Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 104482 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #225 on: September 05, 2012, 03:57:42 PM »
Four Lions (2010) 74/100 - I would have probably enjoyed this a lot more had I the option of selecting English subtitles on the DVD, as I must have missed at least 30% of the dialog, because I couldn't understand what they were saying. Aren't there any deaf people in England? It's amazing how many British films on DVD, do not have this option. It's not just the accents that are hard to understand, it's also the propensity to have characters with exaggerated speech impediments that make understanding British dialog a task that's most frustrating without textual assistance. OK, rant over. I thought this was a very daring concept for a film, all fraught with potential land mines of political incorrectness, but the director skates the fine line between black comedy and classless social satire very adroitly. I actually don't think he pushed the envelope enough, and that's why I kind of felt unfulfilled after finishing the film. The early bits of slapstick at the Pakistani camp just felt like filler and after watching some of the outtakes, wished that those scenes would have been left in and the training camp stuff removed. Overall, the film is good for a few laughs, but I don't feel it's as good as I've been led to believe.

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, 11:28:22 PM by Antares »

Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #226 on: September 09, 2012, 03:51:24 PM »
Whose accent did you think was exagerrated? All sounded normal to me!  :P I can understand what you mean about subs though, it's very frustrating. Obviously I have an advantage in this case, but I can have problems even with you lot sometimes... ;)

As a film balancing entertainment with a viable threat, maybe it could have pushed a bit more. However the tone was just about perfect for us in the UK as it had very real, identifiable characters and our community is so diverse that if the comedy was any stronger, it would have caused uproar and not actually achieved anything.

What I mean by that is that we should all realise that Muslim extremism is actually a very small minority and people from both cultures inherintly understand how absurd those extreme arguments are. This film could be watched by everyone and be enjoyed because it's asking us to do nothing more than face up to how ridiculous those people are. It was comforting to see how strong it could be and still attack the ignorance and naivety that leads to much bigger problems.

I actually went to see this with a Pakistani friend of mine and it was fascinating to watch his reaction. He'd be laughing like a drain then a split-second later he'd almost be choking at how close he was to being genuinely insulted! It's the smaller moments that cut closest, I think, like the brother who refuses to step into the room because a woman is there and she squirts him with a water pistol! Very clever film.



Jon
"NOBODY MOVE! I dropped me brain."
Catch up with reviews and news at my blog,

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #227 on: September 12, 2012, 03:26:24 AM »
Whose accent did you think was exagerrated?

It wasn't this film that I made this comment for, it's for the many other films in which I own an R2 DVD, which don't have subtitles. And the speech impediment I mean is the staggering amount of people who have a pronounced problem with the letter R in your country. It's as if they all studied speech under Professor Elmer Fudd or are gargling with alum powder. I've noticed this a lot when watching war documentaries made in the UK. You're used to this and it probably seems unnoticeable to you, but man, it makes it a chore for me sometimes to watch a DVD.  :stars:
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:15:22 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #228 on: September 13, 2012, 01:51:34 AM »
The Cameraman (1928) 94/100 - Buster Keaton was the closest thing that cinema had to a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a comic prodigy who honed his skills on the vaudevillian stages from the time he was three years old. An entertainer who effortlessly could formulate creative scenarios and gags at the drop of a pork-pie hat. Of all the great silent comedians, with the exception of Charlie Chaplin, his films have withstood the test of time, and I also believe that he has been the most influential on the scores of successive comic film actors and directors, even more so than Chaplin. So, for the longest time I avoided watching this film because I couldn't bear to watch my favorite comedian of all time succumb to the factory mentality of MGM. I had watched such dismal efforts as What! No Beer?, Parlor, Bedroom and Bath, Speak Easily and other such torturous drivel that the MGM hierarchy considered comedy. Films where Keaton was relegated to second banana behind one of the most annoying and irritating comedians of all time, Jimmy Durante. With each successive film he made, you could witness the physical degradation that was taking place on Keaton as emerging alcoholism took its toll. Gone too, was the glimmer in his eyes and the spark of ingenuity that was the hallmark of his earlier silent classics. They had basically taken Michelangelo and reduced him to paint by number sketches and although there are fleeting moments when the old brilliance is apparent, the flame of genius was slowly and methodically extinguished. But thanks to Turner Classic Movies, who released his first three MGM films in a splendid re-mastered DVD set, I think I've found my new favorite film of all time by Keaton. While The General is a mammoth comedy epic, it does have moments that linger and dawdle a bit, The Cameraman is Keaton at his comedic zenith. I found myself laughing continuously throughout this film's duration and a lot of those laughs were of the gut busting variety. The film was also considered so perfect a comedy, that MGM used it as a training film for the next couple of decades when they hired new directors. If you're new to Keaton and are looking for a place to dive in, then this has to be considered the best launching point for any foray into his canon.

