26th Hall of Fame

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I mean I love the channel. It's insane how much is on there.
I need to break down and get it.
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Not Quite Hollywood (2008)

I didn't think I'd ever say this...but after awhile I got bored at looking at naked chicks

I like documentaries. I like them even better when I learn something. When this started and I seen James Mason speaking about Australian tourism, followed by a brief explanation of why the 1960s brought in such sweeping cultural changes...I thought this doc would be right up my alley. But after awhile it got repetitive and felt like a 103 minute long trailer of the best bits of Oz B films. I got a little bored of the T&P. I have to say the naked women weren't sexy or sensual. Instead those clips made it look like someone had went to the grocery store back in 1973 and found a young woman in the produce isle shopping for veggies... and ripped her clothes off as she stood there with a shock looked on her face. I think merkin was a thing down under, pun intended

I wasn't much into the z-grade horror segment BUT I was interested in the insane action car chase crash stuff. I always knew films like Mad Maxx had some really dangerous stunts but I never knew the Aussies risked their necks doing those shots. How about that, I reviewed this doc without even talking about you know who!

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You and me both. I’ve been eying it up for years.
Maybe next year…..
Well spent money I'd say. Really good movies on there.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Well spent money I'd say. Really good movies on there.
exactly. Especially WHAT they have to offer. Not the usual Streaming faire but those truly incredible, older, and foreign films from what I understand.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?




Last Year at Marienbad aka L'année dernière à Marienbad (1961)

They say the definition of madness is doing the exact same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result. Would Insanity's definition be seeing symbiotic meanings in a film that the Director insists means nothing at all?

It is a credit to these years of Hall of Fame participation that I am able to experience such a conundrum without instant frustration due to my lacking intellect of cinematic arthouse. Having gained appreciation through these years here to enjoy the experience regardless of how many "Wait -what?!" moments occur on a continuous cavalcade.
Along with that was an excellently helpful "perception" of @seanc's opening sentence for his review: "Lots of movies have a dream-like quality, but very few straight-up give me the same feeling as being in a dream." which I was continually recollecting in complete agreement. From the slow panning of the camera from around a corner to point down a hallway to every single time people sat, unmoving, to the unusual bursts of organ music that seemed to erupt at "stilled" moments or the one time there were stringed musicians and the organist music replaced it. As well as the dialogue that at times would repeat itself regarding gravel and doors and rooms. Creating a kind of Matrix glitch, as it were.
That mindset alone gave me easy access to venture onward with a much-lessened frustration for the more confounding of aspects and knowing better than trying to decipher that which has no final answer.
Leaving me to fully appreciate the camerawork/lighting, which, of itself, is exquisite. It is said that is also the inspiration for Coco Chanel (who created the gowns for this) for future perfume commercials.

One oddball thing that seemed to stick with me is the wondering concern for the actress Delphine Seyrigas as A. If she ever got a severe kink in her neck for constantly having that same, severe head tilt throughout all of this.


Now, for what may appear as a heavily critical review, much like Director Alain Resnais' instance that this film has no genuine meaning, neither does my review when it comes to the actual enjoyment I had. You know, beyond the "Wait - what?!" moments.



Not Quite Hollywood (2008) -


My issue with some documentaries about movies is that they generally state info I already know about and am not interested in being reminded of, but fortunately, this documentary remained interesting by mentioning a ton of films I hadn't seen or heard of. Australia is a huge blindspot for me for cinema. I've seen a few classics (Mad Max, Walkabout, Wake in Fright) and a couple obscure films here and there, but there's also a bunch of films I haven't gotten around to yet.

This documentary is divided up into three parts (mostly) which explore three different types of genre films: sexploitation, horror, and action. Since I'm not an avid watcher of sexploitation films, most of the films listed in the first third didn't interest me that much, but I did enjoy listening to the commentary for those films, whether that may be the summaries the interviewees (directors, screenwriters, critics, etc.) gave on the various films or the insight from the actors and actresses who starred in those films. Outside of maybe a couple films, I'm probably not going to prioritize any of the movies mentioned in that segment, but the quality of the interviews made the first third a blast to watch.

