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2nd Chance Hall of Fame


Ed Wood is a great movie, it tells the story of a morally and culturally broke yet enthusiastic filmmaker in 1950's Hollywood. He has a collection of friends who each have their own stories and go on their own journeys. Burton excels at telling these side stories and giving them depth, humanity and comedy through different means.

I love all the subtextual things the feeling that if you follow each sub character you would have an entire other film and that this movie just captures this fragmented portion of the characters lives. You get all of these little glimpses of their other lives, one of the things I loved was how the first wife covered all of his idealism and they had that co-dependent relationship but when it failed he moved on to a different woman who demonstrated a different side of co-dependence. While we never find out what was wrong with her father we the audience can just use our imaginations as to what hell her life was before Ed and how Ed improved on it.

Visually I love the look and feel of the film, you have this great home made cheap quality of the film making on this backdrop of luscious period piece Los Angeles. Burton always gives you something cool to look at while he subtly breaks your heart with how these people gleefully use each other.

My only real quibble with the film is that for half of the movie it feels like it's a buddy picture with Bela Lugosi and then he passes away and we just move onto the final picture. The film has three endings and I felt like they picked the wrong one(I would have gone with Well's in the bar, but ah well)

When I saw this nomination I first thought this was A Letter to Three Wives and I was excited to revisit it...then I realized it was a different movie. I had watched Letter from an Unknown woman before and it certainly improves on second viewing. Max Ophuls has a quiet beauty to it you don't really pick up on all the fancy camera work the first time you watch because you are trying to track the characters movement, motivations, and introductions.

And while the film is well shot, well acted and well told this movie feels like it's in a constant state of missing something. It doesn't help that Joan Fontaine decides to play a teenager in her 30's, or that she isn't really either a great beauty or a flawed character actress so you don't get that sense of longing or obsession from the film or the sexual chemistry. I found Louise Jourdan to be very good and his story was that one that I found myself more engaged with. I do wonder how the film improved if Joan would have let an Elizabeth Taylor play the 16 year old version of her. I think the two could have had excellent collaborations through the 40's, 50's and 60's. Perhaps I'll nominate Jane Erye(1943) for one of these halls.

I do wonder if this is a film that is due for a remake that could do a better job with the sexual undertones that are somewhat undercut with Lisa's marriage and child. You get some of the cynicism I assume was in the novel but the sexuality is a bit too repressed for my take.

Memento was the first Christopher Nolan film I ever saw watching this after seeing the other nine major Nolan films one has to be struck at the restraint, beauty and fun that Nolan has moved on from.

The movie has a detective story framed with a quasi-science fiction setting with some great action set pieces...but what makes it great is once again it's restraint. We don't really get a sense of how long Leonard's been searching for his wife's rapist and killer.

The film is told in reverse order so you end up with all of these twists and turns and while they might not feel authentic and at points cheap the value in them is seeing how the characters grow and develop during the course of the film..though really it's through the course of conversations.

One of the aspects of the film that I particularly enjoy is how it's a small budget film yet you have a dozen or so different locations and each one takes on a specific character this is something I often find lacking in low budget indies.

Weird is relative.
Farewell My Concubine (1993)

The first 40 minutes throws us unrelentingly into a very harsh world, where young boys are "sold" to a master who uses torturous training methods to prepare them for the stage and opera. I couldn't help but feel enraged about how these children were treated. Once they become adults, it's clear that the damage has permanently altered their personalties. I found it sad how the gay one lived his life so fully immersed in the fictional roles of his operas. It was like he was too afraid to detach himself, view it as a profession, and develop his own interests outside the theatre. It's no surprise, however, that it became a pathological mindset and behavior learned through his beatings as a child.
I understood why he felt threatened by Gong Li's character. His pettiness wasn't pleasant to watch, but it felt realistic with that kind of backstory.

The length of the film was probably overlong, but I didn't really mind it. I liked seeing "snapshots" of the historical periods that were covered.

