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The 27th General Hall of Fame

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I was thinking of a Worst Films Hall of Fame where everyone nominates the worst movie they can think of, but I'm not sure that anyone would be interested in that.
but then i'd have to nominate something that's been nominated before and i try to avoid that



I'll kill anyone who get's in the way of me killin
Just for the record, after the Twilight Zone Hall ends, I might take a short break from hosting, but I'll keep that idea in the back of my mind.
Excellent job Hosting, speling!
Take a well earned rest!!
__________________
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.



Raiders of the Lost Ark



To address the idea that Indy is a character who sleeps with underage women. The early scene in the classroom alludes to nothing and means nothing, other than a student thinking her teacher is dreamy. As far as anything in the script, ignore it, as Spielberg has said that's a different movie.

"The way Allen sees it, it was all very innocent in those early days between Marion and Indy."

"I think I say I was 16. I don't know," Allen said. "That's always what I imagined is she was 16, he was 26. And he was her father's student. And it's left very mysterious."
"We don't even know what it is," Allen continued. "I mean, they could have kissed a few times, and she was just completely bowled over, and he could have just not wanted to get involved with someone so young. And maybe my father would have been furious at him. I mean, what's great about it is we don't know what the circumstances are."

"I don't think of him as a pedophile," Allen said. "That's the direction some of these people are going."

As a viewer these are not things that concern me. Allen the actress was 30 when the movie came out and she basically looks it. Yes, she says I was a child, but I never took that literally as in age. I'm 50 and some people say I'm just a kid. She also later tells Indy, "you still know how to treat a lady", alluding to the fact that he did know how to treat a lady, meaning she was that lady, not a child. I think a person's mind has to work a certain type of way to make these negative assumptions when watching a film like this and I'm glad that mine doesn't.

I was 10 when I first saw Raiders at the cinema in 1981. There was a load of excitement in the theater as if nobody had ever seen anything like it before, and that's because nobody had. It has aged surprising well, but unfortunately I haven't aged as well because I've gone to the dark side. It's no longer my type of film but I still enjoyed it immensely, and it's still the greatest adventure film ever made.

+



I know Jim Cummings is a filmmaker I was looking to get into this year, I really enjoyed The Wolf of Snow Hollow and his latest looked really good.








Magical Girl, 2014

Luis (Luis Bermejo) goes into something of a downward spiral when he learns that his daughter Alicia's (Lucia Pollan) cancer has returned. Luis becomes fixated on procuring a rare costume dress of an anime that Alicia loves. The problem? Luis is unemployed and the dress is prohibitively expensive. But when Luis has a chance encounter with Barbara (Barbara Lennie), her nice home gives him hope that he has found a way to leverage the money he needs. But Luis does not fully grasp Barbara's situation, nor the way that his attempts to get the money will put him on a collision course with a man from Barbara's past (Jose Sacristan).

I have had this film on my watchlist for ages, suspecting that I would love it and that it would really wreck me emotionally. Well, I was right on both counts, LOL!

I had thought, based on the little I'd read of the film, that this would mostly be a drama. Instead it's more of a drama-thriller, at times bordering on something like horror.

The film, to me, is an exploration of all the ways that we can do damage to each other without even knowing it. Around the middle of the film there is an image of a jigsaw puzzle complete but for a single piece. I think that this image really sums up the emotional heft of the film. All of the characters are SO CLOSE to something that would make them complete---forgiveness, closeness, honesty, intimacy, gratitude---and yet they just miss out on it by a hair. Luis walks out of the house just a moment before hearing a message from his daughter on the radio. Barbara's husband sets an ultimatum about her behavior just at the time she would most need to confide something serious to him.

From a plot point of view, Barbara becomes the central figure and the source of what most feels like horror. Barbara is controlled or the victim of attempted control by literally every man in her life, no exceptions. Her husband monitors whether or not she's taking her medication, something that might seem like caretaking but feels more like he's the warden. A scene where he puts his fingers in her mouth to make sure she swallowed her pill is chilling. Luis, of course, uses Barbara for her money, not knowing or caring what she will have to do to get it. Damien, the man from Barbara's past, uses Barbara's dependency on him against her. And, finally, Barbara must turn to high-class sex work, where she ends up at the mercy of a wealthy sadist.

