Author Topic: Antares' Short Summations  (Read 204075 times)

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #495 on: July 17, 2020, 12:14:08 AM »
Man of the Century (1999) 82/100 - Many, many years ago, I caught about 20 minutes at the end of this indie film on IFC. It's quirky little gimmick intrigued me, so I programmed my VCR to record it, the next time it played on IFC. Alas, sometime before the film aired again, a power outage cleared the VCR, and it never got recorded. IFC didn't play it again, and I forgot about it. Today, I found it on YouTube and this is pure delight if you love silent films, pre-codes, screwball comedies, musicals and film noir. That's right, it covers five styles of film making and watching it, you can tell that the cast and crew are having a wonderful time making it. It clocks in at a quick 77 minutes, like a lot of films in the early days of sound, and this keeps it from overstaying its welcome, with the one note gimmick. So, what is the one note gimmick?

Gibson Frazier, (Who wrote the screenplay alongside the director Adam Abraham), plays Johnny Twennies, a reporter on the New York Sun Telegram. The story takes place at the end of the 20th century, but Twennies is a character right out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ring Lardner story from the Roaring Twenties. He wears a tailored suit, constantly smokes cigarettes he selects from a gold cigarette case, his hair is slicked back, hidden under a fedora that shows he's a man of style too. But the kicker is that every utterance out of his mouth seems as if it was culled from any one of a 1,000 screenplays from the 30's and the 40's. And this is what gives this movie it's charm. It's obvious that Frazier and Abraham did a lot of research into the lifestyle which encompassed our country in that time frame and they managed to use those colloquialisms to great comedic effect. I can count at least half a dozen times I laughed out loud and long at some of the lines used. Sure, there are moments that could have been cut earlier and being an indie, a few retakes of scenes that just missed the mark, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film, from beginning to end. This is the type of film homage that works! I look forward to a re-watch to see if I missed any jokes or references that flew by me the first time. If you love old black and white films, I wholeheartedly recommend you spend 77 minutes with this little film, it will definitely put a smile on your face. And, you get a number by the great Bobby Short at the end.

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: July 24, 2020, 02:16:53 AM by Antares »

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #496 on: July 24, 2020, 02:17:17 AM »
All About My Mother (1999) 85/100 - The film ended about 15 minutes ago, and I've been sitting at my keyboard trying to come up with reasons why I enjoyed so much. But the words just aren't emerging. I could mention some of the great camera shots that Almodovar or whomever the cinematographer was, came up with. I could also mention the subtle, but sublimely beautiful score, which acts as a gentle guiding element to the story. But I think most of the credit for how good this film is, rests with the performance of Cecilia Roth. Every moment she is onscreen, her performance just engulfs you. She's 100% believable as the mother whose son is taken by a tragic accident on his 17th birthday. I would have rated this even higher had a bit more of the screenplay delved into her pain and more of the contents of Esteban's notes. This is only my second Almodovar film, I really need to see more.

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

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #497 on: July 28, 2020, 03:21:22 AM »
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) 75/100 - After finishing the film and submitting my rating on Criticker, I noticed that I've seen a lot of films by Robert Wise. He made films in almost every genre and was pretty successful in most of them. This is another finely crafted drama that looks and sounds great, but, at times, it seems as if there's just a tad too much on the plate. You've got the post-war angst alongside racial tension, with a huge helping of noir as the main course. But for a 96 minute film, it kind of dragged at times, and had a character whom I could not understand why she was there, Gloria Grahame. She sleepwalks though her short role and it appeared to me, was there just to pad out the film length. Robert Ryan, as always, is great and I was very impressed with Harry Belafonte's performance, who could have rivaled Sidney Poitier, if he did choose to do so. In essence, this film should have worked for me, but it only held me for brief moments, then it would just meander along. I doubt I'd re-visit it in the future.

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


Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #498 on: July 30, 2020, 12:55:20 AM »
Trouble in Paradise (1932) 75/100 - Only my fourth film by Ernst Lubitsch, and I'm still kind of dumbfounded as to why he's so revered. It's a cute film, with a few moments that made me chuckle, but all in all, it's a screwball comedy in its embryonic form, and nothing more. I think it suffers for two reasons. Not enough Miriam Hopkins and too much Kay Francis, who is kind of a doormat. Had the role of Madame Colet been played by someone like Mary Astor, it would have improved the scenes between her character and Gaston. Herbert Marshall was fantastic in the lead role and I was happy to see both Charlie Ruggles and Edward Everett Horton working together. Whenever I see them I'm reminded of the Rocky and Bulwinkle show, a favorite from my youth.

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

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #499 on: August 02, 2020, 03:36:32 AM »
L'Homme qui plantait des arbres (1987) 80/100 - Beautifully crafted animation short with a heart warming story about life and man's purpose on this planet. This definitely hit all the right emotional chords for me as I consider myself not a child of God, but a child of Mother Earth. Our time on this planet is short and how we spend that time is crucial. I've tried to live my life by paying it forward whenever I can. While also trying to adhere to the personal policy of voluntary simplicity, just like the shepherd in the story. The animation is creatively mesmerizing and I can see where Michael Dudok de Wit got some ideas for his Oscar winning animated short film Father and Daughter. It's only 30 minutes long, I think a lot of people here would like this very much.

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

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #500 on: August 02, 2020, 03:58:39 AM »
The Twilight Samurai (2002) 90/100 - All throughout the film I saw the influences of most of the great Japanese directors, with one exception. No Kurosawa. You get the tragedy of Mizoguchi, the family depth of Ozu and the bushido breakdown of Kobayashi. I don't know why, but for years I thought this was just an anime film, and my disdain for that kind of animation, kept me from watching this hauntingly beautiful and tragic film. It's definitely not a film for those who like a good blood letting in their chanbara escapades. The pacing is drawn out and it lets you immerse yourself into the day to day struggles of Seibei and his small family. You want him to find some happiness as he struggles to provide for his family in the midst of impending civil war and a famine which is ravaging the peasantry. I only wish I got to watch a better copy of the film, instead of the washed out version I found on Hiroyuki Sanada's wall.

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

Offline Antares

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Re: Antares' Short Summations
« Reply #501 on: August 05, 2020, 01:53:03 AM »
A Colt is my Passport (1967) 78/100 - Economical, yet creative crime film from Japan. It's one part Film Noir, one part Japanese New Wave Crime film and finally, one part Spaghetti Western. My only fault with it lies with Jô Shishido, who I've always felt was the poor man's Tatsuya Mihashi, but lacking the suave good looks. I know it's a shallow criticism but, he looks like a chipmunk whose cheeks are stuffed with chestnuts he's saving for a winter meal. It's distracting as all hell. I think with a better actor in the lead role, this would probably be better known, and carry the same reputation as the more famous films of Seijun Suzuki. I was actually more impressed with Jerry Fujio's performance as his partner. It kind of shocked me when he grabbed the guitar and started to sing, but he had a good voice and had a huge hit in Japan with the following...

His other claim to fame was his very short role as one of the three yakuza whom Sanjuro orders the third coffin for in Yojimbo. He's the one who has his arm chopped off.