Dude Rates Movies

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Victoria
8
Sebastian Schipper (2015)
Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski
Sunday 14 June 2020 AD

No comment

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Late Night
6
Nisha Ganatra (2019)
Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow
Saturday 13 June 2020 AD

No comment

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Onward
2
Dan Scanlon (2020)
Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Saturday 6 June 2020 AD

No comment

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Before Midnight
7
Richard Linklater (2013)
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Sunday 31 May 2020 AD

No comment

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The Gentlemen
7
Guy Ritchie (2019)
Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery
Saturday 30 May 2020 AD

No comment

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Don't Breathe
7
Fede Alvarez (2016)
Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette
Wednesday 20 May 2020 AD

No comment

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The Peanut Butter Falcon
7
Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz (2019)
Zack Gottsagen, Ann Owens, Dakota Johnson
Saturday 16 May 2020 AD

No comment

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Extraction
7
Sam Hargrave (2020)
Chris Hemsworth, Bryon Lerum, Ryder Lerum
Thursday 7 May 2020 AD

No comment

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The Girl from Monaco
6
La fille de Monaco
Anne Fontaine (2008)
Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem, Stéphane Audran
Sunday 3 May 2020 AD

No comment

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Snowpiercer
7
Bong Joon Ho (2013)
Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
Friday 1 May 2020 AD

No comment

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A Hidden Life
6
Terrence Malick (2019)
August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Maria Simon
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

tooooooooo long

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Coco Before Chanel
7
Coco avant Chanel
Anne Fontaine (2009)
Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

No comment

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Mean Streets
2
Martin Scorsese (1973)
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

Scorcese gangster movie Beta 1.0

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Richard Jewell
7
Clint Eastwood (2019)
Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Stanley
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

No comment

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
2
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Robert Wiene (1920)
Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

Cinema is as old as the world.

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The Innocents
5
Les innocentes
Anne Fontaine (2016)
Lou de Laâge, Agata Buzek, Agata Kulesza
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

No comment

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White As Snow
7
Blanche comme neige
Anne Fontaine (2019)
Lou de Laâge, Isabelle Huppert, Charles Berling
Thursday 30 April 2020 AD

No comment

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Wild Strawberries
6
Smultronstället
Ingmar Bergman (1957)
Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
Sunday 5 April 2020 AD

No comment

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Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
6
J.J. Abrams (2019)
Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver
Saturday 4 April 2020 AD

No comment

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Road Games
6
Roadgames
Richard Franklin (1981)
Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward
Saturday 28 March 2020 AD

No comment

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The Guilty
9
Den skyldige
Gustav Möller (2018)
Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi
Saturday 28 March 2020 AD

No comment

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La Belle Époque
5
Nicolas Bedos (2019)
Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier
Monday 23 March 2020 AD

No comment

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Frozen II
4
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee (2019)
Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad
Sunday 22 March 2020 AD

I didn’t hooked to all the fantastic stuff, but the fire lizard frog is very cute.

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Les Misérables
9
Les misérables
Ladj Ly (2019)
Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga
Sunday 22 March 2020 AD

No comment

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Teen Spirit
6
Max Minghella (2018)
Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, Archie Madekwe
Sunday 22 March 2020 AD

Max Minghella’s directional debut looks like any good directional debut. Sensitive, great acting, some good ideas here and there, some awkward moments here and there, not very significant overall.

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Total Recall
7
Paul Verhoeven (1990)
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Sunday 22 March 2020 AD

The story is interesting, but the many action scenes are really outdated. Long shot of one character shooting pew pew pew. Long shot of the other character shooting pew pew pew. Damage and havoc created by vehicles boom boom.

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Zombieland: Double Tap
7
Ruben Fleischer (2019)
Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone
Sunday 22 March 2020 AD

Pretty consistent with the first one: I spent a good time!