A lesser film wouldn't have been able to resist putting Barbara's suffering on display. The restraint in leaving all of her "sessions" off-screen but allowing us to see the aftermath is much more powerful and upsetting. The moment when
WARNING: spoilers below
Barbara goes back for the second session and learns that there will be no safe word is horrifying. Even more so when we see the extreme results of what was done to her
. Luis begins the film in desperation, but we watch as the pressure on Barbara builds, until her own desperation begins to rival his.

The direction here is also really wonderful, letting the unspeakable and the mundane sit side by side. It is bleak and depressing, but in a way that feels earned and true to its characters and their motivations.






L'Amour braque (Andrzej Zulawski, 1985)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/16/22
Rewatch: No.


Well... that opening bank robbery sequence was mildly amusing, the actress playing Marie was gorgeous, and I liked the overall look of the film. But everything else about this was a chore. It tried way too damn hard to be weird for the sake of being weird and all that pointless weirdness just made the whole thing a painfully tedious, non-sensical waste of time.





Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
So it starts by immediately doing two things that give it instant ueno aesthetic points: Copious cross-dissolves and narration. If the cross-dissolves were more of a stylistic through-line I'd be eating this film up but instead its more like the film tosses me a bone from time-to-time. Anyway, to get to the stuff that matters to everyone else I'll just quickly sum the film up by saying its a great movie that I don't *love* anything about. Like, I'm writing this while the credits are still rolling so who knows but I don't think there's any scene in this film I'm going to vividly remember in a few days from now. Actually, the one thing I did love is the pacing. I'm really into pointless, meandering journey type films and this has that going for it and it was paced to suit that perfectly. That's really the one thing making this good lol. Like, the music (both existing songs and score) are not very good but at least the score is bad in a completely bizarre way so that's at least kind of interesting. Also, and this is probably just a case of pop culture poisoning but the Flight of the Valkyries bit was super corny lol. Another bizarre aspect is the colour grading. Its just all over the place. Some shots are so over saturated it looks like they're on an alien planet. Its so wacky I want to like it but it was usually just distracting. Honestly I don't know if there were any shots in the film I thought looked particularly good. I was hoping the Brando sequence would have had more of a spiritual angle to it, just for the vibes. Umm yeah idk I guess those are my thoughts. Its good, despite me saying only bad things about it. Its good and we're starved for properly paced films these days so this was very appreciated. Oh yeah and someone said the water buffalo scene was "blink and you miss it" I think but that sh*t was close to 30 seconds and had action replay going on lmao. Honestly would have been kinda beast if it wasn't interspliced with the goofiest shots in the film. I know this review makes this sound like its less than a
but I'm rating it
. I don't know what I'm doing.



13 Foreign Language movies to go


Apocalypse Now - 1979

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Written by John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola
& Michael Herr

Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando
Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper & Laurence Fishburne

Sitting back and reflecting on Apocalypse Now, it's easy to discern it's overall message, which was basically that the Vietnam War, and more specifically it's conduct, had the feeling of insanity run amok. When main character Willard (Martin Sheen) finally tracks down Colonel Kurtz, the latter asks him, "Are my methods unsound?" Willard answers back "I don't see any method at all, sir." Great line - and one that could be transposed onto the conflict easily. Willard has been sent to assassinate Kurtz, who has gone rogue and now commands his own private army deep in the jungle - but we're constantly reminded of how Kurtz fits the war perfectly, and that the charges of murder brought against him at a time when many innocents were being murdered with impunity by others with official acceptance makes no sense. But nothing does in the world Francis Ford Coppola has constructed here, just as the war as a whole makes less and less sense the more distance we get from it and the more we look at it. Every scene in Apocalypse Now punctuates that feeling of out of control lunacy.

