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dave jenkins
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« Reply #12780 on: December 08, 2013, 01:06:23 PM »

The Sicillian Clan (1969) 6/10. This starts out great--hey, Delon and Gabin together again for the first time!--with Gabin and his clan helping Delon break jail so he can help them with a heist that only Delon himself can bring off (I'm guessing a bit here--I watched a French dub of this with no English subtitles). Lino Ventura (as Lino Ventura) plays himself and a police inspector, initially trying to chase Delon down, but as the caper unfolds he ends up chasing the whole gang. In the event, the heist isn't all that, and as the film winds down things get really dumb. There was, however, one thing that director Henri Verneuil did that I really liked (at least, upon reflection). At one point, in the planning stages, Gabin and Delon go to a toy store. They come back with a toy plane that Gabin's grandson plays with while the gangsters talk. We see a really extended shot of the toy plane in motion (it's on a spoke that circles) and the shot goes so long I was going WTF? Later I realized it was a bit of foreshadowing (the caper involves the hijacking of an airliner). But was it only that? Not having the kind of budget/special effects resources of a Hollywood production, Verneuil spends most of the airliner sequence inside the plane. Exteriors are avoided. We don't see the take-off, or the plane in flight, only the landing (which is done with some cheesy process work). Maybe the extended bit with the toy plane not only foreshadowed the flight of the airliner, but also stood in for the exterior shots of the airliner that were not shot? You know, rather than have some cheap looking shots of a model later (as J-P Melville would have done it), we got the obvious toy up front in a context where it better fits? As if to say, That's the way to do it, Jean-Pierre! OK, I'm probably overthinking this one, but the idea gave me some pleasure after the film's rather disappointing conclusion.
Blu-ray.com reports that the new French BD disc has both the French and English audio tracks; the French track has a number of subtitle options (including English); all the supplements have a number of subtitle options (including English); the disc is region free; the image quality is very good.
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Le-Clan-des-Siciliens-Blu-ray/68392/#Review

I might have to give this film another chance . . . .

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« Reply #12781 on: December 08, 2013, 09:24:07 PM »

Caravans - 5/10 - Loose adaptation of a James Michener novel, which essentially relocates The Searchers into 1940s Afghanistan. More capably handled it could have interesting things to say about the Muslim world's struggle between modernization and fundamentalism, but James Fargo (Every Which Way But Loose) seems content to make a handsomely shot potboiler. This movie's level of wit and creativity can be gauged by having Anthony Quinn play a grizzled desert tribesman. At least it's pretty to watch.

Melvin Purvis: G-Man - 5/10 - Made for TV sequel to John Milius's Dillinger, with Dale Robertson as the titular FBI agent hunting Harris Yulin's Machine Gun Kelly. Some decent action scenes and plotting but inevitably suffers from being a '70s TV movie.

Carlos - 8/10 - Five hour-plus French miniseries about Carlos the Jackal. Not as good as The Baader-Meinhoff Complex, but I definitely admire this one's blend of scope and authenticity. It has the same dispassionate, docudrama feel as Complex, allowing Carlos's violent, reckless actions to speak for themselves. He goes from misguided idealist to mercenary with a few quick steps, haggling with Arab governments, Palestinian terror groups and Communist bloc countries until there's nowhere to turn. Edgar Ramirez gives an amazing performance; he lets you grasp Carlos' charisma and appeal, even if he's essentially a world-class punk. The show does drag in spots, probably inevitable when you cover history in such detail, which is why it gets an 8 instead of a 9.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 09:26:40 PM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #12782 on: December 08, 2013, 10:56:57 PM »

Agreed. It's probably the moralist in me, but I also like that Casino is nastier and less "look how cool it is to be a gangster" in its approach.

On the other hand, The Goodfellas is really about how a gangster thinks, that's why the first part shows you being a gangster as being a dream life, even if there are some hints here and there showing that we're only seeing the shinny surface. Then, there is a big contrasts between what the narrator says as an adult and what you actually see. I don't watch the second half of Goodfellas wanting to be a gangster (but I know some do). But I'm still with you since I can SEE Scorsese's fascination for gangsters in this movie.

No, capitalism doesn't include fraud/theft. Of course, lots of people in the world aren't honest, so no matter what economic system there is, there will always be fraud/theft. But capitalism doesn't mean doing whatever you want even if it's cheating someone else.


