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February 01, 2023, 11:47:40 AM

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Messages - T.H.

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Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: Yesterday at 12:44:36 PM »
From a technical standpoint Top Gun was "clean", maybe in a way blockbusters (which were still being invented) weren't at the time. But nothing that impresses me today, nothing THAT out of reach for your regular Martin Campbell. Nothing to do with The Departed which, whatever you think of the movie, pushed the art of filmmaking (not just the art of the blockbuster) forward. Hey, don't take anything from it if you don't want to. I'll for sure take things from Top Gun, which, of course, had a more difficult topic at hand on a technical standpoint: filming planes and huge boats in an exciting and clear way presents big challenges that I'm not downplaying at all. But it's a very dumb, corny movie filled with dumb, corny characters who have dumb, corny relationships and dumb, corny arcs and they (the characters, their relationships and arcs) are filmed in a professional, pretty, but also dumb and corny way. The film has the right to go for the dumb and corny and try to do it right, but there is nothing snob at all at thinking this is ridiculous. Anyway, I do love my share of dumb, corny movies, just not this one, this one makes me laugh when I shouldn't laugh and it feels like a high end commercial (a commercial for Tom Cruise, for the army, for planes, for motorcycles...) and almost never like a movie.

That being said, yes, it is very stereotypical from us... but you didn't comment on the interesting and not stereotypical part: people criticizing Top Gun like we just did are an endangered specie. A huge chunck of those who laughed at that movie or just didn't care at all back in the days are nowadays convinced that they always loved it.
I meant stereotypical in terms of general online snobbery, it wasn't a shot at you and Stanton. I just found your criticisms meritless.

Of course Top Gun (1986) is campy and silly, but it's way better directed than a 90's Bond film, especially when it comes to action. In spite of its cheese, camp, or anything else, it's a well executed film with solid characters, a good enough story (at worst) that's very well shot and edited. Do you think All That Heaven Allows doesn't have value because it's campy as well?

No, The Departed did not advance anything in film and you've never been able to specifically explain why you think the editing is so great. How on earth can you compare the competent editing in The Departed to the masterful editing in Raging Bull, it's an insane take. We all have weak spots or flaws as movie people, and your biggest flaw is that you definitely greatly overrate later or weaker works of director's that you love. You're like a diehard sports fan when it comes to certain directors and they can do no wrong in your eyes.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 30, 2023, 08:59:46 AM »
Even without having seen Top Gun Maverick, that was some stereotypically snobby and flat out shallow criticism from you guys.

Top Gun is phenomenal from a technical standpoint, certainly worlds better than The Departed in every way.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 29, 2023, 09:17:57 AM »
Tequila Sunrise (1988) - The first 70 minutes or so has some very good 40's inspired storytelling presented in a very 1980's Los Angeles package that moves at a nice pace. But then the love triangle becomes very stale, Kurt Russell is barely in the movie and the story never develops. Basically any route this movie could have gone would have made for a much better experience. The music and photography can be very good at times, but the quality falls off a cliff at a certain point. C-

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 28, 2023, 08:57:38 AM »
Tango & Cash (1989) - A big dumb movie, with a big dumb script and a big dumb plot, with big dumb logic and (mostly) big dumb one liners. However, Russell and Stallone have good chemistry, the pace flies and it's very well directed in spots -- Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train) was the original director but was replaced during production, and you can basically tell he didn't shoot the weak finale and the last act. The score/music is very 80's and it's fitting that T&C was the last movie released in the decade, tied with Spielberg's Always (who made way more than 3 good movies DJ). This ended the 80's on a silly and very 80's bang. C+

Tammy and the T-Rex (1994) - The extended cut with the gore is the way to go, for those with a predilection for sleaze. While it's not on the level of a Frankenhooker in terms of those intentionally goofy B movies that know not to wink at the audience too much (while also functioning as a movie), Tammy and the T-Rex is strangely effective and entertaining...and funny. C+