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1917
9
Sam Mendes (2019)
Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Stop saying the movie is one long shot for fuck sake! (Not because it was actually filmed in multiple shots, I don’t care how the movie was made, but because:) There are 2 shots in the movie, with a clear, black-screen-for-multiple-seconds pause between the 2 scenes, and this transition is narratively significant, and the second scene starts with a visual and auditive moment of cinema that is out of this world. So this is the reaction of a director who just made a movie in 2 shots, who was the grand favorite for the Oscar for Best Director in all betting sites, and who just lost (to Parasite’s director).

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Avengers: Endgame
4
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo (2019)
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

No comment

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Bombshell
6
Jay Roach (2019)
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Margot Robbie was so hot in this! /s

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Jojo Rabbit
8
Taika Waititi (2019)
Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Finally a movie that offers a sensitive perspective of Hitler and not some cliché based on his few missteps that unfairly depicts him as some sort of devil /s

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Joker
9
Todd Phillips (2019)
Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Christopher Nolan: "Hey my Batman movies are realistic takes on the Gotham universe". Todd Phillips: "Hold my beer". This is a phenomenal telling of Arthur Fleck's (the Joker real name) fall into madness and violence. The movie starts so realistic and dark, it doesn't even feel like it is in any way connected to the DC universe. The connection to the universe is made as Arthur embraces his Joker persona, which is sort of an elegant progression. Pussies won't like the movie because they confuse ideological validation with the plausible depiction of an unfortunate mechanism (or they're condescending enough to think they're smart enough to make the difference, but others might not, and somehow this is the movie's responsibility). Instead of enjoying the irony of an “applause” sign blinking when the Joker is invited on a TV show, they would like a “this is bad” sign blinking at the screening of the movie.

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Judy
5
Rupert Goold (2019)
Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

No comment

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Knives Out
9
Rian Johnson (2019)
Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Brilliant screenplay.

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Marriage Story
7
Noah Baumbach (2019)
Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Julia Greer
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

No comment

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The Lighthouse
5
Robert Eggers (2019)
Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

A24 strikes again.

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The Two Popes
7
Fernando Meirelles (2019)
Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujín
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

No comment

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Jean de Florette
9
Claude Berri (1986)
Yves Montand, Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

skycrapers

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Manon of the Spring
8
Manon des sources
Claude Berri (1986)
Yves Montand, Emmanuelle Béart, Daniel Auteuil
Tuesday 11 February 2020 AD

Such a strong and well-constructed story overall.

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6 Underground
6
Michael Bay (2019)
Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

No comment

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8 Women
5
8 femmes
François Ozon (2002)
Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Danielle Darrieux
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

No comment

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Anastasia
3
Don Bluth, Gary Goldman (1997)
Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

I continued on my animated spree with this non-Disney which I had heard about multiple times. I found it just really boring. The lead character, Anastasia, has no personality.

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Driven
6
Nick Hamm (2018)
Jason Sudeikis, Lee Pace, Judy Greer
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

No comment

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Ford v Ferrari
8
James Mangold (2019)
Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

No comment

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Pinocchio
9
Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen (1940)
Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

It is astounding that this is an animated movie from 1940 and that it is the second movie Disney made. The animation has nothing to shy about in comparison to modern classics. Talk about setting the bar high. Damn.

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Rio
5
Carlos Saldanha (2011)
Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

Berk.

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Tarzan
9
Chris Buck, Kevin Lima (1999)
Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Brian Blessed
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

Still struck by Kuzco’s poor visuals, I rewatched one of my favorite Disney, that I hold dear ever since I saw it in theater when I was a child: Tarzan. It perfectly stood the test of time. It is visually brilliant, the music is great, the story is so well-paced, well-crafted.

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The Emperor's New Groove
3
Mark Dindal (2000)
David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

It had been sold to me as “The best Disney” or “not like the other Disneys”. Here’s a notice: if you usually like Disneys, and some people tell you about a Disney that is not like the others, well, you probably won’t like this specific one. Kuzco looks like it was written by some interns at Disney, with an entertaining voice-over sounding like some YouTuber, an endless flow of easy jokes, and an absolutely ridiculous plot where a dictator becomes (spoiler) a good guy because he took a stroll with a good daddy. Long gone the time where the morale of tales was pragmatic advice on how to make the best of real life in spite of its ruthlessness. The truth is that it wasn’t made by interns, but by artists in a hurry, which also explains why it’s visually so poor.

