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Old 02-25-2013, 01:48 PM   #251
Deexan
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I got no beef with Legos!

It's more the aspect ratio that gets my goat.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:52 PM   #252
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True, Ian needs to fix that. Then again, if he didn't rebel against the norm, would he be Ian? We all know he doesn't play by the rules.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #253
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I do what I want.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:51 PM   #254
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--On Golden Pond--





As a part of my adulthood psychology class, we had to watch Henry Fonda's On Golden Pond. A two day class watching experience that ultimately left me with mixed feelings. The film movies incredibly awkward, with jokes and moments that feel incredibly harsh, yet try to seem 'happy'? Henry Fonda is pretty awesome in the movie, and if anything, definitely scares me for the future of being old.

Jane Fonda was hot as life itself in this movie. She made for my second favorite part of the movie. Any time she got into her bathing suit, yummmmmmmm.

Regardless, I thought it was a good movie on getting old, Henry Fonda did well (not sure if Oscar well) and I was mildly entertained. Just mildly.





B-
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:22 PM   #255
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From letterboxd:

My Fair Lady (1964): An egotistical phonetics professor attempts to turn a low class flower girl into a proper lady.

I know my score is very low, but honestly I didn't get much from My Fair Lady. I found the story very uninteresting and ultimately unworthy of cinematic exploration. Very little drama can really be taken from the film and the "dramatic" moments presented are forced. I also found the characters one-dimensional and the professor character is particularly unlikable. A lot of the story elements feel underdeveloped and I hate the messages in the film. That said, the film is competently put together on a technical level and flows much better for a three hour film with no substance than one would expect. I also like seeing Audrey Hepburn play something different than from what she usually does. Granted, her character can be a little annoying and I hate that she was dubbed (especially since so much of the movie revolves around how the character sounds) but Hepburn herself is still commendable. Still, on the whole I'm far from impressed.

D

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): A bickering middle-aged couple use a younger and happier couple in order to spite each other.

I haven't been so split on a film in a long time. On the one had, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor give incredible performances that will stick with me for a long time. There's also some great scenes. On the other hand, the movie amounts to little more than two horrible people arguing. That's fine for a bit but becomes tiresome quickly. This is also a very stage-bound production and the film's attempt to reduce that feeling actually accentuate it. I suppose the extreme highs and the extreme lows cancel each other out and the result is a film of average quality.

C

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927): I actually thought this film started out pretty interesting with a depressed husband contemplating drowning his wife. That's hardcore. Then the movie becomes about the couple bonding in the city, which is far less interesting. Not terrible but pretty boring.

C-

A Hard Day's Night (1964): A Hard Day's Night is a hard film to talk about. There isn't really a story and most of the film is just The Beatles hanging around. If you love The Beatles I imagine the film is a great time but I don't. That's not to say I think The Beatles are bad, they just aren't a band I listen to often. The film itself, I don't know. There's definitely a lot of charm here and the film is a historical curiosity, particularly in how it captures "Beatlemania". There's also some good music as one would imagine but overall it amounts to very little.

C

Harvey (1950): I have a lot of issues with this film. First off, its depiction of mental illness and institutions is offensive. I know this came out in 1950, but still. I wouldn't mind if the comedy was stronger, but this movie isn't very funny either. In fact most of the characters were either boring, stupid, or flat out annoying. The only thing I like about this film is Jimmy Stewart's performance who is incredibly charming and likable. But even his talents can't save this.

D

Killer of Sheep (1977): There's a lot I admire about this film. The fact that it's an independent film made in the late 70s for $5000 and the film is as competent as it is is, in my opinion, amazing. I also like how the film tries to tackle bigger topics and themes and I suspect that plays a role in the film's strong reputation. The backstory of how the film was unable to be released for almost thirty years is also really interesting. Too bad the film itself is insanely boring. I see what director Charles Burnett was going for, but quite frankly, I didn't care. I can't say the film was bad in anyway, I was just extremely bored.

C-

The Battle of Algiers (1966): Extremely relevant, well-made, shocking, fast paced, and engaging. The Battle of Algiers is a great film which is just as important today as ever. I really enjoyed the film, but I will say I think the film doesn't really develop its characters and I was left a bit cold. Some of this is the film's intention and I realize that, but it still left me at a bit of a distance. Great movie none the less.

A-

The Gold Rush (1925): This is my first Charlie Chaplin film and I liked it quite a bit. Chaplin himself is great, there's some good comedy, and the film feels sincere. It's a good film. That said, I never really saw it as a great film. It was very amusing to be sure, but overall nothing substantial.

B+

The Fugitive Kind (1960): I stumbled across this at my library without ever hearing about it. "Sidney Lumet film with Marlon Brando," I thought to myself, "this has to be awesome!" I truly thought I had stumbled across some hidden gem. But I found it watching it why I'd never heard of the film; it's not very good. It's never bad mind you, but the story isn't very compelling. Lumet's direction is fine and I like the cast but at the end of the day I just didn't care for this film. It's never unwatchable, but it's never memorable either.

