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November 30, 2022, 04:35:03 AM

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Messages - dave jenkins

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Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread
« on: November 19, 2022, 07:52:32 PM »

The KL Studio Classics Blu-ray of French Noir Collection is a great-looking set of films, in perfect condition for picture and sound. The package amounts to several hours of vintage French crime thrills, plus good music. The shows overflow with expressive noir lighting. American noirs had abandoned the classic noir style several years before, in search of a more economical photo-docu look.

The last feature is presented in a correct 1:66 aspect ratio. The first two are formatted full-frame open matte, which looks wrong. In both Le rouge est mis and Le dos au mur, the screen has ?dramatically vacant? space above and below, that should have been cropped away. The proof is in the title blocks, that float in a horizontal space showing where the frame lines should be. More proof comes with camera shadows, etc., that sometimes intrude in the lower parts of scenes. The flat image is still well-lit and attractive, but the original AR would have been a +plus.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: November 16, 2022, 11:58:54 AM »
Return to Sender (2022)- 7/10. An interesting update on Repulsion, and only 18 minutes long!

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: For Love of Art
« on: November 15, 2022, 12:27:34 PM »

Instead we went to Ronald Lauder's Neue Galerie - I like to go every once in a while, to visit the Woman in Gold and some of the other nice Klimts.
Hey, Mr. Klimt Fanatic, any comment on this:

The way he pans through Blondie's rifle once Tuco finds him, for example. He makes it look epic even if it's something we've seen a million times before.
Yes, SL uses his inventive technique to redeem exhausted tropes. All these decades later his work still seems fresh. Contrast this with so much in cinema now that already seems tired.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: For Love of Art
« on: November 14, 2022, 06:14:09 PM »
I believe I have these two blu-rays (just the discs, not all the boxset with the tchotchkes).

Anyway, how about we spend a day at the museums -- Lauder & the Whitney. Maybe a movie at night if Film Forum is playing something good.

I can go on a Sunday -- maybe Thanksgiving Sunday or the following week.

cj is a Hopper guy -- maybe he'll wanna join, too?
Sorry, man, I'm heading to Seattle tomorrow and I'll be gone about 3 weeks. Mid-December is the earliest I can do anything around here.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Limey at 20
« on: November 14, 2022, 07:19:39 AM »

Harris has some good comments, but the first reply makes the very good point about the optional subtitles. Some of that rhyming slang is hard to get by ear alone. Reading it really helps.

UPDATE: Hey, this is a help, too:

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: November 14, 2022, 07:17:31 AM »
A married woman (Godard) 8/10
Ha! A fully watchable Godard that actually feels like a real movie!

I saw it on Arte.
But don't you have it on DVD, that one I gave to Drink that he passed on to you? Man, hold on to that, it's got an amazing booklet.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: For Love of Art
« on: November 14, 2022, 07:14:20 AM »
Hey, man, have they got the new 4K UHD edition on disc? I hear that's really good (but I'll stay pat with my blu-ray steelbook from the UK).

Off-Topic Discussion / John Wick Chapter 4 (2023)
« on: November 11, 2022, 06:30:12 PM »

Hmmm, IMAX. I'll have to drink about that ....

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Cinema Speculation (Tarantino book)
« on: November 11, 2022, 09:38:38 AM »
That's what the man says.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Cinema Speculation (Tarantino book)
« on: November 10, 2022, 03:58:17 PM »
The book jacket photo speaks to the fact that that is a favorite film of his, as does this paragraph:
I first saw The Getaway in 1972 when it came out at the Paradise Theater in Westchester, a Los Angeles town by LAX (the Paradise and the Loyola were the two theaters near where we lived in El Segundo that I saw a lot of movies at from 1971 to 1974). My mom would drive me to the cinema on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, then drop me off and come back and pick me up four or five hours later. And that's how I first saw the PG-rated The Getaway when it opened opposite The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. I liked both films enough to see them again the next weekend. Then the next year, when I was living in Tennessee with my grandmother, I saw The Getaway a third time on the lower bill of a drive-in double feature with Walking Tall. Then back in Los Angeles one year after that, at a United Artists theater in Marina del Rey on the lower half of a double bill with The Outfit. And all that was before I was fifteen. I later watched The Getaway at revival house screenings, not to mention on home video, and countless times since (I have my own IB Technicolor 35mm print)
pp. 99 - 100

So, he really likes the film, but he does have what he calls "misgivings." He notes that there are changes to the book he doesn't like (but there are also some changes he approves of), and he has issues with some of the casting (doesn't think Al Lettieri or Ben Johnson were right for their roles in this). QT says he initially didn't like Ali MacGraw's casting either, but after 40 years he's changed his mind. Part of the reason for that change comes from his current understanding of the film.

