What was the last film you saw and how would you rate it? Pt. 18

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Thought I'd post this here until I hear we're doing it somewhere else....

Post the name of the latest movie you've seen and your rating out of 10. 
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Sunshine Boys (t0073766) - 7/10 - loved Burns, hated Matthau.
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Posted 2 years ago

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"PERSEPOLIS"

Of course it's a ten, what else? I should give the film a higher rating than "A Separation" but I gave Farhadi's masterpiece a ten.

Anyway, does these considerations really matter? No. Just to point out that Marjane Satrapi's animated biopic manages to deliver an even more powerful message to the world about the struggles of Iranian people throughout the last decades, which can be extended to any people from what the "western civilization" pompously designate as "third world" country... and it does so with a movie that hit the perfect universal chord by using the animation as a medium.

Yes, it doesn't have the whole tech-zaz-wow-schaboom of Dreamworks or Pixar, yes it doesn't have the delicacy and poetic imagery of Miyazaki (or does it?), yes, it's all in Black and White and drawings that can't fool you with their simplicity... but behind that sober and gloomy façade, you go through dynamite of emotions, of humors and tears, and you end up realizing deep in your head "hey, these Iranian people aren't so different from us, after all", well maybe Donald and Bibi (or Emmanuel or Theresa) should watch this film before deciding some day to nuke Persepolis because they can't trust these bearded guys.

As a matter of fact, the film doesn't even imply that the Revolution brought anything good to Iran and giving how hellish and liberticidal and even distopyan the post-Revolution Iran turned out to, anyone would be tempted to press the red button... but the film isn't about a regime. it's about the people who lived under the tyrannical end of the stick and had threats of whipping, lashing, jailing, hanging and worse: raping before hanging pending, over their head if they dared to say one word too many, have one 'obscene' glimpse too many, one Marx quotation too many or a lock of hair unveiled... that's what real repression is about.

So many people suffered and struggled, and if you count the Revolution, the arrests, the repressions, the Moral Guardians and the infamous war with Irak and the rest, there's no family that didn't probably paid a dowry to that revolution in the name of some fanatic reading of religion, or religion period... so there's no right to point an accusing finger of these population... especially since the movie reminds that these finger aren't devoid of dirt when you look at the role the British played in the throning of the first Shah and the way the "West" provided weapons to both Iran and Iraq during the war, some details that (among many others) movies like "Not Without My Daughter" forgot to cover. 

So I guess the merit of "Persepolis", adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic comic-book, is to expose to the world the torments a whole population went through, by focusing of Marjane's family and little Marjane as a young girl who like any other girl in the world loved to wear sneakers, imitate her idols, listen to music and change the world, a girl who was all smile and joy, craving from models to admire, to be able to say that she's related to a hero of the revolution when the revolution was synonym of freedom and a new era.

There's something in the initial scenes that reminded me of the first part of "The Pianist" when you looked at crucial events from the perspective of a family. Yes, they're obviously from an upper class, westernized and open-minded, even the scene-stealing grandmother is feisty and has a few juicy lines that reveal that she cares more about the perfume of her brassiere than any sanctimonious , but the point is that there are aspects of the western culture that are indeed universally appealing in the sense that people would rather have fun and enjoy an access to knowledge, art and music than just drown in the darkest abysses of religious fanaticism... except if they come from average classes or aren't instructed enough to know what they miss. Like the majority actually.

And just when you think little Marjie would fit like a fish in the water in Austria, where she's sent at the age of 14, it's a whole story that begins featuring a huger cultural clash, so mind-boggling it might even make a Westerner consider what kind of values he inherited from his own history. While Iranians fought for freedom and democracy and had all these aspects of civilization being smuggled like drugs ... blasé Austrian youth take these aspects as cultural items that hardly hide the superficiality of a world that's not even worth fighting for, students keep banging their heads under punk music (consider the contrast between that scene and the whole journey just to get one Iron Maiden cassette in Iran streets), anarchists group spend their day smoking joints and basically, everyone acts as a spoiled child of democracy.

