Movies: The Official "Movie of the Week" Club Thread III

Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by TP, Oct 17, 2018.

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  1. TP

    TP Global Moderator

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  2. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    Link to Volume I:
    http://hfboards.mandatory.com/showthread.php?t=1110923 (no longer operative)

    Guidelines for joining and playing (arrgh)

    1) See the current "movie of the week"
    2) Post a review of that film on this thread
    3) Choose your pick for movie of the week which will go at the bottom of the "coming attractions" list below (you can just mention it in your post, and I'll add it to the list--so this post will always provide current informatiion)
    4) Continue to contribute reviews at your own discretion

    No timelines for reviews, but try to post your review of the "movie of the week" as soon as is reasonably convenient

    When the movie that you have picked finally comes up for discussion:

    1) Write a review of your movie
    2) Choose another movie for the "coming attractions" list
    3) Continue to contribute reviews at your own discretion

    Previous Movies of the Week--Volume I movie list

    Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger)
    World on a Wire (Fassbinder)
    Women in the Dunes (Teshigahara)
    Lacombe, Lucien (Malle)
    The Conformist (Bertolucci)
    High and Low (Kurosawa)
    Tropical Malady (Weerasethakul)--all of above on "Last Movie You Watched" threads
    Blow Up (Antonioni)
    Ugetsu (Mizoguchi)
    The Strait of Hunger (Uchida)
    Nosferatu the Vampire (Herzog)
    The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky)
    Suicide Club (Sion)
    The Celebration (Vinterberg)
    The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie (Bunuel)
    Breaking the Waves (Von Trier)
    Red Desert (Antonioni)
    Cafe de Flore (Vallee)
    The Right Stuff (P. Kaufman)
    Spirit of the Beehive (Erice)
    A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven) (Powell/Pressburger)
    Children of Paradise (Carne)
    Hoop Dreams (James)
    Ordet (Dreyer)
    Still Life (Zhang-Ke)
    Funny Games (Haneke)
    Touch of Evil (Welles)
    The Music Room (S. Ray)
    Our Hospitality (Keaton)
    The Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov)
    I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai)
    Nashville (Altman)
    The Mirror (Panahi)
    Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut)
    Secrets and Lies (Leigh)
    The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (Mizoguchi)
    Z (Costa-Gavras)
    Walkabout (Roeg)
    La Ronde (Max Ophuls)
    Winter Light (Bergman)
    Vivre Sa Vie (Godard)
    A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes)
    Pather Panchali (S. Ray)
    The Secret in Their Eyes (Campanella)
    Volver (Almodovar)
    Survive Style 5+ (Sekiguchi)
    The Mirror (Tarkovsky)
    The Maltese Falcon (Huston)
    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Leone)
    Diary of a Country Priest (Bresson)
    The Double Life of Veronique (Kieslowski)
    8 1/2 (Fellini)
    The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz)
    Paris, Texas (Wenders)
    Army of Shadows (Melville)
    Life Is Beautiful (Benigni)
    Fat City (Huston)
    13 Tzameti (Babluani)
    The Five Obstructions (Leth/Von Trier)
    Das Boot (Petersen)
    Trouble in Paradise (Lubitsch)
    Babette's Feast (Axel)
    Barry Lyndon (Kubrick)
    The Virgin Suicides (S. Coppola)
    L'Atalante (Vigo)
    The Killer (Woo)
    Alexandra (Sokurov)
    Purple Noon (Clement)
    Chungking Express (Kar-Wai)
    Synecdoche, New York (C. Kaufman)
    Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci)
    Sex, Lies, and Videotape (Soderbergh)
    Providence (Resnais)
    Amores Perros (Inarritu)
    Revanche (Spielmann)
    The Night of the Hunter (Laughton)
    The Wild Child (Truffaut)
    La Dolce Vita (Fellini)
    The Third Man (Reed)
    Take Shelter (Nichols)
    Before the Rain (Mančevski)
    Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Weerasethakul)
    The Art of Crying (Fog)
    The Human Condition Trilogy (Kobayashi)
    Dillinger Is Dead (Ferreri)
    Once Upon a Time in Anatollia (Ceylan)
    Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo)
    Beyond the Mat (Blaustein)
    A Man and a Woman (Lelouch)
    Grand Illusion (Renoir)
    Kicking and Screaming (Baumbach)
    Persona (Bergman)
    Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick)
    Bringing Up Baby (Hawks)
    My Dinner with Andre (Malle)
    After Life (Koreeda)
    Departures (Takita)
    Like Father, Like Son (Koreeda)
    Contempt (Jean Luc Godard)
    The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan)
    The Great Escape (Sturges)
    A Simple Life (Hui)
    The King of Comedy (Scorsese)
    Mon Oncle Antoine (Jutra)
    The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Puiu)
    People on Sunday (Siodmak brothers, et al)
    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman)
    Jules and Jim (Truffaut)
    PTU (To)
    Norwegian Wood (Tran)
    The Great Dictator (Chaplin)
    The Exterminating Angel (Bunuel)
    M (Lang)
    My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki)
    In the Mood for Love (Kar-Wai)
    Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
    Somewhere (S. Coppola)
    Cafe Lumiere (Hsiao-Hsien)
    Aquirre, Wrath of God (Herzog)
    Le Samourai (Melville)
    Les Diaboliques (Clouzot)
    Alice in the Cities (Wenders)
    Rome, Open City (Rossellini)
    Mother (Bong)
    Lilya 4-Ever (Moodysson)
    North by Northwest (Hitchcock)
    Upstream Color (Carruth)
    Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais)
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Stoppard)
    4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Mungiu)
    Infernal Affairs (Lau and Mak)
    Amour (Haneke)
    All about Eve (Mankiewicz)
    Before Sunrise (Linklater)
    The Consequences of Love (Sorrentino)
    Charulata (S. Ray)
    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Almodovar)
    Jaws (Spielberg)
    Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)
    Werckmeister Harmonies (Tarr)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  3. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    Volume II Movie List