Coppola's methods produce an early, and very striking scene. In it Martin Sheen reveals his character as a broken man, with his demons devouring him whole. Of course, his naked bloody disintegration was half-real, as most things are in this film. Sheen was pushed to the brink of death, at the center of a storm (at one point, a quite literal one) that turned the making of the movie into a story within itself. Willard now only longs for danger and fear - the only things that make him feel like he's actually still alive. Divorced and suffering, he yearns for his next mission - and though the generals (among them a young Harrison Ford) can definitely sense that he's not right, he's ordered to travel up the Nùng river, deep into Viet Cong territory, to terminate Kurtz. Helping him and his navy escort on the way is Robert Duvall's Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore - his particular insanity is treating the war as his own personal surfing holiday. He destroys an enemy village just to get an opportunity to surf with a young famous surfing compatriot amongst the group - providing the film with many of it's most memorable and famous scenes such as the attack being preceded by "Ride of the Valkyries".

The director may have thought at the time he was sinking in a meaningless quagmire, but he was capturing something visually that was exciting and felt quite genuine. It really doesn't matter if all the helicopters he had at his disposal were in the same frame, and Sheen's insertion into scenes that had already been filmed are seamless. Looking at the film today, it's hard to believe he had such trepidation over what he was constructing - ad-hoc as it was. His greatest fear was for it's ending - as scripted by John Milius, it was artistically uninspiring - a kind of 'action film' ending that added nothing to the film. I felt the ending that we did eventually get let me down a little - but this is almost solely due to a maddening Marlon Brando almost sabotaging everything by arriving on set grossly overweight (it is so very hard to reconcile that with who Colonel Kurtz is meant to be) and happy to just mumble ad-libs when shooting commenced every day. Whatever quality does come from his lips actually come from the script - such as his wry observation that American planes can drop fire and burn people alive, but they can't write swearwords on the planes as the brass deem this to be "obscene".

Milius titled his screenplay "Apocalypse Now" in direct answer to what many kids going to college had written on their backpacks and headbands - "Nirvana Now" or "Enlightenment Now" - a reference that a spiritual awakening was possible at the present moment if people would just experiment with drugs or will it into being. If the people in charge could put in motion (and continue to propel) the madness that was happening in Vietnam - then why not the ultimate madness? The question of why isn't always discussed in the film, but a wonderful illustration takes form as Willard progresses down the river, following the same path as that in Hearts of Darkness, of which much of the film is based. Further and further from civilization, Willard appears to be travelling back in time, and he eventually (in the Redux version) comes upon a group of French colonists who refuse to budge from "their" little patch of jungle. They won't leave - this is their home - but what are the Americans fighting for? "The biggest nothing in history," the head of the French family declares. Colonialism overtaken by a desire to destroy something - even themselves.

Along for the ride on Willard's boat is a young Laurence Fishburne (14 years-old - playing a 17 year-old) who has the irritating nature (to Willard) as that of a child - Tyrone 'Clean' Miller, Sam Bottoms as hippy surfer Lance, Frederic Forrest as 'Chef' and Albert Hall as Chief Phillips. Notable among the rest of the cast is Dennis Hopper, who is a photographer and convert to Colonel Kurtz's wild philosophical ramblings. They're all almost blotted out by a shimmering performance from Martin Sheen, who commands all of our attention (even when he's not onscreen, he narrates.) They're backed by some great music on the soundtrack - as is the film, which is introduced with fire as Jim Morrison sings and the Doors' "The End" plays (the band was horrified their music was used for this) in a famous opening segment. The score was worked on by the director and his father, Carmin Coppola. It seems to me that Francis Ford Coppola should have had faith in his editors and not worried - they were nominated for an Oscar. Lisa Fruchtman would go on and win one for her work on The Right Stuff, Gerald B. Greenberg had won one for The French Connection and Walter Murch waiting that bit longer for his win with The English Patient. What they put together with Apocalypse Now, considering the (seemingly) haphazard nature of what was shot is commendable.

