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Knocking out TSP top 500

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cinewest
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Re: Knocking out TSP top 500

#81

Post by cinewest » May 1st, 2020, 4:25 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 8:17 pm
cinewest wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:31 am
I can also relate to what you said in response to my comment. My antenna have really sharpened over the years, even as my taste in films has changed (becoming less conventional) over time. And when I am really tuned in, I can count on it to lead me to something I will like, even love (and avoid what I won't, corroborated by by occasional experiments or the entrapments of others), though I'm not quite sure how it works (some kind of a mix of knowledge and intuition).
That said, I like nothing more than to be surprised, and have my expectations confounded by the unexpected (something I did;t think I would like, or even better, a new discovery), which is partly why I have steered more and more away from more mainstream filmmaking (English language films, in general, unless they are something atypical). Watching a film once and a while with family members, friends (or my wife) provide enough mainstream films for my diet, and my late night pursuits are either devoted to writing or watching something none of my familiars would be into.

Lazarescu, next?
Yeah, I watch almost all my mainstream films with my girlfriend; by myself I'm still often in the mood for something chill and easy, but that's what tv's for heh. Damn I really should push myself to do some writing every night.

Lazarescu next now, I think, I was feeling provocative last night.
I've only seen various sections of Triumph of the Will, but would like to watch the entire thing one day. I have a "to see" list of more than 1000 films, but often watch things that are not on my list for various reasons. Looking forward to your thoughts on Lazarescu, which is one of those films that grew on me as I was watching it. As I am recalling it, Holy Girl (La Hija Santa) just popped into my head, probably because I saw them both around the same time when they came out, and because of the main character's trajectory, and the dry humor of the social satire at play. I've been looking for a good copy of Sierranevada (the latest by Puiu), but haven't been able to find one, so easier stuff to find wins my attention.

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#82

Post by prodigalgodson » May 2nd, 2020, 12:00 am

420. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

An immersive nighttime odyssey that nonetheless left me a little cold. It has that emblematic Eastern European art movie thing going on where it's composed of a bunch of long takes with not much going on per se at any given moment, but it's still gripping and goes by quickly. It's hard for me to gauge what specific interests lie behind Puiu's brand of claustrophobic realism: human nature, broken systems, maybe world building? The lingering long takes signify a deep love of character, using the dysfunctional system around a man desperately seeking medical care to study different aspects of human nature. The broad spectrum of personalities and behavioral tendencies on display reflect a barely positive overall outlook on humankind, which makes the inevitable failings of their socioeconomic structure as a whole all the more poignant. The dry humor would probably have come across better in a theater setting; as it was I more recognized than enjoyed it. There's also some stuff, like having the protagonist's middle name be Dante and his brother-in-law be Virgil, for instance, that just feels like vague spoon-feeding. Sometimes I felt like it should be a favorite, but it didn't quite hit me like that.

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#83

Post by prodigalgodson » May 2nd, 2020, 12:01 am

cinewest wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 4:25 am
I've only seen various sections of Triumph of the Will, but would like to watch the entire thing one day. I have a "to see" list of more than 1000 films, but often watch things that are not on my list for various reasons. Looking forward to your thoughts on Lazarescu, which is one of those films that grew on me as I was watching it. As I am recalling it, Holy Girl (La Hija Santa) just popped into my head, probably because I saw them both around the same time when they came out, and because of the main character's trajectory, and the dry humor of the social satire at play. I've been looking for a good copy of Sierranevada (the latest by Puiu), but haven't been able to find one, so easier stuff to find wins my attention.
I'd like to see The Holy Girl, I've really enjoyed Martel's stuff so far.

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#84

Post by cinewest » May 2nd, 2020, 2:08 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 12:01 am
cinewest wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 4:25 am
I've only seen various sections of Triumph of the Will, but would like to watch the entire thing one day. I have a "to see" list of more than 1000 films, but often watch things that are not on my list for various reasons. Looking forward to your thoughts on Lazarescu, which is one of those films that grew on me as I was watching it. As I am recalling it, Holy Girl (La Hija Santa) just popped into my head, probably because I saw them both around the same time when they came out, and because of the main character's trajectory, and the dry humor of the social satire at play. I've been looking for a good copy of Sierranevada (the latest by Puiu), but haven't been able to find one, so easier stuff to find wins my attention.
I'd like to see The Holy Girl, I've really enjoyed Martel's stuff so far.
Martel is one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers, and my entre into her work was La Nina Santa, at a PFA screening during the SF International, where she was present to talk about the film afterward.
Based on some of your comments about films I might compare it to, I'm not sure you would like it, though. Like I said, it plays a bit like Lazarescu, using very dry satire, and a series of encounters to build towards a precipice. Early Martel also reminds me of Altman, some, the way she seems to wander upon various scenes by accident or eavesdrop on conversations, and I think Bunuel is another reference, though without most of the surrealism.

Here's what I wrote about La Mujer Sin Cabeza (seen at a special screening at the Kabuki), which came after Holy Girl, and after I saw La Cienaga:

Martel is quickly becoming a master of her own filmic sensibility (and approach), which I might call the "art of eavesdropping cinema," and she makes consummate use of something inherent to the medium to take us inside the characters and content of stories that have almost nothing to do with traditional plot points.