    Previous Movies of the Week, part two


    Casablanca (Curtiz)
    Days of Being Wild (Kar-wai)
    Tokyo Godfathers (Kon/Furuya)
    L'enfant (Dardenne brothers)
    The Thin Red Line (Malick)
    The Beat That My Heart Skipped (Audiard)
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene)
    Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down (Almodovar)
    Cache (Haneke)
    The Official Story (Puenzo)
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill)
    Tokyo Story (Ozu)
    L'eclisse (Antonioni)
    Vampyr (Dreyer)
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry)
    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Nichols)
    Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang)
    Je t'aime, je t'aime (Resnais)
    Star Wars (Lucas)
    Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Petri)
    Missing (Costa-Gavras)
    Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein)
    All That Jazz (Fosse)
    Chinatown (Polanski)
    Love Exposure (Sion)
    Rebel without a Cause (N. Ray)
    The General (Keaton/Bruckman)
    The Wizard of Oz (Fleming)
    Harakiri (Kobayashi)
    Shame (Bergman)
    Mad Max (Miller)
    Man of Flowers (Cox)
    Hunger (McQueen)
    Breathless (Godard)
    The Thin Blue Line (Morris)
    The Rules of the Game (Renoir)
    Kes (Loach)
    Solaris (Tarkovsky)
    Eden (Hansen-Love)
    Mona LIsa (Jordan)
    Citizen Kane (Welles)
    The Big Sleep (Hawks)
    Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda)
    Wings of Desire (Wenders)
    The Cranes Are Flying (Kalatozov)
    The Wages of Fear (Clouzot)
    You, the Living (Andersson)
    Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Resnais)
    Mystery Train (Jarmusch)
    Devils on the Doorstep (Jiang)
    The Fireman's Ball (Forman)
    Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir)
    Fireworks (Takeshi)
    Certified Copy (Kiarostami)
    The Draughtsman's Contract (Greenaway)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford)
    Tokyo Drifter (Suzuki)
    The Wild Bunch (Peckenpah)
    Chinese Take-Out (Borensztein)
    The Gospel according to St. Mathew (Pasolini)
    The Thin Man (Van Dyke)
    Mulholland Drive (Lynch)
    Don't Look Now (Roeg)
    Devil (Zulawski)
    Memories of Murder (Bong)
    Close-Up (Kiarostami)
    L. A. Confidential (Hansen)
    Divorce, Italian Style (Germi)
    Touki Bouki (Mambety)
    The Big Snit (Condie)
    Mean Streets (Scorsese)
    If....(Anderson)
    Blood of the Beasts (Franju)
    A Child's Christmas in Wales (McBrearty)
    What's Opera, Doc? (Jones)
    The Return of Martin Guerre (Vigne)
    Police, Adjective (Porumboiu)
    Menilmontant (Kirsanoff)
    Haider (Bardwaj)
    Armadillo (Pedersen)
    Elephant (Clarke)
    The Chaser (Na)
    A Man Escaped (Bresson)
    Pinky (Kazan)
    Fantasia (various)
    MASH (Altman)
    Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (Haynes)
    Nosferatu (Murneau)
    Talk to Her (Almodovar)
    Killer of Sheep (Burnett)
    The 400 Blows (Truffaut)
    Letters from Iwo Jima (Eastwood)
    Sorcerer (Friedkin)
    The Last Emperor (Bertolucci)
    The Big City (S. Ray)
    Farewell My Concubine (Chen)
    This Is Spinal Tap (Reiner)
    Les Ordres (Brault)
    The Seventh Seal (Bergman)
