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Knocking out TSP top 500

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prodigalgodson
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Knocking out TSP top 500

#1

Post by prodigalgodson » March 21st, 2020, 10:34 pm

Hey guys, I hope this is the right place to post this. I figured I'd use this uncertain time to watch all the films on They Shoot Picture's top 500 of all time that I haven't seen. I'll post updates on my progress if anyone's interested.

275. Love Streams
280. Cinema Paradiso
325. Harold and Maude
327. Quince Tree of the Sun
338. The Tenant
340. I Was Born, But...
342. Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks
349. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
354. Suspiria
355. Dogville
359. Brokeback Mountain
360. Carrie
365. The Elephant Man
370. If...
375. A Separation
387. October
396. Festen
407. 1900
415. In a Year with 13 Moons
420. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
423. Opening Night
425. The Cloud-Capped Star
426. The Sorrow and the Pity
434. Scenes from a Marriage
449. Senso
451. Out 1, noli me tangere
454. The Hour of the Furnaces
460. All That Jazz
461. Closely Watched Trains
468. Pyaasa
470. Chelsea Girls
477. Limite
480. AI Artificial Intelligence
483. Triumph of the Will
496. Short Cuts
500. Orlando
Last edited by prodigalgodson on March 28th, 2020, 2:19 am, edited 6 times in total.

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#2

Post by prodigalgodson » March 22nd, 2020, 1:02 am

Here's my ratings for everything I've seen thus far, cuz I'm bored to death. I'll add in the new ones I watch as I go. Some of these ratings are old as hell fyi.

