Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 148445 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #195 on: April 25, 2012, 06:05:19 AM »
The Fog of War (2003) 4.5/5 - I grew up during the Vietnam War and McNamara was vilified as the chief protagonist behind our involvement in it. How much of this documentary is fact and how much of this is revisionist history, we'll never know. But it does seem that McNamara is repentant in regards to his responsibility. The eleven lessons that are discussed here are spot on when one considers what leaders of nations have to contemplate when making the decision to enter into war. McNamara's insights are cold and calculated, and this definitely reinforces the notion that he thought very highly of himself then and now. If it weren't for those fleeting moments of contrition, this documentary would be a hard watch, but their inclusion balances out the shortcomings of this very complex individual. Prior to viewing this documentary, I had a very cold and harsh feeling for this man. I had friends whose brothers or uncles had died during that war and I had an older friend in college who succumbed to throat cancer most likely at the hands of Agent Orange use when he was 'in country'. But now I think I can forgive a man who most likely saw himself as doing his President's bidding in a very politically troubling time.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #196 on: April 27, 2012, 01:36:38 AM »
Flesh and the Devil (1926) 4.5/5 - One gaping hole in my film watching is most definitely Silent film dramas. I've seen plenty of silent comedy, but due to lack of material available or time constraints, I've never been able to really sink my teeth into what is my favorite time frame in Hollywood history. A few years back, I got the TCM collection The Garbo Silents Collection and it has been gathering dust ever since. But I'm in the midst of watching Kevin Brownlow & David Gill's mammoth documentary on the silent era, Hollywood, and decided to shake the dust off some of my silent film DVDs and this was first on the list. I've only seen Greta Garbo in one of her sound films, Grand Hotel, and glimpses of a few others such as Ninotchka and Queen Christina. Aside from being a radiantly beautiful woman, I find the performances I've watched either overly melodramatic or somewhat wooden and her voice to be a bit too deep and masculine to fit her image. I've never been able to understand why she survived the transition to sound, when so many other gifted, beautiful actors and actresses were left behind. I really wanted to watch this mainly because it starred John Gilbert, one of the most tragic figures in Hollywood history. And just as I expected, he was magnificent in the role of the love struck Prussian aristocrat who almost forsakes a life long friendship for the love of a woman who's not worth his efforts. After finishing the film, I started to ponder if Gilbert was the first actor to have true screen presence, because every moment he is on screen, he dominates. I couldn't think of one actor before him, where the camera just made them come alive so much. When the film was finished, I cursed Louis B. Mayer for what he did to his career. I've listened to a few of Gilbert's sound films and there was absolutely nothing wrong with his voice. I really hope Mayer is rotting in Hell for not only what he did to Gilbert, but to Judy Garland and Buster Keaton also. That being said, if you're into silent films, you need to definitely check this one out.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #197 on: May 29, 2012, 01:24:56 AM »
Safety Last! (1924) 3.5/5 - I've owned all three Harold Lloyd DVD boxsets for close to six years now, and have only gotten through the comedy shorts. This month's MDC has finally gotten me to watch one of the features, and importantly, his best known film at that. So far, I'm kind of lukewarm when it comes to Lloyd's comedy. He knows how to elicit a good chuckle with some very funny scenes, but for me, he just doesn't have enough of the skill that Keaton or Chaplin had, to sustain it throughout a whole picture. It took me three attempts to finally finish Safety Last!, not because it was slow, but it kind of meandered it's way along until it finally got to the excitement that is the last twenty minutes. I probably would have been more enthusiastic for the film, if I hadn't already known how Lloyd had pulled off the stunts for which this film is famous. But I got to give him credit, for a man who was minus two fingers on his right hand, to be able to almost effortlessly dangle and maneuver on that building facade was incredible.

