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: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  ( 2196311 )
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« #11175 : December 03, 2012, 03:15:24 AM »

Les Bronzés Font Du Ski 9/10

Still the best French comedy by far, much better than the first Bronzés. Although the whole "lost in the montain" thing drags a little, it's not that long.

It's always painful to watch early movies by/with the Troupe du Splendid:
- we have no one in France able to write such dialogs and scripts anymore
- all these actors COULD play really well at the time. They lost it. Every single one of them.



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« #11176 : December 03, 2012, 06:29:18 AM »

Killer of Sheep 10/10

(Hard to know what year to write!)


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« #11177 : December 03, 2012, 08:53:46 AM »

La Promesse (1996) 9/10


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« #11178 : December 03, 2012, 09:47:18 AM »

Killing Them Softly (2012) 8/10. The trials and tribulations of a hit-man, based on the George V. Higgins novel Coogan's Trade (1974) Higgins, a lawyer who was both a Massachusetts prosecutor and a defense attorney before becoming a writer, had a real understanding of mobsters and mob culture (Higgins' most famous novel is The Friends of Eddie Coyle). For some reason, Andrew Dominik transplanted the characters and milieu to Southern California--I guess so Brad Pitt wouldn't have to attempt a Boston accent. The LA presented is pretty weird--it always seems to be raining there, people spend a lot of time in parked cars and seedy bars, and desaturated colors abound. Well, a wasteland makes a good backdrop for a story about wasters.

The plot is simplicity itself: a couple of guys knock over a mob-run card game, and Pitt is brought in to find out who the guys are, run them down, and cancel their tickets. Learning their identities takes no time at all; the other part of the assignment is where things get tricky. First, there is the negotiating that has to be done with a mob intermediary played by Richard Jenkins (no relation). The Pitt-Jenkins exchanges are pretty funny: Jenkins is representing guys who can't quite decide how they want to go about things; also, they don't want to pay what the jobs are worth. Pitt, like any good negotiator, patiently guides the discussions where they have to go. Then there's another complication. It turns out Pitt knows one of the guys that has to get whacked. Jenkins can't see the problem, but Pitt explains: "You ever kill anyone? They get touchy-feely, emotional, a lot of fuss, they either plead or beg. They call for thier mothers. I like killing them softly." So, another hitman needs to be contracted: enter James Gandolfini.

When the hits finally come, each is done differently. The first is very straightforward, so Dominik stretches it out with a lot time distortion, slo-mo, CGI. The second is more elaborate, requiring a lot of set-up, so when the moment of truth arrives things are presented simply (and from the shooter's POV). The third hit is a big surprise--but only if you haven't been paying attention.

The film goes wrong when it tries to reach beyond its sub-culture and make a Big Statement about American society in general. The action is set in 2008, so there are plenty of campaign speeches to be heard on the TVs and radios the characters come across. And of course, campaign speeches are full of platitudes, the kind that stand in stark contrast to the actions we are seeing performed in the film. Had Dominik used this trick once he might have been forgiven; playing it incessantly throughout the movie really spoiled things for me. And then, at the end, Pitt makes the message even more explicit with a big speech (in essence: all the fine words count for nothing; American life is dog-eat-dog). Given the fact that the speech is self-serving, and, anyway, comes from a character who has chosen to live life as an outlaw, the speech could be dismissed as mere self-justification. But Dominik has positioned the harangue in such a way as to make it obvious that this is the Author's Message. The message is stupid enough (Gee, Dominik, if America is so bad, what are you doing here, you Kiwi sellout?); the real offense is that the director can be so artless in its expression.

When Dominik isn't posturing, merely reporting what his characters are up to, he produces great scenes, especially great scenes of dialogue. No doubt, this is where Higgins' original words are allowed to shine through. More Higgins and less Dominik is what was needed here. I wonder if Dominik is capable of learning how to better serve his sources.



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« #11179 : December 04, 2012, 06:11:40 AM »

Tess (1979). Polanski adapts a famous Thomas Hardy novel. I saw this film on its original U.S. run, which means early 1981. I don't recall much about the screening, but obviously I didn't like the film much as I waited more than 30 years to watch it again. But with the new DCP restoration touring, I decided to give it another try. And, hey, turns out this is a great movie! Great performances from all concerned, and some amazing photography (the last film shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, who died on-set). I guess my initial antipathy was due to the underlying novel--not one of Hardy's best, too much sub-Zola determinism for my taste. Thirty years later I care less about such things and can better enjoy the artistry involved in a first-rate adaptation. And Ms. Kinski in her prime is not to be sneezed at.



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« #11180 : December 04, 2012, 12:01:40 PM »

Tess (1979). Polanski adapts a famous Thomas Hardy novel. I saw this film on its original U.S. run, which means early 1981. I don't recall much about the screening, but obviously I didn't like the film much as I waited more than 30 years to watch it again. But with the new DCP restoration touring, I decided to give it another try. And, hey, turns out this is a great movie! Great performances from all concerned, and some amazing photography (the last film shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, who died on-set). I guess my initial antipathy was due to the underlying novel--not one of Hardy's best, too much sub-Zola determinism for my taste. Thirty years later I care less about such things and can better enjoy the artistry involved in a first-rate adaptation. And Ms. Kinski in her prime is not to be sneezed at.
It's a great film. Somewhat overlooked, I think.


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« #11181 : December 04, 2012, 01:48:42 PM »

I look forward very much to the U.S. blu-ray, which, as a Janus property, will certainly receive a Criterion release. I just hope I don't have to wait a year for it.



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This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


« #11182 : December 04, 2012, 09:45:45 PM »

2016: Obama's America - Dare I rate it?



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« #11183 : December 04, 2012, 10:12:55 PM »

2016: Obama's America - Dare I rate it?

Commie!


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« #11184 : December 04, 2012, 10:13:14 PM »

Leftist!


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« #11185 : December 04, 2012, 10:13:35 PM »

 unpatriotic!


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« #11186 : December 04, 2012, 10:13:55 PM »

un-American!


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« #11187 : December 04, 2012, 10:15:19 PM »

If you love that shit so much, why the fuck don't you just go move to Cuba or North Korea already?


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« #11188 : December 05, 2012, 04:20:34 AM »

The Crooked Way (1949) http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11150.msg154484#msg154484 Beautiful cinematography great noir 9/10


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« #11189 : December 05, 2012, 04:24:37 AM »

Night and the City (1950) 8/10

Fun London-based noir with Richard Widmark


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