Call me a nitpicker, but I can't let these casual comments equating capitalism with fraud go by  Wink

I come from a familly of entrepreneurs and I've graduated from a management school so don't worry I am far from being an anti capitalist Smiley Capitalism isn't fraud. It's more of a metaphore. Here are a couple points that back up the fact that Casino is (also) about capitalism:

- Las Vegas giving up the real players for the mass markets is exactly what most companies have done at the same time
- DeNiro's hubris is exactly what happens to many CEOs nowadays and the reaction of the locals ("you're only a guest here") makes me think about how people in developping countries as well as employees from developed countries factories sometimes react to occidental CEOs, globalisation and modern management.
- I see DeNiro as the kind of entrepreneur that was there during the transition at the begining of globalisation: he's old school (he checks every little details by himself, he knows what happens in a casino, he knows the tricks, he knows his employees...) but he's paving the way for the future (he changes the scale of the business, he adopts procedures, he breaks rules and statu quo, he uses the media...)
- Scorsese says so Smiley


what do you think of the music in The Departed?

I listen to it at least every 2 weeks Smiley I bought the soundtrack as soon as possible and it's a playlist on my Spotify. It's one of my go to albums when I'm editing fiction. It makes me more modern and audacious.

There is Marty's usual Stones/Beach Boy stuff blended with more radical choices (the amazing irish hardrock I'm Shipping Up To Boston), but also some cool original composition from Howard Shore, who did his greatest work as a film composer here. To clarify: the tracks he created for the Departed aren't huge musical masterpieces when listened separately (The Departed Tango is quite cool but also very simple and cliché) but they do more than the job in the movie: they tie the movie together and really bring some parts to life. The best example is the DiCaprio montage when he's with the shrink explaining how it is to work with a psychopath. It's the most moving sequence ever shot by Scorsese.

Why do you ask? What did you think of it?

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« Reply #12783 on: December 08, 2013, 11:00:46 PM »

Carlos - 8/10 - Five hour-plus French miniseries about Carlos the Jackal. Not as good as The Baader-Meinhoff Complex, but I definitely admire this one's blend of scope and authenticity. It has the same dispassionate, docudrama feel as Complex, allowing Carlos's violent, reckless actions to speak for themselves. He goes from misguided idealist to mercenary with a few quick steps, haggling with Arab governments, Palestinian terror groups and Communist bloc countries until there's nowhere to turn. Edgar Ramirez gives an amazing performance; he lets you grasp Carlos' charisma and appeal, even if he's essentially a world-class punk. The show does drag in spots, probably inevitable when you cover history in such detail, which is why it gets an 8 instead of a 9.

I have only seen the begining, but I get the feeling that a big part of the scope come from nice editing/directing tricks, but the use of music does a lot.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 11:10:32 PM by noodles_leone » Logged


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« Reply #12784 on: December 09, 2013, 01:55:36 AM »



I listen to it at least every 2 weeks Smiley I bought the soundtrack as soon as possible and it's a playlist on my Spotify. It's one of my go to albums when I'm editing fiction. It makes me more modern and audacious.

There is Marty's usual Stones/Beach Boy stuff blended with more radical choices (the amazing irish hardrock I'm Shipping Up To Boston), but also some cool original composition from Howard Shore, who did his greatest work as a film composer here. To clarify: the tracks he created for the Departed aren't huge musical masterpieces when listened separately (The Departed Tango is quite cool but also very simple and cliché) but they do more than the job in the movie: they tie the movie together and really bring some parts to life. The best example is the DiCaprio montage when he's with the shrink explaining how it is to work with a psychopath. It's the most moving sequence ever shot by Scorsese.

Why do you ask? What did you think of it?

I just asked cuz the music is different than what I would have expected from a Scorsese gangster movie  - specifically the I'm Shipping Up to Boston  Grin I don't have strong memories of the score other than that song (I saw the film once a couple of years ago and then once a few months ago, and I never bought the soundtrack, so the score wouldn't be burned into my memory like yours.)  Do you just like the song I'm Shipping Up to Boston, or do you like it as the score there? For me, it was kinda jarring, I felt it was weird at that moment, almost like Scorsese was trying to go with some hit music for the sake of going with hit music; maybe that's just cuz it's something I wouldn't expect at that moment. That song sounds like something that would be in some special-effects action movie

 
RE: capitalism: I'm not saying that filmmakers of movies like Casino aren't made with the intent to show this as some sort of capitalism. (Leone himself may have been trying to say that bounty hunting, railroad robber barons, gangsters, was part of American capitalism.) I was just saying, I hope YOU weren't saying that this movie actually does show capitalism. (After all you are French, aren't you?  Tongue )


On the subject of Scorsese: what about The Aviator?
I know you don't like the colors on the poster  Wink and yes, there are a couple of scenes where it was necessary to use CGI (but IMO this movie uses it well)... The Aviator is my second-favorite movie of the millennium, after Mystic River.

