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« #12960 : January 06, 2014, 08:11:22 PM »

12 Years a Slave's definitely a good one.



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« #12961 : January 07, 2014, 07:54:38 AM »

The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) – 9/10.
Mrs. Fielding (Glenda Jackson): “What’s it about?”
Mr. Fielding (Michael Caine): “It’s about this ungrateful woman who is married to this man of great charm, brilliance, and integrity. She thinks he won’t let her be herself. And she feels stuck in this straitjacket when she ought to be out and about,  and taking the waters,  and finding herself. So one day she ups and goes and finds herself out of her depth. But the husband comes and saves her. And then she realizes that he’s really a wonderful chap.”
Mr. Jenkins (Dave Jenkins): “ Losey’s masterpiece.”

Another Sky (1954) – 7/10. A romantic Englishwoman goes to Marrakesh to work as a paid companion, falls in love with an Arab, then goes in search of him when he disappears. It’s a Paul Bowles story not written by Paul Bowles, photographed by Walter Lassally , directed by Gavin Lambert  (his only film). Traditional North African music makes up the score.



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« #12962 : January 07, 2014, 08:24:24 AM »

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) - 7/10

In the end I didn't care for it at all, although the start was promising. It's still a good movie, don't get me wrong, not bad by any means, it just doesn't live up to its hype (1). I think it must be all the drama they injected in it, that I thought it didn't need (2). Especially the part about the parents and their unequal love for the two brothers, I thought that came right out of the blue, I didn't think it was Sidney Lumet's way of working (a priori to this movie) (3)... Now, something else bothers me: usually I like PSH's performances, but here he annoyed me 4 almost as much as EH (5), and on the top of that the sexy-yet-mostly-figured out MT pulls out her usual antics (6). AF okay, he too didn't convince me, but that might be cause of its co-stars (7). MS the best of them all IMVHO. ( 8 )

So, let's start this.

(1) It's a movie that would have lived up to its hype EVEN IF it had been a bad movie since there is absolutely no hype about it.

(2) The drama worked for me after repeated viewings. I didn't care (in good or bad) at first but then it drew me into it. It's a really smart and well designed movie, you're not supposed to get all the nuances in one viewing. You see, when I say The Departed has to be seen multiple times to be enjoyed, it's because of an inherent flaw: there is just too much info to deal with. It has its advantages, but it all starts from a flaw. With BTDKYD, we're dealing with an intelligent movie. You're not supposed to crack it the first time. Now, I'm not saying the drama is the greatest element in it. It's just something that takes its time to work, and it works when you deserve it.

(3) Actually, the characters are 200% based ONLY ON THE UNEQUAL LOVE FOR THE 2 BROTHERS AND ON NOTHING ELSE, so if that's out of the blue then the whole movie is out of the blue.

(4) It's actually a great performance from him. Not only it worked perfectly for me from the first frame he appears, it's also the performance that made me understand and love his work. He's a true actor, Michael Caine style, who works his ass out, and it shows. The commentary track actually made me like his performance even better: Lumet gives multiple examples of things that PSH added to the movie, in terms of mise en scene. I remember that scene when he's talking to his brother, and the brother is shameful and is sitting while Hoffman is standing next to him, with his fists on the table. That came from PSH. In the script, they were both sitting in front of each other. The tension, the whole dramaturgy and the domination feeling in this scene are so perfectly tied with that single idea from PSH that it's impossible for me to imagine anyone else playing his character and doing a better job. It's not the only example. Listen to the audio track.

(5) EH isn't that bad in it. However, I agree, he's the weakest point of the whole film. Once again, it's not that he's actually bad, but everyone else is so perfect that he doesn't fit. He would have been surrounded by regular A list actors, he would have given an ok performance, apart from a couple over the top close up, but this one is on Lumet. The director should have just told "hey, a little bit less" and it would have worked fine. But all in all, it's quite unfair to say he gives a bad performance. It's like saying Chritian Bale did a bad performance in The Dark Knight: he did nothing wrong, he is just a professional with no particular charisma fighting with Caine, Freeman, Oldman... and Ledger's best performance ever.

(6) Nothing interesting to add: yes, but it works, doesn't it?

(7) He was very good to me, although not the DeNiro kind of good. Just very good.

( 8 ) Ah, you see? You can be right too! In the commentary track, Lumet underlines a cool little detail in his performance in the bar. I won't spoil it.


