22nd Hall of Fame

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STATE OF SIEGE



If there is one thing I hate when watching movies, itís not being presented with a bad one Ė purposely or not Ė but rather being proposed with the fact that the given film just wasnít for me. Because as ridiculous as it sounds, I want every single movie I watch to be ďfor meĒ, if that makes senseÖ But we are all different and therefore not every single film falls into your personal taste, however, I do always try my very best to find out what it is a given film has that makes it great to others. I feel like that is a huge importance as a self-certified cinephile, to challenge yourself with all that it has to offer and really dive into the mindset of the movie and the audience it is supposed to appeal to. But for this particular movie, it might be the hardest I have ever tried to put myself up for that challengeÖ and I failed miserably.

I canít really say anything that hasnít already been said, but this is a very bareboned political propaganda film, which presents us with these events and the facts and the people in it. But as a viewer I felt completely uninvited into what was going on. It is clearly a director who had a very strong opinion about something and wanted to use his voice in filmmaking to speak up about the truth. But to me it becomes a thin one-note statement, taking two hours to present, rather than an interesting exploration of the events on display. It doesnít feel like it has a beginning, it mostly has a middle and sort of an end. It is more about this one event and how it seemingly played out. Told as straight forward as possible to feel authentic and ďrealĒ I guess.

While I kind of like the washed out, blueish cinematography, the technical aspects are generally pretty bland or just confused. Yes, there are some fancy camera moves, but not all of them feels earned. It never really becomes a prominent part of the film and neither does the acting. The story is front and center, but that story isnít really told in any exciting way. Iím not saying they should Hollywoodize the **** out of the script, but once again it seems like it is all about this one story and this one side of that story, which is being told in a very monotone manner for more than two hours. For people who knows a lot about the event and who feels very strongly about it, this is probably a great film. But since I donít know anything, the film should work to make me care. And it never does. It doesnít seem to invite people in who arenít already ďa part of itĒ in one way or another.

Political films can certainly appeal to me, but personally Iím not crazy about politics in general, and it seems like you either have to be very passionate about politics, or the plot of which the film is based upon, to actually enjoy this film. As a movie, it fails completely for me, but as a political statement, Iím sure it did exactly what it should. I guess I just have to admit that I bumped headfirst into a cold concrete wall of political propaganda, which gave me headache more than anything. This movie was the first time in a long time where I felt like Ė no matter how hard I tried Ė I just couldnít give it the chance it probably deserved. I truly struggled with this one and this review was a really long write-up about that very frustration. So as simply put as I can, this movie just hit me in all the wrong places and this type of movie just isnít for me at all. It is clearly loved and respected by many, so I will respectfully say that ďitís not you, itís meĒ Ö Iím sorry.





An unfortunate end to this HoF for me, but on a positive note I am now done with both the watching and the reviewing... I will send my list shortly.



I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Mildred Pierce

" I think I'm safe in observing that almost anyone would like ten thousand dollars, Mr. Fay."


Mildred Pierce starts off Noir and flashes back to pure melodrama. Itís thoroughly entertaining. Joan Crawford is luminous as the titular Mildred, who would do anything for her children, especially spoilt elder daughter Veda (Ann Blyth, brilliantly vile). I feel like I should see more of Joan Crawfordís films, loved her in Johnny Guitar too. Iíve never seen Grand Hotel Ė is that a good place to start?

I thought Mildred Pierce was an interesting portrayal of women who have businesses and ambitions and interactions with each other and donít just play the Ďfemme fataleí. I liked Mildredís friend, Ida, she could have been in it more, I thought.

Well, that was the last watch for me, now on to ordering my list. As always, thatís the hard part. There are several films that feel like they should be somewhere in the middle in my head, some of them will have to be near the bottom of the list though, as there was only one film I really didnít like and something has to come second-lastÖ



Mildred Pierce

...I feel like I should see more of Joan Crawfordís films, loved her in Johnny Guitar too. Iíve never seen Grand Hotel Ė is that a good place to start?Ö
Glad you liked it!....Yeah Grand Hotel is a good place to start, it's a neat film in that it's one of the first multi character story movies, all very dramatic and with tons of great stars including the Barrymore's. Joan was younger in it and plays more an ingenue type. One of her biggies was The Women (1939). But I liked her best when she played tough as nails characters in such greats as: A Woman's Face(1941), Humoresque (1946), Possessed (1947), Flamingo Road (1949) & The Damned Don't Cry (1950)

From the early 1940s and on she usually played complex and driven women and I think that's what made her a house hold name. I've always been a fan of hers.



7 of us have finished, leaving just 4 slackers left. July 20th will remain the deadline.
That's most of us finishing in just under 2 months for 10 movies...or about 5 days per movie, which seems like the right length to me. Both me and Cricket hosted HoFs where 5 days per movie was the length...and everyone finished fine.

You could've made this 6 months long and some would still have a number of movies to go at the 5 month 2 week mark. That's not a complaint, but it's an observation that some choose to wait tell the end to watch no matter how long an HoF is.



I didnít expect to finish that fast either.

I was craving a HoF after my return to MoFo Land and I knew it could be very tough because I got work as well as work outside of my work... committing to a HoF in the midst of that almost seemed wrong, yet somehow I was motivated and also excited and would gladly watch the films - even rewatch those I didnít really have to.

Itís been great fun



I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
List submitted. It has been a fun hall of fame.




