Author Topic: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon  (Read 21025 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2015, 02:20:52 PM »


Une femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman)
Year of Release: 1961
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Jean-Claude Brialy, Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Musical

Overview:
With A Woman is a Woman (Une Femme est une femme), compulsively innovative director Jean-Luc Godard presents "a neorealist musical—that is, a contradiction in terms." Featuring French superstars Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Jean-Claude Brialy at their peak of popularity, A Woman is a Woman is a sly, playful tribute to—and interrogation of—the American musical comedy, showcasing Godard's signature wit and intellectual acumen. The film tells the story of exotic dancer Angéla (Karina) as she attempts to have a child with her unwilling lover Émile (Brialy). In the process, she finds herself torn between him and his best friend Alfred (Belmondo). A dizzying compendium of color, humor, and the music of renowned composer Michel Legrand, A Woman is a Woman finds the young Godard at his warmest and most accessible, reveling in and scrutinizing the mechanics of his great obsession: the cinema.

My Thoughts:
This is a bright, playful, colorful film. It's a musical, too, sorta. Of course, it's also more than a bit absurd, but were we expecting anything else from Godard? I certainly wasn't. It's a film that knows it's a film, and breaks the fourth wall, with characters posing for and talking to the camera, with text on screen to describe emotions, the music cuts in and out seemingly on whim. Still, it's a fun film, more accessible than some of Godard's work that I've seen. The performances of the three main actors are quite good, especially Anna Karina's - she has to practically carry the film, and she does an excellent job at it. That said, it takes a bit to get into the film at first, and some bits can get irritating (why does Emile ride his bike around the dining room? and was there really a need to repeat the book title 'conversation' scene?).

I enjoyed it, but it will be a while before I would want to watch it again. Like any of Godard's work, this is recommended for the art film lover only.

Bechdel Test: Pass, barely

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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 02:24:15 PM »


F For Fake
Year of Release: 1973
Directed By: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Oja Kodar
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
Trickery. Deceit. Magic. In Orson Welles's free-form documentary F for Fake, the legendary filmmaker (and self-described charlatan) gleefully engages the central preoccupation of his career—the tenuous line between truth and illusion, art and lies. Beginning with portraits of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his equally devious biographer, Clifford Irving, Welles goes on a dizzying cinematic journey that simultaneously exposes and revels in fakery and fakers of all stripes—not the least of which is Welles himself. Charming and inventive, F for Fake is an inspired prank and a searching examination of the essential duplicity of cinema.

My Thoughts:
What is art? Why do we value it? Because we appreciate it, aesthetically? Because it is beautiful, or it speaks to us? Or because someone has told us it is rare and valuable? If we loved a painting, do we then hate it if exposed as a fake?

What is a documentary? Is it a true story, or simply a piece of non-fiction? If we enjoyed a story we believed to be true, and later found out it was fake, is our enjoyment less?

Does our knowledge of something make it more valuable? Or does it make it worthless?

Endlessly interesting film, and worth watching - if only for Welles' wonderful, creative use of editing. Don't watch it if you need a straight story told in a linear fashion. That isn't what Welles is after here, and if you're expecting that you'll be disappointed.

Bechdel 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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2015, 05:15:45 AM »


James and the Giant Peach
Year of Release: 1996
Directed By: Henry Selick
Starring: Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon, Paul Terry
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Animation

Overview:
In an all-new digitally restored special edition from Tim Burton, the acclaimed director of Alice In Wonderland, comes the astounding film that captured the hearts of fans and critics all across the world. Inspired by Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, Burton, Denise Di Novi and Director Henry Selick combine a fascinating mix of live-action, stop-motion animation and computer-generated special effects to create a world beyond your imagination.

After the daring rescue of a spider, a young boy named James gains possession of some magic crocodile tongues. When James spills them in the garden, out sprouts an enormous peach! Climbing inside, he meets an astonishing cast of characters and embarks on a magical odyssey full of thrills and adventure. Voiced by an all-star cast, including legendary actors Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Simon Callow and Jane Leeves, and featuring the celebrated music of Randy Newman, this classic story is delicious entertainment for the whole family!

My Thoughts:
This is a whimsical, fantastical adventure, more than a bit absurd and bizarre, but if you put aside a need for it to conform to the real world, it's a fun story. 

I almost think that the over-exaggeration of things in the film reflects a child's mindset.  James is like 7, and the movie is taking you into the world as he sees it, where things are bigger, scarier, more colorful than they actually are. 