As an audience, we are all eavesdroppers (or voyeurs) when we watch a movie. And Martel's sensibility, or way of telling a story, is not only to provide clues to what she is investigating, but to inform us with what she considers important about it. There is a bit of Hitchcock (Rear Window comes to mind), and certainly some of Altman's audio technique around conversation. There is also an exploration of neurosis that one might liken to Almodovar (her producer), yet without the bold, soap operatic farce. And there is also a bit of Bunuel, Bergman and Antonioni.

La Mujer Sin Cabeza (while not my favorite of her films) is still a sure step forward as a filmmaker. This is not only her most focused film, but it makes use of a more developed cinematic technique than either of her previous two films. Strangely, it has not been received as well. The problem, I believe, has much to due to the predisposition of most film viewers, who not only lack of patience, but the ability to adjust to a film operating in ways they are not accustomed to.

Martel's narratives may seem disjointed at first, as they jump from one scene to another without obvious connection, but they are extremely well thought out. The problem, as I said, has more to do with confounded viewer expectations, and the inability to adapt to a different approach in cinematic narrative, though very appropriate to the content of Martel's design. For the uninitiated, her films benefit from a second viewing, if only because what at first seems insignificant or disconnected is actually very important, and provides access to her dry subtle satire.

The power of "Mujer Sin Cabeza," (as with all films) is grounded in our perceptions of the main character's experience (or our experience of her perceptions), which not only infect us with her mental / emotional state, but draw us into the kind of life that she leads, in the balance, providing us a window into modern day Argentina.

Here, we are also made aware of a social system in the midst of decay, being held together by the ever more twisted and frayed threads of a colonial past that seeks preservation, in spite of increasing moral dysfunction, and the inability to take responsibility for anything that interferes with the social system beyond pretending it doesn't exist...

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#85

Post by prodigalgodson » May 5th, 2020, 8:42 pm

451. Out 1, noli me tangere

The true fin de cinema. It's hard to know how to assess something that, within a narrative format, totally disregards conventional aesthetic values and cinematic meaning. It took 3 episodes and about 5 hours for me to get over my annoyance with the interminable purposeful inanity and start actively looking forward to what was coming next -- but by the end I was completely bowled over, in one of the strangest and most sensitive moods I can remember, and for the first time since quarantine started, didn't watch any film the following day. It demonstrates both a more innocent and more paranoid experience of the world, giving regular dingy spaces a fantastical, otherworldly feel, appealing to both naivety and analysis, offering both catharsis and disillusionment as our brains scramble to make sense of everything. That all sounds vague, but this defies conventional criticism, and highlights my shortcomings as a reviewer and just as a fan in elucidating such an experience. Projects like this show how limited we've been in the exploration of the art form, and of life in general. Definitely feels like a turning point in my cinematic journey.

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#86

Post by prodigalgodson » May 5th, 2020, 8:44 pm

cinewest wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 2:08 am
Martel is one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers, and my entre into her work was La Nina Santa, at a PFA screening during the SF International, where she was present to talk about the film afterward.
Based on some of your comments about films I might compare it to, I'm not sure you would like it, though. Like I said, it plays a bit like Lazarescu, using very dry satire, and a series of encounters to build towards a precipice. Early Martel also reminds me of Altman, some, the way she seems to wander upon various scenes by accident or eavesdrop on conversations, and I think Bunuel is another reference, though without most of the surrealism.

Here's what I wrote about La Mujer Sin Cabeza (seen at a special screening at the Kabuki), which came after Holy Girl, and after I saw La Cienaga:

Martel is quickly becoming a master of her own filmic sensibility (and approach), which I might call the "art of eavesdropping cinema," and she makes consummate use of something inherent to the medium to take us inside the characters and content of stories that have almost nothing to do with traditional plot points.

As an audience, we are all eavesdroppers (or voyeurs) when we watch a movie. And Martel's sensibility, or way of telling a story, is not only to provide clues to what she is investigating, but to inform us with what she considers important about it. There is a bit of Hitchcock (Rear Window comes to mind), and certainly some of Altman's audio technique around conversation. There is also an exploration of neurosis that one might liken to Almodovar (her producer), yet without the bold, soap operatic farce. And there is also a bit of Bunuel, Bergman and Antonioni.

La Mujer Sin Cabeza (while not my favorite of her films) is still a sure step forward as a filmmaker. This is not only her most focused film, but it makes use of a more developed cinematic technique than either of her previous two films. Strangely, it has not been received as well. The problem, I believe, has much to due to the predisposition of most film viewers, who not only lack of patience, but the ability to adjust to a film operating in ways they are not accustomed to.

Martel's narratives may seem disjointed at first, as they jump from one scene to another without obvious connection, but they are extremely well thought out. The problem, as I said, has more to do with confounded viewer expectations, and the inability to adapt to a different approach in cinematic narrative, though very appropriate to the content of Martel's design. For the uninitiated, her films benefit from a second viewing, if only because what at first seems insignificant or disconnected is actually very important, and provides access to her dry subtle satire.

The power of "Mujer Sin Cabeza," (as with all films) is grounded in our perceptions of the main character's experience (or our experience of her perceptions), which not only infect us with her mental / emotional state, but draw us into the kind of life that she leads, in the balance, providing us a window into modern day Argentina.