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The Irishman
9
Martin Scorsese (2019)
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Thursday 26 December 2019 AD

No comment

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Lawrence of Arabia
9
David Lean (1962)
Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn
Sunday 15 December 2019 AD

Steven Spielberg says that he watches Lawrence of Arabia again before starting shooting any new movie. “It pulverized me”, he recollects when thinking of when he saw the movie at the theater. Even though the effect on a young spectator like me was not as intense as what Spielberg must have experienced back then, I can definitely understand what he’s talking about. A lot of it has to do with the sheer visual power of the movie. It is a cinematographic masterpiece on a massive level.

First, there is the desert, which is vast, which has beautiful sand dunes and giant sandstone buttes. The cinematography embraces this display of nature on a very impressive way. You can feel the weight of the frame. Then, there are battle scenes with hundreds (if not thousands?) of extras, charges with lots of horses, etc. All of this is of course done for real without digital effects, and is edited in long, well-composed shots. Finally, there are all the little details, either in cinematography or editing, which ices the cake. The mirage on the horizon in the incredible well scene, the cut from the matchstick to the sunrise. All those fundamentally visual elements is what I found really striking in the movie.

As for the story itself, I found it rather interesting and easy to follow, but not extraordinary. I was afraid of the runtime, 4 hours, but it turned out to be okay. There is an interesting take in the story, though, which is the delusion in which Lawrence falls as he progressively thinks of himself as a prophet. From a movie from the early 60s, I expected a proper display of the white-savior trope, but the story is smarter than that. In fact, I could have guessed right from the personality of the lead character, Lawrence, which is a sophisticated, a bit exuberant, academic lieutenant, and not your traditional big guy from the army. Now, in spite of the screenplay’s best effort at being smart, I wouldn’t be surprised if the depiction of Arabian tribes happened to be rather cliché and awkward. I’m not knowledgeable enough to say.

Lawrence of Arabia belongs to a kind of cinema that is now dead. No production company would actually shot in the desert in the green screen age, nor would they hire hundreds of extras now that we can use GCI. They wouldn't allow a charge scene to be edited in one long shot, because that would mean wasting the 5 other camera angles. A movie cannot last 4 hours anymore, because then it means you cannot screen it enough times in the day to win all the dollars. It is said that director David Lean only filmed master shots, so that he had indirect power over the editing (what else than the master shot are you going to use if there is no coverage), so in fact I think David Lean wouldn't be allowed to walk on a film set today. We have contemporary directors like Christopher Nolan who try to apply some recipe for epic films (no CGI, shooting in film instead of digital, etc), but seeing Lawrence of Arabia, it really doesn't come close. So even if the movie doesn't get to me as much as my favorite modern movies can, there is still this weird feeling that I'm watching some incredible, grand movie, that is basically untouchable.

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Seven Samurai
5
Shichinin no samurai
Akira Kurosawa (1954)
Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Sunday 15 December 2019 AD

All pumped up for epic classics after Lawrence of Arabia, I jumped in head-first into the three hours and a half of Seven Samourais and… well… I’m writing those lines a few weeks after having watching it, and, to be honest, not much have sticked with me.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai
8
David Lean (1957)
William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins
Sunday 15 December 2019 AD

Alec Guinness is the boss. End of story. What really blows my mind is that <spoiler>they actually built the bridge for the movie, but then at the end, they blew up the bridge for the movie.</spoiler>

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The Searchers
6
John Ford (1956)
John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles
Sunday 15 December 2019 AD

The movie that apparently was an inspiration for Lawrence of Arabia, as David Lean was fond of John Ford. Well, Lawrence is vastly superior at all levels.

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The Lion King
2
Jon Favreau (2019)
Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen
Saturday 16 November 2019 AD

Zero emotion in the eyes and ears. SAD!