The animation and character designs are really outstanding.   The color, the designs, and the care put into the puppets is simply wonderful.  If you love stop motion the film is worth seeing simply for that.

There are also several good messages for kids:  Family are the people who love you.  The smallest acts of kindness, even to the smallest of creatures, may have consequences and benefits you cannot see.  Stand up for yourself and stand up to your fears - that which has power over you only has the power you give it. 

Recommended for animation lovers, folks who like the works of Tim Burton (he's a producer here), and older kids who won't mind things being a bit creepy or scary. 

Bechdel Test:  Pass

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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2015, 12:42:18 AM »


The African Queen
Year of Release: 1951
Directed By: John Huston
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn
Genre: Adventure, Romance

Overview:
Starring Academy Award® winners* HUMPHREY BOGART and KATHARINE HEPBURN, The African Queen tells the timeless tale of two mismatched strangers joining forces in a common cause – and finding love along the way. Meticulously restored from the original film elements, the story chronicles the burgeoning romance between Bogie's river rat Charlie Allnut and Hepburn's missionary Rose Sayer, as they reluctantly join forces to torpedo a German gunboat in war-torn East Africa. Directed by Academy Award® winner** JOHN HUSTON, and filmed on location in the Belgian Congo, The African Queen is arguably one of the finest films ever made – with one of the most legendary star pairings ever to appear on the screen!

My Thoughts:
What a great film!  It's a simple story, and there are only really two stars - but if you had to have two people to carry a movie, you certainly aren't going to get much better than Bogart & Hepburn.  They're both spectacular.  This is the heart and soul of the film, and they make their characters interesting and compelling.  The story, while simple, has plenty of excitement, and is a good mix of action and romance, with bits of humor sprinkled in.  The cinematography is great, for a film of this age - some of the effects, which would have been extremely good for their day, are pretty obvious today for being effects, but you do have to consider the age here.  None of the rest of it, however, would matter without the superb performances from Bogart & Hepburn.  Highly recommended, can't think of anyone I wouldn't rec this to.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 4.5/5
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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2015, 08:07:43 PM »


Sabrina
Year of Release: 1954
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden
Genre: Romance, Comedy

Overview:
Sabrina is charming, humorous and aglow with some of Hollywood's greatest stars. Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Audrey Hepburn star in a Cinderella story directed by renowned filmmaker Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot). Bogie and Holden are the mega-rich Larrabee brothers of Long Island. Bogie's all work, Holden's all playboy. But when Sabrina, daughter of the family's chauffeur, returns from Paris all grown up and glamorous, the stage is set for some family fireworks as the brothers fall under the spell of Hepburn's delightful charms.

My Thoughts:
This was a lovely movie to watch on Valentine's Day.  Audrey Hepburn is charming and lovely, Holden is appropriately handsome, charming and unreliable, and Bogie is dapper and serious.

While I understand her noticing David first, because he is handsome and wild, and Linus is so solemn and practical, I can't understand ever preferring David.  I guess that is the side-effect of watching this at 40 - and the point of the film, in Sabrina growing up and becoming more mature.  In fact, each of them has a nice character arc, and I found the script and story to be very well done. 

This is an old-fashioned romance, so don't expect anything racier than dancing and kissing.  There was also a much more romantic feel to it than many more modern films.  You don't see films like this any more.  Recommended for lovers of classic cinema.

Bechdel Test: Fail

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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2015, 05:30:20 AM »


Millennium
Year of Release: 1989
Directed By: Michael Anderson
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Cheryl Ladd, Daniel J. Travanti, Robert Joy, Brent Carver
Genre: Science-Fiction

Overview:
Time travel, the fate of air disaster victims and the future of mankind provide the thrilling ingredients for MILLENNIUM.  In this on-the-edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson), chief investigator for the NTSB, is sifting through wreckage of two jumbo jets invoved in a midair collision when he uncovers a strange alien device amid the rubble.  What is it?  Where did it come from?

His questions are answered when he meets Louise (Cheryl Ladd), a woman from the future whose do-or-die mission is to travel back in time and recover the lost "stunner."  Is she running out of time?  Will Bill Smith's knowledge of the future jeopardize the course of history?  Is the future of mankind now a thing of the past?  One thing's for sure...the suspense never lets up.

My Thoughts:
I've always enjoyed this movie. Sure, the effects are dated now, and it's a bit slow, and a bit campy. But I enjoyed it when it came out, and twenty six years later I still enjoy it. I think it deals very well with the questions surrounding time-travel and paradox. It's very much a concept film, relying on premise and imagination, rather than action. If this doesn't appeal, or if you're turned off by the obvious low budget, this isn't a film for you. The acting is solid, in my opinion, but nothing spectacular.

