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mark f 12-09-17 02:28 PM

mark f's Movie Tab III
 

Let's Spend the Night Together (Hal Ashby, 1982)
+
Gentleman’s Agreement (Elia Kazan, 1947)

Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra (Lloyd French, 1938)

Mother! (Darren Aronofsky, 2017)
-
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Wife Jennifer Lawrence finds some strange things in her basement when she’s left alone after some “guests” get violent and her husband Javier Bardem accompanies them to the hospital.
Bargain Madness (David Barclay, 1951)
-
Stronger (David Gordon Green, 2017)

The American Success Company (William Richert, 1980)

your name. (Makoto Shintai, 2016)

https://i.imgbox.com/hyvUH7CT.gif
Two young people, who have never met but have dreams about the other, come to an important place and feel each other’s presence.
The Walking Stick (Eric Till, 1970)

It's Always About the Story: Conversations with Alan Ladd, Jr. (Stanley Isaacs, 2016)

Christmas, Again (Charles Poekel, 2015)

Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981)
+
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSav51fVlKU
The iconic Vangelis theme. Cinematography by David Watkin. Starring Ian Charleson, Ben Cross, Alice Krige & Ian Holm.
For Me and My Gal (Busby Berkeley, 1942)

The Above (Kirsten Johnson, 2015)
-
The Boss Baby (Tom McGrath, 2017)
+
Whose Streets? (Salaah Tolayan & Damon Davis, 2017)

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/defau...0lou%201_0.jpg
Protesters of the many incidents of racial profiling in Ferguson, Missouri, including the shooting death of Mike Brown and the non-indictment of the police officer involved, are examined from the perspective of many of the activists and the national and local media. Probably won’t change anyone’s opinion, but still eye-opening, especially for those unfamiliar or neutral.
Unseen Guardians (Basil Wrangell, 1939)

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
+
Jonah Hex (Jimmy Hayward, 2010)

Antiporno (Sion Sono, 2017)
-
https://movie-dmenu.info/wp-content/...2017/01/62.jpg
Highly-stylized and unpredictable satire of modern art, filmmaking, sex, the cult of personality and mental illness, featuring Ami Tomite and Mariko Tsutsui.

Camo 12-09-17 02:32 PM

Re: Movie Tab II
 
Good to see you liked Your Name and mother! Thought you'd rate the latter lower. Like you i thought The Boss Baby was alright too, thought it was going to be horrible but it was a fun enough film to watch with my nephew and niece.

mark f 12-10-17 04:25 PM

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Ashutosh Gowariker, 2001) http://www.movieforums.com/images/popcorn/3box.gif

I have seen other Indian films, but they're mostly older ones. I enjoyed this film quite a lot, and my rating would be on the high side of those boxes, but I believe how much you enjoy the movie will depend on your tolerance of the sport cricket. I'm not an expert on cricket, but I watched some when I was in New Zealand a couple of years ago. This film is three hours and 45 minutes long, and the last hour and 20 minutes is all about a three-day-long cricket match. To me, it flew by.
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It's set at the end of the 19th century in Central India. There's basically a Snidely Whiplash-type English captain who hates the Natives and is going to charge them double the tax (lagaan) of grains, even though the country is in the second year of a drought. The only way they can get out of paying the tax is to beat the British Army in a cricket match. The film tells you right upfront that it's completely untrue and basically a fantasy alternative universe, but the characters' reactions are certainly believable enough; at least considering it's a David Vs. Goliath story.
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As far as the musical numbers go: there are seven of them, spaced about a half hour apart. My faves were certainly the first two where there was lots of dancing under the day and night sky. The songs are actually quite catchy pop, but a slight annoyance was that they were recorded totally differently than the rest of the movie. In that way, they kinda sound like they were done in an echo chamber. That's a minor quibble though.

mark f 12-10-17 05:31 PM

Atonement (Joe Wright, 2007)


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Ian McEwan's novel is brought to the screen by Joe Wright, using much of the same muscular style he displayed in the recent Pride & Prejudice. The camera is often moving furiously and following its characters wherever they go. Wright is equally adept at staging quiet, intimate exchanges and enormously-complex shots involving numerous characters. Atonement is a good film, and it tries to do something few films attempt; it wants to tell a story of a doomed romance through different perspectives, ultimately challenging the viewer to question whether what they are seeing is true or not. Of course, films aren't "true" and never will be, but this one attempts to intermingle literature, movies, and history, all at the service of telling a story about what one highly-creative character believes she sees, the horrible repercussions on her loved ones due to her acts and how she attempts to atone for them.

