Underrated and overrated films (and other general filmy chat)


Saw this film this past weekend:

Now I’d like to see the original, I think. It was bloody as hell and quite well done.


Oh god I love that film. I was shocked at how nearly half the film is simply the final battle as it didn’t seem like it while watching and I never noticed there was no soundtrack music for that part of the film either.

I need to watch some of Takashi Miike’s more disturbing films.


I totally missed that, as that part of the film is so intense. But at some point one of us did note how long the battle was going on for. Quite good.

I’ll have to check out more of his films, too. Kind of reminds me of the work Ben Wheatley has done… I wonder if Wheatley was influenced by Miike?


I tried to find some more Miike to watch a while back, wasn’t much at the library, only The Happiness of the Katakuris, which was a strange film (although now I look and 13 Assassins is there…).

I’ve only seen Audition and Ichi the Killer, I think.

I think The Bird People of China was one I’d heard good things about.


If you like the Samurai stuff his take on Zatoichi is really fun. There are all kinds of neat touches happening in the background.
I have seen most of The Happiness Of The Katakuri’s which is just flat out strange as @daneel said.
Ichi the Killer and Audition are supposed to be kinda hard to watch due to the violence portrayed.


Rarely have I seen so much high powered acting talent given such nonsense to perform.


I will never not love the scene in the briefcase, though.


I tell a lie. I’ve seen Sukiyaki Western Django too.

Not a film that needed to be remade yet again.

Speaking of… Sightseers is probably my favourite Wheatley, so this could be good:


Sightseers is so good. I can’t wait to see this one, too!

I did love his adaptation of High-Rise - he and Ballard seem like a match made in… not heaven exactly, but somewhere awesome.


I’d like to see that as well. I know prevenge is not a sequel to sightseers but i like to think that the mother she plays in that is tina from sightseers. High-rise was superb as well, i saw it again recently. Both amy jump and ben wheatley (they worked on sightseers and high-rise) are becoming firm favourites.

Oh, mustn’t forget this…


Watched 13th tonight. Cheery stuff. Really good documentary, although I wanted to punch Grover Nordquist and Newt Gingrich during their bits.


Watching notes on blindness at the moment. Incredibly moving.


Very good film. And a ton of big names in it. Also, it is reasonably accurate, as far as equipment and tactics go.


I hurt my back last week while shoveling snow, so I have been taking advantage of some forced downtime, and having a week-long lesbian film fest, as one does.

Better than Chocolate: Very sweet Canadian comedy which could have been rather twee, but its earnestness won out. Story of a young woman who works at a lesbian book store, and has her life complicated by two simultaneous events. She meets and falls for a free-spirited traveling painter - and her divorcing mother and younger brother come to town to stay with her. Naturally, hijinx ensue. She and her friend rent the apartment of a sex educator/activist who has sex toys everywhere. And she struggles to come out to her inhibited and controlling mother. It sounded cliched to me but IMO works because of the balance of interesting characters and plot threads. Some great acting especially from Karyn Dwyer as the lead, Maggie; and Peter Outerbridge as her friend the struggling trans-woman Judy. Casting a non-lesbian and cis-male might be controversial from an opportunity/representation perspective, but they seem 100% committed and do a great job here.

Bound: The classic Wachowski neo-noir which everybody else has probably seen years (decades?) ago. The main characters are two women who decide to trust in each other, but this frames a taught locked-room crime story of obsession and greed. One woman helps to emancipate another as the violent men around her become unhinged over money. Mostly a cat-and-mouse game between Jennifer Tilly’s and Joe Pantoliano’s characters. I like how it depicted that people’s instincts for greed and control can be subverted because of their predictability. Cameo by Susie Bright, who was also sex-scene consultant.

Kissing Jessica Stein: Probably the closest thing to a traditional romantic comedy I have watched. Neurotic New Yorker struggles to accept herself or the love of others and starts to grow out of it as she unexpectedly finds herself in a relationship with another woman. And then tries to figure out how to reconcile a same-sex relationship with her identity, and integrate this with her personal, work, and family life with varying degrees of success. Some people probably dislike that (spoilers!) the two women do not end up happily ever after, and others that both women are bisexual so it is not really committed to a lesbian identity. But it benefits from witty dialogue which was written by the two lead actresses, solid acting, and was nostalgic for me to see people dating in the same neighborhood where I was at the time.

Female Perversions: Whaaaat? It sounds so damn tawdry! But then I saw that it stars Tilda Swinton, so I knew that I had to see it. It tells the story of an attorney who is quite domineering and goal-oriented, and being interviewed for possible appointment as a judge. But her personal life is a mess of needy superficial sexual relationships, alienation from her family and her kleptomaniac sister. It is a psychodrama of obsession, compulsion, repression, the effects of both internalizing and denying societal expectations of women. The story is shown with a detached, barely-coherent style where it is uncertain at first to know what insecurities are playing out in people’s interactions, versus in their imaginations. Makes little pretense towards realism and uses symbols, dreams, and stylistic devices which I think make it amateurish in the best possible way. Even though the presentation was a bit flat at times, I found it artistically engaging as a story somebody had to get out of their head and realize with little concern for conventions or how it might be received. Although it was probably the farthest from the lesbian theme I had in mind (although Swinton does have some great same-sex sex scenes), it is so far my favorite for being unique and thwarting my expectations.


So I just watched Yazuka Apocalypse.

That was…something.

Yakuza, then vampire yakuza, then it got weirder.


I’m in. You had me at vampire yakuza anyway.


Take a gander at his episode of Masters of Horror. My brother still calls it the most disturbing film he’s ever seen. And he executive produced the damned thing.


Thank your bro for me then. That whole series was legit amazing, and that ep was a standout.


An Officer and a Gentleman : This one may be a little odd to bring up since it’s not exactly happy mutant material and I get the impression that it’s been gradually slipping off the cultural radar over the years, but I just saw it for the first time and I just have to ask, “Am I the only person who repeatedly burst out laughing at the parts that were supposed to be deeply moving?”


Atlantic City (1980). Never heard of it until it came on TV yesterday. My first Louis Malle film, although I did randomly see a fair bit of Pretty Baby a few years ago.

I liked how, even though it was sometimes slow-paced, every shot counted; either the scene outright showed a plot advancement, or it explained something we need to know about a character’s history, or revealed something about their personality which would later advance the plot. Frequently a scene did all of the above. So even with the pensive pace, the story never lagged. It flowed very naturally. Really excellent craft, there.

I always love movies about a place, and the dilapidated 1980 Atlantic City is like another character in this film. All the acting was excellent. Susan Sarandon is always great. She’s the protagonist, and as such she often plays a bit of an every-woman who has to react to several bizarre characters and the situations they force her into. But she’s able to integrate that duty within her still very unique character, it seems really coherent and three-dimensional. Burt Lancaster is fantastic, he was given a great role. Another perfectly acted role is the woman he is a sort-of caregiver to for pay.

There’s a scene in the hospital when Sarandon is on the phone that is brilliant and hilarious.