ysbreker

Movie/TV recommendations

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I watched The Lighthouse a few nights back and I don't know why I did as I didn't really like the director's last movie The Witch. Like everything about his last movie there is nothing bad exactly about it, it just lacks any kind of verve or purpose. It is about two men in a lighthouse and the tension between them. Given the performances and cinematography that should have been enough, but just felt like an empty experience.

 

It is unlikely I'll bother to watch another one of these, and depending on who you are you can take it as praise or criticism, it felt very Lynchian.

 

 

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It’s been getting very high early ratings, so I was excited. But when you say it’s like The Witch, it reduces my enthusiasm. I thought The Witch was below average, even though some parts of it were quite memorable.

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I watched a couple episodes of The World According to Jeff Goldblum.  I can't watch anymore.  It spends so much time saying absolutely nothing.  One of the episodes is about video games.  A portion of the episode is spent with a couple who do sound design for free to play mobile games.  Another big chunk is spent with LARPers because all geeks are interchangeable I guess.  If you really REALLY like Jeff Goldblum and want to see him Goldblum it up on random subjects without learning anything of substance or interest on the actual topic, then I guess this is the show for you.  The only thing I learned while watching it was that I can only take Goldblum in small doses.

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I think I found a new Mario Bava (director to obsess over) for myself - Yuzo Kawashima. Mubi has a special on him at the moment and I loved the two movies I saw so far:

 

Suzaki Paradise - a simple story of a couple struggling with poverty, who move to a place next to a red light district and try to make it there. It's somehow just told in such a nice and enjoyable way.

 

Tales of Ginza - this is almost a city symphony, a campy hang-out movie, and has a Rosebud in it. It gets quite ridiculous at times, but I love it.

 

Both of them have excellent cinematography and I believe his movies have only recently gotten proper restorations. Anyway I haven't quite started obsessing yet, but I might after I watch the rest of the ones available on Mubi.

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I have now seen 8 Yuzo Kawashima movies! None of them have been quite as good as Suzaki Paradise, but his best work is still ahead. Anyway, I hope the restorations of these films will end up getting some more exposure in the coming years (maybe Criterion). One thing that all of his movies seem to have in common is that they are almost all more about women than men, or at least they treat both as equals, often having main characters of both genders. And some of the films highlight the struggle that women have had to face. I'm not sure I'd call these feminist movies, but it's still so good to find that even back in the 50s Japan, not all filmmakers were sexist or focusing mainly on men's stories.

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On 3/14/2020 at 10:53 AM, Erkki said:

One thing that all of his movies seem to have in common is that they are almost all more about women than men, or at least they treat both as equals, often having main characters of both genders. And some of the films highlight the struggle that women have had to face. I'm not sure I'd call these feminist movies, but it's still so good to find that even back in the 50s Japan, not all filmmakers were sexist or focusing mainly on men's stories.

 

I've definitely noticed that trend in Japanese media, too. I wonder if it's the cultural baggage of novels (and fiction in general) being a women-dominated endeavor in Japan throughout the pre-modern period. Men wrote poems and nonfiction, women wrote "silly stories," and that's how The Tale of Genji came to be considered as perhaps the world's first novel.

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The Best of Youth is made up of two 3 hour parts, so it's a relatively easily watchable superlong (> 4 hour) movie and my favourite of those so far. It tells the life story of two brothers and their extended family from their time as students in the 1960s Italy to the 2000s. Even though I think the movie has some flaws, it became one of my favourite movies ever because it really affected me a lot emotionally and I can't stop thinking about it.

 

I wish I was watching it again right now, but it will have to wait until I'm done with my list-watching (4 movies totaling 35 hours + 27 historic Oscar Best Picture winners to go).

 

[edit] I found out it was originally shot for Italian TV as a miniseries. Now suddenly it makes even more sense why it is so easy to watch, has perfect pacing and looks somehow more modern than most movies.

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Yesterday I finished my movie-watching quest of recent years. I looked up some old posts in this thread I made when I starting it.

 

On 11/3/2016 at 8:33 AM, Erkki said:

I thought I'd give myself some movie watching goals for the rest of the year, since I have somehow developed a 400-item watchlist and it takes thought to pick what to see next. I might still pick something else any given day of course.

 

1. All Ingmar Bergman movies -- I'll go with the highest rated ones first, and I'll stop if I end up disappointed by more than one, as I've only seen a couple so far. I loved all of Tarkovsky and since he and Bergman inspired each other I hope I will enjoy most of these a lot.

