Siskoid's activity

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    Siskoid commented on The Beekeeper 1 day 6 hours ago
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    It's quite correct to compare The Beekeeper to John Wick - a revenge story with a stoic hero who goes through bad guys like a hot knife through butter - but I was rather more reminded of Thomas Jane's Punisher. The Punisher had a more outrageous villain - here, that role is played by Josh Hutcherson's slightly ridiculous tech bro - and was, well, a superhero story. Jason Statham doesn't speak much in this flick, but when he does, it's usually a bee-related pun or metaphor. He's as on-brand as Batman. If a bee had flown into the window the night he was thinking of a shtick. Some good action beats, though what makes Statham Statham is that he's cool as steel and confuses his enemies with calm serenity. Great to see spam callers get their asses kicked, of course. It's clearly the UK playing the States, so uneven accents, a "beach house" that looks like an Earl's estate, etc. You can't fool us, but the trade-off is that there's lots of UK-based talent in this - Jemma Redgrave, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Irons - so who's complaining? It all makes for a fun enough, if undemanding, revenge actioner.
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    Siskoid checked The Beekeeper 1 day 6 hours ago
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    Siskoid commented on Manon des sources 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Named after Pagnol's original film which spawned the "Water of the Hills" novel than then gave us Berri's two-part Provencal epic starting in Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring (Manon des Sources) jumps ahead about a decade to see the consequences of the previous chapter's land grab. It is the New Testament to part 1's Old, with the landscape that, while beautiful, felt hellish now a colorful pastoral setting. Manon, the wronged hunchback's daughter, is a shepherdess who punishes the sinful, but also seems to provide a miracle when the village is hit with drought. Daniel Auteuil's character has become obsessed with her, and is again on the verge of repenting his sins, but he may be in too deep. His father (Yves Montand) is in greater need of redemption, or if unavailable, punishment, and this comes about in a most melodramatic way. This, and the fact that Manon lacks the agency that summary blurbs would give her as an avenger, makes me affect this second part less than the first, but I'm only slightly disappointed by the film's novelistic epilogue.
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    Siskoid favorited Manon des sources 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Siskoid checked Manon des sources 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Siskoid commented on Jean de Florette 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Native French speaker or not, I was happy to have subtitles for Claude Berri's Jean de Florette, as the accents and patois of rural Southern France felt almost completely opaque to me. But the story is entirely absorbing. Farmers, a ruthless father and hapless son (Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil), have their eye on their neighbor's land and therefore sabotage his heir's chances of making a go of the property, in particular on the question of water and irrigation. That heir, a hunchbacked family man from the city, is played by Gérard Depardieu with enthusiasm to succeed despite the harsh, arid conditions of the region, and there's also a sense that the film is pitting science and modernity against folk knowledge as an additional stake. The former will win unless the latter cheats. We absolutely do not want the scoundrels to win, and prey for Auteuil to relent as he always seems on the cusp, and so if the film leaves one unsatisfied by the unfolding tragedy - a kind of redress of the Fall of Man, in a way - it's because this is a four-hour epic split in two. The next chapter, out the same year, would resolve things. But even without it, I liked Jean de Florette a lot. Berri takes Pagnol's novel (itself an expansion of one of his films) and creates a rich, detailed, lived-in world from it, where even the venal characters are interesting.
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    Siskoid favorited Jean de Florette 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Siskoid checked Jean de Florette 1 day 7 hours ago
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    Siskoid gained an award for list Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown 1 day 21 hours ago
    Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown (bronze)

    Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown bronze award

    "Trading on its impeccable reputation, Halliwell’s now presents it’s Top 1,000 favorite...
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    Siskoid commented on Freaky Farley 2 days 8 hours ago
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    The earliest cryptid-inspired horror comedy I've seen from Motern Media, Freaky Farley definitely feels like an early effort from the gang, with Matt Farley lending his last name to his character, the negative to many of his future roles, in particular the stunted Marshall from Manchvegas. That also holds true for the local cryptids, which are much the same, except morally reversed. Here, Farley is a peeping Tom whose mother died under mysterious circumstances, leading his father to abuse him in very strange (and non-triggering) ways. It's all played even more archly than later offerings, and the usual community theater earnestness is at odds with the lead's meanness, and can't quite pull off its action finale. That said, there are still things to like, including the deadpan inclusion of a certain townsperson who shall not be named because it's better if it comes out of left field for you as it did for me.
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    Siskoid checked Freaky Farley 2 days 8 hours ago
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    Siskoid commented on Henry Fool 3 days 19 hours ago
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    There's a conversation in Hal Hartley's Henry Fool that presages the ways the internet would one day be used, so it's absolutely proper for it to present personality types we might recognize from social media, but there was such a thing. Henry is a big-talking conspiracy theorist with a sex offender's past. Simon Grimm is anti-social and becomes a pornographic, and grammar-lacking poet under Henry's QAnon tutelage. His bullies are neo-fascists who follow a dumbed-down moral minority candidate and commit/excuse domestic abuse. Fay is comparatively normal, even though she (Parker Posey) is just there to shout at the world. I spoiled myself with this one by seeing the two later parts of the trilogy, so I knew where the characters were going to end up. Which is surprising if you don't have foreknowledge. But how they get there is still an intriguing journey. It does make me appreciate more how Fay Grimm recontextualized this film to spin out into a spy story. I can't quite decide what I would have said had I seen Henry Fool first as nature intended.
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    Siskoid checked Henry Fool 3 days 19 hours ago

    Henry Fool

    1997
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    Siskoid commented on When Strangers Marry 5 days 4 hours ago
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    In terms of premise, When Strangers Marry (later retitled Betrayed) is B-movie director William Castle remaking Hitchcock's Suspicion. You can hardly get someone more innocent-looking than Kim Hunter as the new wife of a travelling salesman who seems responsible for a murder, as she comes to suspect. He certainly looks guilty, but you want to hang on the other man in her life because he's played by Robert Mitchum who's always had more edge. With only two choices, it's not much of a mystery, but you might go back and forth between them before the solution. It makes for a fair, if melodramatic, thriller, and though Castle isn't Hitchcock, he's still a director with flair and doesn't mind showing it. Amusing for us nerds is the head detective in the affair being played by Neil Hamilton, so you can totally head-canon this to be one of Commissioner Gordon's early cases. He didn't Batman on this one, but as a 65-minute matinée, it works on its own terms.
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    Siskoid commented on SLC Punk! 5 days 7 hours ago
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    I think calling out SLC Punk for being an American version of Trainspotting is probably right, even if a character called Heroin Bob is dead against taking drugs. There's the same anarchic spirit, the same kind of soundtrack (except I don't like it), the same kind of narration, and plenty of drug-fuelled POVs. It's no Trainspotting, but it does feel personal to writer-director James Merendino seeing as he's a Salt Lake City native himself, and presents its punk scene under fire with some love. It's punk under American puritanical conditions, punk rebelling against itself as it tries to get out from under the shadow of OG Brit punk. The story keeps bouncing around as Matthew Lillard (who should have had a very different career based on this - he carries the film) tells anecdotes that send us careening into flashbacks willy-nilly. It's an anarchic structure that is probably meant to evoke "punk", even if the thesis of the film is that the punk ethos isn't viable and like other youth movements, is something you necessarily outgrow. Lillard's Stevo is thus living through the death of punk, not as a movement (others may take up the baton), but in his own group. It's the death of youthful idealism, ironically dressed up as fatalism. It's kind of depressing, actually.
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    Siskoid checked SLC Punk! 5 days 7 hours ago

    SLC Punk!

    1998
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    Siskoid commented on Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas 6 days 5 hours ago
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    A relatively early Motern Media production, Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas feels to me like a spoof of one of those beach movies from the 60s. The characters are teens played by adults (or in this case, adults who act like teens), getting up to a little romance, some involved pranking, a number of novelty songs, a bit of detective work (as a plot decides to show its face), and perhaps meet... a cryptid? Hey, it's all par for the course in these kinds of mash-ups (I'm reminded of MST3K classic Catalina Caper which has a random mermaid), and Motern's crew is very interested in folk tales, cryptids and local legends - they would return to this kind of thing only a few years later with Riverbeast. They've already got the deadpan comedy, and the dad (as usual, Kevin McGee) is so dry, he had me laughing out loud several times. Obviously, it's make with little means, but as usual, that's its charm. I perhaps can't shake the sense that this is a first draft of the Riverbeast movie, but it goes different places (TOO MANY places?) and stands on its own.
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