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Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964

In this all-singing musical, Genevieve (Catherine Deneauve) and Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) are in love, but their romance is strained when Guy is drafted into the army and must leave Genevieve behind. Pregnant and unsure of Guy's commitment to her, Genevieve must decide what to do when she is wooed by Roland (Marc Michel).

So, wow, yeah, the whole thing is singing. I feel like I exist in this weird space as someone who loves movies where I've seen some more obscure things and I know some random deep-cut trivia, and yet there are these things that I'm pretty sure even really basic movie fans know that somehow manage to be news to me.

I will admit that the singing took me a little while to get used to. But ultimately, it was the look and feel of the film that really won me over, and the singing just became the norm.

The look of this film is absolutely eye-poppingly stunning. I probably only absorbed about 60% of the dialogue, because I was constantly having my attention drawn to the way that a woman's dress matched the paint color on the wall behind her, or the unexpected dark pink of a passing ship in the background, or the arrangement of graphic boxes on a shelf.

I also loved the editing, and one particular moment in which Genevieve and Guy embracing in the street cuts to them in the same pose embracing at a table in a cafe was fabulous.

My confession about only catching 3/5 of the dialogue aside, I also really enjoyed the approach to the story. If I could sum up the vibe I get from Demy's work so far, it would be "Yeah, sometimes that's how it is." Sometimes you love someone who doesn't love you back. Sometimes there's something negative about a person that is beyond their power or desire to change. Sometimes you miss a chance and you don't get a second one. Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have. And if it seems like this is a little bleak, I think that what Demy actually manages to capture is that it isn't bleak. It can be a little sad, yes, but life can still find a way to be full of joy. My favorite line might be when Guy asks Madeline, "Are you happy?" and she responds, "I'm not unhappy."

As with his previous films, Demy balances our sympathies excellently between the leads. We understand Genevieve's anxiety about being pregnant and single, not knowing if the father of her baby is coming back to her. We also understand Guy's shock at returning home from a trying experience to find that the entire landscape of his hometown has shifted. There are no villains in this story. In a lesser film, Roland (sliding neatly over from Lola and into this film) would be a villain. But here he's just a nice guy who really likes Genevieve. And it isn't his fault if we, the audience, want her to end up with Guy. Likewise, the character of Madeline (Ellen Farner) who pines after Guy. No one is scheming, they're all just people who want to be happy.

A very charming film whose all-singing style could have felt gimmicky, but instead creates a kind of alternate reality.






Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964

In this all-singing musical, Genevieve (Catherine Deneauve) and Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) are in love, but their romance is strained when Guy is drafted into the army and must leave Genevieve behind. Pregnant and unsure of Guy's commitment to her, Genevieve must decide what to do when she is wooed by Roland (Marc Michel).

So, wow, yeah, the whole thing is singing. I feel like I exist in this weird space as someone who loves movies where I've seen some more obscure things and I know some random deep-cut trivia, and yet there are these things that I'm pretty sure even really basic movie fans know that somehow manage to be news to me.

I will admit that the singing took me a little while to get used to. But ultimately, it was the look and feel of the film that really won me over, and the singing just became the norm.

The look of this film is absolutely eye-poppingly stunning. I probably only absorbed about 60% of the dialogue, because I was constantly having my attention drawn to the way that a woman's dress matched the paint color on the wall behind her, or the unexpected dark pink of a passing ship in the background, or the arrangement of graphic boxes on a shelf.

I also loved the editing, and one particular moment in which Genevieve and Guy embracing in the street cuts to them in the same pose embracing at a table in a cafe was fabulous.

My confession about only catching 3/5 of the dialogue aside, I also really enjoyed the approach to the story. If I could sum up the vibe I get from Demy's work so far, it would be "Yeah, sometimes that's how it is." Sometimes you love someone who doesn't love you back. Sometimes there's something negative about a person that is beyond their power or desire to change. Sometimes you miss a chance and you don't get a second one. Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have. And if it seems like this is a little bleak, I think that what Demy actually manages to capture is that it isn't bleak. It can be a little sad, yes, but life can still find a way to be full of joy. My favorite line might be when Guy asks Madeline, "Are you happy?" and she responds, "I'm not unhappy."

