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Run Lola Run (1998) -- 7/10

Run Lola Run was a 1998 German film that became an enormous success all around the world at the time of its release. Because the story is visual and there is not much dialogue, it was something of a story that could be understood universally. The basic premise is that Lola is racing to raise 100,000 German marks in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend's life. However, the film is styled like an elaborate mostly live-action video game, and like Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man, characters lose lives but get more chances as the film goes through three different conjectures of what could happen.

There is no denying that the film is visually dynamic with its weave of fast cuts, black-and-white, animation, liquid camera movements, split screen, and the usually present techno music. It definitely has pace on its side as well. But the film is also, at least to me, troubling. Yes, its a crime fantasy, and most of the time I'd give it the benefit of the doubt, but real life doesn't give do-overs to those who die and the film has a disturbing undercurrent of dehumanization. There are moments where Franka Potente, who plays Lola, looks more like a video game avatar than a real person, and when the film goes all big with emotional music where two of the possible outcomes turn very sour, its hard to feel too much grief because the film is so callous about life itself.

In short this is a very hard film to grade, because while the visuals satisfy, the underlying messages seem rather distasteful.

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2 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Junie Moon as the latter seemed too normal and pedestrian compared to (VONNEGUT)

 

Oh yeah that’s what I meant, it was like Vonnegut done badly. Or maybe I should actually say John Cheever done badly: it was imitating that style of using grandiose, absurd, abstract tales as  allegories for a deeper, more universal story. Plotlines, places and settings which seem ABSURD on the face, but are in fact a mirror of the absurdities of ACTUAL, real life people, places and scenarios.

It’s not an easy style to do, even by the originals.

JUNIE MOON Seems like it was trying for that, but it just did not have enough gas in the tank to get there.

also JUNIE MOON sounds like WANDA JUNE in my head...(Speaking of Vonnegut related motion picture atrocities)

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0067180/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

I just hope they let Kay Thompson keep that cute little aviatrix outfit and she wore it out on occasion before she died. 

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Oh yeah that’s what I meant, it was like Vonnegut done badly. Or maybe I should actually say John Cheever done badly: it was imitating that style of using grandiose, absurd, abstract tales as  allegories for a deeper, more universal story. Plotlines, places and settings which seem ABSURD on the face, but are in fact a mirror of the absurdities of ACTUAL, real life people, places and scenarios.

It’s not an easy style to do, even by the originals.

JUNIE MOON Seems like it was trying for that, but it just did not have enough gas in the tank to get there.

also JUNIE MOON sounds like WANDA JUNE in my head...(Speaking of Vonnegut related motion picture atrocities)

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0067180/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

I just hope they let Kay Thompson keep that cute little aviatrix outfit and she wore it out on occasion before she died. 

What films based on a Vonnegut book have been well done?    I can't think of any.     Something tells me Vonnegut's writing style doesn't translate well to film.

 

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37 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

What films based on a Vonnegut book have been well done?    I can't think of any.     Something tells me Vonnegut's writing style doesn't translate well to film.

 

I'm pretty sure there's a Slaughterhouse-Five movie, but I haven't seen it. 

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Last Friday I watched First Cow.

movieposter_en.jpg

2019. Directed by Kelly Reichardt. With John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Scott Shepherd.

A soft-spoken, excellent cook and a resourceful Chinese immigrant become friends in 1820 Oregon. The cook's specialty is bakery and his biscuits are extraordinary. So they decide to go into business and sell oily cakes. The only way to get milk for the cakes is to steal the milk from the Chief Factor, who has just bought the first cow ever in the area.

The movie is perfectly  directed by Reichardt in a low-key style that makes the drama unfolding all the more powerful.  The movie features  excellent performances by the cast, especially John Magaro, beautiful cinematography, and impressive sets and costumes.

The movie is based on the book The Half-Life, by Jonathan Raymond, who wrote the screenplay with Kelly Reichardt. It's the story of two men who are out of place and the friendship the develop in order to survive the tough environment.

first-cow-movie-review-2020.jpg

 

First-Cow-2_WEB.jpg

 

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4 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

Run Lola Run (1998) -- 7/10

Run Lola Run was a 1998 German film that became an enormous success all around the world at the time of its release. Because the story is visual and there is not much dialogue, it was something of a story that could be understood universally. The basic premise is that Lola is racing to raise 100,000 German marks in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend's life. However, the film is styled like an elaborate mostly live-action video game, and like Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man, characters lose lives but get more chances as the film goes through three different conjectures of what could happen.