The middle segment on horror films was easily my favorite part of the documentary. As an avid horror fan, most of the films listed in that segment interested me quite a lot in one way or another. Also, Tarantino's narration was definitely the main highlight of this section. Regardless of whether you can stand Tarantino or not, there's no denying that he loves cinema a whole lot and you could definitely get a sense of his profound interest in the genre during this third. Though I've only seen and heard of a couple horror films mentioned in the segment, I plan to watch them all eventually.

The final third on action films is probably the most interesting part of the documentary. Throughout this segment, we see many insane stunts (car crashes, people riding motorcycles off cliffs, etc.) and, while those stunts are impressive, they didn't always work out as planned. We learn that a few stunt actors involved in those stunts were either hospitalized or killed when those stunts backfired and this raises questions on whether Australia was going too far to create those movies. As a result, this segment becomes a cautionary tale that explores the darker side to the Australian New Wave.

Whether you're a fan of Australian film or not, Not Quite Hollywood proves to be an engaging, well-researched, and thought provoking breakdown of the country's output of film. Out of all the Australian movies mentioned in the documentary, I've seen Wake in Fright, Razorback, Howling III, Mad Max, and Rogue (Walkabout, which I mentioned at the start of this review, wasn't mentioned in the documentary). Wake in Fright and Mad Max are my favorites of this bunch, followed by Rogue.

Next Up: The Passion of Joan of Arc



The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) -


I've had my ups and downs with Dreyer over the years. I love Vampyr (I was initially mixed on it though), I like Ordet and Gertrud, but I'm not the biggest fan of Day of Wrath (I plan to revisit it soon though). The Passion of Joan of Arc, however, was (I think) the first movie I loved from him, so I was more than happy to revisit it for this thread. While Vampyr is still my favorite of Dreyer's films, this film is a close second. Dreyer nails certain aspects with such precision that this sometimes feels more like a horror movie than a drama (the torture chamber scene, in particular, made me feel sick). Falconetti's performance is definitely the main highlight of this film. When this film was in production, Dreyer filmed the same scenes multiple times, so he could pick the right facial expression for each one. His work clearly shows, because yes, the film contains a lot of repetition, but I think there's nuance to the repetition. Every shot of Falconetti seems meticulous and precise with showing the subtle differences in her reactions, detailing her slowly wavering faith as the film goes on. Overall, Falconetti gave a truly phenomenal performance and deserves all the praise she received. The camerawork also adds a lot to the film, specifically the way the close-ups were shot. The judges and the clergymen are shot in high contrast at low angles and are bathed in bright light. The lack of makeup reveals the cracks and crevices of their faces, making their appearances seem menacing. By contrast, Joan is filmed with softer grays, causing her to look powerless by comparison. Topped with Einhorn's evocative soundtrack (soundtracks in silent films can sometimes be mixed bags for me, but this film is an exception to that), this definitely deserves its reputation as a great film.

Next Up: Sweet Smell of Success






Last Year at Marienbad - (L'année dernière à Marienbad) - 1961

Directed by Alain Resnais

Written by Alain Robbe-Grillet

Starring Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi
& Sacha Pitoëff


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It's a crazy game. A puzzle. A riddle. A dream. A nightmare. The subconscious. Set in hell, heaven, or perhaps even a dystopia populated by robots, where man has disappeared. There are nearly as many theories as people who have seen it. Last Year at Marienbad is a film that gets more interesting every time you watch it, because once you're used to it's unusual style and the mystery at it's core you start to seize upon tantalizing clues included in nearly every shot. Not even the film's setting is certain, as everything is in a constant state of flux. What we do have are three characters, given no name in the film itself but called A, M and X in the film's script. A is a young woman, beautiful and fashionably dressed, played by Delphine Seyrig. X is a man desperately trying to convince her that they met a year ago - hounding her into running off with him - he's played by Giorgio Albertazzi. M is the woman's husband, guardian or perhaps therapist, and is played by Sacha Pitoëff. There are no other real characters in the film, only a kind of window dressing. People in the background who sometimes freeze, or only act in a superficial manner. This only adds to the feeling of dislocation and strangeness.

