The best movie(s) I'd never heard about

Started by Pas, April 05, 2011, 08:42:12 PM

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of course i took FilmStruck's 14 day free trial:

i almost wrote a post about other things but then i didn't, and i'd already uploaded these photos so


QuoteA delightfully aware and exquisite children's tale about the dangers of fascism and the power of self-image, The King and the Mockingbird (Le roi et l'oiseau) tells of a vainglorious king's painting coming to life and deposing of its image-sake. This new king hunts down the also-risen portraits of a young shepherdess he admires and her lover-boy chimney sweep in order to steal her hand. Based on the work of Hans Christian Andersen, this affably subversive animated adventure was scripted by legendary Jacques Prevert (Port of Shadows, Children of Paradise). A wildly inventive treat and apropos fable, the film took decades to see release and was a big inspiration for Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki.


you guys what has been the best Hollywood movie since recently.

example titles:

Oz the Great and the Powerful
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Yogi Bear
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
The Magnificent Seven
San Andreas
The Huntsman: Winter's War
Monster Trucks
Clash/Wrath of the Titans
Jack the Giant Slayer
G I Joe
Gods of Egypt

asking you to openly admit you liked some movie you'd never thought you'd see and later i'll thank you


I just saw San Andreas a couple months ago and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Between that and 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, I apparently have an affinity toward movies about absurd global catastrophes bringing an estranged family back together.
My house, my rules, my coffee


thanks. i've never seen any of those three movies so i plan to make San Andreas the one. no i think i saw 2012 but wished i was doing something else. but still.

because i haven't found contrary evidence, i'm currently believing Goosebumps is the best recent Hollywood movie


If you didn't enjoy 2012, I can't imagine you'll enjoy San Andreas much. The key, to me, is to watch them as though you're watching a very dry comedy. The more self-seriously they treat the spectacle, the funnier and more entertaining they become.
My house, my rules, my coffee


response to San Andreas:

i felt strongly compelled toward liking San Andreas because i thought normal people were going to tackle impossible scenarios, and that's the essence of power derived from religion and cinema

i knew none of it was going to be believable so what i wanted to know was the Hollywood stuff.

the first shot doesn't have a person, it's hills. there's the world. then a car on the street. and that takes me into this wild car crash which i think steals from both the Wachowskis and Zach Snyder and maybe Spielberg and Final Destination? it was awesome

i was in. the guitar strumming began. i knew the American spirit was in action via Hollywood pathways.

once everyone started talking i remembered i already knew the road ahead would be rocky. but The Rock was like "just doing my job" i knew i was only being fucked by a dream.

the Rock started working and i kept watching. he was flying a helicopter in a canyon, "tipping the hat." and i was realizing that life obstacles can be overcome with skill and perseverance.

this is a human fact: sometimes i encounter problems in my life but they're rarely as well imagined as they are in movies. and when they are i think "this feels like a movie." everything is outrageous and i i watch more and more actors behave approximately how i think normal people would during devastating scenarios. normal people would make the right decision.

once the big earthquake starts that shot of the Hollywood sign wobbling was ridiculous, but later when the guy is running down the stairs except for some reason he falls down a shaft that opens behind a crumbling wall: that was fully necessary and it was smart of them to include it.

movies about everything horrible happening is crucial toward a full perspective of human experience. positive.

this is a thing i will surmise: old people see movies about young people, but young people don't see movies about old people, which is why most movies are about young people, and i haven't heard this but my guess is that 99%ers see movies about the 1%ers but the 1% don't see movies about the 99. i'm thinking during a scene of luxury atop of a skyscraper. hey at least not everyone is an actor. these are normal people being played by actors.

when skyscrapers started collapsing around the helicopter i was only asked to care about the helicopter, which made me feel weird. but then the underground parking lot scene made total sense and restored my faith.

a cool thing about Hollywood movies is when they piss me off if i stay patient i know they want to restore my faith

that was really helpful to remember when the movie became boring af for a short-long while. like it was short but felt long. seriously: some phone conversation detailed plans ahead bullshit.

