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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:57 am

    Brian T wrote:Just starting to watch Louis Malle's ATLANTIC CITY and those opening credits -- top heavy with Canadians nearly across the board -- has me seriously wondering where it was shot! IMDB sez Atlantic City, and since I've never been there I'll have to go on faith. I'll probably have to watch half tonight, half tomorrow night, but interesting so far, and Burt Lancaster's quite good.

    20 minutes in: definitely filmed in Atlantic City, for the most part, Smile

    Don't touch the suit. Lancaster is quite good.

    I was hoping this one would go to Criterion (I do have this and have seen it) since Criterion is a big Louis Malle fan (so am I), but they are going to put out Black Moon (which I have not seen).

    What other Malle films have you seen? Do you want some recommendations?

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:59 pm

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Don't touch the suit. Lancaster is quite good.

    I was hoping this one would go to Criterion (I do have this and have seen it) since Criterion is a big Louis Malle fan (so am I), but they are going to put out Black Moon (which I have not seen).

    What other Malle films have you seen? Do you want some recommendations?


    Enjoyed the rest of ATLANTIC CITY tonight. Still couldn't shake a certain "Canadian" feeling (or look?) to the whole thing, and seeing just about every Canadian character actor I grew up watching on television pop up in bit parts probably didn't help. Louis Del Grande, the casino manager who fires Sarandon, was a TV mainstay up here for what seemed like decades with a TV show I barely watched called SEEING THINGS. Harvey Atkin as the bus driver near the end is another veteran of every Canadian TV show ever made. Then there's Moses Znaimer, who actually gets billing in the opening credits, as one of the two thugs on Lancaster's tail (he's the one who keeps saying "gimme the money" or whatever). Znaimer is a Toronto media sorta-mogul who invented "CityTV", a station that was the first to break newsanchors free of their desks and have them deliver the news while standing and walking around a snazzy studio with all the production apparatus often right out in the open. Now he runs a radio station for "zoomers" (boomers who can't admit it, or something like that) entering their golden years. And then there's Al Waxman as the apartment drug connection. His 70's sitcom KING OF KENSINGTON is one of the few in this country during that era that was even remotely funny (well, relatively speaking). And then there's Robert Joy as the young kid who gets in over his head, and Kate Reid as Lancaster's bedridden "employer", and Sean Sullivan, and Hollis McLaren and of course, the sublimely loungey Bob Goulet (well, he was American-born, but he did make a name here)

    As ATLANTIC CITY progressed, I had serious doubts any of these guys actually traveled to Atlantic City, since most of their scenes seem to take place indoors or in outdoor locations that look like Toronto or Montreal streets decorated with American mailboxes, road signs, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that, considering Hollywood has used our cities as American doppelgangers for decades. And truthfully, only a Canadian, then or now, would raise an eyebrow at most of these players, so I tried my best to just pretend I was in the real Atlantic City the entire time, which wasn't hard thanks to Lancaster's incredible performance and Malle's distinctly European approach to what could've been a fairly standard plot.

    I haven't seem many Louis Malle films at all, actually, and the one I did see probably 20 years ago -- CRACKERS -- left me rather indifferent. I learned afterward that that's not one of his better films, so I'm just now taking advantage of the library's collection to see some of his other stuff. LACOMBE, LUCIEN, AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS, and VANYA are currently in my queue, but it could be days, or even months, before they get to me (such is the nature of the library system, but it does save me a lot of money). The trailer for BLACK MOON on Criterion's YouTube channel has me very intrigued, and by all accounts the movie is pretty far out. I'm also keen on seeing his other upcoming Criterion title ZAZIE DANS LE METRO (1960).

    Other recommendations welcome. If the library has them, I'll put them in my queue. Smile

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:41 pm

    Speaking of Criterion's, I'm always mentioning that I'm loaning them out from the local library, which has a substantial number of them available (including OOP rarities), so here's a (partial) list of the ones I've seen over the last year or so (in addition to various non-Criterions, which I won't bother listing). Not really an ideal way to watch them, as I have to take them as they come, but it's been educational to say the least! Laughing :

    Ace In The Hole, Amarcord, Antichrist, An Autumn Afternoon, L'avventura, Band of Outsiders, Battle of Algiers, Beauty And The Beast, Black Orpheus, Brand Upon The Brain, Breathless, A Canterbury Tale, Contempt, Le Corbeau, Coup de Torchon, Days of Heaven, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Double Life of Veronique, Eyes Without A Face, Gomorrah, Green For Danger, 49th Parallel, The Harder They Come, Hearts & Minds, Heaven Can Wait, Hopscotch, If..., Ikiru, In The Realm of the Senses, Jeanne Dielman, La Jetee/Sans Soleil, Jules et Jim, The Lady Eve, The Lady Vanishes, The Last Metro, Last Temptation of Christ, Last Year At Marienbad, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Magic Flute, Mon Oncle, Night Porter, Nights of Cabiria, A Night To Remember, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Rashomon, The River, Salesman, Sanjuro, Sansho The Bailiff, Tokyo Story, Traffic, Twenty-Four Eyes, Virgin Spring, Yi Yi, Yojimbo

    Title in blue are the ones I'd like to own, most likely on Blu-ray, as I'm sticking to that format for Criterions I buy moving forward (unless DVD is the only option).

