, Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton all give tremendous performances. The late Sydney Pollack was always terrific in these sort of roles too (he played someone similar in Eyes Wide Shut and in Changing Lanes - which I highly recommend as well). I'm due a rewatch soon.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really,

    That sounds really familiar.

    I believe you know that as your Saturday night. Or is that Friday? I know one of those is your preferred day to bomb cars and brutalize people in their flats while the other is when you do your panty raids and pillage whiskey distilleries. I'll be damned if I can't remember which is which!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    bondjames wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, good review of Michael Clayton. You're right that this is the sort of film I enjoy. I'd actually go so far as to say that it's one of my favourite Clooney films and performances. I'm a bit biased though because I used to work in a partnership (accounting rather than law in my case) some years back and had a role where I was directly reporting to senior leadership during a major internal crisis. Let's just say that I could very much relate to some of the ambitious characters in this film and their self serving behaviour.

    The final confrontation is top notch and as you say, Clooney, Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton all give tremendous performances. The late Sydney Pollack was always terrific in these sort of roles too (he played someone similar in Eyes Wide Shut and in Changing Lanes - which I highly recommend as well). I'm due a rewatch soon.

    @bondjames, I thought you'd have seen it somewhere along the line. The experience you have must add something to the film. I can only imagine, but one big thing I came away from the film thinking is, "this kind of thing must happen all the time." It felt almost too real.

    I can't remember if you've seen Clooney in The American, but if you haven't the films line up quite nicely and complement each other when it comes to his performances.

    Definitely agree about Pollack, as well. I just saw that he died not long after the film released, but I'm certainly going to seek out what other movies he's done. A definite actor's actor, very natural and engaging.
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    edited April 2018 Posts: 15,534
    I"m also a big fan of Michael Clayton, one of George Clooney's best performances - I also really enjoyed him in Syriana (the intro scene where Clooney walks away from an exploding car, after putting a rocket launcher in the trunk, without breaking a sweat is fantastic). I remember seeing 'Michael Clayton' on the big screen all the way back in 2007, and at the age of 16 I didn't understand most of the subtle plot points/dialogue, and as I've grown older, I appreciate even more this very taut thriller with a mesmerizing performance from Clooney - as well as great acting from Swinton and Wilkinson.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited April 2018 Posts: 23,883
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 I recommend Changing Lanes for Pollack in a similar vein. It's a great film about conflict escalation as well. Very apropos given what's going on in the world today. Affleck and Jackson are excellent in that film. I've seen the American. It's a very stylish and atmospheric film but I found it just a bit slow for my tastes.

    @DaltonCraig007 is right on Syriana and I second his recommendation. That is a great film and gives good perspective on the current Middle East problem. Another I must view again soon.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    @DaltonCraig007, there's definitely a lot going on in Clayton above and under the surface. It's a movie that you have to see multiple times, I can tell that already, especially because of how out of sequence it begins and how much is hidden from you as it goes along.

    I'm definitely going to see Syriana in the near future for another more earnest Clooney performance, as I like the looks of it.
    bondjames wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 I recommend Changing Lanes for Pollack in a similar vein. It's a great film about conflict escalation as well. Very apropos given what's going on in the world today. Affleck and Jackson are excellent in that film.
    Added to the list, cheers, @bondjames.

    I can understand that criticism about The American. It can be a slow slow burn at times, but that's something I've grown to enjoy about it. It's a film that is relaxing in a weird way, as I find myself thinking about life as the small cast of characters do.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Hotel Kali-Yuga
    Posts: 40,821
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really,

    That sounds really familiar.

    I believe you know that as your Saturday night. Or is that Friday? I know one of those is your preferred day to bomb cars and brutalize people in their flats while the other is when you do your panty raids and pillage whiskey distilleries. I'll be damned if I can't remember which is which!
    Both could be any day of the week.
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    edited April 2018 Posts: 15,534
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 the cast of Syriana will impress you: George Clooney, Christopher Plummer, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, Matt Damon, William Hurt and Mark Strong.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really,

    That sounds really familiar.

    I believe you know that as your Saturday night. Or is that Friday? I know one of those is your preferred day to bomb cars and brutalize people in their flats while the other is when you do your panty raids and pillage whiskey distilleries. I'll be damned if I can't remember which is which!
    Both could be any day of the week.
    You'd have been right at home in the caveman days, but I'm certain that doesn't stop you from busting people over the heads with clubs and rocks.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Hotel Kali-Yuga
    Posts: 40,821
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    I do remember a car exploding, someone getting attacked in an apartment, and that's about it, really,

    That sounds really familiar.