I now realize what Sam made and what McQueen and MacGraw performed was a love story.
The crime story is literal.
The love story is metaphorical.
But it's on the metaphorical level where the filmmakers (and I include the actors in that title) operated most successfully.
Thompson wrote not only a getaway story, he spends the entire book, chapter by chapter, page by page, putting the couple through hell and tearing them apart.
Sam does the complete opposite.
He spends the entire film, reel by reel, scene by scene, putting the couple through hell, then bringing them together.
p. 112

So, a love story. And I guess if you want to tell a love story in 1972, you get the girl from Love Story (1970) to do it.

Quint has a great description of a scene in the book that didn't get into the film that would make the perfect Tarantino scene in one of QT's films, but I'll let you read that one for yourself. Yeah, don't wait for Christmas, better get a copy for Thanksgiving.

Thank you Jenko Morningstar and sentenza_. Your comments have spurred my thinking, and caused me to produce this:

As has been mentioned before, good and bad are moral categories; ugly is an aesthetic one. Why does the title suddenly introduce this other category? Aside for its shock effect (always a consideration when minting a new title), there should be some meaning behind it. Happily, these are more than abstract terms: we have concrete characters to match them to.

Blondie of course is "the good" because, even though he may actually kill more people than anyone else in the picture, he does things like giving that dying soldier a smoke. He does it instinctively, without giving it any thought. Most of us share that instinct, it's a mark of our common humanity. When we see such acts of decency, we are cheered. We know that Blondie is one of us.

But that instinct can be driven out, as we see in the example of AE. He is capable of distinguishing good and evil, but he prefers evil. He is a sadist. He may claim to have a professional obligation to see a job through, but it doesn't look like he feels any conflicting emotions when dispatching Baker. He clearly enjoys his work. On the occasion when he gives the sergeant at the Confederate fort a bottle, he's trading alcohol for information. AE does nothing kind without an ulterior motive (letting the man keep the bottle after they're done talking ensures the sergeant's continued good will). He's merely being pragmatic. All other things being equal, however, AE will choose to do what is bad, in any situation, simply because it gratifies him to do so.

Now we come to Tuco. He no longer possesses the instinct for altruism that Blondie has, but he isn't the degenerate that AE has become. He is totally indifferent to those around him, unless they have something he wants, or they are a threat to him.  Tuco doesn't recognize abstract moral categories; he sees everything in terms of whether a thing is good or bad for Tuco, nothing beyond that. He is like an animal (hence his bestial nicknames, "Rat" in English, "Pig" in Italian).

So ugly, an aesthetic term, is used to denote a character who lives beyond morality, as the animals do. Understood this way, the title can be translated The Moral, the Immoral, and the Amoral. Perhaps these categories have universal application.

There are three kinds of people
. . ..

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: November 10, 2022, 01:02:34 AM »
Going through QT's book Cinema Speculation and watching/re-watching some of the films he champions:

Bullitt (1968) - 6/10. Here's the film in a nutshell: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh, wow, Cool Car Chase! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Steve is cool, though. Lalo Schifrin's score is also cool.

The Outfit (1973) - 7/10. Based on a Richard Stark novel. Robert Duvall gets in Dutch with Robert Ryan's mafia-like organization. Figuring a good offense is the best defense, Duvall enlists the aid of Joe Don Baker and they start knocking over The Outfit's places of business. There are cameos by Jane Greer, Elijah Cook, Marie Windsor, and others. Big action climax.

Rolling Thunder (1977) - 5/10. First viewing. William Devane comes home after spending 7 years in the Hanoi Hilton, physically fit but emotionally crippled. He hopes to reconnect with his wife and son but they are soon murdered in front of him. Eventually he enlists the aid of Tommy Lee Jones, a fellow POW, and they go after the bad guys. Big action climax. This is a very cheap-looking production, with a wretched title song. None of the actors playing service members could be bothered to get their hair cut. From a story by Paul Schrader.

These films, and the others analyzed in the book, are movies QT saw in cinemas growing up (he watched Bullitt when he was six). They meant something to him then, and they still mean something to him now.

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