Viewing Log: 2016

by ThreeSadTigers | created - 20 Jan 2016 | updated - 31 Oct 2017 | Public

An on-going list of films I watched for the first time in 2016, arranged in the order in which I saw them.

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1. Behind The Candelabra (2013)

TV-MA | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Music

A chronicle of the tempestuous six-year romance between megastar singer Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Eric Zuckerman

Votes: 42,412

Impeccable craftsmanship combined with standout performances from the leads. As much as I love Soderbergh's observational aesthetic, he's perhaps too dry, too distant for this type of material. You wonder what a filmmaker more prone to melodrama might've made of this. While it does well to show the seamier side of celebrity & the machinations of an abusive relationship, it needed the punch of someone like Fassbinder.

  • 8/10

2. Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie (2014)

94 min | Comedy

A company tries to shut down Mrs Brown's fruit and veg stall. They can feck off.

Director: Ben Kellett | Stars: Brendan O'Carroll, Dermot O'Neill, Eilish O'Carroll, June Rodgers

Votes: 5,237

  • 5/10

3. 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

Not Rated | 97 min | Documentary, Drama, Music

83 Metascore

Writer and musician Nick Cave marks his 20,000th day on the planet Earth.

Directors: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard | Stars: Nick Cave, Susie Bick, Warren Ellis, Darian Leader

Votes: 11,289 | Gross: $0.28M

  • 8/10

4. Thief (1981)

R | 123 min | Action, Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

An ace safe cracker wants to do one last big heist for the mob before going straight.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, Jim Belushi

Votes: 29,131 | Gross: $11.49M

An intense, neon-lit, existential character-study; as much about the psychology of the imprisoned mind as the more obvious crime story theatrics. Frank is a character who finds himself being slowly incarcerated by circumstance; his need for freedom forcing him down a path of almost Samurai-like self-cleansing through violent self-destruction. The first flicker of Mann as American cinema's preeminent modernist master.

  • 10/10

5. Magnum Force (1973)

R | 124 min | Action, Crime, Mystery

58 Metascore

San Francisco Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan is on the trail of vigilante Police Officers who are not above going beyond the law to kill the city's undesirables.

Director: Ted Post | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitchell Ryan, David Soul

Votes: 59,553 | Gross: $4.56M

  • 9/10

6. The Enforcer (1976)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

58 Metascore

San Francisco Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan must foil a terrorist organization made up of disgruntled Vietnam veterans. But this time, he's teamed with female partner Inspector Kate Moore, with whom he's not too excited to be working.

Director: James Fargo | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Tyne Daly, Harry Guardino, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 44,126 | Gross: $46.20M

  • 6/10

7. Sudden Impact (1983)

R | 117 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

52 Metascore

A rape victim is exacting revenge on her aggressors in a small town outside San Francisco. "Dirty" Harry Callahan, on suspension for angering his superiors (again), is assigned to the case.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 43,493 | Gross: $67.64M

  • 9/10

8. The Gauntlet (1977)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

59 Metascore

A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, William Prince

Votes: 22,444 | Gross: $35.40M

  • 8/10

9. Firefox (1982)

PG | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

44 Metascore

A pilot is sent into the Soviet Union on a mission to steal a prototype jet fighter that can be partially controlled by a neuralink.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Freddie Jones, David Huffman, Warren Clarke

Votes: 26,701 | Gross: $46.71M

A shaggy dog effort that mixes scenes of suspenseful & often beautifully staged espionage with lengthy special effect sequences of the protagonist sitting in front of a blue screen. While both parts of the film still contain some exceptional moments, Firefox never finds a level of consistency. As actor & director, Eastwood seems to be taking things very seriously, but his co-stars chew the scenery out from under him.

  • 6/10

10. Tightrope (1984)

R | 114 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

61 Metascore

New Orleans single dad and cop Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) goes after a serial rapist-killer, but when he gets too close to the target, the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.

Directors: Richard Tuggle, Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Geneviève Bujold, Dan Hedaya, Alison Eastwood

Votes: 17,157 | Gross: $48.14M

Eastwood apparently took over directorial duties mid-way through; true enough, several scenes show the mark of the auteur behind Sudden Impact; the silhouetted blackness & red hued degradation carrying across from that particular film into this tale of psychological disintegration. While not as powerful or compelling as his own credited effort, the idea of a character being corrupted by violence is an intriguing one.

