Friday, January 21, 2022

My Recent Movies List (Starting Aug 2021)

Thanks to diminishing commitments, business, personal and otherwise, I now find myself going to the cinema a lot and am now seeing quite a lot of movies at local and not so local cinemas, usually instead of working and during the business hours... which makes sense for practical purposes as tickets are way cheaper for morning and midday aka matinee shows and often I have the cinema all to myself and at other times just a handful of people.

Also helps that here in Moscow, a city owned chain of small cinemas decided some time ago to go into arts- , classics- and other great films and in the language of the originals just subtitled in Russian, and new releases are also shown that way.

So here goes, only those that I saw at cinemas starting from mid-August 2021, most recently seen on top.

 

32. Nightmare Alley (2021, Guillermo del Toro)

Jan 22, 2022, a proper noir film - actually a neo-noir as it is in color - complete with a femme fatale (often omitted in modern renditions of noir themes) with a proper film-noir ending but with an unusual setting in traveling carnival sideshows and "mentalism" numbers. 

A bit tedious and uninspiring though, also visually dark and, I think, unattractive.

 

31. Licorice Pizza (2021, Anderson)

Not a typical Hollywood flick in a good way but still underwhelming, as far as I am concerned (Jan 13, 2022).

 

30. Black Box / Boîte noire (2021)

A French aviation thriller. Not too bad. A bit quiet and pedestrian, almost no physical action and you kind of anticipate the ending but can be watched at least once (seen: Jan 09, 2022).

 

29. In the Mood for Love, a 2000 Wong Kar-wai film.

Obviously, it's a great movie, especially in terms of cinematography and visuals in a claustrophobic interior setting and close-quarters filming as well as angles and door- and window framing etc., etc.; while the story is that of an unconsummated love which is a shame, really. 


 


28. Champion of the World,  a 2021 Russian film about the 1978 World Championship Karpov-Korchnoi match

Not a very good movie, I am afraid and quite boring, and not much going for it in terms cinematography either.

 

Korchnoi.

27. Matrix Resurrections

Saw it on 16 December 2021 - very early, for some reason Russia was one of the two or three countries given an early release of the movie but didn't enjoy this one at all. 

I don't even seem to recall a single attention catching episode, scene or even frame.

Lots of references to the original Matrix film and exposition once-overs but nothing in the way that made the original so great. 

Cheap looking cgi, also almost exclusively dark in the real world to hide fake scenery, the story is pretty boring, fight choreography is lame or even non-existent, need I go on... oh yes there are no jaw-dropping chases either.

For completion's sake, one could still watch it probably but that's it.



 

26. A Glitch in the Matrix, a 2021 documentary

I watched it with some attention but it's not that good. 

Ok, it gave a name to the theory that is the simulation theory but all it was is just a number of chopped up and re-combined interviews with some far-out science fiction writer (which was the most interesting), a suspect scientist and a number of youtubers or gamers or some such characters who were afraid to show their real selves, not to mention a psychopathic murderer who was also interviewed. 

The guy who talked about synchronicity and coincidences maybe made the most sense. 

As to the simulation theory I think we can discard it if only because that Elon Musk dude is in favor of it or pretends to be. 

 

25. Vladivostok, a 2021 Russian Mosfilm film

On Dec 10, 2021: a noir story without much of a noir style, full of missed opportunities, no decent soundtrack, watched with some interest but some onsets of boredom also, the protagonist's final action scene is a pastiche, a suicide by cop(s) ending apropos of nothing, totally unrealistic, could have been a much better movie but some nice views of Vladivostok nonetheless.

 

24. House of Gucci

A typical Ridley Scott bio flick

Watched with interest.

Some over-the-top (and over-the-hill) performances but above average acting, and you kind of wait for the deed the entire movie but a solid biopic nonetheless, if nothing particularly special.

Almost 3 hours passed quickly and without much boredom or other manifestations of psychic entropy.

23. Compartment No. 6

A 2021 Finnish director movie winning something or other at the 2021 Cannes, seen November 25 at a local cinema. 

A road movie with much of it in a train compartment, a bit pedestrian nevertheless, some over-used cliches about Russia but an unusual twist at the beginning, a strange love affair from which the lady protagonist is running which however rings true. 

Overall I enjoyed it more or less and I like rail travel. 



 

22. Bad Education / La mala educación

A 2004 Almodovar film. An Almodovar restrospective continues here in Moscow and so do I.

Interesting and maybe unusual and bold in certain aspects and depictions of certain activities but not as strong as Talk To Her for instance which remains the best Almodovar film for me of those I have seen so far (Talk to Her, Volver, Broken Promises and Bad Education).