Iran doesn't even have the luxury to have spoiled children, it's governed by beastly brats. The gap is too huge for Marjie who, after a few romantic failures, decide to go back to Iran, she's an adult then and misses her family. but the situation has worsened to surrealistic extents and if it wasn't for the  love she got from her family, the complicity with her grandmother and her free-spirited behavior, existence would have been hell... she even came close to a suicide attempt. Family values have quite deteriorated in the Western world (as implied by the way some kids talk about their parents), so it's still important to have a movie that, for all its liberating ode to emancipation and freedom, considers that family ties and bonds are sacred treasure to cherish, one shouldn't forget where he comes from. The point isn't to be ashamed of your origins.

All this looks rather gloomy and poignant, but it's inspiring and incredibly catching, the film is full of energy, of moments of humor that cover a various range of styles, from Tex Avery-like slapstick to ingenuous storytelling, and when you look at Marjane Satrapi in real-life, you see the same woman who probably inherited her grandmother's spirit, she's natural and beautiful and capable of self-derision, she also seems to have quite an addiction with cigarettes... but it might have been caused by her grandmother who told her that it's not the addiction that killed his uncle, but his broken heart. The film is so full of funny moments it borders on comedy but it is nonetheless an adult animated movie that speaks to any girl who longs for freedom, or any man who wishes he could live in a country, in a place allowing everyone to be free and that includes women.

I don't know what feminism mean for feminists, but if anyone tells me "women shouldn't do this" or "shouldn't be allowed to do this..;" then count me in. The film is full of moments where Marjie or her mother puts one of these bearded moral guardians in their place, where they confront the laws to their contradictions and their double standards, a few mini-triumphs that can't hide the fact that they won't win... and sometimes, the best option is to get the hell out and be free. But I did root for Marjie in every single moment, even when she was wrong, she had the right to be wrong. The film is an exhilaration of freedom, the real one, the one you can taste after having lived under restrictions, it's just as if no one could ever know the value of freedom by being born in a free country.

And that's what the world needs, it needs foreign cinema, not Hollywood, to show these things, to portray them in the most universally possible way. And that's what "Persepolis" achieves... of course, "Ratatouille" won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Hollywood had to have the last word. But the most important thing is that you have a story that can speak to each of us, it's not a foreign film, it's a universal masterpiece, I've never been as overwhelmed by an animated film ever since I saw "Mary and Max" (coincidentally, in black and white) and this is what I call a "kickass" female character, Marjie doesn't have any power or any fighting skills, any predicament, but the way she gets through her predicament is powerful enough to count her as a modern-day heroine and an inspiration to the whole word. In fact, I couldn't say it better than her: 

"If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it’s that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same...
"The secular people, we have no country. We the people — all the secular people who are looking for freedom — we have to keep together. We are international, as they” — the fanatics of all religions — “are international.”

What can I say after that?

(Edited)
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NDbportmanfan 1

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Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events 8.5/10

Story really has started to pick up compared to Season 1

Also Lucy Punch has a scary resemblance to Catherine Tate; I have been fooled multiple times.
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Safety Not Guaranteed (re-watch) - 9/10 - I loved this the first time I watched it and I loved it now. So unique and amazing. Would probably rate it a 9.5 if that were an option on this site.
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Stephen Atwood

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stefano stefano

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This Boy's Life 8: solid period drama, with a De Niro at his best. Enthralling, realistic, touching.

He Said, She Said 4: bland, predictable, overlong for such a tiny plot. 40 minutes less could had been a 6.

Ass Backwards 7: After yawning with He Said She Said, I genuinely laughed a lot here, especially for the leading actresses' performance (being Italian, they were basically unknown to me, and they were a very pleasant surprise). It has its share of slow moments and predictable gags, but the current 4,2 rate is too low.
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Baby Driver (re-watch) - 8/10
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Last night: RBG (2018) [documentary], 9/10.
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Jen, Champion

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I want to see that!