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, 11:28:34 PM by Antares »

Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #229 on: September 13, 2012, 11:39:49 PM »
Whose accent did you think was exagerrated?

It wasn't this film that I made this comment for, it's for the many other films in which I own an R2 DVD, which don't have subtitles. And the speech impediment I mean is the staggering amount of people who have a pronounced problem with the letter R in your country. It's as if they all studied speech under Professor Elmer Fudd or are garging with alum powder. I've noticed this a lot when watching war documentaries made in the UK. You're used to this and it probably seems unnoticeable to you, but man, it makes it a chore for me sometimes to watch a DVD.  :stars:

Hmmm, I don't think it's a 'problem' with the letter "R"! We are talking about English England, after all... More likely a regional accent you're struggling with. There was a time the BBC wouldn't employ anyone for newsreading who had a definite accent and only recently you miserable lot sent our nice Cheryl Cole home because of concerns about her Geordie-ness! Actually that wasn't quite the case, but our media leapt on it as a potential...

Here she is, and ironically, being interviewed by Jonathan Ross, who gets flack because he can't pronounce the letter "R"!  :laugh:

Jon
"NOBODY MOVE! I dropped me brain."
Catch up with reviews and news at my blog,

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #230 on: September 14, 2012, 08:10:48 PM »
Here she is, and ironically, being interviewed by Jonathan Ross, who gets flack because he can't pronounce the letter "R"!  :laugh:

He's what I'm talking about, I understand her quite fine. It's like he's got a marble or two in his mouth.

Offline Jon

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #231 on: September 15, 2012, 03:34:14 AM »
He's an oddity though. Nicknamed "Wossy" because he can't pronounce an R to save his life! Still his is a London accent, even if he could. Maybe it's the more London East End (or Cockney, the extreme of that) which you struggle with.
Jon
"NOBODY MOVE! I dropped me brain."
Catch up with reviews and news at my blog,

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #232 on: September 15, 2012, 04:44:05 AM »
So I still think that non-native speakers have less trouble with accents and dialects...

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #233 on: October 10, 2012, 06:01:55 AM »
Lucky Star (1929) 86/100 - How I wish that the Silent Era had lasted for another ten years. As sound was venturing forward and the silent stars were falling from the sky, film artistry was at its zenith in the waning years of the Roaring Twenties. One can only imagine the unmade masterpieces that were lost to time and progress. This is only my third Borzage film and my first of his silent movies and it's obvious that if my wish were reality, he would have been one of the all time great artists of this medium. His framing, depth of field and use of shadow could be spoken of in the same breath as a Gregg Toland. I think it also helps to have the services of one of the most expressive actresses of the silent cinema, Janet Gaynor as his star. The phrase 'The camera loves you' was probably created for her as a slight glance or mild pout is all she needed to showcase an array of emotions on screen. All the while I was watching her, I could her Norma Desmond from Sunset Blvd. uttering that famous line... We didn't need dialogue. We had faces! The chemistry between Gaynor and Charles Farrell is effortless and electric as their burgeoning love for each other slowly smolders below the surface. The story itself was a standard of silent film melodrama, two suitors for the affection of a girl, one good, one bad. The girl loves the good one, while the mother wants her to marry the bad one, because he can give her stability. It's hokey at times, especially the ending, but in a film such as this, you're not watching it for the underlying storyline. I'm now looking forward to more of Borzage's silents.

