Last week or so outside of SpagvemberFest:
They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)
The Predator (Black, 2018)
First Reformed (Schrader, 2018)
Cam (Goldhaber, 2018)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Coen/Coen, 2018)
House of Traps (Chang, 1982)
Last week or so outside of SpagvemberFest:
Any thoughts about The Ballad of Buster Scruggs ?
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
I liked it, a lot … though two of the middle stories are weaker than the rest.
Original, funny … taking and twisting so many western film clichés and genuinely surprising this viewer.
The acting is generally superb, though Liam Neeson throws in a very provocative and divisive song from Northern Ireland, which no one outside the country will know or care about - Liam’s little joke, which really isn’t funny … he also referenced it before in the movie ‘Nell’ (1994) It’s a song called, ‘The Sash my Father Wore’, which is the key theme for a large group of protestant bigots. It’s basically a hatemongering victory over Catholics tune. Neeson maybe bringing it to the film as an ironic gesture, as he was raised a Catholic … but it’s a song associated with so much hatred that it made me cringe - I’m certain the Coen’s had no knowledge of the controversial nature, and there’s no explanation in the film … it’s just dressing for a scene.
Apart from that I loved the movie and will watch it again soon - there are a few sequences which are just incredible … and will amuse as well as impress we hardcore western film fans.
I liked it. I (generally) love the Coens anyway and I think the western is a terrific genre for anthologies; it’s a shame we don’t see more of them, imo. It was a bit uneven though. I thought that the strongest tales by some margin were “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, “Near Algodones” and “All Gold Canyon” which went first, second and fourth in the order respectively, so I’d like to have seen those spread a little more evenly through the movie. Of course, tastes are subjective so maybe this wasn’t an issue for others. But it was never less than interesting.
I hadn’t heard about Buster Scruggs until I saw it pop on Netflix & was very interested as I love the Coens films.
Personally though, I was disappointed to see its a collection of shorts. I generally do not like shorts in any forms - written or film. Those horror collections featuring the great directors are always automatic skips for me - I just can’t get into stuff in short form as it doesn’t ever have time to develop ideas fully. Although perhaps I should reconsider this way of thinking, as I’ve grown more and more towards an appreciation for “trash” which never really has any fleshed out ideas at all, but somehow manages to capture a more true spirit than big budget hollywood ever can.
LOL … long live trash! - plus, stick to what you enjoy, not what Hollywood dictates.
The Terminal Man (1974)(https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072267/)
I read this book by Micheal Crichton as a kid and loved it then - I’m surprised I didn’t track this movie down yet - or maybe I did and forgot about it. I didn’t have much appreciation for these slow burners as a youngster.
The story is about some scientists/doctors that implant electrodes into a man’s brain to control his mental problems through electrical impulses. Crichton is one of those scifi writers that was way ahead of his time, and this is a story that is very relevant to modern times as current scientific research is experimenting with doing just this kind of thing in various ways, direct attempts at manipulating brain functions with technology, including electrical stimulation.
I hate to quote a source as commonplace as wikipedia, but this bit is great info on the film:
The Terminal Man, though not released in the UK, was successful in Japan and, according to Hodges, it was dumped when it came to US screenings. "We had one terrible preview. They projected it without sound for the first 10 minutes, which was excruciating. American audiences found the film too uncompromising, too tough to take. The reviews were dire. "I think people had a problem accepting George Segal in the lead role. At that time he was known as a light comedian, but I wanted him for the film. I liked the fact that it was unusual casting. He is terribly good in it and, now that his career is not too top heavy with comedy, you can see him purely as an actor - and a good one.” 
Nora Sayre gave the film a negative review in The New York Times , describing it as dull and slow: “George Segal’s resilience, humor, and versatility have redeemed quite a few bad scripts. But this role gives him little chance to act, beyond making like a Zombie and rolling his eyeballs back…”
Stanley Kubrick was also a Hodges’ admirer — “Any actor who sees Get Carter will want to work with him.”
When Mike Kaplan, a Warner Bros international marketing executive, attempted to override Warner Bros decision not to release the film in Britain, he sought Kubrick’s help. After explaining the situation, and how the film required a different marketing campaign, Kubrick interrupted with, “I’ve already seen it and it’s terrific.”
The director Terrence Malick wrote to Hodges expressing how much he loved watching The Terminal Man , saying “I have just come from seeing “The Terminal Man” and want you to know what a magnificent, overwhelming picture it is. You achieve moods that I’ve never experienced in the movies before, though it’s only in hope of finding them that I keep going. Your images make me understand what an image is, not a pretty picture but something that should pierce on through like an arrow and speak in a language all its own.”
I can certainly see why Kubrick would appreciate the film, as at times it is very similar to Kubrick’s style & shares some themes explored in Kubrick’s works.
As a plus, the film features Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, which I consider maybe the best piano renditions of Bach I’ve ever heard.
