26th Hall of Fame

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The trick is not minding
Not Quite Hollywood


Australia cinema was almost nonexistent during the early days of cinema. Before the 70’s, there wasn’t much to it. So, to jumpstart their foundering film industry, they looked to overseas for “inspiration”. A cross between Europe and Hollywood, as one producer calls it.

The result? Ozploitation, which coincided with The Australian New Wave Movement. It wasn’t for the faint of heart, and it certainly wasn’t as prestigious. We’re talking about genres from action(The Man from Hong Kong), dystopian sci-fi (Mad Max), horror (Thirst, Razorback) ausssie westerns(Ned Kelly, Mad Morgan, both based off of actual figures) psychological thrillers (Wake in Fright), and sexploitation films (too many to name). Sexploitation and horrro were their bread and butter during the 70’s.
Most are forgettable. Although there are some worth watching.

NQH follows several directors, critics, producers, actors and actresses as well as Quentin Tarantino, himself a self avowed fan of Ozploitation, who, if I recall correctly, coined the term.

Some of these films are interesting to watch, and listening to the back stories and anecdotes are always interesting. Dennis Hopper as Mad Dog Morgan was filled with stories surrounding his method acting, aaaand well as his boozing and coke use. Indeed, Hopper even appears to reminisce about his experience.

There is also the stories about The Man from Hong Kong, an Asian who they said despised white women and treated everyone horribly.

There also the stories of the dangerous stunts that cost many their lives. It Is almost like a cautionary tale, about what Australia was willing to do to create movies.

What we have here, is a fascinating tale of the “birth” of the Aussie films industry, frought with peril, egos, and censorship. What emerged is still debated. What matters is what came from it. And along for the ride, is Tarantino, riding shotgun, filled with an exuberance that makes one wonder what they may be missing.

Of the films listed at the end, during the credits, I have seen only a handful: Mad Dog Morgan, Patrick, Razorback, Wake in Fright,Mad Max and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith. Of that group, Mad Max is easily the best.

I plan on seeing more.



I tried picking something not many ppl have nominated in the past that I have actually seen. I knew most of you are dedicated cinephiles and most of you had probably had seen this already, but maybe some of y’all haven’t. Either way, I hope this film will bring you a happy feeling of nostalgia, it being a first watch or rewatch!
Great film. But I hold that it's not actually about happy feelings.



Was going mainly for nostalgia, poor choice of wording on my part. 😅
Nah, you're fine..most everyone thinks of Cinema Paradiso as a happy, positive film. Everyone but me But it is a real good film!





Festen (The Celebration) - 1998

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

Written by Thomas Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov

Starring Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen, Thomas Bo Larsen
Paprika Steen and Birthe Neumann

The draconian restrictions Dogme 95 enforced on those filmmakers who decided to follow it's rules might at first confound those who suddenly come into contact with them. Unnecessarily forbidding the use of any artificial light, and constricting a film by stipulating only hand-held cameras are to be used appears to be folly of the highest order, which begs the question : why? Fortunately, Festen's director, Thomas Vinterberg, has been able to directly articulate what it all means. Vinterberg has described Dogme 95 as a provocation, an ideology and a game. That Vinterberg and Lars von Trier found it necessary at all to instigate this movement speaks directly to those who feel that storytelling is dead in modern movie-making - painted over with glitz and glamour. Stripping all of that away forces those making a film to think completely differently, and it's here that the rewards are inherent. Forcing filmmakers to think differently and change produces something with an element of the unexpected, and this is where the rewards for working in such a strange manner become apparent. Such is the serious side to what must have seemed to some to be a challenging game the directors were challenging each other with. The first result of this game was the film Festen - and it indeed produced unexpected results.

Festen tells a story which is at first simply unpleasant, and darkens it until it's nearly unbearable. A wealthy patriarch is celebrating his 60th birthday at a palatial home in Denmark, and as such his entire family has descended on the place carrying their age-old resentments, personalities and problems. This celebration will be marred by the fact that one of his adult children, Linda, has recently committed suicide - but all and sundry do their best to not dwell on that fact. Aside from petty bickering all appears to be going well until his son Christian rises to toast his father. What comes forth is a revelation of horrifying abuse, the ramifications of which obviously caused Linda's suicide - and this revelation will lead to confrontations despite most family member's attempts to pretend nothing at all is amiss. It takes much more than Christian's initial toast to crack the rotten egg his father appears to be.