    Suspiria (Argento)
    The Earrings of Madam de.... (Max Ophuls)
    Beau Travail (Denis)
    Ivan, the Terrible, parts I and II (Eisenstein)
    Fargo (Coen brothers)
    Charade (Donen)
    Silence and Cry (Jancso)
    Love Me or Leave Me (Vidor)
    Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls)
    Battles without Honor and Humanity (Fukasaku)
    Roger and Me (Moore)
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Schnabel)
    In Bruges (McDonagh}
    Cronos (del Toro)
    Hausu (Obayashi)
    The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls)
    The Man without a Past (Kaurismaki)
    Dead Ringers (Cronenberg)
    Salvador (Stone)
    Orpheus (Cocteau)
    Daisies (Chytilova)
    Night in the City (Dassin)
    The Lion in Winter (Harvey)
    Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Parajanov)
    Vive le Tour (Malle)
    Ed Wood (Burton)
    Cameraperson (Johnson)
    Repulsion (Polanski)
    Holy Motors (Carax)
    Punch Drunk Love (Anderson)
    The Last Picture Show (Bogdonavich)
    Truly, Madly, Deeply (Minghella)
    Limelight (Chaplin)
    Amadeus (Forman)
    The Killers (Siegel)
    Only Lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch)
    Floating Clouds (Naruse)
    Tokyo Olympiad (Ichikawa)
    The Gleaners and I (Varda)
    Four Lions (Morris)
    A Sunday in Hell (Leth)
    Network (Lumet)
    The Saga of Anatahan (von Sternberg)
    Last Men in Aleppo (Fayad)
    The Story of Oharu (Mizoguchi)
    Empire of the Sun (Kubrick)
    The Apartment (Wilder)
    Seven Beauties (Wertmuller)
    Haxan (Christensen)
    Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Schrader)
    It's Such a Beautiful Day (Hertzfeldt)
    Death in Venice (Visconti)
    Scarface (Hawks)
    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes)
    Gregory's Girl (Forsyth)
    The Night Porter (Cavani)
    Hero (Zhang)
    The Nun's Story (Zinnemann)
    Band of Outsiders (Godard)
    On the Beach Alone at Night (Hong)
    Las Hurdes (Bunuel)
    The Vanishing (1988) (Sluizer)
    Gun Crazy (Lewis)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 2:18 AM
  4. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    Volume III movie list

    Now Playing

    The Day of the Jackal
    (kihei)

    Coming Attractions

    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Jevo)
    Hollywood Shuffle (KallioWeHardlyKnewYe)
    The Magic Flute (Ralph Spoilsport)
    Maidentrip (kihei)

    Previous movies of the week, part 3

    November (Sarnet)
    Unforgiven (Eastwood)
    The Innocents (Clayton)
    Harlan County USA (Kopple)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 2:17 AM
  5. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    [​IMG]

    November
    (2018) Directed by Rainer Sarnet

    November takes its own sweet time getting to a story and when one emerges it is about the travails of unrequited love. In the backwoods of 19th century Estonia, peasants struggle with a hard life. Even love does not come easy. Liina is in love with Hans and willing to do almost anything to woo him. Hans, meanwhile, is smitten by a visiting German baroness who has some serious sleep-walking issues. The chances are good that neither person is going to find the happy ending that they so desire.