    I believe you know that as your Saturday night. Or is that Friday? I know one of those is your preferred day to bomb cars and brutalize people in their flats while the other is when you do your panty raids and pillage whiskey distilleries. I'll be damned if I can't remember which is which!
    Both could be any day of the week.
    You'd have been right at home in the caveman days, but I'm certain that doesn't stop you from busting people over the heads with clubs and rocks.

    I use a big plank with a big nail through it.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    I rather enjoyed your review, Brady. I like Michael Clayton quite a lot, despite the film going a bit slow-paced on first viewing. But, at the end of the day, I did truly enjoy it.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    This movie has been more widely seen here than I thought! Great to see. I definitely want to do a longer and more comprehensive review of it for a future movie-centric blog I'm thinking of starting up, as it brought a lot to my attention.
  • InspirestInspirest Vancouver
    Posts: 1
    Finally got around to watching Once Upon a Time in America. One sitting, didn't stop for intermission. One of the most enthralling films I've seen, as well as the longest. I really liked how it told it's story similarly to The Godfather: Part II, which I loved.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Good day! Don't forget to be awesome!

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Hotel Kali-Yuga
    Posts: 40,821
    Inspirest wrote: »
    Finally got around to watching Once Upon a Time in America. One sitting, didn't stop for intermission. One of the most enthralling films I've seen, as well as the longest. I really liked how it told it's story similarly to The Godfather: Part II, which I loved.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Good day! Don't forget to be awesome!

    Saw that in the cinema many years ago. Remember it as a very good film with some unpleasant scenes.
  • Lancaster007Lancaster007 Shrublands Health Clinic, England
    Posts: 1,874
    Coffy (1973) dir. Jack Hill. Arrow Video blu-ray. Great slice of 70s Blaxplotation cinema with the impressive Pam Grier. A late-shift nurse takes revenge on drug pushers who messed-up her 11-year-old sister and her ex-boyfriend cop. Then she goes after the big boys.
  • Posts: 7,639
    The Mummy's Hand & The Mummy's curse - Two sequels to the original Universal Mummy however these two have very little to do with the original one and are in fact part 1 & 2 of the mummy Kharis who is essence a puppet in the hands of the high priests of Karnak. They are fun one hour movies that look pretty good on blueray.

    Charlie Chan in the Secret service (1944) in which Charlie Chan is played by Sidney Toler and he investigates the death of an inventor who was working on a new design for torpedo's. Chan with the the great one-liners (no Moore style) that sound like great Chinese proverbs but are just funny. Mantan Moreland takes care of the the funny sidekick. "Can I go home I forgot something?- What did you forget?- To stay in this morning."

    This is what you get when I do not have to go to work and all the kids are at school and the missus out to work.
  • edited April 2018 Posts: 2,081
    I also really, really enjoyed Michael Clayton.

    ---

    Annihilation (2018)
    Not sure about this... Some interesting stuff in there, so I'll need a rewatch.

    Men, Women & Children (2014)
    Jason Reitman's drama about how online addiction affects lives of various families. Kinda meh.

    Passion (2012)
    Brian De Palma's so called "erotic thriller" (neither erotic, nor thrilling) with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace. Bad.

    Strigoi (2009)
    A young man called Vlad returns to his home village in Romania after working a while abroad, and it starts to seem that things there aren't quite right...
    I think I was either smiling or laughing most of the time while watching.

    What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)
    The title suggested something horrible, but since I quite like Rosamund Pike, I decided to take the risk anyway. And it was worth it, as this was not terrible at all. I quite liked it.

    The Jacket (2005)
    Adrien Brody as the lead, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, and Daniel Craig supporting. A re-watch. I didn't remember much anything about the story. Not bad.

    Oceans 11 (1960)
    I found this pretty boring.

    The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby (2014)
    Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy as a couple trying to fix their lives somehow after a loss. Okay.

    Gamines (Sisters) (2009)
    I'm having a look at Amira Casar's filmography, so... This is a story of three sisters as kids, and as adults, and their mother, and the absent father. I liked it.

    Oscar et la dame rose (Oscar and the Lady in Pink) (2009)
    Amira Casar, again, though her role in this is small. I'm glad I didn't know what the movie is about at all, I wouldn't have expected to enjoy it. But I did, very much.

