17th MoFo Hall of Fame

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Watching Amelie(2001) almost20 years late fills me with a certain sense of melancholia that films of this era have. CGI was in it's infancy and yet this little indie film from France looks better than some of the "big budget" junk we get today. The other thing that makes me sad about this film is we don't get an Amelie type film every year, because in it's heart Amelie isn't so much a story but a story about story telling.

Audrey Tautou plays a young waitress who connects all of these stories with her own quest to find a young boy who lived in her same apartment in 1950-something. Tautou is charming in an almost silent Louise Brooks sort of way, her job is to mostly react to whatever fantastical elements come before her.

My only issue with Amelie is that it starts off as a classic and then proceeds to just be pretty good. While you have to judge what the filmmaker shows us rather than what we want to see I wonder how much better this would have been with no dialogue from Tautou and have the omniscience narrator run through the entire film.

But this was a great rewatch for me



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Amelie



I hadn't seen this before and this has been touted pretty highly on Mofo. But it didn't really click with me. I didn't care for the story, and I found Amelie too boring a character for me to really connect with or care about what happened to, which seems strange given the circumstances that we see she had gone through at the beginning of the movie. The humor also never really hit for me, which affected the enjoyment too. The narration of the film bugged me, I felt there could have been a better way to tell the story then this which was rather an annoyance to me. I can't deny the look of the film was a success, but that in itself isn't enough for it to even get an average rating from me. Not much else really to say other than this was a letdown




I'm not sure how you guys approach your reviews, but I typically write down some quick first impressions, things that stood out (positive or negative), notable themes, and random musings right after watching the film. When I sit down to actually think it through, usually those notes can easily be extrapolated on, and they ultimately comprise the bulk of my write-up.

I'm bringing this up because I watched The Hawks and the Sparrows when I got home from work this morning. I figured I'd take a quick look at my notes now to see if I can string together anything coherent before I have to head off for the night. And well, this is legitimately all I wrote down:

"more opening credits should be sung"
"credit the crow as an actor?"
"stock footage funeral"

Yeah, I'm not going to get much of a review out of that.



I don't write any notes, but maybe I should. That's probably why they are so damn short

Thought I would like Amelie but I was wrong. Who knows if Suspect will finish this so hopefully it wasn't a complete waste of time



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
While I don't write notes when watching a film, I do have a few, mentally, that either come out in my (very) improved review or never see the light of a computer screen. I'm terrible at following notes when writing. Too off-the-cuff to do that. I will, however, re-read the hell out of it. Even after I've posted.
Also, depending on the amount of previous discussion or just how in-depth they were, I will read over other reviews before typing up mine.
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They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



I'm not sure how you guys approach your reviews, but I typically write down some quick first impressions, things that stood out (positive or negative), notable themes, and random musings right after watching the film. When I sit down to actually think it through, usually those notes can easily be extrapolated on, and they ultimately comprise the bulk of my write-up...
Wow, you're very organized.

I've tried taking notes during movies, only to find it's real hard to scribble stuff down in the dark...and even harder to read what I scribbled the next day. Then if I can actually read what I wrote, I almost never what to write about. Which is odd, as I will notice stuff in movies that I want to talk about, but then I promptly forget it so you'd think writing it down while viewing would be a help, but it's not.

I just finished The Hawks and the Sparrows and I guess I will just ramble on, like usual



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
@Miss Vicky





The Aviator

Well, this has GOT to be the longest I've taken to write a review for a film. Nothing of which had to do with trying to get the words right or any of that. It's just how it worked out.

Any hoot and nanny, there is a very rare number of films of Scorsese I do not enjoy. Most of his work, I just simply love, While I don't hold The Aviator in has much love I have for many others, I do continue to thoroughly enjoy each and every time I've see it. Including a newer view having actually watched Hell's Angels some weeks previous to my rewatch.
The same can be said, for me, regarding DiCaprio and the large list of films I've seen of his. And yes, that youngster face of his makes it a truly rough time to envision him in any role beyond early twenties, the man has an intensity and a dedication to the craft I do completely respect.
Another new perception I've had with this revisit is Cate Blanchett. I have been a bit so-so with her portrayal of Kate Hepburn previously and this could be a new found love for her and her talent in the past couple of years and all I've witnessed her doing, but this time around I did genuinely enjoy her in this.
I do believe this is around the third time I've seen this and it's been a bit of time since my last view for me to find a near newness to my viewing pleasure in much of the film. Including quite a few of the secondary characters and the occasional scene. Still, I found great enjoyment in my revisit along with the various newer appreciations of this film about Howard Hughes. Whom, as a kid had always been quite the mythical legend without any real grounded story and most films I had remembered from then were more about people meeting the elder recluse or claiming to.
And no, I will not use a movie film to find accurate fact, I do quite enjoy a story told about someone or some occurrence that propels me, often times, to research and learn a more factual understanding of that person or place and Scorsese does a solid job while also delving a little into that time period and presenting a little view of things beneath the glitter of old Hollywood as well.

All around a wonderful lil revisit. Thanks @rauldc14 for nominating this!





The Hawks and the Sparrows

Luna (Femi Benussi) is by far the best part of the film! I tried to like this film, I really, really did...

I did like the first 15 minutes or so. I thought the old guy was comical, with one helluva unusual face. He was good at comic expressions and reminded me of Buster Keaton. The young actor who played his son was good too. He had a likeable on-screen personality and I could see he could be good in another movie.

But when the crow appeared, the film lost me. It lost me because I have a hard time with overlapping dialogue in foreign films. To make things worse the shots became wide angle and I couldn't tell who was actually talking. Right then I was lost and didn't know what was going on.

So I shut it off and watched 30 minutes at a time over the course of a few days. I thought that might help me get a grasp on the film. I mean I know it was a ballsy film in it's day as the Catholic church had a huge amount of power in Italy at the time. I read that to get a divorce in Italy one had to do it through the church. And it wasn't until a hotly contested referendum was passed that legal divorce was even allowed in a civil court.

I can't image living under that type of control and that's why this was such an important film as it totally points out the utter self serving and over bearing ways of the Catholic church in Italy at that time. So my anarchist hat is off to the film makers. Maybe if I spoke Italian I could have followed this more closely. As it was, I liked the prostitute best, ha.


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The Hawks and the Sparrows / Uccellacci e uccellini
(1966)
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Starring: Totò, Ninetto Davoli, Francesco Leonetti

While watching The Hawks and Sparrows, I could sense that the writing was drenched in parody and political commentary, but the problem was that I didn't understand a lot of it. I know practically nothing about Italian history, and since the film expects its audience to have at least a passing familiarity with the events that it's drawing from, it doesn't feel accessible to outsiders like myself. Some of the elements can still be universally understood, but the film is very uneven without those missing pieces.

The biggest example of that occurs towards the end of the film, when real footage of a nation mourning what is presumed to be an important or beloved figure is shown. There is no explanation within the context of the film, but we're supposed to know that it's the funeral of Palmiro Togliatti. Since I had to later look up what the footage was about, and who Togliatti was, its relevance to the film was completely lost on me.

Not being able to comprehend a large portion of the film didn't exactly make for the best viewing experience, especially since a lot of the comedy relies on politics. The only scenes I found amusing were the responses that the monks got from the hawks and sparrows when they were attempting to convert them to Christianity. It probably didn't help that I didn't particularly like the characters either. I found Ninetto irritating from the start, and while I didn't initially mind Totò, he became progressively more unlikeable over the course of the film. So The Hawks and the Sparrows didn't really work for me, but I'm sure there's plenty of clever commentary hidden in there for more knowledgable viewers.


@Miss Vicky
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I'm not sure how you guys approach your reviews, but I typically write down some quick first impressions, things that stood out (positive or negative), notable themes, and random musings right after watching the film. When I sit down to actually think it through, usually those notes can easily be extrapolated on, and they ultimately comprise the bulk of my write-up.

I'm bringing this up because I watched The Hawks and the Sparrows when I got home from work this morning. I figured I'd take a quick look at my notes now to see if I can string together anything coherent before I have to head off for the night. And well, this is legitimately all I wrote down:

"more opening credits should be sung"
"credit the crow as an actor?"
"stock footage funeral"

Yeah, I'm not going to get much of a review out of that.
I always wonder if I should take notes. I've heard about so many people doing it, but wouldn't it ruin my enjoyment of the film? Take me out of it. I'm too busy trying to think of something to write versus enjoying what is on the screen.

Maybe it's just me...
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



I always wonder if I should take notes. I've heard about so many people doing it, but wouldn't it ruin my enjoyment of the film? Take me out of it. I'm too busy trying to think of something to write versus enjoying what is on the screen.

Maybe it's just me...
Try it some time, you can always pause the film and make just a few quick notes. I do think it can help, especially if you're like me and forget easily....umm I had something else to say but forgot



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Try it some time, you can always pause the film and make just a few quick notes. I do think it can help, especially if you're like me and forget easily....umm I had something else to say but forgot
maybe you should have taken notes

The whole "taking you out of the enjoyment of the film" was a bit of a concern for me as well.
I would feel far more analytical and that seemed to hamper the emotional feedback aka enjoyment of the film.
Always felt that most critics scribbling away on notepads in movie theaters never seem to get "into" the film, but instead have this "wall" of critical observation. Thereby missing out on a key element of going to the movies in the first place.

Though I would imagine certain films have a stronger analytical aspect and note taking would prove quite valuable for them.

For myself, in the end, my first true question of how I rate a film is, Was I entertained/emotionally caught up in the film. The technical aspects coming a close second. Which, in the end, strongly assist in explaining the first question.
I think a great example would be Nothing Bad Would Happen.
Very VERY strong emotional provocation to that film in regards to what occurs. While the ability and talent in the director and the actors along with the approach of how it was done making it a solid and very well done film. And due to its VERY emotional element, I think if I took notes while watching it, I probably would not have been AS impacted as I was when I saw it and I would have used the pausing to write notes as a buffer to the experience.
The only pause I took before writing my review was reading all the previous ones and made a point of writing directly after viewing it with all the impact still at full effect.



Always felt that most critics scribbling away on notepads in movie theaters never seem to get "into" the film, but instead have this "wall" of critical observation. Thereby missing out on a key element of going to the movies in the first place.
I think it might depend on the person since I find it possible to be engaged with the film while still maintaining a critical eye. Also, if a film critic only has one opportunity to see a film before being expected to write a review, they probably wouldn't want to leave any of the details to chance.

I usually only take notes over a film that I've already seen. If I'm watching a new film, I typically watch it through, then immediately write down whatever observations I made while it's still fresh in my mind. I don't trust myself to remember anything later on. However sometimes something comes to me during a film, and I feel the need to write it down that instant, so I'll hit pause. The brief disruption getting a sentence fragment or two down on paper causes is nothing in comparison to how much it would bother me trying to hold onto it until the end of the film haha.

On a related note, in the film classes I took it was always recommended that we watch a film at least twice if we planned to write a detailed analysis of it. The first time, you just watch and follow the film as you normally would. The second time, you scribble down notes about things that come to mind while watching. This second viewing is also meant to be more critical, where you pay attention to finer or more technical details (since you already know the plot). Some professors recommended pausing the film if necessary, but suggested we let it roll since you can always rewatch select scenes later on. I think that the more accustomed you get to watching films critically, the easier it is to pick out those details on an initial viewing, and taking notes might start to come naturally. You can write just a few words and remember exactly what you meant later on when you read them over.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I think it might depend on the person since I find it possible to be engaged with the film while still maintaining a critical eye. Also, if a film critic only has one opportunity to see a film before being expected to write a review, they probably wouldn't want to leave any of the details to chance.

I usually only take notes over a film that I've already seen. If I'm watching a new film, I typically watch it through, then immediately write down whatever observations I made while it's still fresh in my mind. I don't trust myself to remember anything later on. However sometimes something comes to me during a film, and I feel the need to write it down that instant, so I'll hit pause. The brief disruption getting a sentence fragment or two down on paper causes is nothing in comparison to how much it would bother me trying to hold onto it until the end of the film haha.