C+

Lolita (1962): Lolita is a good film. The acting is very good, the story moves in unexpected and surprising ways, and Kubrick employs some subtle tricks which work well. Unfortunately the film has some issues too. For one, you can really feel the censorship of the day holding the film back. I also feel like the film drags. I just found myself bored in parts. In fact, this might be my least favourite Kubrick film. While I probably enjoyed watching this more than Barry Lyndon, I also acknowledged that I would have to eventually revisit Lyndon to reassess it. I still feel compelled to go back to that film. But I don't feel any such desire with Lolita.

Keep in mind, Lolita is still a good film which is well worth watching. I don't think it's quite up to Kubrick's standards, but that likely says more about how good Kubrick's films usually are.

B+

The Conversation (1974): The film follows Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) a professional surveillance worker who gets sucked into a dangerous situation. I was really excited to watch this film. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola when the man was in his prime; right in between the first two Godfather films. The film also stars the always reliable Gene Hackman and is generally held in very high regard. While the film is definitely very good, even great, there is a part of me that's disappointed.

First, the good stuff. Gene Hackman is great in the lead role and delivers a powerful yet low key performance. Coppola directs with masterful skill, setting up striking imagery and using a haunting score. The film also touches on a lot of very interesting themes, the twist in the third act is nice, and I love the ending.

So all that, and I'm still disappointed? Well, there are moments where I felt the story dragged so that held the film back. More importantly, the film never quite blew me away like I was expecting it to. Perhaps I had expectations of this reaching Godfather heights which of course was unfair. Granted, I didn't think I went in expecting so much, but it's possible I did.

Still, this is a great film, and one that I will eventually revisit. Coppola's direction is fantastic and Hackman delivers one of his finest performances. If nothing else, it's great to watch and think on when Francis Ford Coppola was the man.

A-

The Goonies (1985): This is one of those movies that people watch when they're kids and end up loving later on out of nostalgia. I never saw it as a kid, my dad thought Stand by Me would be more beneficial. I'm glad he did because this movie kind of sucks.

The plot follows a young group of boys who stumble across a treasure map and go on an adventure to find it. Not a bad set up, but the execution is sloppy. Some of the kids are very annoying, especially Chunk. I know the character is suppose to be annoying, but I can't help but wonder why the boys are even friends with him. I also found their adventure uninteresting, the comedy unfunny, and for the most part I was just bored. Also the stuff with Sloth was weird, awkward, dumb, and unnecessary.

There were some things I liked though. Director Richard Donner does give the film some energy and I liked two of the kids (Mikey and Data). It's also interesting to see so many talented actors in bit parts.

Ultimately, this movie is just way too silly for my tastes. At the beginning of this I compared the film to Stand by Me. The reason that film works so well is there is a mature story that adults can latch on to, but is not so mature it alienates kids. On the contrary; the story is just mature enough that kids know they're watching something important but still accessible enough they can have a good time. Goonies is pure silliness. If you're a kid I'm sure it's awesome, but any older and the film loses its appeal.

D+

The Big Red One (1980): I expected a lot from this formerly lost World War Two film and it's fair to say I was let down. The film doesn't say much about the nature of war, we never find out much about the characters, and the battle scenes don't have the authenticity I'd have expected given the film was made by a real WW2 veteran. On the plus side, the battle scenes are fairly entertaining and there are several throughout the film. It's never boring, but it never really delivered in a major way either.

C+

Who's That Knocking at My Door (1968): Who's That Knocking at My Door is an important film in that it's the first one from the great Martin Scorsese. The film itself is very flawed. The story has no real focus and the whole thing feels like a lesser version of Scorsese's 1973 film Mean Streets. Still, there are some brilliant moments which show the early beginnings of Scorsese's genius. Not a great film, but an important one and I'm glad I saw it.

C+

The 39 Steps (1935): I really loved The 39 Steps after finishing it. A few days has lowered my opinion of the film a bit, but this is still a great movie. The plot follows an innocent man who is sucked into an adventure of spies and murder. It's a constantly entertaining and exciting film and Hitchcock shows a powerful grasp on suspense. Leading man Robert Donat is very good and the rest of the cast is good too. Plus there are some very fun scenes. Perhaps the film's biggest weakness is that Hitchcock would eventually direct North by Northwest, a film with a very similar set-up but one that blows The 39 Steps away in every regard. Still, the 39 Steps is a great film from the Master of Suspense himself.