    However, this is no ordinary backwoods Estonia. This is a backwoods Estonia infused with lost souls, strange spirits, werewolf-like creatures, witches, and devils. And then there are the Kratts—decidedly odd creatures constructed from what seems like animal skeletons and discarded plumbing pipes and bicycle spare parts found in some untidy barn or garage. They come in many different forms actually. They can also be snowmen and even rivers for that matter, depending on the circumstances. Most long for a soul to call their own, but that comes at a high price to the user of the Kratt. This is the Estonia of folk legend, dark fairy tales, and rich imagination. Employing black and white cinematography, the movie is first and foremost a beautiful art object to observe, a dark dream of a film in which the supernatural and the mundane seamlessly mix as if it is the easiest thing in the world to go down to the creepy cemetery and have a chat with one’s dead mother. Much of the movie is shot at night when the forest seems at its most enchanted and magical. Throw in a lot of convincing looking peasants whose homely faces and sometimes deranged superstitions grab one’s attention, and the movie casts a spell that is akin to a Grimm’s fairy tale, eastern European variety. Finally, November is filled with haunting images of great beauty—a movie that tells its story in true cinematic fashion relying on pictures more than on words to communicate its secrets.

    The world of November is so convincing and so detailed and so beautifully constructed that I was fascinated by this film from first frame to last. As someone who prefers the visual over the verbal in film, I loved the creativity with which director Rainer Sarnet used the medium to reveal his story, an adaptation of a novel interestingly enough. I wish more movies took this kind of approach and that there were more artists capable of bringing a work of such bewitching imagination to life.

    subtitles
     
  6. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe's review from previous thread:

    November

    Sarnet (2017)
    “Put me to work.”

    Rural Estonia. A peasant community set alongside a stately manor. We meet all sorts of denizens from the doomed young people in love to the handful of haves, to the many, many superstitious have-nots willing to throw their pants on their head to ward off illness. There’s folktales and magic and a semblance of plot, but that’s not really all that important, so let’s just move on.

    WTF. In a good way. But still, WTF. You consume enough movies and eventually it feels like everything is a twist on this or that. Visual style A mixed with plot B and updated for a modern sensibility or whatever. I can truly say I haven’t experience anything quite like November. Sure there’s a classic story of two young people doing the whole ships in the night dance, but what I really want to talk about are the Kratts. What wonderful, memorable creations. Part bone, part mechanical with human souls and a need for physical labor. I imagine the opening scene could be a make-or-break for some. WTF good or WTF bad. It held me about as tightly as the bizzare whirrlygig held that cow. And when the thoughtful, poetic Snowman Kratt was melting toward the end, I’ll admit it was oddly emotional.

    November is a wonderful, memorable creation. I can’t say I understood all parts of it, but it was mezmerizing throuhout and the oh that rich, beautiful black-and-white cinematography ... I settled down to watch this Sunday afternoon fresh off the annual 24-hour horror marathon I attend every year. I was a little worried that after only about an hour of sleep in the previous 30 hours, that this might be a tough watch or maybe I wouldn’t be in the right mindset. I was wrong. That wasn’t a problem at all. In fact, I think November would have fit nicely into the event itself as a thoughtful, atmospheric representative of the genre. Not to say it is horror, because it isn’t quite that. There’s certainly some grotesque imagery at times and an eerie “haunted woods” vibe throughout. There’s death and demons, of a sort. But November is surprisingly funny. There are these absurdist pops, such as the pants scene or when the man makes a woman a “chocolate” dessert. Weird and more than a bit juvenile. But I laughed dammit.

    What an odd, original, lovely film.​
     
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  7. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    My next pick is Fred Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal.(1973).
     