 

21. The French Dispatch

A 2021 Wes Andersen film. I don't mind an anthology (or is it portmanteau?) movie but was not feeling this one at all. 

There were some moments where this viewer's attention was held but overall the movie seemed a pointless exercise with pretensions as to style. 

Entirely skippable, in my opinion.

 

20. Memoria

A 2021 Apichatpong Weerasethakul film.

I enjoyed it as a slow romp through some Columbian scenery.

But fell asleep once only to be awaken by the mystery "sonic boom" sound rather like the lady protagonist herself in the movie, I guess it's a case of life imitating art in real time. 

It's true that the action was mostly aural and not visual. But contemplation was visual, and plenty of it. Something to look at like at a still, until something unexpectedly moves. Also, what's going on? seems a pertinent question and the answer is with the viewer, although aliens may or may not have been involved.

 

19. Talk to Her /  Hable con ella

Today saw this movie Nov 13, 2021, must be some Almodovar retrospective going on here.

Well, what can you say, after a slow-ish and melodramatic start it does end with a powerful denouement. A great film. 

And it's more than a little bit crazy, of course, of Almodovar even to conceive of such a thing...

After watching it I also learned that Geraldine Chaplin, who is in it, is Charlie Chaplin's daughter. Believe it or not, I thought she looked familiar.

 

18. A Nightmare on Elm Street 

 

Saw this 1984 horror original today Nov 10, 2021 in a cinema. My previous viewings of this cult classic were on video or TV but I had forgotten many details. It's pretty good and in places even scary even today but nostalgia sets in and affects the overall impression with more than a tinge of sadness. Also, Johnny Depp's first movie role, I think. It is actually the highest ranked move in the entire Nightmare on Elm Street franchise both by popular and critical vote.

 

17. Are You Lonesome Tonight / Re dai wang shi

A Chinese Director Wen Shipei's 2021 movie which was the subject of a 2021 Cannes special screening.

Eddie Peng


 

A neo-noir film in form but not in substance as the story doesn't follow the noir canon and is a moralistic tale with a positive ending. 

There is also some non-linear story telling utilizing what gradually transpires to be dream sequences. 

Underwhelming but maybe worth a look-see out of curiosity, especially for Asian crime cinema aficionados

Light fixture at the cinema

In fact, Are You Lonesome Tonight reminds me of the 2019 movie The Wild Goose Lake which is more a neo-noir story although still not true "noir" but closer also somewhat superior to the reviewed film.



16. Volver today Oct 25, 2021

This is a good film - a 2006 Almodovar film combining comedy with drama acted out by a bunch of killer (looking and otherwise) Spanish ladies, including Penelope Cruz. The subject matter turns out to be quite shocking but the magical realism of its presentation does wonders. Clearly a great movie, not least in its visual aspects and film directing techniques. Also, very colorful - literally and local color-wise.

Had to brave rising covid numbers here in Moscow to go to the cinema but hey I am fully vaccinated and masked.

And then I was the only customer watching it... Volvo?


15. No Time To Die

The last Daniel Craig Bond outing (to date?).  And I was less than impressed for what it's worth. All Bond movies are bad but this is bad with a vengeance, in my opinion. 

It's a miss!



 

 

After a promising beginning somewhere in a snowy France or is it Switzerland? and the little bit in Venice before the title sequence which was admittedly also nice, it turns out to be a bad and boring movie, very disappointing and some key scenes of it were shot at night, that is in darkness, - sort of what filmmakers do when they want to hide cheap sets and bad acting / directing, like what supposedly happened in Cuba.
Quite a downer too.
Craig is looking his ugliest and most aged yet, like a cross between a mongrel stray dog and an aged tortoise sans the personality of either.
One is almost tempted to think they should have put him out of his misery for real too.
It might go down in history as the first Bond movie where the protagonist (Bond) is uglier than the villain.
A near total waste of time and money however I did manage to catch some winks whilst watching it so not all is bad. 

***

Movie going outfit on the day. I make out as if going to work but instead bunk off to a cinema haha, it's true.

"A gentleman never works"... especially under a Capitalist system.

On a more general note, working under a capitalist system is obscene - you're only enriching your exploiters on a subsistence level pay whereas they rake in zillions. And this is where movies come in - they are like opium for the oppressed masses.

