The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame IV

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Generally speaking I try and watch as many in a row as possible so I can give an accurate list. Also the fact that nothing else is going on, on this board has dulled my enthusiasm.
I can understand that...and that's why I don't really like long HoFs or long events, as the bulk of the members finish moderately quick and then months go by with nothing much going on, which makes for boredom. I think faster is better. I know you're rock solid, as are most of everyone else, so I'm not concerned about them finishing.

I'm not talking specifically about this Personal Rec, I've said the same sentiment many times in the past about HoFs. People seem to think lots of extra time is needed for the members to be able to watch all the movies, but then you get members like Neiba waiting until the very end to watch all the films and what's the sense in that? We could make these an entire year long and some people would wait until 11 months and 2 weeks to start watching the films. Maybe we should make them only 2 weeks long



THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
(1957, Arnold)



"I felt puny and absurd, a ludicrous midget. Easy enough to talk of soul and spirit and existential worth, but not when you're three feet tall. I loathed myself, our home, the caricature my life with Lou had become. I had to get out. I had to get away."

The Incredible Shrinking Man follows Scott Carey (Grant Williams), who after being exposed to a strange mist in the ocean, begins to gradually shrink in size. This obviously causes serious issues in his daily life, including straining his relationship with his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart) and leading him into emotional distress.

I confess that I was expecting the usual silliness of 50s sci-fi, but I was surprised at how deep and thought-provoking this ended up being. As ground-breaking and impressive as the special effects are, the film is ultimately more interested in showcasing the effects that this transformation has in Scott's psyche and emotions, while also raising questions about existentialism and what it means to be human.

Seeing him go through the process is like seeing someone go through the 5-Step Grief Cycle, all the way from denial to acceptance, and although Carey's performance is not flashy, he does his job well. Stuart's performance as the struggling wife is also pretty good, and April Kent delivers a pretty good, but very small performance as a like-minded soul in which Scott finds temporary solace.

I don't think one can talk about this film without praising the special effects. Like I said above, they are indeed ground-breaking and impressive, but in a way that's not overpowering and in-your-face, but rather to benefit the story. The story follows a seemingly simple premise, but it's quite a feat to see a film like that executed in such an engaging way, while also being as thought-provoking as this.

In the opening scene, Scott stands on a boat, in the middle of a vast ocean, looking helpless at what was ahead of him. By the final shot, we see him once again, standing in front of a vast "new world". Only this time, he's not feeling helpless; no loathing, no worthlessness. He's at peace and willing to face whatever comes next.

Grade:
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Fantastic Voyage (1966)

The 1960's are a tricky time for Science Fiction, 1950's was really the high point for classic science fiction, often made in black and white taking the first bite of the apple filmmakers were able to make dozens of classics in a sort period of time. Then in 1968, 2001, Planet of the Apes, and Barbarella sort of launched the more adult era in Science Fiction. But in between you have something like Fantastic Voyage a film that has several things going for it but still lacking the values of later science fiction stories.

It's a film that is very much in love with it's set pieces and for good reasons they look great. The body is treated like this crazy and wondrous world that you can play on a Saturday morning for little kids. The problem with the film is everything else is lacking from the script, to the character work to the pacing. This is a film where the films gives you clear exposition with what is going to happen but then doesn't bother to explain the major plot points or who these characters are. The cast is very much set up as one dimensional features...Rachel Welch is in this film...and that's all I know about her a day after watching the film. You had a girl on the cast I think her job was to hold a box and stand there and look pretty. You have a mystery subplot about an assassin trying to kill the patient but when you only have two options...it's not much of a mystery.

You also have some misses from a technical point of view, the miniatures are good but they try and put a human in an action sequence that doesn't work. Also you never get the sense that the ship is moving as they use the classic back shot screen to show distance but everything is stationary in the ship. It's fairly distracting and the sort of thing that get's fixed in the 70's. The pacing is also pretty bad as all the good stuff happens in the last 15 minutes. But the film does have an impressive score which helped..I just wish they would have done something a little bit better.



THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
(1957, Arnold)





The Incredible Shrinking Man follows Scott Carey (Grant Williams), who after being exposed to a strange mist in the ocean, begins to gradually shrink in size. This obviously causes serious issues in his daily life, including straining his relationship with his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart) and leading him into emotional distress.