  8. Jevo

    Jevo Registered User

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    November (2017) dir. Rainer Sarnet

    November takes place in a small village in Estonia. The village is inhabited by several fantastical beings, apart from the regular villagers. Such as ghosts of former villagers walking around. Werewolfs, a personification of the Black Death, and Kratt, which are creatures made by old tools to help their master, who gives them life after a deal with the devil. Liina is a young woman in this village, who is in love with Hans, a young man also from the village. However Hans is in love with the daughter of the local manor house, inhabited by Germans of course, not Estonians. Both try to use magical powers to get the attention of their love interest, but as always magic is dangerous.

    November is incredibly rich in mythology, and builds an incredibly strong world for itself. I'd probably have to watch the film another time or two to really get everything there is to get about this world the movie, but it draws you in immediately. The first scene in the movie is quite incredible in this regard. It's a black and white shot from a stationary camera pointed at a lowly farm house. For a moment you wonder if you accidentally put on a Bela Tarr movie by accident, and you realise it's gonna be that kind of movie. But before you've even had time to finish that thought, the first Kratt appears. It's three legged, with the legs like a wheel, all with sharp tools at the ends, and a goat skull in the middle. And you realise you have no idea what kind of movie it's going to be, but you really want to find out what kind of movie it's going to be. I can't remember the last time a movie was able to completely grab my attention so quickly. Really great filmmaking. It takes a while before things really start coming together and a narrative forms. At least it felt like that to me, but that may be partially because I had no idea how this world worked. But even though I didn't really get how it worked or where things were going, I was still really into the movie, because just learning about this world was interesting in itself. The cinematography in November is great. The black and white is very vivid and gives some incredible images. It also makes village life seem even more cold and desolate than it would otherwise. It compliments the story very well.

    When I think about November after having watched the movie. I realise that I forgot to laugh. It's played very matter off factly, so I forgot to laugh at all the funny things that were happening, and there's a lot of them thinking back. Like when the villagers hide from the Black Death by putting their pants on their heads, to make it think they have two asses. It probably means I should watch the movie again some time later, and would love to do that. I think there's a lot of to be gained from a second viewing when you have some idea about what everything really is.
     
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  9. Ralph Spoilsport

    Ralph Spoilsport Rookie Mistake

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    Combine Eraserhead with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and add a good dollop of Devil and you've got a taste of November.

    And I hate to say this because describing a movie by simply listing references to similar movies is a lazy approach (and who outside of this thread has seen Devil anyway) but sometimes, when coming across something as unique and original as November, it's just the most efficient way to go.

    November ought to be a horror movie. It gives us ghosts, devils, hideous looking creatures (oh wait, those are just the villagers) and the ever present air of impending death. But it's not scary. Lo and behold, it's actually a fairytale romance. A very dark and disturbing fairytale romance, but still. Set in a netherworldly village where one can go into the woods at night and sell their soul in exchange for one for their snowman, who will then divulge the wisdom of all the waters of the world (which is a lot), it's like Beauty & The Beast for Goths. Oops, did it again.

    Spooky, creepy, but at the same time enchanting, if that's not too grand a word.
     
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  10. Jevo

    Jevo Registered User

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    Unforgiven (1992) dir. Clint Eastwood

    Big Whiskey, Wyoming is a small frontier town. in the latter part of the 1800s. There's a bank, a sheriff and a bar with "billiards" upstairs. A young prostitute, Delilah, inadvertently laughs at the size of a costumers penis, this makes the man very mad, and he jumps at her with a knife, while calling for his friend from another room. The man slashes Delilah's face several times before he's restrained. The harlots wants revenge, but the punishment dealt by the new sheriff Little Bill (Gene Hackman) isn't satisfactory to them. Little Bill orders the men to pay back the bar owner in horses as a repayment for his damaged property. The harlots put out a bounty on the two men, hoping that assassins from all over the west will come looking for them. Little Bill is an old man with a lot of history in the West, and he used be one of the hard men of it himself. So he knows what kind of people this will bring to the town, and he will do everything in his power to keep them away. Bill is trying to reform himself, and wants to lead a lawful town, although his skills in personal reformation is perhaps only on par with his carpentry skills, and Bill quickly falls back into his old violent ways in an attempt to keep the town lawful. All the way down in Kansas retired wild west legend William Munny (Clint Eastwood) has retired from being a gunman to a small homestead which he built with his now diseased wife. He barely scrapes by in bringing food on the table for his two children. A young confident gunman comes round to Munny's house and tells him about the bounty up in Wyoming, and offers a partnership. Munny initially refuses, but the allure of the bounty coupled with especially hard times at home makes him set off for Wyoming the next day after having picked up his old partner Ned (Morgan Freeman), whom he convinces to join him.