There is no denying that the film is visually dynamic with its weave of fast cuts, black-and-white, animation, liquid camera movements, split screen, and the usually present techno music. It definitely has pace on its side as well. But the film is also, at least to me, troubling. Yes, its a crime fantasy, and most of the time I'd give it the benefit of the doubt, but real life doesn't give do-overs to those who die and the film has a disturbing undercurrent of dehumanization. There are moments where Franka Potente, who plays Lola, looks more like a video game avatar than a real person, and when the film goes all big with emotional music where two of the possible outcomes turn very sour, its hard to feel too much grief because the film is so callous about life itself.

In short this is a very hard film to grade, because while the visuals satisfy, the underlying messages seem rather distasteful.

It's like Spun with subtitles and that's tough to take. 

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I watched last Saturday

lady01a.jpg

Lady on a Train. 1945. Directed by Charles David. With Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, David Bruce.

A young woman witnesses a murder while traveling on a train. Since the police refuses to help her she tries to convince a mystery writer to help her solve the crime.

As a murder mystery the movie doesn't work. The screenplay has many plot holes and no suspense. The comedy scenes are the best part of the movie and make it watchable.

This is the very first Deanna Durbin movie I've ever watched, and I found her  rather bland as a leading lady and a bit stiff as a comedian. My favorites in the cast are David Bruce  and Jacqueline de Wit, who  have some very funny scenes.

 

 

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On 5/16/2021 at 4:15 PM, CinemaInternational said:

Yes, they were both major studio films (United Artists and Warner Bros) with big Oscar-winning names in both. But then again Grease 2, last week's underground title, was about as mainstream oriented as they got on its first release

 Yeah, I when I saw that GREASE 2 was airing as an Underground selection,  I thought it was an unusual choice but, of course, I was excited to see it was airing.

 Millie De Chirico, who programs TCM Underground, has said that  the movie qualifies as a cult film because it was commercial and critical failure during its initial mainstream release, but has developed a devoted fanbase over the years through its frequent rotation on cable in the 1980s and 1990s. 

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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Oh yeah that’s what I meant, it was like Vonnegut done badly. Or maybe I should actually say John Cheever done badly: it was imitating that style of using grandiose, absurd, abstract tales as  allegories for a deeper, more universal story. Plotlines, places and settings which seem ABSURD on the face, but are in fact a mirror of the absurdities of ACTUAL, real life people, places and scenarios.

It’s not an easy style to do, even by the originals.

JUNIE MOON Seems like it was trying for that, but it just did not have enough gas in the tank to get there.

also JUNIE MOON sounds like WANDA JUNE in my head...(Speaking of Vonnegut related motion picture atrocities)

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0067180/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

I just hope they let Kay Thompson keep that cute little aviatrix outfit and she wore it out on occasion before she died. 

I guess there's a little bit of Cheever in there, at least as it relates to the use of situations that take on a

bigger meaning than they appear at first to have, minor things having a deeper meaning than usual. But

whenever I think of Cheever I think of him for his reputation as a insider diagnostician of the Waspy upper

middle class and their ways and means. So at least in that regard Junie Moon is outside his usual character

profile. I'm just a little glad that this movie I've read about for years wasn't as bad as it is so often portrayed.

 

I haven't seen Slaughterhouse-Five in a long time but from what I recall it was a fairly good adaptation of

Vonnegut. Except for the time and space travel element, it's a pretty straightforward narrative. And if

one doesn't know the book it works pretty well on its own as a movie.

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The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)

 

A man is murdered and buried in a not-so-shallow grave. The murderer finds the grave open and empty after someone shot at his daughter. The beautiful and innocent daughter asks Michael Shayne to find who shot at her and to keep them from doing it again.

This movie is reasonably competent and moves at a steady pace. The same description fits star Lloyd Nolan. He plays his role well as exactly the solid and stolid detective someone might ask for help. Both humour and romance are outside his purview.

Olin Howland provides comic relief as the Chief of Police. 

6.4/10

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MOTHER NIGHT by VONNEGUT is one of my ten favorite novels of all time, and it is the most straightforward, linear and unambiguous novel of his [that I have read.] It was made into an eenty teenty indie movie with NICK NOLTE ca. 1996, which barely saw release. I did not see it, but the potential for a great film is there. IT IS A SENSATIONAL NOVEL.

He also wrote one book, the title I forget, but the premise is that in a small Minnesota(?) town, a private university sits across a lake from a prison for dangerous inmates. in the dead of winter, the lake freezes over to where it can be crossed on foot and then there is a (power failure?) which leads to a mass prison break...the book in fact is really about something else, it kind of never really gets to THE BIG ACTION SET PIECE that the reader is waiting for. it's a highly ambiguous (as I recall it) tale about the two destinies in American life: college or jail. If yhou just took that BARENAKED PREMISE, you could have the makings for a pretty cool movie (I think) or, quite possibly, a delicious disaster with BRUCE WILLIS [or JASON STATHAM] as THE CRUSTY DEAN WHO IS TOO OLD FOR THIS ****; cue the SNOW PLOW CHASE and THE DMX ON THE SOUNDTRACK....

