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Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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I enjoyed that one, but it's been some time since I've seen it, so another viewing is long overdue.
I seen in in the Personal Recommendation III which I really enjoyed as I found a lot of great movies, more so that what I usually find in the main HoFs. I wish we could do it again sometime.



I seen in in the Personal Recommendation III which I really enjoyed as I found a lot of great movies, more so that what I usually find in the main HoFs. I wish we could do it again sometime.
I'll have to join one of those someday. They look fun.
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Room at the Top (Jack Clayton 1959)

"An ambitious young accountant plots to wed a wealthy factory owner's daughter despite falling in love with a married older woman."

Love this film!

In the first scene when we meet Joe (Laurence Harvey) I thought I had him pegged as being the handsome cad...a guy who used women, chewed them up and spit them out onto the cold pavement, all without a mere thought of remorse. In the first scene it did indeed look like he would be the guy you 'love to hate'. I mean he did seem predatory at first, with his stalking of the daughter of the richest man in town. He was kinda creepy with his hellbent plan to marry her for money and social status, two things he sorely lacked.

But it was Joe's meager beginnings in a dirty northern England work town that made him who he was and as the film went along we could see that the war and the loss of his family and his early life had shaped him into the person he was and that then creates some sympathy for his character.

Along the way he does begin to change and realize that love is more important than money. But what I really liked is that the film never made that change in Joe clear cut, he was still a cad but a cad that could be understood.

Simone Signoret as Alice the older, married French woman that he falls in love with, made for a very realistic (for film) love story. She's very personable in this and their relationship felt dynamic. I liked the time the film spent on it.




I'll have to join one of those someday. They look fun.
I was just now thinking whatever genre theme wins the next Countdown, it would be neat to do a Personal Recommendation around that theme. Cricket did do just that for the Foreign Language countdown.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I was just now thinking whatever genre theme wins the next Countdown, it would be neat to do a Personal Recommendation around that theme. Cricket did do just that for the Foreign Language countdown.

I quite like this idea.

Also, Room at the Top is excellent.



Originally Posted by Citizen Rules
I was just now thinking whatever genre theme wins the next Countdown, it would be neat to do a Personal Recommendation around that theme. Cricket did do just that for the Foreign Language countdown.
I quite like this idea.

Also, Room at the Top is excellent.
I've been thinking how we could do a Personal Recommendation Comedy edition...I'll ask Cricket if he wants to do it, if he doesn't want to I could do it...just so the comedy countdown gets supported (assuming it wins).

Room at the Top
was a really neat hidden gem, thanks for choosing it for me in the last Personal Recommendation....those were really fun




The Player (1992)
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Michael Tolkin(screenplay)
Cast: Tim Robbins Greta Scacchi Fred Ware
Genre: Comedy Drama

'A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected, but which one?'

The Player is right up my alley, it was a fun watch. As a plus, I was glad to explore more of Altman's filmography as I haven't seen many of his movies. The Player reminded me of another favorite movie, by the Coen Brothers,Barton Fink.

What I really liked about The Player was the insider story of a Hollywood movie executive who listens to movie pitches and green lights only a handful of films...I want that job!!! OMG that was so cool to see someone actually performing this movie job on screen. I loved the inside look at the movie business, very cool.

I also loved the detail of the sets at the studio, and I loved spotting all the stars who made cameos and there was a lot of them!. Tim Robbins is a favorite actor of mine and I liked him here he's quite good and personable which makes his story all the more relatable.

I liked that the story was part comedy and never intense. I dislike intense, realistic crime thrillers, though I do like old 40s-50s film noir. Luckily this film had a lighter feel to it, which suited me. I thought the ending twist was pretty clever too and it gave the movie a film within a film feel.

The Player is one film I'd like to revisit again.




Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders 1984)

Reaction: Impressed

They say, If you can't remember a movie then it must not have been all that good. I don't buy that.

Before I watched Paris,Texas I had zero idea of what it was about...It was a blind watch. I thought it was going to be some quirky, Lynchian-like 1980s crime film. To my surprise this was a prime example of 'slow-cinema', a film movement that I enjoy...and I did enjoy Paris,Texas. Sure not much happens and the scenes go on for a long while, but like a slow cooked Texas barbecue the film was bursting with flavor.

A lot of that film-flavor is from Harry Dean Stanton who was born to make a movie like this. I read Paris,Texas was his favorite film that he worked on. I liked Dean Stockwell too. But what I really liked was the Jim Jarmusch like photography of small towns in Texas...I chose that photo because the composition is so amazing. It's so rich in background details that no real action is needed in the scene. The setting tells the story. The entire film was like that, those town-scapes told a tale that went beyond what was happening on the surface.


