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Dave Moritz

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November 28th, 2020 Saturday

The Mandalorian - The Jedi
4K Digital via Disney + / Dolby Vision
Dolby Atmos 7.1.4


Red Heat
4K Blu-ray / Dolby Vision
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 upmixed to Auro 7.1

RedHeat.jpg




V For Vendetta
4K Blu-ray / HDR10
Dolby Atmos to Auro 3D

v_for_vendetta_ver4_zps3a31f773.jpg




An Affair To Remember
HD Blu-ray upconverted to 4K
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 upmixed to Auro 7.1

Movie-Poster-an-affair-to-remember-14440491-1301-2000.jpg
 

Mike Frezon

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I took a flyer on this film I had never heard of before a week or so ago. So, Peg and I watched it tonight.

My hunch was right (for once) and Peg and I both enjoyed it VERY much.



Great cast: Besides the four listed on the poster, there was Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote and Treat Williams. Beautiful scenery and locations in San Fransisco and Glasgow. There was an absolutely beautiful baby in the film. The story was pretty basic and predictable but very nicely told. Well-written and well-acted. We both cared for the characters and have discussed the film several times tonight, recounting various scenes and motivations.

And to conclude, Rosanna Arquette is my age and looks mighty, mighty fine.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Continuing on the theme of rebellion against sexual mores and the lasting consequences of suppressed feelings and passion:

The Beguiled (2017)
Originally Released: 06/23/2017
Watched: 11/28/2020
HDX (1080P) digital streaming on Apple TV app, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

The Beguiled (2017) Poster


Thomas P. Cullinan's novel was previously adapted to the screen in 1971 by Don Siegel, starring Clint Eastwood as the wounded Union soldier taken in by a school full of sexually repressed women and sexually burgeoning girls.

Colin Farrell plays that role in this version, restoring the book's backstory of him being a fresh off the boat Irish immigrant who was paid to take the place of a wealthy Northern who got drafted. Colin Farrell is no Clint Eastwood, which isn't entirely a bad thing; because his screen presence is less dominant than Eastwood's, it allows the women and girls to take up more space in the movie.

Even though all of the main turns in the story are the same, Sofia Coppola's inversion of the film's gaze changes the audience's expectations and therefore experience of the story. Farrell's Corporal John McBurney is primarily a catalyst for the female characters' decisions. In the 1971 film, the ending feels shocking. In this film, the ending feels inevitable; the school has a natural equilibrium, and the injection of masculine energy has greatly disturbed that equilibrium. One way or another, equilibrium must be restored.

Siegel's take on the material was offbeat but trashy, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The trashy elements are still definitely present in this version, but Philippe Le Sourd's painterly cinematography with very little lighting and the fairy tale quality of the oppressively overgrown Southern Gothic environment helps disguise the kind of story you're in for.

Coppola scrubs the racial politics out of the story; the slave character is omitted entirely, and another character's biracial origins are not explored. The Civil War setting is important only in the sense that the rumble of distant gunfire turns the school into a fishbowl inside which there is no breathing room and from which there is no escape.

Nicole Kidman's headmistress is far more reserved than Geraldine Page's take on the character. The feeling of premeditation in all things makes some of the character's choices later in the film feel even more chilling for the steady pragmatism with which they are enacted.

Kirsten Dunst plays the other authority figure at the school, but she spends the entire film in a reactive stance as the more dominant personalities make their moves.

One of those dominant personalities is Alicia, played by Elle Fanning, the oldest of the remaining pupils. Corporal McBurney intrigues her, and she enjoys the way he notices her. This is a girl who knows what she wants and, unlike the adult women, has no reservations about seeking it.

Jane, one of the younger teenage pupils, is also intrigued by Corporal McBurney. But unlike Alicia, she is disquieted by these feelings. She is a proud daughter of the Confederacy, and firm believer in the righteousness of the Southern cause. The Union soldier's presence stirs feelings both hormonal and political that she would rather not have to grapple with. Angourie Rice is well cast in the role; like most of Rice's characters, you can tell that Jane spends a lot of time wrapped up with her own thoughts.

Oona Laurence plays Amy, one of the youngest remaining pupils. She is the one who finds Corporal McBurney while gathering mushrooms in the woods. For her, McBurney fills a paternal void. When McBurney's true nature is revealed, she might be the one who takes it the hardest, and whose response may be the most definitive.

Both adaptations about about dangerous women, but the morality here feels a lot more ambivalent.