A-

Throne of Blood (1957): Throne of Blood is an adaptation of Macbeth sent in feudal Japan and directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. It's a great film but one I feel could have been better. Certain parts are omitted from the film and I felt their absence. The film just had a feeling that elements were missing. Plus I feel like other Kurosawa epics like Seven Samurai and Ran put this to shame. Still, there's a lot to love. Toshiro Mifune is great as the Macbeth stand in as is Isuzu Yamada as his wife. The dynamic between the two is great, I love the witch, and the film has an awesome ending. So while I do think Throne of Blood could have been better, the film is still pretty damn awesome.

A-

Lawrence of Arabia (1962): (Second viewing) What can I say about this film that hasn't been said a million times before? It's a masterpiece, a true epic, one of the greatest films blah blah blah. You've heard it all before. But the thing is, it's all true. The film is a grand accomplishment in every sense of the word. A staggering epic large in scope and scale, but also with a very deep and introspective look at the main character T.E. Lawrence, played marvelously by Peter O'Toole. David Lean's direction is phenomenal and it amazes me just how many levels this film succeeds on. Perfect filmmaking.

A+

Blood Simple (1985): The Coen brothers debut film is a good one but I can't say it's a great one. I like the plot and I like how the seemingly simple story becomes so complex thanks to the characters. I also love the climax. But at the same time, I thought there were long stretches where this dragged. Overall, it's a very good film and a strong debut for the Coens, but it isn't one of my favourites.

B+

High and Low (1963): High and Low follows a business man who's family becomes the victim of a sadistic kidnapper demanding a huge ransom. It's a simple premise, but one that succeeds on several levels. The film works as a thriller, a procedural, and as a statement on class in Japanese society. The film so effectively balances these elements so well one can't help but be impressed. Toshiro Mifune also delivers another great performance. Still, this film never blew me way in the way other Kurosawa films had. Even Throne of Blood, while on the whole inferior to High and Low, ultimately had higher highs. Still, High and Low is without a doubt a great film and another win for Akira Kurosawa.

A
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #256
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Shame. I love both Killer of Sheep and Sunrise. KoS being a huge contender for one of the best American independent films ever.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:34 PM   #257
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I say it every time it's brought up but it's in hopes to get more people to see it, and that's that Lolita is still one of my favorite Kubrick's.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:08 PM   #258
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I really liked Sunrise.

Also, at least keep in mind "A Hard Day's Night" was actually pretty progressive filmmaking at the time. You didn't see too many movies where people were all of the sudden inexplicably riding bicycles outside of a moving train.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:43 PM   #259
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Quote:
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From letterboxd:
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): A bickering middle-aged couple use a younger and happier couple in order to spite each other.

I haven't been so split on a film in a long time. On the one had, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor give incredible performances that will stick with me for a long time. There's also some great scenes. On the other hand, the movie amounts to little more than two horrible people arguing. That's fine for a bit but becomes tiresome quickly. This is also a very stage-bound production and the film's attempt to reduce that feeling actually accentuate it. I suppose the extreme highs and the extreme lows cancel each other out and the result is a film of average quality.

C

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927): I actually thought this film started out pretty interesting with a depressed husband contemplating drowning his wife. That's hardcore. Then the movie becomes about the couple bonding in the city, which is far less interesting. Not terrible but pretty boring.

C-

A Hard Day's Night (1964): A Hard Day's Night is a hard film to talk about. There isn't really a story and most of the film is just The Beatles hanging around. If you love The Beatles I imagine the film is a great time but I don't. That's not to say I think The Beatles are bad, they just aren't a band I listen to often. The film itself, I don't know. There's definitely a lot of charm here and the film is a historical curiosity, particularly in how it captures "Beatlemania". There's also some good music as one would imagine but overall it amounts to very little.

C

Harvey (1950): I have a lot of issues with this film. First off, its depiction of mental illness and institutions is offensive. I know this came out in 1950, but still. I wouldn't mind if the comedy was stronger, but this movie isn't very funny either. In fact most of the characters were either boring, stupid, or flat out annoying. The only thing I like about this film is Jimmy Stewart's performance who is incredibly charming and likable. But even his talents can't save this.

D
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:48 PM   #260
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:50 PM   #261
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:22 PM   #262
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A Passage to India (1984): David Lean's final film deals with 1920s India and the colonialism from the British. This seems like idol material for Lean but there's a lot of issues here. For starters, this is a pretty long film, which isn't unusual for David Lean, but what is unusual is how dull stretches are. A lot of his other films are long too but they're also constantly engaging. Passage to India on the other hand doesn't really pick up until about the halfway mark, and even then it isn't really worth the wait. Still, the film is never bad. The actors are all good, the overall themes are good (though not explored as thoroughly as I would have liked), the music is good, and the film is competently put together. The problem is the film is never great, in fact it never comes close.

B-

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985): Set during The Great Depression, a down on her luck waitress named Cecilia (Mia Farrow) finds escape in the movies. After repeatedly seeing one picture, one of the main characters (Jeff Daniels) leaves the film to get to know Cecilia, which causes an uproar for the rest of the characters, the theater goers, and the movie studios. What follows is a light comedy of Cecilia getting to know a fictional character and everyone else trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.