1. Citizen Kane 9/10
2. Vertigo 10/10 - personal top 3
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey 9/10
4. The Rules of the Game 10/10
5. Tokyo Story 5/10 - needs rewatch
6. 8 1/2 9/10
7. The Godfather 9/10
8. Sunrise 9/10
9. The Searchers 10/10 - personal top 30
10. Seven Samurai 8/10
11. Apocalypse Now 9/10
12. Singin' in the Rain 5/10
13. Bicycle Thieves 6/10
14. Taxi Driver 9/10
15. Battleship Potemkin 7/10
16. Breathless 9/10
17. The Passion of Joan of Arc 6/10
18. L'atalante 8/10
19. Persona 7/10
20. Man with a Movie Camera 9/10
21. Rashomon 7/10
22. The 400 Blows 7/10
23. Psycho 6/10
24. The Godfather Part II 9/10
25. Raging Bull 8/10
26. Some Like It Hot 7/10
27. Andrei Rublev 10/10 - personal top 3
8. City Lights 4/10
29. La dolce vita 9/10
30. Mirror 10/10
31. Touch of Evil 8/10
32. Ordet 8/10
33. Lawrence of Arabia 9/10
34. Au hasard Balthazar 10/10
35. Sunset Blvd. 8/10
36. Casablanca 9/10
37. Blade Runner 9/10
38. L'avventure - personal top 30
39. Contempt 10/10 - personal top 30
40. The General 6/10
41. Rear Window 9/10
42. In the Mood for Love 9/10
43. The Night of the Hunter 7/10
44. Grand Illusion 6/10
45. The Third Man 10/10
46. Ugetsu monogatari 8/10
47. Playtime 9/10
48. Modern Times 3/10
49. Dr. Strangelove 10/10
50. Fanny and Alexander 5/10
51. Stalker 10/10 - personal top 30
52. Chinatown 10/10
53. Barry Lyndon 10/10 - personal top 30
54. Mulholland Dr. 9/10
55. Pather Panchali 8/10
56. The Apartment 9/10
57. Rio Bravo 9/10
58. M 8/10
59. North by Northwest 7/10
60. Metropolis 9/10
61. Wild Strawberries 7/10
62. Children of Paradise 6/10
63. Viridiana 6/10
64. Pierrot le fou 8/10
65. La strada 3/10 - needs rewatch
66. Shoah 10/10
67. The Wild Bunch 9/10
68. Once Upon a Time in the West 9/10
69. The Seventh Seal 9/10
70. Goodfellas 8/10
71. Amarcord 5/10
72. Pulp Fiction 7/10
73. Battle of Algiers 9/10
74. The Leopard 10/10 - personal top 30
75. Voyage to Italy 8/10
76. The Gold Rush 7/10
77. The Magnificent Ambersons 8/10
78. Late Spring 7/10
79. Pickpocket 9/10
80. A Clockwork Orange 8/10
81. It's a Wonderful Life 7/10
82. Close Up 9/10
83. Jules and Jim 8/10
84. Jeanne Dielman 5/10
85. Blue Velvet 9/10
86. The Conformist 9/10
87. Nashville 10/10
88. Annie Hall 6/10
89. Gertrud 6/10
90. A Man Escaped 9/10
91. The Shining 10/10
92. Jaws 6/10
93. Sansho the Bailiff 7/10
94. A Woman Under the Influence 7/10
95. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 7/10
96. Greed 9/10
97. Sans soleil 9/10
98. Last Year at Marienbad 10/10
99. Blow Up 9/10
100. Once Upon a Time in America 6/10
101. Aguirre, the Wrath of God 9/10
102. To Be or Not to Be 9/10
103. The Mother and the Whore 10/10
104. The Spirit of the Beehive 5/10
105. The Wizard of Oz 3/10
106. Intolerance 8/10
107. Gone with the Wind 7/10
108. Satantango 7/10
109. L'eclisse 7/10
110. Hiroshima mon amour 9/10
111. Alien 5/10
112. Ikiru 4/10 - needs rewatch
113. Sherlock Jr. 9/10
114. La jetee 9/10
115. Manhattan 6/10
116. Star Wars 9/10
117. ET 3/10
118. Beau travail 9/10
119. Nosferatu 7/10
120. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 6/10
121. A Brighter Summer Day 10/10 - personal top 30
122. Madame de... 9/10
123. Yi yi 9/10
124. All About Eve 6/10
125. Bringing Up Baby 9/10
126. Letter from an Unknown Woman 8/10
127. Don't Look Now 7/10 - needs rewatch
128. My Darling Clementine 8/10
129. Rome, Open City 6/10
130. Los olvidados 5/10
131. Partie de campagne 6/10
132. Badlands 7/10
133. Vivre sa vie 6/10
134. Rosemary's Baby 7/10
135. Notorious 6/10
136. Stagecoach 6/10
137. Do the Right Thing 10/10
138. Un chien andalou 5/10
139. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 8/10
140. L'age d'or 8/10
141. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul 9/10
142. His Girl Friday 8/10
143. The Lady Eve 6/10
144. The Passenger 8/10
145. Duck Soup 5/10
146. The Gospel According to St. Matthew 9/10
147. A Matter of Live and Death 7/10
148. Double Indemnity 6/10
149. Trouble in Paradise 9/10
150. Come and See 6/10
151. Spring in a Small Town 6/10 - needs rewatch
152. Brief Encounter 8/10
153. On the Waterfront 4/10 - needs rewatch
154. The Conversation 7/10
155. Days of Heaven 6/10
156. Histoire(s) du cinema 8/10
157. The Exterminating Angel 4/10
158. Cries and Whispers 8/10
159. The Red Shoes 7/10