It's never going to appear on any list of the 'greatest sci-fi movies of all time,' but this film still holds a special place in my heart. The one part I didn't remember from the last time I saw this (gad, at least a decade ago), is also the worst part - the ending. On the DVD is an alternate ending which all three of us agreed would have been the better choice. Recommended for the hardcore sci-fi fan.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline DSig

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2015, 08:43:40 PM »
On Millennium i fully agree.  It is an odd film and i always think that it is a bit *off* (or maybe it is me) but I do enjoy it anyway.  For its day it does hand time paradox very well.
And Kris Kristofferson .. there are even moments in this that he actually seems to be acting <g>.  A fun movie and not a waste of time.
Thank you
David

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2015, 02:16:17 PM »


Year of Release: 2008

You'll find the review for this one posted in the Around-the-World Marathon thread.

Yup, still cheating.   :-[
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 03:20:20 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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2015, 02:33:20 AM »


Baraka
Year of Release: 1992
Directed By: Ron Fricke
Starring: Humanity
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
In the ancient Sufi language, it is a word that translates to 'the thread that weaves life together.' In the pantheon of modern cinema, it remains one of the most unique and acclaimed motion picture events of our time. Shot in breathtaking 70mm in 24 countries on six continents, BARAKA is a transcendent global tour that explores the sights and sounds of the human condition like nothing you've ever seen or felt before. These are the wonders of a world without words, viewed through man and nature's own prisms of symmetry, savagery, chaos and harmony.

My Thoughts:
If ever a movie should be called poetic, this is that movie.  This is most a work of art, a creation of tone, image, and theme.  It is also stunningly, magnificently beautiful.

Humanity reaches for, longs for, a spiritual connection.  Perhaps it is found in religion, perhaps in community, perhaps in nature.  But our commodified civilization, and humanity's cruelty (to each other, to other creatures, to nature) drive us away from each other and further from true spiritual connection. 

A film everyone ought to see, yet a film that is not for everyone.  A moving, powerful composition, meditative, forceful, simple and profound.

Bechdel Test: Not Applicable

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

Offline Achim

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2015, 05:22:55 AM »
Baraka is a stunning film, especially on Blu-ray.

I also own his more recent film Samsara, but have not seen that yet. Criterion collection also released the Qatsi Trilogy, but I believe these films are making a stronger attempt at conveying messages (owned, also not watched yet).

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2015, 04:24:09 PM »
I haven't watched Samsara either, though like you I have it.  I watched Koyaanisqatsi several years ago on DVD, but didn't get around to watching the other two Qatsi films, and though I upgraded for the Criterion blu set, I haven't watched it yet either.  Definitely plan to get to them at some point, though.  Especially after watching Baraka.
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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2015, 02:50:15 PM »


Into the Wild
Year of Release: 2007
Directed By: Sean Penn
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone
Genre: Drama, Adventure

Overview:
Into the Wild is inspired by the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a young man who abandons his life of comfort to pursue the freedom of life on the road, a quest that leads him to the Alaskan wilderness and the ultimate challenge of his life. Screenplay and directed by Sean Penn and featuring an all-star cast including William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener and Hal Halbrook, Into the Wild is "as stirring, entertaining and steadfastly thrilling as it is beautiful." (Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal).

My Thoughts:
Is it better to die young, happy, living life on your own terms?  Or to live to an old age, doing what is expected of you by your family and society, but never reaching for your dreams?  How much courage does it take to do the former?  What do you lose with the latter? 

Wonderful adaptation of a book based on a true story.  Krakauer's book is even further thought provoking, and one I've read several times over.  This is my second viewing of the film, and I still enjoy it very much.  More than once I've heard it said that McCandless needed "sense."  If McCandless took things to one extreme, most of us live the other, comfort and security with never any adventure. 

This is not recommended if you need a happy ending. 

Bechdel Test: Fail

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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2015, 11:03:41 PM »


The Quiet Man
Year of Release: 1952
Directed By: John Ford
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Overview:
NEWLY RE-MASTERED IN HD FROM A 4K SCAN OF THE ORIGINAL NEGATIVE, John Ford’s The Quiet Man celebrates one of Hollywood’s most romantic and enduring epics. The first American feature to be filmed in Ireland’s picturesque countryside, this masterpiece is imbued with Ford’s love of Ireland and its people.

