22nd Hall of Fame

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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Blue Ruin

"I know this is personal. That's how you'll fail."

There have been a lot of revenge movies, from the ones you root for the hero to destroy his enemies to the ones where it’s clear the revenge is disproportionate, misdirected or tragic, so I wasn’t sure this film would have anything new to say about revenge, but there is something in the sheer ineptness of the revenge-taker in this film which was unique and interesting. Instead of having trained for years in a remote mountain location to become a deadly assassin who serves his dish cold, our protagonist can’t even operate a gun and keeps leaving his car keys places he shouldn’t.

I liked Macon Blair as the main character, he was somehow believable. I didn’t root for him, in fact I cringed throughout a lot of it wishing he would just turn back before it was too late but it was already too late fairly early on.

The violence in this film was shocking, even though you knew it was coming, which was an effective tactic. The stunned look on Dwight’s face when someone’s head explodes, even though he has taken the decision to shoot them. It was just different to movies where the characters gun down their enemies without any sort of effect on them. The odd mix of domesticity and violence exhibited by characters keeping guns taped under their sofas or talking lovingly about them like collector’s pieces was unsettling.

I can’t say I enjoyed this film exactly, as it was one of those films that is an almost stressful experience watching it, but there was a lot to admire in it. There were times when it almost seemed like the set-up for a black comedy, but it never took that tone. I thought it was very well shot and I liked the way the notes of blue kept recurring throughout, but never in a way that was too obvious.

I’m not sure where this will end up on my final ranking, I think it is one I’m going to have to digest.



BLUE

RUIN


Actually, this was a watch from the past with potential to become a new favorite and like the character in the film, I have been waiting impatiently to finally make my move. As it happens though, someone made the move for me and here we are in this Hall of Fame reviewing this film. So… was it worth it?
*SPOILER REVIEW*
What I like really about this film is the way the story is presented to us. It is a revenge thriller with reservations but not restrictions, which relies on realism and not reassurance. It isn’t a tumble through terrorists or mercenaries that relieves our protagonist with every powerful kill he makes, as the popcorn-munching audience applaud, watching our hero juggle around with justice. This is not a glorified revenge tale with a capable killer, but instead an everyday man wanting to do what he feels is right. As one of the characters says at one point “you are weak”. And he is. But then again, he is also simply “human”. It is easy for us to identify with his mindset because he is so mindful about what he does and never achieves perfection in what he does. He stumbles a lot along the way. And I love how no one here is downright good or bad. You can make assumptions based on partial information or your perception of the people you see on screen. But there is no evidence on display for the murder case or what kind of past these people have.

And it isn’t just evidence being left out, it is actually a lot of vital information – but most of which we get as the story progresses. Little by little we are shown who Dwight is, where he is in life and who or what is important to him. Small visual cues, character choices or changes in the story. All this helps us understand where Dwight has been since the murder, while the decisions leading up to his eventual doom draws a very visible line for us to follow and eventually piece together. Also, I really love Macon Blair as Dwight. He is doing a lot of acting with his eyes that even Tom Hardy would respect and there is just something about this low-rank office worker look that really works for me. He is the unlikely “hero”, but he is also weird enough to make his journey fascinating and he fails sufficiently so we can suffer through the situations with him and understand his frustrations and struggles every time his plan doesn’t pan out.

The violence is definitely not style over substance for me. I think it falls more in the vein of, say, someone like Michael Haneke and “that scene” in Caché, for example. Not as impactful or gut wrenchingly gruesome, but it has the same awkward abruptness, which makes it feel so real and spontaneous. It is ugly, messy, clumsy and almost misplaced. I also love the tension added to many of these scenes, which almost gets simpler as the story progresses, but all the more effective for it. Dwight being alone in the house of the enemy in the end, waiting while contemplating, considering and reconsidering… and as his friend told him earlier “speeches will get you killed.” And so, it did. Once again, the film is consistent about its display of violence, of character and of story. It is still not a glorifying revenge tale with definite kills that dwells in violence. It is tragically human, unambitious and terribly bittersweet within the hopeless downfall of everyone and everything.