    Elysium (2013)
    A friend was visiting and picked this, which surprised me since she doesn't care for Matt Damon anymore than I do. She likes sci-fi, though... which this barely was, just a video game style boring as hell action romp with some embarrassingly bad dialogue. We both agreed this was bloody awful.

    Playoff (2011)
    Danny Huston plays an Israeli basketball coach, who takes a job coaching in Germany from where his family (sans father) had escaped about 40 years before. Amira Casar plays a Turkish muslim woman who has come to Germany (with her daughter) to look for her disappeared husband. They were both very good and I liked this a lot in general.

    Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas) (2012)
    I knew Amira Casar's role in this was small (it was, in fact, tiny), but it's not like I'd let that stop me anyway, and besides: Mads Mikkelsen as the lead, he's always a pleasure to watch. I guess whoever came up with the English name for this movie wasn't very smart. I mean even if the protagonist's name wasn't deemed enough for the English language audiences, was it really necessary to go to such lengths to give the movie such a clumsy name? I liked the movie, though.

    El Olivo (The Olive Tree) (2016)
    Recommended by a friend, but did nothing for me. Not bad, but not particularly interesting, either. Loved listening to Spanish, though. (Should watch more Spanish language movies, I guess.)
  • Posts: 11,843
    SaintMark wrote: »
    The Mummy's Hand & The Mummy's curse - Two sequels to the original Universal Mummy however these two have very little to do with the original one and are in fact part 1 & 2 of the mummy Kharis who is essence a puppet in the hands of the high priests of Karnak. They are fun one hour movies that look pretty good on blueray.

    Charlie Chan in the Secret service (1944) in which Charlie Chan is played by Sidney Toler and he investigates the death of an inventor who was working on a new design for torpedo's. Chan with the the great one-liners (no Moore style) that sound like great Chinese proverbs but are just funny. Mantan Moreland takes care of the the funny sidekick. "Can I go home I forgot something?- What did you forget?- To stay in this morning."

    This is what you get when I do not have to go to work and all the kids are at school and the missus out to work.

    Good choices. I love the Monogram Toler films with Mantan Moreland.
    I need to replace my copies of the classic Mummy films as well. All 3 Lon Chaney ones are fun. Tom Tyler was excellent as well.
  • Posts: 10,274
    A Quiet Place (2018). So far best movie of the year; absolutely brilliant. Perfect both as a horror and a drama.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,231
    Shutter Island (2010)
    shutter-island.jpg

    Shutter Island is a neo-noir film with psychological thriller and horror elements, directed by Martin Scorsese and representing the man's fourth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. This is a movie I've wanted to see for a long time, and just a short time ago I found a blu-ray copy of it on sale in a bargain bin. I knew my chance had come to finally pop it in and give it a viewing.

    I'm almost hesitant to really talk too much about this film, simply because it really is one that everyone interested in seeing it should go into blind to get the best experience out of it. This is true for any movie in my eyes, but especially those with mystery and "shock" elements that should not be spoiled or even implied to virgin viewers of the film in question. After all, there is a tangible consequence in watching a mystery movie when the mystery at the heart of it all has been spoiled for you. With this in mind, I'll give my general impressions on this film without going deep into discussion as I think it's vital to go into it as blindly as possible.

    Shutter Island started out very engaging to me, as the atmosphere and imagery of the eponymous island were haunting and mysterious from the very beginning. True to its name, "Shutter Island" seemed just that: an ominous piece of land truly shuttered off from the rest of the world, like it had something to hide. It's easy to tell quite quickly that things aren't completely on. The movie kept my interest for a long stretch, but I must admit that by the mid point I was starting to get the same sensation I had while getting through Blade Runner, where I could feel my mind slipping from the narrative and it took extra effort for me to push myself up in my seating position to stay engaged. That being said, unlike Blade Runner, Shutter Island did manage to redeem itself at the end and impress me enough to view it as a solid film, if imperfect in spots. There's a lot in the film that passes you by or simply registers as very unimportant, but context is everything in mysteries and how the movie connects what seemed like disparate elements at first was impressive.

