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Curtis Loves Movies [2018] FILM

 

Red Dragon [2002] * * *

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Brett Ratner is no Michael Mann but this story and the characters are so interesting that even he can't screw it up completely. His direction really is the low point for me, though. Can you be less cinematic, Brett? And some of the creative choices are so goofy. Even serial killers look silly running up the stairs naked.

I grew up on a steady diet of Michael Mann, especially "Manhunter". It was my first introduction to the world of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. When I first saw "Red Dragon" back when it came out, I hated it. It was like seeing the dumb younger brother of my favorite actor try to do Shakespeare. He's kind of getting the words right, but why is he making that stupid face?

This time I enjoyed it, to my surprise. For the most part, the actors are doing a good job. And because I watched and loved the TV series, "Hannibal" (where I got to see a non-Mann rendition of the "Red Dragon" storyline that I loved), it kind of freed me from my myopic bias against anything different.

I don't think I'll revisit the Ratner version much if at all, but it was nice to be able to finally enjoy its merits for what they are.


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Nickodemus [2018] FILM

 

Les Misérables [2012] * * * *

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Somewhere on my bucket list there is an entry that reads something like: See "Les Misérables" performed on Broadway at least once. My father loves theater, so when I was growing up I was exposed to content from plays and musicals whenever I saw him. This content included many musical soundtracks, "Annie", "Evita" and "Les Misérables" all coming to mind. I think the fascination with "Les Mis" as a child centered mainly on the song, "Master of the House" because they say "shit" and talk about raising a toast up the landlord's ass. My sister and I listened to it nonstop, to the point that when I hear it today I feel irritated. With that being said I was happy to see "Les Misérables" get the Hollywood treatment in 2012.

Backtracking a little I should start with the book. "Les Misérables" was written in 1862 by Victor Hugo and is one of the longest fiction novels ever written. The reason it is so long is that Hugo included several essays on subjects that were seemingly unrelated to the plot to display his depth of knowledge. I have only read the abridged version of the book which focuses on the main story, a tale of redemption featuring Jean Valjean, a man jailed for 19 years for a petty crime. Valjean is one of my favorite characters in literature, rivaled only by Edmond Dantes of "The Count of Monte Cristo" and John Galt of "Atlas Shrugged". All of these characters had really strong redemption arcs. Unlike Dantes who was out for revenge, or Galt who wanted to show everyone how wrong they were, Valjean only wanted to atone for his sins and become an honest man in the eyes of God. I can appreciate the desire to gain the upper hand after years of torment, or to live life on your terms and not have to answer to anyone, but I find "Les Mis" fascinating because Valjean is the one who put himself in this challenging situation. Dantes was deceived. Galt was just born perfect in a "shithole" country (poor baby, am I right?). Valjean was trying to feed his family and stole some food. He was caught and sentenced to five years in a labor camp. He attempted to escape several times which prolonged his sentence. The novel illustrates how difficult it is for society to forgive the criminal. Even when he rebuilds his life, as soon as the populace finds out who he is they cast him away, left to be feverishly pursued by the law. I can relate to that on a lot of levels. No matter how much good this man does he is still just a convict who broke his parole in the eyes of the government and its people.

Valjean was played by Liam Neeson in 1998 in an adaption that closely followed the plot of the book. It was not a musical. I made the mistake of bringing it to my Grandma's house to watch with her. Nothing is as awkward as watching Uma Thurman play a prostitute with your Nana. Nothing. I didn't think there was anything particularly special about the film. I missed the lyrics and music that I grew up listening to as a kid. So, when they decided to make a movie musical I was thrilled. They cast Hugh Jackman as Valjean with a varied cast of supporting actors including Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe, and Helena Bonham Carter. I know a lot of guys would dread watching something like that, but, growing up with the story and music, I was actually pleased. The singing was on point. Even Russell Crowe did a fairly good job considering he is Russell Crowe and probably had zero singing experience going in. They remained true to the stage play though some parts were cut to make it feature film length. The movie is STILL almost 3 hours long, which is an eternity if you don't like musicals. The most notable omission was the intro to "On My Own", my favorite song. That was really the only thing that disappointed me.