160. Chimes at Midnight 10/10 - personal top 30
161. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 8/10
162. The Piano 5/10
163. King Kong 8/10
164. L'argent 9/10
165. Black Narcissus 7/10
166. There Will Be Blood 10/10
167. The River 8/10
168. The Deer Hunter 7/10
169. Earth 9/10
170. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 8/10
171. Rocco and His Brothers 7/10
172. Spirited Away 9/10
173. The Great Dictator 8/10
174. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 7/10
175. Mouchette 6/10
176. Napoleon 9/10
177. Imitation of Life 10/10
178. The Grapes of Wrath 7/10
179. The Last Laugh 9/10
180. Night and Fog 8/10
181. Dekalog 6/10
182. The Birds 9/10
183. A City of Sadness 10/10 - personal top 30
184. Brazil 8/10
185. Out of the Past 6/10
186. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp 8/10
187. Kes 6/10
188. Raiders of the Lost Ark 7/10
189. Umberto D. 7/10
190. Fargo 9/10
191. Salo 4/10
192. Chungking Express 8/10
193. Close Encounters of the Third Kind 3/10
194. Solaris 8/10
195. The Traveling Players 6/10
196. Belle du jour 5/10
197. Death in Venice 9/10
198. Performance 8/10
199. Celine and Julie Go Boating 6/10
200. Red River 8/10
201. Sweet Smell of Success 5/10
202. Paisan 6/10
203. Breaking the Waves 6/10
204. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 5/10
205. Le samourai 7/10
206. The Quiet Man 8/10
207. Vampyr 3/10
208. Unforgiven 8/10
209. The Best Years of Our Lives 8/10
210. Nights of Cabiria 6/10
211. Black God, White Devil 9/10
212. McCabe and Mrs. Miller 10/10 - personal top 30
213. Ran 9/10
214. Cache 9/10
215. Ashes and Diamonds 7/10
216. The Graduate 9/10
217. The Exorcist 5/10
218. The Tree of Life 5/10
219. The Thin Red Line 6/10
220. Nanook of the North 6/10
221. Wings of Desire 6/10
222. Wavelength 8/10
223. My Neighbor Totoro 6/10
224. Kind Hearts and Coronets 9/10
225. Schindler's List 7/10
226. The Big Lebowski 10/10
227. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 3/10
228. Ivan the Terrible, Part II 9/10
229. Tropical Malady 10/10 - personal top 30
230. Paris, Texas 6/10
231. Paths of Glory 6/10
232. Germany Year Zero 5/10
233. Only Angels Have Wings 9/10
234. Diary of a Country Priest 10/10 - personal top 30
235. Treasure of the Sierra Madre 9/10
236. Zero for Conduct 6/10
237. Sullivan's Travels 6/10
238. Groundhog Day 7/10
239. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her 7/10
240. F for Fake 6/10
241. Night of the Living Dead 9/10
242. Meet Me in St. Louis 6/10
243. The Crowd 8/10
244. La notte 6/10
245. Bonnie and Clyde 8/10
246. Johnny Guitar 10/10
247. The Band Wagon 5/10
248. Cleo from 5 to 7 9/10
249. The Color of Pomegranate 5/10
250. Tabu 9/10
251. Freaks 3/10
252. El verdugo 6/10
253. The Shop Around the Corner 6/10
254. The Thing 8/10
255. Life of Oharu 8/10
256. Magnolia 5/10
257. Memories of Underdevelopment 9/10
258. Floating Clouds 10/10 - personal top 3
259. The Thin Blue Line 7/10
260. Story of the Last Chrysanthemums 9/10
261. Ivan the Terrible, Part I 8/10
262. Faces 6/10
263. Mean Streets 9/10
264. Meshes of the Afternoon 8/10
265. In a Lonely Place 8/10
266. Distant Voices, Still Lives 6/10
267. Broken Blossoms 2/10
268. Kings of the Road 6/10
269. Eraserhead 8/10
270. Beauty and the Beast 7/10
271. The Maltese Falcon 8/10
272. Three Colors: Red 8/10
273. Throne of Blood 6/10
274. My Night at Maud's 9/10
276. The Wages of Fear 9/10
277. Day of Wrath 8/10
278. Monsieur Verdoux 7/10
279. Peeping Tom 3/10
281. Husbands 8/10
282. The Empire Strikes Back 9/10
283. M. Hulot's Holiday 6/10
284. Three Colors: Blue 6/10
285. The Matrix 8/10
286. This Is Spinal Tap 3/10
287. Pandora's Box 9/10
288. Crimes and Misdemeanors 8/10
289. Birth of a Nation 8/10
290. The Big Sleep 9/10
291. Daisies 4/10
292. The Kid 6/10
293. Videodrome 9/10
294. Where Is the Friend's House? 10/10
295. An Autumn Afternoon 8/10
296. Dawn of the Dead 8/10
297. Make Way for Tomorrow 6/10
298. Underground 9/10
299. Week End 10/10
300. Touki Bouki 6/10
301. Killer of Sheep 9/10
302. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 3/10 - needs rewatch
303. City of God 6/10
304. Red Desert 6/10
305. The Music Room 8/10
306. Back to the Future 8/10
307. The Puppetmaster 7/10
308. The Last Picture Show 9/10
309. All About My Mother 8/10
310. In the Realm of the Senses 10/10
