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Obscure movies Movies we may have missed

#41 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2014-March-28, 10:14

View Postkenrexford, on 2014-January-17, 19:49, said:

On a more obscure note, I laughed myself to tears watching a movie that I think was called Walkabout. Those who have seen it might understand. The action scenes in the middle part were fantastic. LOL.

View Postkenrexford, on 2014-January-18, 21:24, said:

I saw it on TV and was laughing hysterically as the two walked with no talking up a dune, down a dune, up a dune, down a dune, then, after a shot of a random lizard eating a bug, up a dune, down a dune...

I can't agree with you about this, Ken - but I'm a Nic Roeg fan. Next you'll be telling us you don't rate "Don't Look Now"!

I'd like to add Terrence Malick's second film, Days of Heaven to the discussion - memorably described in the Time Out Film Guide review thus: “Eventually … the narrative collapses, leaving its audience breathlessly suspended between a 90-minute proof that all the bustling activity in the world means nothing, and the perfection of Malick’s own perverse desire to catalogue it nonetheless. Compulsive.” Also with Sam Shepard, and an early big role for Richard Gere - check it out.

Peter
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#42 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2014-April-14, 16:11

I don't know if I should post it here, in the recent movie thread, or in the global warming asylum, but Snowpiercer was awesome (Korean film spoken mostly in English)! The concept is already intriguing but all the action scenes were special and everything is just different to what you expect.
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#43 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-April-15, 23:00

Put Babette on my Netflix list...I know it got rave reviews ..we will see.


Out of Sight...great fun, romantic movie....have no idea why this was never a huge box office hit....on my Netflix to see again soon.
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#44 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 00:16

View Postmike777, on 2014-April-15, 23:00, said:

Out of Sight...great fun, romantic movie....have no idea why this was never a huge box office hit....on my Netflix to see again soon.


Out of Sight was awesome. It was early in the transition of Clooney to movie star status (arguably is first really successful film role) and pretty early in JLo's transition to acting too. And it was Soderbergh's re-emergence from having done not much of note since Sex, Lies, and Videotapes kicking off his string of successes (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven).

I think it is overlooked a little because it came out in a very good year for films (1998: The Thin Red Line; The Big Lebowski; Saving Private Ryan; Life Is Beautiful; American History X; Shakespeare in Love; Rushmore; There's Something About Mary; Mulan; Elizabeth; The Truman Show; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Rounders) which was followed up by the very best year for films in the past quarter century - at least - (1999: American Beauty; Fight Club; Run Lola Run; The Matrix; Magnolia; Being John Malkovich; Boys Don't Cry; The Insider; The Sixth Sense; American Pie; Girl, Interrupted; The Green Mile; Three Kings; The Cider House Rules; The Talented Mr. Ripley; Office Space; Toy Story 2; Election; The Hurricane; Go; ...) so a ton of awesome movies came out around then. But I agree that Out of Sight is 1st rate.

Hard to believe but it lost its opening weekend against Eddie Murphy's Doctor Dolittle which opened the same day (June 26th). Being rated R may well have hurt it. Out of Sight grossed $12M that weekend (4th best) and went on to do $37M in the US for the 57th best US box office of 1998. Doctor Dolittle did $29M that weekend and went on to do $144M for the sixth best US box office of 1998! The top 5 box office for movies that were released in 1998 were Saving Private Ryan; Armagedden; There's Something About Mary; A Bug's Life; and The Waterboy. For that Out of Sight opening weekend hold over movies Mulan ($17M) and The X-Files ($13M) also beat Out of Sight. For that week Armageddon also beat it as that opened early (Wednesday July 1st) and did $18M in Wed/Thursday before its $36M more Fri/Sat/Sun weekend. Leathal Weapon 4 opened the following week and did a $34M opening weekend. Out of Sight essentially only lasted 3 weeks in the theaters, with the 5th best movie the 1st week, 5th best movie the 2nd week, and 8th best movie the 3rd week.
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#45 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 11:08

View PostMbodell, on 2014-April-16, 00:16, said:

Hard to believe but it lost its opening weekend against Eddie Murphy's Doctor Dolittle which opened the same day (June 26th).

