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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Hi guys, so sorry to have had to drop out, not fun to have been without a laptop for so long either! I fully intend to read through how you have been enjoying the other noms.



Also answers to Jabba
I don't think I am going to make it in time guys. I fully intend to watch all your nominations anyway, but the past two months have been way too hectic and my schedule will remain the same for another month at least. I offer my apologies.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
Hi guys, so sorry to have had to drop out, not fun to have been without a laptop for so long either! I fully intend to read through how you have been enjoying the other noms.
Glad to hear things worked out. You were VERY MUCH missed
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Also answers to Jabba
A little irritated that I had to watch The Man from Earth again for no reason, but I guess not surprised.

To be fair, I did watch After Hours again and even wrote a comprehensive review of it. Other people have more reason to complain.



As I said earlier I will watch all your nominations though and write short reviews about them. I just don't have the time to do so before the deadline.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Raise the Red Lantern

It's interesting to rewatch this after seeing more from Zhang, you start to notice patterns you didn't before.
First of all, I love the sound environment he builds on his movies. Not only the soundtrack, that is very beautiful, but also every little sound as the foot massages.
The acting is great, in particular from the main lead who builds a very interesting character ark.
I like that it's centered on the women and their relationship, as in The Flowers of War. It is a nice perspective of the role of women in China and in a way a form of positive feminism.
Oh, and of course, what makes me adore this film: IT LOOKS AMAZING!!! Bravo to the cinematography!

+



Anatomy of a Murder (1959)


When you look at the plot of Anatomy of a Murder on paper it's fairly straight forward and it works really well. The way the characters are developed initially made me care about their motivations and there's an authentic complexity to the psychology involved. There's really no right or wrong opinion when it comes to this case so often times during the trial sequences I found myself agreeing with both sides or questioning the behaviour of each lawyer. I've lost count now of the amount of occasions that courtroom dramas have failed in terms of ambiguity. This can make them a challenge to engage with and Anatomy of a Murder certainly avoids that despite its long running time. Great acting all around from everyone involved. Nice to to see George C. Scott stand out and he gives off this excellent demeanour the whole way through the trial.

The first time I watched this, I remember being annoyed by James Stewart and I couldn't remember why. Because he's suitably well cast for this role. I'm thinking it was probably some of the courtroom one liners.

I wasn't all that sure about this one when I seen it nominated but it's another great pick from Siddon.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
alright, I have about 10 min left of Raise The Lantern, SO glad I got to revisit it. Though I am having trouble with the link CR sent me for Pierrot Le Fou, the subtitles pop up about 30 seconds earlier. I may have to just suck it up and try to adjust. It does look rather promising though.

I WILL have this done by the deadline of February 2 though with write-ups and voting sent in.



I'm going to extend the deadline due to bad hosting. I've been pretty sick this month, and when not sick I've just been really super busy. I still have two myself to finish.



I'm going to extend the deadline due to bad hosting. I've been pretty sick this month, and when not sick I've just been really super busy. I still have two myself to finish.
Bummer that you were sick, tis the season No worries extending the deadline, fine by me



Weird is relative.
Sorry you haven't been feeling well @rauldc14, and that's no problem at all. I just watched Ed Wood tonight so I'll have my review for that up soon, as well as that of Pierrot Le Fou (which I had seen shortly before nominating), and then I'll send in my list. So these are left to vote for, right?

Memento
Le Trou
Ed Wood
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Raise the Red Lantern
Pierrot Le Fou
After Hours
Anatomy of a Murder

and then The Man from Earth & Farewell My Concubine are out?
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"Don't be afraid. Own the moment. If you're in control then the chaos will happen around you, and not to you."



Sorry you haven't been feeling well @rauldc14, and that's no problem at all. I just watched Ed Wood tonight so I'll have my review for that up soon, as well as that of Pierrot Le Fou (which I had seen shortly before nominating), and then I'll send in my list. So these are left to vote for, right?