Storied cinematographer Vittorio Storaro would go on to win an Oscar for his 'medal of honor'-worthy work on Apocalypse Now - which was very much deserving. He would go on to win another 2 for Reds and The Last Emperor. Working mostly in Italy these days, he still ventures forth to capture films such as Woody Allen's Café Society. Coppola's shooting schedule was prolonged and prolonged as the film hit problem after problem - and shooting in the jungle in the Philippines was something akin to war itself, so Storaro may still view this as his most challenging experience in filmmaking. The pressure though, fell on the director whose angst may have been fed by the media's interest in the film's overbudget and lengthy shoot - and his nightmares over an artistic and commercial failure. However, while the film was still a work in progress, it won the Palme d'Or (along with The Tin Drum) at Cannes and since it's release has grown in respect and admiration. There is absolutely no sense at all of failure when you watch the film, and it flows in a perfect manner that seems very deliberate and masterful. It's hard to see anything of the chaos and disaster (that included a typhoon which destroyed initial sets) that plagued it's production.

It was fear of failure that led to much of what was shot being cut from the film - and this wasn't a bad thing at all. Although increased confidence in the stature of his film has led Coppola to gradually reintroduce much of this footage, almost all of it adds little new to what the film is saying - except perhaps for the French colonialist section, which enhances some aspects. You won't learn much about the Vietnam war itself by watching Apocalypse Now - it has a more general feel of the war's conduct than it's history - and it does really represent more the adaptation of Hearts of Darkness in a narrative and metaphorical sense. Through the mind of Willard (and his well-scripted narration) we learn what any sensible person would, not only about the war (and war itself) but also the primeval need to be a master of one's own destiny - something war explicitly precludes. Through the film's script we learn everything we need to know about Kurtz well before we meet him - and from the man itself nothing except that he is lost within himself. He now leads a primitive tribe - one preoccupied with death - and has become the very essence of the war, which those conducting the war from above find very ironically "obscene' - just like a swearword painted on the side of a death-dealing jet plane.

I can't say with any precision what we're taught about the dark inner working of man's soul, except that it is indeed so dark you'd have to be mad to want to go there. Once there, reason seems to be in short supply. Much to my relief, Apocalypse Now is a fairly unpretentious yet serious look at young people who must go to that place. It's a film I appreciate more and more as time goes by - and if it weren't for Marlon Brando it would be almost flawless. Vittorio Storaro, Martin Sheen and director Francis Ford Coppola are who I credit for delivering this to us - to a slightly lesser extent scriptwriter John Milius (Coppola rewrote some, Michael Herr the narration and some is taken from Joseph Conrad's Hearts of Darkness.) Underneath it all, the people whose land these jungles and rivers really belong to - and the people who do almost all of the dying in the end, in service to colonialism, adventurism and blood-lust. Their bodies and heads litter the ground that Willard and Kurtz walk upon - and their blood turning these men's hearts, minds and souls the darkest shade of night.

__________________
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Rams (2015)



Hopefully anyone who watched Witness for the Prosecution already isn't feeling too annoyed about it.
No worries, it was definitely worth watching anyway.

As for Thunder Road, the title sounds familiar, but I don't know anything about it.





Magical Girl, 2014

Luis (Luis Bermejo) goes into something of a downward spiral when he learns that his daughter Alicia's (Lucia Pollan) cancer has returned. Luis becomes fixated on procuring a rare costume dress of an anime that Alicia loves. The problem? Luis is unemployed and the dress is prohibitively expensive. But when Luis has a chance encounter with Barbara (Barbara Lennie), her nice home gives him hope that he has found a way to leverage the money he needs. But Luis does not fully grasp Barbara's situation, nor the way that his attempts to get the money will put him on a collision course with a man from Barbara's past (Jose Sacristan).

I have had this film on my watchlist for ages, suspecting that I would love it and that it would really wreck me emotionally. Well, I was right on both counts, LOL!

I had thought, based on the little I'd read of the film, that this would mostly be a drama. Instead it's more of a drama-thriller, at times bordering on something like horror.