i about nearly died of distraction until a gun was pointed at the back of The Rock's head. i like how exciting and open the world feels, based on the filmmakers needing to be able to find excitement at a moment's notice. this is the most shining and duplicable quality of Hollywood narratives: make your way back to fun asap. it's not much different from Cesar Aira's flight forward, i don't think. he just described it better

but the gun at the back of the head was just a slap in an audience member's face. seriously the boring shit is thick. there's this whole thing about the guy from Sideways being a professor btw. he's reminding non-la tourists that every fucking person who lives in LA is utterly terrified by our impending massive earthquake. scientists have been predicting we're ready to bust for a long spell now. i've heard responsible, reasonable people leave from LA, listing fear of the quake among their central considerations.

all the important parts of an action movie take place during the action. all the normal human shit kept happening but i just remembered my religion of cinema and that a movie is yin/yang, normal/ridiculous.

i saw the San Andreas fault split open amid the normal people shit and i knew the movie was reminding me that action was ahead. all this normal shit must be building up to serious trouble, i figured.

when The Rock was having flashbacks i remembered that Joe Dante mentions that watching bad movies is as educational as watching good movies. like i was seeing clear evidence that i should never do this particular thing The Rock is doing because i'll expose myself as obviously desperate to find human drama amid devastating widespread horror which isn't the foreground but the background aka oh Hollywood, you golden goose.

San Andreas tests my patience exactly as normal people do when they tell me stories. this movie felt like a normal person and didn't agree with me about what makes a movie good.

a string of startling revelations took place while i dreamt of life being more like how my imagination makes it. pta says you should watch a movie then go back and write it. i feel like i could write the drama of San Andreas better by like fucking accident. i could out-drama this sweetie movie in a single line i'm positive. if any one person said one thing i could believe i'd shit my pants.

props to air traffic being reasonable during this severe land devastation. it was helpful to this movie that The Rock was the only person thinking of being in the air. he's a goddamn hero. every problem this movie throws at him he solves. like there's this side-story about him skydiving his exwife out of an airplane onto a baseball field. The Rock does that casual and ends with a sex joke because he's a real man.

by the time the SF earthquake hits i'm positive this movie is about real people with real emotions, which helps me a ton during action sequences which i could've become desensitized to by now. this is what's tricky for this movie: it has to remind me to care about what i'm seeing, even when i'm used to seeing it. but this movie had known how to prepare me and i didn't follow along but i know that the SF earthquake was deeply moving and The Rock is a real man.

then, i had forgotten that it always feels intense to watch an object be removed from a wound. glass from the body: oof. that gets me! who was the first person to film glass being pulled from a person, that's an answer i wish i had

by the time The Rock has to race to beat the crest of the wave, but a container ship and its propellers are encountered, i had once again fully entered the magical reality of movies.

lord: the tsunami was a drama which felt much different to me than the eartquake. such sad music. someone died who earlier the movie explained to me wouldn't be a big deal. he was really inconsiderate and didn't think of others so it was okay for him to die, although hollywood opposes the death penalty, so the devil makes himself sound like a normal person so that you will listen to him and never trust anyone ever is the point.

when the tsunami wave swept through the skyscraper i was amazed i was lucky enough to see this. wow. there was a snapzoom to waves flowing from skyscraper windows. incredible. the scale of imagination within cgi territory astounds me. there's no fucking limit.

i nodded off while The Rock was performing cpr on his daughter. there wasn't a single shred of possibility his daughter would die within this movie. the swimming in the skyscraper scene was next-level Hollywood shit, i bought the whole thing. i was gripped. this was what this movie came to do. what this movie could imagine well: a flight toward the outer limits of performance.

then the monster was dead, would the movie continue? i was wondering. i like the Roger Corman rule: monster dead, movie over. yes. it was over there was a 7min credit scene.  so it's a 1hr47min long movie.

California Dreamin' played over the credits.