311. Stranger Than Paradise 10/10
312. The World of Apu 10/10
313. Bride of Frankenstein 8/10
314. Cabaret 6/10
315. Reservoir Dogs 5/10
316. Midnight Cowboy 5/10
317. The Sacrifice 9/10
318. Dog Day Afternoon 7/10
319. A Time to Live and a Time to Die 9/10
320. Terra em transe 9/10
321. Eyes Without a Face 6/10
322. It Happened One Night 5/10
323. A Canterbury Tale 6/10
324. Kiss Me Deadly 10/10
325. A Touch of Zen 8/10
328. Days of Being Wild 9/10
329. The Philadelphia Story 6/10
330. West Side Story 4/10
331. Berlin Alexanderplatz 9/10
332. The House Is Black 5/10
333. Wanda 9/10
334. Aliens 7/10
335. Heat 9/10
336. Eyes Wide Shut 8/10
337. To Kill a Mockingbird 7/10
339. Orpheus 9/10
341. Amadeus 7/10
343. Happy Together 6/10
344. The Innocents 8/10
345. Listen to Britain 7/10
346. I Am Cuba 5/10
347. How Green Was My Valley 7/10
348. The Green Ray 8/10
350. The Silence of the Lambs 5/10
351. Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives 8/10
352. Teorema 6/10
353. Yellow Earth 10/10
356. Stromboli 9/10
357. Marnie 6/10
358. Written on the Wind 8/10
361. High Noon 6/10
362. Lola Montes 8/10
363. Salvatore Giuliano 7/10
364. Platform 9/10
366. Las Hurdes 8/10
367. Werckmeister Harmonies 9/10
368. High and Low 7/10
369. Through the Olive Trees 6/10
371. Last Tango in Paris 5/10
372. The Young Girls of Rochefort 6/10
373. Lost Highway 8/10
374. I Know Where I'm Going! 5/10
376. The Palm Beach Story 7/10
377. Lost in Translation 8/10
378. The Turin Horse 8/10
379. Russian Ark 6/10
380. El 8/10
381. WALL-E 8/10
382. Habla con ella 9/10
383. Woman in the Dunes 9/10
384. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 5/10
385. The Crime of M. Lange 8/10
386. The Bridge on the River Kwai 9/10
388. The Gleaners and I 6/10
389. Network 5/10
390. Mon oncle 9/10
391. Nostalghia 8/10
392. Don't Look Back 6/10
393. The King of Comedy 8/10
394. Army of Shadows 6/10
395. Voyage to the Moon 7/10
397. A nos amours 10/10
398. The White Ribbon 8/10
399. Tristana 7/10
400. Heaven's Gate 8/10
401. All That Heaven Allows 7/10
402. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 7/10
403. Ivan's Childhood 8/10
404. Yojimbo 6/10
405. The Double Life of Veronique 5/10
406. Pinocchio 6/10
408. Vidas secas 7/10
409. Landscape in the Mist 7/10
410. An Affair to Remember 7/10
411. Raise the Red Lantern 7/10
412. Shoot the Piano Player 9/10
413. Fitzcarraldo 6/10
414. The Awful Truth 8/10
416. Taste of Cherry 8/10
417. The Scarlet Empress 8/10
418. Charulata 9/10
419. Monte Python's Life of Brian 8/10
421. Punch Drunk Love 6/10
422. Man of Aran 6/10
424. Day for Night 5/10
427. A Star Is Born 5/10
428. The Long Goodbye 10/10 - personal top 30
429. Repulsion 5/10
430. Halloween 3/10
431. Two Lane Blacktop 10/10
432. Five Easy Pieces 6/10
433. Dead Ringers 6/10
435. Dead Man 10/10
436. The Hustler 5/10
437. Shadows 5/10 - needs rewatch
438. The Terminator 7/10
439. Flowers of Shanghai 10/10 - personal top 30
440. The Shawshank Redemption 6/10
441. Flowers of St. Francis 6/10
442. A Moment of Innocence 10/10
443. Elephant 8/10
444. The Dead 6/10
445. Easy Rider 6/10
446. Accattone 10/10
447. The Cameraman 8/10
448. Cat People 7/10
450. Naked 8/10
452. Hoop Dreams 5/10
453. Withnail and I 6/10
455. Le plaisir 5/10
456. Some Came Running 9/10
456. All the President's Men 8/10
458. Fight Club 8/10
459. The Lady from Shanghai 9/10
462. The Cranes Are Flying 5/10
463. Fantasia 5/10
464. Frankenstein 6/10
465. Melancholia 6/10
466. Shane 6/10
467. Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors 8/10
469. Dersu Uzala 6/10
471. Mad Max 2 7/10
472. Safe 8/10
473. French Cancan 8/10
474. The Tree of Wooden Clogs 8/10
475. Oldboy 9/10
476. Point Blank 8/10
478. Vagabond 9/10
479. Grey Gardens 2/10
481. The Wind 7/10
482. Laura 8/10
484. Tootsie 6/10
485. Hour of the Wolf 7/10
486. Inland Empire 10/10
487. Chronicle of a Summer 7/10
488. To Have and Have Not 7/10
489. The Sound of Music 4/10
490. India Song 10/10 - personal top 30
491. Toy Story 7/10
492. Alexander Nevsky 7/10
493. Boogie Nights 4/10
494. The Lives of Others 8/10
495. Shadows of a Doubt 7/10
497. Koyaanisqatsi 9/10
498. Strangers on a Train 7/10
499. The Wind Will Carry Us 6/10
Last edited by prodigalgodson on March 28th, 2020, 2:19 am, edited 6 times in total.

