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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1765750 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #13155 on: February 18, 2014, 05:47:34 AM »

One more thing about THE MONUMENTS MEN: There's always. The implied question of risking human lives for art. A smart movie wouldn't address the issue head-on, but leave it for the viewer to decide.
As in, ohhhh, I dunno . . . The Train? Azn

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« Reply #13156 on: February 18, 2014, 11:22:49 AM »

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (5th viewing?) 10/10 .... One of my top 20 movies of all-time.... I just wish there was more Brando and less Leigh. Stanley Kowalski just may be the greatest movie character ever.

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« Reply #13157 on: February 18, 2014, 12:16:28 PM »

Stanley Kowalski just may be the greatest movie character ever.

Apart from Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, of course.

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« Reply #13158 on: February 18, 2014, 12:58:26 PM »

As in, ohhhh, I dunno . . . The Train? Azn

 I've only seen the last hour or so of The Train, so I can't really comment on it. I don't recall any preaching in The Train (though there was a nice shot at the end where the camera cuts back and forth between the dead bodies and the artworks).

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« Reply #13159 on: February 18, 2014, 01:14:53 PM »

I've only seen the last hour or so of The Train, so I can't really comment on it. I don't recall any preaching in The Train (though there was a nice shot at the end where the camera cuts back and forth between the dead bodies and the artworks).
Yeah. My point was that The Train does what Monuments Men fails to do, the problem you identified. And you'd understand that if you'd seen the earlier film, which has been out now for 50 years. See some movies, will ya?

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« Reply #13160 on: February 18, 2014, 01:20:57 PM »

Btw, here's Groggy's excellent review of the earlier film:
Quote
During the last days of Germany's occupation of France, German Colonel Von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) arranges for a collection of priceless art from a French museum to be shipped via train to Germany. The museum curator (Suzanne Flon) enlists a cell of French Resistance fighters, led by railroad inspector Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster), to rescue the paintings "for the glory of France." Labiche refuses to waste lives saving paintings, but a complicated series of events results in Labiche commandeering the train anyway. However, Von Waldheim is obsessive about his cargo, and Labiche and his colleagues must go to extreme lengths to stop him.

The Train is a truly brilliant movie. As a rousing action film, it is among the best of its kind. It also works as a thoughtful mediation on the cost and meaning of warfare. Skillful direction by John Frankenheimer and two extremely talented leads cause both ends of the film to come off extremely well.

The movie is brutally honest in its examination of war. Labiche says early on that paintings aren't worth risking lives, and a comparison between the value of human life and the value - artistic and monetary - of the art is repeatedly raised. Dozens of lives - French and German - are lost during the mission, callously thrown away to preserve the paintings. Labiche doesn't understand why so many people must die for the sake of art - but that, in and of itself, is largely the film's message. At one point, Boule (Michel Simon), the cranky old engineer assigned to drive the train, justifies the mission by tying it to "the glory of France". It doesn't seem overly convincing to the audience, but then, is saving paintings representing France's national heritage any less of an abstract idea than patriotism itself? If nothing else, the paintings serve as a physical manifestation of national pride, and they are a viable object to fight for - something that can be touched. The brilliant climax, however, provides a stark and brutal answer to Labiche's dilemma; afterward, there can be no question what he values most.

First and foremost, however, the movie is an action film. On a technical level, it is brilliant. The film has an atmosphere of gritty realism which has rarely been surpassed by films of this type. The Train is filmed in crisp black-and-white, which adds immeasurably to the movie's stark, gritty feel. Labiche's heroics remain completely within the realm of the possible, and he wins more or less by luck. There are many impressively-staged sets, with steady dolly shots and pans around crowded rooms and station platforms. The movie's set-pieces are brilliantly staged, including the air raid on the train station, the massive train crash using three real locomotives, and the final confrontation between Labiche and Waldheim. Few war films are as realistic and believable as this, while remaining entertaining and exciting. Maurice Jarre contributes a subtle, effective score to the proceedings.