    Unforgiven is probably Eastwood's best work, both as a director and as an actor. Rarely has he taken on roles with as much depth as Munny, perhaps it's his natural talent for looking solemn, but he does it very well. Munny starts out as a man who still, several years on, mourns the death of his wife. The woman that made him stray away from the path in life he was on, which was full of killings, and violence. He wasn't a good man, but she made him. He's an honest farmer, perhaps not a great one, but he's doing his best to care for his kids. And it's probably this desire to care for his kids that tempts him to go for the bounty in the first place. A temptation he would never have acted on had his wife still been alive. She would probably have convinced him that things would turn out all right despite half the hogs being sick and possibly dying. But he's not a strong enough man to see it that way, not with a crisp 300 dollars hanging under his nose. Slowly his old instincts return, and the shivering man who sits alone in saloon when he first comes to Big Whiskey, bears little resemblance to the man who returns to the saloon at the end of the movie. Munny gets his reward, but it's at a big cost. He loses his best friend, but perhaps worst of all, he's once again become the person he least wants to be. Eastwood plays the whole transition of his character very well, and he develops it really well, both as an actor and as a director.

    Gene Hackman is by far the best actor in this film. Perhaps if Richard Harris had more to do, he would have been able to give him a run for his money. For me Little Bill is at least as interesting a character as Munny, and Hackman is a big reason for that. In fact I think the two characters have a lot in common. Bill is also trying to put his old violent ways behind him. He wants to live a more peaceful life far away from where he used to roam. Bill however is not a great person despite his best efforts to change that. Apart from his violent temper he's also very narcissistic, and a misogynist. Maybe being a misogynist isn't very outside of the norm in the old west. He's certainly not the only character in the movie who mainly considers prostitutes as a commodity, not people. But his refusal to give a punishment which is satisfactory to the prostitues is what brings his eventual downfall. Maybe he was trying to bring a little less violence into the world by not whipping the two men anyway. We can't really know, but it is sort of ironic that his attempt to stay away from violence, is what really brings the violence to Big Whiskey. To keep the bounty hunters away from Big Whiskey, Bill uses the tactic of being the biggest bully, which will hopefully makes the bounty hunters stay away. As such he's quickly falling back into his old ways of violence just like Munny, and he's again becoming the person he tried not to be.

    When the westerns died out, Clint Eastwood was one of the few people keeping it alive. He was probably also one of the few names which could draw people into the theatre for a western. He directed several quite good ones in the 70s and 80s, and Unforgiven is his final western, and definitely his best as a director. A fitting end to that part of his career. There's a lot of nice things about Unforgiven, but for me the highlight is the duality between Little Bill and William Munny, two men more alike than they'd might like, William and William, hardly a coincidence.
     
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  11. Jevo

    Jevo Registered User

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    My next pick is The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
     
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  12. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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    Unforgiven
    Eastwood (1992)
    “Deserves got nothing to do with it.”

    A pair of rough cowboys cut and maim prostitute in the frontier town of Big Whiskey. There is no justice there for them. The Sheriff, Little Bill, shrugs off the crime. The women pool their money for outside help. It arrives first in the form of English Bob a dandy of a legendary gunslinger who rides into town with his own biographer in tow. Bill exposes Bob as the fraud he is and runs him out of town, the biographer staying behind to document a new legend ... Meanwhile William Munny, a famed killer in his own right, is tending farm peacefully as a single father hiding from his violent past. A braggart calling himself The Scofield Kid comes calling for his help to go kill the cowboys. He reluctantly signs on and recruits his old riding buddy Ned to accompany them. Unfortunately for Munny, no one is who the claim to be (or once were), and the man of peace if pulled back into his bloody ways.

