Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by jamesblakefan#1, Mar 22, 2010.
One of my faves
This Land is Mine (1943) - d by Jean Renoir. Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, George Sanders.
Nice movie about German occupation.
Thanks, nice list, haven't heard of several. Seen many, too. Am downloading them.
Funny Games (2007) - Not usually a big fan of remakes,but I think this one did a fairly good job. It helped that it had the same director as the original,and was well acted...
Return To The Hiding Place (2013)
Southpaw is next.
Scarlet Street (1944) d by Fritz Lang - Edward G Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea.
Enjoyed. Thanks for the recommendations.
Three O'Clock High (1987) - Entertaining enough 80s teen flick
Before I get to the housecleaning, I find it quite interesting that most of the reviews of the latest Steve Jobs movie--which BTW is at least the 4th feature on the late Apple co-founder in 3-4 years--have focused on whether it "captures" (whatever that means) the genius behind the man or what made him so special, when the real question we should be asking is why we need in the first place a(nother) film about a figure whose experience and faculties are so far removed from those possessed by the rest of us which today's film industry continues to ignore while churning out one superhero flick/blockbuster extravaganza after another. It's as if the bigwigs have such contempt for us bourgeois, let alone the poor who have always been neglected by filmmakers both commercial and arthouse (save notable exceptions including Chaplin, Naruse and Pasolini), that they can't be bothered to stoop to our level, and many of us love to slam this very hypocrisy of the so-called Hollywood liberals who pay lip service and little else to the pet issues of social justice, gender equality and whatnot, but we have nobody but ourselves to blame (this goes especially for the professional critics who should know better) when we keep rewarding them with record box-office receipts without demanding changes.
That said I did see two movies recently in theaters:
The Martian, which critics have been calling "a return to form." I suppose that's true in a way, as it'll likely do better in the box office than Scott's previous (relative) disappointments like Exodus. But considering he's also the guy behind Blade Runner you'd expect our arbiters of taste to demand a little more from Scott, perhaps a story of survival if not quite on par with Bresson's A Man Escaped but at least one that tells us something new about the human condition. On the plus side the various shots of the "Martian landscape" (reportedly filmed in Jordan) were indeed spectacular in 3D.
Sicario. It's easy to see why this movie has become a critics' darling: it fosters the same sentiment of smug complacency and sophistication as two other critical darlings--the Godfather trilogy (or the first two films at any rate) and the TV series The Wire which not coincidentally focuses on the drug war--by putting a scandalous spotlight on the corrupt government/authorities (supposedly implicating us in PC guilt) while decidedly offering no corrective vision of its own. Such fatalist, almost puerile cynicism might be excusable if it were accompanied by unmistakable technical invention and/or nuanced commentary, but the film is nowhere as formally accomplished than either the Godfather series or The Wire, and it amounts to little more than a lazy both-sides-are-bad moral equivalence. Even in its climactic tunnel expedition and the aftermath it fails to scintillate as a thriller. You might like it more than I did, because Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro are indeed excellent, but I can't imagine anyone loving this movie.
And now onward....
I haven't read the Canby review and will refrain until after I see the movie, but you might wanna take Canby's reviews with a grain of salt. After all this is the same connoisseur of impeccable scholarship that virtually ended Antonioni's career in the States when he panned Identification of a Woman (which BTW is no longer quite as underrated and may in fact be my favorite work of his) for its "pretentious" lack of a conventional narrative while extolling Woody Allen's bland films as a model for him to follow. (Of course the unthinking New York hipsters followed suit by returning their tickets to Identification's screenings, while Antonioni's artistic superior Allen went on to hire Carlo Di Palma, the same guy who shot that very film as well as "Antoniennui"'s previous ones in color, for many of his own later works.) Canby was always an industry critic above anything else and whether he realized it or not he was bound to give unconventional films short shrift.
That's very unfortunate, and while I understand I might be parroting an unjust Western stereotype I suspect the Indian authorities probably aren't doing much to help. Wish I could add something more useful here.
Because merely portraying youthful innocence and compassion isn't the same as evoking said sentiments. Malle had a very clinical mind and approach and while this could work wonders in documentaries (which again I believe were his calling) it often proved woefully inadequate in his fictional endeavors. (One particularly disastrous failure of his is the barely surrealist Black Moon, which Kael once accurate described as a sane man's attempt to make a crazy man's film.)
I could almost count the ones I've seen with one hand. Will check out those favorites you mentioned (except Night and the City, which I've seen and agree is a fine noir).
I watched "Upside Down". I though it was a sci-fi movie when i read the synopsis, but was more a romance movie with a crazy sci-fi background story than anything. Anyway, nothing story wise is particular well developed here, and so not really worth watching, outside the photography and the overall visual
Crossfire 1947 - Robert Mitchum and others. About anti-Semitism. Turned out to be a bit of a whodunit.
I did see that a year or so back.
Red Rock West (1993) - Nicolas Cage,Lara Flynn Boyle,Dennis Hopper,JT Walsh. May have had a couple of implausible plot developments but overall it was a very engaging Western neo-noir...
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
First and last Western I see.
Second time I see a Clint Eastwood movie (Gran Torino) and I'll avoid him as much as possible.
Watch unforgiven, it's his masterpiece
^^ ahhh, Unforgiven...."It's quite a thing to kill a man. You take away everything he's got, everything he's ever gonna have."
I rather liked Gran Torino ? !
A Tale of Two Cities (1935) - Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver, Basil Rathbone. Set in the French Revolution. V good performances esp by Ronald Colman who plays Sydney Carton.
Wag the Dog, which I have seen before, but still found amusing.
Hey sentinel, if you liked Scarlett steet you should check out another noir called the woman in the window. It has the same director and 3 main actors.
Yep, I downloaded it recently. I downloaded almost all the movies in that link of 20 noir films. Thx.
What's Your Number?
It's soooo funny, if you haven't seem this I recommend it, it's a Romantic Comedy!!
David Copperfield (1935) - WC Fields, Lionel Barrymore, Freddie Bartholomew, Edna May Oliver, Maureen O'Sullivan, Basil Rathbone, Elizabeth Allan
Good for urban nerdy mommyboys that amaze themselves at the idea of poop being used to fertilize plants that produce the food we eat. How CrAzY is tHaT???
Poop aside, it's nor boring, neither brilliant. Typical blockbuster.
'Malena', for the second time. The first time was over 10 years ago. Monica Belluci gets better with age...!
Also saw 'Cycling with Moliere' a slightly pretentious French movie.
I watched Iron Man 3. Like nearly all super-heroes movie, and possibly like nearly all action movies made in the last 20 years, just awful. Bad plot, badly filmed action scenes (you can barely understand what's going on), too many of these films. Not to mention they always change some characters from the comic books to worse.
They wreak of GOP propaganda. If you read them (or those two, specially Gran Torino) literally.
That's probably not the way to read them but I couldn't but do that.
In a Lonely Place - 1950. Bogart, Gloria Graham. Film noir. Good.
End Of The Tour (2015). Enjoyed it,probably my favourite of this year.
Saw My Fair Lady. Not usually a fan of musicals, but I found this well done- like taking a time machine back to other times, the time depicted and the time when it was made.
So you guys have the Tickets for the new Star Wars yet ?
Yes. I have my virtual tickets. Torrentially speaking.
Dang. I was hoping for Ridley Scott to produce something close to Alien. Oh well...
Is it the one in which we hear the line "you're gonna go blind!" over and over again?
so you are saying you can see the movie Now ????
Nah, I was just kidding.
I'm not sure I will actually go and watch this movie. I will wait to see the level of disappointment it generates first.
I am really interested in that Evil head guy. I want to know who he is and his relation to Darth vader.....
Is this movie supposed to happen before the original trilogy? I've lost count already.
Oh No. this movies starts after. after all that Luke Skywalker saves the universe and destroys the death star and evil lord and darth vader dies and I am you Father,,,,,,"i want to look upon you one last time ,,,,,my SON......" and all that.
Should I watch The Martian this weekend or the Bridge of Spies?
Lol, I used to be obsessed with that film about six years ago. Definitely one of the finest musicals ever made.
The town (2010, Ben Affleck) - Not great
The Woman in the Window (1944) - d. by Fritz Lang. Edward G Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea.
"Little Shop of Horrors"
classic musical with soul...
Gina and Pam can sing, lol.
That's the one!
It's an unusual film as the star only says about 10 words.
It won't happen again. He's old and just doesn't have in him any more. He's not Kurosawa.
For those who like noir, try Three on a Match by Mervin LeRoy. Story of three high school classmates (women) who experience three very different lives.