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Best French B&W Crime Films
« on: January 26, 2023, 11:13:10 AM »
Touchez pas au grisbi (1954)
Razzia (1955)
Bob le Flambeur (1956)
Rififi (1955)
Le Trou (1960)
Le Doulos (1963)
Two Men In Manhattan (1959)
Second Breath (1966)
Classe Tous Risques (1960)
The Night Affair (1958)

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 17, 2023, 09:45:33 AM »
8mm (1999) - Maybe one of the last unironic campy movies ever, but there's also a legitimately good PI movie in there for the first half. While I like Joel Schumacher more than the next person (Falling Down, The Lost Boys), he was not the best choice for this type of material -- and this material totally bites Hardcore in the first hour. The problem with this story is that there wasn't an LA red light district in the late 90's and Schumacher's Seven inspired (the Seven writer penned the original script), music video sex underworld is not consistently authentic.

There's some strange acting in here, which shouldn't come as a surprise since it's a Nic Cage starring vehicle. Catherine Keener is basically a universally respected actress, but her performance is absolutely horrific and makes Anne Heche's character in Donnie Brasco seem completely vital. Joaquin Phoenix and James Gandolfini are phenomenal and carry the movie to some degree.

Even with its flaws and quirks, the PI element is pretty strong, but it becomes a Hollywood revenge thriller -- and not a great one. But it's well paced and well directed for the most part. And very watchable. While the aforementioned Hardcore makes 8mm totally unessential, I can't help but like this movie way more than I should. B-

I couldn't find a place to fit this into the mini review, but I would love a lower budget version of this with Gandolfini in the lead (scrap the family subpot) with someone like Alex Proyas, Tony Scott or Kathryn Bigelow directing it.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 14, 2023, 11:39:46 AM »
Would love to see this double bill on the big screen

The Searchers (1956) - Maybe the greatest movie ever made, and certainly one of my all time favorites that somehow gets better with each viewing. Pure artistry. A++

Hardcore (1979) - Much better on an additional view, and a perfect blend of character study and quasi detective yarn. The time capsule element of the late 70's SD, SF and LA underworld really adds extra flavor, as does the phenomenal score. George C. Scott and Season Hubley have excellent chemistry, and Peter Boyle is always great. This is a rare bleak, dark movie with a ton of soul. A

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 13, 2023, 03:20:15 PM »
The King of Comedy (1983) - Definitely a top 10 Scorsese movie, and while not nearly on the level of Taxi Driver, it's a top tier dark comedy that's obviously incredibly well crafted. Sandra Bernhard steals the show after not seeing this for a long time. The pacing is great. A-

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) - This one just falls apart after the first hour or so, or once Faye Dunaway's charatcer figures out what happened -- there needed to be actual scenes of her making progress with the investigation. Then, there's no more plot and the excellent pacing goes by the wayside. It starts off very well with a blistering pace, but all the picture-in-picture multi screen effects get really old when it's not involving multiple people robbing a bank. And the score is mostly horrid, as is the mastermind's plan at the climax. Grand Slam (1967) is definitely the better late 60's heist/caper flick. C

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 05, 2023, 11:32:46 AM »
My, you're funny.

I always had (relatively) ambivalent feelings about that movie. I wouldn't rate it "A+" because the strucural flaws bother me a tad too much and lead me out of the movie here and there but I agree with pretty much everything you say.
There is a flaw that bothers me in the first movie and that the flashback structure + complex storylines erases in this one: Part I always strikes me as too linear. Each scene is too heavily linked to the one that comes imediately before. When they send Luca Brasi, here is how it unfolds:

1- Corleone/Sollozzo meeting
2- Without even leaving that scene: Vito asks for Luca Brasi
3- After an elipse of exactly 2 minutes, Vito asks Brasi to be a rat
4- Short Michael and his wife scene to show that it's Christmas so months went by
5- Luca Brasi gets ready (same christmas music as the scene before which highlights how short the previous scene)
6- Luca Brasi enters the bar, gets killed