***

14. Titane, a Julia Ducournau (who?) movie - 2021 Palme Door and all that, clear parallels with the No. 13 below on my list, a strange creature is born at the end but there is a fire brigade thrown in for good measure. Worth viewing once, not sure about owning although there are some atmospheric scenes. Overall, I rather liked it, I think, but not for the main story - mostly for the accompanying, environmental, atmospheric things and cinematic depictions.

Second thoughts after awhile: I may have come to have a higher regard of this film after a lapse of some time since the first viewing which was a week ago; it now seems to be worthy of repeat viewings, and it's a very sensitive fire brigade too on top of everything, not to mention the fire chief aka commander who steals the show in the second part of the movie.

13. Eraserhead, a David Lynch first film - Oct 01, 2021. 



12. Persona - a 1966 Bergman film

A true classic, enough said.


11. Youth - a 2015 Paolo Sorrentino film with  Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel starring and also a very mature looking Rachel Weisz and an unrecognizable Jane Fonda.Watched it with interest for what it's worth, the film's portrayal of the great Maradona was funny though but I think it's more drama than comedy.

My film going outfit.



10. Shutter Island

9. Annette - another Carax film and a Sparx brothers soap rock opera

8. Only Lovers Left Alive, a Jarmusch  vampire move, the best vampire movie ever, this one seems to be worthy of a purchase and repeat viewings.

7. Holy Motors, a Leon Carax film, maybe makes sense, liked the limo.

6. Reminiscence - nothing much but the plot retained a modicum of interest till the end, or I did in it

5. La Haine - great and has aged well, that is to say, almost not at all, as fresh and topical as ever

4. Chungking Express - atmospheric, I would like to own this one to watch on my laptop repeatedly on the background whilst working (hardly)

3. Free Guy - not a complete waste of time but almost

2. Breathless - a great Godard and the late Belmondo film

1. Trainspotting (the original first one)





Monday, January 17, 2022

RIP Nino Cerruti

 RIP Nino Cerruti


Well, unlike the (in)famous Baldwin dude, I was never measured nor costumed by him naturally just have at least one suit made of a fabric from his mill that his grandfather founded in 1881.


 

 

A good suit too and even better fabric!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Dressing the Jewels

 Here is another style tip - dressing your jewels.

Or is it just a curious observation.


So, dressing left or right? Which trouser leg, left or right?

The quote is from Thomas Fink's Man book.

How to Tie the Nicky Knot

the Nicky knot... one of the very few that start with tie seam side up, but the odd number of manipulations ensures, that the front side is up (faces forward) on completion of the knot.

Exploring bookcore: A revealing interview with Paul Winer of the Naked Man's Bookstore in Quartzsite, Arizona

Exploring bookcore*: A revealing interview with Paul Winer of the Naked Man's Bookstore in Quartzsite, Arizona



RIP Paul Winer. 
 
His famous bookcore outfit was a three-piece suit ... of three socks, one of which he wore on his genitals, for propriety's sake.
 

Yamen & EDA | RTS.FM Budapest x Bedroom | 07.01.2022

This could be nice for a morning exercise bash.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Photos: Murals at a Metro Station and Other Photos

For today's photos here are some from last Sunday January 9, 2022.

These murals are at an entrance to the Chkalovskaya Metro station here in Moscow.

Chkalov was a famous Soviet pilot and in 1937 he made a record breaking flight from Russia to the US, I think.



Zemliznoy Val ul.


Zvezda Cinema.




Tverskaya at night.









Soapbox photos: Murals at a Metro Station and Other Photos: For today's photos here are some from last Sunday January 9, 2022. These murals are at an entrance to the Chkalovskaya Metro station her...

Brooklyn’s Most Cluttered Bookstore

Brooklyn’s Most Cluttered Bookstore

Friday, January 14, 2022

Photo Travel: Reportage Photography: T-34 Tank Museum

 I tank you today.

Yes, for today's visual (photo) adventure, here is a story in photos (reportage photography) of a visit to the T-34 Tank Museum somewhere north of Moscow.

 


Tanks various in front of the museum building.

This is from a couple of years ago, if memory serves. Probably the summer of 2019.

These first photos are from the viewing area in front of the museum building.

Here is a Vostok Komandirskie tank watch and the very tank pictured on the dial which is a T-60.


Tank for the inquiring minds - you can walk and climb on it - but cannot get inside.





The Tsar Tank.

The Tsar Tank was maybe the world's largest tank built by Russia in the first World War, and this is a full-size replica.

I don't think it was ever fielded though.




It was supposed to carry lots of machine guns.

Army repair of a T-34 tank under field conditions.





The T-34 tank on a pedestal which can be seen from a major road leading north of Moscow.











And now moving inside.