The film, to me, is an exploration of all the ways that we can do damage to each other without even knowing it. Around the middle of the film there is an image of a jigsaw puzzle complete but for a single piece. I think that this image really sums up the emotional heft of the film. All of the characters are SO CLOSE to something that would make them complete---forgiveness, closeness, honesty, intimacy, gratitude---and yet they just miss out on it by a hair. Luis walks out of the house just a moment before hearing a message from his daughter on the radio. Barbara's husband sets an ultimatum about her behavior just at the time she would most need to confide something serious to him.

From a plot point of view, Barbara becomes the central figure and the source of what most feels like horror. Barbara is controlled or the victim of attempted control by literally every man in her life, no exceptions. Her husband monitors whether or not she's taking her medication, something that might seem like caretaking but feels more like he's the warden. A scene where he puts his fingers in her mouth to make sure she swallowed her pill is chilling. Luis, of course, uses Barbara for her money, not knowing or caring what she will have to do to get it. Damien, the man from Barbara's past, uses Barbara's dependency on him against her. And, finally, Barbara must turn to high-class sex work, where she ends up at the mercy of a wealthy sadist.

A lesser film wouldn't have been able to resist putting Barbara's suffering on display. The restraint in leaving all of her "sessions" off-screen but allowing us to see the aftermath is much more powerful and upsetting. The moment when
WARNING: spoilers below
Barbara goes back for the second session and learns that there will be no safe word is horrifying. Even more so when we see the extreme results of what was done to her
. Luis begins the film in desperation, but we watch as the pressure on Barbara builds, until her own desperation begins to rival his.

The direction here is also really wonderful, letting the unspeakable and the mundane sit side by side. It is bleak and depressing, but in a way that feels earned and true to its characters and their motivations.

I had high hopes for your reaction as I know you're a fan of Dogtooth. Not that it's especially similar, but I can see a person who likes one liking the other.

What do you make of the first scene?



Quick question about Thunder Road: Would watching the short film version first negatively affect my viewing of the feature?
I believe that the short film is essentially just the first 10 minutes of what the feature film became.

So if you don't mind watching the same scene twice, no harm I think.



I know nothing of Thunder Road and I like that.

Witness for the Prosecution would have most likely been #1 or #2 on my ballot.
I'm pretty sure Witness for the Prosecution would've placed very high on my ballot, last time I seen it I rated it a
+



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Today I watched Baby Face (1933). Directed by Alfred E. Green, the film stars Barbara Stanwyck as a woman who decides to use her sexuality to exploit men and get what she wants. Stanwyck is fantastic here, creating an interesting and complex character. I felt that the film did a good job portraying her in a non-judgemental way. She is a sympathetic, likeable character, but I don't think the film is condoning or glamorising her behaviour. The screenplay is sharply written and the film is considered racy for its time. Baby Face is an enjoyable,well made film. I've now seen 13 Barbara Stanwyck films and this would be my 3rd favourite of her films. Surprisingly, this is the first film I have seen directed by Alfred E. Green, even though he directed 108 films. Good nomination.





Baby Face, 1933

Lily Powers (Barbara Stanwyck) runs a bar with her no-good father, enduring endless harassment from the rowdy male clientele. When a friend tells her that she could leverage her beauty and charm---"exploit yourself"--she works up the nerve to leave home for the big city. Once there, she gets a job in a bank where she slowly seduces her way up the ladder.

This was a very interesting look at the price of empowerment in a situation where the person attempting to empower themselves must navigate a system/society that seeks mainly to exploit them.

What I appreciated most about the film was just how well it shows you exactly why Lily chooses to act the way that she does. A single walk through her father's bar shows us men putting their hands on her (which she puts up with through a tight smile), drunken requests to spend a little alone time "down by the quarry (which she also puts up with and declines), and an outright assault (that ends when she hits the assailant with a bottle). Lily's aha moment comes when she is encouraged to see the male lust toward her as an asset that she can leverage.