« : January 07, 2014, 08:36:44 AM noodles_leone »

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« #12963 : January 07, 2014, 01:42:19 PM »

Grand Slam / Ad ogni costo (1967) – 6/10. At my last powwow with D&D he touted this film. This was “one of the best heist movies” he told me, often overlooked by aficionados of the genre. Also it has a Rio setting and a cast that includes Kinski. I had to admit I’d never heard of the film. Back home I checked it out on the internet; amazon was selling the DVD for cheap, less than the price for a standard movie ticket, so I decided, Why not? Ordered!

The DVD arrived. On the cover I saw these words: “One of the best heist movies!” Signed, Roger Ebert. Oh, of course. With some trepidation I spun the disc.

It began entertainingly enough. But as it went along, things about it started bothering me.  For one, Janet Leigh was cast in a lousy part, as an insignificant secretary.  Now, you don’t cast a star in an unimportant role—I immediately suspected a twist centered on her. Also, even though she wasn’t supposed to be anyone special, the film spent a helluva lot of time on her: another clue that a greater significance would later be revealed. A good thing I didn’t look at the label on the disc before playing it—there’s an image of Leigh on it that constitutes a major spoiler.

Another thing that bothered me: you’ve got this gang of specialists working to an elaborate plan to steal some diamonds, but they haven’t figured out that during Carnival in Rio they’re going to have trouble crossing streets? And supposedly this is a four-man job. But in order for it to be a four-man job, one of the characters (Kinski) has to run around like an idiot, hitting several points on time before getting back to where he started, and if he’s late to any one of his stations the whole plan fails. And of course this is used to add complications that make the caper more difficult and raise the suspense. OK, yeah, but why didn’t they just plan for 5 guys instead of 4 to begin with? Remember, this plan is supposed to be ingenious.

Finally, when the inevitable double-crosses and twists come they are all predictable and unimaginative ones. Do all these problems prevent the film from being “one of the best heist movies”? Maybe not. It is, after all, a rather scabrous genre. [P.S. The heist film that approaches perfection is Kelly’s Heroes.]



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« #12964 : January 07, 2014, 02:04:01 PM »

THIS POST HAS SPOILERS ON GRAND SLAM

A) The final twist, where the thief steals the stuff from Robinson and Leigh, is a dumb one. (I doubt it had anything to do with the Production Code mandating that crooks don't get away with their crimes; this is right around the time the Code was ending.) Otherwise, I thought this was a great heist movie.

Well, that's two movies that you purchased (do you not have a rental service?) based on my 10/10 recommendations, which you subsequently rated a 6/10. What can I ay; maybe you and I just have very different tastes and you shouldn't take my recommendations any more. Anyway, I will be happy to once again offer you my D&D Guarantee, and buy the dvd from you. You said it was cheap, it's a movie I love, what the hell, I'd be happy to own it. PM me about it.

Finally, I have absolutely no idea where they took that supposed quote from Roger Ebert saying this is "one of the best heist movies. Below is Ebert's review of the movie, in which he gives it 3 stars out of 4. He doesn't say anywhere in the review that this is "one of the best heist movies." 3 out of 4 is a solid rating, but not something you'd call "one of the best" in the sub-genre. Did he say it somewhere else? Who knows. I Googled it, and that quote keeps coming up on websites that sell or discuss the movie, but I have been unable to find any actual writing by Ebert saying it.

(BTW, notice on dvd covers, they always add the exclamation mark - like on the cover of Fox's dvd My Darling Clementine, they quote Ebert as saying the movie is "John Ford's Greatest Western!" He did say that in the review but no exclamation point. Can they be sued for misattributing an exclamation mark?  ;) )



http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/grand-slam-1968



GRAND SLAM

*** Roger Ebert
January 24, 1968



The safe in "Grand Slam" is burglar-proof. The approach to it is crisscrossed with electric eyes. There is an alarm system that raises the roof at any sound over 14 decibels. Guards check the approaches every 30 minutes. But inside that safe are diamonds representing wealth beyond ones wildest dreams . . .

Ah, yes, we are on familiar ground. The problem is to get past the guards, electric eyes and burglar alarm, break open the safe and get out again. This obviously calls for a mastermind to assemble specialists from all corners of Europe and tell them, "I have a Plan."

There can be complications, of course. The members of the gang can plan to double-cross each other. There can be (and always are) unforeseen things wrong with the Plan. But all of that is window dressing. The heart of a movie like "Grand Slam" is the theft itself: 25 minutes of delicate maneuvering over, around, past and through an electronic safe.