I've greatly enjoyed all of the Woody Allen films I've seen and this film continues that tradition. The cast is great, particularly Mia Farrow and Jeff Daniels who are both extremely likable and charismatic. The high concept here is creative and I think it leads to some interesting ideas about the nature of escapism, the relationship between viewer and film, and what movies and reality can learn from each other. These ideas aren't presented in a boring or preachy way either. The film is delightful and fun, but it never ignores reality either. Overall, the film doesn't quite go as far as I'd like with the ideas it has and there is one scene I feel could have been better, but this is still a great film and definitely one of my favourites from Allen.

A
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:25 PM   #263
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Does 'Manhattan' count as a classical film yet? Because I watched it last night for the first time and it was sensational. I think it may contain the funniest scene from any movie, ever:

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Old 03-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #264
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It definitely counts. I love Manhattan. It's my second favourite Allen film after Annie Hall.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:30 PM   #265
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Some Billy Wilder for ya:

Stalag 17 (1953): Stalag 17 is a German POW camp where escape attempts are repeatedly thwarted and the prisoners suspect there is a rat among the prisoners. The first half of the film I wasn't crazy about. There's a lot of comedy that I didn't care for. Not that it was bad, but I was much more interested in the drama of the film. There's also a very annoying duo in the film which are constantly involved in comedy hijinx. Unfortunately they're in the film throughout but more so the first half. The second half starts to pick up though when the film focuses on the paranoia among the prisoners. That stuff is awesome and genuinely had me glued to the film. William Holden gives a dynamite performance in the lead role and as far as I'm concerned earned his Oscar. I've always liked Holden and it's nice to see him in a film where he has the best performance considering in other films he's over shadowed by the likes of Gloria Swanson, Peter Finch, and Alec Guinness in various other films. So overall, while I don't think Stalag 17 deserves to be placed with Billy Wilder classics like Sunset Boulevard, it is a very good film all the same.

B+

Sabrina (1954): The story a chauffeur's daughter who becomes romantically involved with two of the men her father works for. It's interesting that I have similar issues with this as I did the last Billy Wilder film I watched; Stalag 17. Both films have a weak first half but pick up in the second. Here the issue is that most of the first half is just set up for the second. I like that the movie took time to build but the set up is pretty uninteresting. The second half is much better with some fun romance, comedy, and solid performances from Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. I also like how there is a bit of social commentary about the nature of the first class' relationship with the hired help. It isn't over done or even overly revealing, but it's there for those looking for it. Overall the film doesn't have the same level of execution, fun, and pure movie magic that Wilder would eventually bring to his romantic comedy The Apartment, but Sabrina is fun for what it is.

B
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:22 AM   #266
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Some Spielberg,


The Color Purple (1985 People often describe this as Steven Spielberg's first "grown-up" film which I find quite insulting. Just because movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws are genre pictures anyone can enjoy does not mean they weren't made for adults. At any rate, I think what people mean to say is that it's Spielberg's first straight-forward drama which isn't a genre film, but I suppose that's more of a mouthful. The film itself is problematic. For a film that depicts racism, sexism, parental abuse, marital abuse, psychological torment, and rape, there are a lot of lighter and comedic moments. Now lighter moments could have worked, but they feel so jarring and out of place and it throw off the movie's tone. The film is also far too long. That said, there is one great scene here and I do really like Whoopi Goldberg's performance. Not bad, but definitely not good. Perhaps Spielberg wasn't ready to make a film with such inherently dark drama hence the tonal inconsistency. Or perhaps the challenge lay in adapting the original drama. Whatever the case, Spielberg had made much better films before and would go on to make better ones since.

C

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): Strange happenings are affecting Muncie, Indiana that suggest the presence of aliens. I still have a lot of Steven Spielberg films to see, but I think Close Encounters marks the last of the classic Spielberg films I had yet to see. For the most part it completely lived up to the hype. The story is very intriguing, the film is full of imagination, the actors are strong, and the ideas behind the film are fascinating to me. Spielberg also gets some amazing visuals through the cinematography. My only issue is with a decision the main character makes near the end which Spielberg admits he would do differently today. Still, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is an engrossing and powerful picture worthy of its reputation.

Update: This film hasn't left my brain since seeing it and my one compliment has felt like less of an issue as time has passed. I love this movie.

A+
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:06 PM   #267
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I would root for Cleopatra (The old one of course) Ben Hur and Spartacus. Just look at the decorations and costumes in these films! Cant believe we start to forget these....
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:48 PM   #268
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Bunch of Kurosawa...