And the postcard being pushed through in the end, arriving just a little too late, both solidifies and questions everything. We are left feeling blue with the inevitable collapse of our main character. Was it all for nothing? Had anything changed if nothing was delayed? Like the postcard, is Dwight’s purpose past the point of relevance? Does Dwight’s doings have any actual meaning or is his memory just a piece of mail on the floor of an empty house? Was it a critical and necessary journey or just a depressing downfall… that has left us as with him… in blue ruin.



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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I love the Wachowski Sisters and I can't believe I haven't seen another one of their films. They have incredible talent for filmmaking and for making pure, good, ass kicking cinema. There is not much that beats that, and sometimes a good action movie is just the best kind of movie.
I find their movies can be very hit and miss. There's nothing else quite like The Matrix (even the Matrix sequels. Perhaps especially the Matrix sequels...).

I like Bound, although that's not a pure action movie, it's a lesbian crime thriller. It has a lot in common with The Matrix visually, though, I think.

Cloud Atlas, which they co-directed with Tom Tykwer, is one of my absolute favourite films, but it won't be for everyone. Sometimes I think of nominating it for a HoF, but I know it would be very divisive. It might also be too long...

I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending, although it is in no way a good film, but Speed Racer made my eyes bleed.



I find their movies can be very hit and miss. There's nothing else quite like The Matrix (even the Matrix sequels. Perhaps especially the Matrix sequels...).

I like Bound, although that's not a pure action movie, it's a lesbian crime thriller. It has a lot in common with The Matrix visually, though, I think.

Cloud Atlas, which they co-directed with Tom Tykwer, is one of my absolute favourite films, but it won't be for everyone. Sometimes I think of nominating it for a HoF, but I know it would be very divisive. It might also be too long...

I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending, although it is in no way a good film, but Speed Racer made my eyes bleed.
Oh gosh, Speed Racer is the one I'm most hyped for. They all look crazy and cool in their own way.
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State of Siege



Like when I watched Costa Gavras' Z, this was really a tough watch. Perhaps it was even tougher than that one actually. Political foreign films seem to be something that I just cannot get into for whatever reason, maybe just blame it in my shallow scope of personal film viewing if you wish to.

Biggest problem for me is that I really don't care one way or another what the outcome of Santore's character was. Whether that makes me an ass or not remains to be seen. It sounds like this was based loosely on true events. I think maybe the film would have been better off being a real true story and digging in better to some of the characters feelings and prospectives but it comes off as rather cold and standoffish to me.

The criterion copy that I had watched had the film looking really good, so that's my plus out of all of this. Really neat color restoration and I loved the look of the background drops.

Lastly, I can't wait to hear how Miss Vicky reacts to this film. Never have I been so confident that she will dislike a Hall of Fame film so I look very forward to seeing her review.

Sorry Siddon, but the film just wasn't up my alley.

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I love the Wachowski Sisters and I can't believe I haven't seen another one of their films.
You love the Wachowski Sisters but have only seen a single film of theirs? Maybe you should lower your “love counter” by at least one.

But of course it’s cool still to love them for what they did with The Matrix. It’s just that while their other films do have fans, it’s mostly the first Matrix that people agree is truly great. But I’m looking forward to hearing what you think when you see some of their other work.


@rauldc14 I never made it past 20 minutes of ‘Z’ so I’m kinda scared for what I will think of State of Siege since it indeed looks really similar.



The Matrix


Nothing to really delve in here as everyone has covered it sufficiently.
What we have is a really good film full of religious, mythological and philosophical themes, from the names (Neo, Trinity And Morpheus, himself a reference to the Greek deity of dreams), to the scenes (the rebirth of Neo), to the dialogue.
They’re all really well done, even if isn’t very subtle. But this isn’t a subtle movie.
The movies moves at a fast pace, filled with great action scenes and sleek cinematography. And the acting. We all know the players by now and the quotes associated with them. They’re all well chosen and well acted.
But what keeps this film from being truly great is the last 30 minutes which go on too long, and is over produced.
For some reason someone decided more bullets = more $. Sad part is they were probably right, but the film suffers during those extended parts nonetheless. *
So what we have here is a good movie that falls just short of being great. But regardless, it’s that rare thing indeed.....a sci fi action film with a brain.
And most importantly, it actually works.