As with his previous films, Demy balances our sympathies excellently between the leads. We understand Genevieve's anxiety about being pregnant and single, not knowing if the father of her baby is coming back to her. We also understand Guy's shock at returning home from a trying experience to find that the entire landscape of his hometown has shifted. There are no villains in this story. In a lesser film, Roland (sliding neatly over from Lola and into this film) would be a villain. But here he's just a nice guy who really likes Genevieve. And it isn't his fault if we, the audience, want her to end up with Guy. Likewise, the character of Madeline (Ellen Farner) who pines after Guy. No one is scheming, they're all just people who want to be happy.

A very charming film whose all-singing style could have felt gimmicky, but instead creates a kind of alternate reality.

I highly recommend watching The Young Girls of Rochefort, if you haven't already seen it. It's my favorite of Demy's films.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

A Warm December (Sidney Poitier, 1973)
+ 5/10
Keyboard Fantasies (Posy Dixon, 2019)
6/10
Anonymous Animals (Baptiste Rouveure, 2020)
+ 5/10
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston, 1948)
+ 8/10



Bogie goes psycho in 1920s Mexico - not all that strange with him having to deal with Alfonso Bedoya's hatred of badges and Walter Huston's dancing. Great adventure/social commentary with bravura acting, writing, direction and most everything.
The Estate (James Kapner, 2020)
5.5/10
The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958)
- 6.5/10
Winter's Night (Jang Woo-jin, 2018)
5.5/10
The Nun's Story (Fred Zinnemann, 1959)
8/10

Journey of a young Belgian nun (Audrey Hepburn) and her search for spirituality, despite her natural inclination for being prideful about her accomplishments in medical research, is photographed in many wonderful locations and often plays out as a horror movie.
His Kind of Woman (John Farrow, 1951)
6.5/10
Indestructible Man (Jack Pollexfen, 1956)
4/10
Coming 2 America (Craig Brewer, 2021)
6/10
The Baker's Wife (Marcel Pagnol, 1938)
7/10

Raumu and his small Provencal village can't handle it when his young wife runs off with a shepherd, threatening them with the loss of his scrumptious bread. Low-key but still incredibly funny with pristine photography.
Listen to a Stranger: An Interview with Gordon Parks (Romas V. Slezas, 1973)
6.5/10
Flavio (Gordon Parks, 1964)
6/10
The Wrong Path (Andrew Damon Henriques, 2021)
- 5/10
Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)
6.5/10

Even though many of the characters are hopelessly clichéd, the Influential filmmaking isn't. Iconic scenes and storytelling throughout.
40-Love (Fred Wolf, 2021)
6/10
Reap (Joe Leone, 2020)
4/10
Mogambo (John Ford, 1953)
+ 6/10
The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
6.5/10

Welles' follow-up to Kane was taken out of his hands but still turns out pretty well, considering. The above closing credits highlight some of his creativeness. Tim Holt is much more of an a-hole here than in SIerra Madre or Stagecoach.
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I highly recommend watching The Young Girls of Rochefort, if you haven't already seen it. It's my favorite of Demy's films.
I'm watching it right now! (Or rather, I've started it tonight and will probably finish it tomorrow evening).

Coming 2 America (Craig Brewer, 2031)
6/10
Tell us your secrets, oh traveler from the future!



No flack coming your way even though I liked that film. Just a question about your movie title. I've never see it wrote that way. Is this a special version or extended version?
That's affirmative! I watched it on TCM (On Demand) and they talked about how this version had about 20 extra minutes added on, which Ben Mankowitz said really helped flesh out the story from the book.

I'm thinking I might have liked it more if it had been 20 minutes shorter.

The longer version is better because it adds scenes that help the movie. It adds scenes at the beginning that introduce us to the Greasers, so we have a better feel for the characters by the time the action starts. It also adds the courtroom scene, and the scene with Ponyboy and his brothers at the end which give us closure. It also removes some minor scenes in the middle of the movie that weren't necessary anyway.

The Complete Novel also changed the soundtrack to 60s music, which was more fitting to the time the movie was set.
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Victim of The Night
The Outsiders: The Complete Novel (1983)



I'm prepared for flack because I've heard this movie is beloved by some - which is part of the problem... I think it's a case of decades of hype vs. a first time view.

First, I never read the book, but had heard that this movie was something of a classic since the early 80's.

TCM gave it quite the build up with Ben Mankowitz interviewing Francis Ford Coppola (but comparing it to other Coppola films such as The Godfather and American Graffiti set me up with anticipation for something epic.)