In all, it was a lavish and melancholic production that I'm glad I watched.

After Hours (1985)

This one reminded me of some crazy, dreamlike nights I've had... nothing this wild, but it was still a trip.

I'm not sure how exactly I feel about the main character. I think he seems like a relatively decent, average guy. He's not inappropriately aggressive unless it's necessary, and he's not "weird" or off-putting. He seems like someone you could easily run into at a bar with whom you could have a brief conversation, before you discover you don't have much in common and turn your attention back to the sports game on the TV screens. Or, as a female, you might think he seems nice and give him your number, like the first woman did in the film.

He was a jerk to her, it's true, and if he was planning to leave anyway he should have left sooner. I don't blame him for just walking out because her behavior screamed "red flags."

For the rest of the movie, I sympathized with him and how much he wanted to get home, but he continued getting drawn in by unstable people. I've also experienced being stranded in a city in the middle of the night...

Good choice for the HOF. I'll probably want to re-watch it in a decade or so.


Weird is relative.
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

I am curious if the creators of Millennium Actress took any inspiration from this film. Maybe not, but they had similar plotlines... a young woman obsessed with a man she hardly knows, because she paints him in her mind as her perfect ideal.

I'm sure many of us have that ex to whom we compare everyone else we date, or maybe once in a while we look back upon a crush and say, "I wonder what could have been..." We might think of them as "the one who got away."

The thing is, in a mutual, long-term relationship, we see that all our preconceptions of the other person are stripped away. They aren't quite who we thought they were at the beginning - they are much more than that, and when we stay with them, all their intricacies and quirks are what we feel makes them lovable and unique (or, what drives us crazy and causes us to separate).

In this story, Lisa never sees what daily life would be like with this man, and she glosses over his glaring faults (like being a cheater and playboy). In this sense, she's an immature young woman who never grew up, because she thought the way she felt about this crush was what "love" felt like. She later views marriage as basically a necessary evil, but doesn't allow herself to form a more "grown-up" version of love with her husband because he just couldn't match that chemical rush she had felt over her first "love," as she had failed to realize that that brief romance was too superficial to be genuine.

Anyone can fall victim to thoughts that maybe "the grass is greener on the other side" when they're bored, unhappy, or perhaps not fully committed in a relationship, though. I appreciated that in this instance, it was a woman, and not a man, who considers abandoning their family for someone else. A female in this position might have been rather progressive for the 1940s, although of course the consequences were shown to be severe, so as to uphold "Hollywood values," and dissuade any potential "wandering wives." Heh. I doubt that would have happened if it HAD been a male protagonist.


I should be caught up on tagging all the reviews. If you see anything of yours I missed let me know!

Can't really make heads or tails of a true favorite here, which makes it pretty exciting for when the lists roll in.

I think this is one of those movies that hopefully will one day get a big screen re-release. Gorgeous, frustrating, and fun would be the three adjectives I would use to describe Pierrot le Fou it's really a two hour tease of sex and violence without ever giving us the gratification.

A Middleaged man stuck in a sense of ennui runs away with his murderous babysitter. That's roughly the plot, but really this is about Goddard's meditations on a variety of several subjects. You feel the run time after about an hour and I hated this on first watch when I was buzzing through Criterion films on Hulu but years later this was a decent revisit. I suspect each time I watch this film it will improve as different things grab me.

Now is this top Goddard...not for me but it's still pretty damn good. I think I would have enjoyed the film a bit better if it more restraint and the story was a little more cohesive. I thought Anna Karina was especially good in this so much so I now wonder if the Academy will ever go back and reward these New Wave acting greats while they are still alive.

Also answers to Jabba

After Hours (1985)
First Watch: No
Director: Martin Scorsese

The first time I watched After Hours was during a Scorsese marathon years ago and I loved it enough to consider it as one of the top films the iconic director ever brought to life. Upon revisiting it though, I unfortunately observed that it lost much of its appeal to me. However, it still remains an undoubtedly interesting film, mainly because of the subtle nuances it had to similar films of the era.