Here, we are also made aware of a social system in the midst of decay, being held together by the ever more twisted and frayed threads of a colonial past that seeks preservation, in spite of increasing moral dysfunction, and the inability to take responsibility for anything that interferes with the social system beyond pretending it doesn't exist...
Nice review! I've seen that one though I feel it definitely needs a rewatch.

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#87

Post by prodigalgodson » May 7th, 2020, 5:09 am

500. Orlando

My first Sally Potter film -- the richness of the soundscape denotes a musician's approach to filmmaking off the bat, and a sensory priority continues throughout visually and sonically. The hurried clip of the rhythm initially grated on my sensibilities -- I was wondering how the story planned to condense 500 years of history into 90 minutes -- but much of the film avoids feeling too rushed with a Siddhartha-like episodic story portraying various phases of life spent prioritizing various interests. Potter seems to have immense potential as a director; there's something Wellesian in her classical but offbeat compositions, gallivanting rhythm, roguish spirit, and variance of setting, though her quirks (some of which work better than others) are unique. Swinton doesn't have the commanding presence she'd come to embody later in her career, but compensates with youthful androgynous charisma, and the actors in general inject just the right amount of irony into their lines to perfectly land the humor. I was recently reading something Tarkovsky wrote about the difficulty of adapting fully realized literary works into another medium, and without having read Woolf's acclaimed source material, I was thinking this was the exception that proved the rule.

And then! In proto-Game of Thrones fashion, it completely bungles its final act and sabotages everything it had built for the prior hour. I began feeling uneasy when Billy Zane's horribly miscast love interest appeared, and then it fast-forwards through a few centuries like the filmmakers got bored and just wanted to wrap things up, rushing towards an unearned left-field conclusion where Orlando finds themselves suddenly and inexplicably at peace with themselves despite not resolving any of their problems, because they have a kid I guess? And apparently all along the story was about letting go of the past? What a disaster. Still, there's so much quality filmmaking throughout most of the runtime it's hard to be too mad.

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#88

Post by prodigalgodson » May 9th, 2020, 1:26 am

423. Opening Night

For the first few minutes, I was thinking, wow it's nice to see Rowlands play a capable, grounded character for once; whelp, that didn't last long. This kind of study of an actor's process seems like a natural choice of subject matter for Cassavettes, and the focus on aging and mortality, kicked off with a fan's death at the beginning and reinforced by the play-within-a-film, seems likewise a propos to this point in his career. Unfortunately, I'm not that interested in the former, and the latter gets a half-baked treatment, with halting glimpses of different approaches to the theme, even devolving into hallucinatory pseudo-horror, before the film resolves itself with an everything's-fine-for-now-type paean to improvisation (and slight thumbing of the nose to writers). It's an oddly upbeat ending, though it's clear nothing's really resolved, and certainly as a viewer I found it unsatisfying. This has some good moments (Joan Blondell and Zohra Lampert steal all their scenes), but overall feels like a haphazard mess, one of his experiments that tends toward failure for my money.

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#89

Post by Ebbywebby » May 9th, 2020, 6:06 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 1:26 am
423. Opening Night

For the first few minutes, I was thinking, wow it's nice to see Rowlands play a capable, grounded character for once; whelp, that didn't last long. This kind of study of an actor's process seems like a natural choice of subject matter for Cassavettes, and the focus on aging and mortality, kicked off with a fan's death at the beginning and reinforced by the play-within-a-film, seems likewise a propos to this point in his career. Unfortunately, I'm not that interested in the former, and the latter gets a half-baked treatment, with halting glimpses of different approaches to the theme, even devolving into hallucinatory pseudo-horror, before the film resolves itself with an everything's-fine-for-now-type paean to improvisation (and slight thumbing of the nose to writers). It's an oddly upbeat ending, though it's clear nothing's really resolved, and certainly as a viewer I found it unsatisfying. This has some good moments (Joan Blondell and Zohra Lampert steal all their scenes), but overall feels like a haphazard mess, one of his experiments that tends toward failure for my money.
I seem to recall this film having a shockingly awful musical score.

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#90

Post by prodigalgodson » May 13th, 2020, 2:08 am

Ebbywebby wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 6:06 am
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 1:26 am
423. Opening Night

For the first few minutes, I was thinking, wow it's nice to see Rowlands play a capable, grounded character for once; whelp, that didn't last long. This kind of study of an actor's process seems like a natural choice of subject matter for Cassavettes, and the focus on aging and mortality, kicked off with a fan's death at the beginning and reinforced by the play-within-a-film, seems likewise a propos to this point in his career. Unfortunately, I'm not that interested in the former, and the latter gets a half-baked treatment, with halting glimpses of different approaches to the theme, even devolving into hallucinatory pseudo-horror, before the film resolves itself with an everything's-fine-for-now-type paean to improvisation (and slight thumbing of the nose to writers). It's an oddly upbeat ending, though it's clear nothing's really resolved, and certainly as a viewer I found it unsatisfying. This has some good moments (Joan Blondell and Zohra Lampert steal all their scenes), but overall feels like a haphazard mess, one of his experiments that tends toward failure for my money.
I seem to recall this film having a shockingly awful musical score.
Haha, I didn't notice/don't remember the score at all, which probably says something itself.