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #198 on: June 07, 2012, 11:06:08 PM »
Excalibur (1981) 3/5 - I must say first, that the DVD I watched had the truncated US version of the film, which clocks in at 2 hours. Maybe if I had seen the European release, which would have added another 21 minutes of story, my opinion of this film would have been different. But I have my doubts as to whether it would. All during the duration of this film I was haunted by memories of past productions of Dino De Laurentiis. You know, those cheesy, badly dubbed Hercules flics that he made with Steve Reeves back in the late 50's and early 60's. It's as if Boorman was making the film as if he was on a shoestring budget, in terms of the acting, yet spending like a drunken sailor, the remainder of his budget on the lush cinematography. Did they not rehearse any of the scenes in this film? Did Boorman and his producers not view dailies, to see how stiff, comical or amateurishly bad his actors recited their lines? I wondered how he could have have selected such an amazingly bad actress to play the mother of the future king, but then when the credits rolled, I had my answer. It was his daughter! And then, Boorman takes nepotism to dizzying heights by having his daughter simulate a somewhat gratuitous sex scene. "Excuse me Katrine... could you lift your leg a little higher please, the camera can't quite catch your heaving bosom"? Remember my dear, you are in the throes of passion, you are creating the future King of England!!! Yet even with all these problems, Excalibur has its moments, yet those moments can't save the film from sinking under its own weight. I can see why some consider this a guilty pleasure, and maybe, just maybe, if I can find that Euro release, it too will find its way on to my guilty pleasure list.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 11:13:49 PM by Antares »

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #199 on: June 08, 2012, 06:04:35 AM »
I bought Excalibur because I remembered the praise it had gotten at the time of release. Was I in for a disappointment... Supposedly it is an accurate retelling of the story, but a boring one at that.


Boorman is not as good as his reputation. Similar to Wes Craven he seems to still ride on his past fame from movies like Point Blank and Deliverance, but his star has waned since those days. If Exorcist II wasn't an indication, then what is? :laugh: There was a film he made in the 80s about children (Hope & Glory...?) in the second world war which got praised, but other than that he is usually mentioned in reagrds to his earlier films, as far as I can tell.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #200 on: June 08, 2012, 06:45:59 AM »
Hope and Glory is good film, it's one of my favorites of his.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #201 on: June 08, 2012, 06:46:11 AM »
Father and Daughter (2001) 4.5/5 - I sadly lament the fact that although I love film, I rarely have access to a lot of the great short films which have ever been made. I was over at Criticker and their homepage always has a selected recommendation for every member when they return to the site. It is always a film from their database, that the person hasn't yet ranked. This little film from Holland was waiting for me and after reading some of the other member's reviews, decided to see if it was available on YouTube. Not only was it there, but they had it in HD. I downloaded it and I can understand why this little gem won an Oscar for Best Animated Short film. It manages in just eight minutes to grab you and tug at your emotional heart strings. The animation is somewhat basic, but the screenplay and scenes are very creative. It's definitely a very manipulative little film, but if you can look past that fact, you'll be rewarded with eight minutes of very good film making.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #202 on: June 12, 2012, 04:21:10 AM »
Horrible Bosses (2011) 3.5/5 - I love a good comedy, but in the last few years, that has been like finding a needle in a haystack. I don't care for Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, or just about anyone who had a stint on SNL in the last 15 years. The last good comedy I watched was probably The 40 Year Old Virgin, and that was made seven years ago. So it was refreshing to watch a comedy that doesn't follow in the footsteps of the typical fare that Hollywood has been cranking out for awhile. This film had moments of gutbusting hilarity with characters who were believable, not ridiculously unreal. It did tend to have a few moments that kind of lagged in the middle, but when the first boss meets his fate, it shifted back into high gear. I only wish they would have had more scenes with Colin Farrell, he was an absolute scene stealer every second he is onscreen. Kudos also to Jennifer Aniston. I've never understood the fascination with her, but in the role of the psycho bitch whore boss, she was perfect. Now I can only hope that they won't ruin it by deciding to make a sequel, this was good enough.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 07:21:21 PM by Antares »

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #203 on: June 12, 2012, 05:09:17 AM »
I totally agree with your take on Horrible Bosses. Even my "good friend" Mark Kermode liked it and thought the six-laugh-rule clearly applied.