Top grossing films are almost always family movies and action blockbusters, or rom-coms if they're not competing against either of those types.

#46 User is offline   macaw 

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Posted 2014-April-16, 13:25

"Wavelength" an obscure science fiction movie which isn't out on DVD unfortunately. We have it on VHS but no player :) - curious if anybody else has ever seen that one.

"Countryman" is now out on DVD, and it's entertaining. Not great acting, or cinematography, but a good almost science fiction story.

#47 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-November-06, 07:29

From Film: 'Tender Mercies' Stands Out in a Fine Off-Season Crop by Vincent Canby March 13, 1983

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The season is out of joint. This is the time of year when distributors usually get rid of all of those movies they don't think are worth releasing in the prime moviegoing times of Christmas and the midsummer months. Yet there have been more new films of interest in the last few weeks than I can remember in any comparable period in a number of years.

One of the latest of these is ''Tender Mercies,'' a funny, most appealing and most sharply observed film that's set in rural Texas and concerns, among other things, people who sing ''Jesus Saves,'' without making fun of them. Based on an original screenplay by Horton Foote, who received an Oscar for his adaptation of ''To Kill a Mockingbird,'' and directed by Bruce Beresford, the Australian director (''Breaker Morant'') in his American debut, ''Tender Mercies'' is likely to become the year's most unexpected hit, sometimes called ''a sleeper,'' which has always seemed to me to be a phrase that contradicted itself.

If any other actor except Robert Duvall were playing the leading role in ''Tender Mercies,'' that of a down-and-out country-and-Western singer, you'd probably call this the performance of his career. But Mr. Duvall has contributed so many brilliant performances to such films as ''True Confessions,'' ''Apocalypse Now,'' ''The Great Santini'' and ''The Seven Percent Solution'' that it doesn't do justice to him to suggest that ''Tender Mercies'' is somehow better. It's great and different. It's also the performance of an extraordinary American actor in the midst of an exceptional career.

In all respects ''Tender Mercies'' is so good that it has the effect of rediscovering a kind of film fiction that has been debased over the decades by hack moviemakers, working according to accepted formulas, frequently to the applause of the critics as well as the public.

''Tender Mercies'' is a warm film, by which I mean something very different from sentimental. The good ''warm'' film, as opposed to the good ''cool'' film, never leaves one in any doubt as to what it's about or how one is supposed to respond to it. Its surprises come not through any breakthroughs in style, or from shock, or from disorienting juxtapositions of content that force one to reexamine one's relations with the universe.

Instead, like ''Tender Mercies,'' it works through conventional means to find the special that we always hope exists within the ordinary.

If it isn't still too soon to attempt to identify the most important film development in the 1970's, I'd say it was the emergence of a kind of cool - commercial movies can't support a fancy term like Modernist - film that owes more than a frame or two to the radically new-looking films made by Jean-Luc Godard in the late 1950's and 60's. These films, as well as the cool films that came after, especially those of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, insist that audiences make choices while looking at the films.

They often don't mean exactly what they say. They favor medium long-shots that allow the audience to choose where to look. A closeup may be used more for decoration than to italicize a point. The people on the screen - sometimes they can't even be described as characters - are not to be identified with but, instead, to be scrutinized and considered, as if they were previously unknown fauna.

In its extreme form, as in Fassbinder's classic, ''In a Year of 13 Moons,'' the cool film may be beautiful to look at but resolutely off-putting as it demands that we pay attention to things most of us would prefer to ignore. The cool film initially makes us uneasy, though ultimately it may be far more involving than the more ordinary warm film because we've had to contribute to it. The warm film soothes.