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#91

Post by prodigalgodson » May 13th, 2020, 2:09 am

461. Closely Watched Trains

I knew this was a comedy; I was not expecting a Czech art house Superbad. That's not doing it justice though, this a solid one-of-a-kind take on young adulthood under the shadow of war. It's mostly told in still shots, which as a storytelling method requires masterful framing and editing; most of the time it succeeds admirably, with some of the frames just a bit off of perfection and some of the editing feeling slightly stilted. The fairly austere visuals can seem somewhat at odds with the horny adolescent comedy, but there is something sensual about the silky black and white photography (the Eastern European countryside is so evocative, and of course trains always make for beautiful visuals, especially, as it turns out, in the snow). And then there's a deeper, darker subtext to the rollicking goings-on -- train operators bemoaning the German treatment of cows and sheeps on the trains (presumably alluding to deported Jews), positioning the appeal of fascism in a perception of moral decay (embodied in the Hitler-stached station chief) -- that's starkly and suddenly brought to the surface in the legit amazing finale. The arrival of German tanks looms large in the protagonist's family history, and obviously in the collective conscience, and it's heartbreaking to think that less than two years after this was made a new wave of tanks would be rolling in from the other side of town.

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#92

Post by cinewest » May 13th, 2020, 11:08 am

I liked the film a bit more than you for exactly some of the reasons you describe, which appealed quite a bit to me when I first saw it toward the end of my teens.
I have enjoyed several of Menzel’s subsequent films, but there is a charm and innocence present in “...Trains” that helps it retain its appeal, though I’m not sure it would make my own top 1000

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#93

Post by prodigalgodson » May 13th, 2020, 7:10 pm

460. All That Jazz

I had a good feeling about this from the opening flourish of disorienting editing, and this Felliniesque deconstruction of an overworked director/choreographer's psyche remains a masterclass in editing throughout, with a corollary of great shot selection. The screenplay has flashes of brilliance and remains pretty damn sharp throughout, kind of a stepping stone between 8 1/2 and Bojack Horseman, barring some very 70s elements (the gay jokes, the smoking doctor, the bizarre sexualization of the lead's teenage daughter). I don't usually understand exactly what people mean when they use indulgent to describe a film, but this kind of flattering autobiographical psychoanalysis seems inherently self-indulgent -- Bob Fosse would've made a great rapper in another life. I also had no idea Roy Schneider was an actor of this caliber. There are surreal sequences theatrically acting out the protagonist's inner life throughout, but it doesn't become a full-fledged musical until about 3/4s through, and even then the numbers can be given a diagetic explanation as the lead's moribund hallucinations. I enjoyed this much more than I expected, partly I think thanks to the interest in dance I've developed since being with Yanti.

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#94

Post by cinewest » May 14th, 2020, 5:11 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 13th, 2020, 7:10 pm
460. All That Jazz

I had a good feeling about this from the opening flourish of disorienting editing, and this Felliniesque deconstruction of an overworked director/choreographer's psyche remains a masterclass in editing throughout, with a corollary of great shot selection. The screenplay has flashes of brilliance and remains pretty damn sharp throughout, kind of a stepping stone between 8 1/2 and Bojack Horseman, barring some very 70s elements (the gay jokes, the smoking doctor, the bizarre sexualization of the lead's teenage daughter). I don't usually understand exactly what people mean when they use indulgent to describe a film, but this kind of flattering autobiographical psychoanalysis seems inherently self-indulgent -- Bob Fosse would've made a great rapper in another life. I also had no idea Roy Schneider was an actor of this caliber. There are surreal sequences theatrically acting out the protagonist's inner life throughout, but it doesn't become a full-fledged musical until about 3/4s through, and even then the numbers can be given a diagetic explanation as the lead's moribund hallucinations. I enjoyed this much more than I expected, partly I think thanks to the interest in dance I've developed since being with Yanti.
I like dance, as well, and have always been interested in treatments on film. Saura has made several great dance films, and I loved Wender's 3-D theatrical version of Pina. What does Yanti like?

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#95

Post by prodigalgodson » May 14th, 2020, 6:04 am

468. Pyaasa

Finally, my first Bollywood flick. And there are some genre staples I'd expected from seeing excerpts: telenovela levels of melodrama, hokey characters, broad comic relief, and overbearing music cues. But juxtaposed to these are bitter dramatic irony and an acidic, cynical portrayal of human nature. The story follows a struggling poet involved in a love triangle with a romantic prostitute and a pragmatic ex-girlfriend who's now married to a publisher who functions as the primary antagonist amidst a sea of opportunism and corruption. It's one of the best-looking black and white films I've seen in a while, with a classically composed, appropriately poetic metropolitan aesthetic and noirish use of light and shadow. There are plenty of odd filmmaking choices, for better or for worse -- in addition to nutty plot contrivances that drag the protagonist through a series of unlikely miseries, there's a musical number about scalp massages and a fantasy romance sequence with the most excessive use of fog machines I may've ever seen. And the dour, self-pitying tone can be wearying after awhile. But overall it's a refreshingly despairing piece of social realism disguised as a lavish musical; pretty unique stuff.

