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The President of what?

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The President of what?

#161

Post by brokenface » September 1st, 2012, 1:23 pm

Save the Tiger (Avildsen, 1973) 8/10
Somewhere (Coppola, 2010) 3/10


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Keep forgetting to review anything. Watched a double bill, which by chance have some similarity so I'll do them both together.

First the good. Save the Tiger, for which Jack Lemmon won Best Actor (beating a lineup of nominees of Brando, Pacino, Redford & Nicholson, no less!) and it's a really fine drama in the 70s American new cinema mould. Jack runs a clothing firm, which is in trouble trying to make enough to keep the company going going year on year. He's middle aged and he fought in WW2, something which still scars him.

It's carefully paced over the course of 2 days during which he must take a difficult decision and it becomes a near-existential crisis as he takes stock of everything. The acting is great, Jack carries it but with fine support. There's hints of Mad Men about it, the character here is nowhere near as suave as Don Draper, but suffers from the same sort of anxieties & haunting from his past. I thought this was really good. Deserves to be filed along with things like Five Easy Pieces and similar.

As for Somewhere, well it must've been kind of embarrassing for Sofia Coppola when she'd got together the cast & was all ready to shoot but then realized she'd forgotten to write the damn thing. So instead of a film we get 90 minutes of nicely-shot nothing. Stephen Dorff has none of the charisma of Lost in Translation's Bill Murray to carry you along with the ennui, and endless shots of him looking bored do not a movie make.

Watching it on the back of Save the Tiger was particularly telling. Both are about a man who is not really sure where he's going with his life & proceed episodically as we learn about the man through his interactions with various others, but the gulf is immense. Save the Tiger demonstrates Jack's state of mind in the opening 10 minute scene of him and his wife starting the day; Somewhere also sets the tone and reveals the character in the first 10 mins, but then just doesn't go anywhere with it. Simply hammers it home again and again. Essentially it lacks good dialogue, interesting characters (the daughter is pleasant enough, but that's about it) or generally any reason to care whatsoever about what is happening on the screen (usually nothing). It's so slow-burn that by the time it tries to make some kind of a climax the match has long since gone out and all it can do is peter out with the most clichéd of indie-movie endings. Very poor.
Last edited by brokenface on September 1st, 2012, 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#162

Post by bal3x » September 1st, 2012, 5:12 pm

brokenface on Sep 1 2012, 07:23:10 AM wrote:Save the Tiger (Avildsen, 1973) 8/10
Never heard of this! Looks interesting! Jack Lemmon is usually great.
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#163

Post by mightysparks » September 1st, 2012, 5:15 pm

bal3x on Sep 1 2012, 11:12:55 AM wrote:
brokenface on Sep 1 2012, 07:23:10 AM wrote:Save the Tiger (Avildsen, 1973) 8/10
Never heard of this! Looks interesting! Jack Lemmon is usually great.
+ 1
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#164

Post by brokenface » September 3rd, 2012, 7:01 pm

Juha (Kaurismäki, 1999) 8/10

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I put this in the player not knowing a thing about it save that it's a lesser-known Kaurismaki. Reason enough to watch a film, of course, for the man is great. So I was a little surprised to discover it's a silent film. But you soon feel in familiar territory, with deadpan Kati Outinen in the lead.

I'm not generally so keen on Kaurismaki's more formalist experiments (e.g. Crime & Punishment, Hamlet Goes Business). But while this is in that category, it plays out more than anything as a loving homage to the silent melodramas of Murnau, Borzage, Sjostrom.

The score is bold, cutting between jaunty rock'n'roll type sounds to soap opera melodrama and mostly works perfect. The story is the kind of simple tale you expect of the type - simple farm girl, lured away from her husband to the big bad city. Its setting is slightly disconcerting and ambiguous, with the 1920s feel subverted by anachronistic technology. I think it is the 50s, but not sure you could exactly nail it down. I guess this is another typical Kaurismaki feature - his present day films often feel like they are set anytime between the 60s and today. Some fun sight gags along the way - upside down Bunuel poster, phallic symbollism, priest with massive cigar, etc.