The characters inhabiting this story are exceptionally well-drawn, and expertly portrayed. Christian's father - Helge (Henning Moritzen) is pompous and drives his children hard. His son Michael (Thomas Bo Larsen) is the wild one - and his previous drunken antics have nearly led to him being barred from the celebrations. Daughter Helene (Paprika Steen) is free-spirited, and causes controversy by inviting her black boyfriend to an event where more than one casual racist is celebrating. Helge's wife Else (Birthe Neumann) is loyal and discreet, backing Helge every chance she gets. This main ensemble is supported by a cast of characters that have a depth of their own, and makes the film seem genuine - the world it's depicting more than what we're seeing on camera. You'd almost suspect it to continue beyond the frame, into the various rooms and gardens we can't see. Adding to this sense of reality is the casual way it's captured on tape. Dogme 95 leaves a film to it's actors and characters - the cameraman must follow the action instead of vice versa.

One of Dogme 95's other strict rules demands that all sound on a film be provided by the natural environment. No dubbing or overlaying of sound is allowed. This means that there is perhaps more inventive use of music, and singing is provided by the characters - either they sing in unison or one plays the piano. This is an example of Dogme taking us in directions that Vinterberg may not have naturally veered into if he had more post-production to do on Festen. It certainly doesn't seem out of place. There is a willful ignorance the characters display towards what is going on, as they don't want to face the ugly truth which is unfolding before them. Conga-lines, racist singing and general enforced merry behaviour make the noise people need when an ugly truth needs to be drowned out. This is where Dogme really bears fruit. Directors are forced to think more. It's probable that Lars von Trier and Vinterberg did not even know themselves what their end products would look and feel like. Instead of taking away - it adds.

As the sun sets, natural light begins to bleed away and our characters begin to lose connection with their surroundings and become adrift in a sea of darkness. This is perhaps the greatest happy accident the whole production gains from the ideology it's adhering to. At the height of the crisis and madness surrounding Christian, Helge and the others, this darkness lends an atmosphere that would otherwise never have been considered. It's surprising just how fully engaged we are by this time - lacking music and light our concentration narrows and now everything we have invested is simply in the characters themselves. Here, watching Festen is comparable to watching live theatre - and all of the actors' performances rise to the occasion to produce something compelling, but also quite uncomfortable in many respects. This family gathering was always going to be difficult to watch - but the familial crisis ignited by Christian's toast and the darkness punctuated by bare, unadorned sound hit hard. It's disorientating, naked and powerful.

Personally, the first time I watched Festen I came away from it in a dark frame of mind - as if what I had witnessed was indeed real. Based on what Vinterberg at first thought was a true story (and it may still turn out to be so - with only it's true origin somewhat clouded) this film removes all of the usual barriers we've come to expect from films. When I learned more about it, I felt a compelling urgency to watch it again - and after that viewing I still feel compelled to watch it a third time. With modern movie-making we've lost our sense of the moment, and Festen recaptures that quite brilliantly. It's weaknesses have been turned into strengths, and as such it is something well worth celebrating.

__________________
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Tower (2016)



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Registered User
I strongly considered joining but am watching a bunch of films alongside a read of "Pictures at a Revolution" and have other tasks taking up my time. Sad, but this looks fun and as I've seen several of the films, I intend to follow the thread and then join 27. Enjoy!



I strongly considered joining but am watching a bunch of films alongside a read of "Pictures at a Revolution" and have other tasks taking up my time. Sad, but this looks fun and as I've seen several of the films, I intend to follow the thread and then join 27. Enjoy!
Hope to see ya in the 27th!



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
excellent and very informative review, @PHOENIX74. Especially in regards to the parameters of Dogme 95 and how it affected the making of the film. VERY NICE.


Finished the third installment of And Then There Were None. Will get a review up during the weekend.
__________________
What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.




Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)

Documentaries focusing on a specific event are really tough to make work. Life doesn't always present things in a way that make for a structurally engaging story and that's the case with this particular event. To be honest, the only interesting thing about this event is that it happened and that doesn't really make for the most engaging film. There's just not much to work with when your subject matter is an hour and a half of history. The first 20 minutes feel so long because there's just so many characters being introduced the same way one after another. It doesn't drag nearly as bad after that but the film still feels a lot longer than it is. So it's never terribly interesting but it is at least passably entertaining and the presentation carries it a lot. I've always really liked rotoscope animation, even when it looks jank sometimes (happens a few times in every film its used, kind of unavoidable) and I think it really adds a lot here. They could have gotten a little more ambitious with it overall but the spots where they do go for it it looks really great, the scene where the pregnant girl talks about meeting her guy in particular was a standout. As much as I've whinged about the structure and whatnot, some of the concluding statements from the people involved do have a lot of weight and hit pretty effectively so it does end on a good note at least. Overall, its not really a great story or a great source of information but I dig the style and I was mostly entertained so yeah, it ain't bad.



Angel-A (2005) -


WARNING: spoilers below
Tonally wise, I found this film really strange. I'm not sure how much I liked it (my rating may increase or decrease in the future), but I do have some respect for it. Initially, I thought this would be a straightforward story of Angel-A improving Andre and helping him fix his various flaws. Instead though, he made virtually no improvements throughout the first hour and made a couple improvements throughout the final half hour. At the end, while he was in a better place than he was at the start of the film, he still needed Angel-A by his side to prevent him from making the same mistakes all over again. If it wasn't for Andre recognizing that he was only half-developed at the end, one could criticize the film for not properly developing his character, but since the point of the ending is that she didn't fully improve him, the film doesn't need to provide closure to his character flaws. While I find that to be a clever premise, I think I respect this film more than I like it. I admired that the film twisted my initial expectations around, but what I got as an alternative left me rather cold and removed from the characters. Andre's ineptitude kept me at arm's length from him for most of the first hour, so it took me a while to feel an emotional connection to him. Also, the occasional bad advice Angel-A offered (e.g., telling him he should've insulted one of the thugs he owed money to) and how she did virtually all the work when dealing with some of his problems instead of instructing him on how to handle them kept me from getting into her character. And again, I get that Andre wasn't fully improved at the end, so I'm hesitant to call these qualities flaws. I'm just not sure I connected much with them. Angel-A seems like a highly flawed film which resolves its flaws at the end in a rather odd way. Granted though, I'm a bit undecided about how I feel about this film and somebody could probably convince me that it's better or worse than what I think. For now though, this is where I'll stand.


Next Up: The Celebration



Here’s looking at you, kid.
Tower: 2016 (Keith Maitland)

I thought this documentary was done very accurately and some ways beautifully. I didn’t love the cartoonish depictions, but I thought it made the documentary become more alive and even though this tragic occurrence happened in 1966, it made it feel so relevant and modern. Throughout the film I teared up a few times but I thought it was amazing the way Rita went to Claire’s aid in the middle of a courtyard, clearly visible from the tower with no coverage and yet she lated there on pavement on a 100 degree day, just to talk to her to keep her conscious. Later she went to the hospital and gave Claire a painting she had made and I thought, this woman is an angel from heaven.

So all in all, I thought this was a well made documentary and the animation wasn’t my favorite but it also played a big part and had a purpose.




And Then There Were None (2015)

A mostly fun watch...mostly. But its TV miniseries origins were ever present. From the next week's episode sneak previews, to the TV style of acting, to the padding of what should've been a two hour story out to a full three hours...This version of Agatha Christie's classic novel left a lot to be desired.

Most any film that has a mystery to be solved by the viewer at it's core will elicit mostly positive reactions, as the ongoing mystery is a prime hook for any film especially a murder mystery. We watch intently because we want to find out who-done-it? And so yes I had fun watching this, but to be honestly objective the production was average.

The acting was annoy at times especially by the nervous doctor with his constant caterwauling and the equally dismally boring detective with the silly mustache. I couldn't wait for those two to get their comeuppance, aka be knocked off! To be fair, it's probably not the actors fault but the fault of a script that despite three hours time doesn't bother to flesh out these ten guest. For the most part the guest were soulless, two dimensional figures who only exist to be killed. The one exception was the man who had killed 21 people. He at least projected some personality beyond the banally cardboard. He alone had a 'movie soul' as dark as it was, he seemed to have a reason to be and thus was interesting to watch.

The production sadly did not make use of the huge house and it really should have. Instead of taking us, the audience, on a fact finding mission through out the old mansion thus building the feeling of mystery...the house is treated like a set when it needed to be the star character.