Sean Thornton (John Wayne) is an American boxer who swears off fighting after he accidentally kills an opponent in the ring. Returning to the Irish town of his youth, he reclaims his family’s homestead and falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara). When she insists Sean conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner, he has to take on matchmaker Barry Fitzgerald (Michaeleen Oge Flynn) as their chaperone and face her brother Squire “Red” Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen). Will refuses to consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a dowry to the husband, but Sean couldn’t care less about that. When Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward for not standing up to her brother and walks out on him, Sean is finally ready to take matters in his own hands. The resulting fistfight erupts into the longest brawl ever filmed, followed by one of the most memorable reconciliations in movie history!

The Quiet Man won two Academy Awards® including Best Director (Ford) and Best Cinematography, and received five more nominations, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (McLaglen).

My Thoughts:
This is a wonderfully entertaining film. It's light and breezy, romantic and filled with colorful characters and some darn good performances. John Wayne is atypically just a normal guy here, not a cowboy or a soldier, and he does a great job with it. Given his reputation, the subtlety he brings to his performance here can be surprising. Maureen O'Hara is as lovely as ever, and the cinematography is stunning.

I'd like to recommend this for anyone, but it isn't very PC, especially viewed with a modern gaze. Parts of this film would be very different if made today. You'd never see the casual treatment of wife-beating, for instance. But don't mistake that casual treatment by the locals for the film endorsing it. Both times Sean is offered a stick to beat his wife with he discards it. As he's the moral center of the film, his refusal tells us really doesn't condone marital violence. Sean offers violence (the dragging, the fight) only to appease local tradition ("It's your custom, not mine"). Yet you wouldn't see it made this way today. The subtlety of that statement (simply discarding the stick) would be to easily lost.

A great film, and my personal favorite of Wayne's oeuvre.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 4/5
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 11:06:28 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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2015, 04:46:18 AM »


Falkens oga (Kestrel's Eye)
Year of Release:
Directed By: Mikael Kristersson
Starring: A family of kestrels
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
"Kestrel's Eye" is unlike any nature film you've ever seen. Filmed over several years, it is a wonder-filled portrait of a family of kestrels (European falcons) who live in a church tower above a small Swedish town. The amazing cinematography, nominated for a Swedish Oscar, captures the intimacy of the birds' lives and creates an "utterly mesmerizing and startlingly original film."

My Thoughts:
Two kestrels meet, mate, set up their home in a church steeple and raise their young.  They watch the humans go about their activities below.  Yes, that's absolutely it as far as the story goes.  There's no narration, nothing giving either information or creating a story around the birds.  Truly, documentary in its purest form - simply documenting the lives of these birds, inviting the viewer to share them and draw their own conclusions.  The cinematography is amazing, especially the views inside the nest that the filmmakers were able to capture. 

If watching birds go about their lives for an hour and half sounds dull, this is not the film for you.  If this sounds like the fascinating portrait of these kestrels lives that I found it to be (or you think baby birds are adorable!) then I can recommend it. 

Bechdel Test: Not Applicable

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: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2015, 03:52:49 AM »


Ordeal in the Arctic
Year of Release: 1993
Directed By: Mark Sobel
Starring: Richard Chamberlain, Catherine Mary Stewart, Melanie Mayron, Scott Hylands, Page Fletcher
Genre: Drama, Disaster

Overview:
October 30th, 1991, a Canadian Airforce CC-130 Herc, Box Top 22 tail number 322, left Edmondton, via Greenland, on its way to Alert a top-secret military listening post on Ellesmere Island. The captain John Couch, could see the lights of the airstrip at Alert, so he decided to go by his eyes instead of his instruments. Eighteen passengers and only 5 were killed by the crash. Roland Pitre was the first to hit the ground, he was the loadmaster. Although they were only a few miles from the base of Alert, a blizzard and the terrain, made it impossible for help to be sent at once, although every effort was made to get to them.

My Thoughts:
The story is harrowing to think about, being trapped at the site of the crash in the Arctic for 32 hours, slowly freezing to death, and you can really feel that bitter cold just sitting on the couch, watching this film.  There is a lot of attention to keeping the film as realistic as possible, and to keep to the truth of the events.  For all its obvious low budget, I found the film to be quite well done.  Richard Chamberlain has long been a favorite of mine, and he does not disappoint me here.  His portrayal of the guilt-ridden pilot is the finest in the cast, though I thought they all did a good job.  Recommended if you like disaster films and/or true stories.

Bechdel Test:  Pass

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