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« Reply #12785 on: December 09, 2013, 02:18:00 AM »

Death of a Scoundrel (1956) Director: Charles Martin. George Sanders, Yvonne de Carlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Victor Jory. A story of a Czechoslovakian born foreigner who comes to the U.S. ingratiating himself with an assortment of women whom he cons into helping him get ahead. Entertaining film to while away a few hours 7/10.

I agree, this is a 7/10

I hate how they did the ending. The whole movie (at least after the first few minutes) was pretty lighthearted, and then they go for schmaltz at the end  Roll Eyes But Sanders is very entertaining... Yvonne de Carlo has some ass on her. Even though she's always wearing those big loose skirts of the 1950's, she can't hide it. That means it REALLY much have been some ass.  Kiss

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« Reply #12786 on: December 09, 2013, 02:35:32 AM »

King of the Underworld (1939) 5/10


In every discussion of Bogie, the experts always say "High Sierra made him a leading man; he had second-billing to Ida Lupino in that movie, and that was the last time he ever was not first-billed," etc. And that's all true. But he definitely was first-billed in some earlier movies as well, including this one.


btw, what's with all these gangsters and Napoleon complexes? I've seen three 30's gangster movies in the past week (King of the Underworld, The Last Gangster, The Doorway to Hell) in which the lead gangster is always comparing himself to Napoleon.

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« Reply #12787 on: December 09, 2013, 03:21:34 AM »

High Sierra made him a star, The Maltese Falcon a super-star, Casablanca a cult-star.

For the first 2 films other stars were the first choice, for the 3rd the late change of the directors made probably the difference. Would Bogey have become a star nevertheless or ...

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« Reply #12788 on: December 09, 2013, 03:23:07 AM »

I just asked cuz the music is different than what I would have expected from a Scorsese gangster movie  - specifically the I'm Shipping Up to Boston  Grin I don't have strong memories of the score other than that song (I saw the film once a couple of years ago and then once a few months ago, and I never bought the soundtrack, so the score wouldn't be burned into my memory like yours.)  Do you just like the song I'm Shipping Up to Boston, or do you like it as the score there? For me, it was kinda jarring, I felt it was weird at that moment, almost like Scorsese was trying to go with some hit music for the sake of going with hit music; maybe that's just cuz it's something I wouldn't expect at that moment. That song sounds like something that would be in some special-effects action movie


I like that song, but yes it's a radical choice so it's not for everybody. I think it goes well with Billy's rage, the violence/crazyness of the world that is depicted and the "lost control" feeling that is developped through the movie.
Scorsese sometimes tries hardcore choices when it comes to music. Remember the music used during the opening battle of Gangs Of New York?

RE: capitalism: I'm not saying that filmmakers of movies like Casino aren't made with the intent to show this as some sort of capitalism. (Leone himself may have been trying to say that bounty hunting, railroad robber barons, gangsters, was part of American capitalism.) I was just saying, I hope YOU weren't saying that this movie actually does show capitalism. (After all you are French, aren't you?  Tongue )

Haha Smiley
It still shows capitalism for the reason I listed, and I like that. But (and don't tell Dust Devil) like you I'm not a fan of the mafia/capitalism analogy many artists try to show. They usually don't have a clue about what they're talking, they don't even know what a trader, a banker or even a CEO does and they have no idea about what capitalism is or its effects on the development (I'm talking about people being able to read, having a chance to do a job they love and also children who are not dying anymore). Still, I'm far away from being half the crazy conservative you are and would probably be considered as a communist here in the USA Tongue

On the subject of Scorsese: what about The Aviator?
I know you don't like the colors on the poster  Wink and yes, there are a couple of scenes where it was necessary to use CGI (but IMO this movie uses it well)... The Aviator is my second-favorite movie of the millennium, after Mystic River.