Room at the Top (1959) - Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret. Six Academy nominations and 2 wins, Simone Signoret (who later acted in Army of Shadows) won the Best Actress.
Found the romances a bit too torturous.
Charley Varrick (1973) - Very impressive Don Siegel crime thriller
To fellow Yank posters, just noticed that Criterion is offering a fine selection of free weekly movies on Hulu (only available in the US, alas), this time focusing on the Soviets:
Brief notes for the uninitiated:
Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible is the only movie of his (or two--he didn't live to finish Part III) I care for, but at the same time one of my all-time faves. Never did the father of montage bare so much of his soul as in this work (Ivan was to Eisenstein what Anna Karenina was to Tolstoy and Madame Bovary to Flaubert), and with a dizzying range of styles and visuals from most austere understatement to operatic extravagance and even camp. And as Joan Neuberger and Yuri Tsivian convincingly argue in the Criterion DVD features Ivan was far from Stalin-coddling agitprop as it had been misunderstood for years. Truly one of the essentials.
So is Tarkovsky's masterpiece Solaris* (the only other contender I can see is Stalker). His first feature Ivan's Childhood isn't too far behind.
Larisa Shepitko is one of the unsung hero(in)es of cinema, and while The Ascent is widely and rightly considered her best work I've long had a soft spot for Wings, a haunting character study of a middle-aged woman whose prime has passed her by with callous indifference, and one of the rare movies that can be faulted for being too short. Her untimely death at age 41 (in a car crash no less) robbed the world of a major talent, one of the biggest what-ifs in cinema along with Murnau, Vigo and Satoshi Kon (one could also throw Fassbinder in there, though that description is probably not the most apt for someone who was so prolific).
I remember CyBorg enthusiastically touting Mikhail Kalatozov's The Cranes Are Flying as one of the very greatest movies. I myself wouldn't go that far, but it's indeed one of those titles that deserve to be better known.
This collection of freebies was actually last week's (Hulu comes out with a new weekly batch every Friday) but you should still have about three days left to explore (they usually remain free till about 3 am Monday EST). Do check 'em out if you haven't already. (BTW a Hulu subscription is well worth getting just for its exclusive Criterion titles alone, which are ad-free even with the cheaper $7.99 plan. Do what I did and wait till their next month-free special offer to jump in and decide.)
*Though I visit Jonathan Rosenbaum's excellent site often I read his review of Solaris only recently, and I was quite struck by his remark that HAL's death somehow moves us more than any of the human deaths in 2001, because I've long maintained that HAL may well be the most "human" character Kubrick ever created (unless one counts David in A.I.). So I sent him a fanmail of sorts expressing my pleasant surprise that my favorite film critic alive seconded my observation (at least as far as 2001 is concerned), and he actually sent an email back reciprocating my thanks. Needless to say it made my day.
Love A Tale of Two Cities the book, one of Dickens' most widely read works (due in no small part to its being one of the most assigned books in high school, where I myself read it for the first time but with enthusiasm) but also one of the most underrated. It can certainly be accused of the usual Dickensian flaws of verbosity and sentimentality, but some of its dreamy, near stream-of-consciousness passages are up there with anything by Dostoevsky or by Joyce for that matter.
Unforgiven is typically cited as Eastwood's best film but as I noted some time ago on the Oscar thread I actually prefer his later movies because his earlier ones (including Unforgiven) very often suffer from his ambivalence towards violence as a badge of masculinity. He had yet to fully renounce this questionable machismo of his in the otherwise superb Mystic River, but Iwo Jima is as good as studio movies come (in fact apart from A.I. I can't think of anything noticeably better in the last decade), boldly told from a foreign (Japanese here, obviously) POV that refuses to cut either side slack, and with a dose of wry irony (as when General Kuribayashi ends his life with an American pistol) not only appropriate but necessary for a war movie (and mostly lacking from his recent American Sniper). And while I'm not quite sold on Million Dollar Baby I as a consistent pro-lifer will defend it against charges of being pro-euthanasia, and it also boasts perhaps Eastwood's finest performance as an actor.
The movie as you say isn't flawless but Signoret is indeed excellent as Alice. Well-deserved Oscar.
BTW where do you get your movie recommendations? I've noticed that you rarely pick a bad one to watch.
I don't think I can pay to watch a Abrams movie. I think I should be payed to watch it, not otherwise.
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