I confess that I was expecting the usual silliness of 50s sci-fi, but I was surprised at how deep and thought-provoking this ended up being. As ground-breaking and impressive as the special effects are, the film is ultimately more interested in showcasing the effects that this transformation has in Scott's psyche and emotions, while also raising questions about existentialism and what it means to be human.

Seeing him go through the process is like seeing someone go through the 5-Step Grief Cycle, all the way from denial to acceptance, and although Carey's performance is not flashy, he does his job well. Stuart's performance as the struggling wife is also pretty good, and April Kent delivers a pretty good, but very small performance as a like-minded soul in which Scott finds temporary solace.

I don't think one can talk about this film without praising the special effects. Like I said above, they are indeed ground-breaking and impressive, but in a way that's not overpowering and in-your-face, but rather to benefit the story. The story follows a seemingly simple premise, but it's quite a feat to see a film like that executed in such an engaging way, while also being as thought-provoking as this.

In the opening scene, Scott stands on a boat, in the middle of a vast ocean, looking helpless at what was ahead of him. By the final shot, we see him once again, standing in front of a vast "new world". Only this time, he's not feeling helpless; no loathing, no worthlessness. He's at peace and willing to face whatever comes next.

Grade:

Yeah you should take this as a tip to dig into more of Jack Arnold's work he made a number of great Science Fiction films



Yeah you should take this as a tip to dig into more of Jack Arnold's work he made a number of great Science Fiction films
I'm just finding out that he did The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which is great. I'll surely keep an eye on the rest of his stuff.



I'm just finding out that he did The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which is great. I'll surely keep an eye on the rest of his stuff.




I actually this one better than THEM!(1954) really worth checking out.



Yeah you should take this as a tip to dig into more of Jack Arnold's work he made a number of great Science Fiction films
Shrinking Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon are both really great sci fi. What other Jack Arnold films have you seen that you recommend?






I actually this one better than THEM!(1954) really worth checking out.
I've had that one, and Them!, on my watchlist for a while. Also It Came from Outer Space.



I just posted one, I still have to rewatch his Alien movie because I forgot it but it got good reviews.


My Top 25 50's Science Fiction Films would be...

25.) The Thing From Another World (1951)
24.) The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1959)
23.) Them! (1954)
22.) Earth vs Flying Saucers (1956)
21.) 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
20.) The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
19.) Revenge of the Creature (1955)
18.) The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
17.) The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)
16.) This Island Earth (1955)(uncredited)
15.) QuarterMass 2 (1955)
14.) When Worlds Collide (1951)
13.) Tarantula (1955)
12.) The Fly (1958)
11.) Godzilla (1954)
10.) War of the Worlds (1953)
9.) Rodan (1956)
8.) The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
7.) The Tingler (1959)
6.) Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
5.) Invaders From Mars (1953)
4.) The Abominable Snowman (1957)
3.) Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
2.) Forbidden Planet (1956)
1.) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)


So for my top 20 from that era 25% of it is Jack Arnold films



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?





Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)

Julien Quentin: Franšois, what's a yid?
Franšois Quentin: A jew.
Julien Quentin: I know, but what exactly is a Jew?
Franšois Quentin: Someone who doesn't eat pork.
Julien Quentin: Are you kidding me?
Franšois Quentin: Not at all.
Julien Quentin: What have people got against them?
Franšois Quentin: The fact they're smarter than us, and they crucified Jesus.
Julien Quentin: That's not true. It was the Romans. Is that why they have to wear yellow stars?

One of the many things I loved about this Louis Malle film - beyond the personalization of a similar incident that Malle experienced at 11yrs, to the point that the blond-haired, trouble-making Julien Quentin (Gaspard Manesse) is based on Malle himself. Which, in itself, always brings such extraordinary nuance to a film. But how Malle sets this film up and we, as an audience, follow young Quentin in his oblivious knowledge of what was going on in German-occupied France during World War II.
Knowing nothing more than the sadness of saying goodbye to his mother as he goes off for another semester at a private school in the countryside run by priests.

The resulting effect of what would be the daily life of lessons, pranks, and roughhousing in the countryside draws us in as Julien's inquisitive nature discovers the secret of one of the three new boys that semester.
A reclusive boy, called Jean Bonnet played by Raphael Fejt÷, who is trying his best to keep his head down and remain hidden in this private catholic boys school is given a well-choreographed gravitas as the story propels towards its climax.
It is that piercing of naivetÚ of the world beyond the serene chaos of school and its more crueler machinations that really hit home the impact of the final act. Which is also enhanced by the initial rivalry between the two boys, the friendship that grows that includes Jean Bonnet's real identity of a hidden Jew.