    Watching this film funnily made me think of two very iconic Jack Nicholson-starring movies that both typified the kinds of genre elements Shutter Island was gunning for, those being Chinatown and The Shining. Like Chinatown, this movie is a neo-noir that, despite being made decades after the period where noirs were most popular (the 40s and 50s), the narrative takes us back in period piece fashion to that exact time just as the 1974 Polanski classic takes us back to the 30s. I always find it an engaging exercise when neo-noirs rewind the clock like this, paradoxically representing a film created after the noir period of filmmaking while still placing its characters and plot inside the very decades that the genre was at its peak of cultural importance. And all the common tropes of the noir genre are at home in this movie, from a cynical and troubled protagonist to the element of rain that never seems to stop pouring from a weeping sky throughout. I'm kind of interested to see how the film feels in black and white now, as beautifully colored as it is, simply to place it even more in the realm of the noir pictures it is capturing the mood of. For my next viewing of it I may just do that.

    And like The Shining, the big premise of Shutter Island involves watching a man's mind become gradually more assaulted by the horrors and haunts he sees at a remote and "spooky" location that seems to be more than meets the eye. While I don't think Shutter Island has anything on the Overlook Hotel, the film's focus on madness and how humans can be driven to it is perhaps its greatest asset and most interesting element. It's engaging to see DiCaprio's Marshal character cross paths with those who are considered criminally insane, and the movie explores the pitfalls of madness wherein those seen as crazy aren't believed even when they're speaking the truth. I was quite impressed to see just how much focus the film had on mental health, criticizing how the mentally ill were treated in that time period as it quietly advocated for rehabilitative treatments with a focus on helping, not punishing the distraught. Seeing the film in the context of our current and more aware time regarding mental health is interesting, as you see how far we've come from the lobotomies and electric chairs of previous decades and how we've pursued more humane solutions to dealing with mental health complications.

    One element of Shutter Island that may be a critical point for some viewers is the heavier use of effects than is common for the neo-noir genre, or for a film that is transporting you to a bygone age. Upon looking up some of the set photos from the film, I saw just how much of what is in the film is simply computer generated. The effects can often be very easy to spot, and this may take those out of the film who are bothered by seeing the actors in front of a green screen or surrounded by computerized rain or landmasses. I certainly would've preferred to see the movie shot more naturally on location, though I can sympathize with how hard it likely was to find a location that had all the production team needed to complete their shoot, necessitating some of the effects work we can see. Most of the film is shot "for real," however, including some of the coolest and most haunting sets I've seen in a while, including cell blocks, infirmaries and stone prisons, so I don't mean to make the effects sound pervasive. And, in a way, the computerized effects of Shutter Island connect to the most prominent themes of the film itself. While watching the film you will wonder just what is real and what isn't, what things are lies and what is true as DiCaprio's Marshal faces the case before him. So, these obvious bits of effects may have been an intentional choice on the part of Scorsese and his team, just another part of their manipulation of the audience as they make us question the worth and reality of what seems artificial to our eyes. I can appreciate that.

    As a last critical point, I will speak on the central mystery of Shutter Island and how the mystery being cracked after the first viewing may cause some viewers to never return to the island again. The dilemma with movies like Shutter Island is that these stories are inherently driven by tricks and mystery that compel the viewer to wonder what's going on from start to finish, using all the red herrings and blind alleys in its arsenal to manipulate our perceptions and color our expectations. A common criticism I hear about movies of this kind is that, once you've seen the film and discovered the tricks, it becomes hard to enjoy the film again since the jig is up, so to speak. I hear complaints about this phenomenon most prominently with films like Memento, a narrative so driven by its wacky non-linear structure and twists that it becomes uninteresting to watch again and again for some who feel the tricks are all the film has to offer.

    I don't share these opinions, however, and I think that Shutter Island is very rewatchable, even despite its own bag of tricks. Without saying too much, you can only witness just how clever and well crafted the movie is once you've reached the credits and, as with any good mystery, part of the fun in seeing it again is seeing how the story was weaved into the film while also spotting all the times the filmmakers played with your perceptions. The first raw viewing you have of films like The Maltese Falcon or Chinatown may always remain the most profound you have, but I don't think the enjoyment of a mystery is tarnished the moment you've "cracked the case" or seen how the puzzle pieces form together. What always remains fresh is seeing how the mystery looms over the characters and captures them blind in its shadow, and it's always fascinating to see how a great yarn is spun throughout a solid film by a strong script. I think Shutter Island fits into this category as well, with characters engaging enough to watch over and over as they face their conflicts inside a mystery that is at times beautifully developed in shocking and artful ways. These elements make it evergreen.


