Author Topic: Around the World in 86 Movies  (Read 36267 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 03:06:29 AM »
Where we're going next:  The Dominican Republic

Again, I only have one film from this country: Tropico de Sangre, so that's what we'll be watching.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
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Najemikon

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2012, 09:51:22 PM »
This is good stuff so far!  :clap:

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 01:31:01 PM »
Where We Are:  The Dominican Republic
wikipedia

What We Watched:



Trópico de Sangre
Year of Release:  2010
Directed by:  Juan Delancer
Genre:  Drama, Historical
Starring:  Michelle Rodriguez, César Évora, Juan Fernández, Sergio Carlo

Overview:
Minerva Mirabal (Michelle Rodriguez) and her sisters are from a privileged, well-to-do family in the Dominican Republic.  But as their country sinks further into despair under the iron fist of Dictator Rafael Trujillo, the sisters unite, daring to stand up against the brutal leader of their beloved land.  As Trujillo's bloody reign spreads, Minerva and her sisters push harder against the dictator's heavy hand.  Despite all of their efforts, the vociferous trio is faced with a gruesome end, slain in a sugar cane field in 1960.

My Thoughts:
This is a somewhat flawed film that nonetheless moved me with the powerful story it had to tell about life under a police state and the courage to stand against it, even while knowing the cost is likely your life.  A lot of time is compressed into these two hours, so details and information are omitted.  The pace is slow and the production values are about that of a well-done TV movie.  But none of that detracted from the power of the story for me.  I felt the actors all did a credible job, especially César Évora, that the look of the film captured its time frame, and the shots of the outdoors showed some beautiful country in The Dominican Republic.  If I knew more about the history of The Dominican Republic I think the film would have been even better, but I would recommend it.  I could only hope that I would have the courage to stand against dictatorship when it was needed.

Overall:  4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 01:33:45 PM »
Where we're going next:  Jamaica

Again, I only own the one film from Jamaica - Countryman - so that's what we'll be watching.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2012, 05:39:36 AM »
Where We Are:  Jamaica
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Countryman
Year of Release:  1982
Directed By:  Dickie Johnson
Genre: Adventure
Starring:  Countryman, Hiram Keller, Carl Bradshaw, Basil Keane, Freshey Richardson, Kristina St. Clair

Overview:
Countryman is no ordinary man. He is a man of the sea, a man of knowledge, in effortless harmony with everything that lives and breathes.

A fisherman's solitary existence is shattered when an airplane crashes into a nearby swamp. By rescuing two young Americans from the wreckage, the fisherman, Countryman, becomes an unwitting player in a political plot devised by the power-hungry Colonel Sinclair. The couple and Countryman, branded by Sinclair as enemy agents, are forced to flee into the Jamaican wilderness to elude capture. The peaceful Rastafarian hero shows the Americans his knowledge of land and sea, but when violence peaks, he shows that he is capable of unleashing an awesome, almost magical display of acrobatic hand-to-hand combat.

My Thoughts:
This is a beautiful, fun film with a great reggae soundtrack.  If you love reggae, the soundtrack alone is worth watching the film for - Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jah Lion, Steel Pulse, Toots and The Maytals - great music that fits into the film perfectly.  In fact, Countryman is inspired by the songs of Bob Marley and the person of Countryman. 

I bought this film because it was both cheaper than the Criterion release of The Harder They Come (which I do still want), and it wasn't centered on a life of crime, but has a heroic Jamaican character.  Countryman is a Rasta fisherman, a man who helps those in need, provides for his family, looks out for his friends.  Yes, Countryman is a poor man, and perhaps we (and the film) are guilty of romanticizing the poor, but he is also rich in friends, in life, and in spirit. 

In the featurette the director talks about the film being like Tarzan, but while it does resemble it - a man living in harmony with nature who looks after civilized people and helps them return to civilization - this isn't a Weissmuller Tarzan film.  Weissmuller's Tarzan was inarticulate and instictive, while Countryman is philosophical and spiritual.  (Yes, other depictions of Tarzan are closer to Burroughs' book, but Weissmuller's is still the film icon.)

Countryman itself is also rich in spirit, in spiritual practice and symbolism.  We see two different obeah men, as well as the hawk, the owl, the moon, smoke, lightning, all speaking toward the power of the natural world and the magic within it.  For those who are like myself, this is a very pagan friendly film.  It's also a condemnation the machinations of politics and the use of invented threat and fear to sustain those in power.  But, most of all, it's a fun adventure.

