The Guard – 6/10
Deadpan played with comic flashes from Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle and some particularly good moments from Mark Strong.
The Debt – 8/10
this is a well directed film. The period look is fantastic, the look of the actors is spot on and the film moves briskly.
One problem however is that the film introduces the horror element too quickly, leaving us with too much of the second space man going mad. One wonders pretty early on why the noble spaceman does not kill his friend as soon as the contamination hits. Also the crab like monsters are not too scary
still a good flick
Self Made 8.5/10
Secret Defense — Jacques Rivette 8/10
Very good revenge drama which has had all the drama removed in Rivette’s singular fashion.
Can you remove the tension and keep the viewers interest for three hours. Worked for me as these characters went into a moral spiral.
It is absolutely a sin that Rivette is not represented in the collection.
All the Pretty Horses 2000
DIR Billy Bob Thornton
PROD Robert Salerno, Billy Bob Thornton
SCR Cormac McCarthy, Ted Tally
DP Barry Markowitz
CAST Matt Damon, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Lucas Black, Rubén Blades
ED Sally Menke
MUSIC Marty Stuart, Larry Paxton, Kristin Wilkinson
It can’t be the source material or the cast, so it must be the fault of the …..
The Night Porter1974
Il portiere di notte
DIR Liliana Cavani
SCR: Barbara Alberti story Liliana Cavani screenplay
Italo Moscati Amedeo Pagani story
DP Alfio Contini
CAST Charlotte Rampling, Dirk Bogarde, Philippe Leroy, Gabriele Ferzetti
ED Franco Arcalli
MUSIC Daniele Paris
The Night Porter deftly examines the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture. -The Criterion Collection
How? How does it deftly examine the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture?
Susan Langer, in her book Feeling and Form, says that film is dream, from which we abstract given-ness and authenticity:The dreamed reality on the screen can move forward and backward because it is really an eternal and ubiquitous virtual present. The action of drama goes inexorably forward because it creates a future, a Destiny; the dream mode is an endless Now.
The reality we abstract suggests all the elements are here and now, awaiting their re-structuring. As Max says: Sane now, insane then. Who’s to judge?
In the endless now, who is to judge that destiny will not be endlessly dark and distant.
That is the ‘how’ of Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter.
La tourneuse de pages 6.8/10
Stars in My Crown (Dir. Jacques Tourneur, 1950)
Based on the box, I was expecting a violent Western film. It’s not that. What it is is a very moving piece of Americana. One of my favorite discoveries so far this year.
“The reality we abstract suggests all the elements are here and now, awaiting their re-structuring. As Max says: Sane now, insane then. Who’s to judge?
Agree, the nazi imagery is just crude scaffolding. It didn’t have to be there, although it is kind of interesting, if maybe a little exploitative too hahaha.
don’t think that film is worth 10 thouigh hahah.
Sorry Joks, I have to disagree. If Alain Resnais hadn’t made Hiroshima Mon Amour,
this is the film he would have liked to have made. And that goes for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz too. It is film about what film can do, with history.
Also I would say that, in the last 2,500 years of human existence, only the form covering the crude scaffolding has changed.
Time Out (2001, Laurent Cantet): Heartbreaking, particularly in how relentlessly it sticks to its raison d’etre in its final act: exploring both the potential alienating effect of the modern business environment, but also more importantly (and more poignantly) the inability of many modern men to render themselves vulnerable and seek help when they need it. 9/10
The Taste of Others (2000, Agnès Jaoui): Enjoyable and reasonably charming. I can kind of see what it’s getting at, but there’s nothing particularly special about it and there isn’t a whole lot to it. 6/10
A Tale of Winter (1992, Éric Rohmer): I love Rohmer, but this was a bit disappointing. Still very good, but not as insightful as much of his other work (still even if less insightful than most Rohmer films it’s still more insightful than most films). The ending is strange: taken literally I could find it bleh, but I can’t help but see it more as an expression of the main character’s hope, pain and desperation rather than anything that actually happens. Pascal’s Wager applied to relationships was handled better in My Night at Maud’s. 7.5/10
Grand Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir): I was taken aback by how light a touch there is behind this film. Considering the subject matter I was worried the film would be didactic, but it’s as far from didacticism as I could possible hope for instead being a film which lets things progress gently, which throws in plenty of light humour, and which seems to be made by a filmmaker that loves every single one of his characters. Its humanism is overwhelming. 9/10
5×2 (2004, Francois Ozon): Siiiiiiigh. I don’t like Francois Ozon. I actually thought I might like this one, but no it more or less feels like a soap opera if written by a fashion magazine and sprinkled with unconvincing attempts at artfulness. The music choices are lame, the only vaguely interesting shots are heaped in cliche (that ending shot, argh!), the film seems largely uninsightful (go watch the massively superior Scenes from a Marriage instead) and I don’t see why this couple ever got together in the first place. 4/10 (I’ll admit, the score seems generous considering I have nothing positive to say about the film…)
Casque d’or (1952, Jacques Becker): I enjoyed it quite a lot: it looks reeeeaaaaally pretty and tells a good yarn. The only reason I’m not more sold on it is that I could never really care for the main couple: their relationship seemed to be based purely on sexual attraction meaning that all the harm caused due to the supposed “love” between them never really carried as much dramatic weight as I’d like. 7.5/10
Weekend (1967, Jean-luc Godard): Wooooooah… A messy cocktail of ideas, opinions, humour and art that is at times hilarious, oddly emotionally potent, thrillling, tedious, containing moments of remarkable clarity and profundity, enraging, beautiful, ugly, playful, nasty, fascinating and entirely provocative. A bit of me is unsure of what to make of it and what to feel about it but that’s probably part of the appeal: it’s a film where I don’t mind being confused and lost for all of the runtime. It’s certainly striking and bold. 9/10
Kings & Queen (2004, Arnaud Desplechin): There are so many moments in it I love and ideas I love, and I want to love it as a whole but something about the aesthetic and the way Desplechin pulls it all together just bugs me :( 6/10
Sympathy for Delicious (Director: Mark Ruffalo)
a pretty solid religious/showbiz satire about a homeless and parapalegic faith healer. Sounds absurd, I know but it’s pretty good.
True Adolescents (Director: Craig Johnson)
a big letdown as I’ve been anticipating this one for 2 years. There are a few genuinely funny moments but most of the film’s humor is so broad and Mark Duplass is rather annoying in the lead role (the sort of role Jack Black would play) and the film just kind of meanders and is just an excuse for dumb jokes and “male bonding” scenes. Nevertheless, there are much worse movies out there.
Reprise (Norway, 2006)
Marketa Lazarova 9/10
The film can be a little hard to follow going in cold without context, so it might be bumped up to a 10 upon repeated viewing. But the visuals, use of sound, and the perfect emotional impact of the pacing are astounding. (Although the echo can be a bit excessive in places)
I like the devastating way the film exposes the penchant of ecclesiastical hypocrisy to transfer sin to the victims of sinfulness…if they’re female.
The Ice Storm 1997
DIR Ang Lee
SCR James Schamus
DP Frederick Elmes
CAST Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Jamey Sheridan, Adam Hann-Byrd, Katie Holmes, David Krumholtz, Michael Cumpsty, Henry Czerny, Allison Janney, Glenn Fitzgerald
Multivalent attempt doesn’t coalesce compared to Altman’s better ensemble films. I think Altman’s films have a more organic unity working for them from within the ensemble. Apparently, the ice storm was some kind of unifying factor especially so since it is referenced beginning and end.
There was one scene that was oddly reinforced in the film. The daughter’s bike ride is repeated by the mom who gets caught shoplifting.
It’s been too long since I’ve seen Ice Storm for me to attempt an analysis of any sort, but at the time it was a solid 10 for me. I loved the reflection of the characters in the setting, and found myself very caught up in their stories.
3 movies I’ve wanted to see for a long time….
Road to Nowhere (Director: Monte Hellman)
the legendary director’s first flick in over 20 years, this non-linear meta-exercise/neo-noir is a masterpiece. I really love this movie.
A Horrible Way to Die (Director: Adam Wingard)
this thriller is pretty good but fairly predictable and it gets ridiculously kill heavy towards the end. AJ Bowen is unrecognizable in the lead role.
Red State (Director: Kevin Smith)
John Goodman is amazing, giving what I believe is some of the best work he’s ever done but the film is disjointed and fairly absurd. I still think it’s a film most people should see though.
Grave of the Fireflies 10/10
“Sorry Joks, I have to disagree. If Alain Resnais hadn’t made Hiroshima Mon Amour,
this is the film he would have liked to have made. And that goes for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz too. It is film about what film can do, with history.”
sorry, i thought you asked that question because you may have been disagreeing with it. i didn’t get the relevance of the quote in relation to it.
But to me it’s just about history repeating itself. trauma induced souls stuck on a treadmill.
haven’t seen it in 10 years though. my opinion of film has changed considerably since then.
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954, Jacques Becker): Enjoyable gangster noir. I really dug the cool, jazzy mood and how Jean Gabin portrays a sense of weariness and reluctance to continue in this lifestyle. 8/10
The Witnesses (2007, André Téchiné): Not without flaws and never anything special, but generally well handled. To its credit it avoids the kind of sensationalism and sentimentality that can really harm films like this. 6/10
The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005, Jacques Audiard): Romain Duris is amazing here. The film is full of moments of insight, interest and intensity as Audiard takes material that could have easily come off as obvious but manages to take it in such a direction that it is instead intelligent and emotionally compelling. Great stuff. 8.5/10
A Summer’s Tale (1996, Éric Rohmer): A wonderful film. Incredibly insightful, compassionate and understanding, whilst also finding the humour in the almost ludicrous holes that Gaspard quite believably gets himself trapped in. I found the friendship between him and Margot very touching, and just generally it was great to sit back and observe these characters as they talk about their emotions and how they perceive things. 9.5/10
The Flower of My Secret (1995, Pedro Almodóvar): From what I’ve seen I tend to prefer Almodóvar’s more recent films. The Flower of My Secret is amusing enough, but I can’t say I saw anything particularly special in it. It kind of annoyed me that two of the best scenes – where the woman is talking to the doctors about her son’s brain damage – are pretty much abandoned 15 minutes in to the movie. 6/10
Le Trou (1960, Jacques Becker): This is just absurdly tense at times, an absolutely riveting prison escape film. There are a couple bits which push believability a tad, but for the most part I loved it. 8.5/10
An Autumn Tale (1998, Éric Rohmer): Kind of silly, bordering on absurd at times, but still absolutely lovely. 8/10
A Girl Cut in Two (2007, Claude Chabrol): If you don’t understand the bdsm references or if you don’t think through the character’s actions in context of D/s relationships then a lot of what happens doesn’t make much sense, and even if you do know about D/s then the film still seems silly and – in how it shies away from exploring its most interesting elements – rather boring. It doesn’t help that the film looks tacky. 3/10
Contagion (2011, Steven Soderbergh): 4/5
Another reason why I’ll follow Soderbergh anywhere.
Without a doubt, the scariest movie I’ve watched this year. All the casts are excellent, besides Jude Law whom I resent more and more with his recent movies. What’s with the fake accents and the out of this world clothings?
The movie does a lot of things right but what it does best is how it builds the momentum of fear without seems like trying so hard like your ordinary plague/zombie movie. And I LOVE plague/zombie movie..
Thunder Bay 1953
DIR Anthony Mann
SCR Gil Doud, John Michael Hayes
DP William H. Daniels
CAST James Stewart, Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Dan Duryea, Jay C. Flippen, Marcia Henderson, Robert Monet, Antonio Moreno, Harry Morgan, Fortunio Bonanova, Mario Siletti
When one forgets what Hollywood film making was about – this has it all.
Out of curiosity Robert, why do you list the widgets with your ratings? Oh, and would your review there capture the vibe of the film? If not, how about it?
The vibe is easy: like winning the trifecta of jingoism.
All that info is a public service.
Confessions of a dangerous mind. 6/10.