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#96

Post by prodigalgodson » May 14th, 2020, 6:23 am

cinewest wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 5:11 am
I like dance, as well, and have always been interested in treatments on film. Saura has made several great dance films, and I loved Wender's 3-D theatrical version of Pina. What does Yanti like?
I have that Criterion box set of Saura's Flamenco Trilogy somewhere, of which I think I've only seen El amor brujo, and that was years ago. I should dig that out again. I remember seeing the trailer for Pina and thinking it looked cool, sorry to have missed that in theaters.

Movie-wise Yanti (my girlfriend, if it wasn't clear; sometimes I forget to edit these reviews for the general public when I copy them from letterboxd) is a big horror fan, and usually enjoys thrillers too. She has much more normal taste in film than me (as she'd put it, haha), and especially doesn't have much patience for talky stuff, but has a pretty broad palate within horror -- in addition to more mainstream stuff she's a big fan of The Shining and The Tenant, for instance, and enjoyed watching Zulawski's Possession with me recently. We don't live together since she has a couple kids to take care of; one of the only upsides of being apart so much is that it gives me the chance to watch all my weird obscure movies in my free time.

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#97

Post by Ebbywebby » May 14th, 2020, 7:35 am

I think Pyaasa was my first Bollywood too.

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#98

Post by cinewest » May 14th, 2020, 11:00 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:23 am
cinewest wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 5:11 am
I like dance, as well, and have always been interested in treatments on film. Saura has made several great dance films, and I loved Wender's 3-D theatrical version of Pina. What does Yanti like?
I have that Criterion box set of Saura's Flamenco Trilogy somewhere, of which I think I've only seen El amor brujo, and that was years ago. I should dig that out again. I remember seeing the trailer for Pina and thinking it looked cool, sorry to have missed that in theaters.

Movie-wise Yanti (my girlfriend, if it wasn't clear; sometimes I forget to edit these reviews for the general public when I copy them from letterboxd) is a big horror fan, and usually enjoys thrillers too. She has much more normal taste in film than me (as she'd put it, haha), and especially doesn't have much patience for talky stuff, but has a pretty broad palate within horror -- in addition to more mainstream stuff she's a big fan of The Shining and The Tenant, for instance, and enjoyed watching Zulawski's Possession with me recently. We don't live together since she has a couple kids to take care of; one of the only upsides of being apart so much is that it gives me the chance to watch all my weird obscure movies in my free time.
Enjoy the time you have now to indulge your personal taste. It’s not so easy once you shack up, even less so if you have kids. I don’t know why, but my relationships with women who share more of the same taste in art and style have never worked out (at least my wife likes to travel and enjoys all kinds of food).
In fact, I am probably enjoying your current quest vicariously because there’s no way I could do something similar at the moment, and I can relate to your comments even when I haven’t seen the film.
As for Saura, he started to engage his own love of dance with Blood Wedding, which I liked a lot as the first of its kind. His passion for dance has led him to consider numerous ways of filming it that create a kind of partnership. The second in the trilogy, Carmen, is in my own top 100 for his ability to turn a classic opera into a flamenco dance fest that is also a story within a story that becomes the story (he does something similar again later with Tango, and he has essentially been exploring classical folkloric music from various Latin countries for the past 40 years.
A good pairing with Saura’s Carmen, if you can stand two musicals in a row is Carmen Jones.

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#99

Post by prodigalgodson » May 14th, 2020, 9:45 pm

480. A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Hard to know what to say about this one -- a thoughtful, intentionally crafted film that doesn't appeal to my sensibilities much at all. Spielberg's stiff, overproduced Kubrick impression is pretty cringey, and his visual style, which doesn't appeal much to me on a good day, has never looked worse, with persistent blues and blown-out whites affecting a cheap facsimile of technological coldness. And maybe it's intentionally vague, but I don't have a sense of the parameters of David's (the robo-kid's) AI at all. In the opening it's posited that all that separates him from other mecha is the ability to love, but why this should give him a fully developed subconscious and imagination (including illogical beliefs like taking fairy tales for gospel), and emotions like fear and anger (others related to love like jealousy make sense) is not at all clear to me, and the parameters of his internal logic seem pretty inconsistent to me. But I do like philosophical sci-fi, and overall it feels like a wise look at humanity's technical progress outpacing its moral progression. The world-building feels organic, a few plot conveniences aside, and the character of the mother is one of the most three-dimensional characters Spielberg's ever portrayed, props to Frances O'Connor. Despite and perhaps because of feeling persistently unsettled in ways probably intentional and unintentional through the whole thing, I came away from it with the impression of a pretty solid film, about as good as it could've been given its script and director.