Of course I loved seeing the cast of then future stars, but the movie itself seemed to come off more like a spoof of an old James Dean film (to me anyway).

It brought to mind the John Waters' movie Cry-Baby (1990), but Crybaby was an intentional spoof of those types of movies.

The acting was almost cringe-worthy. Strictly high school play level which is surprising as many of these guys would go on to make huge hit movies. Some performances in the movie were better than others, but overall it just felt overdone & forced - much like a spoof, which it wasn't. Matt Dillon seemed to stand out initially as being believable, but in the 2nd half he was chewing scenery and delivering lines as if he was overacting on a voice job for Family Guy.

Seeing Diane Lane was really the "Cherry" on top - her acting was good in her few scenes and she was just a gorgeous girl!

A fun watch for the novelty factor of an all (future) star cast, but as an overall film: a little slow, dreary, with poor acting that could not be overcome with blatant attempts to be cinematically "artsy".

Yeah, it's not very good and you're definitely not the only one who felt that way. For example, Roger Ebert panned it in its time. I actually do have the nostalgia factor for it but when I went back and watched it I realized it was just not good.
Watch his far, far superior Rumble Fish for a much better take on the old-fashioned street gang/S.E. Hinton thing and a much better Coppola "Art Film".



Victim of The Night


Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1964

...

A very charming film whose all-singing style could have felt gimmicky, but instead creates a kind of alternate reality.

So, have you seen his next film, The Young Girls Of Rochefort? That's my favorite of his.



The longer version is better because it adds scenes that help the movie. It adds scenes at the beginning that introduce us to the Greasers, so we have a better feel for the characters by the time the action starts. It also adds the courtroom scene, and the scene with Ponyboy and his brothers at the end which give us closure. It also removes some minor scenes in the middle of the movie that weren't necessary anyway.

The Complete Novel also changed the soundtrack to 60s music, which was more fitting to the time the movie was set.
That's really interesting, gbg, especially since I've never seen the original.

I thought the courtroom scene and the end scene were two of the best - I couldn't imagine it without the courtroom because that seemed the conclusion to Ponyboy's fate & the resolution to the crux of the story.

The music is really interesting - what kind of music was in the original version?

I did dig the soundtrack - although a couple of the songs seemed a bit out of place simply for the scenes they were used in. Overall the music in this version contributed greatly to the feel and the era the film was set in. (During the rumble scene I said to my brother, "This movie reminds me of a Stray Cats song!")






Stalker - I tried watching this a few years back but stopped because I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. After watching a few minutes I knew this was a film that deserved your full attention. I had the same experience with Solaris which I didn't fully appreciate until a rewatch. I'm glad I waited because this was on par with that. To those who aren't familiar there's a small unnamed country where some sort of unspecified incident has resulted in a restricted region referred to simply as "the Zone". In this area there is rumored to be a room where a person's one true desire is fulfilled. Professional guides lead their clients into this zone. One such person is known simply as "Stalker" (Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy) and, against the vehement objections of his wife Zhena (Alisa Freyndlikh), he agrees to escort two men past the barricades and armed guards. One is Pisatel (Anatoliy Solonitsyn), a writer who is feeling simultaneously burned out but also obsolete. The other is an academic dubbed "The Professor" (Nikolay Grinko) who maintains that he is there strictly for research purposes.

I think this is a gorgeously photographed movie with the prelude and the coda presented in a striking sepia tone. Tarkovsky loads his movie with lingering and ultimately mesmerizing shots but the one that stood out to me (at least my favorite one) was near the end. The Stalker and his family are trudging home though a sublimely grim landscape, his infirm daughter on his shoulders and that one shot (at least to me) spoke volumes. Once home the spiritually and physically exhausted man laments to his wife the apparent folly of his "calling". His is an attempt to bring grace and hope and a deeper understanding to his clients. But he despairs of ever getting through to anyone. And yet despite his avowal that he is through risking all with little or nothing to show for it you know he will keep on trying. Some might believe that Tarkovsky goes a little heavy on the religious allegory. I don't think he necessarily does while still managing to get his point across.

I really liked this movie but I think Solaris still squeaks by as my favorite Tarkovsky. I just need to watch more of his films.