To me it's a movie that could have reached the top Scorsese league but it didn't. Leo's passion is well shown, the crazyness isn't, so I only like about half the movie. May be it's just me: the only two films about people going crazy I like are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Bugs. Usually, I just don't find the theme very exciting. Also, the movie is kind of a hit and miss, technically speaking.
The opening scene is terrible (looks cheap, feels like a Xena episode) and includes an awful use of fading (that you can find here and there in the rest of the movie as well as in "Desperado 2: Once Upon A Time In Mexico", but at least Rodrigues was going for the kitsch look). Then the first non flash-back scene, at the airport, is good but never achieve the absolute perfection that is so exciting in Casino or Goodfellas: I'm not screaming "MARTY'S A GENIUS!!!!" when watching this, which isn't a good sign. You know this feeling when you're watching a movie and think "Ok I get what you're trying to do here, you're trying hard, but it doesn't quite work" (the arrival on Neverland in Hook is the best example I have in mind).
The Aviator still includes some top notch Marty scenes, especially the ones that use radio as a voice-over. It also has one of the best ending lines ever, only topped by Chinatown's "forget it Jack" and Tuco's final words:

"The way of the future."

Anyway, I'm surprised the general feeling toward this movie is so negative, and it's cool that people like you love it. I love the topic and the fact they focused on his 20 most productive years instead of his whole life or its ending.


Last but not least, man, how the HELL do you spend your nights? You always answer my posts when it's like 10 in the morning in Paris. What time is it in NYC? Like 4 o'clock?

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« Reply #12789 on: December 09, 2013, 03:46:54 AM »

Almost 6AM  Afro  I get up at 5

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« Reply #12790 on: December 09, 2013, 05:12:14 AM »

Almost 6AM  Afro  I get up at 5

New Yorkers are the real deal.

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« Reply #12791 on: December 09, 2013, 04:29:46 PM »

I've always been a night owl... and yet, somehow I don't think Taxi Driver is a classic   Wink

I wouldn't say The Aviator is about Hughes going crazy. It's about his achievements in aviation (and a little about his movies), and it shows the beginning of his descent to madness. The last 20 years of his life were spent locked in his room, a complete recluse and nut. This film shows his great years, and the seeds of his later madness. The last thing I would call this film is a a movie about someone going mad, nothing remotely like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The Aviator has a very solid 7.5/10 rating on IMDB, but it's definitely a well-liked movie, but I would put it on the classic list, up there with anything Marty has ever done (which means, up there with anything ANYONE has ever done). If I actually sat down and made a list of my 50 favorite movies (and I really only watch "serious movies," like dramas/thrillers/Westerns, no comedy/horror/sci-fi/fantasy), The Aviator would be on that list. I absolutely loved it. I did find it annoying how they made the grass of the golf course look blue like how it appeared on color film in those days; I thought that was over the top....

And btw, I ain't no doctor, but I can't believe how everyone says that what Hughes had was some undiagnosed case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yeah, there are plenty of people that wash their hands a million times a day and are germ-freaks, but what Hughes had went so way above and beyond anything like that; I mean, it was that plus a helluva lot more. I don't know, maybe some doctor will say that this is just an incredibly extreme case of OCD, but does that make him a hermit later in life? Does an "untreated" case of extreme OCD make him go nuts? I have to believe there was something seriously wrong with him in addition to the extreme OCD

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« Reply #12792 on: December 09, 2013, 08:31:47 PM »

Please Murder Me (1958) A lawyer (Raymond Burr) wins an acquittal for his client (Angela Lansbury), a woman accused of murder. After the verdict, he finds out that she indeed did commit the murder and manipulated him to win her acquittal. Uneven with some nice visual noir-ish sequences and some not so with John Dehner. 7/10

The Suspect (1944) Dir Robert Siodmak with Charles Laughton, Ella Raines, unhappily married Philip Marshall (Laughton) meets young Mary Gray (Raines), who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip's wife who threatens him and her with exposure and scandal, driving him to kill her. 8/10

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« Reply #12793 on: December 10, 2013, 02:46:21 AM »

(and I really only watch "serious movies," like dramas/thrillers/Westerns, no comedy/horror/sci-fi/fantasy)

well well well ...

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« Reply #12794 on: December 10, 2013, 03:40:35 PM »

Alexandre le bienheureux (1968) 7/10. A farmer (Philippe Noiret) is kept on a tight leash by his controlling wife. A dog he acquires becomes a point of contention between them. One day the wife dies, and man and dog are ecstatic. Days of indolence follow. Then on the day of the wife's funeral, cute Marlène Jobert arrives in town. She seems just the right match for Alexandre . . . or will she morph into Battle-axe #2? Most of the humor here is visual--Le chien (Kaly) is a very talented performer who does many amusing tricks, and Noiret, of course, really knows how to deadpan--but beyond this the film is a masterpiece of comic editing. The French countryside, beautifully photographed in bright, pastel colors, is a highlight of the BD transfer.  
A re-watch has me leaning more toward an "8" now. The humor mostly works and never overstays its welcome. The editor is a genius.

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