Whatcha Been Watching?

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ThirdMan
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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » October 31st, 2019, 9:19 pm

ratsoalbion wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 7:05 pm
For me that one was and is peak Wallace & Gromit.
It was my favourite at the time and, after tonight's triumphant rewatch, clearly still is.
Flabyo wrote:
October 31st, 2019, 8:10 pm
I actually really like the movie too, but I get why others don’t.
Perhaps if I watched it right now it would lose a little something but at the time I loved it.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 1st, 2019, 9:16 am

Our Little Sister (DVD)

Continuing my occasional Hirokazu Koreeda 'season'. I think this is my 6th of the year. He's probably my favourite Japanese director at this point and I don't say that lightly. He's certainly right up there with the very best.

In particular I enjoy the sensitivity he shows towards atypical, or completely dysfunctional, families. It's a powerful feeling to peer into another culture, another language, and see your own life staring back at you.

Another element I appreciate (and I'll have to tread lightly here or I'll sound like a creep) is how he handles his female actors' attractiveness. He presents his actors very naturally. There's no forced sex appeal or blink and you'll miss it titillation. His is a platonic attraction.

I've watched plenty of movies this year, both commercial and independent, that were at pains to point out that the people on screen are desirable. But nothing else has given me butterflies as much as Koreeda's stars eating an evening meal together or quietly talking amongst themselves on their porch. Little looks and glances that you want to capture and hang on your wall. Pure cinema.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 5th, 2019, 12:39 pm

I spent Sunday bingeing on Aardman Animations.

Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (Netflix)
Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave (Netflix)
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death (Netflix)
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Netflix)


Wallace and Gromit stand head and shoulders above everything else in Aardman's filmography. I still feel that The Wrong Trousers is the standout work however the remaining three shorts are all very strong. A Grand Day Out is a complete oddity even by the duo's high standards. A Close Shave and A Matter of Loaf and Death are more down to earth, quite literally. And as with The Wrong Trousers, both are anchored by an antagonist for the ages.

Unfortunately that's exactly what's missing from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Its baddie, in so far as there is one, is rather flat in comparison. There's just no sense of threat. I really enjoyed this in the cinema and I enjoyed it here once again but it's clearly a different type of Wallace and Gromit. The usual film and pop culture references abound but it's lost the Hitchcockian suspense of the shorts. Aardman were under pressure from Dreamworks to broaden out the comedy even more and make it less 'English'. However the studio didn't give in and while the end product is Wallace and Gromit lite it's still Aardman through and through.

Chicken Run (DVD)

For me this is still their best feature length. Funnily enough, despite invoking a specific film and genre of cinema, it's the one with the least amount of movie in-jokes (although there's still quite a lot of them). It's much more confident in its story and characters than the properties that followed. Once again there's a cruel and murderous antagonist and properly dark content throughout, particularly for a family film. It doesn't need a sequel but of course it's getting one. And I'll be there on day one, obviously.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (DVD)

The character models and environments are at their very best here. It was originally designed as a CGI film however after the studio saw one of the hand-built reference sets they decided to revert back to stop-motion. I really enjoyed it. It's not top-tier Aardman but it's a novel concept with plenty of well-executed set-pieces. Hugh Grant, of all people, is in flying form and the spirit of Gromit lives on in Charles Darwin's mute primate butler.

Early Man (DVD)

This was tough going and I take no pleasure in saying that. I actually disliked it. The humour is very broad and yet there's all manner of dusty old football references for the adults in the audience. Ardman is at its best when its working on two levels, i.e. a funny looking penguin for the kids who, for the adults, is also dripping in Hollywood menace. There's very little of that layered comedy here. It's slapstick for the kids and direct winks for the adults. I'm surprised Dreamworks weren't attached to it because it has their fingerprints all over. It's also been read as a 'Brexit film' and I don't think that's just the Guardian doing their thing. There's definitely something in its DNA about Britain's relationship with its neighbours. There's a lot of laughing at Johnny Foreigner and his funny accent and of course we get to beat him at a game of football in the end (that's not a spoiler, because of course the good guys win). I won't be watching this again.

A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman (Netflix)

A lovely little hour-long documentary about the studio. I didn't realise that they were also behind so many iconic TV adverts. And then there's Morph and Creature Comforts! I guess I've been a fan of the studio for even longer than I thought.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by Flabyo » November 5th, 2019, 7:14 pm

Did you ever watch the one CG film they did, ‘Flushed Away’? It tends to get panned, but I still rather like it.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 5th, 2019, 7:27 pm

Flabyo wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 7:14 pm
Did you ever watch the one CG film they did, ‘Flushed Away’? It tends to get panned, but I still rather like it.
Yeah, saw it in the cinema upon release and very much enjoyed it. At the time I didn't realise it was Aardman.

