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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1770638 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #10755 on: July 29, 2012, 02:56:46 PM »

Also, I was thinking that perhaps showing Mathieu as somehow conflicted was the worst sort of trickery by Pontecorvo, for the following reason: perhaps you can say that if the movie had portrayed the FLN as unambiguously good and the French as unambiguously evil, then nobody would accept a word the movie says, it would all be dismissed as propaganda. However, by purporting to portray the French leaders' inner conflicts, it allows the viewer to say, "this movie is trying just to portray the facts, as they are." So when they subtly make us believe that Mathieu is the epitome of all evil (as the author came to believe after several viewings), we accept that, because we believe the movie was attempting an honest portrayal. And ditto for the FLN's actions: by portraying the atrocities that it commits, we can tell ourselves that the movie is trying to be honest, and therefore accept the movie's ultimate view of things. So, perhaps I am just playing devil's advocate, but I think you can make an argument that the movie's purported "honest" portrayal is actually its biggest treachery and its way of suckering you in to what is ultimately a very opinionated position?

There's definitely something to this drink. I went through a few of the DVD commentaries the other day and it seemed most parties involved were concerned with a balanced portrayal of the conflict. Of course, Pontecorvo and Solinas being Marxists, they likely have a different definition of "balance" than your lay viewer.

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« Reply #10756 on: July 30, 2012, 09:48:56 AM »

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Unbearably awful. Anyone seen it?
Well, it may be unbearable. But awful? No, it's extremely well crafted and artfully effective.

Tilda Swinton plays a mother who bears and raises a son who goes on to be a kind of Columbine killer. The chronology of events are shuffled so that we see a number of episodes leading up to the horrible event as well as the mother's life afterwards, but not the event itself until late in the picture. The final scene is Swinton asking the boy in custody for an explanation and not getting one. But then, it's pretty obvious from the get-go that the kid is just evil. There isn't much to chew over on that account; more interesting, perhaps, is the mother (and it's really her story). After the massacre she chooses to stay in the community and takes whatever the locals dish out to her. Is she doing penance of some sort? The photography is impressive and the frames are invariably well composed. There is an interesting score by Jonny Greenwood. John C. Reilly plays the clueless dad who never gets the fact that his son is the demon seed. Three different actors play the hellspawn at different stages of its life.The film is difficult to sit through, but definitely re-watchable. 8/10.

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« Reply #10757 on: July 30, 2012, 09:54:35 AM »

Galileo (1975) - 8/10 - Brecht's play is much more challenging, intellectually and artistically, than its spiritual successors (A Man for All Seasons . . . ) . . . .
This seems an odd thing to say. The two plays have very little to do with each other. Galileo’s problem is rather common and not all that interesting: can a truth-teller hold to his convictions while living under a tyranny (here the Catholic Church standing in for any totalitarian regime) when that tyranny is bent on eradicating such convictions? In fact he can’t, he must either recant or die. So he does either one or the other, or both, but remains unrepentant privately.  Galileo’s is the face worn by ten thousand dissenters.

A Man For All Seasons, however, presents not only a truth-teller but a man-of-conscience (a very different thing) who suffers a much more exquisite dilemna: how to be loyal to both King and Church when those two are in opposition to each other, especially when that man-of-conscience is a lawyer and believes that the two institutions lay legal/moral/spiritual claims of equal weight upon him. It's not merely a question of staying alive. It's a matter of reconciling two irreconcilable obligations, both sanctioned From Above. We intuit that the conflict must bring the hero to his tragedy, but the precise how provides the drama. More climbs up on his tightrope and walks it as long as he can before it is cut from beneath him. The impossibility of his position confers on him, if not nobility, than at least a kind of uniqueness. We applaud his courage. When the catastrophe comes we feel singed by it.

Galileo is presented as a victim of his culture. More is shown transcending his. Galileo is craven, More heroic. Galileo is made the poster boy for modern man, oppressed but defiant. He is vindicated by history (i.e. the audience), but is incapable of tragic stature. More, on the other hand, requires neither vindication nor history (he is for All Seasons). Galileo’s character is easily limned. More imparts catharsis but remains elusive. We can only apprehend him, as we do Oedipus, as we do Lear.