Reactions vary wildly, depending on a person's point of view. John Russell Taylor said "Clearly the film's creators know exactly what they want to do and have done it with complete success." A reviewer in Newsweek said the film was, "elaborate, ponderous and meaningless." I started off puzzled, and unsure as to how to feel about the film, but got sucked in on subsequent viewings. It's after becoming familiar with it's overall structure that one can finally start to hone in on all the idiosyncrasies peculiar to this specific film, nearly to the exclusion of all others. There are scenes where suddenly the characters are in a different location, despite a continual flow of dialogue and action. Other times we'll see a character in one place, only for them to reappear somewhere else during what seems to be one fluid shot. The geometry of the sets constantly change. What was once a balcony on a second or third floor will suddenly become a balcony on the ground floor. Statues end up in different places or disappear altogether, as is particularly true about one statue the characters in the film are specifically interested in. In the meantime we search for meaning, and wonder if meaning itself is as fluid as the sets and characters.

An interesting reoccurrence in the film involves characters playing the game of "nim" - a game for two players where they alternately draw counters from one of four rows. Each row begins with one, three, five and seven counters. The player who draws the final counter is the loser. M calls it a game he can lose, yet always wins, and indeed during the film he wins every game of nim he plays. Does this translate into the larger game being played in Last Year at Marienbad? What does it mean when X always refuses to draw that final counter despite losing? If X is to succeed in drawing A away from M, does that mean he's in all actuality the loser in this game? Does the fact that M always wins mean that the events in the film are predetermined? Or is it simply a comment about the nature of film itself, it's permanence? Is the entire film a comment on the medium of moving pictures? There are so many interesting questions raised by everything we see here.

This is the second feature film directed by Alain Resnais, after Hiroshima Mon Amour - and although Last Year at Marienbad is radically different from nearly every other film out there, I can still see a similar kind of poetic dislocation at work. What makes it hard to compare is the fact that Alain Robbe-Grillet's Oscar-nominated script for the film was so precise in it's guidelines, and followed very closely by Resnais. So how much of the film is Resnais really? It's hard to say, because Robbe-Grillet was in consultation with Resnais while writing it, but Robbe-Grillet has stated that they mostly worked separately. In the end, the finished product was in complete alignment with what both wanted. This film is probably unique enough to allow us to put comparisons aside. It's producers were spurred on by Hiroshima Mon Amour's success - enough so to encourage the collaboration between Resnais and Robbe-Grillet, and the two decided to render their film into "a purely mental space and time," such that "the traditional relations of cause and effect, or about an absolute time sequence in the narrative" would prove inconsequential. Perhaps with that in mind, it's best to think about Last Year at Marienbad as something taking place in a dream, or in somebody's memory. I prefer something very different, but that's what is so compelling about this film - it allows for most any preference.

Filming took place at the Schleissheim Palace (the exterior of which is recognizable to those who have seen the film,) the Nymphenburg Palace (where the iconic garden shadows shot was filmed,) the Amalienburg Hunting Lodge and the Antiquarium of the Residenz. Cinematographer Sacha Vierny had first collaborated with Alain Resnais on Night and Fog, which was released in 1956 - and would go on to be his director of photography in another nine films. In Marienbad he was hit with a lot of logistical problems, the most famous of which was the need to set actors on scaffolding in order to be able to capture them and the ornate ceilings of where they were shooting in the same shot. Fading in and out of locations posed further challenges and coordination, as did dolly shots over rough hewn garden paths (these posed similar problems for all the tracking shots needed in Night and Fog.) Resnais wanted to find and use old kinds of film stock to create effects like those seen in silent films of the 1920s, but found he could not. He did his best however to give the film that kind of feeling. There are numerous instances of overexposure where light bleeds into the scene, and the makeup and hairstyles of the cast tries to create an impression of this earlier era.