In all, I enjoyed this a hell of a lot and I think any silent film fan would too, even if not normally down with Kaurismaki deadpan.
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#165

Post by brokenface » September 18th, 2012, 3:33 am

Cluny Brown (Lubitsch, 1946) 8/10

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I enjoyed this a lot. In terms of the whole film, pacing, plot, etc., it doesn't match up to Lubitsch classics like To Be or Not To Be, Ninotchka or Trouble in Paradise, but it succeeded in making me laugh a lot.

It is a very English comedy of manners, full of class clichés, particularly the stiff-upper-lip variety, against which we have the protagonists Charles Boyer (Chevalier without the songs, an ironic & sophisticated European, cutting the posh folk to shreds with every line without them realising) and Jennifer Jones (a most unlikely free-spirited working-class plumber's niece). If you click with Evelyn Waugh/PG Wodehouse kind of humour you will enjoy it a lot.

Great supporting cast, with special mention to C. Aubrey Smith (as ever, the quintessential blustering chap - check his IMDB resume, every role a Colonel or Earl or Duke, or at worst a Sir :lol: ), Helen Walker (perfectly capturing that horrible combination of cynicism, ignorance and privilege) and Una O'Connor (a middle class mother so uptight she can only communicate by coughing).

It's set about the time WW2 is kicking off, providing a number of good lines of ignorance amongst the blustering class (re. the war: 'stop talking and do something about it' 'I have! I've written a letter to The Times') Of course this being Lubitsch, there is copious innuendo too, with endless plumbing gags.

As I say, it doesn't have the plot to be a classic, some of it far too contrived, but it's got a great cast and enough great lines to hold up well, much better than its reputation of minor late Lubitsch.

Here's the link where I watched it

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#166

Post by brokenface » September 29th, 2012, 3:47 pm

Holy Motors (Carax, 2012) 8/10

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A thorough slice of weirdness, this one. Needed to sleep on it before writing a review and even now I'm not sure what I think.

I'd read a couple of reviews from Cannes which made me excited to see it (on opening night even!), but I still went in knowing very little, just saw who was involved, what it was being compared to (the review in Guardian listed Lynch, Lewis Carroll, JG Ballard, Godard, Demy, Franju, Cocteau and Fritz Lang: which is like a who's who of things I love) and some of the general enthusiasm, and was piqued.

I can't say it was exactly love at first sight, as I'd maybe hoped, but it still was a great experience & I already want to see some bits again. It's more like a series of surrealistic short films, with a common thread (Denis Lavant). Some sections felt like Carax was trying a bit too hard to be weird, certain bits I have almost no idea what I was looking at and several were just plain funny.

It does great things for Paris, turning it into some strange gigantic stage. Reminds me a little of how Enter the Void treated Tokyo or Mulholland Drive treated LA (and indeed fits with the only other Carax I've seen, Les Amants du Pont-Neux, in which Paris itself is a central character).

I don't want to ruin any of it by giving details, it is one of those films which is a real experience and exists completely on its own cinematic terms. I'm not sure anyone will like all of it (some parts left me cold, or felt like they dragged), but at the same time, there's enough going on that I can't believe anyone won't find something they like about it (Edith Scob is great as the limo-driver for example). Definitely fun for film geeks, lots of references popping up.

As I say I already want to see it again 'cause I'm really not sure if it's going to be something which improves with 2nd viewing as you see what you missed, or if it'll reveal itself to be a bit empty, relying too much on novelty. Feel like my score could go either way but until then, 8 is about how much I enjoyed it overall.

Really recommend trying not read anything (else) about it and just going for it with an open mind, when you get a chance.

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#167

Post by Limedebois » September 30th, 2012, 11:36 am

Nuclearplanet on Jul 29 2012, 05:10:28 AM wrote:
brokenface on Jun 1 2012, 07:10:56 PM wrote:Prometheus (R. Scott, 2012) 7/10

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For the first time in years, actually gone to see a new film on the day of release, due to some enthusiastic nerdy friends. I'll spoiler it all, 'cause I happily knew nothing in advance other than it being a vague prequel to Alien (though I won't go into any detail on plot)..
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Film looked beautiful. Skipped the gimmick version and watched it flat, like films should be, and it's a lovely looking space movie. Alien planet & spaceships & creatures all present and pretty.