  • 8/10

11. The Rookie (1990)

R | 120 min | Action, Crime, Drama

41 Metascore

A veteran detective is assigned a rookie partner after his previous partner is killed by a car theft gang. He is determined to apprehend those responsible for his friend's death but his new partner isn't really up to the task.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Raul Julia, Sônia Braga

Votes: 26,698 | Gross: $21.63M

Too busy watching the way the film was made to be concerned about the content. From the opening dream sequence, with stark silhouettes & fragmented cutting, to the jaw-dropping image of the car erupting from an exploding building, this highlights some of Eastwood's most audacious direction. The casting & characterisations are weak, but lighting, editing, colour & composition are not just excellent but often intrepid.

  • 7/10

12. Bronco Billy (1980)

PG | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

66 Metascore

An idealistic, modern-day cowboy struggles to keep his Wild West show afloat in the face of hard luck and waning interest.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 11,576 | Gross: $24.27M

Is the big top a microcosm of the American heartland or a stand-in for the cinema itself? Arguably Eastwood's most personal film, 'Bronco' takes some of the same wacky comedy & good ol' boy archetypes of his earlier orangutan movies, but punctuates them with something more reflective & yearning. It's a film about the end of the West; about performers & performing; the business of show; about Eastwood & his audience.

  • 8/10

13. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, Romance

69 Metascore

Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson for four days in the 1960s.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak

Votes: 78,031 | Gross: $71.52M

  • 9/10

14. Honkytonk Man (1982)

PG | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

50 Metascore

A boy with a music talent goes on a journey with his uncle for a stage concert.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Kyle Eastwood, John McIntire, Alexa Kenin

Votes: 8,605 | Gross: $4.48M

  • 9/10

15. Absolute Power (1997)

R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

Career thief Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) witnesses a horrific crime involving U.S. President Alan Richmond (Gene Hackman).

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney

Votes: 53,172 | Gross: $50.01M

Fails to connect. Pacing is sluggish, set-pieces lack confidence & plot falls apart under scrutiny. If there's interest to be had it's in the heft of the film's rich thematic subtext; the air of political corruption & the disillusionment with modern justice exploiting those without power capture the (pre-Clinton scandal) zeitgeist. Early scenes establish a theme of voyeurism & objectification, but this goes nowhere.

  • 5/10

16. True Crime (1999)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Can an over-the-hill journalist uncover the evidence that can prove a death row inmate's innocence just hours before his execution?

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Isaiah Washington, LisaGay Hamilton, James Woods

Votes: 35,082 | Gross: $16.64M

  • 8/10

17. Space Cowboys (2000)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

73 Metascore

When retired engineer Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood) is called upon to rescue a failing satellite, he insists that his equally old teammates accompany him into space.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner

Votes: 78,884 | Gross: $90.46M

  • 5/10

18. Blood Work (2002)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

64 Metascore

Still recovering from a heart transplant, retired F.B.I. profiler Terry McCaleb (Clint Eastwood) returns to service when his own blood analysis offers clues to the identity of a serial killer.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Wanda De Jesus

Votes: 44,076 | Gross: $26.20M

  • 6/10

19. A Perfect World (1993)

PG-13 | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

71 Metascore

A kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor, an escaped convict on the run from the law, while the search for him continues.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Laura Dern, T.J. Lowther

Votes: 78,012 | Gross: $31.16M

  • 9/10

20. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG | 135 min | Western

69 Metascore

Missouri farmer Josey Wales joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney

Votes: 70,749 | Gross: $31.80M

  • 10/10

21. Merry-Go-Round (1980)

Not Rated | 160 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Elizabeth sends telegrams to her old boyfriend Ben in NYC and to her younger sister Leo in Rome to join her in Paris, where she is selling her dead father's estate. When Ben and Leo arrive, a mysterious adventure begins.

Director: Jacques Rivette | Stars: Maria Schneider, Joe Dallesandro, Danièle Gégauff, Sylvie Matton

Votes: 519

  • 7/10

22. Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

R | 130 min | Drama, War

53 Metascore

Hard-nosed, hard-living Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway (Clint Eastwood) clashes with his superiors and his ex-wife as he takes command of a spoiled recon platoon with a bad attitude.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Marsha Mason, Everett McGill, Moses Gunn

Votes: 42,345 | Gross: $42.72M

  • 7/10

23. White Hunter Black Heart (1990)

PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama

66 Metascore

A thinly fictionalized account of a legendary movie director, whose desire to hunt down an animal turns into a grim situation with his movie crew in Africa.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Fahey, Charlotte Cornwell, Norman Lumsden

Votes: 11,985 | Gross: $2.32M

  • 8/10

24. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

R | 155 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

57 Metascore

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson, Irma P. Hall

Votes: 38,522 | Gross: $25.08M

The promise of Eastwood approaching the worlds of the Southern Gothic, magical realism & black comedy seems incredibly enticing, but the film disappoints. It's directionless; the story meanders; the comedy isn't funny & the drama isn't engaging. While the first act captures a sense of atmosphere & picaresque wonder, it soon gets lost in the flow of an uninteresting assemblage of plot with its weak characterisations.

