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Matt Hough

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Defending Your Life (1991): Albert Brooks wrote, directed and starred in this comedy about... wait for it... defending your life, in the afterlife. Classic Albert Brooks self deprecating humor, with Meryl Streep as his love interest, which is fairly amusing in itself. I've seen this several times, and it's just one of those little personal favorites. It's part of the $5 Meryl Streep sale going on at iTunes, which is also an HD upgrade from the DVD, which is the only way it's been available before. Sorry folks, no 4K, HDR or Atmos with this one. :P Not even DD 5.1. Just good old two channel dialog.
One of my very favorite Albert Brooks movies. Such an original and intriguing premise.
 

bujaki

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I'm going to watch my 2018 MOC Blu-ray this week as I've been meaning to watch and listen to Eddie Muller's commentary on it for a very long time. I bought this BD earlier this year so it's about time I remove it from my "Un-Watched Pile of Discs".
I only have the old Fox DVD of this film, hoping that it might be released in the US. Maybe I should spring for the MoC. Let us know about the PQ. Thanks.
 

bujaki

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Finished the second half of the Dutch version of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games. (Criterion BD) It's amazing how good these films look.
Watched another 5 cartoons from the Popeye the Sailor, Vol 2 BD. Again, one just marvels at how good these look.
Since I just finished a seven-volume historical novel series by Marcel Druon titled "The Accursed Kings" about the fall of the Capet dynasty and the rise of the Anjou kings, who happened to dismember and lose France to England, I decided to watch:
Joan of Arc (Kino BD) 1948. If only this had been a better film; if only this restoration had looked "perfect" throughout! And so we're left with Bergman's sincere performance (her extreme close up at 2h 14m is worth the price of admission), and Jose Ferrer's film debut and AA-nominated performance (the first for a Puerto Rican actor). I've also seen Bergman's in Rossellini's Joan of Arc at the Stake (where is that one???); and needless to say, the great Passion of Joan of Arc directed by Carl Th. Dreyer, and The Trial of Joan of Arc directed by Bresson, plus other versions of Joan's story.
Poem (Arrow Academy BD) 1972. The final installment in Jissoji's Buddhist Trilogy. I opted to watch the longer director's cut. This is the most accessible film in the trilogy. The story of two brothers and a houseboy representing the dissolution of values in modern Japan. The brothers are the scions of landed gentry who can't wait to break up their patrimony, while the houseboy cares much more for the name of the family than the legitimate sons. The sex scenes are more sedate than in the previous installments; even the rape scene is less graphic, though still shocking, of course.
 

Robert Crawford

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Mike Frezon

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Watched the Criterion release of this last night:



I cannot believe how good the Lloyd films look given their age and popularity. This film is 92 years old and looks like it could have been shot this year everything is so clear and crisp. Just amazing. And...the content still holds up, too.

And the Carl Davis score is one that really shines with this film.

Just an overall fantastic experience.
 

cinefan

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One of my very favorite Albert Brooks movies. Such an original and intriguing premise.
I love Defending Your Life. It took me a while to come fully around to it though. When I first saw it I was still in my twenties and I thought it was amusing enough but I really didn't understand why the hearings focused on overcoming fear -- as opposed to simple altruism or adherence to the golden rule. Seeing it again in my fifties it makes a lot more sense. I can now appreciate how often fear is what holds you back from becoming your best self -- not just for yourself but to and for those around you. I guess it was a theme that my younger self wasn't prepared to take in or understand. I really can't think of any other film I had such a different reaction to after revisiting years later -- close to an a-ha experience.
 

Robert Crawford

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bujaki

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Waiting Women (Criterion BD) 1952. Bergman's tale of 4 women married to 4 brothers. Each woman tells her tale of her marriage. Lushly photographed; the score is still somewhat heavy handed. The courtship and affair in Paris of one woman is told in extraordinary sequence with just music and sound effects, no dialogue. Bergman continues to hone his affinity for women.
Two football-related B movies shown by TCM:
The Big Game (1936) Notable for being Irwin Shaw's first screenplay credit. It tackles the subject of gambling and fixing the games.
Gridiron Flash (1935) First film directed by actor-turned-director Glenn Tryon. Pleasant diversion. Interesting to see the equipment worn in those more innocent days.
 
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JohnRice

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My First Mister (2002): The comments about Defending Your Life and the theme of fear reminded me of a speech in this odd little movie, delivered by Albert Brooks, about that very same topic. It's been at least ten years since I watched this, so I dug it out and dusted it off. I have this attitude that some movies are better than they are. For me, My First Mister is a perfect example of that. It's the only feature film (somewhat clumsily) directed by Christine Lahti, but somehow it more than makes up for its frequent awkwardness, for me at least. Brooks co-stars with Leelee Sobieski as two very different people with the same problem. They've both given up on life. Yeah, I know, nothing new here. The biggest challenge for a lot of people will be making it through Sobieski's monotone narration at the beginning. Fortunately, that changes once Randall (Brooks) shows up, about 12 minutes into the movie. This is one of those movies where I keep noticing little things that annoy me, in a bad filmmaking sense. Then, when it's approaching the end, I suddenly realize how much I've become engrossed.

This movie is easy to dislike, for anyone looking for something to dislike. But, its heart is so solidly in a good place, and it does manage, in a very clumsy way, to get to that place. I also know that back in 2002, when I first saw this, it just happened to be exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. I'm sure that influences my impression of it even today.
 

bujaki

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Dracula (Universal BD) 1979. Langella's version. What a score! Really enjoyed this movie. The chemistry between Langella and Nelligan is so sensual, so inviting.
Finished the last 5 cartoons in Popeye the Sailor Vol.2 (WA BD)
Winter Olympic Games 1936: Youth of the World (Criterion BD) Adolf makes his first appearance. Many swastikas displayed; many fascist salutes. Not too many German wins. Great PQ on this 37 minute film.
Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (Criterion BD) 1966. Zatoichi sets out to visit 88 shrines, hoping not to slay a single person while on this pilgrimage. He visits a town and confronts a situation which pits him against a hoodlum and his gang vs. a town. He asks the town for support in eliminating the gangsters; the townspeople refuse. Zatoichi stands alone. Shades of High Noon. Quite exciting as a matter of fact.
 

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