Memento
Le Trou
Ed Wood
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Raise the Red Lantern
Pierrot Le Fou
After Hours
Anatomy of a Murder

and then The Man from Earth & Farewell My Concubine are out?
Yes, those are the 8 that are left.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
@neiba
@MijaFrost
@edarsenal
@Nathaniel

Can we shoot to have write ups and lists in by Feb 15?
Hope you're feeling better raul.

I just need to write up Red Lantern (which was great to revisit again) and I was going to watch Fou today (looking forward to it) and shoot for write-ups and sending in a vote tonight, so either way, this will work for me.



Can we shoot to have write ups and lists in by Feb 15?
Hope you're feeling better raul. That's ok for me.

I'll have my Le Trou review up tomorrow and I'll send my list through.



Le Trou (1960)


1960 was a great year for cinema with so many quality directors releasing highly regarded classics but Jaques Becker's Le Trou is my favourite of the bunch. I love its moody and gloomy atmosphere. Which isn't out of the blue for Becker but Le Trou lets the drama build through the prisoners getting closer and closer to escape and how that leads to a rise in the mental pressure. Dialogue is remote and there are quite lengthy scenes of hammering or sawing their way further forward. Still the film gives each prisoner his own separate character traits. Gaspard is the lead but Manu as a character feels as if he could snap at any moment in the last twenty minutes. It's crazy that this was the first major role for Leroy and the main cast.

The lack of a score adds this tension where in the tunnels and sewers the potential escapees are filled with adrenaline to the point of complete focus. All the audience can hear is the dripping, the footsteps, the use of tools and the background noise in general. If ever a film suited no score whatsoever it's this one. It creates this intensity that had me glued to the screen for its duration. The way the camera swivels quickly between actors brings the intensity too and man does Becker love his creative reflection shots through keyholes. Each second feels intrinsically important to what is going to happen next. It's sad what happened to Becker shortly after shooting. He was an excellent director, one that Renoir and the New Wave highly appreciated.



Ed Wood



I saw this film last time around July last year, and I actually downgraded my rating. I watched it again today and I'm not sure why I did that. I think it's great story telling. It is probably Burtons best directing job. I also think that the acting is very good all around. Landau getting an Oscar for his portrayal as Bela Legosi is the highlight but I also think it may be Depp's best performance in a tough role as Ed Wood Jr. The supporting acting is great as well. The choice of black and white really works for this film, gives off a peculiar vibe to it that helps the films atmosphere. Really not too many blemishes with this film, it's really well done. The rating goes back up.




The world doesn't owe you a damn thing



Raise The Red Lantern

There is, on far more accounts than not, a beauty to Asian filmmaking that is founded on a symmetry that is imbued with poetry. Especially when creating emotional energy visually. This really steps up several notches when involving a period film and Red Lantern is, of course, a very good example of that.
The use of the red lantern and all it's symbolic, as well as emotional and cerebral impact, comes through and we are caught up in the world of the four wives.
In fact, the focus is so brilliantly done, that even the master is a vague figure that we never truly get a close up of his face. He remains a nondescript entity that judges and selects. Allowing us to focus on the interplay and harsh chess game, or perhaps, in this case, mahjong that the women do battle with one another.
Seeing, in all four, the various stages of those who are new to the conflict for the prize, those who are worn out from it, those that fight with passion and those who conspire and plot.
It's an intriguing game ripe with emotional conflict that consumes them and diminishes everything else, including the man who's decision rules the outcome of who will be allowed to express affection and attention to him and thereby secure a better place and life for themselves.

One aspect I also wish to compliment on is that our leading lady, Fourth Wife, is not a gentle, naive waif thrown into the wolves' den, but one who is up for the competition and the fight. There is no fragile child learning harsh lessons of life, but a young woman knowing full well what is in store. She is full of anger at being taken out of school and placed into a submissive role to a man she knows nothing of nor cares to while battling other women for a secured place.

It is so very easy to see why CR chose this film just on the world-building alone.

I'm so glad I got to revisit this and would have loved to have done a double bill with Farewell My Concubine, but that will be another time.