NB: I refer above, of course,exclusively to the characters in the plays, not to the historic personages.

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« Reply #10758 on: July 30, 2012, 10:13:15 AM »

Bolt was open about Brecht's influence on Man, particularly Galileo. There's even a deliberate misquote (the line about "a land that needs no heroes") in Bolt's play.

Of course there are substantial differences between the two plays. Bolt's drama is more individualized, focusing on More's personal dilemma. The actual effects of the English Reformation are kept offstage and scarcely discussed. Brecht is more concerned with the broader implications of Galileo's work than his unremarkable character.

Of course, that's very much Brecht's point. We can sympathize with Galileo but don't especially admire him, by design. It's a deliberately anti-heroic Marxist drama, placing ideas ahead of individuals. On the other hand, Man is a triumphalist piece with a very clear protagonist. Bolt's play is dramatically superior but its central conflict is easier to digest.

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« Reply #10759 on: July 30, 2012, 11:08:45 AM »

Bolt's drama is more individualized, focusing on More's personal dilemma.
Exactly. But I said it better.

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« Reply #10760 on: July 30, 2012, 11:30:11 AM »

Perhaps, but you seem to value one approach over the other, whereas I do not.

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« Reply #10761 on: July 30, 2012, 09:55:22 PM »

The Dark Knight Rises - 6-7/10 - Memo to Christopher Nolan: learn how to fucking end a movie. Things start out fine, with a cool opening, Batman showing half-believable character development and Anne Hathaway as a surprisingly alluring Catwoman. Everything's in place for a good flick, with the right balance of fun and intensity. Then Bane shows up, takes over Gotham, throws Batman in a hole, and things take a nosedive. The second half is packed with hamfisted political content, with Bane imposing a Jacobin regime complete with show trials and roving murder squads. Then comes a twist so asinine I shouted "Oh come on!" Add near-useless characters like *spoiler* Batman's untrustworthy gal pal and the Man Who Would Be Robin to pad things. Never mind either giant plot holes like the entire police force being left alive underground with firearms (!!!). Throw in Nolan brand skull-crushing exposition (monologues *over* flashbacks!?! genius!) in case viewers aren't sufficiently insulted. Nolan came this close to making a good Batman flick. You get an A for effort but a D for execution.

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« Reply #10762 on: August 01, 2012, 08:26:29 AM »

Just saw La Dolce Vita for the first time. Good times. But the bad thing about subtitles is that, especially in a movie that is very talky at times, you're looking at the subtitles and not the image.

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« Reply #10763 on: August 02, 2012, 01:42:56 AM »

 The Deer Hunter (1978) 10/10

My first viewing of this movie, and I was absolutely blown away!!!

SPOILER ALERT



How many movie deaths can you think of that are more poignant than Walken's? How many movie scenes can you think of that are more poignant than his funeral? How many movie scenes involving weddings/community dances are more beautiful than the one in this movie? How many such scenes are that long yet keep you interested every second? How many movies have such an amazing sense of location?

Not many.


This is quite simply a masterpiece.


As for the controversy over the portrayal of the Viet Cong, specifically with the Russian Roulette. I have no idea whether the Viet Cong actually forced people to play Russian Roulette. However, as far as the people who whined about the portrayal of the North Vietnamese as all bad and the Americans all noble: what I DO know is that the Viet Cong were brutal, and that their treatment of POW's certainly did not reflect any concern for what we view consider to be acceptable treatment of POW's, (to put it mildly).  So the fact that the Commies were portrayed as being brutal, well yeah, that's a portrayal that's well deserved. Even if the Russian Roulette games didn't really happen, the point is that it is not inaccurate to portray them as vicious, brutal people. It doesn't mean that America was all 100% noble; the film can actually be seen as a strong indictment of the brutalities of war. And the fact that it was such lovely people as Julie Christie and Hanoi Jane Fonda that whined about the movie (and Fonda said she never even saw the movie!) tells you all you need to know. Yeah Hanoi Jane, the movie should have depicted the Viet Cong's POW camps as lavish resorts, right?  Roll Eyes And that useless human being Pauline Kael, comparing this supposedly unfair portrayal of the North Vietnamese to what she apparently believes to be the equally unfair portrayal of the Japanese in WWII movies: you know what, Pauline, the Japanese WERE brutal in WWII. Their POW camps were indeed horrific. Yeah, the Japanese in WWII should indeed be portrayed as evil, just as the Commies in Vietnam should.
It's a pretty good rule of thumb: you've probably done something right when people like Pauline Kael, Julie Christie, and Jane Fonda oppose it  Wink