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 14, 2013, 06:54:10 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #234 on: October 13, 2012, 05:02:23 AM »
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1972) 62/100 - Edgar Allan Poe was the first author that I fell in love with when I was young. The brevity of his stories, along with their macabre nature and rich imagery, easily cemented Poe's genius in my mind. To that end, like almost anything one reads, you have a preconceived notion of how the characters look and sound in your mind. Unfortunately for me, these notions were at odds with the performances of Vincent Price in four of Poe's short stories. The film clocked in at a meager 53 minutes, but felt like two hours. I love Vincent Price, and I could understand AIP's reason for having him do these one man recitations. The man's a legend of the Gothic horror genre and one would think that this would be a marriage made in heaven. But it's only 25% successful.

The Tell-Tale Heart - This is where my preconceived imagery was most glaringly at odds with Price's performance. I always saw the narrator of the tale as being coldly aloof and calculating in his manner, kind of like Hannibal Lecter. But Price plays him as if he's raging mad and his performance in this segment is overly melodramatic and it ruins the suspense of the matter of the old man's murder.

The Sphinx - Considered a lesser work from Poe, this was probably included to add a bit of whimsy to the four segment structure of stories. It's pretty light fare, but Price plays this one quite well. But that's to be expected as Price always had the knack for devilish type humor in his many portrayals.

The Cask of Amontillado - This was a short story that I never truly cared for when I first read it. But it turned out to be my favorite of the four segments as Price plays this one without the histrionics of the first and last stories in the film. What I found most interesting was the way that the director used alternating, quick edits of both of Price's facial profiles to render the conversation of the two men in the catacombs, a nice touch.

The Pit and the Pendulum - Once again, to augment the mood of dread inherent in the protagonist's plight, Price ratchets his bombast to a delirious and overwrought dimension in this final segment. I probably could have dealt with it better if he hadn't done it in the first segment also, but by now, it just came across as noisy and disengaging.

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, 11:29:46 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #235 on: October 18, 2012, 04:51:27 AM »
Easy Living (1937) 72/100 - This is one of those films that's been getting a lot of discussion lately as a lost gem of the screwball comedy era. But to be honest, you would think that a screenplay written by Preston Sturges, the Shakespeare of screwball, would be a gut busting ride, but for a few glitches, never finds it's course to classic comedy. It's as if someone at Paramount was given a set of blueprints for how to make a screwball comedy and everyone except Jean Arthur and Luis Alberni was manufacturing their roles to specification. Edward Arnold and Ray Milland spend the first 45 minutes of the film yelling their lines as if high volume made the lines funnier...well... it doesn't. It just makes the proceedings seem a bit amateurish. The film only really gets its footing once Jean Arthur takes up residence at Mr. Louis Louis' swanky hotel. The scenes with her and Alberni are priceless and for my money, Alberni steals almost every scene he's in. That isn't to say that Jean Arthur doesn't carry her weight, quite the contrary, she just radiates in this role. I've never seen her look more beautiful in a film and her performance proves that she was the queen of screwball comedy. It's too bad the first 45 minutes aren't as funny as the last 45 minutes, because this could have been a contender for top screwball comedy of all time. But alas, it's really only worth watching for the reasons I stated.

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 14, 2013, 06:56:14 PM by Antares »

Offline Achim

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #236 on: October 20, 2012, 02:53:36 PM »
I think it is Prince of Darkness which really cemented Lee as the ultimate Dracula. That together with Horror of Dracula are my two favorites, although I also have a soft spot for Dracula 1972 A. D. :-[

There is an adaptation by the BBC with Louis Jourdan as Dracula which is supposed to be really good. I own the DVD but haven't watched it yet.

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #237 on: October 24, 2012, 05:43:35 PM »
The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) 61/100 - As the opening screen credits were rolling on this film, I noticed that the screenwriter was Robert Towne. This came as a surprise and I felt it boded well for this viewing. But after the film was over, I was kind of disappointed not only with Towne's screenplay, but also with Vincent Price's rather lackluster performance. I've never read Edgar Allan Poe's short story Ligeia, upon which this film was based, but after reading a short synopsis of the tale, I wish that Towne had stayed a bit closer to the original theme. Here's the synopsis from Wikipedia...