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2012, 05:47:39 AM »
Where we're going next:  Mexico

Finally, there's a list!  I actually own more than one film from Mexico.   :clap:

- Amores Perros
- Biutiful
- Casa de los Babys
- Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)
- Cronos
- Fando y Lis
- The Holy Mountain
- El Laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth)
- Lake Tahoe
- La Maldicion de la Momia Azteca
- La Momia Azteca
- La Momia Azteca Contra el Robot Humano
- Santa Claus
- Sleep Dealer
- Stellet Licht (Silent Light)
- Y tu mama tambien
- El Topo
- Vaho (Becloud)

I'm pretty sure we're going to be watching Cronos, but we'll see how we feel when the day comes (hopefully tomorrow, but no promises).
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline goodguy

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 12:34:04 PM »
Jon said good things about Cronos, but del Toro is so mainstream. :P I have the Jodorowsky box set still sitting here unwatched and also Stellet Licht; so I would love reading your thoughts about those. No pressure, though. In the end you should pick what you like to watch.

Harlan County USA
...
Today they prefer to blast the tops off our mountains and destroy the land, since the traditional method has played out and no longer turns profit.  

It's been ages since I've seen Kopple's documentary, so I don't really have anything meaningful to add, but I remember it making quite an impression back then. On a side note, that quoted bit plays a minor part in the second season of FX's series Justified, which of course ultimately is interested in different things.
Matthias

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2012, 03:19:19 PM »
Where We Are:  Mexico
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Cronos
Year of Release:  1993
Directed By:  Guillermo del Toro
Genre:  Horror
Starring:  Federico Luppi, Ron Perlman, Claudio Brook, Margarita Isabel, Tamara Shanath

Overview:
Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious and audacious feature debut with Cronos, a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesús Gris (Federico Luppi) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious American named Angel (a delightfully crude and deranged Ron Perlman). Featuring marvelous makeup effects and the haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, Cronos is a dark, visually rich, and emotionally captivating dark fantasy.

My Thoughts:
I loved this film! I thought it was an original take on vampirism, and an inventive and imaginative film.  We loved Pan's Labyrinth and del Toro doesn't disappoint here.  The imagery is very striking, the camera work excellent, and the actors are all very good - though I was especially impressed with Luppi and Perlman.  The film was very creepy and kept you wondering what would happen next, though its slower pace would likely detract for some viewers. 

I love a good horror film, but I really only like a certain kind of horror - I'm not into slasher flicks or torture porn; too much gore and you've lost me.  What I love is a film with atmosphere, supernatural issues and the building horror of what might happen, and in this Cronos does not disappoint.  Here it's the question of what might happen to this kindly man, whose relationship with his granddaughter reminded me of mine with my grandfather, especially in how he took her everywhere with him and doted on her. 

I would recommend this to anyone who liked old-fashioned horror films, or just a good story with elements of horror.

Overall:  4/5
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 03:23:12 PM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2012, 03:20:40 PM »
Where we're going next:  Costa Rica

Again, like many before, I only own the one film from Costa Rica - Caribe - so that's what we're going to watch.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Najemikon

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2012, 10:58:32 PM »
 :clap: for Cronos!

you're right that it is one of the most original takes on the vampire myth, but another reason I love it is that it also works as a solid tribute to the classic monster movies, where Del Toro's heart is. The last half is like a Frankenstein movie.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 05:15:54 AM »
Where We Are:  Costa Rica
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Caribe
Year of Release:  2004
Directed By:  Esteban Ramirez
Genre:  Drama
Starring:  Jorge Perugorria, Cuca Escribano, Maya Zapata

Overview
This tantalizing tale of passion and betrayal created a sensation when it was first released. With its atmosphere of unspoiled tropical beaches and an unforgettable cast featuring the charismatic Jorge Perugorria (Strawberry & Chocolate) as Vicente and the seductive Maya Zapata (Bordertown) as his lover Irene, CARIBE casts an intoxicating spell. While Vicente experiences a passion like none he has ever before experienced, his life hangs in the balance as an American oil company threatens to destroy him unless he betrays the country he loves.