Sanshiro Sugata (1943): I've loved every Akira Kurosawa film I've seen and was very excited to see his film debut even though I knew it would likely have some hiccups. As I suspected, this film is very problematic. The story telling is a bit of a mess and at times a bit random. Part of this is because a portion of the film has been lost. More importantly though, I had a hard time really connecting to this film. Still, there's some good stuff here too. The beginnings of Kurosawa's style are every present and there are themes here which would become staples of his career. There's also some really solid scenes. Overall, I can't call this a good film but I don't think it's bad either. A decent start for the amazing filmmaker.

C


The Most Beautiful (1944): The second film Akira Kurosawa directed and the first film of his I would call flat out bad. The themes of how war forces maturity is fine and the story has more focus than Kurosawa's first effort, but this is still a dated propaganda film very thinly veiled by an uninteresting story. Not awful, but very weak.

D+


Sanshiro Sugata Part Two (1945): Kurosawa's sequel to his debut film is in some ways a step forward, in other ways a step back. Overall, the film is probably more consistent in its storytelling and more accessible, but overall Part One had more memorable moments which make it a superior product. Part Two isn't a bad film, and I like it more than Kurosawa's The Most Beautiful, but it hasn't reached the level of good either.

C-


The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945): Akira Kuroswa's fourth film and the last one in the "First Films of Akira Kurosawa" box set from criterion. I would also say at the time, this was his best film (even though the date here says 1952 the film was first completed in 1945). The story follows a group of samurai escorting a wanted men through enemy occupied territory. It's a good set up and reminiscent of the types of films I love from Kurosawa. In fact there's a scene here, where the group is being continually pestered by an eccentric character that is very reminiscent of a similar scene from Seven Samurai. The film also looks better than Kurosawa's first three films and features some tense moments. The major downside here is that the film is very insubstantial. The film is only one hour long and not much actually happens. I still wouldn't call this a good film, but one can see Kurosawa becoming better and better.

C+


Dodes'ka-den (1970): If nothing else, this one of the most unique Akira Kurosawa films I've seen. The film follows a few days in the lives of several people living in what is essentially a trash heap. This is a film which has it's moments. There is one genuinely interesting story involving a young girl living with her aunt and uncle that took some nice turns. I also found the mentally disabled character to be very amusing. I know that sounds incredibly offensive and politically incorrect, but please believe me when I say I don't mean it to be condescending. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of segments which I found fairly dull and on the whole I don't think this amounts to much. Kurosawa does an excellent job balancing the stories, but my interest in them was sporadic.

C


Kagemusha (1980): Kagemusha opens in the 1500s with a Japanese lord hiring a former thief with a resemblance to himself as his body double. The film than follows this double through intense trials. I'll leave the synopsis at that since I think the less you know the better. Akira Kurosawa has described this film as a "rehearsal" for his 1985 film Ran and it does show. The storytelling isn't as polished as I would have liked and the film is a little self-indulgent in its runtime. Both substantial problems I did not have with Ran. I also feel like the story here, while interesting, does not have the same impact as Ran or several other Kurosawa films for that matter.

With all that said, this is still a pretty solid movie. Tatsuya Nakadai is great in the lead role and I actually find his character to be very tragic. The production values are also very high, the battle scenes engaging, and there's a very good dream sequence featured. Kagemusha is not in the same class as Kurosawa's great films, but it is very good.

B


Red Beard (1965): Red Beard tells the story of a young doctor who is forced to work at a clinic he initially hates but slowly gains an appreciation for. This is a long film and it felt like it in the first half. Akira Kurosawa has a very deliberate pace to his films where he allows the story to play out slowly and naturally. I love that approach usually, but the first half of the film is kind of uninteresting and hard to sit through. However the film picks up in the second half where it becomes more interesting and emotional. Toshiro Mifune delivers his final performance in a Kurosawa film and he's fantastic. It's amazing to think it's the same actor who played the eccentric and obnoxious Kikuchiyo in Seven Samurai. Overall, while the film takes time to get going, the wait is worth it.

B
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #269
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Figured I'd get back to posting in this thread. These are from the past few months (part 1)...

The Jazz Singer (1927): For the most part, I actually enjoyed myself while watching this. While the story is simple, it's executed fairly decently, and while I felt like I'd seen it before, it still managed to hold my attention. But the one thing that bothers me the most and I just don't get (I think you can guess this) is why the hell did the main character have to spend the majority of the last half hour in blackface? Seriously. That actually brought the movie down a bit for me, even if it was already pretty formulaic to begin with. **1/2 /****

The Best Years of our Lives (1946): First off, credit has to be given to The Best Years of Our Lives for tackling the story material of veterans dealing with post-war problems and issues so soon after World War 2. And, as expected, the film is at its best when it deals with that head-on. The film's major fault and shortcoming, however, is focusing on a love triangle that's nowhere near as interesting as the initial premise. I suppose that's Hollywood at work for ya, but while that isn't enough to bring the film completely down, it IS enough to knock it down at least one notch. Also, at 172 minutes, the film feels unneccesarily long, leading to a few dull stretches here and there. For the most part, though, this is a competent and worthy film, but I can't help but notice how great it really could've been if it had focused solely on the veterans attempting to re-acclimate into society and dropped the romantic melodrama. **1/2 /****

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942): I think I'm starting to develop something of a soft spot for musicals.

While not anything overly deep or noteworthy, Yankee Doodle Dandy still manages to be a consistently entertaining and fun film full of catchy and memorable musical numbers. And at the heart of it all is an endearing performance from James Cagney, who brings such a natural charm to George Cohan. Also, the film moves at a nice pace and doesn't have any excess baggage to weigh it down. Plus, the most important thing for any musical is how memorable the songs are. Well, I still have quite a few tunes from this film floating around in my head, most notably "Over There." While it's not anything great, Yankee Doodle Dandy is still a light, breezy and fun time -- exactly the things that a movie such as this should be. ***1/2 /****

Easy Rider (1969): Easy Rider is such a frustrating movie. Not because it's very bad, but because it's an average one that offers brief glimpses of a much better film every now and then before going back to its overall unremarkableness. What really holds this movie back the most is the fact that the "plot" wanders around aimlessly as not much of anything happens and makes the film thus feel rather pointless. And the ending is so abrupt and jarring that it just hammers that point home even further. I suppose the argument could be made that the whole point of the movie is to simply show the death of the American dream, and I admit I've liked (even loved) movies that have focused more on ideas or characters than plot, but Easy Rider didn't present any of those types of elements that I could sink my teeth into. On the flip side, the acting is strong and the pacing brisk. **1/2 /****

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948): Oh, how much better this was than Huston and Bogart's Maltese Falcon. The story to this film was a lot more interesting and easy to get into, plus it's one of those classic films that has a timeless feel to it. The screenplay is one of the film's biggest strengths, as it very effectively explores the issues of greed and paranoia that are inherent with the scenario of gold prospecting. The way Huston gradually builds upon those feelings lends this film a strong sense of atmosphere that keeps us hooked on a scene-by-scene basis. Humphrey Bogart is, of coursde, fantastic, as are his two supporting players, and the way his character evolves over the course of the film is fascinating. In fact, his arc may be one of the strongest elements about Sierra Madre. Overall, this is a gripping and exciting film; I loved it. ****/****

Gone With The Wind (1939): I tried with this movie...I really did, but I just could not get into it. This might've come off as high drama back in 1939, but here in 2013, it's nothing more than a glorified soap opera. A glorified soap opera that's nearly 4 hours. I've seen movies where a very long running time has felt justified, but all throughout Gone With The Wind, I couldn't help but thik how much time could've been trimmed. Not only that, but there were also many stretches where I was just plain bored. On top of that, Scarlett O'Hara is a spoiled ***** who I just wanted to slap after so many scenes. Even if we're not supposed to sympathize with her, putting such a grating character at the center of such a long film doesn't help matters all that much. I don't care if this makes me sound racist, but Mammie was my favorite character in the whole movie. She and Rhett made some of the stretches of boredom somewhat tolerable. *1/2 /****

A Fistful of Dollars (1964): Directed by Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars is about a wandering gunman with no name (Clint Eastwood) who comes into a town controlled by fear and pits two rival families against each other in an attempt to restore the peace in said town.

It's a very simple and straightforward story when all is said and done, and for the most part, the movie's fairly entertaining. It's paced well, isn't overlong and there's always something interesting going on. As "The Man With No Name," Clint Eastwood is effective and carries the movie with minimal effort. His gruff demeanor works for the character, especially early on in the movie when, as he's walking to gun down a couple of bad guys, he says to a nearby coffin-maker: "Have three coffins ready." Then, he kills four men, and the next time he passes the coffin-maker, he dryly remarks, "My mistake. Four." The shootouts are all fun as well. Now, while I definitely enjoyed this movie, I feel like I would've liked it more if I was a bigger Western fan. As it stands, A Fistful of Dollars is a good movie, but I just can't call it anything more. Perhaps because it feels pretty basic. But still, I liked it enough to want to check out the other two films in the "trilogy." ***/****

Stagecoach (1939): I don't think it's that I'm not much of a Western fan so much as it is that I'm just picky when it comes to the genre. Call me shallow or simple-minded all you want, but at the end of the day, I need my Westerns to be EXCITING. John Ford's Stagecoach is undoubtedly well-made and acted, but I still found it pretty dull more often than I did interesting. I'm not gonna say "It needed more shootouts," but I WILL say the characters didn't interest me all that much. John Wayne is good, though, and easily the most likable character in the film. But everyone else just felt like...not fillers, but just the sort of characters you'd find on a checklist of Western archetypes. Overall, though, it's not awful, just not all that impressive. **/****

The Sting (1973): I'm kind of torn on this movie. On the one hand, it features superb acting, a fun plot, and very good direction and dialogue. On the other hand, if you've seen enough of these kinds of grifter movies, then you can probably predict most of the major twists and turns. I know I did. A lot of the best of this genre manage to contain a certain degree of unpredictability and intrigue, and while The Sting certainly has intrigue and is good fun, I can't really say it had that unpredictability factor. It all mostly plays out the way you'd expect. Nonetheless, it's still fun to watch it play out with such skill, and I can't deny I had a good time with it. ***/****

Dr. Strangelove (1964): My thoughts on this movie are pretty basic. I get that this film is satire, but while I certainly found it amusing more than once, very rarely did I actually find it funny. Now, to be sure, it IS a well-put-together film, but it still never really clicked for me. Some scenes which I thought were funny were whem The President is on the phone with Dimitri (especially the tone the President takes with him) and Dr. Strangelove's monologue at the very end; his accidentally referring to The President as Der Fuher was great. But, yeah, I really don't have much more to say, other than I liked plenty of individual scenes, but as a whole, Dr. Strangelove never really made an impact on me. Maybe Stanley Kubrick films just don't work for me the same way they do for most people. **1/2 /****

It Happened One Night (1934): This is often regarded as a great film...well, I liked it, but I certainly wouldn't call it great. For the most part, this is the rare kind of romantic comedy that's actually enjoyable. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert lend a good amount of likability to each of their characters, which is one of the most important factors about a movie like this. They also have good chemistry together, which makes most of their scenes quite fun to watch. On the other hand, for a movie where the running time is just 105 minutes, It Happened One Night has a pace that's curiously slow, something which becomes more obvious at around the hour mark. Plus, I think the ending is dragged out a little too much. Still, it's an enjoyable and charming little movie. ***/****
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:49 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by MovieBuff801 View Post
The Jazz Singer (1927): why the hell did the main character have to spend the majority of the last half hour in blackface?
Because it was 1927.

Quote:
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942): I think I'm starting to develop something of a soft spot for musicals.
People only hate musicals in theory.

Quote:
Easy Rider (1969): Easy Rider is such a frustrating movie. Not because it's very bad, but because it's an average one
I agree. It's ridiculously overrated. BUT... I think that's just a generational thing. We weren't alive in 1969 so we just don't get it.

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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948):
****/****
Amen.

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Gone With The Wind (1939): I tried with this movie...I really did, but I just could not get into it.
It has it's moments.

Quote:
A Fistful of Dollars (1964):
I liked it enough to want to check out the other two films in the "trilogy." ***/****
Are you seriously seeing these movies for the first time? Oh right, I forgot. You're like 13. I'm glad the new generation is checking it out. Don't forget Once Upon a Time in the West, Duck You Sucker, My Name Is Nobody, and Once Upon a Time in America.

Quote:
The Sting (1973):
it features superb acting, a fun plot, and very good direction and dialogue.
And MUSIC!

Quote:
Dr. Strangelove (1964):
**1/2 /****
WOW! We need to lock you up in the insane asylum.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:03 PM   #271
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Agree with pretty much everything except Strangelove of course.
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Old 09-22-2013, 10:14 PM   #272
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Since I'm a copycat, I too will update with some stuff from the past few months...


Hannah and Her Sisters (1986): Going into this, I expected a fun Woody Allen film which would be enjoyable enough. Instead I got a film which is one of his absolute bests. The film juggles several stories and characters, all of which it are interesting and well executed. The film is constantly engaging, funny, dramatic, and handles some very interesting themes. In fact the conclusion it comes to is one I genuinely found moving. Great film, second only to Annie Hall in my ranking of Allen's work.

A+

Saboteur (1942): Another Alfred Hitchcock film about an innocent man wrongfully accused, struggling against both the authorities and the true villains. It's another solid film from Hitchcock with lots of thrills and it ends on a cool set piece. There are problems though. The film came out right in the middle of World War Two and is so pro-America at times it almost feels like propaganda. I also feel the leads aren't nearly as charismatic as the two in Hitchcock's comparable "The 39 Steps". "Saboteur" also loses its energy from time to time. Still, this is a very entertaining film from the master of suspense.

B

Marnie (1964): Marnie is a film I was really excited for. The idea of Alfred Hitchcock and Sean Connery coming together is beyond awesome. The end result is a film that's...weird. For me, the biggest problem is a clash of tones. Is the relationship between Marnie and Mark demented and sad or romantic and helpful? The film flip-flops between the two when it should be clear the relationship is disturbing. It's really ****ed up, and when the film tries to play off Mark's actions as heroic I find it jarring. Additionally, the film has a lot of conflicting ideas which never come together fully and on the whole lacks energy.

Thankfully the film has some solid elements. Despite my problems with Mark's character, I really like Sean Connery's performance. He has that charm, but there's an obsessive and dark streak to the performance that works. Hitchcock also crafts some effective scenes, Bernard Herrman's score is great, and the ending is pretty solid. Plus I find it interesting that Mark's obsessions may just match Hitchcock's own. Not a good film, but not completely awful.