Pleased to say for the most part I’ve been watching alot of good stuff lately.
Cinema Paradiso - (Tornatore, 1988) - 5/5
The Night of the Hunter - (Laughton,1955) - 5/5
Ossessione - (Visconti, 1943) - 4/5
Shoeshine - (De Sica, 1946) - 4.5/5
The 400 Blows - (Truffaut, 1959) - 4.5/5
La Grande Illusion - (Renoir, 1937) - 5/5
Harakiri - (Kobayashi, 1962) - 5/5
Tokyo Story - (Ozu, 1953) - 4/5
Late Spring - (Ozu, 1949) - 4/5
Man with a Movie Camera - (Vertov, 1929) - 4/5
The Seventh Seal - (Bergman, 1957) - 4.5/5
Hamlet - (Brannagh, 1996) - 4.5/5
Bicycle Thieves - De Sica, 1948) - 5/5
The Lady from Shanghai - (Welles, 1947) - 4/5
Captains Courageous - (Fleming, 1937) - 5/5
Treasure Island - (Fleming, 1934) - 4/5
A Guy Named Joe - (Fleming, 1943) - 3.5/5
12 Angry Men - (Lumet, 1957) - 5/5
Persona - (Bergman, 1966) - 3/5
Eraserhead - (Lynch, 1977) - 3/5
Schindlers List - (Spielberg, 1993) - 4/5
The Tenant - (Polanski, 1976) - 4/5
Room 237 - (Ascher, 1012) - 2/5
Scream - (Craven, 1996) - 4/5
Great list of classic movies. Though 3/5 for Eraserhead is a heresy!
You’re right, 3 is too generous
Eraserhead is the only Lynch film I still haven’t watched, curious being that its probably the most closely related to genres I watch the most. I guess I’m saving it for a special occasion or something.
Somewhat related in style, last night I watched Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010). I really wanted to love this film with its subject matter & beautiful dark, psychedelic imagery and excellent electronic soundtrack - stuff like this is right up my alley & particularly with exploring the dark side of psychedelic new age shit, it should have easily been a new favorite. Unfortunately the director just spends too much time on visual shots and never really provides much else, and the film felt rather like a boring chore to sit through.
I know @Mickey13 didn’t think much of Mandy (2018) but I loved it, and although I’ve had Black Rainbow shelved since it was released, I just now got round to viewing and had watched Mandy first & was expecting something equally as good. Black Rainbow felt like it was a practice run for making Mandy, which was a much more developed film. I can understand @Mickey13’s complaints about Mandy, but for me it was a beautiful film that succeeded in going to that dark psychedelic space where Black Rainbow failed, and I’d actually apply @Mickey13’s criticisms of pretentiousness to Black Rainbow rather than Mandy.
Simplistic,modern, and predictable. ( If anything they should have made a sequel to Halloween 2) The soundtrack was excellent, but I felt as though this film has already been made. 7/10.
I tried to watch it several times, but none of my efforts was successful. It’s just one of those movies that don’t do anything for me. I don’t think it’s that bad, or that good, or that awful, or anything, it just leaves me cold
Do you generally like Lynch’s other work or do you feel the same about Lynch overall?
Edit: I guess that’s a bit too broad. Lynch’s work varies quite a bit and can be divided into different kinds of films, although certainly he is known for the more abstract stuff, which is what I was mainly asking about
Ice Cream Man (1995) - Terrible.
I think I’m going to take a note from @Dean on the good stuff and begin a course of viewing several Kurosawa and Orson Welles films - some that I have yet to watch, and a few favorites I haven’t seen in a while.
Dialogue, awkward pause, dialogue, awkward pause.
Eraserhead in a nutshell.
No, I like some of his movies, in particular Blue Velvet, other movies I enjoyed were Mulholland Drive, The Elephant Man and Wild at Heart, the rest of his work doesn’t mean that much to me
They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018)
New documentary on Netflix about the uncompleted Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind. Fascinating and also heart breaking look at Welles in the last part of his career/life, in relation to various struggles in making this film. Edited in a style which seems to be an homage to Welles, particularly F for Fake, making the doc extremely engaging viewing.
I will now have to followup with The Other Side of the Wind, now released also by Netflix, but I don’t know anything as to how this came about.
Blue Velvet is his best for me. I think Eraserhead can be fun but you have to be in the mood for it. I prefer it to many of his others. The only other ones I like are The Elephant Man and The Straight Story. Lost Highway is in the ‘okay’ category but it could have been a lot better. Wild at Heart started out okay but ended up pretty daft. It feels like Lynch starts out with good ideas but never knows how to finish them, so he leaves them unfinished. I thought Mulholland Drive was dreadful, especially that pointless scene with the two men discussing a nightmare one of them had and that dumb blacked-up bag lady (or whatever it’s supposed to be) gives him the fright of his life. It felt like a student film.