Though Godard and Fassbinder films have never been wildly successful in the mass American market, an increasing number of films that do reach this market show the influences of these cool moviemakers. Martin Scorsese's best films - ''Taxi Driver,'' ''Raging Bull'' and ''The King of Comedy'' - do not go gently into one's memory. They are entertaining but they also disturb us by forcing us to consider people and situations that undermine our feelings of self-assurance and well-being.

Though ''Betrayal'' is extremely moving, it also is a cool film. It keeps its three characters at an equal distance from us so that no one character has a distinct emotional advantage over the other two.

Two typical examples of warm films are Richard Attenborough's ''Gandhi,'' a wholehearted endorsement of a man whose saintliness is never in doubt, and ''The Night of the Shooting Stars,'' by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, a movie that sides with the angels, with heroic ''little'' people, but so unequivocally that it seems a tiny bit smug. The principal thing the audience discovers in a film like this is its own - not the characters' - worthiness. The filmmakers have done all of the work and labeled every character so clearly that all we have to do is nod in approval.

''Tender Mercies'' is an equally warm film but you know that, like its hero, Mac Sledge (Mr. Duvall), it is aware of the bottomless pit that awaits those who lose their bearings in life. ''Tender Mercies'' is full of surprises, the major one being that a film that so unembarrassedly and unashamedly endorses the so-called oldfashioned values could be both moving and provocative.

Mr. Foote and Mr. Beresford achieve a kind of tender heroism, something missing from ''The Night of the Shooting Stars,'' in two ways. They dramatize the depths of their characters' feelings so successfully that we share them, and they allow us to understand just how fragile are the lives we are watching. It's only by seeing this fragility that we have any idea of their true strength.

When first seen, Mac Sledge is a boozing has-been, a once-famous country-and-Western singer and songwriter, drifting through rural Texas doing odd jobs for room, board and bottle. One day he comes upon the isolated motel and service station run by Rosa Lee (Tess Harper), a pretty Vietnam widow who is 15 years younger than Mac and has a 9-year-old son, nicknamed Sonny (Allan Hubbard). Unlike the writing in most warm films, Mr. Foote's screenplay - the best thing he's ever done for films - doesn't overexplain or overanalyze. It has a rare appreciation for understatement, which is the style of its characters if not of the actual narrative.

After a week or two working for Rosa Lee, Mac starts drinking less and less and, after two months, he's off the sauce entirely, at which point he proposes. They are working side by side in the garden, hoeing. ''Would you think about marrying me?'' says Mac. ''Yes,'' says Rosa Lee, ''I will.'' That is that and they return to their work.

For much of the film we're never quite sure how lasting Mac's cure will be. Only gradually do we realize that it's the result of his love for Rosa Lee and Sonny, combined with the physical and emotional exhaustion that have accumulated over the years. Mac never has to say anything to that effect. It's apparent in every line and in every gesture, big and small.

Although understatement is the style of the characters, ''Tender Mercies'' is packed with dramatic incidents, sometimes bordering on melodrama, which involve not only Mac's relations with Rosa Lee and Sonny but also with his ex-wife Dixie (Betty Buckley), who is still a star on the country-and-Western circuit, and their pretty, troubled, teen-age daughter, Sue Anne (Ellen Barkin). More about what happens is unimportant to spell out, except to emphasize that it's never predictable.

Mr. Beresford's ''Breaker Morant'' was a good, solid film based, I'm told, on a good, solid play. I suspect that the success of ''Tender Mercies'' has less to do with any similarities between Australia's outback and rural Texas than with the director's secure sense of what he wants to see on the screen and his ability to put it there. Beginning with Mr. Duvall, the film is perfectly cast, not with types but with superior actors.

Tess Harper, a Texas actress who makes her film debut as Rosa Lee, will be one of this year's discoveries. A young woman with an oddly asymmetrical blonde beauty, she has the kind of concentration one usually associates with actors who've had long stage experience. However, since young Allan Hubbard, who plays her son and who has never acted professionally before, shares that concentration, I suspect it must be the work of Mr. Beresford.