 

2. Letterboxd Top 100 -- or maybe Rotten Tomatoes* Top 100, or something like that. I'm currently going with Letterboxd as it's easy to see the top with the ones I've seen dimmed out. I notice that Satantango and Shoah are on that list and I have no idea how to approach watching these 7+ hour movies. I hope they are at least divided into chapters of some sorts, but I guess random breaks would also work. It may just be like a TV series binge on steroids?

 

3. 1000 movies marked as seen on Letterboxd -- I'm at 835 and considering my current rate of 30+ movies a month I should hit that. Also I might still remember some movies I've seen already.

 

[edit] * PS Actually I think Letterboxd is replacing RT for me as the go-to place for ratings. Although I haven't made an actual comparison, I feel like I find myself far more in accord with the ratings on that site. I guess it may change once Letterboxd gets more users.

 

1. I did see a lot of Bergman movies and liked most of them, but I realized he made so many movies, that I'm probably never going to watch all of them. I have the new Blu-Ray box set, will go through that and I'm sure Bergman will actually become my most watched director.

 

2. It took me a while to actually get the Letterbox Top 100 watched! I only finished it this month. Because it had Satantango and I just never picked it for watching. I had to go through almost all the other films in the various Top 100s and Top 250s I ended up going through, before I dared go for the 10 or so 4-15 hour length movies that were on Letterboxd and Sight & Sound Top 250.

 

3. I have now marked 2871 films as watched. Always my disclaimer when talking about number of movies watched: some of them were shorts. (But then again a couple of them were 14 hours long).
 

On 11/3/2016 at 8:56 AM, Patrick R said:

I am a fan of Tarkovsky and, for the most part, can't stand Bergman. YMMV, naturally, but I wouldn't personally recommend it.

 

I recently made a list of shame on Letterboxd and am in the process of trying to knock most of them out by the end of the year. The list is compiled of every Oscar best picture winner, every IMDB top 250 film, every "essential arthouse" film, every big box office hit I haven't seen. It's more about cultural context than actual shame (I in no way shape or form suspect I will like Avatar even a little bit), but it has been rewarding knocking a lot of stuff off.

 

Then again, it's also made me watch Driving Miss Daisy, so maybe it's a terrible idea.

 

EDIT: Don't know Satantango, but Shoah is episodic.

 

Hi Patrick! I also took it as a side quest to watch through all the Oscar best picture winners now. 15 to go, I hope to finish in June. Driving Miss Daisy, yeah, not great. I'm not sure how one would compile a list of every "essential arthouse" film, but I do think I have some more to do here. So I should maybe start looking in that direction, but no doubt I've seen a lot of them by now.

 

On 20/3/2016 at 11:34 PM, Erkki said:

My second viewing of Snowpiercer left a way better impression than the first time. This time I just gave up on the idea that the premise had to make sense and it became very enjoyable.


Also, saw Harakiri today. What a movie. This is really an ageless film.

 

And Harakiri by Kobayashi was one of the first movies I picked to watch back then from the very top and then started going down from there. And yesterday I appropriately closed the circle with the same director's Samurai Rebellion.

 

To sum up, these are the lists I ended up watching to 100%, in order of completion:

 

1. AFI 100 Years 100 Movies

2. Sight & Sound 2012 Directors Poll Extended

3. Sight & Sound 2012 Critics Poll Extended

4. First 300 only: /r/TrueFilm Canon (1000 films) (it was mostly automatic, seems to match my watching habits well - only had to watch 3  or so extra films from here)

5. Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films

Bonus side quest TODO:

6. Academy Award Winners for Best Picture

 

And I think after doing the last one I will still at some point try to get more of IMDB Top 250, maybe during a decade or so every movie from 1000 films to watch before you die etc. But generally I will start to scale down my film watching now, I hope. Or at least try to be less obsessive about it.

 

What have I learned from all this? I'm not sure. I am not very good at expressing my thoughts about the films or deeply analyzing them so I haven't even written short reviews on Letterboxd for most of them. But recently I did start writing more reviews, even if they don't say much. I mostly watch these films as entertainment, and to broaden my horizon. Eventually I did start having a more analytical thoughts while watching and I definitely get a feeling early on just from the cinematography whether a movie is going to be a 3-star or 4-star movie for me. And I try to analyze the dramatic structure and take that into account when rating.

 

I also made a short film while doing this, and I want to continue making those. I also started taking part of a local movie quiz season and my team is nearing 3rd place but never quite able to get there. Most of the ones above us have film critics, distribution professionals etc. in their teams, though.

 

Was it worth it? Eventually it definitely got obsessive, and when this quarantine started I saw that as a chance to get this over with more quickly than I had planned. I like that I've seen all these films now and have a wider picture of the history of cinema. I have some regrets about not spending my free time in a more balanced way... but not so much really, it was fine.

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