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dgranger

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Bad Samaritan (Twice because I had missed the first ten minutes the first time.) 7 out of ten. A little predicable, but not much. It has some huge holes in it. Still, it was a fun ride. Don’t go see it for David Tennant’s performance - he is not that great in this. See it for Robert Sheehan who was way better..
pS, if you want a clue on how Cale was able to change the black room into the white office. 1) the white office was noticeably larger than the black room was meaning parts of it was hidden behind the black wall. 2) by the folds in what was acting as the walls in the black office, it had folds in it. It was probably a black tarp or black plastic tarp. I know this because, in my high school days, I took a film class and made a studio in my basement to shoot a stop motion animated film. Well, for a back drop to cover brick walls and wood framing, I had sliced open a heavy duty dark green plastic lawn bag that was black on one side. From the results of that film, I can tell you that black plastic or a black tarp reflects the light the same way the black walls in the movie did. Hence, all Cale had to do to change the walls from black to white was to take the tarp (or whatever it was) down.
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Pencho15

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Den goda viljan (1992) - 9/10, a very nice surprise I started watching without any idea of what it was about, it turned out to be a great film, and also the history of Bergman parents, worth your time.
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NDbportmanfan 1

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Colossal 7.5/10 I think it sits at a 6.2 because the trailer misleads you. I am happy it did because this is surprisingly deep for a monster movie.
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Stephen Atwood

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Ready Player One (2018), 7/10.  Fun but still slightly annoying Spielbergian need to oversimplify things with unnecessary and patronizing exposition.
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Jen, Champion

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NDbportmanfan 1

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Batman Ninja (2018) 6/10 the overall plot was simplistic and dull. This might be the worst Joker I have seen (I did watch the dubbed version first and will give it another go with subtitles). The art style was amazing and so was the overall direction of the film. Also the cute factor between Robin and Mon-Ke was off the charts. :)
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Stephen Atwood

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Dark Future (1994), 1 out of 100000; Rifftrax commentary 100/10.
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Jen, Champion

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Season 3 of Outlander - 8/10, overall series - 9/10
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ElMo

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https://www.imdb.com/user/ur4234119/reviews

I just finished a great Horror/Sci-fi marathon that spanned two weeks (in bold, watched for 1st time):

Bride of Frankenstein (9), Planet of the Apes (9), The Thing from Another the World (5), The Thing (9), Aliens (10), The Day the Earth Stood Still (9), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (8) (1956) , Invasion of the Body Snatchers (9) (1978), The Omen (8) and Body Snatchers (9).

Needless to say that the "Body Snatchers" might be the greatest Sci-fi "series" of all time.
(Edited)
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Jen, Champion

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Phantom Thread - 8/10 - so many questions.
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ElMo

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I guess it wouldn't be a good PTA movies if it didn't leave you scratching your head at the end...
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A Quiet Place, 8/10
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RUDY 9/10

There was a guy who once said "I want to be Chateaubriand or nothing". His name was Victor Hugo. 

Even Hugo was a wannabe. We all wannabe something. And it all starts with a dream, I know it's a cliché, and it's been so trendy to invite everyone to believe in their dreams,  that you wonder whether the real deal wouldn't be to set your mind up for realistic anticipations of the future and just try to live a "nice" and "happy" life. 

I guess I had the wrong idea about "Rudy", I thought it was going  to be one of these 'feel-good' underdog stories, like a "Rocky" of the 90's (even the titles sound the same), I also thought it was going to overplay the height issue as a serious handicap to play football (well American football ain't the 'legitimate' football... that allows pint-sized Messi to be the best player in the world). So yeah, I thought it was going to be an inspirational movie about a guy who -you know- believed in himself. Well, it was... but it was more than that. See, the film doesn't just meet with your expectations, it challenges them in a very subtle way.

"Dreams are what make our lives tolerable" I can't tell who said that and when, but the line was immediately printed in my mind. True, 100% true. But the film isn't about dreaming. It isn't even about fulfilling your dreams, it's about the will, the decision, the spirit, the energy and ultimately, the hourney. Sean Astin gives an extraordinary performance as Rudy Ruettiger, he's not just an underdog on the field, but in the family where his dreams are swept off by the brush of reality. After finishing college, he almost renounces and joins his Dad (Ned Beatty) and brothers in the steel mill, until a tragic event "derails" his path of life for good.