Andrew Horn's The Big Blue (1988)

Quote from: The SpectacleTHE BIG BLUE follows a snoop for hire named Jack (David Brisbin) contracted by a dissatisfied housewife named Myrna (filmmaker Sheila McLaughlin, of COMMITTED and SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS) to spy on her husband Howard, played by the film's screenwriter Jim Neu. Myrna thinks Howard is cheating on her, but he's actually involved in a drug trafficking deal with Max (John Erdman), a goateed East Village entrepreneur having a romance with a free-spirited and beautiful blonde named Carmen (Taunie VreNon). Problem is, Jack is surveilling Howard while having his own dalliance with Carmen (who dresses completely different every time she leaves the house), giving way to a four-way meditation on loneliness – with art director Anne Stuhler juxtaposing Horn's tortured ensemble against a vertical maze of staggering German Expressionist-style skyscrapers.

My favorite new discovery in some time. Playwright Jim Neu's dialogue is as specific in voice as David Mamet's or Ernest Lehman & Clifford Odets', full of sharp wordplay, but his work isn't even published, which is a real shame. I felt high listening to it, lit up by the sense that I was hearing something truly original.

Can't figure what outfit could justify putting this out and catch enough eyes besides Criterion, but it's one of those films that, as esoteric as it is, has such clear craft in the writing, deserves a much wider audience. At the screening I was at a few members of the crew were in attendance, and I think someone mentioned Horn's brother (?) has all of the original materials.

I got the impression that many people there had been around for New York's No Wave film movement, which this seems tangentially connected to, but wider awareness of Horn's work seems non-existent beyond the city's walls. In the unlikely scenario the movie screens again it's worth seeking out.

There was a lengthy write-up on The Spectacle's website for the retrospective: IT MAY BE FINISHED, BUT IT ISN'T OVER: ANDREW HORN, which contains many images and clips from his work.

Also Blank City (2010) is a good doc that details the film & music scene this kind of film was born on the heels of.


Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers and Joseph Strick's The Savage Eye (1960)

In this journey through the dark side of 1950s urban life, the camera follows Judith - a newly divorced woman looking for a fresh start - through the streets of Los Angeles as she encounters the strange denizens of the city, ranging from trendsetters to religious fanatics. All the tawdry and desperate faces of this world become a mirror for Judith's personal failures and struggles to claim her new life.

This is *the* undiscovered gem I most wish for a restored release of, nearly singular in its marriage of style and subject matter. The film was preserved in 2008 by the Academy Film Archive.

Quote from: Imogen Sara SmithThis independently produced documentary-fiction hybrid is not strictly film noir, but its penetrating study of urban alienation draws from the same well of midcentury anomie. Among the film's creators were blacklisted screenwriter/poet Ben Maddow and peerless street photographer Helen Levitt.

A newly divorced woman arrives in Los Angeles alone, retreating from life. Through her eyes and her stylized interior monologue we experience a phantasmagoric vision of the city: freeways, hotel rooms, bars, strippers, wrestlers, faith-healers, transvestites, beauty parlors, bingo parlors, car accidents, hospitals. Yet in this tawdry, desperate place the woman ultimately finds renewal and healing through connections with strangers.

Quote from: Letterboxd user rjtougasA bleakly lonely, yet beautifully poetic examination of a divorced woman and the City of Angels. Drunks and drag queens. Burlesque and bible thumping. Dark and light. Cynicism and possibility in an artificial world. The true In a Lonely Place.

Quote from: Conor BatemanThe Savage Eye is something of a different beast, though. Whilst it shares some of the pseudo-documentary stylings of the crowd work in Silence Has No Wings, its approach to voiceover and character is wholly unique. What Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers and Joseph Strick have crafted is a bleak and unusual film which savagely attacks the banality of existence in 1950s America, as seen through the eyes of a newly divorced woman (Barbara Baxley, brilliant here) who wants time to just pass her by. It's primarily unusual in the way it acts as something caught between the cracked divide of documentary and fiction. Its diegetic dialogue-free narrative is cut into a documentary of landscape and people, the filmmakers deftly applying social commentary to the faces of innocent bystanders, whose genuine actions seem to perfectly reflect the depressive inner monologue of our protagonist; shouting crowds become animalistic spectacle, target for our derision.

Quote from: makeminecriterionJudith is an uncharacteristic female character for American cinema, being unapologetically childless and punishingly alienated. Her solitude, as Imogen Sara Smith considers, is a rare subject in art – "lonely women characters are common enough, but willfully anti-social loners are typically male."