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Gangs of New York
9
Martin Scorsese (2002)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis
Sunday 10 November 2019 AD

Scorcese makes movies so big and so rich it’s hard to get a handle on them and summarizes what was good. So here is a bit at random: the long take where Irish immigrants get enrolled in the army and go from one ship to another is brilliant.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
3
Shane Black (2005)
Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Sunday 10 November 2019 AD

No comment

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Little Woods
3
Nia DaCosta (2018)
Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby
Sunday 10 November 2019 AD

No comment

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Monster
5
Patty Jenkins (2003)
Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
Sunday 10 November 2019 AD

Charlize Theron / 10. She is unrecognizable, and incredible. Other than that, the movie looks like a TV movie and is equally boring.

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Ad Astra
4
James Gray (2019)
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Monday 7 October 2019 AD

Brad Pitt plays an astronaut which is trained to be absolutely stoic in any situation. He does not panic. He does not fear. He analyses, reacts, overcomes™. As the movie progresses, cracks start appearing in this fortress of pragmatism, so we can peek at the emotions that lie beneath. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen to the movie itself, which is consistently cold and terribly distant to its main character, paradoxally to the fact that he occupies the screen most of the time.

I experienced exactly zero emotion while watching this movie. Pitt plays a silent and secretive character, a type of role that Ryan Gosling thrived in with Drive, Blade Runner 2049 or First Man, except that we don’t feel anything for Pitt. One reason for such disconnect is that many scenes are too pictorial and not immersive. Cinematography director Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk) produces many gorgeous shots, but they are edited in such a clip-esque way, along with the grandiose music of Max Richter, that many scenes felt like attempts at cinematic poetry rather than actual scenes you can follow the main character in and therefore identify with him. This kind of symbolic narration is clearly not my thing.

Overall I felt like the whole movie took itself way too seriously, as if its story, which is some illustration for Psychology 101, was particularly subtle or grand. The ridiculous physics at the end only confirmed my dislike for this mediocre sci-fi drama.

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Aladdin
7
Guy Ritchie (2019)
Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott
Monday 7 October 2019 AD

I was skeptic at first, but Will Smith comes out as such an awesome genius! So much in fact that I started liking the movie when he appeared, adding such a fanciful presence to compensate for the soppy romance between Aladdin and Jasmine.

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Shoplifters
9
Manbiki kazoku
Hirokazu Koreeda (2018)
Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki
Monday 7 October 2019 AD

What an incredible consistency on delicacy and gentleness, supported by brilliant directing and acting. In a narration without judgment, which seeks feelings and sensitivity in flawed characters, the line between good and bad becomes blurred, such that we feel torn between ethical concerns and sheer compassion. Very well deserved Palme d’Or from 2018.

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Booksmart
7
Olivia Wilde (2019)
Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

This is the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde. I like watching directional debuts. This is a teen movie, which, apart from a few particularly well-made scenes (the pool scene then the argument at the party), is a conventionally teen movie, although top of its league. Now here is a twist : Beanie Feldstein, on the right in the poster, is Jonah Hill’s little sister. You can’t unsee this.

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Hot Girls Wanted
8
Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus (2015)
Farrah Laurel Abraham, John Anthony, Rachel Bernard
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

The documentary draws a line between “pro” porn actresses who, historically, played “girls next door” types of role, and new young actresses who are are actually girls next door who just decide to go into porn. Because maybe the latter category should be more “protected” than the former? Or remain pure? Interesting anyways.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
8
Chad Stahelski (2019)
Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

pew pew pew

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Les Misérables
6
Tom Hooper (2012)
Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

The fact that characters are always singing feels so awkward. Especially since some of them appear not be great singers. Since I never read the book nor studied it at school, this movie provides an easy access to know the story of the novel. However, it is rather over-the-top and flamboyant, which I’m sure is consistent with Hugo’s style. The “I Dreamed a Dream” scene if by far the peak of the movie, providing solid ground for all the awards Anne Hathaway won for her role.

