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La Dolce Vita

Whoever nominated this owes me three hours

Nah, actually I watched this in one go...and the time flew by too. I've seen 90 minute movies that dragged, but with La Dolce Vita the visual sensory is on high and there's always something gorgeous to look at.

This was my first time watching it and I expected to be raving about Anita Ekberg. I mean whenever I see images from this movie, it's always of her. But I didn't find her or the scenes she was in to be all that fascinating. I didn't even really find her all that attractive. I mean she is of course, but just not my type. Probably nobodies type here! I actually found Marcello's wife Emma to be more attractive and interesting too. Well whenever she wasn't half dead from popping pills or screaming how much she loved Marcello.

Me, I loved the first 30 minutes of the movie, its kinetic energy and exploration of things common yet unseen, reminded me of another favorite Italian film L'Avventura.

I do however think Fellini is way over indulgent and actually a bit lazy. He gives us three nearly identical and long scenes showing Rome's well-to-do engaging in drunken shenanigans. The first of these at Steiner's house with all the bored to tears, rich intellectual types, made Fellini's point crystal clear.

But then Fellini duplicates that party scene twice more: The old villa castle scene and the last party scene in the house where the unhappy Marcello pours chicken feathers over a drunken young lady...If you tell me that's symbolism, then the pizza stains on my sweatshirt are freaking high art and surly must decipher the Da Vinci code just by looking at all that dried tomato sauce.

Really look forward to my rewatch. Fellini has been a tough guy for me to crack but I really liked this first go.



Really look forward to my rewatch. Fellini has been a tough guy for me to crack but I really liked this first go.
I actually liked La Dolce Vita too. I just felt the two last party scenes went on for a really long time!

What's your thoughts on other Fellini films that you've seen?



I actually liked La Dolce Vita too. I just felt the two last party scenes went on for a really long time!

What's your thoughts on other Fellini films that you've seen?
Satyricon- Crazy, not my thing
8 1/2- seen twice, think it's overrated
I Vitelloni- it's just ok
La Strada- pretty good

La Dolce Vita is my favorite



The trick is not minding
I actually liked La Dolce Vita too. I just felt the two last party scenes went on for a really long time!

What's your thoughts on other Fellini films that you've seen?
Really looking forward to watching La Dolce Vita later tonight.
Of Fellini films that I have seen:

Satyricon: a mess of a film. Canít believe itís so highly acclaimed

La Strada: lived this when I watched it back in 2009, I think?

Nights of Cabiria: donít remember much about it.

I, Clowns: didnít care for this pseudo documentary either.

Need to see so many of his films yet, before I get a good grasp of him and his style. Vita is a good place to start.



The trick is not minding
The Secret in Their Eyes


Benjamin Esposito has settled into middle aged life full of regret. Regret of a murder case he never closed. Regret of a unfulfilled promise for the victims husband. And regret over a lingering love that he never dared to admit of.
All three come to the fore front of this film, as he attempts to reconcile his past, seeking close through a novel he is writing about his experience with the case.
Heís never able to get past the beginning, because for him, the case never truly ended.
This films does a great job of telling the story with effective flashbacks, jumping back and forth between the present and the past. As a detective film, itís great. But the heart of this film deals with Epositios unspoken love between him and his boss, Irene. The casual glances and looks of longing they give each other.
Itís all about their eyes. Most of their communication is delivered through how they look at each other. Irene looks at Benjamin with a sad, contemplative look as if she is still waiting for him to make his decision. Ben looks at her with regret, and curiosity. As if he wonders how only what if, but is it too late?
It mirrors his devotion to the case as well.
He notices the suspect always glancing at the victim in each photo, but failed to realize his own guilt of doing the precise thing in regards to Irene, until it is innocently pointed out to him. The difference is, of course, he does not care to possess Irene, such as the suspect did with his victim, but rather share his life with her.
Itís an effective film, one I had been wanting to see for ever, and now that I finally have Iím satisfied. Itís a sad film, but also one of hope.
Bonus points if you also get a lump in your throat when he flees town for his safety and Irene chases after the train.
For them, that was a defining moment in their relationship, such as it were, where she asks him years later ďWhy didnít you ask me to go with you? Dimwit.Ē



La Dolce Vita (1960) -


I've talked about my relationship with Fellini in the past, but everything I've seen from him so far has left me cold. In addition to this film, I've also seen 8 1/2 and La Strada. While I don't have any issues with those films per se, I felt like they flew over my head. Given that, I wasn't so hot on rewatching this film concerning its 3 hour runtime, but to my surprise, I ended up liking it quite a lot. Though I'm not sure I loved it per se, it's definitely made me more eager to revisit 8 1/2 and La Strada.

On the surface, this film is lovely to look at. It largely consists of various parties Marcello goes to, where he's surrounded by his friends and various women he intends to start a successful relationship with. The deeper one delves into these scenes, however, Marcello's lifestyle feels less like a utopia and more like a prolonged mid-life crisis. The great tragedy of Marcello is that he desperately craves a change in scenery, yet every event he attends results in the same scenery and a similar outcome of winding up back at square one. Instead of abandoning this unfulfilling lifestyle though, he keeps on attending these parties, experiencing more and more failed relationships along the way. Though it's unclear what he wants, there seems to be something he intends to obtain from this lifestyle before he fades away from it altogether, except, one party after another, his attempts keep falling flat. On the surface, it could be said that his intention is to start a successful relationship, but I think his motives are more complex than this. He's already engaged to Emma, yet cheats on her and shows little interest in their relationship. However, if their relationship seems as if it's about to be destroyed, he attempts to prevent that from happening. This raises questions on whether he even knows what he wants. Whatever his intentions are, it's clear his desires won't be fulfilled in his current state.

The most commonly criticized aspect of this film is its length. While I'm not going to pretend the movie kept me fully engaged all throughout (I felt its length in a couple party scenes in the latter half), I think its length was part of the point. I love how Rotten Tomatoes has "...La Dolce Vita remains riveting in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- its sprawling length." in the film's Critical Consensus. Marcello seems trapped in a never ending cycle of attending parties and forming relationships, yet always ends up unfulfilled. His response to these failed attempts are to try again and again until something finally works out. In that sense, the repetition adds more layers to Marcello's characterization. I suspect that another rewatch will make this aspect more profound. As it currently stands, I struggled with the film somewhat (albeit, far less than I did when I first watched it), but the odds of me revisiting it are definitely much higher than they previously were.

Overall, I really liked this film. Brimming with bloat and repetition, it's not for everyone, but there's definitely a lot going on in the film beyond presenting a gorgeous portrait of nightlife in Rome interspersed with some drama. It's not quite a great film for me (again though, I suspect I'll like it more with another viewing), but it's grown on me to the point it's now my favorite of Fellini's films.

Next up; The Man From Nowhere



Hard Times



This isn't a bad film, but it's one of those films that I could tell from the beginning just wouldn't really speak to me. A lot of that has to do with the characters as the only one that I really found to be interesting was Speed. It was also really the only character that I thought was brought to life real well with a good performance by James Coburn. While I didn't mind Charles Bronson, he really didn't do anything spectacular for me and was kind of just plain to me. There wasn't much of a character angle on him which affected my overall enjoyment of the entire film. If he had more of a personality or an edge maybe I would have felt different.

The film doesn't do anything extraordinary for me but there really isn't anything that is to weak to me either. So overall, a pretty middle of the road experience. The directing was ok but I would prefer Hills The Warriors pretty easily.

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While this is an involving and powerful statement against war, it's one that applies to any other crisis whose instigators put their cause first and their humanity second. This is because one of Bergman's many wise decisions is to make the movie's war a fictional one and to leave its motivations up to the viewer. Not to mention, the locations and characters' names place the movie in Sweden, but it could easily take place anywhere. As for Von Sydow and Ullman as married couple Eva and Jan, how they portray their transition from neutral and hopeful to savage and nihilistic as the war goes from knocking at their door to kicking it open crept up on me in the best way. It's also a nice yet bleak touch that their family and professional plans that hinge on the war's resolution, i.e. having a child and returning to their orchestra, gradually fall by the wayside. Luckily, there are moments of levity that Bergman intersperses at just the right times, the standouts for me being when Jan and Eva drink wine with the shopkeeper, pick berries and tend to their farm. They reminded me of the "strawberries and milk" scene from The Seventh Seal for how they stress the importance of appreciating life's simple pleasures and made me wonder if there would be fewer wars if those who start them were better at doing this. All in all, the movie stands as a definitive piece of art about the horrors of absurdity of war from a neutral viewpoint. It should be required viewing for anyone who thinks wars are exciting, that we need another one to turn things around, etc. because most peoples' wartime experience resembles Jan and Eva's than they do those with the guns.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (Fisher, 1966)




The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The South Korean film industry really is hot! They're doing films that Hollywood wishes it could make. I've seen a few South Korean films and have been impressed with their dedication to cinema quality. And The Man From Nowhere is no exception. I mean it hits all the notes, delivers all the punches and does it with style and skill. So I can see how people love this movie. For me it falls into the category of: I appreciate the skill of the film making, but I'm not a fan of action films...Action-thriller-crime-violence films are just not my cup of tea.

The relationship between the quiet pawn store keeper with the dark past and the little girl who's in need of help was my favorite part. Their relationship had heart and I love movies with heart, but mostly this is a non stop action thriller with lots of violence and graphic torture scenes and it does that well...But that's not my thing.
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The Man from Nowhere (2010)

Most of the things I was planning to say about The Man from Nowhere have already been said by others. Because of that, I'll keep this short.


So, this is a Korean mix of Taken and Lťon. Its concept of a man of violence redeemed by a child is extremely common in Asian action movies. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but The Man from Nowhere belongs to the first group. The relationship seems genuine enough, and while cliched, Tae's history gives him the reason to care for the girl.