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#3

Post by prodigalgodson » March 22nd, 2020, 1:10 am

268. Kings of the Road

First one down. On paper I should like this a lot -- I love the idea of bloated road movies even if I often don't like the result -- and if I was still at the point where my primary appreciation was aesthetic, this would probably be one of my favorites. As things stand I enjoyed it but it didn't make a huge impression, and in contrast to the ravishing imagery I had a hard time connecting with the human element. I've seen a handful of Wenders', and aside from The American Friend didn't especially enjoy any of them -- his style tends to swing between artsy and corny. I'd imagine aspects of it haven't aged that well either -- the pattern of one of the leads saying something banally profound before overbearing music cues in and we cut to a shot of the truck breezing on down the road might've worked better at the time. I tend not to love improvised scenes that much either, some Cassavettes and Leigh and Curb Your Enthusiasm coming to mind as exceptions. I did like the line from The Idiot Wind too. Not a bad way to spend 3 hours considering the alternatives atm.

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#4

Post by erde » March 22nd, 2020, 7:41 am

Nice to hear about your project! I'm aiming to complete the TSPDT 500 (7 left) and TSPDT 1000 (158 left) during this year myself, and it has been a really nice trip so far. Right now I'm enjoying/suffering through the third hour of Chelsea Girls, and I'm becoming more and more certain that I cannot operate with ratings when it comes to films: I both like and dislike it intensely, and I think that it might also be one of the points of this film. In general, I feel that the more complex and interesting the film, the worse it fits the simple numeric scale from 1 to 10.