Shine (1996)


Shine is a musical biopic that for me is more of a product of it's time. The story is told in three parts, David as a boy, as a young man and as an adult. I'm not sure if Geoffrey Rush is the true lead of the story or if this is even Davids story. Because if you think about the film ends with the death of his father Peter...Peter is the one who goes through the growth and has the more compelling story and character. A Holocaust survivor Peter raises David to play the piano though he reaches a point where his teachings can only go so far. He's constantly pushing and pulling at David that David finally leaves the nest to study abroad and then...breaks down.


Rushs' part of the story is almost superfluous to the actual conflict. We don't really dive into his life post mental institution we just get these little shards of his new life. I almost felt at the end like I watched an extra long epilogue as it was so glossy and to clean. Here's a guy in a marraige with a mental illness yet it's played with a sense of whimsy. David is an indulged eccentric at this point and you wonder how it works with the second act of the story.





Dronnigen (2019)


This is the story of a lawyer working a rape case when her stepson moves in and causes a disruption in her life. It's the sort of film we've seen countless times though here the gender is reversed and played with a bit more dispassion. The lead actress Trine Dyrholm is very good as the film is basically a showcase for her as none of the other characters get much screen time. The husband is somewhat of a cypher the litle girls are basically scenery and you don't really get into Gustav's life or reasoning for his actions.



I'm not sure how I feel about this film, it reminds me of lesser Bergman works like Summer with Monika or Winter Light. I doubt I'll think about this film five years from now. I enjoyed the duality of this woman who is helping sexually abused children while engaging in her own version of sexual abuse. It would have been nice if that would have been covered more. I also felt ripped off as the most interesting set piece we don't see rather we hear about in the end. It's the sort of thing that reminds you that you are watching a budget drama.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Blue Ruin

Ben Gaffney: [to Dwight] Hey, man, I know this is personal. That's how you'll fail. No speeches, no talking. You point the gun, You shoot the gun.

It's a special occasion that takes a regular story plot, in this case, revenge and clears away the standard glamorized tropes and takes a lesser path; bringing something a little extra to the viewing.
That's what I got from this. And that's what I thoroughly enjoyed in this.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good shoot 'em up revenge flick. One of my current favorites is the John Wick series.
But it does show the extreme point and from there I can sum up how very well conceived and played out Blue Ruin is.
Dwight, played with such incredible depth by Macon Blair is not an ex-hit-man or ex-military or hell, ex-anything. He's not even an everyday man caught in an extraordinary situation. He's a broken shell, overwhelmed by grief, at the very bottom of the emotional well to the point of paralysis. Trying to find the impetus to move. Not so much forward, but to simply move.
I felt for this crumpled derelict with anguished eyes and a broken soul from the get-go and I respected the film maker for not presenting any reason for us to cheer or support this man attempting to find his "revenge" only to get spun deeper into the whirlwind.

Without giving away the final plot points that are revealed near the end of it all, we have a far more realistic portrayal of a vigilante situation going completely off the rails. And we are right beside him and, due to Blair's acting and should we dare to, a window inside his emotional state of mind.
__________________
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





Blue Ruin (2013)


Blue Ruin takes an epic story and shrinks it down to the smallest and most effective way to conclude it. A vagrant finds out that his parents killer has been released from prison he then goes on a journey of revenge with each chapter added more information he didn't have before. You've got a catharsis to the film in that the violence is incredibly satisfying and brutal and the twists give us the viewer visceral delights in the action. This is Death Wish but with a higher degree of intelligence. The writer establishes a subtle set of rules so that the bad guys get properly punished and we the audience are not left with conflicted morality issues I liked the film and I admired it, prove positive you can make an effective low budget film that doesn't just have four actors in one set place.



Glad you guys liked Blue Ruin.
I surprised myself by really liking Blue Rain, and oddly enough I didn't find it overly violent. I think it's because it didn't linger on the violent scenes and present them as eye-candy, like a Tarantino film would.

Did anybody else see it as a cautionary tale in the vein of the HatfieldĖMcCoy feud ?



Joker

Iím torn by this film, between its beginning which is amazing, and itís ending, where it glorifies violence as a effective form of uprising against the rich. It attempts to make its anti hero tragic, when really heís a the victim of his own self loathing.
Budget cuts have denied him his meds. So as a result he burns the city to the ground, or at least his followers do. Then heís rescued and propped up as some hero for the masses.
Or is it imagined? I wonder if it was, as he poses on the hood of a car as the crowd cheers him on.
As a social commentary, itís effective. We see how the budget cuts effect Joker personally. And we see his history of abuse, a revelation that send him over the edge.
But what is the point of the ending? It seems to tries to copy Taxi Driver, a film with a similar theme, but had better presentation. The two films were compared to each other, and that comparison hurts Joker.
In Taxi Driver Travis only wants hurt Those who are guilty of some crime. Real or imagined. But thatís because he sees himself as some sort of ďheroĒ. Joker on the other hand, Just wants to hurt anyone. There are no heroic deeds for this man. Heís angry and bitter. And it shows in his final scene on the nighttime talk show.
Phoenix is great here, and as Joker heís effective. But Ledger did it best of course. Still, one canít help but be drawn to his antics on screen. His penchant for dancing and posing and such.
Zasie is almost wasted here, and once the truth about her is revealed sheís cast off. She could have been used more effectively in this film as a sort of actual attempt at Jokers redemption by showing him some act of kindness.
And thatís what we have here, a good film, but itís potential wasted at the end.