Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 151721 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #210 on: July 10, 2012, 06:27:18 PM »
Rear Window (1954) 4/5 - I avoided this film for the longest time because I've never been a fan of the hoity-toity warbling of Grace Kelly when she speaks, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. But I think I've finally found a film she's actually quite good in. In fact, taking away Thelma Ritter's scene stealing proficiency, Kelly could be the best part of this story. I didn't quite see the chemistry between her and Stewart, but she just radiates like a nuclear reactor every moment she is onscreen. Now to the film itself...I liked it, but I don't consider it a masterpiece, as it tended to lollygag at times. Where the film shines is when it focuses on the voyeurism which is pretty much inherent in all of us. So much has been written about this film, that I'm not going to go any further. But I do want to mention one scene that I thought was quite subtle and quite brilliant. In the beginning of the film, Jeff is going out of his way to try to talk himself out of becoming serious with Lisa. He sees themselves as polar opposites, and that she could never conform to his adventurous, hand to mouth lifestyle. But when Lisa returns from Thorwald's apartment after delivering a note questioning the whereabouts of Thorwald's wife, and she is all agog at the adrenaline rush she is experiencing after almost being caught, Hitchcock does a quick shot of Jeff smiling in heavenly bliss. The shot only lasts for about two seconds, but at that moment, the viewer, as well as Jeff, know that she is the perfect soul mate for him. For me, that was the best part of the film, but if you blinked, you missed it.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #211 on: July 11, 2012, 07:49:21 PM »
It's Love I'm After (1937) 4/5 - This months star of the month on TCM is Leslie Howard, an actor whom I've only seen in a handful of films. I was bored last night and just caught the beginning of this film. I wasn't going to watch it, but somehow it started to draw me in, and am I glad it did. It's a shame that this film is never mentioned when the list of great screwball comedies is being compiled. Howard and Bette Davis have excellent comedic timing, and Olivia De Havilland is perky without being overly saccharine. But the real star of this film is Eric Blore, who steals almost every scene he is in. It's a story about two actors, Basil Underwood & Joyce Arden (Howard & Davis) who are in love, but tend to drive each other crazy. They've been slated for the altar many times, but have always found a reason for putting their nuptials on the back burner. After a performance of Romeo and Juliet, and an ensuing argument and reconciliation, they decide to marry the next day, which is New Year's Day. But another fly in the ointment appears in the guise of Henry Grant (Patric Knowles), the fiance of a love struck ingenue named Marcia West (De Havilland), who is completely smitten with Underwood. Grant blames Underwood for his troubles with his fiance and is looking for some kind of restitution. Underwood realizes that Grant is the son of a prominent banker who helped him during the stock market crash of 1929, and promises to make everything right with Grant and Miss West. He will portray for Miss West's benefit, the most vicious cad he can conjure up from a lifetime of acting performances, and help send her scurrying back to Grant. He will do this with the help of his devoted valet Digges (Played magnificently by Eric Blore), who together, re-enact scenes and scenarios from various stage plays which seem to fit the mold of the situation at hand.

But things go wrong when he arrives at the West's mansion uninvited and unannounced. The more callous he appears, the more forgiving Miss West is of his boorish behavior, explaining that a man of his talents is beyond reproach, and she falls ever more in love with him. It's at this point when the film really takes off as Digges hatches a plan to get Miss Arden to the mansion to help extricate his master from the hole he's digging for himself. But when she arrives, and catches Underwood swooning over the young girl, she decides to teach him a lesson and helps to keep the two together, knowing that Underwood will quickly tire of the young girl's affections. From here on out, the laughs comes fast and furious, and many times I found myself laughing hysterically at the reactions of both Underwood and Digges to the calamity engulfing them. How this film is not mentioned in the same breath as Bringing Up Baby, My Man Godfrey and His Girl Friday is beyond me. It has everything you could want in a screwball comedy...top notch performances, gut busting laughter and a first rate screenplay. If you can find it, I heartily suggest you seek it out, it's a forgotten gem of the screwball era.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 07:51:13 PM by Antares »