What I liked is that it didn't go the action/horror route. There was some dramatic bits, but it was more pure science-fiction, asking questions about the universe and us. I do think it threw a few too many plot strands in and they got a bit tangled at some points - I noted in the credits that it was co-written by one of the guys who wrote Lost, which is kinda noticeable in the way it plays out.

My other complaint is a kinda nit-picky point that the characters do not often act in logical way. I don't just mean in a horror movie don't-go-upstairs way. For a scientific investigation, they are weirdly haphazard about everything and things just don't always ring true for human reactions..but then perhaps this is Ridley Scott doing his old what-is-human thing.

Anyway, I think it will satisfy people who like sci-fi which focuses on ideas more than details. It's not a rehash or anything that will diminish the Alien films, which is a definite positive. It unavoidably falls into some cliché territory, but also offers enough new and interesting to be worthwhile.
this was awesome probably one of the best Sci-Fi Films of all time and I try not to exaggerate that. WAY better then Aliens. Ridley Scott knows his Sci-Fi well :thumbsup:
Since then end of the 80's Ridley Scott is lost in space. Sometimes he tries to shot films but nobody can hear his screen in space.

(Watch out spoilers)

What was the genius in Alien and Blade Runner? The slow pace, the atmosphere, the design. All is gone. He tries pathetically to regain contact with past films. Alien and Blade runner didn't need references to exist by itself. And it's done poorly. The final Shaw's logbook... it was already used in Alien3 with the Ripley's logbook. The man infected and the captain who doesn't want him to enter into the ship... already done. The wake up? already done. The robot and its subjugation to the company? already done. The mission with a crew who doesn't know why they are here? already done. The nice Black navigator who will die bravely for his true master: the girl? beautiful sacrifice... (dubious and) already done. The land to an unknown planet and the exploration of an empty and closed space? Already done. The weird and sticky trace on a wall? already done. A girl as the main hero? already done.

And that's not only already done, that's made badly. You can repeat yourself if it's well done. But it's not.

The only interesting scene is the surgical operation (even if since it's introduce we understand that's it will use...). It's almost a spoof scene. Great idea and perfectly executed. It reminds a little the cabin in Alien3 when Ripley understand that she's pregnant, but obviously it's going farther. But it's a bit ridiculous, I don't know if Scott knew this, but to me it works.

For the rest, the film lacks of unity, pace, tension. It is caused by a really poor script but also a totally lost director who didn't know if he was making a thriller like Alien or an action film like Aliens. Alien and Blade runner was perfect atmosphere/mystery films. Also the principle of the prequel is interesting. You have to say enough to captivate the audience, not too much to give the impression to explain, and not to give incoherent stuff trying to make mysterious things. The film says too much or not enough about this previous human species (are we connected to them? huh?! really^^ hurray to the creationism!) and what the fuck is the connection between this xfiles-like black oil and the zigouigoui starwars-like creatures? Nonsense.

Last thing about the design... too many colors on hologram lights. Oh! look how it's beautiful and shiny! Huh, is it Starwars?! Avatar?! Absolutely no unity with all the horror, Gothic and organic Giger's style. It could be interesting to make a contrast between the ship design and the "cavern" design. But the problem is that the alien ship was at first made to create Giger's style in a lost and organic ship, it was mysterious. But if you create another "humanoid" species there's no reason to give this ship the Giger's aspect. There's a confusion in the design so you can't have a genuinely contrast between the Prometheus ship and the other ship, or the Prometheus and the Alien organic design. Without this confusion, other films worked perfectly (except the Jeunet one's I'd say), in design terms, because ships, stations were not "shiny". In Alien, the white lights was neon lamps, very cold which created a mysterious atmosphere, like a fog (also for instance the Mother computer with red-orange lights); in Alien3 the prison was humid, warm, and metallic exactly like the Giger's creature. There was unity design.

So yes, very poor and unnecessary work. Let Ridley Scott shout, that's worth Matt LeBlanc's Lost in Space.

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#168

Post by bal3x » September 30th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Nice analysis there! Indeed, very disappointing really from Scott. I rated it 6/10 largely due to the visuals and Fassbender. In general it seemed to me like a recycled Alien mixed with some Blade Runner and 2001 philosophical ideas and it didn't work.

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#169

Post by Kowry » September 30th, 2012, 12:35 pm

I thought Prometheus was a nice popcorn flick. Sure, there are plenty of plot holes and it's a far cry from Alien and Blade runner, but I didn't really except it to be on their level, so I wasn't disappointed. I'd give it maybe 6.5/10.

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#170

Post by brokenface » October 3rd, 2012, 1:02 am

Monte Carlo (Lubitsch, 1930) 6/10

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A small milestone for me, as I've now seen all of Lubitsch's sound films (with slight exceptions: the alternative French language versions of The Merry Widow & One Hour With You, and Eternal Love which I believe only has a music/effects track). This one doesn't rank too highly, though it's not a bad film...it's just up against a lot of brilliant films.

The stars here are Jeanette MacDonald (a fixture in Lubitsch musicals) and Jack Buchanan. Jeanette is her usual self. I'm not too keen on her singing voice - these tend to be the moments I lose attention in the MacDonald-Chevalier films - but she's an engaging actress & presence.
Unfortunately, Buchanan can't carry the innuendo like Maurice Chevalier & doesn't have the same chemistry with Jeanette MacDonald. He's not terrible, he just suffers in comparison (microcosm of the film itself vs other Lubitsch). It's especially a shame because Monte Carlo is exactly where you'd expect Maurice to be hanging out & chasing Countesses!

Musically, there is one number that is impressive on a train, with some seriously good technique for an early sound film, with the sounds of the train forming part of the music & Jeanette singing out the window & getting response from hordes of singing farmers in the fields as the train passes! In fact, this is one of the strong points in general. There is little of the awkward staginess of most early sound films & that is certainly to Lubitsch's credit. The plot is the usual fluff of flirting and concealed identities amongst the upper classes. There's some funny lines, as you'd expect, but nothing too memorable to lift it above 6/10 for me.

---

My Lubitsch sound film rankings [exluded If I Had a Million as he only did a small part & it only has about 2 lines anyway!]:

1. Trouble in Paradise
2. To Be or Not To Be
3. Ninotchka
4. The Shop Around the Corner
5. Heaven Can Wait
6. The Smiling Lieutenant
7. Cluny Brown
8. The Love Parade
9. Design For Living
10. The Merry Widow
11. A Royal Scandal (credited to Preminger, but Lubitsch dropped out due to illness & it was basically directed to Lubitsch's instructions. feels very much like a Lubitsch film)
12. Broken Lullaby
13. That Uncertain Feeling
14. Angel
15. Monte Carlo
16. Bluebeard's Eighth Wife
17. That Lady in Ermine

And that's not even going into his silent films :blink: My god, he was good.

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#171

Post by brokenface » October 4th, 2012, 8:59 pm

Samsara (Fricke, 2011) 9/10

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From the Koyaanisqatsi family of sit back and marvel at the world films. Here we have humanity in its vast scale, all its beauty & ugliness. Religious rituals feature heavily but then so do themes of decay & imitation. At times it veers a little too close to clichéd 'mystical Asia' type images, but then it will take a sidestep into something completely different (industrial scale food production, the bizarre man-made islands in Dubai, etc.)

Never managed to catch a film like this at the cinema before and it really is made for big screen. Some of the shots defy belief. So ubiquitous now is CGI you look at some and think that cannot possibly be filmed without special effects. An absolute must to catch this at cinema if you are lucky enough to have it come nearby.