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Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
9
Quentin Tarantino (2019)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

What a delight to watch!
❤ The cinematography is wonderful. I keep reminding myself of this scene where Sharon Tate is waking up in her bed in a sunny morning. It feels retro yet so contemporary because of such warming light.
❤ Brad Pitt plays the coolest character in the world.
❤ The various locations in Los Angeles : Beverly Hills, downtown Los Angeles, the hippies’ scrapyard. When Cliff is fixing the antenna on top of the house, we’re overlooking Los Angeles, with an highway in the background. It feels eclectic and vibrant, makes you wanna play GTA V.
❤ The scene in the hippies scrapyard is masterful. It is creepy as fuck, you fear for Cliff’s life, it is straight from a horror movie. Yet no horror code is present : there is no suspenseful music, the main character is chill, it happens in broad daylight. This is brilliant.
❤ Leonardo DiCaprio skillfully plays a character who plays characters with varying talent. This is impressive. It’s like he has a setting on how good he must play.
❤ Awesome alchemy between the two main characters.
❤ The final pay-off.

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Starship Troopers
5
Paul Verhoeven (1997)
Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

Honestly I was bored for the most of it.

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The House That Jack Built
6
Lars von Trier (2018)
Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

Oh man… this is so fucked up. The movie makes you identify with the killer and at moments use suspense to make you fear for him getting arrested by the police. I can’t even say it’s bad because it is actually well-made. So weird.

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They Shall Not Grow Old
6
Peter Jackson (2018)
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

There is actually not that much material, and most of the movie keeps rambling the same things thought testimonies of various veterans who basically lived the same hell.

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Us
9
Jordan Peele (2019)
Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Saturday 14 September 2019 AD

After Get Out, Jordan Peele continues proving he is one of the best contemporary director for horror and suspense. There really are lots of good, original, ideas, and it is actually scary. Excellent.

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Casablanca
6
Michael Curtiz (1942)
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

I liked the character of Rick Blain at the beginning: unfriendly and cynic, but with a lot of sensibility hiding behind. As the flashback told the tale of his love story, it all crumbled down to another middle-aged man going with a pretty girl in her mid-twenties and not being disturbed by her lack of maturity in comparison to him. <spoiler>The finale of the movie, where he makes a life-decision for her in her place, assuring her that this is the right thing to do, only shows again this difference in maturity and how infantilized she is. Why would a mind as strong as him have a love interest for such a young spirit, I don’t know</spoiler>

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Long Shot
7
Jonathan Levine (2019)
Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

Cute.

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The Sisters Brothers
7
Les frères Sisters
Jacques Audiard (2018)
John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

No comment

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The Host
4
Gwoemul
Joon-ho Bong (2006)
Kang-ho Song, Hee-Bong Byun, Hae-il Park
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

What I get from watching the movies of Joon-Ho Bong (Parasite): weird shit happens in the basement.

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Memories of Murder
5
Salinui chueok
Joon-ho Bong (2003)
Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

No comment

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Barking Dogs Never Bite
5
Flandersui gae
Joon-ho Bong (2000)
Doona Bae, Sung-Jae Lee, Hee-Bong Byun
Friday 16 August 2019 AD

No comment

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Apollo 11
9⁺
Todd Douglas Miller (2019)
Buzz Aldrin, Joan Ann Archer, Janet Armstrong
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

I was on the edge of my seat during the whole of it. I was so pleased with the absence of narration and interviews, which gives such a “raw” touch to it. Although this is clearly not optimized for conveying as much information as possible, it is the closest you can be from actually living the thing as it was happening. Image restoration is beautiful, sound editing and mixing are awesome, editing is magnificent, the music from Matt Morton is so exciting. The documentary sets his own style and rules, inside which it is basically perfect. I think it is rewatchable ad vitam eternam.

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Climax
Gaspar Noé (2018)
Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

As with other Gaspar Noé’s movies (I’ve only seen Irréversible but my predictions are set for the rest of the filmography), the characters already display a behavior I’ve trouble identifying with, to the point where the exercise of watching them evolve under extreme psychological pressure is of limited relevance (if you’re the kind of person who brings your child in such a setting, your decision-making process is already fucked up, of course I guess that under influence it’s gonna get worse).