Although the film is beautifully shot, has a wonderful musical score and sound design, and is well-acted, I wasn't as emotionally-involved in what I was watching as I felt I should have been. The movie is clever, but part of that cleverness involves turning who you believe are the lead characters into supporting ones. Although I was never bored, it was only at the end when the last of the film's twists are revealed that I came close to being moved. I certainly recommend the movie, and I've come across many viewers who believe it to be one of the best they've ever seen. Although it doesn't exactly cover the same ground, I prefer Karel Reisz's and Harold Pinter's version of John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman as a story about perspectives and expectations, but you know me; I'm different... and old.

P.S. Some people obviously prefer No Country For Old Men for a rumination on similar themes.

mark f 12-10-17 05:45 PM

Catch-22 (Mike Nichols, 1970)


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Deeply flawed, but highly-absurdist WWII satire with a tremendous cast: Alan Arkin, Bob Balaban, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Susanne Benton, Peter Bonerz, Marcel Dalio, Liam Dunn, Norman Fell, Art Garfunkel, Jack Gilford, Charles Grodin, Buck Henry, John Korkes, Richard Libertini, Bob Newhart, Austin Pendleton, Anthony Perkins, Paula Prentiss, Martin Sheen, John Voight, Orson Welles, Elizabeth Wilson, etc. The movie begins with one of the greatest single shots in film history, involving the actual departure of many bombers from a Mediterranean landing strip, leadng up to the introduction of some of the key characters, and culminating in the knifing of the lead character. David Watkin's cinematography is mind-boggling, but this opening scene pretty much takes the cake, at least cinematically.
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The film is a rarity: a big-budget, American surrealistic, absurdist comedy. It contains some incredible scenes, including what happens to Snowden, some scenes which truly look like the cast are flying the bombers in the sky, and the finale, which attempts to cinematically top the opening shot, but falls just a bit short. This is the kind of movie where you spend equal amounts of time laughing out loud and yelling "WTF?" at the TV. It's full of entertainment, but I believe most people will have lots of problems with the last half. Even so, this is one film I believe everyone should watch. As far as I know, this is the only cinematic version of Catch-22 which we currently have, so love it for now.

mark f 12-10-17 06:06 PM

Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? (Rainer Werner Fassbinder/Michael Fengler, 1970)
Art House Rating


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First off, I've only watched this once, and I will rewatch it at least one more time, but I might as well call them as I see them and go ahead and share. Fassbinder wrote and directed this film with Fengler, who produced several of his other films. I'm not sure how the directorial responsibilities were split, but it seems to fit into Fassbinder's early period where he was translating his love of antitheatre into antifilm. This movie follows an almost archetypal Fassbinder protagonist, Herr Raab (Kurt Raab), who works in a small Munich office as a draftsman. His wife (Lilith Ungerer) has dreams he will get a promotion and that she can move up from the middle class to the upper middle class. The couple has a young son who seems to suffer from ADHD, but the film was made before there was such an acronym.

https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/w500/gel3...UoWq1GO5Dv.jpg

This is basically a series of scenes which depict how Herr R. is mostly a withdrawn worker who gets headaches at the end of almost every work day. Everybody in the film seems to think that the epitome of existence is smoking, and most of the characters come across as human enough, but they are completely vapid and unaware of things outside of their own world. Occasionally, Herr R. seems to almost be mentally-deficient, but mostly he's just quiet. My main problem with the film and why I give it the lowest rating of any Fassbinder yet which I've seen is not because the film is incompetent or even induces Fassbinder's desired effect on the viewer. The problem is the film is just too realistically banal. The characters talk but never say anything. There is no communication going on. I admit that this actually adds to the power of the film when something actually significant happens in the final 10 minutes. The viewer feels like a fly on the wall, with Fassbinder's technique of (as always) filming scenes in long takes, but here the camerawork seems to be more home-movieish. I felt like a fly watching this alright, but long before the tragic ending arrives, I wished that I had been squashed by a flyswatter.

For the record, I was ready to give this movie a
before the final 15 minutes. It may strike me as a work of genius next time, but no matter what I think, it's an oppressive film with less cinematic art than other Fassbinder films I've seen. It still contains truth, but it seems too strident and one-note to get anywhere near his best films which are both honest and highly-cinematic.

mark f 12-10-17 06:21 PM

The Beloved Rogue (Alan Crosland, 1927)


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This is one of the best silent films I have ever seen. It's full of action, adventure, romance, comedy, violence and poetry. John Barrymore shines in the role of poet François Villon, who, in early 15th-century France, becomes the biggest enemy AND friend of King Louis XI (Conrad Veidt). Villon leads a group of ragamuffin criminal patriots, and he hates the dreaded usurper, the Duke of Burgundy, as much as Louis fears him. Although Villon is condemned to death by his actions, he eventually earns the right to try to save France and win the hand of Louis' beautiful ward Charlotte (Marceline Day), who has basically been offered to one of Burgundy's henchmen as a sacrifice.

One of my favorite Ronald Colman films is the talkie version of this, called If I Were King (1938), wittily adapted by Preston Sturges. Both Colman and Basil Rathbone as Louis are wickedly hilarious, and that film has much more humor sprinkled throughout. But this version has Barrymore doing an impressive "impression" of Douglas Fairbanks. Barrymore is sliding across rooftops and avoiding adversaries at almost every turn. Also, this film is much more violent than the 1938 film. Villon is captured by Burgundy, whipped, tortured and burned, and that isn't exactly detailed in the Colman version. I highly recommend both versions of this story. This silent one is on DVD, but for some idiotic reason, If I Were King isn't.

Note: Alan Crosland was a talented silent film director who died much too young in 1936 in an auto accident. Before The Beloved Rogue, he worked with Barrymore in the almost-equally impressive Don Juan, and after this film, he directed the immortal The Jazz Singer.

Chypmunk 12-10-17 06:30 PM

Originally Posted by mark f (Post 1836883)
The Beloved Rogue (Alan Crosland, 1927)
Kewl, thanks Mark - I'll have to try and find this one as I already have If I Were King earmarked for a viewing for the 30s countdown.

mark f 12-10-17 06:44 PM

Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (Kent Jones, 2007)


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This a very interesting, yet low-key TCM presentation of genius producer Val Lewton's contribution to the world of cinema from the 1930s-1950s. Martin Scorsese produces and narrates, and he maintains Lewton's subtle style. Although this documentary does present plenty of scenes from Lewton's seminal films (Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie, The Leopard Man, The Seventh Victim, Isle of the Dead, The Body Snatcher, Bedlam, etc.), some of the more interesting parts of the documentary are when they detail how Lewton was a protege of David O. Selznick, and he actually conceived the classic scene in Gone With the Wind of the Confederate casualties, a scene which may have cost more than the budgets of his best films. It's also interesting how Lewton tried to make his films as personal as possible, but I don't believe that the average viewer in the 1940s would have realized that a film was a Val Lewton film, at least just through advertising.

Lewton was a much-more private man that Selznick. He pretty much tried to make his films without letting viewers know that he had a thematic visualization to his work. Lewton never directed a film, but his use of shadows and his ability to create suspense through what wasn't shown is legendary. He came into RKO Studios just as Orson Welles was being kicked out, but he utilized some of Welles best technicians, especially the editors (future two-time Oscar winner Robert Wise and Mark Robson). These filmmakers fully bought into the Lewton persona and helped to create the films which he is known for today

mark f 12-10-17 07:10 PM

The Savages (Tamara Dobson, 2007)


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This is one of those sneaky films, where even if you think it has nothing to do with you, it adds layers and layers, until it's your life story. Even if it's too soon, it should get to you eventually. It does show the unseen mama out to be a mother (because she couldn't stand her husband/father?), who took off and only knew their father as a ruffian with no social skills, so the children are forced to try to care for him as he's revealed as being a person with almost no social skills whatsoever.

The film gets really sneaky near the end when it allows everyone to share the wealth of being a human being and understanding that all people die the same way and are worthy of the same respect. This is where director/writer Dobson shows her chops and allows all the significant personnel to strut their stuff. The acting is really quite impressive, especially since all the performers have to hold so much in until near the actual ending. Thanks to everyone. The music, which seems to be totally inspired by Carter Burwell, is excellent. Phillip Bosco gets to be calm and bray at just the right moments too. I'm still trying to figure out why all the care givers around Buffalo, N.Y., seem to be Jamaican, but maybe they're from Jamaiica, New York. :cool:

Velvet 12-10-17 07:11 PM

Re: Movie Tab II
 
loving these updates mark :)

whats your thoughts on broken blossoms? And in general whats the best Griffith?

mark f 12-10-17 08:21 PM

I'm Not There (Todd Haynes, 2007)
I kept the original review but did change the rating

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This certainly qualifies as one of last year's most audacious and entertaining films, but after my initial viewing, I'm actually a little bit disappointed with it. I'm planning on watching it again to see if I should go back up to
which is what I was locked into after about the first two-thirds of the film. Also, even though I'm a Dylanaholic, I understand that others aren't, so if you are a Dylanaholic, you should probably already raise it up to
. I just want to make it clear that no matter how deluded I am, I DO believe that it is possible to objectively "review" films. My first photo pretty much shows what the film's conceit is: Bob Dylan will be honored, dissected, criticized and discussed, but his name will never be mentioned. AND he (or his spirit) will be embodied by six different actors.

The conceit is actually more seemless than you would expect, especially during the early majority of the film. Whether he's portrayed by a left-handed black adolescent named "Woody Guthrie" (Marcus Carl Franklin) or a spot-on impression by Cate Blanchett of his Don't Look Back era, the multiple personalities/performances tend to enlighten the man and his contradictions. They also provide tons of inside jokes, entertaining music, and name the references, actors, meanings, etc. In fact, although near the end of the film, co-scripter/director Haynes seems to obfuscate his meaning of what Dylan TRULY represents, you can almost forgive him because the bald implication is that Dylan himself hides/transforms himself more than this film ever can.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C-DAmAtVwAANyxP.jpg

Although it's occasionally uncertain what inspired a few scenes in the film, it's amazing how close the film actually depicts Dylan's life, at least in spirit. He was obviously never really a film star or a lead character in an American West recreation of his life and inspirations by way of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but if you don't really know that much about the man, you may be surprised by how accurate some of the more seemingly-farfetched scenes are. Plus much of the symbolism works well, at least for those in on what's true and what's symbolic. That's one of the film's flaws. Although I believe most everyone will be entertained enough to WANT to watch the film, how much you actually enjoy it will depend on if you have all his albums, have memorized most all of his lyrics, followed his career and personal mood/creative swings, watched Don't Look Back, Renaldo and Clara and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan. This film is obviously a labor of love by director Haynes, and I really felt it. I am also glad that I find Haynes maturing as a filmmaker. I just hope when I watch it again, I don't find a noticeable downtick when the Richard Gere episodes take center stage. I really have no problems at all with Gere here, but I found his section to be the most muddled and least successful in the picture.

Overall, I find this a welcome addition to the discussion of the mystique of Bob Dylan, and hopefully I'll feel some of the latter portions just a little bit more next time. I admit that I sound like a Grinch because just thinking about the scene with the Beatles or the bits with "CoCo", "Alice Fabian", THE Gorgeous George, the Black Panthers (HA!), and Allen Ginsberg, as well as the Bruce Greenwood scenes and all the wonderful music, and even the ending, where the real Dylan makes his only appearance visually, it makes me feel like I should add that extra half. I will check back for those who might care.

mark f 12-10-17 08:34 PM

Martha (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)


Solid Fassbinder psychological thriller, based on a Cornell Woolrich story, which follows the title character (Margit Carstensen) and her relationships with her father, her abusive, alcoholic mother, and a man she silently meets while vacationing in Rome, Helmut (Karlheinz Böhm), who eventually marries her. The 360 shot where Martha and Helmut meet is spectacularly designed and accomplished by Michael Ballhaus at Fassbinder's behest. There are also several long shots involving mirrors which are almost as impressively captured.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8kHuYdlJTY
This is the kind of film where I don't really want to give away the details of the plot. I will say that it is almost sadistic in places, but at the same time, it's full of biting black humor. Martha is quite naive and a virgin when she meets Helmut and is certainly unprepared for his ideas about how a wife should act and his way of "lovemaking". If anything, this reminds me of Gaslight, only much crueler. However, this is one of Fassbinder's earliest films where he was really trying to use bright, sometimes pastel colors, and the movie really moves along at a brisk pace. Karlheinz Böhm, who was so creepily-pathetic in Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, is truly a monster in this film, but he's a very low-key monster, which adds to the film's tension as it progresses towards its resolution. However, Margit Carstensen actually carries the film, and even if many of the characters seem to be unsympathetic, they also seem to be just too human, especially in the context of a melodrama.

mark f 12-10-17 08:42 PM

Murder on a Sunday Morning (Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, 2001)


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Eye-opening, extremely personal documentary depiction of a Jacksonville, Florida murder, the "investigation", arrest, "confession", and trial of the 15-year-old accused murderer, Brenton Butler. The victim was 65-year-old white tourist Mary Ann Stephens who was shot in the head for her purse, and the only eyewitness, her husband, identifies Brenton as the shooter, even though the only thing which matches Brenton to Mr. Stephens' description of the killer is that Brenton is a black male. Also, Brenton is apparently the only person picked up by the police and that was just because he was seen in the area a few hours after the shooting. The police do no investigative work and have no forensic evidence or a weapon, but within the day, the boy has bruises on his cheek and chest and the police have his signed confession.

Brenton is lucky in one thing though; his public defenders believe him and can see (as all viewers will) that his case is a mockery of justice. The strength of this Oscar winner is the way the filmmakers are allowed so much access into all the key players' lives. We see scenes of the murder victim, some between Brenton and his family in jail, much of the trial, interviews with the defense attorneys, etc. It's almost as if you're eavesdropping, so it's a unique insight into the justice system, and I'm quite astonished how much we do see and how much foresight the filmmakers had in first getting involved and getting so many permissions to video everything

mark f 12-10-17 08:47 PM

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (Stanley Nelson, 2006)


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Another documentary with some home movie and audio footage which adds to the eeriness of Jim Jones' life story and the stories of the 909 victims (and a few survivors) of the "mass suicide" at his compound in Guyana in 1978. The film details Jones' early life where one of his favorite things to do was have funerals for pets. His father was an unemployed alcoholic, so his mom supported the family. However, the young man found himself to have a way with words and he was a magnetic public speaker who preached a message of integration and socialism. With money he earned selling monkeys, he founded his church, People's Temple, in Indiana, but eventually moved his flock to the the northern California town of Ukiah. He bought a fleet of buses and began a crosscountry tour where he brought his message to the poor masses, and thus, his flock grew larger and larger.