Francis Seyrig's score is interesting to say the least. By direction, the film's opening is introduced with music that would normally be at the end of a feature in this era, heralding an ending at the beginning. You'll notice the same music at the end of the play the inhabitants of the hotel are watching. Sound-wise, I'm particularly tickled by the two violinists who appear to be producing organ music. Sound is as tricky and manipulative in this film as vision is - you'll notice dialogue when everyone's mouths are closed, and sometimes nothing when they appear to be talking. Is it to give us the impression of a dream? It makes us question the very reality of everything we see, and if we can't trust our eyes and ears, can we trust anything that anyone says in this film? The characters surely don't trust each other. Memories of water freezing up preoccupy some, who race to the library to try and verify the fact. X's memory very much refutes it. A doesn't seem to trust anything that X might care to remember. Geometry, sound, memory and vision - space and time itself - seem flexible in the world this film inhabits. Perhaps it does take place in the mind - the one place where all of this really rings true.

In the end X's fixation on A fills the entire film, and becomes the one thing we can be certain of. Time, place and memory don't seem to matter, even though they are talked about obsessively - only desire and persuasion, and A's constant prevaricating hesitation, reluctance and possible acquiescence. Perhaps this is what matters most - the desire and very act of seduction. These are things everyone can agree are there. We don't know what happened a year ago, or even if what X is claiming to have happened did occur at Marienbad itself. The truths are the feelings of the characters. Confidence, obsession, reluctance and fear. Perhaps this is all that truly matters - the rest, such as who says what about what a particular statue represents or if the water at a particular resort froze this time last year don't matter at all. Where something happened makes no real difference, and neither do poses or clothing or style. Everything can be interchanged and everything stay the same. Looked at this way, Last Year at Marienbad is about the strength of it's character's emotions, which are constant in a sea of continually changing memory and details. Perhaps it reflects the human mind in a way that very few films ever have.

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

Latest Review : Angel-A (2005)



@PHOENIX74 Sorry for the random mention, but I just wanted to say I really like your reviews. I think you do a great job at covering multiple angles of the films you talk about. Keep up the good work



Also, I just thought of an idea. Who wants to play the match game from Last Year At Marienbad here? If you want to play, reply to this message and take one or more matches out. If you've seen the film, you know the rules.


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Also, I just thought of an idea. Who wants to play the match game from Last Year At Marienbad here? If you want to play, reply to this message and take one or more matches out. If you've seen the film, you know the rules.


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I just finished watching Last Year At Marienbad, the match game was the best thing. If I understood the rules the first person picks a row and takes 1 match, then the other person does the same but for another row, then on the next turns they can take as many matches as they want but only from their own row until the row is clear then the pick another row. Is that right? I wasn't really following the movie well, so I wouldn't be surprised if I got the rules wrong.

ANYWAY I have a few minutes only so I'll start and hope I can finish.

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I just finished watching Last Year At Marienbad, the match game was the best thing. If I understood the rules the first person picks a row and takes 1 match, then the other person does the same but for another row, then on the next turns they can take as many matches as they want but only from their own row until the row is clear then the pick another row. Is that right? I wasn't really following the movie well, so I wouldn't be surprised if I got the rules wrong.

ANYWAY I have a few minutes only so I'll start and hope I can finish.

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Wait a minute, I'm confused! Did you just take a match from the bottom row? That's where I took the last one from, I thought you couldn't take one from my row?



I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention to the movie! Didn't the first time they played, one of the players took the entire row after a second or third turn? Was that a game rule? Or was he just frustrated?

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