    It is another classic Western watched here many pages ago that includes the famed line, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Unforgiven is a film filled with men who are mere print legends and only one who is the authentic thing. Oh the irony. The only man who truly is a classic killer of the stories is the one most resistant to the notion, the one who has spent years putting distance between himself and those “wicked ways.” English Bob is phony. Scofield is a liar. Ned ain’t what he used to be and while there is a cold and calculated competence to Little Bill, he’s surrounded by the power of a posse and when faced with a true killer ... he’s found lacking. But Munny, despite his internal and external protests, cannot deny who he is. There’s a power in that inevitability that is equal parts thrilling and tragic.

    We bring the weight of expectations and history to every thing we watch. How much we let that influence our thoughts depends. I’m can be susceptiable to letting these thoughts in, sometimes to the detriment of the film. Not here though. History and context is so essential to the greatness of Unforgiven in my mind, so much so that I wonder how the movie plays to those with little familiarity with Eastwood or westerns. Is it great in a bubble or does it achieve its greatness because it so perfectly builds upon all that history? It was Eastwood’s last true western (A Perfect World is a bit of a modern one ...) and about as effective an elegy for the genre as there is. And it’s a definitive transition from the man of old to the old man.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I actually took a film class in college that was all about Clint Eastwood (had a real text book and everything). The first few weeks were on him in general and the persona he created, particularly though Westerns. The bulk of it was Eastwood the director. We started at High Plains Drifter (which I liked) and ended with Unforgiven (which I love). All the entries in the middle, however, I thought were middling at best. (Yes, including The Outlaw Josey Wales and Pale Rider, which is a higher-budget glossier rehash of High Plains Drifter). Anyway, by the time we hit Unforgiven, it was such a massive leap from everything before it ...

    It’s so clearly his best film in my mind. Still to this day. Certainly as a director and possibly as an actor as well. His fevered hallucinations are a little corny and heavy-handed, but otherwise there isn’t a wrong note here. The script lays a lot of track. I particularly like Bill’s early observation that the key in a gunfight is keeping ones head. This is something that not a single man in his posse is able to do when the **** goes down. Munny, crouched in the center of an open room, cuts down the entire crew, not a single one who can shoot straight. Beauchamp wants an explanation for how it went down, but Munny has none. He merely reacts like the animal he is at heart. Death isn’t an orchestrated set piece. It’s quick and sloppy and as much dumb luck as high skill. But again, only one person in the movie seems to understand this.

    Hackman’s performance is one of his best. And that even feels like I’m underselling.
     
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  13. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    Great review.
     
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  14. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    Unforgiven
    (1992) Directed by Clint Eastwood

    Unforgiven is the best movie that Clint Eastwood ever directed and contains his best performance. When we first meet him, William Bonney is a stumblebum of a hog farmer trying to raise two small children. A widower, he tries to do the best he can to take care of his family and to keep on the sober side of moral rectitude. He once was a hired gun who killed women and children without a second thought, but his late wife seems to have worked magic on his soul. He now struggles to stay true to her memory and her example, but he really hasn’t got much to show for his redemption. He’s stopped drinking but his life remains hard and shabby. When a young gun asks him for help bringing a couple of cowboys to justice for scarring a prostitute, he first demurs than reluctantly goes along because he needs the money, bringing his best friend Jethro (Morgan Freeman) into the pursuit as well. What follows is cruel and messy and life-altering. Justice, in a manner of speaking, is done but at a high cost.

    Unforgiven immerses itself in moral relativism; it’s the blood that flows through its veins—the bad guys have some good in them and the good guys have some bad in them, and sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. But you can also understand exactly why each man behaves as he does. These men aren't at peace with their contradictions necessarily, but they have accepted them as inescapable. All of these complex, imperfect characters lend the movie a particular weight especially as eventual violence pervades the atmosphere of the film from start to finish. In the end there is no triumphal justice served, ala High Noon or Shane or even 3:10 to Yuma. Rather it is a tawdry kind of justice that is necessary but which leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth (but for good reasons).