Movies like this are hard to make because you have to be accurate in every detail. Audiences do not forgive a director who says the guards will be back in 30 minutes and then forgets about them. But when the theft is done well the movie is almost certain to be spellbinding. "Grand Slam" is, if you can ignore the potboiler plot before and after its big heist.

Jules Dassin is the master of movies about complex thefts, and the young Italian director Giuliano Montaldo has borrowed a few touches from him. In Dassin's "Rififi" (1954), the theft is carried out during 20 minutes of dead silence. So, in "Grand Slam," a sound alarm is installed, and a lot of the suspense grows out of accidentally dropped tools. In Dassin's "Topkapi" (1964), the fascination came from the stunts necessary to get into the museum room: Suction cups and body harnesses were used to lower the acrobat toward the precious jewels from above. So, in "Grand Slam," suction cups and harnesses are used to slide the safecrackers across a street.

But Montaldo adds some touches of his own. The problem of getting over or under the electric eye beams in complete silence is solved by a compressed air device so marvelously clever that the audience applauded.

And there is also an amusing solution to this problem: How do you steal the key to the outer door of the safe, use it and then return it to the owner while you are still inside the building and the owner is not?

Unfortunately, Montaldo then ends the picture with soap opera theatrics, burning cars hurtling over cliffs and all that. Edward G. Robinson (the mastermind) and Janet Leigh, apparently cast for their American box-office appeal, are not given very useful roles. But the four members of the gang are equal to their tests, and Georges Rigaud earns special mention as the expert safecracker. He pulls off the job with such confidence and skill it makes you wonder what he does nights.


« : January 07, 2014, 02:22:17 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #12965 : January 07, 2014, 02:52:56 PM »

So, let's start this.

(1) It's a movie that would have lived up to its hype EVEN IF it had been a bad movie since there is absolutely no hype about it.

(2) The drama worked for me after repeated viewings. I didn't care (in good or bad) at first but then it drew me into it. It's a really smart and well designed movie, you're not supposed to get all the nuances in one viewing. You see, when I say The Departed has to be seen multiple times to be enjoyed, it's because of an inherent flaw: there is just too much info to deal with. It has its advantages, but it all starts from a flaw. With BTDKYD, we're dealing with an intelligent movie. You're not supposed to crack it the first time. Now, I'm not saying the drama is the greatest element in it. It's just something that takes its time to work, and it works when you deserve it.

(3) Actually, the characters are 200% based ONLY ON THE UNEQUAL LOVE FOR THE 2 BROTHERS AND ON NOTHING ELSE, so if that's out of the blue then the whole movie is out of the blue.

(4) It's actually a great performance from him. Not only it worked perfectly for me from the first frame he appears, it's also the performance that made me understand and love his work. He's a true actor, Michael Caine style, who works his ass out, and it shows. The commentary track actually made me like his performance even better: Lumet gives multiple examples of things that PSH added to the movie, in terms of mise en scene. I remember that scene when he's talking to his brother, and the brother is shameful and is sitting while Hoffman is standing next to him, with his fists on the table. That came from PSH. In the script, they were both sitting in front of each other. The tension, the whole dramaturgy and the domination feeling in this scene are so perfectly tied with that single idea from PSH that it's impossible for me to imagine anyone else playing his character and doing a better job. It's not the only example. Listen to the audio track.

(5) EH isn't that bad in it. However, I agree, he's the weakest point of the whole film. Once again, it's not that he's actually bad, but everyone else is so perfect that he doesn't fit. He would have been surrounded by regular A list actors, he would have given an ok performance, apart from a couple over the top close up, but this one is on Lumet. The director should have just told "hey, a little bit less" and it would have worked fine. But all in all, it's quite unfair to say he gives a bad performance. It's like saying Chritian Bale did a bad performance in The Dark Knight: he did nothing wrong, he is just a professional with no particular charisma fighting with Caine, Freeman, Oldman... and Ledger's best performance ever.

(6) Nothing interesting to add: yes, but it works, doesn't it?

(7) He was very good to me, although not the DeNiro kind of good. Just very good.

( 8 ) Ah, you see? You can be right too! In the commentary track, Lumet underlines a cool little detail in his performance in the bar. I won't spoil it.



I'm gonna come hard on ya.

Tomorrow.

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« #12966 : January 07, 2014, 02:54:10 PM »

I'm gonna come hard on ya.