After Hours seems to be a continuation of Scorsese's lifelong experimentation with cinematic styles, genres and approaches to film making. Though mostly remembered for his crime-centered work, throughout his career, the Italian-American director has always been fond of trying his hand in different themes like historical biography (Raging Bull, Kundun, The Aviator etc), music (New York New York, Vinyl as well as several documentaries) and spirituality (The Last Passion of Christ, Silence). After Hours does not resemble anything Scorsese has done before or after and seems to belong in a separate category along with The Age of Innocence. That alone, is reason enough to watch it.

There are many things that you can immediately notice while watching After Hours. It looks like something Scorsese decided to do after watching Woody Allen films non-stop, and taking into account their common love for New York City and their collaboration only 4 years later on the anthology New York Stories, it is not unreasonable to assume that this might have actually been the case. It has an almost identical structure to Woody Allen films, with different brushstrokes when it comes to presentation. One could say it is much darker, way less romantic, more cynical and deprived of any sexual notions particular to Allen's work. But the basic building blocks are there.

You are thrown into an adventure without a specific purpose or reason for existence, other than a series of comedic coincidences and you are by extension introduced to a tapestry of idiosyncratic and dysfunctional characters along the way. It is worth noting that no character in After Hours behaves in what would be considered a normal way. Even the protagonist has outbursts of anger and irrationality throughout the film, especially in his interactions with women. The entire film seems to play on the notion that normal people don't roam about after hours.

One of the strong points in the story, is the interconnection between the various short plots that are created throughout the run time, but given the nature of the film, it fails to capitalize on these situations in a comedic way. Most of the delivery is heavily reliant on dry humor which doesn't seem to work most of the time. The performances don't seem to help either, as a multitude of characters exhibits half a dozen psychological syndromes each, which often results in disjointed dialogue in every other scene. Having one character with that trait usually works, but having most of your cast do it is a bit tiring.

Overall, I would consider After Hours a mediocre film, but one that can be viewed as a very interesting cinematic endeavor to unite the styles of two famous directors. It can still be appreciated for what it was and at times even forgiven its flaws.

Pierrot Le Fou (1965)

Visually I loved it, there was so many shooting scenes in the film that it must have cost a fortune to make. I mean the couple go everywhere! in France, and seeing all these different parts of France from the viewpoint of a crime ridden road trip was visually amazing...

BUT, I was utterly confused as to what was going on in the film, or more precisely how the director intended it to be interrupted. I must have stopped the film a half dozen times to ask my wife what she thought this was all about? I couldn't tell if the film was a: surrealistic interpretation of an inner conflict that Pierrot was having in his mind? Or was it all a dream sequence and he would wake up at the end of the film still taking a bath and smoking? Geez this guy smoked a lot!

Later in the film I seen some quick edit inter-cuts of words being written on a page, so I decided I was watching a visualization of the novel his wife had asked him about in the beginning of the film. You know like we were seeing his thoughts as a movie. But no, I don't think that was it either....SO I had an utter disconnect from the story narrative and all I did was stare at the background scenery and Anna Karina! I liked her.

Finally in the end when he wraps the silly looking dynamite around his head, I decide this was Godard's French version of the old Jerry Lewis movies.
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@Jabs Well written review on After Hours. I liked the detail that you put into your review, very interesting read!

I think you might be right about Scorsese working in Woody Allen's style of film making with After Hours. It did remind me of something Woody Allen would do, but it's void of the neurotic, self-indulgent, sexual & intellectual musings that are the hallmark of Woody Allen it's still Scorsese vision, sort of like Scorsese honors his friend Woody.

I like that you said that all the characters are strangely unnormal and that's by design. It did seem like after hours all the flakes come out. Either that or it was full moon.