The nightmare-ish aspect of it all reminded me of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, which, contrary to this one, I find wonderful, because I could identify with Jennifer Lawrence’s character.

In spite of my lack of identification and overall revulsion towards the experience, I must recognize the incredible cinematic performance, including the awesome opening, long shot, featuring a beautiful choreography. This movie is really unratable.

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Dumbo
6
Tim Burton (2019)
Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

So when Disneyland gets bloated it becomes Dreamland, and it is getting destroyed by failing to integrate icons from the former. Bravo Burton. This is actually a nice flick to watch, notably because Dumbo is sooooo cute with his big eyes (hmmm “Big Eyes”, another Burton) and all his giggling and reactions. It is, however, visually ugly, as any scene can be spotted from being filmed with a green screen, and at times very awkward, for example with the terrible daughter character, who behaves more like a cyborg than like a child.

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On the Basis of Sex
6
Mimi Leder (2018)
Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

History Educative Package #42187. Not great, not terrible.

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Prospect
8
Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl (2018)
Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

You can somehow feels the lack of budget through the rather uneventful story and cheap costume design, but this little western-on-another-planet won my heart with thoughtful character development. I actually rooted for the main character to safely get through her adventure all along.

The lack of budget actually serves the movie. At the beginning, when the ship separates from the main vessel, everything is seen as from inside the ship, and it is very well made. Contrary to fat science-fiction movies which tend to show things from a vantage point in space, in this scene you get to see the action on a human scale.

There are also discussions where characters discuss their situation in the movie’s science-fiction society, and I thought it was impressive how, with a few lines of dialogs, the movie opens a tiny window to a universe that appears to be very rich. Again, there is no great exposition of such universe, but rather hints of it on a human scale, which I found very likable.

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The Kindergarten Teacher
3
Sara Colangelo (2018)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Ato Blankson-Wood
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

<spoiler>I was expecting a twist where we learn that the kid was stealing the poems from his nana, who the teacher considers to be a "nuisance". I don't want to brag, but this version would have been better by all accounts. Fucking psycho teacher kidnapping kids and patronizing lower social classes.</spoiler>

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The Past
4
Le passé
Asghar Farhadi (2013)
Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

Because I liked Everybody Knows very much, I decided to dig further into Asghar Farhadi’s filmography. Unfortunately, I was way less convinced by this one, where every character is more or less depressive or hurtful. I miss the Spanish upbeat mood at the beginning of Everybody Knows and the ensuing heart-wrenching events. I resent this French gloomy setting and the ensuing depressive revelations. My reading of the morale of the movie is that the character played by Bérénice Bejo is such an horrid person, it’s the reason any man she goes with eventually leaves her.

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Toy Story 4
6
Josh Cooley (2019)
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

I think Woody suffers from the sitcom syndrome where the main character is less interesting than the side characters. I didn’t like that the movie was so focused on Woody. I think Woody is boring. There is not as much team work and adventures as in the previous movies. The mood is too sentimentalistic and existential, and not as upbeat and funny as in the previous movies. It is rather enjoyable, but clearly not up to the franchise’s history.

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Yesterday
7
Danny Boyle (2019)
Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino
Thursday 18 July 2019 AD

Props to Ed Sheeran for the self-deprecation. Nice little flick.

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Dikkenek
3
Olivier Van Hoofstadt (2006)
Marion Cotillard, Dominique Pinon, Jean-Luc Couchard
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

I mean, yeah ok, that’s kind of funny. Ahah.

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Fahrenheit 11/9
6
Michael Moore (2018)
Jim Acosta, Roger Ailes, Brooke Baldwin
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

I don’t trust Michael Moore. His documentaries are usually based on a pile of archive videos and interview pieces taken out of their context, which would require hours of homework to check whether I’m being bullshitted or not, which I don’t have the energy or time to do. Without even checking I can spot the moments where things that must be up to interpretation are presented as facts, which is bullshit already. I learned that there is a water crisis in Flint, so there is that.

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Parasite
8
Gisaengchung
Joon-ho Bong (2019)
Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

The movie goes in all sorts of directions, which kind of unhinged me, but it is overall interesting to watch, going from funny to thrilling in a very oddly way that has a fascinating touch to it.