Eventually Jones becomes famous and is even appointed as Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Commission. However, some ex-members of his church make some official complaints, including some of child abuse/molestation, so Jones and his congregation evacuate to Guyana where they make their own self-supporting commune/church. All of this is shown through footage from news programs or home movies, and it's intercut with interviews of the victims' survivors. The scenes of the final 24 hours of Jonestown are the freakiest because an intense love-in turns into a psycho shootout involving U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and his entourage, who are there to document the reality of Jonestown, and then it escalates to the death by cyanide or gunshot wound of over 900 members. The film is well-done, yet obviously painful to watch.

mark f 12-10-17 09:03 PM

Like Water For Chocolate (Alfonso Arau, 1992)


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Laura Esquivel's sexy, yummy novel captures magical realism in a totally original way: through recipes which appeal to love and sex. It's a wonderful idea and translated quite well by Arau. TIMEOUT: This has nothing to do with Arau as a director of this film, but I love to relate the connection to The Wild Bunch. In The Wild Bunch, the main guy was the sadistic Mapache (Emilio Fernandez, left}, who directed dozens of films, my favorite being his adaptation of Steinbeck's The Pearl. Arau (right) played Mapache's lieutenant in The Wild Bunch, and his directorial claims to fame, at least in the U.S., are Like Water For Chocolate and A Walk in the Clouds.

I seem to recall that when this film was released in the U.S., it set a new record for most money grossed by a foreign-language film. Of course, its record was destroyed later by Life is Beautiful and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. At least, I think that's the truth. The novel pretty much covers a lot of history, culture, sex, family trees, recipes, and concepts of what the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico was during WWI, the Pancho Villa era. It also pretty much assures you that Mexicans believe in ghosts, and I'm not all that sure that they don't believe in them any more than any culture, and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with their "official religion". My students still believe in ghosts en masse, so that tells me something right there. However, every single ghost which appears as a ghost here is a terrific plot device. Remember, one of my fave books/stories is A Christmas Carol.

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The novel/movie is so concerned with cooking as a personal expression that it almost rivals Babette's Feast as the greatest film ever made about food and its effect on families and love. Of course, this film is less of a mystery than the wonderful Babette's Feast, even if I probably give them the same rating. One thing which is probably sure is that this movie has more fire, sweat and sexual desire than most. That's why I like it so much. The women in this movie seem to all take the initiative sexually, no matter how repressed their mama seems to be. I say, good for them.

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Camo 12-10-17 09:04 PM

Originally Posted by mark f (Post 1836926)
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (Stanley Nelson, 2006)

Haven't watched this but i have listened to a podcast that featured quite a bit of the audio on the day of the massacre, so horrifying. That one woman who is trying to argue with Jones that they shouldn't kill theirselves and the crowd starts going nuts at her, so unbelievable how brainwashed they were :(

Honestly i liked The Sacrament quite alot, watched it for my October Horror thing. I know the main complaint is that it's just Jonestown with different names and the characters having I Phones. That's definitely what it is so i understand people not liking it, but Jonestown was one of the most horrifying things ever and i thought it was all depicted very well. Gene Jones as the Jim Jones guy was really great, he reminded me of John Goodman. What did you think of The Sacrament if you've seen it? I'm guessing you're not a fan just curious.

mark f 12-10-17 09:22 PM

24 7 TwentyFourSeven (Shane Meadows, 1997)


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True, I'm behind the power curve in watching Meadows' films, this being my first [June 2008]. I'm certainly interested in catching up though. This film began as if it was going to be a strictly kitchen sink drama a la Ken Loach, but then Meadows' personal style (which in this film I find to be impressionistic) took over which made the film more interesting and original to me. Bob Hoskins stars as a man who feels the need to try to improve the lives of the aimless, sometimes violent young men in Nottingham, so he starts a boxing club, much along the lines of one which he was involved in years earlier. He gets together two rival "gangs" and works with them to hone their bodies, minds and spirits into a purposeful group.
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There are other things going on in the film since the plot mentioned above is basically a flashback from the opening scene which I'm not going to mention now. The strongest part of the film for me is Bob Hoskins' performance, and the fact that perhaps he can play this role in his sleep should not take away how important he is in centering the film and giving it emotional weight. The other actors seem fine in presenting character types, but I'm not sure that I really came to know any of them as living and breathing characters. I would think that Meadows' style is somewhat responsible for this. The film has a good song score, and often it seems to head off into music video land when it could be spending more time building characterizations, but as I said earlier, I enjoyed the director's mixture of bleak realism with a more upbeat, musical tone. I'm just not sure what I think of the film's final 15 minutes, even if it is realistic. If anything, I'm leaning toward a higher rating rather than a lower one, so I'll rewatch this and put his others in the queue.

mark f 12-10-17 09:27 PM

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Robert Ellis Miller, 1968)


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This is a simple, yet heartfelt and powerful adaptation of Carson McCullers' autobiographical novel. The central character of the film is a deaf mute named John Singer, played perfectly by Alan Arkin. The setting is the Southern U.S., brought up to date in the 1960s. (Carson McCullers died before this film was released, and the actual time frame was probably the 1930s, but updating it makes it work just as fine.) Singer has a best friend (Chuck McCann), who's also a deaf mute, but he's constantly getting into trouble, so he's committed by his uncle and sent to an asylum. Singer moves to be closer to his friend and finds a room in the home of Mick (the wonderful Sondra Locke, ostensibly playing McCullers). One of the strengths of the film is that it shows all of its characters to be blind, deaf and dumb in various ways, so the fact that Singer isn't "blind" puts him one up on most of the characters.

There are several other significant characters, including Mick's mom, pop and younger brothers, as well as an African-American family, consisting of a doctor (Percy Rodrigues) who has feared and hated Whites all his life, his daughter (Cicely Tyson) who has a major chip on her shoulder concerning her dad, and her new husband (Johnny Popwell). Although I enjoy most all the characters, my favorite may well be the drunk Blount (Stacy Keach) who's able to recognize his defects and keeps trying to improve himself, but the world he sees is just too painful and antagonistic to give into wholeheartedly. (I see myself as the Stacy Keach character, even though my wife and daughter have saved me and are continuing to try.) The film is very life-affirming, yet equally tragic. It does remind me in many ways of director Miller's other "best" film, Reuben, Reuben. I highly recommend it, especially for those who think that Sondra Locke never had any talent.

mark f 12-10-17 09:36 PM

Dead Man's Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)


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First off, it's probably unfair that I'm "reviewing" this now after only one viewing, especially since the previous two movies I've seen before and watched twice in the last 36 hours, but after watching 24 7 and now this, I think I should get my initial thoughts out there. Feel free to continue to ignore them if it's your thing. After only two movies, I believe I have come to understand that Shane Meadows has a technique and an agenda, but I don't really want to get into that yet because I want to share what I feel about how his films make me feel. Both of these films cause extreme contradictory feelings within me. I can watch them and wonder why would anyone want to see these characters? Then, a little bit later, I'm telling myself that these are people just like me. Next up, the stories; the story of TwentyFourSeven is obviously "meant" to be uplifting, but then Meadows goes and subverts himself and his story in the final quarter hour (at least that's a way for someone to look at it). In Dead Man's Shoes, the technique is far more important than the story. Meadows has probably perfected a storytelling style where he makes you think things are going a certain way, but then he pulls the rug out from under you near the end.
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While I can be repulsed by the characters yet impressed by the performers, I'm starting to wonder if Meadows needs to be so flamboyant in his technique. The films I've seen use different lighting, color (well, 24 7 was in B&W), film stock, added-in F/X (for example, why did all the flashbacks to what happened to Anthony have to be shot in black and white, have artificially-created "old-age" lines added in and be in a lower volume?) Actually, after the reveal is made, I can probably understand why those "flashbacks" are filmed in a similar style to the home movies shown at the beginning of the film since that's the way that older brother Richard (co-scripter Paddy Considine) remembers and relates to his kid brother (Toby Kebbell). There is more to say about this film and director, and I'll try to add it at the appropriate thread when I'm up to snuff. Until then, forgive me.


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