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#100

Post by prodigalgodson » May 14th, 2020, 9:47 pm

cinewest wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 11:00 am
Enjoy the time you have now to indulge your personal taste. It’s not so easy once you shack up, even less so if you have kids. I don’t know why, but my relationships with women who share more of the same taste in art and style have never worked out (at least my wife likes to travel and enjoys all kinds of food).
In fact, I am probably enjoying your current quest vicariously because there’s no way I could do something similar at the moment, and I can relate to your comments even when I haven’t seen the film.
As for Saura, he started to engage his own love of dance with Blood Wedding, which I liked a lot as the first of its kind. His passion for dance has led him to consider numerous ways of filming it that create a kind of partnership. The second in the trilogy, Carmen, is in my own top 100 for his ability to turn a classic opera into a flamenco dance fest that is also a story within a story that becomes the story (he does something similar again later with Tango, and he has essentially been exploring classical folkloric music from various Latin countries for the past 40 years.
A good pairing with Saura’s Carmen, if you can stand two musicals in a row is Carmen Jones.
Thanks for the words of wisdom and recommendations :). I'll definitely make Saura's Carmen a priority.

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#101

Post by prodigalgodson » May 15th, 2020, 8:50 pm

496. Short Cuts

The most LA movie ever made? Altman just gets the city at a molecular level, down to fundamentals of light and color. I wonder if even his trademark overlapping dialogue has its origin in Altman's adopted Californian roots, somehow it feels like a paradigmatically SoCal way of interpreting a scene. His use of diffused light and tracking zooms continues to be unparalleled. I'm usually not a big fan of anthology film, but much like Nashville this intertwining tableau, replete with stony associative segues between storylines, is an exception to the rule, playing all the generally quotidian portraits of human tragedy and comedy off each other to resonant cumulative effect. Also, Julianne Moore has to be the queen of 90s LA, between this, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Safe.

Whelp, that's 500. Now what? :think:

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#102

Post by erde » May 15th, 2020, 11:07 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 8:50 pm
Whelp, that's 500. Now what? :think:
Congrats! Now come and join us in the thread below for the top 600. :)

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1075&start=960
Image Image

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#103

Post by cinewest » May 15th, 2020, 11:45 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 8:50 pm
496. Short Cuts

The most LA movie ever made? Altman just gets the city at a molecular level, down to fundamentals of light and color. I wonder if even his trademark overlapping dialogue has its origin in Altman's adopted Californian roots, somehow it feels like a paradigmatically SoCal way of interpreting a scene. His use of diffused light and tracking zooms continues to be unparalleled. I'm usually not a big fan of anthology film, but much like Nashville this intertwining tableau, replete with stony associative segues between storylines, is an exception to the rule, playing all the generally quotidian portraits of human tragedy and comedy off each other to resonant cumulative effect. Also, Julianne Moore has to be the queen of 90s LA, between this, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Safe.

Whelp, that's 500. Now what? :think:
I while back I tried to predict what you would like best out of those left to see. Thought Out 1 would be hit or miss, but I had a good idea that you would like Short Cuts, a fitting closer for you. Like I said, I think that the two American movies that influenced the indie movement most at the time were Pulp Fiction and Short Cuts, though the former was a lot more popular at the box office. It was probably also Altman's last great film. And, yeah, Julianne Moore definitely became Queen of the American Indie at that time

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#104

Post by matthewscott8 » May 16th, 2020, 1:15 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
April 13th, 2020, 8:43 pm
477. Limite

Props to Armani and Cartier for funding the restoration, funny how prevalent high fashion and luxury cars are in the world of film restoration and independent theaters. Yanti would approve.

This was a unique thrill to watch, and one I'm eager to revisit soon. Both a repurposing of many of the techniques developed in the more artistically inclined films of the prior two decades, and a completely new approach to the evocative power of imagery. It's the first precursor to slow cinema I've seen from this period, and the languorous rhythm, lingering shots, and elliptical approach to story of this "genre" mesh ideally with the otherworldly aesthetic of silent film. The composition ranges from classically masterful to boldly eccentric, rough around the edges in a way that makes it feel fundamentally experimental and more alive than artifactual. Shame that silent film became obsolete just as its formal potential was beginning to be explored.
Great review, couldn't agree more, and this is why it's currently #2 in my greatest of all time list.

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#105

Post by matthewscott8 » May 17th, 2020, 9:23 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:04 am
468. Pyaasa

Finally, my first Bollywood flick. And there are some genre staples I'd expected from seeing excerpts: telenovela levels of melodrama, hokey characters, broad comic relief, and overbearing music cues. But juxtaposed to these are bitter dramatic irony and an acidic, cynical portrayal of human nature. The story follows a struggling poet involved in a love triangle with a romantic prostitute and a pragmatic ex-girlfriend who's now married to a publisher who functions as the primary antagonist amidst a sea of opportunism and corruption. It's one of the best-looking black and white films I've seen in a while, with a classically composed, appropriately poetic metropolitan aesthetic and noirish use of light and shadow. There are plenty of odd filmmaking choices, for better or for worse -- in addition to nutty plot contrivances that drag the protagonist through a series of unlikely miseries, there's a musical number about scalp massages and a fantasy romance sequence with the most excessive use of fog machines I may've ever seen. And the dour, self-pitying tone can be wearying after awhile. But overall it's a refreshingly despairing piece of social realism disguised as a lavish musical; pretty unique stuff.
This was a major part of my childhood. Because a huge diaspora was coming to the UK from India, Channel 4 used to be very proactive in showing Indian movies. I used to stay up after midnight watching them. Pyaasa was the first one I fell in love with along with Chaudhvin Ka Chand. I don't know the names of many of the movies I watched, and sadly it's hard to find them in good editions to see again.

