Movies I’ve Seen This Year: Aliens, First Love, Starship Troopers, etc.

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Apocalypse Now (1979) is a Vietnam war movie partly inspired by Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God. The story is set in Vietnam and Cambodia but it was shot entirely in the Philippines. I don’t remember there was a dog in Un Chien Andalou (1929), a movie that probably wasn’t even shot in Andalusia. In Lucio Fulci’s The Devil’s Honey (1986), a guy plays and uses his saxophone (sexophone?) to make love to his girlfriend. Sadistically. Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (2012) is exactly what the title says only more pornographic.

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Starship Troopers (1997) is well-made bad B-movie with great special effects and really bad acting (i.e., Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards) you’d think everything wasn’t on purpose. Even Roger Ebert, who noticed the satirical elements and compared the movie to Start Wars (If “Star Wars” is humanist, “Starship Troopers” is totalitarian), thought it wasn’t a satire through and through. He probably wanted to enjoy the movie so bad, wanted to see ‘heroes’ he could cheer and root for.

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Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) is about dirt bike racer who was sent back to 1877. It’s dirt bike racer versus horse-riding outlaws. I would have probably enjoyed this more if the synth score wasn’t so loud. Power Rangers (2017) was slightly good enough to waste one late afternoon during the lock-down until the third act, which tried too hard to imitate the crappy fight scenes of the TV series. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) is good straight spy spoof set in Berlin Wall-divided Germany. Cool soundtrack. Even though my favorite electronic group U.N.K.L.E. wasn’t in it, my dear old uncle likes it too.

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Good Bye, Lenin! (2003) is damn near perfect movie. Thanks to The Man from UNCLE, I was reminded this movie exists. Probably one of the best movies I’ve seen recently. I tried watching Lav Diaz’s 8-hour epic Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016) but I stopped after the musician-revolutionary played by Ely Buendia, who I thought was the lead character, died in a skirmish. The Hole in the Ground (2019) is set in a place where there is, literally, a huge hole in the ground and I like it when movies don’t try to mislead you.

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Turn Me On, Dammit! (2011) is probably my favorite coming of age sex comedy. Also, I like exclamation marks in movie titles. I thought Borgman (2013) was about the marginalized organizing themselves and eating the rich but no online review seems to share the same reading as mine. You may like Borgman though, if you liked Parasite (2019). The Gentlemen (2019) is actually about a bunch of drug-dealers and killers. I liked it even though the title is somewhat misleading.

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Aliens (1986) is one of the greatest ever and it’s probably more “feminist” than the crappy Captain Marvel. Adam McKay’s The Other Guys (2010) is The Big Short of buddy cop action comedy. I liked it better than Hell or High Water (2016), another movie about financial institutions being the enemy. Reign of Fire (2002) is curious little flop starring Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey made at the time when CGI in movies wasn’t as common as today. And you can see how the filmmakers dealt with the problem of framing a fight between man and huge fire-breathing dragon.

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The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo is not a real book nor a real movie. But The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) is real and it’s pierced, tattooed, sexy, thrilling and cold. Wait, I can’t believe it. The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo is actually a real book. Takashi Miike’s First Love (2019) is a “wholesome” gangster movie—by Ichi the Killer standards that is. It’s probably my favorite Miike after 13 Assassins. Tulume Alyas Zorro (1983) mixes supernatural elements with the adventures of the famous masked bandit. Panday‘s arch-nemesis Lizardo (Max Alvarado) even had a cameo.

panic

Je n’écris généralement pas en français mais Panique Au Village (2009) est une excellente animation en stop-motion sur Cowboy, Horse et Indian. Merci Google Traduction. #Jowable is somewhat #watchable; I liked the nunsploitation part. The Blood On Satan’s Claw (1971) is an enjoyable old horror movie even though Satan and his claws were not in the movie. Alain Delon’s clumsy effeminate governor in Zorro (1975) is so fun to watch. Like Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow in those Pirates movies.

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My Ultranationalist Uncle (2018) is true-to-life story about every ultranationalist uncle (I know there are a lot out there) and his student activist niece. One of the best road movies I’ve seen. Wait for the punchline in the end-credits. Budots: The Craze takes you to where it all started, introduces a very different kind of dance scene and maybe, a face of the city you haven’t heard or read about before. The End is Bigger than Love (2014) is a sexy romance zombie apocalypse that has more sex than zombies.

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Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone (2007) made me want to watch the TV series but I’m torn between watching the original series and finishing the first three movies of the Rebuild of Evagelion tetralogy now that the final piece is on the way. The stilted, almost emotionless, transactional-like dialogues in The Killing of A Sacred Deer (2017) made the movie kind of hard to watch, like there’s always something off about it. And yet, when film came to its climax, I thought it was better to have been made that way — distanced, because it would have been more scary if it was more real.

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Atomic Blonde (2017) has some real great fights that are less repetitive than the last John Wick movie. And they’re admirable — the choreography, the execution, the cameraworks. But all this double dealing double agents, M16 vs KGB—this whole enterprise felt bruised, numb, recycled and tired — just like Charlize Theron’s Lorraine at the start of the movie, bathing in a tub full of ice. The lesbian sex was hot tho.

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