  • 5/10

25. Play Misty for Me (1971)

R | 102 min | Drama, Thriller

78 Metascore

The life of a disc jockey is turned upside down after a romantic encounter with an obsessed fan.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills, John Larch

Votes: 27,397 | Gross: $11.80M

  • 7/10

26. Coogan's Bluff (1968)

R | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Arizona Deputy Sheriff Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is sent to New York City to escort an escaped fugitive back for trial.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee J. Cobb, Susan Clark, Tisha Sterling

Votes: 16,672

  • 5/10

27. The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Approved | 129 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

61 Metascore

Classical art professor and collector Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, who doubles as a professional assassin, is coerced out of retirement to avenge the murder of an old friend.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee, Jack Cassidy

Votes: 19,167

  • 7/10

28. Joe Kidd (1972)

PG | 88 min | Western

52 Metascore

An ex-bounty hunter reluctantly helps a wealthy landowner and his henchmen track down a Mexican revolutionary leader.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, John Saxon, Don Stroud

Votes: 17,763

  • 6/10

29. The Visitor (1979)

R | 108 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

The soul of a young girl with telekinetic powers becomes the prize in a fight between forces of God and the Devil.

Director: Giulio Paradisi | Stars: Mel Ferrer, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, John Huston

Votes: 3,578

  • 7/10

30. The Killer (1989)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

A disillusioned assassin accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kong Chu

Votes: 47,376

An absolute masterpiece from John Woo. The greatest synthesis of his preferred themes (outsiders, nobility, redemption, brothers on opposite sides of the law) with that ultra stylish, ultra violent approach to screen action. Drawing on the obvious influences of Peckinpah, Scorsese & Melville, the real innovation was in approaching gun battles with the same stylistic abandon as the sword-fights in old Wuxia films.

  • 9/10

31. The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)

PG | 99 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

Two sisters inherit their family castle, which is said to be haunted by their homicidal ancestor, a dark-haired woman in a red robe known as the "Red Queen," who is said to take seven lives every hundred years.

Director: Emilio Miraglia | Stars: Barbara Bouchet, Ugo Pagliai, Marina Malfatti, Marino Masé

Votes: 2,514

  • 7/10

32. Death Walks on High Heels (1971)

Not Rated | 108 min | Mystery, Thriller

A French stripper is entrusted with her thieving father's last score, a million dollars worth of diamonds. After being threatened to handover the score, she leaves France to England in the company of a doctor, but danger follows.

Director: Luciano Ercoli | Stars: Frank Wolff, Nieves Navarro, Simón Andreu, Carlo Gentili

Votes: 1,813

  • 8/10

33. Only God Forgives (2013)

R | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama

37 Metascore

Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown

Votes: 110,525 | Gross: $0.78M

  • 5/10

34. The Hateful Eight (2015)

R | 168 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

68 Metascore

In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins

Votes: 559,432 | Gross: $54.12M

Tarantino's most Godardian film. A grotesque, blackly comic study on violence & morality, which seems to be using fiction to draw disquieting parallels to situations occurring in the modern world. Full of lengthy political discussion, digressions & deconstructions, even the decision to shoot 70mm, despite taking place almost entirely in a log-cabin, evokes Godard's practice of shooting domestic drama in Cinemascope.

  • 9/10

35. High Plains Drifter (1973)

R | 105 min | Drama, Mystery, Western

69 Metascore

A gun-fighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 53,131 | Gross: $15.70M

  • 9/10

36. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)

PG-13 | 87 min | Comedy

39 Metascore

When a new gang moves into town it's up to the screwball police team to stop them.