What the film most shrewdly observes is that Lily is not some predator trapping innocent men in her web. This clearly isn't the first time that these men have followed a female employee into the bathroom or decided that what their wife/fiance doesn't know won't hurt them. This becomes crystal clear when Lily's relationship with an engaged man threatens his future marriage. After some time away and things blowing over a bit, he shows up at her place, believing that he will marry his fiance and simply continue to have Lily on the side. Lily is taking advantage of a system whereby she would be vulnerable to the whims of these men anyway, so why not make something of herself in the process?

The idea of women empowering themselves by becoming the one in charge of their own exploitation is not new, and there's a lot of nuance to it. I have a friend who is a nude dancer who has said that her work has actually made her more impatient with men outside of work, because usually when someone it blatantly looking her up and down or telling her some long boring story, she's getting paid for it. There's something kind of harsh but true about the notion that changing your own behavior to adapt to crappy behavior from the people around you is much easier than getting the people around you to stop being creeps.

I do think that film slightly overstates the idea that with a bit of focus, a woman could have men at her disposal. For example, there's an early scene in which Lily seduces a train guard into letting them stay on the train. Fine, but that sequence could easily have involved him having sex with her--or even raping her--and then throwing her off the train anyway. Likewise with her various bosses in the bank, the film always assumes that their lust for her makes them powerless. The film acknowledges the element of lust, but doesn't seem to want to acknowledge the element of a power differential. In one scene, a superior is caught with Lily in the bank. He's fired and she isn't and . . . yeah, sure.

It's also interesting to see the limits of this theory of empowerment. Lily has a good friend (who is also a servant in her father's house? Or a fellow worker at the bar? Or sort of both?), a Black woman named Chico (Theresa Harris) who accompanies her on her journey. As Lily's schemes work, their lives improve, but Chico is always the maid. In one scene, Chico calls Lily "honey," and Lily corrects her "Less honey," to which Chico replies "Yes, ma'am." Intentionally or not, Chico demonstrates that the existing power structures will allow a person to rise only so far. Would Chico even be allowed in the bank where Lily works?

Overall I really liked this film. It shows the price of lowering yourself to the level of those who make your life difficult. The colder Lily becomes, the more emotional and desperate the men become. When she doesn't fit into their narrative, they lose it.

My one real quibble was that I didn't entirely feel as if the ending was earned. A bit too neat and doesn't feel honest after what came before it.




I'll kill anyone who get's in the way of me killin





Baby Face (1933)
++ Filmed just as the Hayes Code is implanted, this sexually charged film hits hard and heavy. It showcases a 25 yr old Barbara Stanwyck and the Lioness that would become her cinematic persona.

Nick Powers: You little tramp, you!
Lily Powers: Yeah, I'm a tramp, and who's to blame? My Father. A swell start you gave me. Ever since I was fourteen, what's it been? Nothing but men! Dirty rotten men! And you're lower than any of them. I'll hate you as long as I live!

Spending her days as a waitress and sexual outlet in her father's backroom bar, Lily Power (Barbara Stanwyck) knows for a fact that she could do far better than being used by the men that continually chase after her. Until Fate and the advice of a learned elder regular, quoting Neitchze to seize life and to use men for what she wants, she splits with her best friend Chico (Therese Harris) and heads to the big city to do just that.
Using sex and ruthless machinations, she climbs up the corporate ladder. And it is an amazingly cunning climb with them left in her wake once she no longer has any use of them. I was continually wondering how she would make the next rung on the ladder and was genuinely impressed by how she pulled it off.

I also found it impressive that she is never demonized or labeled callously by the makers of this film. It is exceedingly easy to get behind this woman of indomitable will using both her body and her strategic cunning to get what she truly wants, which is everything.

WARNING: "The Ending" spoilers below
With already a body count of cast-aside lovers, the original ending was her finding her final lover, the very top man of the ladder, dead from suicide. The smoking gun beside him. The only good man and the only one she could love and believe in love.
The censors' instance that he survives and she chooses love over her pursuit of a glamorous life seemed to work in its way. Finding love, glamour, and genuine happiness after a sh#t life did make me breathe easier since when she first discovers him and holds him as his eyes drift shut was a sad sight to see for me.
So I am a bit confused about my preference since I could easily see the more hard ending being far more of an impact.