    I don't think Shutter Island is a film easy to recommend, as it won't be for everyone because of some of the psychological elements in it. For fans of noir films like myself, you may enjoy it and you may not. It's important to note that the film's mystery elements becomes less important than the psychological emphasis it places on the events, so if you're expecting a whodunit or anything close to it you may be disappointed. As with many mysteries, including the aforementioned Chinatown, there is a mystery at the heart of the film but the most engaging element is how everything outside of that mystery is affected, namely the main characters. It is the human struggles of these characters that remain most consistent, and less the questions they find themselves asking about their case.

    Fans of films with psychological themes may get the most out of this film, as its chief strengths are its atmosphere, mood and exploration of mental health, trauma and madness. But, to clarify, I wouldn't call this a horror film, as it doesn't insult its own story or viewer enough to pack its run time with jump scares or cheap shock value. Instead of being horror based, I would instead simply call it a "haunting" film. Some of the imagery it expresses is chilling and striking in its content, as you see the kinds of acts man does unto man in stark and uncensored detail. I'll leave the context of these images a mystery, as I think they hit harder when you don't see them coming.

    The movie very maturely grapples with violence and mortal horror in a way that is quite artful and powerful from my perspective. It doesn't hold back, but the purpose of its volatile and stirring images is never to shock a viewer raw or toy with them for kicks. Instead, these elements present the real horrors of life and are there to make you think and wonder about your own feelings on issues of morality and goodness, as well as what could be the cost of living in a particular time and place. There is no fantasy to the violence of the film, it's all stuff we see every day, and that should be as horrific a notion as anything else it presents. For viewers who don't mind facing some of this content respectfully but honestly delivered, I invite you to take a ferry to Shutter Island.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,368
    Excellent review, @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7! Couldn't agree more.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Hotel Kali-Yuga
    Posts: 40,821
    Shutter Island was a disappointment for me.
  • Posts: 19,339
    I thought it was OK'ish with an excellent twist but I wouldn't rush back to watch it as I remember way too much of it,even though its been over a year since I watched it.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 15,423
    After taking a break from my Spaghetti Western marathon, I decided to try another genre in the Italian cinema - one I've been longing to watch for a long time, now. I turn to the EuroSpy category to encounter this one title from my father's collection and picked it up. It's got some of the greatest talents of sixties Italian cinema one simply can't turn down the experience if you're a fan of the spy craze culture. The cast and crew have been releasing a bundle of westerns over the years they decisively switched to something different and this was the result.

    Kiss Kiss... Bang Bang (1966):

    WnEHN0G.jpg

    Giuliano Gemma (Ringo, One Silver Dollar, Day of Anger) stars as a former British spy, Kirk Warren, who is dragged out of execution at the last minute by the head of the British Intelligence in exchange for a special assignment he's required to take up on. Warren is known for trying to manipulate his allies and enemies to benefit from the goods in the play, such as trying to rob them from a million dollars. His mission - should he choose to accept it, and he will! - is to steal a secret chemical formula from a highly secure facility in Switzerland and prevent a certain Mr. X, a mysterious figure of terror, from getting his hands on it. While on the surface, Warren seems to oblige his employers, he plans to steal the formula for himself instead and sell it to the highest bidder for one million dollars. A scheme that would have him compensating over the failure of his previous attempt at getting his hands on that much amount of green.

    The film at first pretends to look like a serious James Bond knockoff, but manages to deliberately taking a piss on the culture of spy craze by offering a logic-free comedy while at the same time injecting original ideas, incorporating elements of heist capers in the process. It's written by Fernando Di Leo (a director later in his career who influenced both John Woo and Quentin Tarantino) and Bruno Corbucci (yes, the brother of Spaghetti Western legend, Sergio Corbucci) who, more or less, had fun trying their hand at something different. Giuliano Gemma also seems to be well-entertained by giving a funny performance you can't help but laugh at (in a good way), while Spaghetti Western beauty (that I keep mentioning for the third time by now!) Nieves Navarro thrives in her image of an ultimate femme fatale by surprising everyone around her. Overall, a highly entertaining film you must not take seriously in the slightest that places very cringe-worthy humour in almost every scene I could go by the expression "It's so bad it's good!".
  • Posts: 14,654
    Batman V Superman I watch this film alot though the action scenes in Ultra HD are bloody intense, this film is such an immersive experience in 4K.
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