As strange as it might seem I don't really remember the movie after a week but like Harry Dean Stanton's character I know something real important took place.





Bullitt (Peter Yates 1968)

Reaction: Positive

"Robert Vaughn received the script and didn't like it. He felt that there was no plot, nor a sensible story line."

...and that's why I liked this film! It's straight up police investigation, stylishly done but without the Hollywood trappings of hero vs villain or any of the typical trappings that a Hollywood film usually goes for.

Had this film been made in the last 30 years it would've been a ramped up, edge of your seat, adrenaline ride...and I would've hated it! I appreciate how this 1968 classic stayed low keyed and realistic...If one of my favorite directors, Kelly Reichardt directed a stakeout, crime cop movie, it would look like Bullitt.

I don't have any complaints here, in fact I'm amazed at how artistically creative this film was made. Oh sure I LOVED the car chase. I've owned different 1960s Mustangs myself, so the car chase was aces! OMG that Bullitt Mustang is worth a small fortune today.

I respect the way the film respected the intelligence of the audience, to me that's the real highlight.

+




The General (Buster Keaton 1926)

"Buster Keaton was the greatest of all the clowns in the history of cinema. For too many years he was under the shadow of Charlie Chaplin and for too many of his last years he had a very bad time of it...Those are the years in which I knew him. We use to work in the old Stage Door Canteen, I was doing magic tricks for the troops and Keaton was washing dishes. He was a lovely person, the supreme artist and I think one of the most beautiful people ever photographed."
Orson Welles

Reaction: Touched

Knowing how badly Hollywood treated Buster Keaton and knowing how this great man who made great cinema was eventually left with only his sad face...makes me sad. As much as I appreciate the creative genius of Charlie Chaplin, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Buster Keaton. I've seen other Keaton films and liked them all. I'm glad we still have most of his silent films surviving as so many silent films are lost.

I know silent films aren't for everyone and even though I do enjoy them they can be a mixed bag...especially the long ones can get tedious. The General is only 79 minutes so a quick & easy watch and one that's packed full of Keaton's patented comic stunts that are both humorous as all hell...and frightening to watch as he risks his life riding on an old steam engine or other daring feats. And make no mistakes about it, Keaton did risk his life in doing his own stunts.

Keaton wrote, directed and starred in this film and like Orson Welles and Citizen Kane, The General was the last time that Keaton would have full control over his films, which is indeed sad.





Bob Le Flambeur (Jean-Pierre Melville 1956)
"After losing big, an aging gambler decides to assemble a team to rob a casino."

Reaction: Cool watch

Pretty much any 1950s French film will work for me. Some are better than others of course, but if it's a French or Japanese film and from the 50s or early 60s, then it's a safe bet I won't hate it. And betting is what Bob The Gambler is all about! That's a translation from the original French title...I don't have any deep analyst of the film. I suppose there are parables to life but to me it was all about seeing different types of of people going about their unique lives. I enjoyed seeing the sights and sound of Paris circa 1956, the film is a time machine to a time long gone. I especially like the small cafes and clubs I wonder how many are still there.

The actor who played Bob made the film! I liked his story and the way the film treated Bob and those who came into his world and I liked his relationship with the head detective . At one point I thought this would be another crime caper film and I thought, well that could be OK. But I ended up liking the way the story turned out, especially once the young apprentice of Bob slipped up and told the girl there was a casino robbery being planned.

A side note, I didn't like the girl, she was just plain dumb and looked like she was 14. Not a great actress either and she sure didn't have much screen presences, but the film itself was a real good watch.





City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)

Reaction: I so needed to see this!

I swear that every single time I looked at my MoFo movie list I'd see City Lights and think, 'damn this movie made every list.' OK, maybe it's not on every list, but it's on 10 MoFo list! I don't think any other movie appears on so many of our list here at MoFo.

I enjoy silent films and I've loved a number of Chaplin's greats: Modern Times, The Kid, The Gold Rush and others. I wish I could say I also loved City Lights, but I found it only OK. I wasn't really impressed with it and maybe that's because I was really, really tired that night. Being tired can dampening one's emotional resonances to a movie. Or maybe I wasn't really into City Lights because subconsciously I was comparing it to Buster Keaton's The General which I recently watched and was very impressed with.

When the film started I noted that it was 1931, that's into the sound era. Odd that Chaplin decided to stay with a silent film when sound was the thing at that point but I guess his confidence in himself as an actor was relaying emotion through body language and facial expression. And he does that like no one else!