Almost as fine are Ellen Barkin, as Mac's spoiled, doomed daughter, and Betty Buckley, who is currently in Broadway's ''Cats,'' as Mac's ex-wife, a tough, determined, savvy, show-biz type.

The film's beautiful physical ''look'' - lots of long, low, flat horizons under great expanses of cloudless blue sky - is as idealized as the sentiments expressed in the country-and-Western music on the soundtrack, which also gives the film its lilting pace. Good films as genuinely warm and sweet as ''Tender Mercies'' are rare. I don't want to oversell it, but if an essentally nonmusical movie can be called a toe-tapper, ''Tender Mercies'' is it.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#48 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-November-06, 08:38

View Posty66, on 2017-November-06, 07:29, said:



Well-timed y66. Got my region-free dvd player working yesterday, and enjoyed watching Breaker Morant again in the last month, so Tender Mercies has just been ordered on Amazon. Many thanks.
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#49 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-November-06, 09:17

One of my favorite small movies is October Sky, starring Chris Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Laura Dern, and based on a true story of four West Virginia teenagers who won scholarships to college after building homemade rockets and winning a statewide science fair.

For the science fiction fan (reminds me of the tv show Outer Limits), They Live, written and directed by John Carpenter, is captivating in a quirky way.
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#50 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-November-06, 09:50

The Man who would be King with Sean Connery and Michael Caine
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#51 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-November-06, 14:50

A Walk in the Clouds (1995), starring Keanu Reeves and Anthony Quinn.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#52 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-November-09, 08:09

A big thanks to y66 for resurrecting this thread - somehow it completely passed me by the first time around. Some thoughts:

Peter O'Toole has always been an actor better remembered for selling rubbish than being involved in quality productions, particularly in the first half of his career. That said, his best film before 1990 must surely be The Last Emperor.

When Ken brought up Walkabout I was unsure if he meant the 1971 film or the 1996 comedy. I take it from the follow-up posts that the former is meant. What is perhaps not evident to those on the other side of The Pond is that the corresponding book is regarded as something of a literary classic and the film itself broke some fairly new ground at the time of its launch, featuring not only a relationship (albeit unconsumated) between a white teenage schoolgirl (age 14 in the book)and a young aborigine (implied in the film to be 16; in the 10-16 in the book) but also full-frontal nudity (Agutter being just 17 at the time of filming).

The film is also something of a lesson to budding directors on the use of montage, with the technique being used often within the film to highlight the sexual tension without anything more concrete to direct the viewers into the film's understory. The desert scenes are similarly designed to get over the vastness of the Australian outback, something that is also emphasised in the book but would presumably not have been obvious to a 1971 audience. How else would you achieve this using 1970s technology? It is essentially the equivalent of the scenes you sometimes see of a line traced on a map edited together with shots of the actors looking like they are about to collapse, only done in a somewhat more subtle way and not requiring the viewers to interpret a map of Australia. I would agree that the IMDB rating of the film (7.7) is too high but it is probably an above-average movie for its time given the rather large amount of totally awful movies at that time. That said, I would direct BBFers towards the book rather than the movie. The two are really completely different stories that happen share some similar elements (the children, the Australian outback and the name). Aside from that any further similarities are more coincidence than anything else.

Out of Sight on the other hand, is a film that I found to be total rubbish. Unbelievable, formulaic, poor acting (even by RomCom standards) - the only real positive it has going for it is Clooney's charisma. I can honestly see little to recommend this movie other than for fans of the leading actors.

Finally, the dance scene reminded me of a decent obscure movie I saw many years ago called Couscous (la graine et le mulet) which I will throw out there for anyone that is interested in such films. I will have to have a deep think about what I have seen since then that is worth mentioning. I know I have seen a few in the last years that were distinctly better than the typical Hollywood fare.
(-: Zel :-)
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#53 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2017-November-09, 11:16

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-November-09, 08:09, said:


Finally, the dance scene reminded me of a decent obscure movie I saw many years ago called Couscous (la graine et le mulet) which I will throw out there for anyone that is interested in such films. I will have to have a deep think about what I have seen since then that is worth mentioning. I know I have seen a few in the last years that were distinctly better than the typical Hollywood fare.