Tomorrow.

you dirty dirty boy


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« #12967 : January 07, 2014, 02:55:51 PM »

you dirty dirty boy

This is a site for all those that don't have any other place to be, just like any other place on the net. Welcome, there's all kinds of us here. :D

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« #12968 : January 07, 2014, 03:00:40 PM »

I'm gonna come hard on ya.

Tomorrow.

You come hard on me in dream and then you wake up to apologize.

Which is the lamest QT line ever (just a bit adapted here).


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« #12969 : January 07, 2014, 03:11:04 PM »

Several other times, when reviewing a heist movie, Ebert discusses the films of the sub-genre, and Grand Slam often comes up in the discussion (along with Rififi and Topkapi). I'm not gonna give links to each of these reviews; if you wanna find them, click here http://www.rogerebert.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=grand+slam+heist

bottom line is, in none of those reviews either does Ebert ever say that Grand Slam is one of the greatest heist movies. (If you ever asked him point blank, "Is Grand Slam one of the greatest heist movies?" I believe it's possible he would say yes, because how many heist movies are out there, and what does "one of the greatest" mean? These relative and qualified statements don't mean much. Anyway, all I have to say is, unless I can find the specific place where Ebert calls this one of the greatest heist movies ever, I'd say that "quote" is bullshit.

However, no matter what Ebert says, D&D does believe it's one of the greatest heist movies ever (but putting that quote on the dvd wouldn't sell too many copies – from my experience around here, seems like [unless your name is DJ] that may cause people NOT to buy it  ;)). You have Rififi, Le Cercle Rouge, The Asphalt Jungle. I absolutely loved Inside Man (2006), which IMO is a 10/10,  though I am not sure if you'd call it a heist film. I also remember liking The Score (2001), but I saw it like 10 years ago.
Those are the best heist films I can think of. So yeah, Grand Slam is one of the five greatest heist films I have ever seen.


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« #12970 : January 07, 2014, 03:17:13 PM »

what happened to you, Dust Devil? You go on a long hibernation, we don't hear from you for months (during which time Groggy stopped complaining about discussions from the RTLMYS thread being made into new threads  ;) ) .... what happened to you in the interim? Did you finally get in touch with someone who can get you in touch with yourself? I'd like to find out what color his hair is – is it green? purple? – so I can know how to properly title the movie of your life,  "Green is the warmest color"? Hey man, as long as you find happiness, nothing else matters (not even dickrash).


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« #12971 : January 08, 2014, 02:31:04 AM »

There are many, many heist movies, so the best heist movie ever, or one of the 5 best has something to say. I have watched Grand Slam once, and that was very long ago. Don't remember anything of the story, but I think it was a mediocre film.

Inside Man is indeed one of the best.

Which one is the first of the sub-genre? Probably The Asphalt Jungle.


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« #12972 : January 08, 2014, 03:06:46 AM »



yes, the earliest heist film that I can recall is The Asphalt Jungle (1950). I can't think of any heist films prior to 1950.... I put Grand Slam in the top 5. I haven't see Topkapi and some of the other late-60's-early 70's heist films, but I can't think of more than 4 heist films that I have seen that are in the same class as Grand Slam (Inside Man, Rififi, Le Cercle Rouge, The Asphalt Jungle).

SPOILERS FOR INSIDE MAN

Once we're on the subject of Inside Man, I figure you probably pitied Christopher Plummer at the end of that movie. Actually, I'm not sure - do you only pity defeated actual Nazis, or do you also pity defeated Nazi enablers/collaborators? - are they morally "ambiguous" enough for you?


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« #12973 : January 08, 2014, 03:39:39 AM »



Once we're on the subject of Inside Man, I figure you probably pitied Christopher Plummer at the end of that movie. Actually, I'm not sure - do you only pity defeated actual Nazis, or do you also pity defeated Nazi enablers/collaborators? - are they morally "ambiguous" enough for you?

Actually you really have not the slightest idea what I have said about pitying certain people in certain situations. Or about the differences between life and art.

I don't pity mass murders in general. Or war criminals.


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« #12974 : January 08, 2014, 03:45:05 AM »

the Plummer character was not a mass murderer, and may well not have broken any laws of war.

obviously, art is very different than life. In movies, i root for James Cagney all the time, people often root fro croox, movies are a different universe. Still, there's a certain level I just don't see how anyone can cross -  I don't see how anyone can feel anything less than complete hatred for a movie Nazi, or a movie Stalin, or a movie Castro, (assuming you are the kind of person who truly despises these people in real life). There are plenty of people who don't.


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