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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Angel-A (2005) -


WARNING: spoilers below
Tonally wise, I found this film really strange. I'm not sure how much I liked it (my rating may increase or decrease in the future), but I do have some respect for it. Initially, I thought this would be a straightforward story of Angel-A improving Andre and helping him fix his various flaws. Instead though, he made virtually no improvements throughout the first hour and made a couple improvements throughout the final half hour. At the end, while he was in a better place than he was at the start of the film, he still needed Angel-A by his side to prevent him from making the same mistakes all over again. If it wasn't for Andre recognizing that he was only half-developed at the end, one could criticize the film for not properly developing his character, but since the point of the ending is that she didn't fully improve him, the film doesn't need to provide closure to his character flaws. While I find that to be a clever premise, I think I respect this film more than I like it. I admired that the film twisted my initial expectations around, but what I got as an alternative left me rather cold and removed from the characters. Andre's ineptitude kept me at arm's length from him for most of the first hour, so it took me a while to feel an emotional connection to him. Also, the occasional bad advice Angel-A offered (e.g., telling him he should've insulted one of the thugs he owed money to) and how she did virtually all the work when dealing with some of his problems instead of instructing him on how to handle them kept me from getting into her character. And again, I get that Andre wasn't fully improved at the end, so I'm hesitant to call these qualities flaws. I'm just not sure I connected much with them. Angel-A seems like a highly flawed film which resolves its flaws at the end in a rather odd way. Granted though, I'm a bit undecided about how I feel about this film and somebody could probably convince me that it's better or worse than what I think. For now though, this is where I'll stand.


Next Up: The Celebration
Understandable. This is NOT the usual Angel that comes down to guide and nurture via gentleness, kindness, with a deep adherence to morality. Angel-A is NOT Clarence and Andred this definitely NOT George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life. LOL



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

And Then There Were None (2015)

A mostly fun watch...mostly. But its TV miniseries origins were ever present. From the next week's episode sneak previews, to the TV style of acting, to the padding of what should've been a two hour story out to a full three hours...This version of Agatha Christie's classic novel left a lot to be desired.

Most any film that has a mystery to be solved by the viewer at it's core will elicit mostly positive reactions, as the ongoing mystery is a prime hook for any film especially a murder mystery. We watch intently because we want to find out who-done-it? And so yes I had fun watching this, but to be honestly objective the production was average.

The acting was annoy at times especially by the nervous doctor with his constant caterwauling and the equally dismally boring detective with the silly mustache. I couldn't wait for those two to get their comeuppance, aka be knocked off! To be fair, it's probably not the actors fault but the fault of a script that despite three hours time doesn't bother to flesh out these ten guest. For the most part the guest were soulless, two dimensional figures who only exist to be killed. The one exception was the man who had killed 21 people. He at least projected some personality beyond the banally cardboard. He alone had a 'movie soul' as dark as it was, he seemed to have a reason to be and thus was interesting to watch.

The production sadly did not make use of the huge house and it really should have. Instead of taking us, the audience, on a fact finding mission through out the old mansion thus building the feeling of mystery...the house is treated like a set when it needed to be the star character.



I had read that they filmed the interiors in a much smaller location to the point that they repeatedly used one bedroom for everyone and simply changed out furniture.



I had read that they filmed the interiors in a much smaller location to the point that they repeatedly used one bedroom for everyone and simply changed out furniture.
Interesting, I wouldn't have guessed that.



Guy who likes movies
I just finished watching Tower (2016). Directed by Keith Maitland, this documentary uses animation and archival footage to tell the true story of a sniper firing from the tower of the University of Texas on August 1, 1966. I thought it was an interesting way to tell the story and for me it worked well. This is a powerful and compelling film and I feel it honours and respects the survivors and heroes of that day. I also appreciated that they didn't focus on the guman. This was a good nomination and I'm glad I watched it. My rating is a
.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Interesting, I wouldn't have guessed that.
I read that after the first episode and noticed the subtleties throughout the second and third ones.
I just finished watching Tower (2016). Directed by Keith Maitland, this documentary uses animation and archival footage to tell the true story of a sniper firing from the tower of the University of Texas on August 1, 1966. I thought it was an interesting way to tell the story and for me it worked well. This is a powerful and compelling film and I feel it honours and respects the survivors and heroes of that day. I also appreciated that they didn't focus on the guman. This was a good nomination and I'm glad I watched it. My rating is a
.
I like that as well when I saw it in another HoF. Having grown up with a number of renditions and/or inspirations that did focus on the gunman.