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#172

Post by brokenface » October 6th, 2012, 9:44 pm

Tabu (Gomes, 2012) 8/10

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I enjoyed this though it's hard to articulate exactly why. The film it reminded me of slightly is My Winnipeg, though there's nothing really in common. Just the feel, somehow; the combination of strange, whimsical asides and the melancholy of memory.

If I had complaints I'd say that there's bits in the first half which just fizzle out to nothing -
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
e.g. what was the point of including the Polish girl who doesn't come to stay with Pilar -esp. their 2nd encounter? And Pilar's character in general is left a bit unfinished.
Great actress playing the older Aurora, she stole the show in part I - the early recounting of a dream is a virtuouso scene. Beautifully shot in B+W, especially the section in Africa. Also liked the soundtrack, inc the Portuguese version of Be My Baby :D

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#173

Post by brokenface » October 7th, 2012, 11:13 pm

The Fortune (Nichols, 1975) 7/10

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A definite curio. Let's start with the personnel: this is a film made in 1975, starring Jack Nicholson (just about to do Cuckoo's Nest) and Warren Beatty (fresh from the Parallax View), written by Carole Eastman (who also wrote Five Easy Pieces and so must be responsible for the awesome breakfast scene** & is therefore great) and directed by Mike Nichols (not so long since The Graduate & Virginia Woolf). On these facts alone, this should be fairly well-known, but it's really not. 43 checks on ICM and only just scraped 1000 votes on IMDB (pitiful for Jack). The only reason I looked it up was the fact the Coens listed it as one of their all-time favourites.

It's set in 1920s and from the opening credits you can tell that this is a film that was made (or, at least, financed) with The Sting in mind. Buddy comedy in period setting, old-timey soundtrack with Oscar-winning director & 2 big stars, the makers must've been thinking $$$.

[Check the none-too-subtle poster mimicry on one dvd release :D :
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
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]

However The Sting was all clever plotting & crowd-pleasing characters, this one is altogether stranger, seems somewhat slapdash and (unsurprisingly, really) flopped. It's essentially a screwball comedy roadtrip with a dark side.

The main reason to watch it is Nicholson who has a lot of fun playing dumb & devious. He is unpredictable & over-the-top with some very funny bits of dialogue. Warren Beatty is the straight man (played very much like Clooney does in a Coen comedy: the half-brained man who thinks himself king in the land of the moron), found him funnier as the film went on. Between them is future First Lady Stockard Channing - also good - as a woman they are fighting and plotting over.

You can also hear the Coen-ness in certain bits of dialogue, quirky turns of phrase ("I feel a qualm over this snake idea", "and what to my chagrin do I see?"). Also there's a moment where Jack steps outside his front door in a dressing gown that looked pure Lebowski, so I can't help but wonder if this was the source for the Dude's look. Some of the humour is a bit too forced & slapstick for me (especially with the 'look, how zany' music it sometimes has), other times it really made me laugh. Overall it's not exactly a lost classic, but definitely worth a go for fans of Coen Brothers comedy and/or Jack Nicholson.


**The awesome breakfast scene in Five Easy Pieces:

Last edited by brokenface on October 7th, 2012, 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#174

Post by brokenface » October 10th, 2012, 12:53 am

Prix de beauté/Miss Europe (Genina, 1930) 8/10

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The credits for this have some impressive names. René Clair & G.W. Pabst in the writing and Rudolph Maté for cinematography. Not previously familiar with Augusta Genina, the director, though he was clearly in good company. But the real selling point here is the woman in the picture - Louise Brooks, of course.

I checked this out believing it was her most renowned sound film. Turns out it's one of those transition ones, released as both silent and a post-dubbed sound film, and it's not Brooks talking - anyway I watched the latter. It could probably work as well either way. The plot is fairly simple, and you could work it out well enough without the dialogue (certainly with a few title cards) and its got more of the vibe of silent film than early-talkie (none of that awkward staginess that you'd get if they'd been recording sound as they shot). Louise plays free-spirited young woman, with a possessive boyfriend. She enters a beauty contest without him knowing and - wouldn't you know it! - wins, taking the title of Miss France, enabling her to go and compete for Miss Europe. It develops as expected, with her having to make a choice between the newfound fun & excitement of being a beauty queen or the man she (maybe) loves.