My Thoughts:
This is a film about a man's life as it falls apart, and about how corporate mentality destroys lives.  Vincente is a good man with a happy life, a wonderful relationship with his wife, and a beautiful banana plantation.  An oil company wants to drill off the coast of Costa Rica and the local people, including Vincente oppose it.  Then the exporter that buys Vincente's bananas tells him they can no longer do so, because corporate wants more profit.  Vincente, now faced with losing his plantation, is tempted to take work from the oil company to save it.  As he is tempted in one area, he is tempted in another, by his wife's beautiful half-sister, Irene, who has come to visit.  And when gives into one temptation, he gives into the other, his personal life paralleling his professional one.

This was a good film, but not without its flaws.  It seemed disjointed, as if the filmmaker wasn't certain which story he wanted to tell:  that of the fight against the oil company or that of the love triangle between Vincente, Irene and Abigail.  Or that the filmmaker wanted to tell the love triangle story but thought his film needed more than that.  The flow wasn't always the best and the two stories could have been interwoven better.  You could see the filmmaker tried to do so, because there are obvious parallels and connections between the two stories in Vincente's life.  You also know it isn't going to end well, because Vincente has fallen in love with one woman while he still loves another.  However Vincente's ending feels forced, but there were few ways for the filmmaker to get out of the situation he had created.  I was pleased to see that the two women patched up their relationship at the end, however.

I liked the acting in the film.  I felt all of the three leads did a good job and I understood and sympathized with each of them.  The camera work was average, but Caribe did a good job at showcasing the beauty of Costa Rica and its environment, and what the people had to lose with the entre of oil extraction.

Bechdel Test:  Pass, but barely.  Irene & Abigail talk about their mother, but most of their conversations are about Vincente.

Overall: 2.75/5
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 05:34:04 AM by Danae Cassandra »
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2012, 05:29:39 AM »
Where we're going next:  Columbia

I own two films from Columbia:

- Maria Full of Grace
- La Vendedora de Rosas

I believe we're going to watch La Vendedora de Rosas, but we'll see how we feel on the day.


Incidentally, in case you're wondering, a friend of mine linked me this youtube video explaining the Bechdel test (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s) so I'm going to apply it from now on and see what I get.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2012, 05:38:38 AM »
So, after a long break we have finally made it to Columbia!

During our long break we watched a lot of nature programs, National Geographic specials and several seasons of History Channel documentaries on geology and paleontology.

We also bought another Columbian film, Los viajes del viento (The Wind Journeys) and that's what we have finally watched.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2012, 05:39:55 AM »
Where We Are:  Columbia
wikipedia

What We Watched:


Los viajes del viento (The Wind Journeys)
Year of Release:  2009
Directed By:  Ciro Guerra
Genre:  Drama
Starring:  Marciano Martínez, Yull Núñez

Overview
For most of his life, Ignacio Carrillo travelled the villages of northern Colombia, playing traditional songs on his accordion, a legendary instrument said to have once belonged to the devil. He eventually married and settled in a small town, leaving the nomadic life behind. But after the traumatic death of his wife, he vows to never play the accursed accordion again, and embarks on one last journey to return the instrument to its rightful owner.  On the way, Ignacio is followed by Fermín, a spirited teenager determined to become his apprentice. Tired of loneliness, Ignacio accepts the young man as his pupil and together they traverse the vast Colombian terrain, discovering the musical diversity of Caribbean culture. Hardened by a life of solitude, Ignacio tries to discourage Fermín from following in his footsteps, but destiny has different plans for them.

My Thoughts:
This is a wonderful little film, and one I really enjoyed, but not one for everyone.  It is a slow, character-driven film with very little action.  It showcases beautiful vistas of northern Columbia, and a wonderful look at the vallenato musical culture and its musical landscape.  There is a lot of great accordion music, but the real focus is on Ignacio and Fermín, their characters, their growth, and their relationship.

Los viajes del viento is essential a road movie, with a lot of time spent following Ignacio, his donkey, and Fermín walking through the countryside.  If this sounds dull, this is not a film for you.  The ending brings a catharsis to both characters, but leaves the viewer with questions.  If that bothers you, again, skip this film.  If, however, you like character studies, you want to learn a little about Columbian culture, or you find the idea of this fable-like story intriguing, give it a view.  I thought it was quite a good film.

Bechtel Test:  Fail

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Around the World in 86 Movies
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2012, 05:50:56 AM »
Where we're going next:  Ecuador

I own one film from Ecuador - Cuando Me Toque a Mi (My Time Will Come) - so that's what we'll be watching. 

Hopefully there won't be such a long break this time!
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield