The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Sunset Blvd.




I didn't really have any idea what this film was about, I only could venture wild guesses based on the famous lines; "ready for my close up / it's the picture that got small" and with the title, I had to surmise it involved filmmaking. What I got was a weird mix of a deep-dive character study told through a film noir telescope.

The voice-over from our lead character invokes so many film noir instances that once the dead body shows up I was wondering...wait, what IS this film really about? Then it hits the brakes for a bit and we get to see our two leads interact. William Holden and Gloria Swanson play extremely well off each other. One clawing at any sort of human interaction while clinging on desperately to the past while the other is trying their best to get away from his past, look to the future and make something for himself.

These two polar opposites are stuck together for a good chunk of the film. The lengths one will go to keep someone around they think they love, buying fancy suits, expensive watches and gold cigarette cases isn't enough to win over another person. Even forcing them to write you a screenplay for a big comeback isn't enough to make them love you. Yet Norma Desmond is blinded by her own ambitions, she ignores the truth willingly.

Movies about movies sometimes feel self-indulgent, but here's a film willing to pull back the curtain and show us what it's like for former stars and how once they fade out, people will simply throw them aside. Lucky, or maybe it isn't lucky, for Desmond, she has one director willing to shield her from the truth, Cecil B. DeMille.

Joe wants to write something great and he won't be able to do that while ghostwriting Desmond's big comeback story. So he seeks out the help of his best friend's girlfriend, who just so happens to be smitten with him. Desmond can't have Joe leaving at all hours of the night to see another woman, regardless of what his intentions are.

The film is a dark comedy, with shades of noir and Greek tragedy. The majority of the film takes place in Desmond's mansion of a house with newly placed tiles that were waxed, making it an excellent place to dance. The only other person living in this giant palace is Max, the help. He always seems to know more than what he lets on and he has some secrets from his own past that eventually bubble up with a shock.

Sunset Blvd was a film that I knew was loved by many. Yet I always find myself wondering if I would enjoy those "old black and white" films. You know what...I usually do. So why does it take me so long to sit down and watch something like this? I don't know. What I do know is that I FINALLY did see this iconic classic tale and it lived up to my expectations. Sunset Blvd is a great movie.
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Suspect's Reviews



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Sunset Blvd.




I didn't really have any idea what this film was about, I only could venture wild guesses based on the famous lines; "ready for my close up / it's the picture that got small" and with the title, I had to surmise it involved filmmaking. What I got was a weird mix of a deep-dive character study told through a film noir telescope.

The voice-over from our lead character invokes so many film noir instances that once the dead body shows up I was wondering...wait, what IS this film really about? Then it hits the brakes for a bit and we get to see our two leads interact. William Holden and Gloria Swanson play extremely well off each other. One clawing at any sort of human interaction while clinging on desperately to the past while the other is trying their best to get away from his past, look to the future and make something for himself.

These two polar opposites are stuck together for a good chunk of the film. The lengths one will go to keep someone around they think they love, buying fancy suits, expensive watches and gold cigarette cases isn't enough to win over another person. Even forcing them to write you a screenplay for a big comeback isn't enough to make them love you. Yet Norma Desmond is blinded by her own ambitions, she ignores the truth willingly.

Movies about movies sometimes feel self-indulgent, but here's a film willing to pull back the curtain and show us what it's like for former stars and how once they fade out, people will simply throw them aside. Lucky, or maybe it isn't lucky, for Desmond, she has one director willing to shield her from the truth, Cecil B. DeMille.

Joe wants to write something great and he won't be able to do that while ghostwriting Desmond's big comeback story. So he seeks out the help of his best friend's girlfriend, who just so happens to be smitten with him. Desmond can't have Joe leaving at all hours of the night to see another woman, regardless of what his intentions are.

The film is a dark comedy, with shades of noir and Greek tragedy. The majority of the film takes place in Desmond's mansion of a house with newly placed tiles that were waxed, making it an excellent place to dance. The only other person living in this giant palace is Max, the help. He always seems to know more than what he lets on and he has some secrets from his own past that eventually bubble up with a shock.

Sunset Blvd was a film that I knew was loved by many. Yet I always find myself wondering if I would enjoy those "old black and white" films. You know what...I usually do. So why does it take me so long to sit down and watch something like this? I don't know. What I do know is that I FINALLY did see this iconic classic tale and it lived up to my expectations. Sunset Blvd is a great movie.
Great review TUS, and that was my pick for you!



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Fantastic Planet




Something about a film like this screams artistic vision. It's so wildly different from what animated movies are today...or probably what they were back then too. Fantastic Planet is a simple enough story, but it doesn't seem concerned with those elements. It wants to wow you with the out of this world visuals. It's almost as if an artist's "series" were transformed into a film.

The movement of the film feels like a Monty Python segment, but that's where the comparison to the comedy troupe ends as Fantastic Planet seems to have its mind on more serious matters. I also can now see where someone like Luc Besson can get his inspiration from, I'm thinking mainly of the tall blue aliens in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

The film is odd, surreal and engaging for the most part. I'm not so sure if it would be high on my re-watch list as it has a one and done feel to it, at least for me. In a time in my life where I'm watching whatever my kids watch, the animation rotation in my house has been kind of stale, so to see something like this felt like a breath of fresh air.