This whole thing is highly efficient, but it's a bit too efficient for my taste. Especially since, as an audience member, I'm just a tad intrigued at this point by this whole Sollozzo thing, I have no idea this is gonna be the chore story. There is something very "modern hollywood" like in this, and not in a good way. I even feel part 1 also contributed to the religion of efficiency that leads modern hollywood to avoid even making actual scenes where things actually happen. So part 1 is filled up with such examples (usually without even the short christmas break) while part II is never guilty of that.
Very insightful post, but I don't necessarily agree. For epics that take place over the course of at least a decade, the plot needs to be streamlined in such a manner. FFC couldn't constantly overuse dissolves or montages to show the passage of time, and more importantly, character development is never sacrificed. I will agree that the first movie leaves me wanting more, but for me, it was in the last hour, and maybe splice back in a couple more Sonny scenes -- but that's not a negative for a three hour movie. That's insanely disciplined filmmaking in my opinion.

Modern movies use these techniques (often) stupidly and in non-epics where they're not needed. And the end result usually means the characters and/or plot lack refinement. It would be like blaming T2 for the terrible consequences of CGI.

When you say structural issues in Part II, do you just mean the two parallel stories, or something more specific in Michael's plot?

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 04, 2023, 12:59:36 PM »
I put Titoli in google translate and it said it means pissing in the punch bowl.

The Godfather Part II (1974) - This may be the single greatest cinematic achievement considering there are many that believe that Part II is equal or better than the original. I'm not among that crowd, but it's borderline shocking that a sequel lived up to what is in all likelihood the ultimate Hollywood movie in terms of the meeting of art and commerce. The young Vito scenes have the flow and essence of the first movie, while the late 50's story is more complex, but not necessarily better. Just different.

The Michael story lacks the elegance and grace of this first movie, but that's sort of the point. But in the last hour, this is not the perfectly paced masterpiece of the first five hours of the saga, but it's also unbelievable in moments. And darker and more complicated. Maybe the Frank Pentangeli story should have been streamlined in the last hour, maybe not. But this is one of the greatest movies ever made, and a great watch since it's been at least a decade since I've last seen it. A+

Other Films / Re: Ulzana's Raid (1972)
« on: January 03, 2023, 07:40:01 PM »
I completely agree about the score, and it holds the movie back from being something of a classic western.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: January 03, 2023, 07:39:18 PM »
The Godfather (1972) - The photography really stands out on the Xth viewing. Its 1940s world looks so authentic. I don't have anything insightful to add, and it could be the only three hour movie, that wouldn't be bogged down by 15-20 more minutes in the last hour. But it's perfect. A++

Vice Squad (1982) - One of the best midnight movies ever, and holds up on an additional view. The pacing is almost as relentless as Ramrod. A

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Babylon (2022)
« on: December 22, 2022, 04:33:21 PM »
Haha, could be accurate if I came anywhere close to going through that jabroni's filmogropahy. I still haven't even seen PTA's sewing movie.

Part of me admires that noodles and RR are pulling a Weekend at Bernie's by propping up contemporary cinema and prancing around pretending it's not dead.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Sight & Sound Polls 2022
« on: December 03, 2022, 10:34:11 AM »
Wokeamania is runnin' wild brother!!!!

I always hated these stuffy academic lists, but they at least had credibility. Now, that is gone. Schrader and Jenkins are right that there's no feasible way that movie could have been number one without collusion.

While part of me is sad that mainstream film culture is all but dead, the one good thing to come out of that is traditional film criticism has never had less relevance. And that's a great thing because no longer do we (generally) have insightful film lovers as critics, we have weirdos with agendas.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Babylon (2022)
« on: November 29, 2022, 12:40:52 PM »
If you think it has the potential to be anything remotely close to Goodfellas or Casino I got some really bad news for you. I really dislike the look of it, it's very digital looking and doesn't feel or look like the roaring 20's at all.

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