Burt Lancaster gives a truly exceptional performance as Labiche. An actor capable of over-acting on occasions, Lancaster restrains himself and gives a serious, thoughtful turn as the French Resistance fighter who is forced into a mission he doesn't believe in, who values the lives of his colleagues over abstract ideals and suicide missions. He performs his own stunts, and his physicality serves the role very well. Labiche is tough but not indestructible; but in the end, he is a man who will simply not be stopped, regardless of his personal feelings or the obstacles in his path.

Just as impressive is Lancaster's counterpart, the late, great Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons). His character is obsessed, but not insane. As a man who appreciates the art, he feels it his duty to save the paintings, and will go to any length at all to save them. Scofield gives a fiery, intense performance, making Waldheim a sympathetic and well-rounded character. His final speech to Labiche, as they face-off beside the wrecked train, is poignant and moving in its own twisted way, spelling out the themes of the movie in a most eloquent manner.

Supporting the two leads are a roll call of top-notch French and German talent: Jeanne Moreau as a French war widow who briefly romances Labiche; Suzanne Flon as the idealistic, determined curator; Albert Remy, Charles Millot, Michel Simon, and Jacques Marin as Labiche's colleagues; Wolfgang Priess, Richard Munch and Jean Bouchard as Von Waldheim's colleagues and henchmen.

The Train is simply one of the best, most realistic and entertaining war films of all time. It is to the immense credit of Frankenheimer and his skilled cast and crew that they were able to pull off both realism and entertainment without sacrificing one or the other. 9/10

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« Reply #13161 on: February 18, 2014, 04:34:26 PM »

As in, ohhhh, I dunno . . . The Train? Azn

Exactly what's put me off seeing Monuments Men. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it treats earnestly a topic Frankenheimer's film approached rather cynically.

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« Reply #13162 on: February 18, 2014, 05:16:58 PM »

Exactly what's put me off seeing Monuments Men. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it treats earnestly a topic Frankenheimer's film approached rather cynically.

Yeah, Clooney gives these speeches about how generations of people come and go but art/culture lasts forever, how when you wreck art/culture, you've truly destroyed a people, blah blah blah. Personally, I don't think that the life of one decent human being is worth dying for all the paintings in the Louvre, but that's not really the point - my point is, I'd rather not be preached to one way or another. And to tell the truth, knowing how many innocent people died at the hands of the Nazis, I really don't give much of a shit one way or the other that they managed to recover the art..... It's not like the movie belittles the atrocities of the Nazis, but it's just that I'd rather not have had those speeches where they try to tell us how important the art is vis-a-vis human life.

However, though that is an annoyance, that is NOT the reason you shouldn't see the film. If it was a good film otherwise, those three or so brief speeches wouldn't make it a bad film. This is just not an enjoyable film to watch. There's none of that great action you mentioned in your review of The Train, there's nothing very exciting, it's lots of talk talk talk. I'd praise three things about the movie: 1)  the production design; 2)  the lighting; 3) Cate Blanchett, she is really convincing as a Frenchwoman.


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« Reply #13163 on: February 19, 2014, 06:13:46 AM »

Exactly what's put me off seeing Monuments Men. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it treats earnestly a topic Frankenheimer's film approached rather cynically.
Fifty years on. Talk about progress.

Drink is no doubt right about the film's shortcomings (talk over action). Seeing the trailer, what I found really annoying was how old everyone in it is. Goodman is 61, Murray 63, Balaban 68, Clowney 52. And they all look their ages. Damon at 43 is the baby of this bunch, and even he's too old for whatever the mission is. The median age for WW2 U.S. troops during the war was somewhere around 26, which means there were plenty of guys in their 30s serving. I realize in the movie they're recruiting specialists for the mission (again, I've only seen the trailer), but they can't find anyone other than 60-year-olds who are experts in their fields? Eisenhower himself was only 55 at the end of the war.

UPDATE: I just checked Wikipedia. The guy that Balaban's character is based on was born in 1907. What is it with the geriatric casting?