As Gordon Theisen detects, The Savage Eye might even be read as an antecedent to Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), interrogating the same psychological isolation, lurid atmospheres, and moral confusions.

Quote from: makeminecriterionStanding with hallmark works of the first American New Wave like Lionel Rogosin's On the Bowery (1957), John Cassavetes' Shadows (1959), Alfred Leslie and Robert Frank's Pull My Daisy (1959), and Shirley Clarke's The Connection (1961), the experimental documentary The Savage Eye began with Joseph Strick filming in and around Los Angeles on a wind-up Eyemo camera.

Strick would co-direct, produce, and edit the film with Sidney Meyers and Ben Maddow on a $65,000 budget, shooting over four years of weekends with an impressive trio of cinematographers – Helen Levitt, the celebrated New York street photographer; Haskell Wexler, soon to break into his legendary career in Hollywood; and Jack Couffer, a noted naturalist and filmmaker and a key figure in Disney's nature documentaries like the True-Life Adventures series.

Maddow, a former Bellevue orderly and government relief investigator during the Depression, had already established himself in Hollywood with scripts for films like Framed (Richard Wallace, 1947), Intruder in the Dust (Clarence Brown, 1949), and The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston, 1950), for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Maddow was later blacklisted for his left-wing background but he still wrote scripts with Philip Yordan as his front, likely contributing to Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar (1954) and Anthony Mann's God's Little Acre (1958).

Sidney Meyers was best known for his twice-Oscar nominated documentary The Quiet One (1948), about a troubled African-American boy and the sensitive care he receives at a reform school. Although credited as written by novelist and critic James Agee, The Quiet One was a collaboration with Agee, Meyers, Levitt, and painter Janice Loeb. Maddow's friend and collaborator Irving Lerner, with whom he made the short film Muscle Beach (1948), also contributed to the production of The Savage Eye but left midway through filming. For his part, Lerner received credit as a technical advisor.


sounds heavenly and i'm going to dl that later when i can


Thanks for the link, wilder! Looking forward to it, premise and poster give me proto-Carnival of Souls vibez.


The Savage Eye was great. It is great. A spectator to a reality in which you don't want to participate. Navel-gazing portrayed as a conversation one has with one's consciousness. I like when she was rationalizing drinking a martini at 2 in the afternoon. I like when she said the wrestler's ecstasy became her ecstasy. I like seeing people wanting to be healed so badly they expect God to do it. And I like other things about the movie I like.


Quote from: jenkins on June 17, 2020, 03:02:18 PM
A spectator to a reality in which you don't want to participate.


putneyswipe - your post finally pushed me to pick that up. There are two US releases: one with extras, from Arrow, and another from Code Red with a slightly different transfer derived from the original camera negative.

These reviews didn't hurt, either:

Quote from: Letterboxd user josh lewisworking men drawn to and expressing themselves through danger; the community that forms around it, the feelings of beauty, love and loss generated by it and the money that exacerbates its worst qualities/impulses. sorta like a cheap racing b-movie Only Angels Have Wings. real cars smashing into each other. sid haig. desert jazz racing.

Quote from: Letterboxd user matt lynchtotally immersed in its subculture, obsessed with the zen allure of professionally blowing off steam.

Quote from: Letterboxd user Ira BrookerMan, I fucking dare you to show me a cooler movie than this.

Semi-charismatic street racer Richard Davalos impresses semi-legit race car impressario Brian Donlevy and starts a heady climb through the ranks of semi-professional California stock car racing, hampered/aided along the way by semi-feral racer Sid Haig, semi-tragic racing fan Beverly Washburn, and semi-available racing wife Ellen Burstyn.

Jack Hill digs deep into the specifics of a very specific subculture and comes up with something like a masterpiece of observation. I'm by no means a car guy and even less a race car guy, but I was instantly mesmerized by the inner workings of the insane world of Figure 8 racing. There's a ton of wordless racing footage here that could've easily bored me stiff. Instead, I was full-on riveted. Hell, there's a near 5-minute sequence of folks driving dune buggies around the desert while jazz guitar plays, and I found it downright breathtaking. It's a scintillating, straight-shooting, occasionally beautiful piece of moviemaking. That's no small feat for a director to pull off, especially when every male character is a miserable piece of shit.