Najemikon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #212 on: July 12, 2012, 06:36:58 PM »
Rear Window (1954) 4/5 - I avoided this film for the longest time because I've never been a fan of the hoity-toity warbling of Grace Kelly when she speaks, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. But I think I've finally found a film she's actually quite good in. In fact, taking away Thelma Ritter's scene stealing proficiency, Kelly could be the best part of this story. I didn't quite see the chemistry between her and Stewart, but she just radiates like a nuclear reactor every moment she is onscreen. Now to the film itself...I liked it, but I don't consider it a masterpiece, as it tended to lollygag at times. Where the film shines is when it focuses on the voyeurism which is pretty much inherent in all of us. So much has been written about this film, that I'm not going to go any further. But I do want to mention one scene that I thought was quite subtle and quite brilliant. In the beginning of the film, Jeff is going out of his way to try to talk himself out of becoming serious with Lisa. He sees themselves as polar opposites, and that she could never conform to his adventurous, hand to mouth lifestyle. But when Lisa returns from Thorwald's apartment after delivering a note questioning the whereabouts of Thorwald's wife, and she is all agog at the adrenaline rush she is experiencing after almost being caught, Hitchcock does a quick shot of Jeff smiling in heavenly bliss. The shot only lasts for about two seconds, but at that moment, the viewer, as well as Jeff, know that she is the perfect soul mate for him. For me, that was the best part of the film, but if you blinked, you missed it.

I've said it before, but I think Kelly's entrance in this film is probably the best any actress could wish for. There's one thing I need to know though.

What the buggery-bollocks is "lollygag"?  :laugh:

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.

Pleasantly surprised you liked this. I was fascinated by the poor reception the film received considering it actually seemed to try and have a plot -a movie savvy one at that- which it saw through to the end. People seemed to obsess over how "offensive" Aniston's character was, which I just couldn't understand. I mean, consider how crude a lot of comedy is these days, with no restraint shown, and Horrible Bosses dares to show an attractive woman using her sexuality as a weapon and suddenly everyone develops a conscience. Bizarre. Especially when it fed into such a strong character trait for her employee (he doesn't give in) and just imagine the horror had the roles been reversed.

On the other hand...

Bridesmaids (2011) 1/5 - FFS, I wish they would just cancel Saturday Night Live so that the world wouldn't be subjected to the unfunny solo ventures of their lame alumni. My wife and I did not once, even blurt out a mild chuckle during this piece of shit. Trying excruciatingly hard to be The Hangover on estrogen, this plodded along like a string of endless, cringe worthy skits from that long since banal show. I really felt bad for Jill Clayburgh, what a way to end a career. I can guarantee that I won't be watching any sequel that springs forth from the pen of Kristen Wiig. She may not be as unfunny as Amy Poehler, but she's just as one dimensional.

Ah, shame! I liked this. Especially because the brilliant Chris O'Dowd did so well in his first major international role. In the UK he's known for The IT Crowd. His partner in that, Richard Ayoade, is having a similar rapid rise in respect having directed Submarine.

Bridesmaids is definitely a Marmite film though, so I understand your reaction.