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« Reply #13164 on: February 19, 2014, 07:46:47 AM »

Of course - casting the Balaban character as a 60-something Private allows you to use him for endless jokes, like how his uniform doesn't fit, how everyone makes fun of him all the time, etc. ... Btw, there's one sorry scene where Murray finds Balaban staring down the barrel of a Nazi gun, Murray puts his gun on the Nazi, so we have a GBU standoff.... So they all share a cigarette, make a joke about John Wayne (who, btw, I do not think was very famous during WW2; I don't think a German in 1944-1945 who wants to refer to a famous American would say JOHN WAYNE) and all go on their merry way.... Are you friggin kidding me?


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« Reply #13165 on: February 19, 2014, 09:41:47 AM »

Just watched OUATITW again (BRD, Scorsese version). This time, I took the advice of that writer of the article Jordan Krug posted: as soon as the Finale music began, I muted the audio and put on my iPod to the finale music, so I was listening to the awesome finale music as the movie ended and final credits rolled, rather than the shitty Cheyenne music. Awesome. Someone has to make a fan edit with the correct music

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« Reply #13166 on: February 19, 2014, 10:59:52 AM »

The Sicilian Clan (1969) - 8/10. Fox French All-Region Blu-ray: 10/10. Just a fantastic package. The image is, as expected, first-rate. The Blu contains both the French cuts and English-language cuts of the film. The French cut has French, English, and Italian subtitles. The English-language cut also has French, English, and Italian subtitles. The two different versions are made up of different takes. Apparently, they would shoot a scene in one language, then immediately follow up by shooting the scene again in the other language (IMDb says they also did an Italian version, but I find that hard to credit. In the documentary that accompanies this release, the filmmakers speak only of making a "double," not a triple). This allowed for better dubbing, of course: the actors are speaking the language they are being dubbed into, so the sound-to-lip synchronization works better. In the case of Delon, his actual voice was used in both cuts (whether from direct sound or post-production looping, I do not know). Gabin and Ventura used their own voices for the French cut, of course, but were dubbed by American-sounding actors for the English-language cut.

I naturally assumed that only the speaking scenes were swapped out to make the two versions. After all, when there's an action scene, it doesn't matter which language the film is in. In fact, though, there are action sequences between the two versions that consist of alternate takes. The documentary runs one particular sequence, Delon's escape from the prison van at the start of the film. By putting up both cuts of the sequence, side-by-side, it demonstrates how different the two versions are. Although the entire bit is silent (covered by Morricone's great music), the cuts are assembled out of different takes. I'm not sure this was done in every case--there must be SOME takes that both cuts have in common--but you'd have to carefully go through each cut to make sure. I'll leave that for someone else to do.

The documentary I've been referring to is over an hour long, tells you everything you want to know about the production of the film, and uses archival materials (audio clips of director and actors, production stills and footage taken on-set) as well as the usual talking-head interviews of those now alive to speak. This piece is really well done, and, amazingly, has English subtitles. In fact, the whole disc is English-friendly. There is also a DVD included in the package, but it is NOT English-friendly (and only contains the French cut). It has two trailers for the film, one in French, one in English, which are not, for some reason, on the BD.

This film gets better the more I watch it. I now understand how the beginning mirrors the major caper late in the film--both are heists done in transit. And Morricone's cues, I now see, are exceedingly well placed. The image on the new Blu so attractive that I am sure to re-watch this film for years to come; no doubt, my appreciation for the film will continue to deepen.

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« Reply #13167 on: February 20, 2014, 08:18:57 PM »

Rio Conchos - 7/10 - Serviceable reworking of The Comancheros, with most of the same flaws: awkward plot structure, an intriguing villain who doesn't show up until the final reel, Stuart Whitman. On the plus side it's got Richard Boone, nice scenery and several good action scenes.

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« Reply #13168 on: February 21, 2014, 07:02:33 AM »

Like Someone in Love (2012) 4/10. Abbas Kiarostami's latest entry into the Cinema of Obfuscation: A Tokyo call girl goes to a retired University professor's home and something happens there. Or maybe not. The shots of Japan are very nice and made me homesick. The actors--especially the old gent--are good. Too bad there's no discernible story. I have a fairly high tolerance for this sort of thing, but this time I left the theater angry.

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« Reply #13169 on: February 21, 2014, 08:56:03 AM »

The shots of Japan are very nice and made me homesick.

You were born in Japan, or you lived there for a long time?

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