Pyaasa is something that I'm glad I first watched as a teen, because it's raw emotion, and lovely music, and it was a lot easier to accept. All these films are definitely pre-feminist, so a lot of my watching is tainted now by an ideological policeman. In Chaudkvin Ka Chand for example, I now immediately become annoyed that the women are kept in purdah, so I can't enjoy the movie.

It's a shortcoming of many folks' top lists I find as well. When you look at the Indian content they haven't gone much past Satyajit Ray. Maybe not helped by the fact that icheckmovies has only one official list covering Indian films, the Golden Lotus award, which isn't very representative of the richness and diversity of what's out there.

You get a comedic actor like Johnny Walker, and no-one's going to talk about him on their list of favourite movie stars, Indian cinema just kind of gets written out of history.

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#106

Post by prodigalgodson » May 18th, 2020, 12:05 am

erde wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 11:07 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 8:50 pm
Whelp, that's 500. Now what? :think:
Congrats! Now come and join us in the thread below for the top 600. :)

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1075&start=960
Thanks my friend!

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#107

Post by prodigalgodson » May 18th, 2020, 12:06 am

cinewest wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 11:45 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 8:50 pm
496. Short Cuts

The most LA movie ever made? Altman just gets the city at a molecular level, down to fundamentals of light and color. I wonder if even his trademark overlapping dialogue has its origin in Altman's adopted Californian roots, somehow it feels like a paradigmatically SoCal way of interpreting a scene. His use of diffused light and tracking zooms continues to be unparalleled. I'm usually not a big fan of anthology film, but much like Nashville this intertwining tableau, replete with stony associative segues between storylines, is an exception to the rule, playing all the generally quotidian portraits of human tragedy and comedy off each other to resonant cumulative effect. Also, Julianne Moore has to be the queen of 90s LA, between this, The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Safe.

Whelp, that's 500. Now what? :think:
I while back I tried to predict what you would like best out of those left to see. Thought Out 1 would be hit or miss, but I had a good idea that you would like Short Cuts, a fitting closer for you. Like I said, I think that the two American movies that influenced the indie movement most at the time were Pulp Fiction and Short Cuts, though the former was a lot more popular at the box office. It was probably also Altman's last great film. And, yeah, Julianne Moore definitely became Queen of the American Indie at that time
Yeah, I saved this one for last knowing my fondness for Altman.

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#108

Post by prodigalgodson » May 18th, 2020, 12:09 am

matthewscott8 wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 9:23 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:04 am
468. Pyaasa

Finally, my first Bollywood flick. And there are some genre staples I'd expected from seeing excerpts: telenovela levels of melodrama, hokey characters, broad comic relief, and overbearing music cues. But juxtaposed to these are bitter dramatic irony and an acidic, cynical portrayal of human nature. The story follows a struggling poet involved in a love triangle with a romantic prostitute and a pragmatic ex-girlfriend who's now married to a publisher who functions as the primary antagonist amidst a sea of opportunism and corruption. It's one of the best-looking black and white films I've seen in a while, with a classically composed, appropriately poetic metropolitan aesthetic and noirish use of light and shadow. There are plenty of odd filmmaking choices, for better or for worse -- in addition to nutty plot contrivances that drag the protagonist through a series of unlikely miseries, there's a musical number about scalp massages and a fantasy romance sequence with the most excessive use of fog machines I may've ever seen. And the dour, self-pitying tone can be wearying after awhile. But overall it's a refreshingly despairing piece of social realism disguised as a lavish musical; pretty unique stuff.
This was a major part of my childhood. Because a huge diaspora was coming to the UK from India, Channel 4 used to be very proactive in showing Indian movies. I used to stay up after midnight watching them. Pyaasa was the first one I fell in love with along with Chaudhvin Ka Chand. I don't know the names of many of the movies I watched, and sadly it's hard to find them in good editions to see again.

Pyaasa is something that I'm glad I first watched as a teen, because it's raw emotion, and lovely music, and it was a lot easier to accept. All these films are definitely pre-feminist, so a lot of my watching is tainted now by an ideological policeman. In Chaudkvin Ka Chand for example, I now immediately become annoyed that the women are kept in purdah, so I can't enjoy the movie.

It's a shortcoming of many folks' top lists I find as well. When you look at the Indian content they haven't gone much past Satyajit Ray. Maybe not helped by the fact that icheckmovies has only one official list covering Indian films, the Golden Lotus award, which isn't very representative of the richness and diversity of what's out there.

You get a comedic actor like Johnny Walker, and no-one's going to talk about him on their list of favourite movie stars, Indian cinema just kind of gets written out of history.
Glad you dug my take on Limite, I feel like I would appreciate it even more the second time around.

Ah, so that was Johnny Walker! I remember liking the name in the credits, and even if this kind of performance is a little much for me, his character is definitely the easiest to root for in the movie. I definitely haven't seen enough Indian films, just a handful of Rays and two from Ghatak. It does seem bizarrely underrepresented in canon given the size of the industry.