Paraphrasing Hugo, Rudy wants to be a "Fighting Irish or nothing" and the whole film is a harrowing odyssey where we follow each step that gets him closer to his dream: getting the sponsors, having the right grades in prep school, joining Notre Dame, then the team... but said like this, it doesn't do justice to how exhilarating it is in the film, when Rudy's happy, we share his joy when he's disappointed, we share his bitterness and when he cries, we shed a few tears. In fact, there's something communicative about Rudy's energy, just see how slowly the magic operates and some start to believe he's got the heart of a true fighter, if not the body.

Still, it's about the journey, the realization, sometimes you dream of reaching the top of the mountain, and maybe you can't make it. But instead of staring at the unreachable summit, the film invites you to look down and contemplate the beautiful landscape and see what you've done. Of course, some climbers fall and there's a poignant scene where Ned Beatty tells his son the story of his grandfather who lost everything because he chased a stupid dream. And over the course of his journey, even Rudy himself thought of quitting... and it made me think.

Then I realized that the moment where Rudy was on the game, the film could stop right there. I didn't care if he'd win or get an ankle broken, he had just made it. But you know what, the film could have ended right after what I think was the best 'pep talk' from any film, one from the groundskeeper (Charles S. Dutton), the speech wasn't about "getting hit and keeping moving" but about valuing the  hits and the movement. I guess what the film tries to say is that there's a thin line between dreaming and chasing a dream. Dreaming is nothing if you don't start to chase the dream.

Because when there's something that eats you deep inside, you know you just got to chase it. Because for a dream-chaser (I didn't say dreamer) there's nothing worse than stopping. When you stop, you settle down, you feel safe and secure... for a while. You start noticing other dream-chasers and you pity them because you know most of them won't make it. And it's true. But that also means a minority will make it. And when you'll see people achieving YOUR dreams, you're going to hate and pity yourself, and Rudy's brother for most of the film is consumed by envy and self-pity. 

Lennon said "Life is what happens while you're making plans", maybe the real delight of life is the stuff that happens in order to make your plans go true. On that level, Rudy was quite a delightful film... and to use an overused expression, they don't make like them anymore.
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Stephen Atwood

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Yoake tsugeru Rû no uta (2017) AKA Lu Over the Wall.  Enjoyed the weird, hyperactive and hyperfluid (anatomy and physics shattering) character design; the English dub was pretty solid; and the music was really catchy and fun.  Everything else?  Egads.  Fell pretty short.  5/10.
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Stephen Atwood

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Stephen Atwood

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Double feature at the movies:
Deadpool (2016), 7/10;
Deadpool 2 (2018), 8/10.
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Jen, Champion

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albstein

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The King of Comedy (1983) aka The King of Cringe - 10/10. Wow, this is one of Scorsese's best movies, and one of De Niro's best performances. Like Taxi Driver, it's simultaneously about a deranged society and deranged individuals with absolutely wrong solutions for their problems.

And it foreshadows the kind of disturbing comedy that arises out of serious situations, which Scorsese masters in Goodfellas. Even with much less violence, I found King of Comedy more gut-wrenching. Everything is so lonely and hopeless. It's not enough to say that Rupert Pupkin's ideals are illusions, it is his ideal to become an illusion. In this fake world, he wants to be the King of Fake.

With his fake emotions and his insistence that all conversations are playful-harmonious, Rupert doesn't seem to be an outsider in the TV world, but rather a too excessive embodiment. At least that's what it felt like for me who doesn't watch much of those TV shows, and doesn't live in America.

I have a hunch that when real-life stalkers or celebrity-obsessed people see the movie, they'll react like Rupert when he meets Masha ("they are crazy, but I really have a deep relationship with him").
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Stephen Atwood

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Avengers: Infinity War, second screening at the movies.  No change in rating.  8/10.
Tomight:
THE MELANCHOLY OF HARUHI SUZUMIYA, end of season 2: 8/10 for series.