You love the Wachowski Sisters but have only seen a single film of theirs? Maybe you should lower your “love counter” by at least one.

But of course it’s cool still to love them for what they did with The Matrix. It’s just that while their other films do have fans, it’s mostly the first Matrix that people agree is truly great. But I’m looking forward to hearing what you think when you see some of their other work.


@rauldc14 I never made it past 20 minutes of ‘Z’ so I’m kinda scared for what I will think of State of Siege since it indeed looks really similar.
Nah, I love them as people. https://www.theguardian.com/film/202...-matrix-tweets case in point. which may seem odd but they're two filmmakers I really look up to, and I definitely am excited for their other films.



There's nothing else quite like The Matrix (even the Matrix sequels. Perhaps especially the Matrix sequels...).
As discussed earlier in the thread, there is only one Matrix film and any sequels you remember existing are just a bad dream.

I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending, although it is in no way a good film, but Speed Racer made my eyes bleed.
My room mate walked out of Jupiter Ascending around the "I love dogs" line. I did manage to sit through the entire thing, but I'm not sure if I would be willing to watch it again. I think you're the first person I've ever seen or heard say they actually enjoyed it haha.



It was amusing to see back-to-back reviews of my nomination haha. I wish I had something constructive to comment, but all I really have to say is that I agree with everything that was written.

I'm glad you still enjoyed the rewatch @MovieMeditation!

The violence in this film was shocking, even though you knew it was coming
I think I said almost the exact same thing in my write-up. We know it's coming, and Dwight knows it's coming, but it's still somehow surprising to everyone haha.

I think it is one I’m going to have to digest.
That's pretty much exactly how I felt the first time I saw it too. Hopefully it sits well with you in the long run!



Aight, Joker has been rewatched. Gonna do review for that and The Matrix soon hopefully.

7 down. 4 to go.

I’m actually surprised it’s going this well for me. I feel like I’m in a good flow. Hopefully it lasts. I’m starting back up on work Monday. Hopefully I’ll be more or less finished by then.



Aight, Joker has been rewatched. Gonna do review for that and The Matrix soon hopefully.
I saw your Joker rating on Letterboxd. Looking forward to the review.




Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
That was a good one, CR.

Anyways, hopefully the negativity is over for Last Picture Show. I think CR, Ed, and Ahwell will really like it.
I have been curious to see it ever since it's disqualification in the 70's HoF, so we'll definitely see how it works out for me. I do have a good feeling seeing I do like the Bogdanovich films I have seen: Paper Moon, What's Up Doc?, and Mask.
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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



Aight, Joker has been rewatched. Gonna do review for that and The Matrix soon hopefully.

7 down. 4 to go.

I’m actually surprised it’s going this well for me. I feel like I’m in a good flow. Hopefully it lasts. I’m starting back up on work Monday. Hopefully I’ll be more or less finished by then.
We are killing it! However I won't get to another one until Monday earliest scenario. I'm on vacation next week though.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Shine

Cecil Parkes: No one's ever been mad enough to attempt the Rach Three.
David: Am I mad enough, professor? Am I?

I'm unsure which I found more exciting, to see this film effect me as much, perhaps even in a more profound way than when I first saw it back in '96 or my discovery, as I researched David Helfgott and find out that he is still alive, still touring and still so wonderfully off-center with such a delightful soul/demeanor.

A fragmented film, that mirrors David's fragmented existence along with a few motifs, such as water/rain where David feels such free abandon in, we witness three separate actors playing him at three points of his life: childhood, late teens/young adulthood and in his forties. All three actors doing some extraordinary work as they delve into the madness/genius of this beautiful soul and pianist.

Such creative geniuses such as David have always fascinated me. Their creativity stemming from, and at times, assisted by whatever "demon" or mental illness that plagued them, or, when at conflict with that aspect of themselves, that the "salve" is creativity itself.
To see a fragmented mind that meanders as it does, focus so intensely and with such precision when performing some of the most difficult concertos imaginable. My god, I am moved, inspired and enamored.
It also does my heart good to see that the beauty within, eventually find a haven and the freedom to, run in the rain, to jump on a trampoline wearing only a long coat and nothing else, to find love and to be happy. In his life and in his passion; playing such captivating concertos.