Uh oh. I recorded La graine et le mulet on my PVR last week. Once I get past House of Cards, I'll let you know how I found the original (in French), should you be so inclined.
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#54 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2017-November-10, 07:06

A decent movie with a somewhat bizarre ending. The title refers to elements in a couscous platter, (bulgur wheat and mullet fish) which is a principal component in the story line and an effective center-piece for the denouement. Here in Quebec, "graine" translates as "seed" but is also a colloquial reference to the penis.

Coming from a Waspish home environment, my own culture shock with French-Canadian society was front and center in the family dining scene. Rather than polite, serious dinner-time discussions, the raucous, raunchy and continuously interruptive melee of conversations at the table struck a chord. Having worked with and for several Egyptians, the Arab mentality was spot on as described. The lampooning of the French bureaucracy hit the mark and I agree with its description "a chier". ;)

At 2 1/2 hrs, a bit long but worth the watch. Despite the ending (which cost it a point in my rating) a solid 7.
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#55 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-November-10, 10:15

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-November-09, 08:09, said:

Peter O'Toole has always been an actor better remembered for selling rubbish than being involved in quality productions, particularly in the first half of his career. That said, his best film before 1990 must surely be The Last Emperor.


For pure fun My Favorite Year is one I definitely pull up every few years.
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#56 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-November-10, 12:05

That is a fair review. The scene that I liked the least was the man running around after the youths - I found it rather unbelievable. It is as you write though, a solid film with some good observations about people and culture for viewers that can sit through a (long) movie without any chase scenes or special effects.

A few other non-blockbusters I have remembered so far:-

Under the Skin showed lots of Scarlett Johansson but did not quite work for me despite a rather interesting back story (if you know Scottish mythology). It is interesting enough though with plenty of relatively obscure scenes to decipher, if you like a more active watching experience.

Blue is the Warmest Colour on the other hand is excellent with superb performances from the young leading actresses. Arguably the best story about love since (500) Days of Summer.

Ex Machina is another one I enjoyed quite a lot, despite the plot not being particularly original or surprising. I suppose that speaks positively for the direction and acting that give the whole thing an intense and claustrophobic feel that pulls you in. Not exactly obscure though (but much more so than Out of Sight, which cost over 3 times as much).

Love was very dull, neither erotic nor interesting in terms of the characters with the wife being the archetypal cardboard cutout. It is the sort of movie you see people walking out of halfway in, along with pseudo-intellectuals trying to read all sorts of rubbish into the story afterwards to sound "arty". I strongly advise not bothering with this one.

Moon was ok for me as a sci-fi fan but so predictable that it would not make it to a recommended list. Probably decent if you like to watch passively and not think too much about where the plot is heading.

More to come but I cannot think of the names just now, especially as a lot of the movies I see come with German titles that are sadly instantly forgettable (even if the movie itself is good).
(-: Zel :-)
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#57 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-November-19, 07:23

From A. O. Scott's Dec 2009 review of "Police, Adjective":

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True to its title, the new Romanian film “Police, Adjective” is a story of law enforcement with a special interest in grammar. Its climactic scene is not a chase or a shootout, but rather a tense, suspenseful session of dictionary reading.

I’m not being in any way facetious. The movie’s director, Corneliu Porumboiu, whose previous feature was “12:08 East of Bucharest,” has a talent for infusing mundane, absurd moments with gravity and drama as well as humor. The dictionary in that scene is a versatile comic prop, and also an instrument of instruction and humiliation. It is introduced by an officious police captain (Vlad Ivanov, who played the predatory abortionist in Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) who wants to teach his underling a lesson.