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« Reply #10764 on: August 02, 2012, 04:14:59 AM »

How about the Vietcong speaking Thai instead of Vietnamese?

Horrible, horrible movie.

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« Reply #10765 on: August 02, 2012, 05:36:43 AM »

How about the Vietcong speaking Thai instead of Vietnamese?

Horrible, horrible movie.

I don't know anything about South Asian languages, so I couldn't pick that up.


Can you elaborate on why you disliked the movie? Ie. it because of your disagreement with the Vietnamese portrayals and the Russian Roulette, and/or from an artistic perspective you didn't even like the scenes in America? or something else? Because if you think there was a major distortion of history -- and you generally know about that stuff far more than I do -- that's one thing; but otherwise I don't see how you can say this was a horrible movie.


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« Reply #10766 on: August 02, 2012, 12:21:51 PM »

Masterpiece for me.

The only flaw is that Cimino did not cut from the deer hunting directly to the camera movement down the river which ends in the POW camp. Instead to that superfluous scene where they got caught.

But I have no problem to call it a racist film in parts. It is one.

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« Reply #10767 on: August 02, 2012, 12:24:37 PM »

I'll save time and say I hated everything about it.

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« Reply #10768 on: August 03, 2012, 11:36:33 AM »

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) 9/10 (second viewing)

-- The only thing I didn't like were the silly and useless bits of narration that suddenly pop up out of nowhere in the last few minutes.
-- I am surprised that Ford did not actually shoot the officers' dance at the end.
-- The stuff that would usually annoy me, like the love story and drunken fight, did not bother me at all here.  
-- Wayne is great as always, McLaglen is hilarious, and Ben Johnson and the rest of the supporting cast are good too.
-- I still think this one is a notch below Fort Apache.

What a joy to watch!  Afro Afro

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« Reply #10769 on: August 03, 2012, 03:53:15 PM »

Stagecoach (1939) 10/10 (second viewing)

What can you say other than, this is a classic. The first great Western (at least that I've seen). And an amazing score.

A few criticisms: Andy Devine is horribly annoying (and it would only get worse in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance). The Donald Meek character does nothing for the movie. And so many of the shots of the stagecoach during the battle are rear-projections, and the speed on the projection isn't nearly fast enough for the speeds that the coach is moving.
Also, with the bank president who steals the payroll: as it is in the movie, we see him stealing it, and the sheriff is suspicious of why he is leaving town, etc. Wouldn't it have been better if the viewer didn't know this all along -- ie. if we just see him getting on the stage, the sheriff wondering once why he is in such a hurry to leave town (to give us the necessary hint), but then no further mention of it until they get to the town at the end, where suddenly he is arrested and we see the money in his bag! That would explain everything, why he's in such a rush all along; and it would have been better than how it is in the movie, where we know everything all along. Finally, when the guy walks into the bar after Wayne kills him, he had no bullet wound. I slowed down the movie and watched it several times; there's no wound on back or front. Wayne was facing him and would have shot him in front, so it's inexcusable that we see him face the camera for what's probably a solid ten seconds and do not see any bullet wound on him.
Anyway, that's all; this is just a wonderful movie!

Everyone talks about Yakima Canutt's famous stunt, jumping from a moving horse onto the fleeing stagecoach horses. But what I don't understand is how, after completing that stunt, Canutt fell to the ground between the horses, and had the horses and stage pass over him, and not expect to be trampled by them? btw, Canutt also doubled for Wayne in the stunt where Wayne's character jumps from the stage onto the horses, and then to the front pair.

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