I think that makes the film pretty nifty. Gives the film a funky vibe with funky characters. This is a film that feels like it's made to be watched in the late night hours too.

Also answers to Jabba
@Citizen Rules@ thank you. It had potential for sure and I think that if Woody Allen had at some point departed from his religiously followed doctrine and adapted some of Scorsese's traits in After Hours, a lot of his films would look much more fresh and overall watchable.

I am actually half way through his filmography, which I started along with my girlfriend 2 years ago, but we quickly grew tired of the constant theme repetition and it's been hard to watch anything of his nowadays.

@Citizen Rules@ thank you. It had potential for sure and I think that if Woody Allen had at some point departed from his religiously followed doctrine and adapted some of Scorsese's traits in After Hours, a lot of his films would look much more fresh and overall watchable.

I am actually half way through his filmography, which I started along with my girlfriend 2 years ago, but we quickly grew tired of the constant theme repetition and it's been hard to watch anything of his nowadays.
Very cool that you're watching Woody's filmography. Are you doing that in chronological order? Or just picking the ones you want to watch next? That's what I'm doing, I'm slowly working my way through Woody Allen films. I haven't seen many of his early ones, but I will. I've found some that I really liked and some not so much. Have you seen many of his latest films?

Also answers to Jabba
Unfortunately my girlfriend refers to anything released before 2000 as "an old movie". She is also not very fond of "old movies" so we have pretty much seen all of his newer stuff with a few selections from his earlier career when I insisted to no end. It's the small victories that count or at least that's what I say to myself.

A quick look at my IMDb profile tells me we have seen 25/49 of his films. Last one was almost 6 months ago though and I don't see us getting back to it any time soon.

As far as critique goes, he gets old very quickly. My favorite of his so far has been Midnight in Paris (Brody as Dali still makes me laugh). In general I have found the films in which he tends to incorporate a crime element much more tolerable than the rest.

I think some of Woody Allen's best work was in the 1980s. Midnight In Paris was a favorite of mine too. I hated Cafe Society, but I thought last year's Wonder Wheel was pretty good. Have you seen those two?

Weird is relative.
I forgot about Wonder Wheel. Should watch that soon.
I kinda liked Cafe Society as well, although it wasn't terribly memorable.

The Man From Earth (2007)

So I watched this last night. I'm not as fond of the movie as I was when I first watched it some years ago. I do like the historical information on past religious ideas/myths and how they got incorporated into newer religions which people then take as the only truth. That resonated well with me. But I have to say the dialogue at times was lacking and some of the acting was bad especially by Peter Billingsley who played Harry the psychologist.

What won me over the 1st viewing all those years ago, was the DVD extras that told the backstory of the writer Jerome Bixby. This was the last script he wrote. He had been a sci fi writer and wrote some of the original Star Trek episodes. As he was dying his son Emerson Bixby promised him The Man From Earth would be made the way his father had originally written it. Emerson Bixby who's the executive producer was offered a lot of money by Hollywood types to make this into a big splashy sci-fi film. He refused so as to honor his father's original vision. That takes integrity! Sure the film isn't great and it was shot in one week on just one location with two basic video cameras. But the idea of the film is a neat concept and for that reason I do think it's a good film, but just rough around the edges.

Due to its length, I thought I would have to break up Farewell My Concubine over two days, but I managed to watch the entire thing in one sitting. I'm not sure if I'll get anything written tonight though, since it's been a long day and my eyes are quite tired now.

With that, I've finished watching all of the nominations. I think I have a vague idea of how I'm going to rank the films, so I might not have to sit undecided on my list for so long this time haha.

...With that, I've finished watching all of the nominations. I think I have a vague idea of how I'm going to rank the films, so I might not have to sit undecided on my list for so long this time haha.
Wow that was fast! I still have a couple more to go.

Have you ever tried ranking the films after you watch them? I've done that sometimes with a running voting list, then other times not. I can't say if it helped me or not either? Just curious if you did that?