i have three reviews to write and then i just have to watch children of paradise, which i should be able to do tonight or this weekend at the latest. gonna try to crank out a review or two rn, although i watched these movies a few weeks ago so my reviews will probably be a bit shorter and more vague than usual.
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amelie

i was aware of this film's somewhat polarizing reputation, beloved by some as a top-tier example of the european vein of quirky 2000s cinema, while fostering a strong backlash from cinephiles annoyed that one of the few foreign films mainstream audiences know is something so obnoxiously twee and cutesy. perhaps at one point i would've agreed with the latter group, which is likely why i had put off the film for so many years, but in the year 2020 it's quite easy to see past those peripheral grievances and simply acknowledge that this is a very good movie. i particularly enjoyed the beginning, in its earnest appreciation for the overlooked minutiae of life that has since become the domain of so many #relatable tweets but here still feels quite vibrant and authentic. it lost me a bit in the middle portion, as i found it difficult to get too invested in the more episodic passages, but i found the ending profoundly affecting, which is hardly surprising given the way it so cleanly aims at the heartstrings of 20-something introverts like myself. the fact that i fell in love with audrey tautou in this is so cliche and predictable it hardly seems worth mentioning. comparing jeunet's compositions to those of wes anderson also feels cliche, but it doesn't make it any less accurate, and what wonderful compositions they are! even when i lost interest in what was going on narratively, it was always a sincere pleasure to observe the attention to detail and the splendid use of light and color on the screen. good movie imo. thanks for the rec, whoever!




Amelie has its moments and is very unique, but it's still a film that I don't care for. In this particular HoF, it only matters that Inmate enjoyed it.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Totally Loved Amelie when I saw it. Delightful, colorful with a quirky dark comedy and a love story ending that makes you smile.
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Strange Days




At 2 hours and 25 minutes, I always thought Strange Days was going to have an uphill battle with my attention span. Now because I hate long movies, but I wondered to myself is a film like this deserved to be that long. I'm still on the fence about it because I feel like there are plenty of scenes to cut to make the film a leaner cyberpunk crime thriller, but then you lose the world-building that Cameron, as the writer and Bigelow as the director seems to fight for.

Strange Days had me perplexed. I had no idea what this movie was about other than set in the future and on New Year's Eve. Well, that's kind of right considering the film came out in 1995. There is so much more going on in this movie that watching it in current times is crazy to witness. Police brutality, racial discrimination, and voyeurism are just a few things on this film's mind. Hidden behind a thin sci-fi layer regarding the recording of memories and emotions to sell on the black market. A great sci-fi idea that turns sour when our lead character witnesses a recording of a rape/murder. The film then pivots to a crime-mystery hybrid in which we have to solve the who, what and why. The film blends the elements of the crime/mystery/noir with cyberpunk successfully.

Bigelow gives the film a gritty sense of realism, yet no one in this film feels normal. Everything has a heightened sense, which gives the film this otherworldly feel. I felt like I could have lived in this world and the tech presented to the viewer could very much be real. The look and feel of the film are mostly told through fashion a lot of these characters wear. Nothing feels normal here and nothing should.

Ralph Fiennes is pretty good as our lead, Lenny, but I have to give props to Angela Bassett as she kicked a lot of ass in this film and she looked damn fine doing it. From the moment she appears on the screen, you know she doesn't take sh*t from anybody. They have a tiny misstep in the final moments of the film, but everything else is pretty solid. A surprisingly large supporting cast helps flesh out this odd world of characters; Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'Onofrio, Glenn Plummer and William Fichtner stand out.

Strange Days was a lot of fun and showcased the early talents of Bigelow as a director.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
while I'll did not nominate it for you, I have seen Strange Days quite a number of times. Pretty solid back up cast and I have heard that Juliet Lewis DOES sing when on stage. I would seriously see THAT rock show



while I'll did not nominate it for you, I have seen Strange Days quite a number of times. Pretty solid back up cast and I have heard that Juliet Lewis DOES sing when on stage. I would seriously see THAT rock show
I'm with you and I always had a thing for her.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Amadeus




When the title card for the film came on and underneath Amadeus it said; Director's Cut, I knew I was in for a long-ass movie. Clocking in at 3 hours, the film details the life of Mozart, his genius, the rivalry to Salieri and his demise. They don't make movies like this anymore.

With Godfather Part II, Deer Hunter and Amadeus, I for sure must have the longest runtimes out of everyone. Heck, even Strange Days was almost 2 and a 1/2 hours long. I'll use that as my excuse for why I'm taking so long.

I would see this movie poster as a kid a lot and for some reason always thought it was about Egyptian History. Something akin to a Cleopatra film. Why? No idea, it looks like a menacing Egyptian God on the cover. When I found out what it was really about, my interest depleted. Who wants to watch a long movie about composers in white wigs creating music? I was wrong, as I tend to be in these situations. The film has so much more going for it than that. I won't go into whatever historical inaccuracies there are, probably many, but stick to what works. These changes were obviously made for dramatic effect and they work.

The music is transcending. It's refreshing to hear classical music, is that weird to say? Today we are beaten over the head with repetitive drivel on the radio that we miss the art of music. It's an industry and people turn out music to make a buck, not for the art of it...which is hilarious because that's what is depicted in Amadeus.

The costume design, the set design, the grand scale of this film. Today you'd get a few sets and then the rest would be filled in with CGI. Everything here feels real and lived in. We are witnessing people from the 1700's live their lives, feel jealousy and rage, depression and pressure. Everything that is related to us today, these emotions never leave and unite us all.

In reading about the Director's Cut, there seems to be a pivotal scene omitted from the Theatrical Cut. Mozart's wife is positioned by Salieri, if she wants her husband to get the job, they must sleep together. She arrives at his place, disrobes and Salieri calls his servant while she is topless. This humiliates her and gives more emotional weight to their scene towards the end when she tells him that she doesn't have a servant anymore to show him his way out. Without that context, in the beginning, the ending feels empty.

Amadeus is a beautifully imagined film that I don't suspect I'll be watching again anytime soon...my ass is numb.