Brooks has wonderful screen presence & is here a happier character than she plays in the Pabst films for which she's most known. She is not the only good thing though, her possessive boyfriend is a well developed character and film develops into an interesting study on the power of beauty. It's got something of the late Murnau vibe (Sunrise/City Girl) and it's a really good looking film, which packs a punch at the end in a splendidly cut set-piece. Perhaps needed a bit more satirical bite about the absurdity & crassness of beauty contests themselves - but it really deserves more attention than the 18 checks it currently has. Definitely one to watch for Louise Brooks fans.
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#175

Post by St. Gloede » October 10th, 2012, 1:17 am

brokenface on Sep 1 2012, 07:23:10 AM wrote:Somewhere (Coppola, 2010) 3/10
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As for Somewhere, well it must've been kind of embarrassing for Sofia Coppola when she'd got together the cast & was all ready to shoot but then realized she'd forgotten to write the damn thing. So instead of a film we get 90 minutes of nicely-shot nothing. Stephen Dorff has none of the charisma of Lost in Translation's Bill Murray to carry you along with the ennui, and endless shots of him looking bored do not a movie make.

Watching it on the back of Save the Tiger was particularly telling. Both are about a man who is not really sure where he's going with his life & proceed episodically as we learn about the man through his interactions with various others, but the gulf is immense. Save the Tiger demonstrates Jack's state of mind in the opening 10 minute scene of him and his wife starting the day; Somewhere also sets the tone and reveals the character in the first 10 mins, but then just doesn't go anywhere with it. Simply hammers it home again and again. Essentially it lacks good dialogue, interesting characters (the daughter is pleasant enough, but that's about it) or generally any reason to care whatsoever about what is happening on the screen (usually nothing). It's so slow-burn that by the time it tries to make some kind of a climax the match has long since gone out and all it can do is peter out with the most clichéd of indie-movie endings. Very poor.
Breathe in, breathe out. Don't get mad. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Breathe. Breathe. 1, 2, 3. Stay calm. 1, 2, 3. Ok. Phew.

Too bad it didn't work for you. :)

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#176

Post by brokenface » October 10th, 2012, 1:29 am

Heh, I guess someone had to be a fan of that film..

Didn't mean to make you mad :hug:

btw, you should try Prix de beaute, as you like undiscovered silents/early 30s :thumbsup:
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#177

Post by brokenface » October 18th, 2012, 1:33 am

Taking Off (Forman, 1971) 9/10

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This was pretty funny. Scrub that, it had me laughing a lot. It very 60s, or at least is full of the kind of cultural refs I associate with the 60s. But then it's down as 1971, so I'm sure it has its roots slap bang in the late 60s. The songs are hilarious (this one is so spot-on, it's incredible. though you shouldn't watch it before seeing the film 'cause I'd be stealing one of the best gags: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaLFGX-Q ... re=related ). The fashion is hilarious. The characters are hilarious - most especially the father (who's surely the prototype for William H Macy's whole career). And you can almost breathe the pot from the screen, even before the big pot-smoking scene.

I knew nothing about it beforehand, other than it being Forman's first US film. The basic story is about a girl running away from home, headlong into hippy culture, and how her parents search for her. It's got some in common with his earlier Konkurs (all the auditioning footage, the American Idol/X-Factor where everyone wants to be Joan Baez/Janis Joplin) and certainly carries some of general vibe of his other Czech films - the parents-meeting-child's-beau thing from A Blonde in Love, the funny juxtapositions in editing from Fireman's Ball. Forman impresses me the more I watch.

Short review: I loved it :thumbsup:

Here's a link to the whole thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkcHlzGky5U&feature=g-wl

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#178

Post by brokenface » October 18th, 2012, 11:42 pm

Berberian Sound Studio (Strickland, 2012) 6/10

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This is about a meek Englishman who goes to work on producing the sound effects for an Argento-style horror film in 70s Italy. An interesting premise and a fascinating setting - at first - it is primarily a study on the use and power of sound.