    A few more Criterions still in my library queue:
    AlphaVille, Army of Shadows, The Bad Sleep Well, Danton, Drunken Angel, Early Summer, Fighting Elegy, L'Eclisse, Fish Tank (not sure if this is the Criterion, or the Canadian edition from Mongrel Media), Juliet of the Spirits, Knife in the Water, The Leopard, Madadayo, La Notte, Ordet, Pepe Le Moko, Pitfall (Teshigahara), Revanche, Solaris, Spirit of the Beehive, La Strada, Stray Dog, Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara, W.C. Fields - 6 Short Films, Wild Strawberries,

    Non-Criterion's still in the queue (some of these I've seen before, but I feel I need some refresher courses):
    Un Flic, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Heaven's Gate, It Happened One Night, Pale Flower, Rear Window, Stalker, Vertigo

    I also queued up Donald Richie's "Films of Akira Kurosawa" thanks to mentions of it by you can Cal in the old place. I suspect it will arrive before most of the Kurosawa movies I've yet to receive from the library, but I've seen enough of his other works that I can at least get something out of it for now.

    And, just picked up tonight:
    Gertud (Criterion), On The Waterfront.

    Finally, a couple of nights ago I received the library's copy of Robin Hardy's THE WICKER MAN (1973). Their site said it was the one-disc edition, but it's actually the two-disc with both versions of the film, so that was a pleasant surprise. It's by far one of the best British "horror" movies I've ever seen, if not one of the best British films ever made (I'd only seen bits 'n pieces of it on television decades ago). Now the trick will be to buy a copy of it without paying through the nose! Laughing I'm leaning toward the U.K. "Director's Cut" single-disc edition, which has plentiful extras and is priced quite reasonably.

    Just for kicks, and because I've heard universally bad things about it, I had to add Neil Labute's 2006 remake to my queue. That one just arrived tonight, and I'm about to pop it in. I have a feeling I might be asking for trouble, since I'm told this compilation captures all the best parts of the film into one handy package Laughing




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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:48 am

    I saw this (the "best bits" clip) a few weeks ago and nearly had an accident Very Happy .

    "How'd it get burned?! How'd it get burned?! How'd it get burned??! HOW'D IT GET BURNED?!!!"

    "The Beees! No, not the bees! Arghhh!"

    I find it hard that this remake isn't a spoof, but apparently it isn't Shocked . I must admit, after watching this, I was kind of curious in a morbid kind of way, but I think viewing it can only soil my appreciation of the original.

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:39 am

    Brian T wrote: ...I haven't seem many Louis Malle films at all, actually, and the one I did see probably 20 years ago -- CRACKERS -- left me rather indifferent. I learned afterward that that's not one of his better films, so I'm just now taking advantage of the library's collection to see some of his other stuff. LACOMBE, LUCIEN, AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS, and VANYA are currently in my queue, but it could be days, or even months, before they get to me (such is the nature of the library system, but it does save me a lot of money). The trailer for BLACK MOON on Criterion's YouTube channel has me very intrigued, and by all accounts the movie is pretty far out. I'm also keen on seeing his other upcoming Criterion title ZAZIE DANS LE METRO (1960).

    Other recommendations welcome. If the library has them, I'll put them in my queue. Smile

    I haven't seen CRACKERS, BLACK MOON, ZAZIE DANS LE METRO or VANYA, but I've seen quite a bit of other Malle films.

    Really there has been only one Malle film I have not liked: THE LOVERS.

    Don't forget his documentaries as well. Criterion (on the Eclipse label) has a great set including PHANTOM INDIA(yes this is very, very long) and CALCUTTA, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and a couple of others. Great set (if you are into documentaries). PHANTOM INDIA is especially impressive. I don't expect that you will agree with everything he does, nor all of his opinions (of course I'm much more conservative/libertarian than Malle), nor the fact that India has changed quite a bit, but it is still an impressive documentary.

    But my favorites are: MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS and THE FIRE WITHIN. Then you can follow it with LACOMBE, LUCIEN, MURMOR OF THE HEART and ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS.

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:01 am

    Brian T wrote:...A few more Criterions still in my library queue:
    AlphaVille, Army of Shadows, The Bad Sleep Well, Danton, Drunken Angel, Early Summer, Fighting Elegy, L'Eclisse, Fish Tank (not sure if this is the Criterion, or the Canadian edition from Mongrel Media), Juliet of the Spirits, Knife in the Water, The Leopard, Madadayo, La Notte, Ordet, Pepe Le Moko, Pitfall (Teshigahara), Revanche, Solaris, Spirit of the Beehive, La Strada, Stray Dog, Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara, W.C. Fields - 6 Short Films, Wild Strawberries,

    Non-Criterion's still in the queue (some of these I've seen before, but I feel I need some refresher courses):
    Un Flic, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Heaven's Gate, It Happened One Night, Pale Flower, Rear Window, Stalker, Vertigo

    I also queued up Donald Richie's "Films of Akira Kurosawa" thanks to mentions of it by you can Cal in the old place. I suspect it will arrive before most of the Kurosawa movies I've yet to receive from the library, but I've seen enough of his other works that I can at least get something out of it for now.

    And, just picked up tonight:
    Gertud (Criterion), On The Waterfront.
    ...

    That's an impressive list of upcoming Criterions. Some of them my favorites. I doubt Madadayo is the Criterion one since it is part of a set and there is an older release. But it is a good Kurosawa film (his last).

    I'm a big fan of WC Fields.

    I think you will enjoy the Kurosawa book by Richie. We can discuss more when you get it. If you get more into Kurosawa (and Japanese cinema) I also recommend Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto's Kurosawa book which is also about Japanese Film Studies as well. It is not an easy book, but has discussion on so many different topics.

    Gertud is tough. I understand the film, I understand why many critics like it, but all I'll say until you watch it is it was tough for me.

    Stalker is in my queue as well (well what I call a queue, it is just a separate area where I put films I want to watch next, I don't always pick from that, but I try Very Happy). The director is quite popular for art-house fans and I've liked his work, but sometimes (like with THE MIRROR) I find it pretentious and self-serving.

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:55 am

    Admin wrote:I saw this (the "best bits" clip) a few weeks ago and nearly had an accident Very Happy .

    "How'd it get burned?! How'd it get burned?! How'd it get burned??! HOW'D IT GET BURNED?!!!"

    "The Beees! No, not the bees! Arghhh!"

    I find it hard that this remake isn't a spoof, but apparently it isn't Shocked . I must admit, after watching this, I was kind of curious in a morbid kind of way, but I think viewing it can only soil my appreciation of the original.


    I think I can safely say that viewing the remake of THE WICKER MAN will in no way soil your appreciation of the original, and it's deserving of the derision heaped upon it. There are plenty of things at fault, but the key problem (particularly if you've seen the original) is maddeningly obvious at the outset: the entire Christianity versus Paganism subtext--the intellectual heart of the original film--has been jettisoned; the "villain" here isn't warring ideologies, it's the island community, period. And because this is a Neil Labute film, it's a secluded, modernity-resistant commune populated largely by butch-looking pseudo-Mennonite women who behave like priggish weirdos from the moment (divorced!) detective Nic Cage steps off the plane! They employ a bare minimum of male handymen--two of whom greet him at the dock with something bloody wriggling inside a burlap bag--but that and the fact that not one of them speaks are only one of many obvious clues that Cage's character is too stupid (as written) to figure out. Labute obviously felt the concept could survive transplantation from an arena of ideological warfare to one of a heavy-handed battle of the sexes, albeit one played out with grossly oversimplified character types. I can't really call the film a "wasted opportunity", because it simply wasn't necessary in the first place.


    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:11 pm

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:That's an impressive list of upcoming Criterions. Some of them my favorites. I doubt Madadayo is the Criterion one since it is part of a set and there is an older release. But it is a good Kurosawa film (his last).
    You're right about MADADAYO. When I typed the list, I had the library queue open onscreen and typed all the ones I thought were Criterion, and I think because the label carries so many of his films, I just lumped that one in with the rest.

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think you will enjoy the Kurosawa book by Richie. We can discuss more when you get it. If you get more into Kurosawa (and Japanese cinema) I also recommend Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto's Kurosawa book which is also about Japanese Film Studies as well. It is not an easy book, but has discussion on so many different topics.
    Actually, some of these Kurosawa sign-outs are revisits. I've seen quite a few of his films over the years, but most of them before I lived in Toronto, so finding and watching them prior to that was a sporadic affair at best, and spread out over many years, thanks to a lack of supply in my old hometown. The library here has finally provided a chance to see certain titles again, and fill in the gaps with quite a few others. They've also got a copy of the Yoshimoto book, but it's only available for viewing in the Reference Library downtown and can't be signed out (which is odd, considering it's still commercially available), so I'll have to head down there some day if I feel the need. I've also wishlisted it at Amazon, just in case.

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Gertud is tough. I understand the film, I understand why many critics like it, but all I'll say until you watch it is it was tough for me.
    I've seen a small batch of Dreyer's other films (which I just realized I forgot to include on my previous lists): PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, VAMPYR and DAY OF WRATH. Like the first one. The second one left me somewhat conflicted, despite some mesmerizing imagery. I thought DAY OF WRATH was excellent. A small sampling, I know, but he seems to run the gamut of artistic expres​sion(and, arguably, success). There's a scene or two from GERTRUD on the documentary included on Criterion's VAMPYR disc, and it certainly looks stagey, for starters ...

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Stalker is in my queue as well (well what I call a queue, it is just a separate area where I put films I want to watch next, I don't always pick from that, but I try Very Happy).
    I've got one of those too. Laughing . One of the reasons I've latched onto the library so much this past year is to keep the "home queue" from getting any bigger!

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I'm a big fan of WC Fields.
    I picked up the Criterion W.C. Fields shorts collection on my way out of town on Friday, along with ALPHAVILLE, ORDET, GERTRUD and Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW (another revisit, partly because I haven't seen it since the days of VHS and partly for the supplements). I haven't had much time this weekend to watch any of them, but hope to dig in to them when I get back home tomorrow night.


    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:57 am

    Brian T wrote: ...
    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Gertud is tough. I understand the film, I understand why many critics like it, but all I'll say until you watch it is it was tough for me.
    I've seen a small batch of Dreyer's other films (which I just realized I forgot to include on my previous lists): PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, VAMPYR and DAY OF WRATH. Like the first one. The second one left me somewhat conflicted, despite some mesmerizing imagery. I thought DAY OF WRATH was excellent. A small sampling, I know, but he seems to run the gamut of artistic expres​sion(and, arguably, success). There's a scene or two from GERTRUD on the documentary included on Criterion's VAMPYR disc, and it certainly looks stagey, for starters ...

    ...
    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I'm a big fan of WC Fields.
    I picked up the Criterion W.C. Fields shorts collection on my way out of town on Friday, along with ALPHAVILLE, ORDET, GERTRUD and Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW (another revisit, partly because I haven't seen it since the days of VHS and partly for the supplements). I haven't had much time this weekend to watch any of them, but hope to dig in to them when I get back home tomorrow night.

    I think ORDET is probably my favorite Dreyer film. My issues with GERTRUD are not because of some of the stage-ness, but we can discuss when you finish it. I'm a fan of VAMPYR because of the visuals, but it does become more difficult to talk about if you do not talk about the visuals Very Happy. PASSION... is his most famous film, on the most lists, and deservidly so. I like the lead's performance, I like almost everything about the film (not sure why one priest has glasses though Very Happy).

    WC Fields is one of the most underrated of comics now. He certainly is not PC and that has hurt him a bit over the years (funny in the 80s he was still quite known and popular). But his style of comedy is so unique with his wordplay, surly nature and personality to match.

    Don't forget this Easter Egg on the WC Fields Criterion shorts collection: http://www.criterionforums.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=295&view=findpost&p=4204

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:50 am

    Now watching: Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

    Well, I will be in a bit. Incidentally, my move has been pushed back a week, if anyone's surprised by my still being here Surprised .

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Sun May 01, 2011 3:52 pm

    Today's library acquisitions, a couple of which should be watched this evening:

    EARLY SUMMER (Criterion)
    DRUNKEN ANGEL (Criterion)
    I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (Criterion)
    VIRIDIANA (Criterion)
    BILLY JACK (saw this as a kid, but really needed to revisit it for context)
    OVER THE HEDGE (trying to catch up on all the CG movies from the past few years, in case any are worth owning on Blu)

    Recent library signouts (with apologies for not listing them here as I went along, but they arrive so fast and furious it's all I can do to watch them!), Title in blue are the ones I'd like to own on Blu-ray when (or if) they become available:

    Criterions
    THE WHITE SHEIK (Fellini)
    SATYRICON (Fellini) still debating whether I'd want to own this. It keep lingering . . .
    AMARCORD (Fellini)
    FELLINI'S ROMA (the kind of Fellini I don't like)
    JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (the kind of Fellini I do like)
    ORDET (Dreyer)
    GERTRUD (Dreyer)
    ALPHAVILLE (Godard)
    WILD STRAWBERRIES (Bergman)
    SOLARIS (Tarkovsky) (another one I previously viewed at too young an age)
    LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (Scorcese)
    ANTICHRIST (von Trier)
    AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (Ozu)
    THE NIGHT PORTER (Cavani)
    L'AVVENTURA
    SALESMAN
    THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
    6 SHORT FILMS BY W.C. FILMS
    YI YI (previously seen on VHS; wanted to revisit to see if I should eventually buy the Blu-ray)
    BROADCAST NEWS (this film did NOT deserve a spot in the Criterion collection. My guess is they did it because of a couple of prescient notions early on, but they're nothing in comparison to NETWORK)

    RUSSIAN ARK (Sokurov)
    FISH TANK (Arnold)

    REAR WINDOW (Hitchcock)
    VERTIGO (Hitchcock)
    IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (Capra) (not too hard to see how this pushed the envelope for its time)
    ON THE WATERFRONT (Kazan)

    CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Kubrick)
    KING OF COMEDY (Scorcese)
    ROSEMARY'S BABY (Polanski)
    MOMMIE DEAREST (previously seen, but was curious to hear John Waters' commentary, which is hilarious)
    EASY RIDER (Hopper)
    TAXI DRIVER (Scorcese)
    SERPICO (requested the DVD, but got the VHS. Watched it anyways. Smile )
    HEAVEN'S GATE (made it all the way through!)
    SCARFACE (DePalma) Only saw parts of this previously. Not overly impressed.

    A SIMPLE PLAN (Raimi)
    40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN (Extended cut; hilarious but goes on WAY to long; should probably try to see the theatrical version)
    DONNIE DARKO (Kelly)
    LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN (Norrington)
    BRUCE ALMIGHTY
    DREAMSCAPE
    BOOGIE NIGHTS

    WALL-E
    MEET THE ROBINSONS
    PRINCESS & THE FROG
    ASTROBOY (this is practically a Hong Kong film, what with all the behind-the-scenes talent involved!)


    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think ORDET is probably my favorite Dreyer film. My issues with GERTRUD are not because of some of the stage-ness, but we can discuss when you finish it.

    Lost track of this little discussion. To follow up, GERTRUD left me cold, and furthermore thinking it may have deserved the reportedly chilly crticial reception it received at the time of its release -- evidently the cinema of the time appeared to leave Dreyer behind. I actually signed it out a second time, on the advice of one of the interview subjects on the disc Laughing, who comments about Dreyer being a "woman's director" and GERTRUD improving greatly on a second viewing. Sadly, it didn't improve for me; I still find the main character's ideological stance to be off-putting and forced, even if it is kind of the point of the film, and she does pay a certain price for it. Still, it's a fascinating film on some levels, so I'd rank it favourably. ORDET was indeed excellent, but extremely sloooow which, among other minor quibbles, parks it just slightly behind DAY OF WRATH as my favourite Dreyer film. Clearly Dreyer even told his actors to move at half-speed, which doesn't entirely make thematic sense to me (reflecting the rigidity of religion, perhaps?) outside of it seemingly being one of his trademark techniques. I'm also in the camp of those who believe the ending doesn't work (I suppose I can blame my logic-driven mind for that), even though it certainly packs an emotional wallop.



    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Mon May 02, 2011 9:40 am

    Brian T wrote:Today's library acquisitions, a couple of which should be watched this evening:

    ...Criterions
    THE WHITE SHEIK (Fellini)
    SATYRICON (Fellini) still debating whether I'd want to own this. It keep lingering . . .
    AMARCORD (Fellini)
    FELLINI'S ROMA (the kind of Fellini I don't like)
    JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (the kind of Fellini I do like)
    ORDET (Dreyer)
    GERTRUD (Dreyer)
    ALPHAVILLE (Godard)
    WILD STRAWBERRIES (Bergman)
    SOLARIS (Tarkovsky) (another one I previously viewed at too young an age)
    LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (Scorcese)
    ANTICHRIST (von Trier)
    AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (Ozu)
    THE NIGHT PORTER (Cavani)
    L'AVVENTURA
    SALESMAN
    THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
    6 SHORT FILMS BY W.C. FILMS
    YI YI (previously seen on VHS; wanted to revisit to see if I should eventually buy the Blu-ray)
    BROADCAST NEWS (this film did NOT deserve a spot in the Criterion collection. My guess is they did it because of a couple of prescient notions early on, but they're nothing in comparison to NETWORK)

    RUSSIAN ARK (Sokurov)
    FISH TANK (Arnold)

    REAR WINDOW (Hitchcock)
    VERTIGO (Hitchcock)
    IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (Capra) (not too hard to see how this pushed the envelope for its time)
    ON THE WATERFRONT (Kazan)

    CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Kubrick)
    KING OF COMEDY (Scorcese)
    ROSEMARY'S BABY (Polanski)
    MOMMIE DEAREST (previously seen, but was curious to hear John Waters' commentary, which is hilarious)
    EASY RIDER (Hopper)
    TAXI DRIVER (Scorcese)
    SERPICO (requested the DVD, but got the VHS. Watched it anyways. Smile )
    HEAVEN'S GATE (made it all the way through!)
    SCARFACE (DePalma) Only saw parts of this previously. Not overly impressed.

    A SIMPLE PLAN (Raimi)
    40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN (Extended cut; hilarious but goes on WAY to long; should probably try to see the theatrical version)
    DONNIE DARKO (Kelly)
    LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN (Norrington)
    BRUCE ALMIGHTY
    DREAMSCAPE
    BOOGIE NIGHTS

    ...

    GERTRUD has a main character which just irks me exactly because of the ideological stance. I understand that is the point and her extremeness is the tragedy of the film, but like the overly annoying kid in THE TIN DRUM it doesn't mean you have to be endeared to the movie.

    Random Comments:

    EARLY SUMMER (Criterion): Another excellent Ozu.
    DRUNKEN ANGEL (Criterion): WHile it has its detractors (well everything does) it is another Kurosawa I enjoy.
    VIRIDIANA (Criterion): I like Bunuel and so I also like this film. I actually enjoyed it more than his DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID.
    OVER THE HEDGE: The slow motion scene had me laughing.
    THE WHITE SHEIK: Orson Welles had called this his favorite Fellini film. I enjoyed it, but I didn't take it too seriously and I prefer other Fellini movies.
    SATYRICON: Not sure if I like it or don't. One of the few films where its color range made me feel nausious.
    JULIET OF THE SPIRITS: I like this as well. I feel so bad for the main character.
    AMARCORD: Yes Criterion has films with flatulence. Fun Fellini.
    TAXI DRIVER: Easily one of my favorite films of all time. I tend to quote Travis Bickle from time to time.
    KING OF COMEDY: Excellent, but sometimes hard to watch characterization from De Niro and others Very Happy. Interesting to see Jerry Lewis perform a more serious role.
    IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT: Surprisingly it really didn't push the envelope that much because of the amount of pre-code films which would have nudity, violence, but seen in the light of 34 and beyond. Check out Claudette Colbert in earlier films especially with De Mille.
    SCARFACE: When I first saw it I gave it a ***/**** and so wasn't overly impressed (while liking it) either.
    LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST: I find it interesting that on the commentary Scorsese thought about doing it in Aramaic but decided that it wasn't feasible which Mel Gibson would do for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.
    REAR WINDOW: One of my favorite Hitchcock's along with VERTIGO Very Happy.
    6 SHORT FILMS BY W.C. FIELDS: I'm a big fan of Fields so this was a much purchase for me. I have many of his full length films as well.

    I have not seen ROMA, ANTICHRIST, MEET THE ROBINSONS, PRINCESS & THE FROG, ASTROBOY, BOOGIE NIGHTS, SERPICO, THE NIGHT PORTER, SALESMAN, SOLARIS, ROSEMARY'S BABY, HEAVEN'S GATE, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN, BROADCAST NEWS, RUSSIAN ARK, MOMMIE DEAREST, yet. (I think I got them all here)

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon May 02, 2011 10:33 am

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I have not seen ROMA, ANTICHRIST, MEET THE ROBINSONS, PRINCESS & THE FROG, ASTROBOY, BOOGIE NIGHTS, SERPICO, THE NIGHT PORTER, SALESMAN, SOLARIS, ROSEMARY'S BABY, HEAVEN'S GATE, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN, BROADCAST NEWS, RUSSIAN ARK, MOMMIE DEAREST, yet. (I think I got them all here)

    Of these, I'm thinking you could safely move LEAGUE, BROADCAST NEWS and the three cartoons (none of which are particularly memorable, particularly ASTROBOY) to whatever kind of "watch later" pile you might have. The rest are more fairly essential viewing in the bigger scheme of things . . .

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Tue May 03, 2011 10:37 am

    some comments on:

    Legend of the Black Scorpion (2006: Feng Xiaogang) Hong Kong/China aka The Banquet ***/****

    Using Shakespeare as an adaptation is both a boon and a bane for a movie. You have a template to one of the most famous writers that has his works retold many times, but that inevitable brings forth comparisons between not only the original work but also the many other works derived as well. The Banquet is a retelling of Hamlet but taking place during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period a perfect era bereft of stability for this adaptation.

    Emperor Li (Ge You) after disposing of his brother by poison takes the Empress Wan (Zhang Ziyi) for his wife. Li means to get rid of his nephew as well the somewhat brooding Crown Prince Wu Luan (Daniel Wu) who has been studying opera and the arts in the meantime. Wan is one of the few characters that is little different than their associations in Hamlet. Wan represents Gertrude but instead of being the mother of the Crown Prince she was once his lover until his Dad decided to wed her (reminiscent somewhat of a plot point in Curse of the Golden Flower which came out the same year which I slightly prefer of these two movies).

    Those familiar with Hamlet are going to know who each character represents and where the plot is going to go with a few exceptions. The exceptions make it an interesting watch, but one can’t help to bemoan the lack of character depth that is found in the play that is normally not found here. The original title of The Banquet is a much better title than Dragon Dynasty’s strangely titled Legend of the Black Scorpion.

    The first choreographed fight scene (done by Yuen Wo-ping) with the emperors men set out to kill his nephew the crown prince was spectacular in its strangeness yet sublime use of wuxia aesthetics mixed with a human marionette form. I put a link at the bottom, but it does miss a good portion of what happens earlier (which is why you will see many bodies in masks lying around). In terms of action nothing later in the film is quite as brilliant as this.

    Some of the characterizations are a little muddled. Wan waffles between who she loves in quite unconvincing ways. I am not sure if this is the fault of the director or Zhang’s acting. Daniel Wu’s performance is limited though he is effective in his role. I might be blinded by wanting a more emotional or intellectual “Hamlet”. I always expect a certain intensity of character.

    Even with the negatives mentioned above I do think many here will enjoy the film. It has a beautiful directorial style to it and a rich costume drama atmosphere. It is one of many costume dramas that have been appearing from China (and this is a Hong Kong collaboration as well). If you liked Curse of the Golden Flower I think you will like this. At least watch this before you watch An Empress and the Warriors (2008).

    Spoilers below: On the ending: the death of the Empress was purposefully done without showing who did it. Now while some like Bey Logan have stated the maid to the empress did it because of additional deleted scenes, but since those were admitted they do not count. It is known that Prince Wu Luan’s sword was used as well as the fact that women do seem to fall for the semi-brooding man, but I do think the open-ending was more to refer to the fact that in this time period especially that with revenge and power motifs you are never safe from the next assassination.

    The Emperor’s suicide was way too contrived.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-Uw40PGQw0

    Cash

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Cash on Wed May 04, 2011 8:40 pm

    I don't have the energy to think at the moment but I hope my grades will spark a [something] so I might return to some lively banter at a later date.

    Crank (2006) C+

    Day of the Woman (1978, AKA I Spit on Your Grave) C

    The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) A

    House of Wax (1953) A-

    Logan's Run (1976) B-

    Thunderball (1965) B

    Lebanon (2009) B

    Observe and Report (2009) C-

    Black Swan (2010) A-

    Get Him to the Greek (2010) B

    The African Queen (1951) A

    True Grit (1969) B-

    Inside Job (2010) A-


    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu May 05, 2011 11:01 am

    Grass: A Nation’s Battle For Life (1925) ***½/****:

    It is a condensed struggle of one half of the biannual Bakhtiari, a southwestern nomadic people, migratory movement from their winter residence (Khuzestan) to their summer residence (Chahar Mahaal). It is a movement necessary for their animals’ survival. It is a movement for grass. At several points in the film it states a journey of 50,000 people and for the most part you do not believe it until they show a few sparse shots showing in the background hundreds of people in a serpentine line slowly moving along (though we never get to see more than a thousand in one shot) the 15,000 foot Zardeh Kuh mountain.

    This will probably remind several of Nanook of the North, but in direction and excitement the film is as good as the more known film. It is more factual as well, but when watching it I suspected some artistic license as well like when they are crossing the Karun river it looks like some of the footage is used several times. It is effective though since it goes on a lot longer than you initially think and since it does seem perilous it increases the tension as well. Though I could have done without seeing some of the animals go under the water though.

    This is both Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s first work. I have heard of this movie and their next documentary Chang:A Drama of the Wilderness originally from extras on King Kong their most famous work. It is amazing what they accomplished with this film. I think anyone interested into documentaries and/or silent film in general will enjoy this.

    A common complaint that I read and I feel it is justified is the overuse of silly inter-titles. They read like they are out of a Harold Lloyd film with the same style of humor. They are most likely used to cover up the fact that the expedition most likely lost several on their quest for grass or at least make it more congenial to the audience, but with a few exceptions it feels out-of-place and contrived.

    The score on the Milestone edition by Gholam Hosain Janati-Ataie, Kavous Shirzadian and Amir Alie Vahabzadegan is impressive, fits the film quite well and is one of the better scores I have heard.

    There is a bonus feature with Rudy Behlmer doing an audio interview with Merian C. Cooper, but I have not gone over it yet. It is quite a long interview, over an hour and a half, but has that annoyance where I cannot stop in on my machine to take a pause.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Found this one from year back (dealing with grade above by Cash); great I wish I wrote more:

    House of Wax (1953): Since October started I figure to try to get at least 15 to 31 horror/suspense films this month. I started off with the role that stereotyped Vincent for the rest of his career even though he had 15 years of acting behind him. A fun film that was originally done in 3-D (yes lots of objects being pointed at the screen; the best is the "paddle man" who breaks continuity by talking to the audience). The ending is obvious, with a few surprises, though the campish (or hammy) performance by Vincent Price is the great attribute for this film.

    Also this film has an early role with Charles Bronson (billed as Charles Buchinsky) as a mute Igor.

    Admin
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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Thu May 05, 2011 2:15 pm

    Cash wrote:
    Observe and Report (2009) C-


    I rented this last week and couldn't finish it. I'm a big fan of comedies, and usually get at least something out of watching any kind of comedy, but I found Seth Rogan's character just really abrasive. And yes, I know that's the point but he didn't seem to have any redeeming characteristics in the 20-or-so minutes I watched. Mind you, having said that, it may just have caught me at a bad tme and one day I might find it hilarious.

    Cash

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Cash on Sun May 08, 2011 5:46 pm

    Found this one from year back (dealing with grade above by Cash); great I wish I wrote more:

    House of Wax (1953): Since October started I figure to try to get at least 15 to 31 horror/suspense films this month. I started off with the role that stereotyped Vincent for the rest of his career even though he had 15 years of acting behind him. A fun film that was originally done in 3-D (yes lots of objects being pointed at the screen; the best is the "paddle man" who breaks continuity by talking to the audience). The ending is obvious, with a few surprises, though the campish (or hammy) performance by Vincent Price is the great attribute for this film.

    Also this film has an early role with Charles Bronson (billed as Charles Buchinsky) as a mute Igor.

    Despite my better judgment I passed "House of Wax" over too many times for no particular reason and much to my chagrin it was probably better than 85% of what it was getting passed over for. As much as I enjoyed it -- I'm a sucker for the overall ambiance of classic horror cinema -- I couldn't help but feel the final reel lacked the suspense that preceded it.

    I, unfortunately, was unaware at the time that "House of Wax" (1953) is a remake of "Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933) and would have preferred watching the original first: it was in fact included on the B Side.




    Cash

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Cash on Sun May 08, 2011 6:06 pm

    I rented this last week and couldn't finish it. I'm a big fan of comedies, and usually get at least something out of watching any kind of comedy, but I found Seth Rogan's character just really abrasive. And yes, I know that's the point but he didn't seem to have any redeeming characteristics in the 20-or-so minutes I watched. Mind you, having said that, it may just have caught me at a bad tme and one day I might find it hilarious.

    More than abrasive to others he's ignorant of himself and laughing at how cruel others are to him made me feel like I was laughing at a group of teens harassing someone with special needs. Granted, "Observe & Report" has a handful of good laughs but for a comedy I left feeling depressed. I've been told "Hot Fuzz" is a livelier covering of similar ground.

    Admin
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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Sun May 08, 2011 11:43 pm

    Cash wrote:
    I rented this last week and couldn't finish it. I'm a big fan of comedies, and usually get at least something out of watching any kind of comedy, but I found Seth Rogan's character just really abrasive. And yes, I know that's the point but he didn't seem to have any redeeming characteristics in the 20-or-so minutes I watched. Mind you, having said that, it may just have caught me at a bad tme and one day I might find it hilarious.

    More than abrasive to others he's ignorant of himself and laughing at how cruel others are to him made me feel like I was laughing at a group of teens harassing someone with special needs. Granted, "Observe & Report" has a handful of good laughs but for a comedy I left feeling depressed. I've been told "Hot Fuzz" is a livelier covering of similar ground.
    Ah, now Hot Fuzz I love Smile

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Mon May 09, 2011 11:54 am

    Cash wrote: ...Despite my better judgment I passed "House of Wax" over too many times for no particular reason and much to my chagrin it was probably better than 85% of what it was getting passed over for. As much as I enjoyed it -- I'm a sucker for the overall ambiance of classic horror cinema -- I couldn't help but feel the final reel lacked the suspense that preceded it.

    I, unfortunately, was unaware at the time that "House of Wax" (1953) is a remake of "Mystery of the Wax Museum" (1933) and would have preferred watching the original first: it was in fact included on the B Side.

    Here is an ancient capsule review I had on that film:

    Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933): like the remake “House of Wax” this film was an earlier technological marvel by being an early complete two-strip Technicolor film (would there be any good use of this in filmmaking now; it has the most muddy, strange look when used as opposed to the three-strip). Many plot points are redone in the sequel like the professor, his wheelchair, many of the wax figures (though several are played by real people), the helpers etc… but it does not seem to play as well. Lionel Atwill does a good job as the devilish lead, but he fails to have the humor and panache that Vincent Price has. This is a decent early horror film that is on the “B” side of the WB “House of Wax” disk. Good direction by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca and over a hundred plus films). Not a good ending though.

    I think it is worth watch, much from the director Curtiz is (not that I consider him an auteur, but a solid director).

    I also like Hot Fuzz Smile. I'm not going to watch Observe and Report anytime soon.

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Wed May 11, 2011 11:41 am

    some comments on:

    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974: Joseph Sargent) ***½/****:

    What an effective and fun thriller this movie is. I was not expecting that much though I knew it had a good reputation with a few critics (like New York Times who have had it twice in their top 1000 films). But I knew that Robert Shaw could be effective and he certainly is here as a former British mercenary named Mr. Blue whose personality is perfect as a cold and calculating criminal mastermind (or possibly in between jobs) setting up an ingenious scheme. He is so calm and collected that he is working on a crossword puzzle while waiting for word of whether he is going to get the ransom money or whether he will have to start shooting the hostages.

    I noticed when they were exchanging names between his crew was that Tarantino took this idea and used it in Reservoir Dogs. The amount of future TV stars in this film is quite huge as well.

    Walter Matthau played the foil to Mr. Blue as well as a sarcastic curmudgeon (the role he was born to play) as Lt. Zachary Garber who is trying to keep the hostages alive while at the same time trying to figure out this plot and how was he and his crew going to get away with the ransom money (1 million dollars) being encased underground. His comedic moment with the Japanese was quite funny (I doubt it is original at this point though it now has been done many, many times), but it was a believable New York style of sardonic humor.

    I was not completely satisfied with the ending (well not the exact ending which was a classic freeze frame, but the whole wrap-up which was too predictable). There was a particular problem here that was in The Town (though more believable in The Town because they were not quite as intelligent) in which one member’s special abilities make them quite easy to track down (there is a discussion on IMDB’s board that talks about this being a potential plot mistake, I’m not so sure but I would have to go over it again).

    I am not too familiar with the director Joseph Sargent, but he has a prolific record of mostly TV movies. I did buy recently another one of his directed films the Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) which was also recommend to me by a much older friend who is also a fan of the reviewed film. I have also not seen the remake, but after watching this I have some curiosity towards it. But I wonder how effective they could have made it especially compared to this well made movie.

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Sat May 14, 2011 3:17 am

    Watched The Infidel last night. Some laughs, but a bit of a disappointment, and nowhere near as good as Four Lions, which I couldn't help comparing with for some reason.

    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu May 19, 2011 12:16 pm

    Grand Slam Opera (1936: Buster Keaton/Charles Lamont) ***½/****:

    Keaton’s career certainly did not end after his firing by MGM and his “comeback” in the 1950s was also erroneous (though his work was not always in front of the camera). Like LL Cool J he’s been there for years. Luckily a wealth of material has come out for Buster and two releases have made me quite happy. His Columbia shorts came out in the Buster Keaton - 65th Anniversary Collection by Sony and later Kino released his earlier shorts of the 1930s Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts 1934-1937 (though Kino has released a couple of the Educational shorts in The Art of Buster Keaton set). I noticed a particular pattern on reviews on these films: while these are not as good as his silent shorts they range from mediocre to good. I agree with that summation.

    A common tactic with some reviewers/critics is to overstate the lows of a particular favorite actor or director to make their highs seem even bigger. I had read many reviews where people mentioned that his shorts with Columbia and Educational were maligned, without giving a source on who maligned them. It made me wonder if these comments were overstated. Well I found one: Edward McPherson’s book “Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat” states on the Educational films “…despite what the diehards tell you, are really just for diehards.” and on Columbia “…the dreary two-reelers…”*

    Educational Pictures was a low budget studio by the time of the 1930s and would soon close after Keaton left them. Unfortunately many of their earlier prints were lost due to a nitrate fire at the Educational studios and I do wonder if the studio would have been thought better of if many of these still existed (I am a little weak of knowledge on this studio so if you have any information beyond the wiki entries on these please write here).

    There are two Educational shorts I highly recommend for fans of Keaton: One Run Elmer (which I need to do a review for because I feel it is completely underrated) and this one which tends to get the highest recommendations from reviewers. There is a good reason for that. This films works on many different levels as it is a parody, a very active comedy, an ineffective wannabe relationship, a comment on silent comedy in the radio age and much more in a 20 minute time period.

    Buster plays Elmer Butts an individual who is sent off on a railroad in song by a mob who does not want to see him back. This is parodying the Broadway musical Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway (got this bit of information from IMDB review by theowinthrop). He goes to New York(?) to live and hopefully make it. He auditions for a radio show called Colonel Crow’s (parodying Major Edward Bowes "Amateur Hour" and it reminds you a bit of The Gong Show) doing a vaudeville balancing act that, of course, makes no sense on the radio. He is quickly dismissed just like his advances on the girl (Diana Lewis) he likes and happens to run into everywhere. What will he do?

    There are a couple of awesome physical gags. He does a parody dance of Fred Astaire (Fred Aslare(sp?) is the name used here) where he sprinkles sand and dances above his beloveds head like Astaire in Top Hat. Also like Astaire he uses the whole room dancing on top of practically everything until a crashing end. Later he does a medley dance of practically every ethnic style from Irish to Russian. It is a sequence done so quickly and so well you recognize that he is still in excellent shape even after several years of alcohol abuse.

    * I noticed a huge gaffe already in this book: “Le Roi des Champs-Elysees took twelve days to shoot; Buster played two roles – the film ends with him breaking into a smile, a closing gimmick Keaton had been avoiding his whole life.” The gaffe is that he has tons of smiles in the Arbuckle shorts where Keaton experimented with personality. This is the type of statement that makes you wonder how much effort the writer went into Keaton’s career besides the obvious silent period. Unfortunate since it does not make me want to buy the book (I was reading through Google books).

    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu May 26, 2011 2:49 pm

    Recent signouts from the Toronto public library. I kinda liked Cash's inclusion of rankings, so I added my own to these, for whatever they're worth:

    LOLITA 8/10

    STRAY DOG 9/10

    FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH 7/10

    PINEAPPLE EXPRESS 6/10
    KNOCKED UP 7/10
    40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN 7/10
    Having now seen a good 75% of Judd Apatow's cinematic output (as writer, director or producer), as well as kissin' cousins like ADVENTURELAND and everything with Michael Cera in it, I can safely say I no longer wonder why so many upcoming action hero and (American!) superhero roles have been awarded to Brits and Australians lately . . . Laughing

    SCARFACE (32) 8/10
    SCARFACE (83) 6/10

    THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY
    THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY II
    (found THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY IN HONG KONG and CRAZY SAFARI at the Wa Yi a few months back, so their two South African predecessors became essential viewing. Still need to track down CRAZY HONG KONG, but who knows if that'll happen. Interesting that the supplements on the U.S. discs, which are quite insightful yet slightly damning when they need to be, make no reference to N'xau's "other" cinematic endeavours!)

    ARMY OF SHADOWS (Criterion) 8/10
    AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS (Criterion) 8/10
    DANTON (Criterion) 8/10

    CHICKEN RUN 7/10
    FLUSHED AWAY 7/10
    MONSTER HOUSE 7/10
    MEGAMIND 7/10
    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 8/10


    On tonight's program:

    The remainder of 20th CENTURY BOYS PART 3 (Japan).



    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974: Joseph Sargent) ***½/****:What an effective and fun thriller this movie is. I was not expecting that much though I knew it had a good reputation with a few critics (like New York Times who have had it twice in their top 1000 films).

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I have also not seen the remake, but after watching this I have some curiosity towards it. But I wonder how effective they could have made it especially compared to this well made movie.

    Late to comment on this, but I'll add two things. First, it's great that you saw this before the remake, as it blows the remake out of the water. The remake is not a bad film, per se, but it has almost none of the flavour of the original, certainly none of those great faces (you know, the types that actually looked like they could be New York working stiffs circa 1974), and the various little touches they added to modernize it -- particularly the young guy communicating with his tease of a girlfriend via his laptop -- were wholly unnecessary.

    And you should probably know it's considered a criminal offense to review the original TAKING OF PELHAM without paying due respect to David Shire's rousing score, one of the best of the decade. You may now make the requisite additions to your review. Laughing





    Last edited by Brian T on Thu May 26, 2011 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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