This thread might suit the Challenges section better, but the mods will decide.
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#5

Post by prodigalgodson » March 23rd, 2020, 6:16 am

erde wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 7:41 am
Nice to hear about your project! I'm aiming to complete the TSPDT 500 (7 left) and TSPDT 1000 (158 left) during this year myself, and it has been a really nice trip so far. Right now I'm enjoying/suffering through the third hour of Chelsea Girls, and I'm becoming more and more certain that I cannot operate with ratings when it comes to films: I both like and dislike it intensely, and I think that it might also be one of the points of this film. In general, I feel that the more complex and interesting the film, the worse it fits the simple numeric scale from 1 to 10.

This thread might suit the Challenges section better, but the mods will decide.
Ah groovy, good luck! Yeah I imagine Chelsea Girls and West of the Tracks are gonna be tough, but Triumph of the Will is the one I'm least looking forward to lol. I understand what you mean with ratings -- when I frequented boards a lot I tended to think in terms of 1-10 automatically, which is a habit I fell out of with time. I can still pull one out pretty easily, but it's obviously very arbitrary and subjective and I just accept that being a 10, for instance, can mean a lot of different things -- I appreciate very different things about The Big Lebowski, Shoah, and Rose Hobart, even if I give them all 10s and consider them all among my favorites.

Ah cheers. I'm an old Film General refugee and don't know the rules and regs here well.

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#6

Post by prodigalgodson » March 23rd, 2020, 6:33 am

291. Daisies

To the new wave what Das EFX is to hip hop. I kind of figured going in the style was gonna annoy me, so I tried to keep an open mind within that framework, and because of its short length it wasn't insufferable. Elements of this period that get labelled as "playfulness" tend not to gel with me -- even in Godard and Rivette, for example -- so a whole movie with this approach taken to its extreme was pretty grating. I did like the dedication at the end over footage of wartime decimation, which the criterion edition translates as "this film is dedicated to all those whose sole source of indignation is a trampled-on trifle." According to Wikipedia Milan Kundera wrote that the "monstrosity of the main characters was depicted elegantly, poetically, dreamlike and 'beautifully,' but without becoming any less monstrous" -- which seems like an odd read on the film, unless it's a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of his philosophical differences with Chytilova. I was pretty stoned when I watched this, but unless I missed something major, I don't think anything the girls did in the film could be construed as "monstrous" by any means, and what point there is to the film seems to be, per the dedication, that people shouldn't get so upset at others having fun even in ways that flout or interrupt societal conventions.

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#7

Post by prodigalgodson » March 24th, 2020, 11:56 pm

408. Vidas secas

Solid and stylistically apt take on the titular hardscrabble lives. Could only find a low-res rip of this on YouTube, but though I'd obviously love to see it on film, the aesthetic kind of matched the medium. Seemed to oscillate between conventional low-budget social realism and roughshod art film, both pretty well though in an unconventional style. That style isn't the easiest to get used to, with the combination of smooth, focus-racking long shot dolly takes, more rapid-fire cuts transitioned with jerky, twisting zoom tilts sometimes accompanied by time ramps, and more explicitly, experimentally subjective scenes (the flaring exposure/time jump shots in the torture scene, the dog's POV shots) -- and I have no idea what buzzing, screeching instrument produced what sounded at least on the copy I saw like a literally one-note score. Not my favorite of the subversive "lives of the proletariat" type movies -- Yellow Earth, Harvest: 3000 Years, and The Tree of Wooden Clogs come to come as ones I like more -- but I know those all fall into different traditions, and I think I can see why this one was so important in the history of Third Cinema.

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#8

Post by prodigalgodson » March 25th, 2020, 8:09 am

374. I Know Where I'm Going

Intermittently charming, slightly dull ethnographic romcom (light on the com). Even though I usually like their movies, I still fail to click entirely with the Powell/Pressburger style. Here there are a lot of scenes that should be visually striking (and apparently intend to be so), but the somehow pedestrian compositions and stilted editing hold them back from quite coming alive to me. Also I can't really understand a sensibility that wouldn't cut this exchange off after the first two lines:

"People around here are very poor, I suppose."
"Not poor, they just haven't got money."
"It's the same thing."
"Oh no, something quite different."