Arthur Christmas is another of their CGI offerings (working alongside Sony). It's on Netflix but I'm going to wait until the silly season begins before watching it.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by Alex79uk » November 5th, 2019, 7:33 pm

Arthur Christmas isn't bad.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 5th, 2019, 7:44 pm

I also tried Shaun the Sheep. Unlike the two Shaun films, which are superb and loaded with grown-up gags, the TV show is pitched at a very young audience meaning I felt slightly foolish pressing play. But it's the same old Aardman. Wonderful set-pieces and a lovely, welcoming feeling. In the A Grand Night In documentary its creators state that the touchstones of the show are silent cinema and classic slapstick comedy. And it shows. So there's enough there for the adults and at 7 minutes per episode I'll be keeping it on stand-by as a quick palate cleanser.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 5th, 2019, 7:46 pm

Alex79uk wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 7:33 pm
Arthur Christmas isn't bad.
Yeah it seems to have reviewed quite well.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by Flabyo » November 5th, 2019, 8:36 pm

I forgot Arthur Christmas was one of theirs. Good film that.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by Simonsloth » November 5th, 2019, 9:24 pm

Arthur Christmas is fantastic. I love it. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in it.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by clippa » November 6th, 2019, 10:40 am

Flabyo wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 7:14 pm
‘Flushed Away’? It tends to get panned
Haaaaaa!

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by clippa » November 7th, 2019, 9:26 am

The kill team
Mnuh.
Really weak and ham fisted dramatisation of the story from the directors previous documentary of the same name.
I think a little subtlety could have gone a very long way here.
2 thumbs and no more. My bum shall not yield!

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by Alex79uk » November 7th, 2019, 7:45 pm

I watched the first series of Peaky Blinders. Never interested me but I thought I'd give it a try. It might be popcorn fodder, but I enjoyed it a lot.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by clippa » November 7th, 2019, 11:26 pm

In Fabric
Ha! That was really good. Nice and slow and gentle, I had half a smile on my face all the way through and even a couple of chuckles even though I was on my own and trying not to wake anyone up. I really liked all the old catalogue stuff and the tv adverts.
I wasn't complaining, but there was a little too much of it, could have shaved 20 minutes off without changing the pace I think.
Fun. A solid 4 bagger.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by clippa » November 8th, 2019, 2:07 pm

went to look up the guys other films and this 1 star review for The Duke Of Burgundy made me chuckle
Described in advance as a lesbian S&M spectacle, this will suitably disappoint those who are interested in it for that reason.
"Drama/romance" is enough to put me off. If nobody gets their head cut off then they better bloody well be in space for the duration.

Oh, Berberian Sound Studio, that was good, I've seen that. Ooh, horror anthology, that'll do me - https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_fi ... de_to_evil

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 8th, 2019, 2:41 pm

clippa wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 2:07 pm
went to look up the guys other films and this 1 star review for The Duke Of Burgundy made me chuckle
Described in advance as a lesbian S&M spectacle, this will suitably disappoint those who are interested in it for that reason.
"Drama/romance" is enough to put me off. If nobody gets their head cut off then they better bloody well be in space for the duration.

Oh, Berberian Sound Studio, that was good, I've seen that. Ooh, horror anthology, that'll do me - https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_fi ... de_to_evil
If you enjoyed In Fabric and Berberian Sound Studio then I'd definitely recommend The Duke of Burgundy. I consider the three of them a type of informal trilogy playing around with European horror and eroticism. A one star review is very harsh.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by clippa » November 8th, 2019, 2:49 pm

Go on then, I'll give it a go.
If someone walks in during a booby bum bit, I'm throwing you straight under the bus.

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ThirdMan
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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm

clippa wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 2:49 pm
Go on then, I'll give it a go.
If someone walks in during a booby bum bit, I'm throwing you straight under the bus.
I'll accept the responsibility.

It's definitely the weaker of the three though so go in with reduced expectations.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 11th, 2019, 1:07 pm

Apocalypse Now Redux (Blu-ray)

This was my first time with the Redux version which contains a full 40 minutes of additional footage. The best is perhaps a late night scene with the Playboy bunnies that is equal parts tragic and surreal. The worst is clearly the infamous French plantation sequence which feels like an extended dream sequence imported from another film. It kills the mood and destroys the pacing. It's notable that Coppola removed at least some of this extra material for this year's 40th anniversary 'Final Cut'. He should have trusted his instincts from 1979 because he got it right the first time. Still though, what a filmmaker! The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now. Back to back over 7 years. Remarkable.

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Re: Whatcha Been Watching?

Post by ThirdMan » November 11th, 2019, 9:25 pm

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (Blu-ray)

Eleanor Coppola's seminal 'making of' documentary charting her husband's descent into near-madness during the production of Apocalypse Now. It's a significant piece of work in its own right, certainly the finest of its type and leagues above the usual bonus supplements that accompany these Blu-ray releases.

If you ever thought that Marlon Brando was a self-indulgent asshole then tune in here to have it confirmed. And yet all of his bullshit paid off with that intense monologue. He's incredible. Ditto Martin Sheen whose violent, alcohol-fuelled breakdown was captured and placed in the film, and was followed soon after by a heart-attack, at just 36 years old, that nearly killed him. Neither man lacked the 'motivation' that actor's so often speak about.

Amidst it all is Francis-Ford Coppola with military helicopters above his head and pyrotechnics coming out of his ears, pulling his monstrous playground together and giving it life.

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