It does a nice line in building atmosphere slowly with a potentially interesting cast of characters, but unfortunately doesn't seem to know where to go with it or them. What starts out fresh and intriguing focus on equipment & techniques just becomes repetitive and overly nerdish once you start to sense it's not really building up to anything. In the latter section, it takes a left turn which for me was neither satisfying in a narrative sense or (as I suspect it was going for) disorientating in a David Lynch sense. Just left me a bit cold.

That said there were good things, it had some nice wry humour, Toby Jones was strong in the lead and the various uses of sound were engaging. I'm not much of Giallo buff, but I've no doubt there were plenty of references which fans would enjoy. I just think it needed to commit itself to more of a plot once it had established its setting/atmosphere.
Last edited by brokenface on October 18th, 2012, 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#179

Post by brokenface » October 22nd, 2012, 8:48 pm

O.C. and Stiggs (Altman, 1985) 7/10

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This is a very silly film about 2 eccentric teens declaring war on a family who represent middle-class suburban banality. It's completely irreverent & absurd. OC & Stiggs are like a more sociopathic cross between Bill & Ted and Dennis the Menace. A 5.1 rating on IMDB and just 34 checks on ICM show this is a film that has slipped into obscurity & not fondly remembered. But it has a kinda goofy charm, I'd probably love it if I'd seen it when I was 15. As it is I still smiled plenty at its many quirky details (the car is a work of art) & throwaway lines (the asshole insurance guy muttering 'I don't eat coloured ice-cream'). You also get bonus Dennis Hopper & Melvin Van Peebles cameos. as well as a random & rather good King Sunny Ade performance.

I can't give it more than 7 'cause it's very inconsistent and some parts fall very flat. But it's definitely more fun than than IMDB's 5.1 suggests. I had this film sitting in an Robert Altman boxset which amazon tells me I bought nearly 5 yrs ago. It's a really crappy print but I shouldn't have taken so long to watch it! Surprised this has seemingly managed to avoid cult status.
Last edited by brokenface on October 22nd, 2012, 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#180

Post by St. Gloede » October 22nd, 2012, 8:54 pm

brokenface on Oct 9 2012, 07:29:30 PM wrote:Heh, I guess someone had to be a fan of that film..

Didn't mean to make you mad :hug:

btw, you should try Prix de beaute, as you like undiscovered silents/early 30s :thumbsup:
Thanks for the rec, will check it out.

P.S. Really glad you loved Taking Off.
Last edited by St. Gloede on October 22nd, 2012, 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#181

Post by brokenface » October 25th, 2012, 8:06 pm

Guilty of Romance (Sion Sono, 2011) 7/10

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I'd seen Himizu, Sono's other 2011 film, which was powerful & difficult. This one is also powerful and difficult but is a rather different feel - this one particularly attracted my interest due to comparisons being made with David Lynch and these are somewhat justified. It develops with a particularly Lynchian kind of confusion, music and sound effects play important roles and the visuals are rich. Not only this but the 'woman descends into nightmare' plot is not entirely unlike a cross between Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire.

It didn't connect with me quite on an emotional/gut level as the Lynch films tend to, but it's intriguing and it's one I'll probably ponder on for a while. It's a rather dark & unpleasant film - opening with a very grisly murder investigation, and delving into some pretty twisted sex scenarios along the way - in the realm of psychological horror without really being horror (again very Lynchian). Also directly references Kafka several times, though I haven't read The Castle (the book particularly referred to) so I can't say precisely what it actually takes from that.

Rating is very difficult. I can't say I exactly liked it, but equally I can't deny it had a fascinating flavour. It does wear its Lynch influences a bit too obviously at times, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as we need someone else to make Lynch films since he's quit!

Any pointers from Japanese film fans for earlier Sono films (Love Exposure & Suicide Club seem to be his best known, so I guess they might be my next ports of call)?