[---BEGIN SPOILERS---]
I love the story of "Les Misérables", but the thing that makes me frustrated is that Cosette, the little girl that is in the care of Valjean, attracts the attention of a young man named Marius when she is older. Marius is unknowingly loved by Éponine, my favorite character in the story, save Valjean. In terms of character development, Cosette is nothing more than a doll compared to the complex Éponine, who lives for Marius to notice her but winds up dying in his arms. This story has both tragedy and triumph but is oftentimes so heavy handed on the misfortune that you forget about the redemption. I guess that's why they call it "Les Misérables".
[---END SPOILERS---]

I would highly recommend this book/movie/musical in any format. It is truly a timeless classic and one that should be revisited over and over and over again. Ladies come for the romance. Men stay for the war and revolution. There is something for everyone. If you are not into musicals, check out the book (probably do the abridged) or the 1998 movie. It is worthwhile!


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jmunky [2018] FILM

 

The Other Guys [2010] * *

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Don't got time to fuck around with this shit.


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audreyv [2018] FILM

 

Autumn Sonata [1978] * * * * *

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This film is emotionally brutalizing. I do not believe I have ever been so crushed by a film for so long after viewing it. This work obviously arose out of deeply painful experiences and the realism of the story punches you in the gut. Bergman's direction coupled with the performances of these magnificent, iconic actresses is effective to the point that I start to tear up when I remember a specific close-up (if you have seen the film you can probably guess which). The colors of the sets are so rich and contribute so well to the sensory overload this film triggers. I would honestly warn viewers of the feelings and memories the viewing experience has the potential to bring up, but I am deeply grateful to the reflection it has sparked within me.


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Isaak von Seggern [2018] FILM

 

Betrayal [1983] * *

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LIES! LIES ALL OF THEM! EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS A LIE!

Haven't you heard the news?

Love is a Lie!!!

Marriage is just a meaningless social construct we box ourselves into as some sort of display for the affection we pretend to hold for each other.

RILEY REID, ANAL SCENES, and the academy award-winning FAKE TAXI series are the only truths in life!

THERE IS NO GOD

Give in to your vices and succumb to your true lord, DEATH!

FIGHT CLUB IS THE THIRD TESTAMENT!

"Yeah I'll be taking a hard pass on that one, thanks." - Isaak von Seggern (2018)

What. A. Load. Of. Pretentious. Nonsense.

For those of you who have never heard of this movie (I imagine literally every single one of you), it's like "Irreversible", except it's not about a merciless rape sequence, it's about an affair... BUT OH MY GOD IT'S TOLD IN REVERSE ISN'T THAT FUCKING INSANE?????

I don't know why I clarified the rape as "merciless". I don't think there is such a thing as a "Mercy Rape"

...which be the title of my sex tape.

Shout-out to my mother if she's reading this.

It's all just so unbelievably cynical, which was why I didn't like "Irreversible" either. While there is no rape in "Betrayal", it is just as brutal if not more so then the aforementioned film. "Betrayal" begins with the husband (Ben Kingsley) admitting to Jeremy Irons he knew for a long time that his wife was cheating on him WITH Jeremy Irons, and ends with the beginning of Jeremy Irons' affair with the husband's wife, as if to say,

"No one ever truly loves another person, and your admission of undying love is a false truth; something you will inevitably break later on."

It sucks. I hate it.

Or I hate that part of it at least. Jeremy Irons is quite good, probably one of his most understated roles. He has great hair, and it was a damn shame he never got to be Batman, which was pretty much all I thought about while watching this.

Ben Kingsley was the best though. For being the number 1 gold medalist receiver for "Best on-screen male gaze" for the past 46 years, his character holds a surprising depth that I won't get into because my analyses are bad, and I should feel bad.

Those eyes, good God... Dude can melt semi trucks with nothing but a sideways glance.

I watched what I think was a VHS taped version of the film when it was on TV, that was then uploaded to Vimeo, and the lady who introduced the movie called it a "classic", and Roger Ebert gave it a 4/4.

Lies

All lies, just like love.

Someone asked me today if I was excited for "Oceans 8" to which I replied "no", but you want to know what I am excited for?

More of Jeremy Irons getting rich and fucking your significant other NEXT WEEK in the upcoming edition of,

"Isaak von Seggern Gets Hard as Iron Watching Jeremy Irons Iron Other People's Wives with His Iron."

Keep your ears to the ground for more of my hot takes, get a divorce, get a subscription to Brazzers, and start fucking yourself today.

"UuUUUuuuuUGHHHhH." - Riley Reid


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