Actually, did you like Hangover? I thought Bridesmaids did quite well to be the female equivalent and, trust me on this, it is infinitely better than the awful Hangover 2. I saw it shortly before Horrible Bosses and my reaction to that film was somewhat helped by the spectacular disaster I thought the more successful Hangover 2 actually was.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 06:40:11 PM by Jon »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #213 on: July 13, 2012, 05:22:52 AM »
Band of Outsiders (1964) 3/5 - This was my first Godard film and after it was finished, the first thought that ran through my mind was a scene from the movie Amadeus. After Mozart's first royal commissioned opera, Die Entf├╝hrung aus dem Serail is finished, Emperor Joseph II comes on stage to praise Mozart for the work. He is at a loss for words, but manages to blurt out that it was 'quite new', but with slight trepidation in his delivery. Mozart retorts It is new...isn't it your Majesty? as if being new instantly makes it praise worthy. But sometimes, being new doesn't make something a masterpiece, and I felt that Godard was more interested in being fashionably different as opposed to making an interesting film. Sure, it does have it's share of crafted shots, but as a whole the story was lacking in creativity. I will admit that just looking at Anna Karina was worth the effort of watching this film, but aside from her, the rest was pretty shallow and a bit self exalting on the part of the director. It won't stop me from seeking out his other films, but now at least, I know what I can expect and hopefully, this was just an aberration, and not the norm.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #214 on: July 13, 2012, 05:40:23 AM »
First, before I respond to your post, I want to say how glad I am to see you posting again. This forum just isn't the same for me when you're not around. It's like how the US military felt in 1989 when the Cold War ended, you know, what's the point when your adversary (And you have to say it like Sean Connery did in The Hunt for Red October...ad-verss-urryy) ;) is no longer there to do battle with. When I logged in tonight and saw that you had responded to one of my threads, my fingers started dancing, because they knew there would be work to be done. :laugh:

What the buggery-bollocks is "lollygag"?  :laugh:

You have no right to ask me that when you use the term buggery-bollocks as part of your question.  :tease:


Pleasantly surprised you liked this. I was fascinated by the poor reception the film received considering it actually seemed to try and have a plot -a movie savvy one at that- which it saw through to the end.

This was the one thing that I really liked about it. The story was believable and not the least bit sophomoric like most of the crap they call comedy today.


People seemed to obsess over how "offensive" Aniston's character was, which I just couldn't understand. I mean, consider how crude a lot of comedy is these days, with no restraint shown, and Horrible Bosses dares to show an attractive woman using her sexuality as a weapon and suddenly everyone develops a conscience. Bizarre. Especially when it fed into such a strong character trait for her employee (he doesn't give in) and just imagine the horror had the roles been reversed.

I never heard about that complaint. I thought Aniston, whom I've never been a big fan of, was great and she and Colin Farrell were the best part of the film.


Actually, did you like Hangover?

It was OK, had a few laughs, but the characters in Horrible Bosses were better and funnier.

I thought Bridesmaids did quite well to be the female equivalent and, trust me on this, it is infinitely better than the awful Hangover 2.

I felt myself cringing as often as I do when I've watch SNL the last 10 years. A group of self-important, no talent hacks who think they are funny and on the cutting edge. Alas, the Emperor has no clothes.

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #215 on: July 18, 2012, 05:12:03 PM »
Albert Nobbs (2011) 68/100 - A film with an interesting story line that, unfortunately, can't sustain enough excitement to hold the viewer's attention. Glenn Close and Janet McTeer are both excellent in their portrayals of two women, forced to take on the guise of men in order to eek out a living in Edwardian era England. When the story stays on the subject of cross gender employment, the film is captivating. Unfortunately, the director can't decide whether or not he want's to focus on that or on Nobbs' attraction to a very young maid who is also employed by the hotel. There's also an undercurrent dealing with lesbianism in that time frame, but alas, is also barely scratched at. It's a shame that the director, Rodrigo Garcia couldn't make up his mind as to which direction he wanted the film to go in, because it could have been much better than it was.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 07:46:56 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #216 on: July 20, 2012, 02:47:00 AM »
Die Wannseekonferenz (1984) 84/100 - A few years back I caught the BBC film Conspiracy on HBO. It detailed the infamous Wannsee Conference held in Berlin in 1942 where Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Eichmann and thirteen other top members of the Nazi party discussed the implication of the Final Solution to the "Jewish problem" in Europe. Taken from a copy of the documented minutes found in Martin Luther's personal effects, the film played out in real time and chronicled the heinous barbarity of the proceedings. But what always bothered me about this film, was that the Nazis were played by mostly British actors, and their accents tended to weaken the brusque nature of the dialog and it also seemed like some of the discussion was a bit enhanced, you could say, to make it more interesting. In a review I wrote a few years ago, I mentioned how I would like to have seen this story done with German actors. Matthias told me about this version, but I couldn't find it anywhere on DVD. But a few weeks ago I found it over at YouTube, in its entirety and with the essential subtitles. And just as I thought, the German dialects made the nonchalant delivery of these ghastly lines all the more powerful and striking. Unfortunately, this version followed the minutes almost verbatim, and it kind of lacked the intensity of the BBC version. Basically it's just a quick bureaucratic meeting that you are given a ringside seat to.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 07:48:11 PM by Antares »