* * *​

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire)
Originally Released: 09/18/2019
Watched: 11/28/2020
1080P Blu-ray disc, upscaled to 4K via Panasonic DP-UB820

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Cover


There is a finality to the previous two films I watched. In the case of Uncle Frank, a secret, once revealed, cannot be secret anymore. In the case of The Beguiled, there are boundaries, that once crossed, cannot be reinstated.

This film understands the power of a moment in time; just because it is fleeting doesn't mean it isn't important -- even life changing. Vivaldi's Four Seasons and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice are recurring motifs throughout the film that reinforce this theme.

After the dimly lit interiors and claustrophobic exteriors of The Beguiled, the bright expansive cinematography of this film was a welcome contrast. The movie's heroine, is a portrait artist, and Claire Mathon's sumptuous cinematography sees the story through a painter's eye.

When we meet said painter, Marianne, she is posing for her students. She is imperious, bordering on impenetrable, until she spots a painting at the back of the room that one of her pupils unearthed. She is startled to see it, and chastises the young woman. She is asked what the painting -- of a woman on a beach at night, the hem of her dress glowing yellow and orange -- is called. Portrait of Lady on Fire, she answers.

The movie flashes back to some years earlier. Marianne has been sent on behalf of her acclaimed father's studio to the remote island estate of a prominent family. They have commissioned a portrait of their daughter, to be sent as an offering (and perhaps as an enticement) to her future husband in Milan. Marianne is the second portrait artist hired for the task; her predecessor met an insurmountable obstacle.

The daughter, we quickly learn, has been recently recalled from a convent after her older sister died under controversial circumstances. Héloïse, who was perfectly content with a celibate life dedicated to worship and music, is opposed to the marriage planned for her and is unwilling to participate in any activity which will facilitate it.

What follows is a dance between observer and observed, a passionate and astute meditation on romance as the act of seeing and being seen. Noémie Merlant, as Marianne, is a severe beauty: big dark eyes, sharp eyebrows, pointed chin. Adèle Haenel, as Héloïse, is more handsome than beautiful, with hair as fair as Marianne's is dark. The stark physical contrast between the two women makes the long stretches of the movie spent with the two of them staring at one another more interesting and captivating than it would otherwise be.

The circumstances provide a unique moment of freedom for two women of different social classes in the late eighteenth century. Everything before and after has been decided for them by others. But for that brief stretch of time, they are -- together with the young maid Sophie -- in control of their own destinies. The film moves slowly in the middle, but it doesn't drag: Marianne and Héloïse are savoring their time together, and the movie is inviting the audience to savor it too.

The last ten or fifteen minutes provided the most powerful ending to a film I've seen in quite some time.
 

Robert Crawford

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I took a flyer on this film I had never heard of before a week or so ago. So, Peg and I watched it tonight.

My hunch was right (for once) and Peg and I both enjoyed it VERY much.



Great cast: Besides the four listed on the poster, there was Tim Matheson, Peter Coyote and Treat Williams. Beautiful scenery and locations in San Fransisco and Glasgow. There was an absolutely beautiful baby in the film. The story was pretty basic and predictable but very nicely told. Well-written and well-acted. We both cared for the characters and have discussed the film several times tonight, recounting various scenes and motivations.

And to conclude, Rosanna Arquette is my age and looks mighty, mighty fine.
Mike,

The image is broken so I have no idea which movie you're talking aobut.
 

bujaki

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I first saw this in Brooklyn in 1955. I spoke no English so I depended on images. I never forgot poor Elizabeth pleading in the wet snow to be let in and catching her death of cold while that wastrel of her husband (who told LB Mayer that June Allyson was perfect!) lay drunk on the stairs. I hated him for that. And I was just 5.
 

bujaki

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This Is the Sea (TCM app) 1997. Set in Northern Ireland after the cease fire. A romance between a Protestant young woman and a Catholic lad. Not only are there religious tensions, but the threat of terrorist attacks always loom near. And people who seem helpful maybe aren't, so innocent people die. Many well-known favorite actors appear: Richard Harris, Gabriel Byrne, Samantha Morton.
The Mandalorian (Disney+) 2020. Episodes 3-5. Catching up. Now we know the Child's name.
Death Laid an Egg (Cult Epics BD) 1968. An early giallo starring the beautiful Lollobrigida, Ewa Aulin and the handsome Jean-Louis Trintignant in a psycho-sexual triangle that turns into a quad. It's quite complex in its plot which involves a chicken farm and genetics. There's a femme fatale, of course, and things don't turn up as expected. This 2020 release is complete and seems to have finally got it right in terms of a satisfactory transfer.
Weird Woman (Mill Creek BD) 1944. Inner Sanctum #2. Based on the same story that gave us 1962's excellent Burn, Witch, Burn. Effective thriller about college shenanigans involving white magic and a jilted woman wreaking havoc on her ex-suitor. Quite good, with an almost Val Lewton feeling for atmosphere.
 