Unlike The Kid and other of Chaplin's earlier films, I felt like the story here didn't earn it's pathos. It was like Chaplin was burnt out and just went to the same movie well one too many times. I mean you get the Tramp falling in love with the poor blind girl who's about to be evicted out of her home. The Tramp then helps her. That all seemed kind of hackneyed and pandering to the audiences emotions. Where as other of his films earned the audiences accolades. Or maybe I was just tired like I said.

I'd call City Lights middle of the road, BUT very glad to have watched it finally.




Nice write-ups

With Bob Le Flambeur, I think it helps to watch some of Melville's other films before watching it since it's pretty uncharacteristic of his filmography. With the other films I've seen from him (Le Samourai, Army of Shadows, Le Cercle Rouge), you get the sense that everyone is slowly closing in and suffocating the main characters in those films, creating a strong air of claustrophobia. Bob Le Flambeur is different though since Bob clearly feels more comfortable in his surroundings since he has the proper intelligence and connections to keep himself out of trouble.
WARNING: spoilers below
It's even implied at the ending that he'll likely get a minor sentence, may be acquitted fairly easily, and once he's released, will have a large fortune waiting for him.




The Conversation
(Francis Ford Coppola 1974)



Wow! The first scene in the city square with the inter-cut scenes of the couple under surveillance and the rooftop teams with those powerful recording mics and Gene Hackman and his crew coordinating in a undercover van...were very powerful. They were filmed and edited like nothing I've seen in a movie before...I knew I was in for a treat.

In the next scene with Hackman being tight lipped with his girl-on-the-side Terri Garr...it tells us just what we need to know about this man who's gone 'down the rabbit hole' in his surveillance job. I knew at the start of the movie that the story idea must have been inspired in part by The Watergate incident a few years earlier...In it's day this film must have resonated with viewers.

Then there's a scene with Gene Hackman attending a surveillance equipment convention and that's when the film starts to go astray. This man who goes to great lengths to keep his own life private and hidden, is now like a celebrity among his fellow surveillance experiments, which undid what was built on in the first scenes.

Then the film goes off the rails when Hackman invites his competition back to his secret spy shop and shows them some of his equipment!....Nope, I'm not buying that he would do that. Then he stupidly allows a woman that he just met to steal his secret and some very dangerous tapes. But wait a minute he had a cage with a lock...I guess he forgot to lock it.
Anyway the film is not well written and if it wasn't for Coppola's and Hackman's success with other films, I don't think this film would be so highly rated.




Nice write-ups

With Bob Le Flambeur, I think it helps to watch some of Melville's other films before watching it since it's pretty uncharacteristic of his filmography. With the other films I've seen from him (Le Samourai, Army of Shadows, Le Cercle Rouge), you get the sense that everyone is slowly closing in and suffocating the main characters in those films, creating a strong air of claustrophobia. Bob Le Flambeur is different though since Bob clearly feels more comfortable in his surroundings since he has the proper intelligence and connections to keep himself out of trouble.
WARNING: spoilers below
It's even implied at the ending that he'll likely get a minor sentence, may be acquitted fairly easily, and once he's released, will have a large fortune waiting for him.
I hope to watch more of Melville's films. I've seen Le Samourai (amazing, loved it) I've seen Army of Shadows (very impressed). Haven't seen but have heard quite a bit about Le Cercle Rouge.



I hope to watch more of Melville's films. I've seen Le Samourai (amazing, loved it) I've seen Army of Shadows (very impressed). Haven't seen but have heard quite a bit about Le Cercle Rouge.
Le Cercle Rouge is great (I believe it's one of seanc's all-time favorites). It's the kind of film where, while it doesn't have a nail biting level of suspense per se, it's able to maintain a fairly low key atmosphere of suspense from beginning to end, constantly giving you the impression that the characters are in at least a bit of danger throughout most of the film.

Also, I loved the jewelry heist scene, perhaps even more so than the one in Rififi since it has less exposition leading up to it.



Le Cercle Rouge is great (I believe it's one of seanc's all-time favorites). It's the kind of film where, while it doesn't have a nail biting level of suspense per se, it's able to maintain a fairly low key atmosphere of suspense from beginning to end, constantly giving you the impression that the characters are in at least a bit of danger throughout most of the film.

Also, I loved the jewelry heist scene, perhaps even more so than the one in Rififi since it has less exposition leading up to it.
I usually don't like films with nail biting level of suspense, not if it's the entire length of the film as it wears me out.

I just read this about Le Cercle Rouge
The heist sequence lasts for exactly 27 minutes and features no dialogue at all.
To me that sounds promising.