Directors: Jerry Paris, James Signorelli | Stars: Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow

Votes: 53,808 | Gross: $55.60M

  • 2/10

37. True Romance (1993)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer

Votes: 218,893 | Gross: $12.28M

I think Scott gets it wrong. Tarantino's original text was a characteristic jumble of scenes & chronologies. It had a Chinese whispers quality, where the narrative is refracted through a movie geek protagonist trying to see his life in terms of Charles Bronson/Sonny Chiba movies. Scott reduces this to a mere surface, turning the story into a straightforward account; sentimentality soaked in 80s action cinema gloss.

  • 5/10

38. Mahler (1974)

PG | 115 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague, Miriam Karlin

Votes: 2,573

  • 8/10

39. Tusk (I) (2014)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

55 Metascore

A brash and arrogant podcaster gets more than he bargained for when he travels to Canada to interview a mysterious recluse... who has a rather disturbing fondness for walruses.

Director: Kevin Smith | Stars: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez

Votes: 50,055 | Gross: $1.82M

A shade too long, tonally confused & distracted, Tusk is nonetheless Kevin Smith at his zaniest & most creative; a fully-baked spoof of The Human Centipede that reminds the audience of his one-of-a-kind approach to character-based storytelling & perhaps his most sophisticated work of cinema to date. The villain in particular is brilliantly-realised; his dialog at once darkly comic, insightful, anguished, sympathetic.

  • 7/10

40. Edward II (1991)

Unrated | 87 min | Drama, History, Romance

In this Derek Jarman version of Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan drama, in modern costumes and settings, Plantagenet king Edward II hands the power-craving nobility the perfect excuse by ... See full summary »

Director: Derek Jarman | Stars: Steven Waddington, Kevin Collins, Andrew Tiernan, John Lynch

Votes: 2,635 | Gross: $0.69M

Jarman's masterwork is a marvel of low-budget ingenuity & defiant personal vision. Setting Marlowe's text in what appears to be an underground bunker (extending the post-apocalyptic reveries of his previous work) we have the sense of an imprisoning world of stone & shadow where no true love can grow. Modern iconography crashes into archaic speech, as Jarman once against shows the cyclical nature of human experience.

  • 9/10

41. Wake in Fright (1971)

R | 109 min | Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay

Votes: 11,720 | Gross: $0.05M

  • 7/10

42. City of Women (1980)

R | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A businessman finds himself trapped at a hotel and threatened by women en masse.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Jole Silvani

Votes: 7,111 | Gross: $0.01M

Even at his worst Fellini seems worth the effort. Whole sequences in City of Women are dazzling in their scale & presentation. Images, ideas & scenarios that are incomparable in their vision & unrestrained in their imagination. Unfortunately such sequences are at the service of an empty dream-narrative about a middle-aged man's inability to grasp the necessities of feminism or the role of women in a changing world.

  • 6/10

43. Death Walks at Midnight (1972)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

In the midst of a drug-fueled photo-shoot, a model witnesses a brutal murder in the apartment opposite hers. But when the authorities refuse to believe her, she is forced to assume the role of amateur sleuth to unravel the mystery.

Director: Luciano Ercoli | Stars: Nieves Navarro, Simón Andreu, Peter Martell, Carlo Gentili

Votes: 1,621

  • 6/10

44. The Night Porter (1974)

R | 118 min | Drama

A concentration camp survivor rekindles her sadomasochistic relationship with her lover, a former SS officer - now working as a night porter at a Vienna hotel - but his former Nazi associates begin stalking them.

Director: Liliana Cavani | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Charlotte Rampling, Philippe Leroy, Gabriele Ferzetti

Votes: 12,589 | Gross: $0.63M

Fascinating but not always successful. A provocative examination into the power-struggles that exist between couples, given added weight by its emphasis on the sadomasochistic relationship between a former Nazi officer & a young Jewish woman still captivated by him. Several sequences remain iconic & genuinely unforgettable, but the third act shift into symbolism abstracts rather than clarifies Cavani's point of view.

  • 7/10

45. Fellini Satyricon (1969)

R | 129 min | Drama, Fantasy, History

A series of disjointed mythical tales set in first-century Rome.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Martin Potter, Hiram Keller, Max Born, Salvo Randone

Votes: 15,731 | Gross: $1.14M

Fellini called it a science fiction film, but one set in the distant past. Certainly it's a work that transports its audience to a world beyond imagination; casting us in the role of alien anthropologist; here to excavate the ruins of human experience to find the stories within. It's Fellini at the peak of his abilities; filling every inch of the frame with dazzling sequences, grotesque images, humor, horror, poetry.

  • 10/10

46. A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Unrated | 108 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller