Nowhere Boy (Dir. Sam Taylor-Wood, 2009) – 7/10
There are a few powerful scenes, but it’s hard for me to get excited about a movie that spends most of it’s time merely visualizing stories that most Beatle fans are already familiar with. It was entertaining enough, though, and if you don’t know much about Lennon’s mom/aunt issues, this is a decent way to look at them.
Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks 1965) – 10/10
I think Hawks may be the best director of the Human Condition there ever was (hell, maybe the best director there ever was period).
Some Korean movie about a princess who was captured by the Mongols for which I can’t remember the name but it wasn’t very good. Before that, I saw some kind of Chinese version of Hamlet (ear poison and all) complete with martial arts but it was pretty mediocre except for the character of the Emperor which was totally “badass,” so to speak.
…in all, a fairly un-eventful weekend.
Black Narcissus- 5 of 5
I had not seen it before. It had been 36 hrs. and I haven’t been able to watch another film.
Powell & Pressburger ’47
Just saw this for the first time too, compelling/fascinating mix of eroticism, discipline, constraint, madness, humour and lurid colour, and adorable little white ponies.
Christopher and Megg – Black Narcissus is my favorite film of all time. I’m glad that both of you enjoyed it!
It’s quite mesmerising isn’t it. I was looking for something last night and saw Christopher’s comment so chucked it on, thought I’d just start it as was very tired but then couldn’t stop. Deborah Kerr was so beautiful and expressive. I loved Mr Dean too, wasn’t that a great scene when he rocked up drunk and started singing the carols, loved the way he trotted around the place in those appalling shorts on the little pony. He was a great character, the dynamics and energy created between the characters just by a look sometimes was quite spine tingling. And the gorgeous colours…and all shot at Pinewood. I was just reading up on the Powell Pressburger assocation and was intrigued to see their last film was the little Aussie flick They’re a Weird Mob. I had no idea.
Anyway I’m going to watch Red Shoes again today.
127 hours – 4/5
I’m scared of 127 Hours.
I’m watching Popeye(Altman) and Howard The Duck with a friend tonight, back to back!
Wish me luck ;-0
Now, those are two movies that I’m afraid of.
Chronicle of an Escape 2006
Crónica de una fuga
DIR Adrián Caetano
SCR Adrián Caetano, Esteban Student, Julian Loyola
CAST Rodrigo de la Serna, Pablo Echarri, Nazareno Casero, Lautaro Delgado, Matías Marmorato, Martín Urruty, César
The true story of four men who narrowly escaped death at the hands of Argentina’s military death squads during the 1970’s is brought to the screen in this thriller.
The Celebration 1998
DIR Thomas Vinterberg
SCR Thomas Vinterberg, Mogens Rukov
CAST Ulrich Thomsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Paprika Steen, Henning Moritzen, Birthe Neumann, Helle Dolleris, Trine Dyrholm, Therese Glahn, Klaus Bondam
The acclaim and allure of this film escapes me.
The acting? The characters? The dialog? Pacing? Plot? The concept?
“As one of the DOGME 95 brethren and co-signatory of the Vow of Chastity I feel moved to confess to the following transgressions of the aforesaid Vow during the production of Dogme #1- The Celebration. Please note that the film has been approved as a Dogme work, as only one genuine breach of the rules has actually taken place. The rest may be regarded as moral breaches. I confess to having made one take with a black drape covering a window. This is not only the addition of a property, but must also be regarded as a kind of lighting arrangement. I confess to having knowledge of a pay rise that served as cover for the purchase of Thomas Bo Larsen’s suit for use in the film.
Similarly I confess to having knowledge of purchases by Trine Dyrholm and Therese Glahn of the same nature. I confess to having set in train the construction of a non-existent hotel reception desk for use in The Celebration. It should be noted that the structure consisted solely of components already present at the location. I confess that Christian’s mobile or cellular telephone was not his own. But it was present at the location. I confess that in one take, the camera was attached to a microphone boom, and thus only partially hand-held. I hereby declare that the rest of Dogme #1- The Celebration was produced in accordance with the Vow of Chastity.
Pleading for absolution, I remain
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Dir. Uli Edil, 2008) – 5/10
I wanted to like this movie, but it’s a little to MTV at times, and, frankly, too messy. Interesting at points, though. Perhaps a more focused, or longer, treatment of this subject will happen in the future, because it is interesting stuff.
POPEYE: Jesus, what the hell was Altman trying to achieve here exactly? Why did he assume that his quirky mix of long takes, ‘wandering zooms’, overlapping dialogue, and dingy set design ala McCabe would work in the context of this film? And who exactly was he making for? ‘Popeye’ would have to be one of the most insular/indulgent ‘blockbuster’ films i’ve ever seen in my life, right up there with ‘Supergirl’. There is barely any attempt to communicate with a general audience in any meaningful sense. It’s as if Altman made this film for himself. And why transform the great cartoon into a musical, of all things? especially with songs that are so uninspired, repetitive and dull? Williams and Duvall are perfectly cast as Popeye and Olive, but they are trapped in a film that gives them absolutely nothing to do. It’s not funny, and the little that is potentially funny is sabotaged by clumsy timing, and the film is incredibly slow paced for no good reason. I cannot fault the technical aspects of the production design, but it seems to me that Altman’s style was really a square peg in a round hole and just didn’t suit the material well at all, and the end result is a film that is more weird than funny.
4/10(2 marks for the production design, and one point each for Williams and Duvall).
Cold Fever 1995
Iceland, United States, Japan, Denmark, Germany
DIR Friðrik Þór Friðriksson
SCR Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Jim Stark
DP Ari Kristinsson
CAST Masatoshi Nagase, Lili Taylor, Fisher Stevens, Gísli Halldórsson, Laura Hughes, Seijun Suzuki, Hiromasa Shimada, Masayuki Sasaki
One Macguffin after another propels this road move to nowhere. Poorly written. poorly acted, and cut out characters, it doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Friðrik Þór Friðriksson was a producer on Hal Hartley’s No Such Thing.
I agree with your view of The Celebration.
The only thing I can think of is that the big reveal was supposed to be shocking. I’d be a little surprised if the filmmakers felt this way, but that’s the best I can come up with. This film made the 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die list, and it left me scratching my head.
^^Robert gave the film 8.7/10, which to me is a very good rating. I barely give any films that. But his review made it sound like a 5 or a 6.
I liked The Celebration, just not as much as others.
Joks, you have to remember that Robert also gives 11s—and recently an 11.99, I believe. Robert’s 8 is probably like my 5 or 6. (I’d probably rate The Celebration as a 43 or 4.3.)
Another Year (Dir. Mike Leigh, 2010) – 10/10
Wow. Truly one of the best closing shots I’ve seen in a while. Between this and Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike is on a role.
edit: Mike is on a roll…not role.
City Lights (Dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1931) – 8/10
This movie is all about the payoff. If it weren’t for the tedious boxing sequence and a few other lame gags, this would be Chaplin’s masterpiece; as it is, I prefer Modern Times.
You gotta weigh in on the Another Year thread. I’m curious to know where you stand.
I’m workin’ on it, Jazz. I’m reading through the thread now. When I’m done with that, I’m gonna sit on it a little longer and maybe comment tomorrow.
“Docks of New York” (US, 1928) 8.9/10
Josef von Sternberg was perfectly capable of piling on the drama, sleaze and dark angles in silent form as well as with sound. “Docks” is a fine example of his late silent period.
The story concerns a hard-living sailor on leave. George Bancroft is Bill Roberts, coal stoker on freighters, as salt-of-the-earth as they come, and ashore for one good night before setting out again.
The Sandbar is the local hellhole, affectionately presented by DP Harold Rosson and von Steinberg as a rough but fun place with a player piano, loose women, cards and booze. However, one of the customers is also Bill’s ex, and a fight ensues.
Bill leaves and catches a glimpse of a young woman jumping into the harbor to kill herself. He rescues her, and things develop fast…..Betty Compson is excellent as the girl, and we get the great Olga Baclanova in a small but memorable part.
The story is nothing that hadn’t been told many times before ‘28 (and since); the real joy of the film is von Sternberg’s style. The exquisite textures, shadows and angles combined with some solid acting and directing make for a film that reaches in two directions:
It celebrates the German style of the 20es while also looking ahead to the modernism of later filmmaking.
“Docks” has few (but well-written) title cards and thrives on looks and reactions, without bothering to translate longer sentences spoken by the actors.
One violent act is shown entirely off-camera, with just seagulls suddenly taking flight. The story is a potboiler, but there is poetry here, written by Rosson’s camera and Hans Dreier’s set design, among other things.
From a technical perspective, the film is uncommonly smooth-looking (in Kino’s presentation) as it must have been shot between 21-24 frames per sec and runs much like a sound film in terms of movement. A great “intro film” for anyone who hasn’t seen a silent yet.
8.9 for a film that embodies the beauty of late silent-era visual storytelling, while at the same time setting standards that the “modern” sound-restricted films would take a while to catch up to.
HOWARD THE DUCK: what can be said about this that hasn’t already been said? Yeah, it’s a pretty lousy movie, perhaps not as bad as its reputation suggests, but it’s certainly no overlooked classic. Fans of the comic point to the fact that it’s not ‘ironic’ or ‘existential’ and that Lucas wanted another big budget creature feature, and while that’s true, i guess, with the exception of the Dark overlord finale, it’s difficult to exactly where all the money went. Howard just looks like a midget in a duck suit. To say that it requires a considerable amount of suspension of disbelief to actually buy a scenario where humans actually confuse Howard for a real duck and get kind of frightened by him is a total understatement. The ‘jokes’ are lame, full of corny, duck and animal related puns and references, and the general narrative, while less arbitrarily strung together than something like Popeye, only hangs together by a thread. For a kid’s movie, this is pretty damn weird, even dark, and there is an incredibly odd scene between Lea Thompson(at the height of her attractiveness) and Howard involving romantic-sexual flirtation that is borderline disturbing, not to mention criminal. Like Popeye, this movie is too strange for kids, but entirely too silly for adults, so it’s no wonder it failed at the time of release. On the whole, it’s far from being the worst blockbuster ever made—Pluto Nash and Catwoman are definitely worse—but it was a wasted opportunity. 3.5/10.
^^damn, i couldn’t edit that post :-(
HOWARD THE DUCK: Continuing the trend of revisiting monumental 80’s movie failures, i gave Howard The Duck another look on dvd. what can be said about this that hasn’t already been said? Yeah, it’s a pretty lousy movie, perhaps not as bad as its reputation suggests, but it’s certainly no overlooked classic. Fans of the comic often point to the fact that it’s not ‘ironic’, ‘existential’ or ‘meta’ like its source material, and that Lucas was more interested in making another big budget creature feature than celebrating Howard’s uniqueness, and while i’m not in a position to comment either way, with the exception of the Dark overlord finale, it’s difficult to see exactly where all the money went. Howard just looks like a midget in a duck suit. To say that it requires a considerable amount of suspension of disbelief to actually buy a scenario where humans confuse Howard for a real duck and get kind of frightened by him is a total understatement.
The ‘jokes’ are lame, full of corny duck and animal related puns and references, and the general narrative, while less arbitrarily strung together than Popeye, only hangs together by a thread. For a kid’s movie, this is pretty damn weird, even dark, as was the style of the 80’s, and there is an incredibly odd scene between Lea Thompson(at the height of her attractiveness) and Howard involving romantic-sexual flirtation that is borderline disturbing, not to mention cruel, and perhaps even criminal. Like Popeye, this movie is too strange for kids, but entirely too silly for adults, so it’s no wonder it failed at the time of release. But unlike Popeye, it’s not subject to a flagrant misuse of auteur theory. Fans enjoy Howard because it is a P.O.S, not in spite of it.
On the whole, it’s far from being the worst blockbuster ever made—Pluto Nash and Catwoman are definitely worse—but it’s hard to see it as anything other than wasted opportunity. 3.5/10.
@ Megg negative loser
Per Alan Watts, there can not be good without bad, black without white, positive winners without negative losers. The contradiction of opposites is the method of life and the means of cosmic and human evolution…
@ Jazz & Joksthe big reveal was supposed to be shocking.
it was foreshadowed half dozen times so that you knew it was true – I found that odd, but it changed the dynamic to be how it would be proven – then again you knew it was matter of sis fessing up, which she never did.
An 8 is the same as your 70 jazz. As a ‘dogma’ film, it was really good.
Yes I know, just my little joke (re discussion thread re not being negative!)
Sion Sono’s Love Exposure. Not my usual fare—and I understand the detractors who view it as a four-hour cartoon about perversity, religion, and cross-dressing martial artistry—but, after a clunky opening, I found the film vital and engaging. 4/5