D+

To Catch a Thief (1955): To Catch a Thief isn't a bad movie by any stretch. Cary Grant is his charismatic self and there's some fun scenes, but the film is never all that engaging and the twist is pretty obvious. Overall this is a pretty underwhelming film.

C+

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988): Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ is great for precisely the reason it was controversial; it presents Jesus in human terms and not divine. In the film, Jesus is portrayed as being full of doubt, fear, and sin. These traits make him and his struggles relatable and his sacrifice that much more powerful. And if nothing else, it is a bold decision that I admire. In addition, Willem Dafoe is very good in the lead role, Scorsese's direction is masterful as always, the costumes look good, and the music by Peter Gabriel (of all people) is awesome. I think my own lack of religious knowledge kept me at something of a distance, but this is still a very interesting film which impressed me greatly.

A-

Straw Dogs (1971): Straw Dogs tells the story of a married couple being pressured by the lower class locals and pushed to their limits. It really would be a sin to write more about the story because while not much happens, the impact is greater when one doesn't know. The only other Sam Peckinpah film I've seen is The Wild Bunch and I find the two very similar. Both are rich with thematic ideas, both have great performances from the leading man, and both have incredibly violent and well-executed climaxes. Unfortunately, both also suffer from stretches of tedium, and while the stretches in Straw Dogs aren't nearly as long or frequent as they were in The Wild Bunch, they're still their. Plus, I found some of the performances from the supporting cast weak and in general had a feeling of something missing. Still, this is a very good film. The lead is incredible, the film is tense throughout, and the themes are well handled and interesting.

B+

Rebecca (1940): Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" is famous for being the great director's only film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. While it is a good film, I don't think I'm out of line in saying Hitch made other films more deserving of the prize. At any rate, "Rebecca" is a pretty solid movie. The second half is especially engaging and I like the performances. Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine are good as expected, but it's Judith Anderson who stole the show as the housekeeper. The film is very atmospheric and tense and there's some striking images. Having said that, it takes a while for the film to get going and the payoff at the end feels slightly unsatisfying.

B

The Great Dictator (1940): The previous Charlie Chaplin film I'd seen, The Gold Rush, was very enjoyable but ultimately just escapism. The Great Dictator is a different beast entirely. The film is a blatantly obvious satire of Nazi Germany and dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and I applaud Chaplin for making a film like this when he did. The satire of course is very funny and bold. There are also a lot of great physical gags and Chaplin himself gives great performances as both the Jewish barber and as the dictator Hynkel. Unfortunately the film has some problems. Certain scenes go on longer than they should and there's a weird scene where the lead female just speaks to the camera. But the film's largest shortcoming is its most famous moment; the speech.

Now a lot of people love this speech and it's easy to see why. Chaplin raises good points and people want to believe in the words being said. The problem is it doesn't work within the context of the film. Chaplin completely breaks character and is just preaching his opinions. I agree with those opinions, but again, context of the film. It also doesn't make sense that the Nazis would allow a speech like that to go on or break into cheering at the end of it. In fact the movie ends immediately after the speech as if to imply it brought on world peace. It's like if Dr. Strangelove ended with a speech about the dangers of nuclear war and the stupidity of the cold war. It's unnecessary and intrusive.

Still, these problems by no means ruin the film. The Great Dictator is still a great comedy which if nothing else should be commended for its bravery.

A-

Anatomy of a Murder (1959): There's a lot I admire about Anatomy of a Murder. James Stewart is perfectly cast, the film is very frank about rape and sexuality, and the movie's sense of humour keeps it from being too stuffy. But at the same time, I never really cared about the story and the film goes too long. There's also an undercurrent that things may not be what they seem but that never goes anywhere. Not a bad film, but I was underwhelmed.

C+



To be continued....
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:23 PM   #273
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Marnie (1964):

D+
Bulls--t. And you focused on Sean Connery's character even though Tippi Hedren is the star. It is Marnie's psychological backstory of child abuse that is at the center of the story. It's quite obvious we didn't see the same movie.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:40 PM   #274
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Rebecca is my favorite Hitchcock movie, Hannah and Her Sisters my favorite Allen.

And with Moviebuff and Dr. Strangelove, I had the same initial reaction when I saw it all those years ago but it turned out to be my favorite kind of movie; the one that gets funnier every time you see it. Watch it again in a couple months, you'll enjoy it much, much more.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:53 PM   #275
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And with Moviebuff and Dr. Strangelove, I had the same initial reaction when I saw it all those years ago but it turned out to be my favorite kind of movie; the one that gets funnier every time you see it. Watch it again in a couple months, you'll enjoy it much, much more.
Let's not forget that MovieBuff has a reputation for hating every popular comedy.
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