Mike Frezon

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Mike,

The image is broken so I have no idea which movie you're talking aobut.

Sorry about that, Robert. It's strange...because I can see the image just fine.

The film...one which Peg told me today just may go on her long list of favorite films...is The Etruscan Smile:



We're still talking about the film today.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Plus One
Originally Released: 02/14/2019
Watched: 10/05/2020
4K digital streaming on Hulu via Roku Ultra

PlusOne.jpg


Alice and Ben, friends since college, find themselves the last people from their social circle to still be single. Headed into wedding season, they make a pact to be each other's plus ones to make it through.

This is a rom-com, so you know where it's headed. But Alice and Ben are not traditional rom-com leads; Alice drinks and inhales her way through, saying whatever comes to mind precisely as it comes to mind, no matter how savage. Ben is very much a prototypical Jack Quaid character: likable in a puppy dog sort of way, but also far too tightly-wounded, neurotic, and a bit of an asshole.

Erskine and Quaid have the timing and rapport of an old comedy duo; you believe that Alice and Ben have been friends for years, because there's a comfortableness and lack of vanity to their banter back and forth that speaks to a real history. All the stuff you try to hide about yourself when you start dating, they already know about each other.

I believed the friendship, so I believed everything that came afterward. As their relationship is charted from wedding ceremonies ranging from tolerable to horrifying, the movie rejects soaring notions of love in favor of the sweet but garden variety love of two people who enjoy each other's company, enjoy life more when the other is around.

I don't know that I've ever seen a lead performance like Erskine's as Alice. In a more standard rom-com, Alice would be the offbeat and amusing best friend. The quirks and flagrant disregard for propriety are there, but there's emotional complexity that the offbeat best friend never gets to demonstrate. Erskine embodies Alice as instinctively, fearlessly direct. In that way, she is the perfect foil for Ben, who never acts on instinct, and overthinks everything.

Honestly, if no plot had developed and the entire movie was just Alice and Ben attending weddings and making funny observations between well-aimed insults at one another, I would have been fine with it.
 

bujaki

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The Venetian Affair (TCM app) 1966. A serious spy thriller that I missed on first release. Set in Venice (duh!), it has Robert Vaughn playing the weary ex-CIA man (surrounded by 3 gorgeous ladies: Elke Sommer, Felicia Farr and Luciana Paluzzi) trying to foil the nefarious plot of Karl-Heinz Boehm. Boris Karloff makes a very welcome appearance looking as if he had been left out too long in the sun.
The Face at the Window (Kino BD) 1939. Headlined by Tod Slaughter, famous for his portrayal of hissable villains in penny-dreadful melodramas, this film doesn't disappoint. It touches every single trope of gaslight stage stories of "the villain still pursued her," but with this one throwing in a horribly deformed human being. Oh, it's so much fun and Kino's source is impeccable.
The Red Ball Express (Kino BD) 1952. In a segregated army, we have this one platoon that is not. Yet, in the film it is still shown as predominantly white. Oh, well, those were the days. A routine war picture, interesting today because it highlights a "forgotten" and heroic line of support; and because it's an early effort from director Boetticher Very good transfer.
Dead Man's Eyes (Mill Creek BD) Inner Sanctum #3. As usual Lon Chaney is very good in the series, getting a break from playing monsters. And he always seems to get the girl at the end!
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Better Watch Out
Originally Released: 10/06/2017
Watched: 12/01/2020
HDX (1080P) digital streaming on Apple TV app, upscaled to 4K via Roku Ultra

BetterWatchOut_2017_Poster.jpg


What at first seems to be a holiday-themed home invasion slasher movie take a sharp turn a third of the way through and veers off in a wildly different direction. To say any more would spoil the novelty the movie depends on.

The filmmakers are a little too pleased at their own cleverness, and maybe it's just the holiday season talking but the movie's themes were a little too nihilistic for my taste. Still, it's a well-crafted movie that plays fair with the audience. How much you enjoy it will depend on how much you enjoy horror movies, and how much you enjoy puzzle boxes.
 

Dave Moritz

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December 1st, 2020 Tuesday

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition)
4K Blu-ray / Dolby Vision
Dolby Atmos to Auro 3D 7.1.4

LTR TH Collection.jpg

And no not buying these movies again after the 4K Blu-ray, lmao! I think I have done my part. ;)
 
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