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#109

Post by matthewscott8 » May 18th, 2020, 7:52 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 12:09 am
matthewscott8 wrote:
May 17th, 2020, 9:23 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 6:04 am
468. Pyaasa

Finally, my first Bollywood flick. And there are some genre staples I'd expected from seeing excerpts: telenovela levels of melodrama, hokey characters, broad comic relief, and overbearing music cues. But juxtaposed to these are bitter dramatic irony and an acidic, cynical portrayal of human nature. The story follows a struggling poet involved in a love triangle with a romantic prostitute and a pragmatic ex-girlfriend who's now married to a publisher who functions as the primary antagonist amidst a sea of opportunism and corruption. It's one of the best-looking black and white films I've seen in a while, with a classically composed, appropriately poetic metropolitan aesthetic and noirish use of light and shadow. There are plenty of odd filmmaking choices, for better or for worse -- in addition to nutty plot contrivances that drag the protagonist through a series of unlikely miseries, there's a musical number about scalp massages and a fantasy romance sequence with the most excessive use of fog machines I may've ever seen. And the dour, self-pitying tone can be wearying after awhile. But overall it's a refreshingly despairing piece of social realism disguised as a lavish musical; pretty unique stuff.
This was a major part of my childhood. Because a huge diaspora was coming to the UK from India, Channel 4 used to be very proactive in showing Indian movies. I used to stay up after midnight watching them. Pyaasa was the first one I fell in love with along with Chaudhvin Ka Chand. I don't know the names of many of the movies I watched, and sadly it's hard to find them in good editions to see again.

Pyaasa is something that I'm glad I first watched as a teen, because it's raw emotion, and lovely music, and it was a lot easier to accept. All these films are definitely pre-feminist, so a lot of my watching is tainted now by an ideological policeman. In Chaudkvin Ka Chand for example, I now immediately become annoyed that the women are kept in purdah, so I can't enjoy the movie.

It's a shortcoming of many folks' top lists I find as well. When you look at the Indian content they haven't gone much past Satyajit Ray. Maybe not helped by the fact that icheckmovies has only one official list covering Indian films, the Golden Lotus award, which isn't very representative of the richness and diversity of what's out there.

You get a comedic actor like Johnny Walker, and no-one's going to talk about him on their list of favourite movie stars, Indian cinema just kind of gets written out of history.
Glad you dug my take on Limite, I feel like I would appreciate it even more the second time around.

Ah, so that was Johnny Walker! I remember liking the name in the credits, and even if this kind of performance is a little much for me, his character is definitely the easiest to root for in the movie. I definitely haven't seen enough Indian films, just a handful of Rays and two from Ghatak. It does seem bizarrely underrepresented in canon given the size of the industry.
Some Indian recommendations for me, these are all on my top list, for sure I need to see more, I have got a stack by my french windows that is dusty, because I am lazy and often too puritanical.

Pakeezah (1972 - Kamal Amrohi) - made Derek Malcolm's top list, nuff said
Kalpana (1948 - Uday Shankar) - 2 hrs 40 of insanity from Ravi Shankar's brother, defintion of ambition. Pre-dates golden lotus awards so no chance of being on icheckmovies tehe Probs very hard to find though, I got lucky and saw it at a festival
Garm Hava (1974 - M.S. Sathyu) - superb partition drama if you're not feeling like a musical
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012 - Anurag Kashyap) - excellent dynastical gangster movie

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#110

Post by matthewscott8 » May 18th, 2020, 8:03 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 5th, 2020, 8:42 pm
451. Out 1, noli me tangere

The true fin de cinema. It's hard to know how to assess something that, within a narrative format, totally disregards conventional aesthetic values and cinematic meaning. It took 3 episodes and about 5 hours for me to get over my annoyance with the interminable purposeful inanity and start actively looking forward to what was coming next -- but by the end I was completely bowled over, in one of the strangest and most sensitive moods I can remember, and for the first time since quarantine started, didn't watch any film the following day. It demonstrates both a more innocent and more paranoid experience of the world, giving regular dingy spaces a fantastical, otherworldly feel, appealing to both naivety and analysis, offering both catharsis and disillusionment as our brains scramble to make sense of everything. That all sounds vague, but this defies conventional criticism, and highlights my shortcomings as a reviewer and just as a fan in elucidating such an experience. Projects like this show how limited we've been in the exploration of the art form, and of life in general. Definitely feels like a turning point in my cinematic journey.
I think the bit about catharsis and disillusionment maybe refers to most of Rivette's oeuvre. I gave up on Out 1 halfway through but will give it another go. It wasn't that I hated it, it was just like you I think, several hours in still thinking, "where is this going". "what is this". Out 1 Spectre cuts out a lot of the longueurs I'm told. I have a date with this stuff because I loved Noroit so much recently. It helps a lot as well if familiar with the plays that appear in his movies, which I was with Noroit.

And yup one thing that excites me is I think we've still barely scratched the potentials of cinema.

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#111

Post by prodigalgodson » May 18th, 2020, 8:44 pm

Thanks for the recs!

I can imagine that'd go for a lot of Rivette, given his vaguely conspiratorial leanings. I'd love to see Spectre, I know Rosenbaum insists it's the more difficult of the two, but maybe he's just being contrarian. I remembered you and Ale are big Noroit fans, if I can get my hands on it I'll definitely check it out, and I'm eager to see more Rivette in general now. Do you have an updated favorites list btw?

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