On a related note, in the film classes I took it was always recommended that we watch a film at least twice if we planned to write a detailed analysis of it. The first time, you just watch and follow the film as you normally would. The second time, you scribble down notes about things that come to mind while watching. This second viewing is also meant to be more critical, where you pay attention to finer or more technical details (since you already know the plot). Some professors recommended pausing the film if necessary, but suggested we let it roll since you can always rewatch select scenes later on. I think that the more accustomed you get to watching films critically, the easier it is to pick out those details on an initial viewing, and taking notes might start to come naturally. You can write just a few words and remember exactly what you meant later on when you read them over.
I really like that concept on doing notes on a secondary viewing. You must glean so much more going that route. I may actually give that a try a one that I had already seen and see how that works for me.

And I do get the point of forgetting something that you wanted to hold on to when watching any given film. Know that feeling all too well lol



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Let The Right One In




Spoilers Ahead...

I've put this film off for years and I have no idea why, but I finally forced myself to watch it since it was nominated for this. I'll be using it as a double-dip for my horror film a day in October. I haven't seen the remake yet either, but I've heard it does a decent job of capturing the same magic. I probably won't bother with the remake as this was good enough for me.

As much a story about depression, bullies, love and friendship as it is about vampires. Let The Right One In is about outcast Oskar and new neighbour Eli. They encounter each other out in the playground one snowy night and become friends. Bodies start turning up in the neighbourhood and they might be connected to Eli.

Children vampires always sadden me a bit, just like in Near Dark. They've been around forever and could very well be hundreds of years old, but they are forever stuck in this child's body. Lina Leandersson who plays Eli the vampire girl in question, does an amazing job here. Her facial features make her seem wise beyond her years, which perfectly captures the essence of this character. It's a shame she hasn't done much since then.

The first lines in the film have Oskar screaming to an imaginary person to squeal like a pig, while he holds a knife and makes stabbing motions. Immediately you get the impression he's venting out his anger because he's the victim of bullying. The film sets up small things here and there to let the viewer know exactly where the film is heading. Of course Eli is going to take care of his bully problem, the only question is how.

A small side plot involving one of her victims who didn't die but is slowly becoming a vampire is done quite well for being a quick side piece. She'd rather die than deal with the terror and pain of her need to feed. I laughed at the CGI cats who attacked her, it looked really bad, but everything else involving this character made sense and worked well within the story.

Really well shot film, I was surprised to see the climax of the film be one shot underwater. I knew what was going to happen simply with how the shot is framed, but the added bonus of the feet and head made me giggle and smile. Oskar has found his purpose in some sick and depressing way. He'll inevitably have to take on the role of her caretaker.

The success of this film isn't the violence from the creature, it's the relatable relationship between two kids.



Professional horse shoe straightener
Wow. Some amazing movies in this HoF. Incendies is in my top 10 movies of all time. Amelie is another favourite of mine. Let the Right One in is great, and Lean on Pete was one of my favourites from 2017. Looking forward to see which one comes out on top. cheers.




Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Ed nominates some of the most stylish & unique films I've seen...they're often very artistic and they appeal to me. I've loved many of his past noms, but not this time.

Don't get me wrong, I think Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels brilliantly succeeds as a louder, faster, badder-ass version of Ocean's 11 (1960) type crime caper film. So I don't have any criticisms of the film maker's intentions. The healthy dozes of Tarantino style humor, mixed with less than serious violence is actual a plus for me.

But...I found the film too confusing to follow. Which is not surprising as I suck at figuring out detailed plot lines and often finish a movie without knowing one damn name of any of the characters. And as it was a fast paced film with British accents, I often was lost as to who was who. Not the films fault.

It was way too hyper for me, with all the kinetic energy and the LOUD rock music track and yelling all the time. I'm not a big action fan and I do need to feel a connection or emotion to some of the characters or story line, and I didn't. Maybe next time Ed