Not terribly much chemistry between the leads either, and I found Wendy Hiller pretty unengaging. Overall all, it's not unpleasant though, and there are enough good moments to balance it out.

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#9

Post by prodigalgodson » March 26th, 2020, 11:47 pm

382. Habla con ella

Damn, the premises for these films get wonkier as you go down the list. This one ("men bond over comatose girlfriends as their relationships with their 'partners' devolve") is nestled between 381. WALL-E ("trash compactor robot on postapocalyptic earth falls in love with machine that’s out of his league") and 383. Woman in the Dunes (“amateur entomologist chases a beetle and gets stuck digging sand out of a hole with a horny widow the rest of his life”). Of course, that doesn't stop these from all being great movies, and this might be my favorite Almodovar so far. I enjoyed actually watching All About My Mother more, but this one's meaning doesn't quite strike you til after it's over, and the extent to which it makes the viewer reevaluate their moral position with regards to the characters and narrative makes it feel like his most "important" film in the sense of pushing the medium's capabilities forward. It's also interesting to think about where the story goes when we leave the action given the last segment heading that comes right before the credits. I'm continually impressed by Almodovar's ability to humanize seedy material and make utterly unconventional stories conventionally entertaining, even compulsively watchable, without sacrificing any of their artistic merits, in stark contrast to someone like Fassbinder whose influences and plot scenarios are pretty similar. I should mention I haven't seen any of Almodovar's early work except for part of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and it seems like that period's more self-consciously arty along Fassbinder's lines. Anyhow great movie.

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#10

Post by prodigalgodson » Yesterday, 2:18 am

411. Raise the Red Lantern

Watching something filmed entirely within the grounds of one household (aside from the first two shots) feels especially a propos to these times, but I'd enjoy this hermetic approach regardless, and I can see why the aesthetic's been compared to silent film. But as much as I've enjoyed more recent output like Shadow and A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shot, Zhang's style when he was making a name for himself strikes me as too bombastic for such delicate subject matter. While I enjoyed the compositions, the much-celebrated color palate, like the dialogue, acting, and heavily telegraphed plot machinations, is somehow both muted and overstated. It's hard not to imagine how affecting the story would be in the hands of a richer and subtler sensibility like Hou Hsiao-hsien's, who somehow served as an executive producer despite his work blatantly decrying the mainland Chinese government (not that it takes much imagining -- Hou's own period chamber piece deconstructing interpersonal politics and passions came out 7 years later and puts this to shame). It looks like I'm not alone in my opinion -- a cursory read through the Wikipedia page has one journalist-activist opining that "this kind of film is really shot for the casual pleasures of foreigners" -- and given the boost this gave to Chinese tourism and that Zhang was later handed the reigns of the Beijing Olympics, it seems like an apt criticism. Still, I did what I could to gauge this on its own artistic merits, and it's undoubtedly a solid, rigorously constructed film.

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#11

Post by prodigalgodson » Today, 12:35 am

360. Carrie

I was kind of procrastinating on this one, since it felt like a concept that would make a good short but would feel stretched thin in a feature, and because it's been so widely homaged and parodied I felt way too familiar with the content to watch it with fresh eyes. And I was right and wrong on both counts. There is a lot of filler, but a fair amount of it's enjoyable, especially anything involving the PE teacher. And even though I knew how the climactic prom scene was gonna wrap up, it's still very cathartic, and everything after that usually neglects to get mentioned, so I was able to enjoy the denouement without the shadow of preconception. Aside from that, I was impressed with the ambiguity of both Carrie's vengeance and its impacts, and the surrounding cast of characters many of whom are genuinely kind people to an even unlikely degree -- the story really is somewhat more complex than the stock "misfit takes revenge on town who's torturing her" plot I'd been led to expect. A movie like this is never gonna be a favorite of mine, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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