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Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame VI

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The trick is not minding
Sansho the Bailiff

"Without mercy, man is like a beast. Even if you are hard on yourself, be merciful to others."*


Zushio’s father was a man of quiet honor. *When he was told to tax the peasants, he refused. His stubbornness leads to his exile, but before he leaves, he tells his son the above quote as a reminder to be kind to those less fortunate. *

Some time later, Zushio, his sister Anju, and his mother and kidnapped. Tricked by supposed priestess, they are separated and sold into slavery. *His mother is forced to become a courtesan. *Zushio and Anju become slaves to the eponymous Sansho. *

His cruelty knows no bounds. Escaped slaves are always captured and, upon return, are scarred and mutilated. *After 10 years, Zushio has become subservient to Sansho and Carrie’s out these mutilations. *He has forgotten his fathers teachings. *

The films sprinkles the acts of barbarism with random acts of kindness from others. *Anju never gives up hope, and helps others when she can. Zushio, on the other hand, doesn’t have any use for kindness. *He believes it to useless in this world. *His journey from slavery to realizing his fathers teachings makes for a impactful journey of self discovery. *

The film is one of the human condition, as we see the motivations of some (greed) and others who try to help (sympathy). *There is a stark contrast between Sansho and his own son, Taro (?) who refuses his fathers barbaric ways. *

In between The films is also one of some great cinematography, which was typical of the times. *

Great pick here, again.*



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing



The King of Kong; A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Walter Day: "I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, "Hi, I see that you're good at Centipede."

Initially realized as a Documentary on the competitive rivalry of High Score Arcades, the creators came upon the bluff, self-promoting High Score Donkey Champion Billy Mitchell since forever and an up-and-coming good guy Steve Wiebe looking to break "thumbs up" Mitchell's long-running title. And it's that underdog struggle that keeps things interesting to where this is more movie drama than documentation of events. And that is in no way a critique in any form or fashion.
A well-told, pretty in-depth, and an evenly-paced bit of geek lore that I quite enjoyed watching.

The filmmakers of this documentary do a very good build-up of not only the major players but also of the minors as well without overloading the viewer with unnecessary backstories. A well-balanced story that, while omitting an item or two for dramatic effect, kept me not only invested but cheering the outsider/underdog Weib as he diligently tackled one of the most iconic and utterly impossible arcade games to play nevermind beat but bend over backward to adhere to rules of High Scoring and achieve legitimate scores regardless of the obstacles before him.
A fun and enjoyable Cinderella Story.
BRAVO
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The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
Alright, just finished The Trial (1962). Orson Welles Directs etc. etc., a based on Franz Kafka story starring Anthony Hopkins and featuring Jeanne Moreau.

What. A. Trip.



Alright, just finished The Trial (1962). Orson Welles Directs etc. etc., a based on Franz Kafka story starring Anthony Hopkins and featuring Jeanne Moreau.

What. A. Trip.
Huge fan of that one.



Initially realized as a Documentary on the competitive rivalry of High Score Arcades, the creators came upon the bluff, self-promoting High Score Donkey Champion Billy Mitchell since forever and an up-and-coming good guy Steve Wiebe looking to break "thumbs up" Mitchell's long-running title. And it's that underdog struggle that keeps things interesting to where this is more movie drama than documentation of events.
If it were remade today, it would actually be even more of an underdog story, since a couple of years ago it was revealed that Mitchell had been cheating the entire time. He's since lost all of his titles and records, so it's even more impressive that Wiebe was actually giving him a run for his money.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
I had seen that and there was hints of such a possibility though at the time it was speculation only. A great little sidenote to it all.



diabolique

really cool little exercise in suspense and paranoia. don't know if i have a lot to say about this one, as the hitchcock comparisons basically write themselves, but i really liked pretty much everything about it. i did see the ending coming about 20 minutes before but the scene leading up to the reveal was so well-executed i didn't really care. both the leads were great, especially simone signoret. also shoutout to charles vanel as french colombo.

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Most Biblical movies were long If I Recall.
seen A Clockwork Orange. In all honesty, the movie was weird and silly
letterboxd
criticker



all the president's men

perhaps too blandly competent be genuinely thrilling, but i also think it kinda elevates bland competence to high art. so smooth, so logical, so strangely termitic. there's really no holes to be poked in its pristine surface. i was never exhilarated but was always engrossed, if that makes sense. sure, it maybe relies a bit too much on the audience having a working knowledge of every little detail of the investigation, but in 1976 i imagine that wasn't too much to ask. even when you get a bit lost as to where they're at in the investigation, the movie has such a steady hand that you never doubt it knows exactly what it's doing even if you don't.

aside from the general vitality that comes with being the ur-text of a particular sub-genre, the main thing this has going for it over every subsequent journalism movie is the photography of gordon willis. so textured and well-lit, almost single-handedly turning the a newsroom into one of the great classically-cinematic backdrops.

one of the hardest things to do in acting is to be compelling while playing a boring normal guy, but redford makes it look so easy. it's written as such a down-the-middle character, neither especially charming nor off-putting. his only real character trait is being determined and good at his job, yet his natural, unaffected charisma is somehow enough to make it one of the most memorable performances of the 1970s. hoffman is also very good, although it's slightly more jarring to see him play a normal guy. robards is great of course, as is the whole cast of legendary "hey, it's that guy"s.

it's surely status quo propaganda and inherently a piece of journalist myth-making meant to show you that the system works in the end, but pakula is clear-eyed enough about wide-spread governmental corruption (including intelligence agencies) and keeps this refreshingly devoid of grandiloquent speechifying, always opting to root the film in material reality over naked ideology. it's honestly a little shocking how little dramatic underlining or embellishing there is whenever there's a new revelation about how deep the conspiracy goes or whatever. it's fitting that it should have such a perfectly understated conclusion, trusting the audience to appreciate the significance of what's taking place in the way it's acolytes never would.

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The world doesn't owe you a damn thing





The Trial (1962)

Hastler: To be in chains is sometimes safer than to be free.

I am very much in mind of the line from the Grateful Dead song, "What a strange, strange trip it's been," as I think back and while I experienced this film in every good way possible. I very easily see this securing a prominent position on my Ideal Films To Trip By List. My knowledge of Kafka's literary work is exceedingly limited, with only cursory research of his tragic life, and wish that his work be destroyed after his death but instead, obviously, was published posthumously. So I am unable to gauge Orson Welles' interpretation except for its cinematic excellence, which is the norm of any Welles film I've had the pleasure of viewing. I did appreciate a bit of his "slight of hand" in a scene where his character is in bed, and he pulls the covers over his head. Imagining a Behind the Scenes decision to not be tied down in several shots of that particular scene. It caused me to smirk.

An abstract story that is quite approachable for intellectually disabled folks like me. Accepting the dreamlike/nightmare surreal chain of events as easily as if slumbering and meandering through this concept of superior justice, deigning it unnecessary to inform the person arrested not only the charges but anything at all.
One of the numerous things that stuck out for me was the legions of people that seemed to swarm into Anthony Hopkins' claustrophobic realm of awkward guilt and continual seduction by each woman he comes in contact with. These legions are not average or nondescript but very unique caricatures in themselves.
This a film that easily stays with you and is worthy of repeat viewings.
BRAVO



I'm thinking around January 15th for the next one, after the holidays and 4 days after my scheduled surgery. Raise your hand if that works for you.



I'm thinking around January 15th for the next one, after the holidays and 4 days after my scheduled surgery. Raise your hand if that works for you.
Works for me, as long as it works for you.



I'm thinking around January 15th for the next one, after the holidays and 4 days after my scheduled surgery. Raise your hand if that works for you.
I object!



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
HELLLOOOOOO

Just finished Paris, Texas, my roommate is making popcorn, and we'll be watching my last movie, Peeping Tom.
I will shoot over my vote after or in the morning and post reviews for both tomorrow evening.

I'm thinking around January 15th for the next one, after the holidays and 4 days after my scheduled surgery. Raise your hand if that works for you.
[email protected] yes!





The Suspect (1944)

Charles Laughton's career is an interesting one, a go to character actor on the 30's who ended his career making classic after classic until his death the 1940's was sort of a down period for the man. You wouldn't know it watching The Suspect a routine guy kills his wife when a far better woman comes along. What makes The Suspect a good noir is that your sympathies are with the killer not his victims. Phillip Marshall is a polite man of good humor who is only trying to live his best life in spite of his battle axe of a wife played with cartoonish villianry by Rosalind Ivan. Ella Raines is charming and gorgeous as the woman that sets the plot off.

The film isn't perfect...Richard Siodmark gives the film a flat daytime TV soap opera look to it. The exceptional second arc scene in a single is the highlight of the film I do wish it was shot with more of a hitchcockian flair to it. While everthing in the film is familiar it's still a solid made enjoyable little tale that goes down smoother than the poison Phillip uses in the second act.






It's Such a Beautiful Day(2012)

Don Hertzfeldt experimental film feels at times like a Spalding Gray monologue animated to perfection with homemade flare and dark humor. This is something where you never really know what you are going to get with each twist of the lines. This is one of those films that's very hard to talk about because it's so stylized and specific. It doesn't have a traditional plot yet the story is still told in a strange linear form. A young man goes about his day until he gets sick and the story moves on.

A film like this you really have to embrace the short runtime. It tested my patience fifteen minutes in but I was able to move along with it and connect to the piece of work by the end. I don't know if it were feature length I would be able to do that. The film really is just a strange long monologue told in a stylistic way. I can understand why this is a beloved film by so many because of it's weirdness it's just going to be a tricky thing for me to rank.