90/100



11 Foreign Language movies to go

By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60921288

Ford v Ferrari - (2019)

If I were a motorsport fan I'd be jumping up and down right now proclaiming this the greatest motion picture ever made. I'm not one though, so this was just an enjoyable enough film with great scenes of racing set during the '66 Le Mans event which involved Ford and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) - I thought he was doing a great British accent until I remembered that Bale actually is British. Matt Damon joins as a car designer and former driver. A true story that really has it's twists and turns, especially regarding the 24-hour event which is built up marvelously. That's 7/9 Best Picture-nominated films from that year I've seen. Only missing Marriage Story and The Irishman.

7/10


By http://www.impawards.com/2008/wall_e_ver3.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34074540

WALL-E - (2008)

Jeez, kids get it good these days - but that's no reason for me not to enjoy these films also. Caught this is preparation for the 2000s Countdown because animated films often score quite well, and this is one of the best. Imaginative, and stays the course pretty well considering it runs for over 90 minutes with a couple of characters who only speak a few words the entire time.

8/10
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I don't really know what to say
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Targets -


This is an excellent thriller that captures a changing of the guard: the monster guard, that is. It features horror legend Boris Karloff, who plays a version of himself named Byron Orlok (love that name), who is bowing out of the horror movie business with one final movie, the real Corman production The Terror. Meanwhile, there's Bobby Thompson, who is the kind of family man you'd want to invite over to drink with and watch the big game. Without warning, he snaps and goes on a sniping spree around L.A.

What makes the movie work for me is how they play Bobby up as the ideal American male. Besides casting Tim O'Kelly, who looks like he belongs in the typical ‘60s beach movie, there's his love of Baby Ruth candy bars and his too perfect pastel-shaded house. Few things in movies scare me more than villains like Bobby because they show every sign that there's nothing to fear about them, which makes their chaotic evil alignment hard to understand and therefore all the scarier. In other words, he's in good company with the villains in The Vanishing (1988) and Vengeance is Mine. His highway shooting spree is an ideal demonstration of this, which terrifies not only for how realistic and how much of a masterclass in tension and release it is, but also because there's no rhyme or reason to who Bobby targets.

Regarding the scenes with Karloff, I read a critique that they should have been minimized or done away with entirely to spend more time with Bobby, but I disagree. Besides being relevant to the changing of the guard theme, they provide an ideal cake to the icing that is Bobby's rampage and they're why the drive-in theater finale is so suspenseful. Removing these scenes would also deprive us of Karloff's breathtaking delivery of The Appointment in Samarra story. You also have to give credit to Bogdanovich, Platt and company for using more actual locations instead of sets, a decision that has the added benefit of making the movie an ideal time capsule of late '60s southern California. All in all, it's the kind of thriller that is scary enough to be labeled as horror, and since the Bobbys of America continue to be the reason why so many are afraid to go to public places, let their kids go to public schools, etc., it's also scarily prescient.





I don't really know what to say
Helpful.
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If Crowe had a better rôle than this, I don’t know what it is.



A classic - seen it a million times.



ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
(2017, Ueda)



"Fast, cheap, but average"

Without giving too much away, One Cut of the Dead follows a crew of filmmakers tasked with shooting a zombie film while facing a series of unexpected and often hilarious constraints and problems. The nature and reasons of those constraints is best explained by watching the actual film, and being patient enough to stick with it all the way through the payoff.

If you haven't heard much or anything about this, then give it a chance as soon as possible. Especially if you're a zombie or horror fan, this is a film that rewards you for walking in blind. It is a film that moves at a breezy pace, and even though it may look cheap, average it ain't.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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If Crowe had a better rôle than this, I don’t know what it is.
I haven't seen this film since theaters, but if you ask me now, I would take Crowe's performances in L.A. Confidential, The Nice Guys, and especially The Insider over it any day.



I haven't seen this film since theaters, but if you ask me now, I would take Crowe's performances in L.A. Confidential, The Nice Guys, and especially The Insider over it any day.
We’ll agree to disagree. I would take Master & Commander over any of the movies you mention. But it’s all good stuff.



The trick is not minding
I haven't seen this film since theaters, but if you ask me now, I would take Crowe's performances in L.A. Confidential, The Nice Guys, and especially The Insider over it any day.
Completely agree here. A Beautiful Mind isn’t even that good of film, either. I need to see The Nice Guys yet, but the other two tower above ABM.



Completely agree here. A Beautiful Mind isn’t even that good of film, either. I need to see The Nice Guys yet, but the other two tower above ABM.
TNG would fit well into Noirvember, if you’re partaking. It’s like a comedy version of LA Confidential.