There was a film version of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, which is the only VONNEGUT novel I despise, but I did finish it. i was amused by the way he introduces every male character with a description of the size and girth and state of their genitalia, I'd be fine if that became literary convention. however, VONNEGUT EMPLOYS THE USE OF "THE N WORD" THROUGHOUT ITS LENGTH IN A FASHION THAT IS SO OVER THE TOP, SO GRATUITOUS, AND SO SADISTICALLY  RELENTLESS  THAT MARK TWAIN, DAVID DUKE and RICHARD PRYOR would all ask for a sit-down wherein they could ask "Um, Kurt, who hurt you?"

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38 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

He also wrote one book, the title I forget, but the premise is that in a small Minnesota(?) town, a private university sits across a lake from a prison for dangerous inmates. in the dead of winter, the lake freezes over to where it can be crossed on foot and then there is a (power failure?) which leads to a mass prison break...

Hocus Pocus

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14 minutes ago, LuckyDan said:

Hocus Pocus

AHA!

Thank you! iN AN ODD WAY, I can see how I would forget that.

Obviously you couldn't call a film version by this title...Disney would SUE.

Maybe "ABRACAPOCUS" or "POCUS CADABRA"?

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1 minute ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

AHA!

Thank you! iN AN ODD WAY, I can see how I would forget that.

Obviously you couldn't call a film version by this title...Disney would SUE.

Maybe "ABRACAPOCUS" or "POCUS CADABRA"?

Vonnegutt's books tend to lose their distinctions to me, sort of like the Fred and Ginger musicals. It's not like if you've read one you've read them all, but with a few exceptions, you get pretty much the same voice, the same types of premises, the same humor, the same quarrel with God (as Updike described it) and the same sort of boob hero (also as Updike said). He is, entertaining though, and brief. 

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1 hour ago, LuckyDan said:

Vonnegutt's books tend to lose their distinctions to me, sort of like the Fred and Ginger musicals. It's not like if you've read one you've read them all, but with a few exceptions, you get pretty much the same voice, the same types of premises, the same humor, the same quarrel with God (as Updike described it) and the same sort of boob hero (also as Updike said). He is, entertaining though, and brief. 

So if you had to read one, which? Slaughterhouse?

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3 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

MOTHER NIGHT by VONNEGUT is one of my ten favorite novels of all time, and it is the most straightforward, linear and unambiguous novel of his [that I have read.] It was made into an eenty teenty indie movie with NICK NOLTE ca. 1996, which barely saw release. I did not see it, but the potential for a great film is there. IT IS A SENSATIONAL NOVEL.

He also wrote one book, the title I forget, but the premise is that in a small Minnesota(?) town, a private university sits across a lake from a prison for dangerous inmates. in the dead of winter, the lake freezes over to where it can be crossed on foot and then there is a (power failure?) which leads to a mass prison break...the book in fact is really about something else, it kind of never really gets to THE BIG ACTION SET PIECE that the reader is waiting for. it's a highly ambiguous (as I recall it) tale about the two destinies in American life: college or jail. If yhou just took that BARENAKED PREMISE, you could have the makings for a pretty cool movie (I think) or, quite possibly, a delicious disaster with BRUCE WILLIS [or JASON STATHAM] as THE CRUSTY DEAN WHO IS TOO OLD FOR THIS ****; cue the SNOW PLOW CHASE and THE DMX ON THE SOUNDTRACK....

There was a film version of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, which is the only VONNEGUT novel I despise, but I did finish it. i was amused by the way he introduces every male character with a description of the size and girth and state of their genitalia, I'd be fine if that became literary convention. however, VONNEGUT EMPLOYS THE USE OF "THE N WORD" THROUGHOUT ITS LENGTH IN A FASHION THAT IS SO OVER THE TOP, SO GRATUITOUS, AND SO SADISTICALLY  RELENTLESS  THAT MARK TWAIN, DAVID DUKE and RICHARD PRYOR would all ask for a sit-down wherein they could ask "Um, Kurt, who hurt you?"

When was Breakfast of Champions released? I barely remember that.

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1 minute ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Mercifully yes.

(To be fair I did not see it, but I imagine it was terrible.)

Well, Alan Rudolph wasn't known for helming box office hits.

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7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Doesn’t it though? 
“to date, this film has not received a digital release.”

(always a great sign!)

LOL. Less then 200,000 gross! No wonder I barely remember it!

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