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Rocketman
5
Dexter Fletcher (2019)
Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

The epic musical moments made me shiver with delight, but that wasn’t enough to compensate for the overall forgettable screenplay. The story’s structure is this of a very conventional biopic, and the character development is entirely based on the overused trope of substance abuse and lack of affection from a father figure. I’m pretty sure that Elton John holds a richer personality than just being the product of those circumstances.

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The Legend of Tarzan
2
David Yates (2016)
Alexander Skarsgård, Rory J. Saper, Christian Stevens
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

That was some shitty editing and direction. I felt disconnected from the movie for the most of it.

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The Remains of the Day
5
James Ivory (1993)
Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, John Haycraft
Sunday 23 June 2019 AD

After the viewing I started tidying and cleaning my flat with calmness, dignity, and focus. This became boring as quickly as the movie.

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Anon
4
Andrew Niccol (2018)
Clive Owen, Afiya Bennett, Morgan Allen
Sunday 9 June 2019 AD

This is just like a rather bad episode of Black Mirror. Coming from Andrew Niccol, the man who wrote the masterpieces which contributed so much to the genre (The Truman Show, Gattaca), this is quite sad.

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Everybody Knows
8
Todos lo saben
Asghar Farhadi (2018)
Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ricardo Darín
Sunday 9 June 2019 AD

This is the second movie I see from Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) and, well, I have a filmography to watch. He captures with so much intensity the characters’ emotions and psychological complexities. I like that he doesn’t use music. In front of the camera, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are brilliant. The reason so much talent makes for a just a “fairly good” movie is because the ending is narratively disappointing. I use “narratively” because it is actually very plausible and not badly written at all; it’s just that as a spectator you want something more exciting. I guess it’s the price to pay for such raw naturalism.

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Pan's Labyrinth
4
El laberinto del fauno
Guillermo del Toro (2006)
Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López
Sunday 9 June 2019 AD

The most-loved episode of “In fact the true monsters are men” by Guillermo Del Toro. I rather didn’t like it because I have trouble identifying with the sort of tale-like parallel world the action takes place in (the mill in the middle of the woods). As it happens, it is the exact same reason I didn’t like The Shape of Water (the secret military basement). I just don’t feel it is real and it makes me lose my bearings, such that I don’t feel much emotions. It’s like there is just too much distance between the story and me. Also I thought it was visually ugly; everything is orange-ish like in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie. What remains is the soundtrack of Javier Navarrete which is truly wonderful.

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Under the Silver Lake
8
David Robert Mitchell (2018)
Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace
Sunday 9 June 2019 AD

Like the person who recommended it to me said: it’s a movie you don’t understand yet you still like it for some reason. This is like Alice in Wonderland, except that the wonderland is Hollywood’s high society.

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Fifty Shades of Grey
1
Sam Taylor-Johnson (2015)
Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle
Sunday 26 May 2019 AD

There is quite a gap between the terms in which the contract is discussed and the practices that are then shown on-screen. The writers were like "oh boy this scene is only words so we can go WILD" but then for the scenes of actual sex, they realized they already had exhausted most of their allowed transgressiveness because the actress was naked anyway, and so they couldn't push it further than blindfolds and whatnots.

Christian Grey is cold, impersonal, unfunny, creepy, manipulative, and no matter how pretty his face is, he constantly looks like an overall douchebag. So I can definitely believe the part where he finds women (most likely hires them) and make them sign a contract to do weird shit with him in his basement; but I definitely DON'T believe the part where a young normal woman finds he has any appeal.

Absolutely crappy shit anyway.

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Mary Queen of Scots
6
Josie Rourke (2018)
Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden
Sunday 26 May 2019 AD

The story lost me near the end. I was moved by Margot Robbie as Queen of England. Max Richter delivers a solid soundtrack; the Finale has been on my heavy rotation playlist for quite some time now.