To say exactly what is learned would not only spoil the ending — this is a cop movie, after all, with a bit of a twist in the tail — but would also blunt the bite of Mr. Porumboiu’s mordant satire. So let’s just note that the Romanian word for “police” is used as an adjective in two ways. The first usage applies to (I quote the English subtitles) “a novel or film involving criminal happenings that are in some degree mysterious, resolved in the end through the ingenuity of a police officer or detective.” In an unexpected and somewhat underhanded way, that describes the action of “Police, Adjective.” It is at least as relevant, however, that the other cited use of the adjective is to modify the word “state.”

“All states depend on the police,” says the captain, waving off not only his country’s specific history, but also a possibly significant distinction between its old totalitarian regime and its new democratic order. Mr. Porumboiu, whose hapless characters debate whether the revolution of 1989 really took place in their corner of the country, is not making an argument that nothing has changed in Romania since the bad old days. Rather, he is investigating the nature of bureaucratic authority and the perverse, crushing effects it can have on an individual.

His protagonist is Cristi, a detective played with brusque, weary likability by Dragos Bucur, who in previous roles (notably in Radu Muntean’s “Boogie” and Cristi Puiu’s “Stuff and Dough”) has embodied the malaise of early adulthood in post-Communist Romania. Cristi is working on a case that would, by the standard of American television cop shows, be less than trivial. He is gathering evidence against a high school student who smokes a little hashish and has been informed on by a friend and smoking buddy.

Cristi suspects that the one he calls the Squealer wants to get the other boy out of the way and make a move on his girlfriend, who also hangs out with them. And as Cristi follows them, stakes out their houses and files his reports, he feels more and more uneasy. In other countries, he explains to a prosecutor who is a little more sympathetic than the captain, the casual possession and use of small quantities of hashish is not really a police matter at all.

The crux of the drama in “Police, Adjective” is the tension between Cristi’s professional duty and his conscience, a conflict the dictionary is called on to adjudicate. And the substance of the movie is a series of slowly paced scenes that follow him through his routines. He deals with pushy or recalcitrant co-workers, trudges through days of surveillance work without changing his sweater and returns home for desultory conversations with his wife, Anca (Irina Saulescu), who matter-of-factly tells him that things are not working out between them and then continues as if nothing of consequence had been said.

At another point, as Anca, a teacher and something of a linguistic pedant, listens to a romantic pop song over and over on her computer, she and Cristi have a debate about images and symbols in literature. Why, he wonders, don’t people just stick with the literal meanings of words, and forget about all the fancy stuff. His position is a hyperbolically blunt statement of an impulse that drives much recent Romanian cinema, away from metaphor and toward a concrete, illusion-free reckoning with things as they are.

This can be called realism, but that sturdy old word is not quite sufficient to describe “Police, Adjective,” which is at once utterly plain, even affectless, and marvelously rich. Mr. Porumboiu’s style might be called proceduralist. Like Cristi writing his reports, Mr. Porumboiu scrupulously records details in a manner that only seems literal-minded because his technique is invisible, and his intelligence resolutely unshowy.

“Police, Adjective” tells a small story well. At the level of plot, it is consistently engaging, and the psychology of the ambivalent detective, a staple of film noir, is given a new twist in the character of Cristi. But the more closely you look, the more you see: a movie about a marriage, about a career in crisis, about a society riven by unstated class antagonisms and hobbled by ancient authoritarian habits. So much in this meticulous and moving film is between the lines, and almost nothing is by the book.

My wife an I both enjoyed this movie. It may move a little too slowly for some. Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#58 User is offline   foobar 

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Posted 2017-November-20, 17:18

Couple of films for starters (warning: neither of them are for the squeamish):

Raw (French, 2017): A vegetarian goes to college and accidentally tastes meat; enough said, but highly recommend by this vegan 😁

Wake In Fright (Oz,1971): A cult film set in the Oz outback
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