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#182

Post by Grunge Rock & Ally McBeal » April 10th, 2019, 9:14 pm

Don't know how I stumbled on to this as the last post was submitted in 2012, but it's an interesting thread. I like what I've read so far.

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#183

Post by Grunge Rock & Ally McBeal » April 19th, 2019, 3:53 am

brokenface wrote:
April 21st, 2012, 9:36 pm
The Assassination of Richard Nixon (Mueller, 2004) 7/10

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Let's start out with the Taxi Driver comparison, it's unavoidable. This is quite reminiscent of Taxi Driver. Our lead character here is Samuel Bicke (based on the real story of Samuel Byck) - and it's quite possible Travis Bickle was somewhat based on Byck too, at least the name. At times it seemed like the film was reaching for its own 'You talkin to me' moment. So Assassination... is a film that clearly likes and models itself on the 70s anti-hero aesthetic, somewhat successfully.

Bicke, played by Sean Penn, is a loser. His principles prevent him from succeeding in any job (he is a salesman who can't bear to lie and his business schemes are just doomed to failure), his wife has dumped him, estranging him from his kids and he just reeks of social awkwardness. Nearly every encounter he has with anyone makes me cringe (not least 'cause I'm pretty socially awkward myself ;) ). Like all good paranoids, he decides his failings in life have a source: Richard Nixon and the Washington system. So begins his plans for revenge.

Sean Penn is more reminiscent of De Niro than I've ever seen him, ref back to Taxi Driver. Sometimes he bugs me, but he's good here and carries the film. There would have been a temptation to make this more of a black comedy - Bicke is such a fuck-up at everything he does - but I think they were wise not to go that route (though there were good moments on this line, such as his encounter with the Black Panthers :lol: ). Where the film fails for me is the soundtrack. The plinky piano begging for sympathy and then dramatic violins just felt wrong throughout. I'm still undecided what would work better, but it distracted me.

This would probably fit on bal3x's list of paranoid/conspiracy films, though it's far more drama than thriller. I respected it, though it can't live up to its inspirations.
Just finished watching this after I was reminded about it on this thread.

Having Nixon constantly on in the background reminded me of Trump now. It was errie to think nothing's changed. Bicke tried to use moral superiority to compensate for his incompetence and social awkwardness. But when his own unethical behaviour was highlighted, ie lying about being married and stealing the tyres , it took his last shred of self worth and pushed him over the edge. If Bicke had been born thirty years later he would've been diagnosed with autism.

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#184

Post by Onderhond » April 19th, 2019, 6:24 am

brokenface wrote:
October 25th, 2012, 8:06 pm
Any pointers from Japanese film fans for earlier Sono films (Love Exposure & Suicide Club seem to be his best known, so I guess they might be my next ports of call)?
Not quite live/finished yet, but if you want a sneak peak: https://www.onderhond.com/directors/sion-sono

Cold Fish, Strange Circus, Love/Exposure and Exte are his pre-2011 films I'd recommend the most.

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#185

Post by matthewscott8 » April 25th, 2019, 2:26 pm

brokenface wrote:
April 19th, 2012, 5:23 pm
Heaven's Gate (Cimino, 1980) 7/10

Ultimately, the film is nowhere near as bad as it's studio-wrecking, flop reputation has it, nor is it quite as good as the revised viewpoint of it as a cruelly-overlooked classic. The first half, as with The Deer Hunter, drags rather badly. Opening a film with boring graduation speeches is not a good move, however good it is to see Joseph Cotten. But it has a lot to offer in visuals, a mostly great cast and a proper bullet-laden finale. I also give particular kudos to the roller-hoedown scene - usually I roll my eyes a bit at dance scenes in period films, but this was really nice.
Replying 7 years later! I thought the graduation speeches piece is absolutely critical to the rest of the movie. You have some ultra smart full of beans people who are let loose into virgin territory, full of ideals. Then you have the death of what the West could have been. Ultimately all the context for the movie disappears without that intro. All the education manages to help them do is build some Roman siege machines to protect themselves from wicked men with rifles. It is so much more important than the likes of Once Upon a Time in the West.

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