I was very easily transported to this moment in time from Malle's childhood and everyone involved. From the teachers, the priests, Julien and his older brother, Franšois and their mother, all the other boys and the kitchen help, Joseph that is teased and bullied by the same older kids that trade stolen items with him. (A teasing that does happen with everyone, because that's what we all did as kids. Teased the sh#t out of one another.) It was all of these moments that beautifully carry the story forward. The tension quietly growing to whether or not the secret of Jean and the two other boys as well as those hiding them will last.

While I don't necessarily GUSH with love for this film, it does, wholeheartedly, hold my adoration.
__________________
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.



That's a great film. One of the first "foreign" films I saw, and fell in love with.



Starting The Double Life of Veronique right now. Trying to keep some momentum to catch up. I might get to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? tomorrow. If I can do that, I'll be happy with only 4 remaining ones.



BLACK NARCISSUS
(1947, Powell & Pressburger)



"I remember things before I joined our Order. Things I wanted to forget. I never thought of them until now. I’ve been 21 years in the Order and now they come back to me. I think you can see too far."

Set sometime after World War I, Black Narcissus follows a group of Anglican nuns sent to set up a school and a hospital in the Himalayas on behalf of an Indian General. Led by young and ambitious Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), the group is expected to take over an abandoned "palace" set on a high cliff where one of the former rulers kept his harem.

But their stay there is not without hardship, as evidenced by the above quote from Sister Philippa (Flora Robson). All the other sisters seem to be suffering in some way from their stay there. Most notably, Clodagh spends nights remembering a failed relationship from before she joined the order, and Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) seems to be infatuated with Mr. Dean (David Farrar), the intermediary agent between the nuns and the Indian General, while also losing her grip on reality.

Through all the film, directors and co-writers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger make a point of emphasizing the impact and effect of the altitude. From the difficulties to reach the palace to its inherent isolation. Most of the more iconic shots of the film feature the nuns standing on cliffs, looking into the vast horizon, perhaps farther than they're willing to look. But their current situation has somehow forced them to look beyond their current life and work, and face things and desires they all had tried to keep repressed, hidden, and under wraps.

As the sisters slowly realize, the toll is physical, emotional, and psychological. Like Philippa, they all had things to forget; things that now come back to them. They can see too far into the past, and the past is coming back to haunt them. All of the cast excellently portrays that anxiety and uneasiness, but special praise goes to Kerr and Byron, who have the meatier roles. Kerr successfully conveys how Clodagh uses his stoicism to hide her own weaknesses, while Byron is great showing Ruth's desperation, obsession, and mental decay.

After Philippa's confession, Clodagh's advice to her was to "work hard" until she's too tired to think of anything else. I know it's a weird parallelism, but it reminded me of The Simpsons, and Marge's kinda awful advice to Lisa to take all her bad feelings and "push them down... until you're almost walking on them". It's a call for repression, instead of actually dealing with the issues at hand, which is probably what they've all been doing all their lives. But as we can see in the film, as much as you try to hide your true nature, when the chance comes to see far enough, things will undoubtedly come back to you.

Grade:



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
This was my nomination for you, @Thief. @Siddon was kind enough to nominate it for me in the first of these HoFs and it scored #3 in my final voting list. A very amazing film and visually engaging. My review for this had some six or so images just in an attempt to capture a solid example of that imagery.
So very happy to be able to Pay Forward by nominating it for you and seeing your enjoyment of it.



This was my nomination for you, @Thief. @Siddon was kind enough to nominate it for me in the first of these HoFs and it scored #3 in my final voting list. A very amazing film and visually engaging. My review for this had some six or so images just in an attempt to capture a solid example of that imagery.
So very happy to be able to Pay Forward by nominating it for you and seeing your enjoyment of it.
Thanks, man! Great indeed. And speaking of it, have you or anyone seen the FX mini-series? I haven't read a lot of good things, but just checking about it.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Thanks, man! Great indeed. And speaking of it, have you or anyone seen the FX mini-series? I haven't read a lot of good things, but just checking about it.
You are VERY welcome!!

I was also curious about the TV series but ended up passing on it when I heard the same things