I also saw Bridesmaid (but probably only because it was playing on the plane I was on). I would rate a 2-2.5 though, thinking that some of the scenes were indeed funny. Most of the cringe humor they attempted fell pretty flat though. I liked the character of that short, slightly fat woman a lot
(click to show/hide)
.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #204 on: June 12, 2012, 11:26:02 PM »
I totally agree with your take on Horrible Bosses. Even my "good friend" Mark Kermode liked it and thought the six-laugh-rule clearly applied.

I also saw Bridesmaid (but probably only because it was playing on the plane I was on). I would rate a 2-2.5 though, thinking that some of the scenes were indeed funny. Most of the cringe humor they attempted fell pretty flat though. I liked the character of that short, slightly fat woman a lot
(click to show/hide)
.

Melissa McCarthy, the actress who plays the fat woman, is hilarious.  You might like the show she is on now, Mike & Molly.

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #205 on: June 13, 2012, 06:43:02 AM »
I looked it up. She seems prettier in the TV series, but also, well, bigger...

It is too expensive now, but I'll note it down for later consideration.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #206 on: June 13, 2012, 07:16:13 AM »
She does look prettier in the show.  I have no idea if she's gained weight since Bridesmaids was filmed or not.  It's possible.  She's really funny.  Her character's sister on the show is a hoot too.

I got the first season for like $15...give or take a few dollars... about 2 months ago.  I like the show.  It is pretty funny.

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #207 on: June 13, 2012, 04:58:43 PM »
I watched a few clips on YouTube, it seems quite funny indeed. Well, it's from Chuck Lorre...

Watching her in the clips I could see it's really her and that apparently she made an effort in Bridesmaids to look different there. I do think she gained weight.

I must have looked wrong first, it's not that expensive. Amazon currently has it for $20. I might get it on sale.

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #208 on: June 14, 2012, 03:53:48 AM »
It is really funny.  All the characters have....umm..issues of some kind.  Her mom and sister are so funny.

I need to watch my DVD set and write about it.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #209 on: June 21, 2012, 03:41:11 AM »
Sundays and Cybele (1962) - 4.5/5 - Yesterday I was watching a cheaply made Italian film called Amazons of Rome. Badly dubbed, and pretty badly scripted, the only reason I watched it was to see a young Sylvia Sims in action. But another actress caught my eye, Nicole Courcel, who I had never seen before. So after the film ended I did a little research on her, and stumbled upon this film. I was surprised to find out that this won the Best Foreign Film for 1962 at the Academy Awards, as I had never heard of it before. I found it in almost pristine condition over at YouTube, and I was completely amazed at what a beautifully crafted film this turned out to be. I had only seen Hardy Kr├╝ger in a few films, most notably 1957's The One That Got Away. He gives a reserved, but powerful performance as a mentally wounded fighter pilot named Pierre, who is traumatized over killing a child with his plane during an attack on an Indo-China (Vietnam) village. He now suffers from amnesia and can remember nothing about himself and his past. One Sunday, at the local train station, he witnesses a father and daughter having a slight altercation. The father is taking the girl to a convent, to be raised by the nuns and the girl doesn't want to go. The girl, played marvelously by Patricia Gozzi, knows that she is being abandoned and will never see her father again. She asks him if he will visit her on Sundays, but the father hastily hands her off to the the nuns, and heads quickly back to the train station. In his haste, he tries to leave a small folder, containing a letter for the girl, explaining his actions, but the folder is found by Pierre who takes it home with him.

The following Sunday, he goes to the convent to give the girl the folder, but seeing how sad she is that her father has not returned, decides to impersonate her father and the two trek off to a local park and spend the day together. From here on out, the two form a bond of trust and friendship, that others throughout the rest of the film will not understand. All the while I was watching this, my mind kept thinking about another film from 1962 that also dealt with a relationship between a man and a young girl, Lolita. But while that story was more smarmy and lecherous in its nature, Sundays and Cybele takes it down a different path. Both Pierre and Cybele are fractured souls, both in need of the tonic that their friendship and love brings. Sure, looking at this film today, can be a little unsettling at times, especially when Cybele talks about marrying Pierre, but when taken in the context of how it is made, the film works most beautifully. I highly recommend you seek this film out over at YouTube, and watch one of the forgotten gems of the 60's and the French New Wave.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 03:42:55 AM by Antares »