This is basically a good action movie. There's nothing deep in it, but it's technically solid, good-looking, and entertaining. Action is brutal and bloody, and in old-school style, violence is a solution, and problems disappear when all the bad guys are dead. The Man from Nowhere is not a profound piece of art, but it's the kind of film I enjoy watching. I wonder why I hadn't seen it before.
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Shame

I think this film is very important at portraying the problems of life in general and the fact that you just can't escape all turmoil. At the head of the movie is some masterful direction by Ingmar Bergman. It could also be one of his most beautiful looking films. Certainly one of the better screenplays of his too. I'm not sure though it could have been pulled off without the two great performances from Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman. They are both 2 that don't get enough credit for how good they really were and this is a film that showcases that. It could be their best performances from both of them although I'd say probably Seventh Seal for Von Sydow. This is a film I can tell has a lot of repeatability and I'll want to watch it again. Lived up to the hype.




Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Rudderless

Quentin: You know, I don't get the appeal of fishing.
Sam: Really. Well, I would imagine that most activities performed in silence don't make much sense to you.

SPOILERS


Life affirmation can be, ironically, found in some truly tragic times and for his Directing Debut, William H. Macy found, mastered and executed it with a simplistic beauty. Incorporating music making as a catharsis for a man who loses his son in a college shooting.
When it is discovered that his son was the shooter, I found that to be an excellent point of view in regards to delving into the father's loss and reconnection to his son via the music that the young man wrote. Instead of going the common road of storylines involving such situations, Macy takes the lesser road, and, as the old saying goes, for this film it really does make all the difference.

We follow Sam's (Billy Crudup) drunken grief, and then his reconnection to his son via the cd's that his son made. Taking him on the emotional journey along with Quentin (Anton Yelchin) who nudges Sam into playing more and more of the songs. Without knowing who was the original author of said songs.

This is not overly dramatic and it doesn't need to be. The emotional moments are melded into everyday life and the songs express what dialogue holds back. Giving a more realistic feel to Sam's and Quentin's state of mind and reluctance to talk about it.

I had been looking forward to this, and now, having seen it, I thoroughly get WHY I was and even more so, so glad that it was nominated.
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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.



The Man from Nowhere (2010)

This is basically a good action movie. There's nothing deep in it, but it's technically solid, good-looking, and entertaining. Action is brutal and bloody, and in old-school style, violence is a solution, and problems disappear when all the bad guys are dead. The Man from Nowhere is not a profound piece of art, but it's the kind of film I enjoy watching. I wonder why I hadn't seen it before.
I'm glad you liked it. Despite the violence and the kids in peril, this movie is kind of comfort food for me. It is exactly the kind of movie that I like in the winter.



The trick is not minding
Ok, finally going to start up La Dolce Vita.
Rough week, havenít watched many movies lately. Time to get back into it.
*cracks knuckles*



The trick is not minding
Iíll have a review up for La Dolce Vita sometime tonight. I had to think about it some more, and what it means to me. Without reading other reviews and being influenced.
I will say I enjoyed it, even if it did drag at some points, most notably the party at the castle. Overall, I may push this just ahead of La Strada. Definitely ahead of Nights of Cabiria. I still need to see many of his films though.
A proper review will come later, however.



The Man From Nowhere

This is another solid entry in the subgenre of action movies about veterans who have lost their humanity, reclaim it, have it stolen from them and seek vengeance such as John Wick and Man on Fire. Like Wick and Man on Fire's Creasy, Cha Tae-sik is as terrifying as he is sympathetic and provides a vehicle for a memorable performance, which we get from Won Bin. By emphasizing his desire to be left alone and touches like his shroud of a getup and unkempt hair, I first questioned why the movie diverted from the action to follow this nobody around, which made that instantaneous knife grab and the revelation of his back story shocking in the best way. Luckily, Tae-sik has a worthy cadre of rivals, my favorites being Thanayong Wongtrakul as requisite "quiet one" Ramrowan and Kim Sung-oh's sadistic Jong-seok. The movie is also a joy to simply look at thanks to camerawork that highlights the size and liveliness of Seoul and the vibrancy of its nightlife; plus, there's those magic tricks of shots during the action scenes. I'm still thinking about the awesomeness of Tae-sik's driving range plunge and the shot that follows his trip through a window to the ground and wondering how DP Tae-yun Lee pulled them off. Also, similar to how Man on Fire explored Mexico City's abduction and ransom plight, I like how the movie takes a look at Seoul's drug and organ trafficking problems. From the children who become orphans as a result of gang rivalries and the punishment they enact on thieves and betrayers to those like Tae-sik who lose the will to live while bringing the gangs to justice, the movie unflinchingly shows how the main product of their activities is discarded people. Besides these examples, I like how the movie presents this theme of being discarded in other ways both subtle and obvious (it's not a random choice that Tae-sik runs a pawn shop). The movie implies that Tae-sik and neighbor So-Mi have known each other for a long time, but it would have been nice to see them spend a little more time together. Other than that, there's little to complain or nitpick about in this movie and it's another reminder that South Korean action is on par with and often better than Western action.