Quote
The unnamed narrator describes the qualities of Ligeia, a beautiful, passionate and intellectual woman, raven-haired and dark-eyed, that he thinks he remembers meeting "in some large, old decaying city near the Rhine." He is unable to recall anything about the history of Ligeia, including her family's name, but remembers her beautiful appearance. Her beauty, however, is not conventional. He describes her as emaciated, with some "strangeness." He describes her face in detail, from her "faultless" forehead to the "divine orbs" of her eyes. They marry, and Ligeia impresses her husband with her immense knowledge of physical and mathematical science, and her proficiency in classical languages. She begins to show her husband her knowledge of metaphysical and "forbidden" wisdom.

After an unspecified length of time Ligeia becomes ill, struggles internally with human mortality, and ultimately dies. The narrator, grief-stricken, buys and refurbishes an abbey in England. He soon enters into a loveless marriage with "the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine."

In the second month of the marriage, Rowena begins to suffer from worsening fever and anxiety. One night, when she is about to faint, the narrator pours her a goblet of wine. Drugged with opium, he sees (or thinks he sees) drops of "a brilliant and ruby colored fluid" fall into the goblet. Her condition rapidly worsens, and a few days later she dies and her body is wrapped for burial.

As the narrator keeps vigil overnight, he notices a brief return of color to Rowena's cheeks. She repeatedly shows signs of reviving, before relapsing into apparent death. As he attempts resuscitation, the revivals become progressively stronger, but the relapses more final. As dawn breaks, and the narrator is sitting emotionally exhausted from the night's struggle, the shrouded body revives once more, stands and walks into the middle of the room. When he touches the figure, its head bandages fall away to reveal masses of raven hair and dark eyes: Rowena has transformed into Ligeia.

Taking this theme, Towne should have played upon the possibility of the narrator slowly murdering both of his wives and the ensuing madness which befalls him, with an ending comprised of both Ligeia and Rowena coming back from the dead to seek retribution for his crime. It would have made for a much more suspenseful and less surreal film than Corman and Towne forge. It also would have given Price a role he could have sunk his teeth into, as opposed to the rather vacant and one note character he's forced to play.

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, 11:30:21 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #238 on: November 07, 2012, 10:39:52 PM »
Murder by Contract (1958) 84/100 - A very economical, but stylized B-movie noir that held my attention for its brisk 81 minutes. What surprised me most was how good Vince Edwards was as Claude, the cool, calculating and methodical hitman. I had only seen him in some films he made after his famous stint on television as doctor Ben Casey, and in those films he was extremely wooden. It's a shame he couldn't sustain the promise that's on display here, he's got screen presence. I kind of wish it had stayed closer to the theme and atmosphere it started with, as opposed to the rather lighthearted humor aspect that it veered towards when Claude goes to Los Angeles. There were times when I prayed that Claude would shoot Phillip Pine's character as he was annoyingly over the top at times. It didn't hurt the film, but for me, kept it from being considered a masterpiece of the genre. And finally, the ending was predictable and that is what finally keeps me from rating this any higher. I'd definitely watch it again, and for me, that's high praise enough. Oh, and it was nice to see Kathie Browne, the future Mrs. Darren McGavin in the role of the party girl, aka the prostitute.

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 14, 2013, 06:58:19 PM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Short Summations
« Reply #239 on: November 08, 2012, 02:08:09 PM »
The Sniper (1952) 76/100 - This is the fourth film I've watched in the Columbia Film Noir collection Volume 1 and in keeping with the other three, is quite good. It's an early production from Stanley Kramer, so that means you're going to get a healthy dose of soapbox moral preaching. That comes in a scene very early in the film where Richard Kiley, who plays a police psychologist, expounds on how every criminal who commits a sex crime, should be institutionalized after their first conviction. Kramer is never subtle in his approach, and thankfully, this scene ends quickly and the film goes back to focusing on the sniper. One thing I'm noticing about these noirs from Columbia, is that they have a far more gritty and realistic spin to them, as opposed to noirs I've watched from both MGM and 20th Century Fox. They're in your face and have a fair amount of shock inducing scenes in them and that's probably why I'm enjoying them so much. This film must have freaked out a lot of people back when everyone lived in a white bread, Ozzie and Harriet, kind of America in 1952.

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, 11:30:53 PM by Antares »