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The Girl in the Spider's Web
6
Fede Alvarez (2018)
Claire Foy, Beau Gadsdon, Sverrir Gudnason
Sunday 26 May 2019 AD

The directing is very clean, camera-work-wise, but the movie contains a lot of clichés which makes it not up what David Fincher was able to deliver in the previous installment. Claire Foy, who has my full esteem after The Crown and Unsane happens to be less suited for the role than Rooney Mara was. It’s no more than nice flick that is easily forgotten.

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Deadpool
7
Tim Miller (2016)
Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Sunday 5 May 2019 AD

The humor tells me this a movie for children; the language tells me this a movie for adults. Somehow in this void it is vaguely enjoyable and is apparently the best Marvel can deliver nowadays – that is a low upper bound.

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Free Solo
Review
9
Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (2018)
Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin
Sunday 5 May 2019 AD

Free soloing is the act of climbing a wall, alone, without artificial holds, and without safety ropes. For big walls, falling means dying. This documentary is about Alex Honnold's project to free solo El Capitan, the famous gigantic rock formation in California that you might know for being the default background image of MacOS X Yosemite edition. El Capitan is 914 meters in height.

Although I didn't know that it was called free solo, I knew about the practice, and always have found it stupid. From my ignorant perspective, I saw no difference between succeeding a free solo climb and succeeding a safe climb when you just happened to never fall and be saved by the ropes. I guessed that the statistics of success for free solo climbs were about the same than the statistics for safe climbs without any fall. For good climbers, such statistics is generous enough to allow free soloers to achieve a fair amount of climbs in their career, before they fall and die.

This documentary showed me why I was wrong. It does so by exposing the intricate psychology of the climber, Alex Honnold.


1. Free soloing is stupid

For something to be stupid or not it needs to be measured against a goal. Nothing is clever or stupid in a void. Free solo is stupid when your goal is survival. There is no doubt about that. However, Alex Honnold literally says in the documentary (while his horrified girlfriend is listening) that his goal is not to optimize lifespan. For him, free soloing is an achievement of epic proportions. It's what he thrives for. His mother explains that she basically abandoned trying to reason him when she realized free soloing is when he lives the most. Forbidding him free soloing would be like taking back his freedom. What would be the point of survival in those conditions.

The documentary hints at something deeper about Alex's psychology. The climber says that anybody can spend one's life having good times with friends and laughs, but that it doesn't accomplish anything. Free solo does. This is, of course, a pretty hypocritical statement, since such a life is not a given, and to have it, one must first have some degree of prosperity (financially, socially, psychologically, etc). We could say that by saying that, he gives away the fact that he has a privileged life anyway. But that is not the case.

From what the documentary shows, he's a rather melancholic, barely sociable, quirky, person. He lives in his van. When he's filling a psychological evaluation form, he freezes over the question "Are you depressive?". The movie has great compassion for Alex's girlfriend, and shows multiple times that he's not quite fit to be a good boyfriend. Alex admits that having her makes his life better by any measure, which is quite a confession from a dork like him, and makes his lack of devotion towards her irrational.

But when he free solos, everything lightens up. He's having the time of his life. The emotions kicks in. After a successful climb he calls his girlfriend, thank her, cry almost. He becomes human.


2. Statistics of success for free solos must be the same as statistics of rope-backed climbs without any fall

This was very naive of me to think that. Climbers use safe climbs to train themselves until they feel ready for the free solo, so of course free solos have way better statistics than rope-backed climbs. Broadly speaking, when there are ropes the climber is willing to take more risks and be less careful; whereas the climber knows there is no room for error in the free solo climb.

The documentary explains that Alex Honnold climbed El Capitan about 40 times with ropes before doing it in free solo. In the weeks before the climb, we are shown him training on the most difficult passes of the climb, with ropes. It becomes quite technical, and is very interesting because it then creates dramatic tension for the moments when he will reach those specific point when he will climb freely.


TL;DR: You must approach this documentary with compassion and openness if you want to see beyond a crazed weirdo who eats vegan meals before risking his life for nothing. If you roll with it, then you're in for a very interesting exposé on climbing and a thrilling finale.