Najemikon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #217 on: July 22, 2012, 09:40:25 PM »
I really liked the Swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I haven't seen Fincher's version, but when I saw the original, my first thought was, Fincher has missed out on his perfect story and character! She stands for everything he has tried to represent in his other films, so the only thing left was to cock it up. It's interesting what you say about Lisbeth's exposition; I was struck by the idea that the main plot was exactly that, and Lisbeth was the unpredictable, anti-social element that had to be dropped into the mix to resolve that plot. Her own story does come through, but I thought it was balanced well.

The sequel is more about her than anything else. And you have to know what you are watching. I believe the filmmakers identified, embraced and properly exploited the inherent absurdity of her character. They made a fun film for those who enjoyed the first one. The last film is quite dull, but if you've enjoyed Lisbeth at all in the preceding two, it's rewarding and completes the story.

Offline DSig

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #218 on: July 23, 2012, 02:42:30 AM »
Yep, I really like the Swedish version also.  Also like "Girl who Played with Fire" and "Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest" (of course only in Swedish).  I did like the remake with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.  The remake had better filming. And the script seemed tighter.  But really liked Noomi Rapace in the original.  She was also good in "Prometheus".
Thank you
David

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #219 on: July 28, 2012, 03:20:15 AM »
Laughter in Paradise (1951) 62/100 - This British comedy had a great premise, that unfortunately, never really builds upon the crazy possibilities inherent in its storyline. It's the story of an aristocrat, known as the world's most famous practical joker, who has died, and has, as part of his will, bequeathed his estate to 4 relatives of his extended family. But there's a catch...each must perform a specific task that is completely contrary to their character's nature, and it must be done before thirty days have elapsed since the reading of the will. Being the world's greatest practical joker, each task that the aristocrat has conjured up, is meant to tweak each of its recipients. One relative is a fortune hunting womanizer, and he must marry the first woman he speaks to. The second relative is a stuffy, cruel woman who must take a job as a maid servant. The third is a spineless bank teller who must hold up the bank he works for. And finally, the fourth is a timid, milquetoast dime novelist who must get arrested and spend thirty days in jail. I waited for that crazy kind of dry humor the British are famous for, to surface throughout this film, but sadly, the film plays out mainly as a cute morality tale instead, with the obvious ending attached. It's a fun film, but pales in comparison to what Ealing was cranking out at this time.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:25:01 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #220 on: July 28, 2012, 08:06:25 PM »
Ice Station Zebra (1968) 68/100 - Not bad for a cold war espionage drama, but it could have been better had they tightened up some sections of the film. Way too much time is spent on the sub getting to the polar station, and it is here where the film tends to lag. The story itself is chock full of nail biting tension and the cast do an excellent job in portraying their roles. I've never been a fan of Rock Hudson, but he too, plays it realistically. Shear away about 35 minutes of the submarine action early in the film, and you might have had a classic.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 07:50:05 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #221 on: July 29, 2012, 05:49:56 AM »
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) 84/100 - Top notch noir that could have been considered a bona fide classic if the production code hadn't forced Fox to tack on a wimpy ending. I would have rather seen it end with the cop staying a bit dirty, with the truth of detective Dixon's lone transgression remaining a secret. Would the truth and his conscience be his undoing? Could he fall in love with the wife of the man he has killed accidentally, knowing that if she knew the truth, she may discard him? Keeping it dark would have fit the character of this film better, instead we get the rosy picture of a cop doing what's right. Andrews plays the tormented cop excellently as he skates the fine line between peace officer and hoodlum himself. Gene Tierney isn't really given much to do and this is another thing which slightly lessens its impact on noir film history. But those two things aside, I was completely engulfed in the storyline of a cop who mistakenly kills a suspect and must hide his involvement, in hopes of pinning another murder on the gangster he's been longingly trying to send to jail.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:25:59 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #222 on: August 02, 2012, 08:32:49 AM »
Hearts and Minds (1974) 82/100 - During this documentary an air force pilot talks about how everyone is either trying to forget the war or distancing themselves from it. When he spoke those lines it hit me that it was very true, and that I had put almost all of it behind me. I grew up as a child in the sixties, and the Vietnam War was news fodder every night on the national news. My two uncles fought in it and my best friend's brother was killed in it (They dedicated a little league field that we played on daily in his memory). I also had another friend, many years later, who was a few years older than me, who succumbed to throat cancer from being sprayed with Agent Orange. So although I never was really in jeopardy of actually going there, the war did touch me in many different ways. And as I watched this film, the memories started to creep back in, like the day one of my uncles left for the war. I distinctly remember my grandmother breaking down when his car pulled away, wondering if she'd ever see him alive again. The day that my friend's family got the knock on the door, telling them that their oldest boy was killed in action. I had forgotten so much of this because of how long ago it had all happened, but this brought it all back.

The documentary itself, is definitely a product of its time, in that, it is mostly told from the anti-war stance that many had at that time. While not completely balanced, it does also give insight into the pro-war side too. Unfortunately, it could have probably used a bit more of these people to help the viewer truly understand why this war was so divisive in the first place. I already knew that William Westmoreland was an arrogant, by the book marionette, and his appearance really doesn't shed any new light on why we fought. The only other pro-war proponent is a POW who was held in captivity for close to seven years and tows the propaganda line almost fanatically. In fact, it's his words and thoughts that actually dismayed me the most as you would think that he would be one of the voices of reason as to why this war was so unjust, not only to the sons of Americans who fought in it, but of the people of Vietnam who were sacrificed for the sake of halting the Communist domino theory.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:26:20 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #223 on: August 11, 2012, 12:55:42 AM »
Mystery Street (1950) 66/100 - A serviceable film that for some reason is considered a noir, but to me, was more of a crime procedural. I guess its because of the first half hour and John Alton's dark lighting, which for the first thirty minutes, makes this a pretty good film. But then morning arrives and the story kind of sputters, and Ricardo Montelban doesn't have the screen presence of a Robert Mitchum, Dana Andrews or Richard Widmark, and the whole effort is really kind of wasted. It's not a bad movie, but a few times, I found myself looking at the clock, wondering how much more before the climax and ending.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 07:52:43 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #224 on: August 16, 2012, 05:40:45 PM »
The Conversation (1974) 68/100 - Nothing drives me more crazy than when a director plays the audience for a bunch of suckers, and that's exactly what Francis Ford Coppola does with The Conversation. The film starts out rather dry, but still intriguing as we are given insight into the covert world of surveillance and eavesdropping. It is here where the film really shines. But halfway through, it kind of loses steam and only comes back to life at the very end. Now I can forgive a film that lags a bit if the payoff makes up for it. But the payoff here is a bit of manipulation by Coppola that defies the laws of science.
(click to show/hide)
This is just a cheap way to trick the audience, and a lazy way to show that you really didn't have much of a story in the first place, so you had to resort to this kind of cheap carny trick. The minute it happened I felt as if I had just been duped by a crooked Three Card Monty dealer. I thought about giving this a much lower rating, but the first hour is rather good and of course, the sound in this film is excellent. But when all is said and done, this film for me, is not worthy of the lofty position it is given by many in the film world.

What the color coding means...

Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 11:26:53 PM by Antares »