    Unforgiven is certainly among the best half dozen Westerns ever made, but I’ve always been troubled by the final big scene—the scene where William takes his revenge on Little Bill. It smacks too much of Dirty Harry and not enough of the wreck that William Bonney is, a fact the movie has been establishing since its opening scene. Eastwood/Bonney's sudden near super-hero prowess in the revenge scene just feels like an off-note to me. For once in his career, Eastwood has actually disappeared into a character. For Eastwood’s longstanding persona to reemerge in the end, if only slightly, mars the denouement of the film. However everything else about Unforgiven is so sure and so true that this single lapse doesn’t detract from the deep melancholy and undeniable power of the film
     
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  15. Ralph Spoilsport

    Ralph Spoilsport Rookie Mistake

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    Still waiting to see Unforgiven, my usually reliable source is not so reliable. not sure why the delay. :huh:

    Least I can do in the meantime is bump the thread back to page one.
     
  16. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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  17. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    It's of course possible to pick apart any such list but that's a pretty solid one. I have a hunch that I prefer this list to Sight and Sound's similar list. I have seen 95 of the films, 78 of the first 80. My only real caveat would be that even though there are 12 21st century films included, the century is still grossly under represented. It has been a superb century for international film so far, but as usual with such lists it will be a while before many of the most recent films that should be included gain the kind of credibility that only comes with time.
     
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  18. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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    I am, somewhat sadly, at only 53 of the 100. As I've mentioned in occasional writings here, despite my love of movies and of foreign movies, I have some big blindspots and some of which are really highlighted here — Ozu, the Italian neorealists, and (oddly) more films from the last 30 years that I would have expected, especially ones from Asia (Wong Kar-Wai excluded).

    Edit: Wow, a whopping 17 of the 47 movies I haven't seen are from the last 3 decades.
     
  19. Jevo

    Jevo Registered User

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    I'm at 87 out of the 100. My big blindspot is the 80s and 90s it seems. 10 out of the 13 are from between 1988 and 2000. It's a pretty good list overall. It hits most of the greatest hits, but at the same time there's not a lot of surprises in there. That being said, there were a few of the ones that I haven't watched, that wasn't on my radar already, so perhaps they should be.
     
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  20. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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    The Innocents
    Clayton (1961)
    “There are too many whispers in this house.”

    Miss Giddens is hired to be the governess for a pair of kids. They are the niece and nephew of a man only referred to here as The Uncle, a city man with a city life and no desire to be anything to these young charges more than a relative by name. The previous governess died under mysterious circumstances. Things are fine at the idylic country house at first. Flora is a joy. But Miles has an incident at school and is sent back home. The situation, to Miss Giddens, becomes gradually more tenuous. Turns out there aren’t just one, but two dead former employees — a pair of lovers at that. Love, especially of a physical sort, seems to be a foreign and off-putting thing to Giddens. She nearly coils in disgust as the helpful Mrs. Grose fills her in on the backstory. This fever and suspicion builds in her as she begins seeing the former Miss Jessel and Quint and suspecting that their ghostly hands are at play with the kids, especially with Miles. But who is really losing it here — the kids or her? The movie is too shrewd to give us a clear answer one way or another.

    I’ll cop to a bias up front. The Innocents is one of my all-time favorite horror/ghost stories. Two big factors in that are Kerr, who gives a stellar performance as a suppressed woman slowly coming unraveled. There’s just a gradual widening of her eyes as the film moves along and a speeding of her voice. The second is the cinematography of the great Freddie Francis whose credits include Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Elephant Man and The French Lieutenant’s Woman not to mention a few turns in the director chair for Hammer Horror pics. It’s a classic ghost story, but the haunts often aren’t in the shadows of a creepy house. It’s in the daylight, out in the open, maybe peering through a window or standing placidly across a rainy pond. The first time we see Miss Jessel remains burned in my brain. It’s such a simple and effective scare. No jump cut or stinging strings of score to punctuate it. I shouldn’t short shrift Clayton, who would go on to take a noble swing at The Great Gatsby (Redford one) and do the kid-friendly (with friendly kids!) Bradberry adaptation Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    The Innocents is based on the classic Henry James story, The Turn of the Screw and here is co-adapted by none other than Truman Capote, which is why Miles sounds so erudite throughout. The subtext isn’t far from being text here, which leads me to a quirk of my most recent viewing experience ....

    I had the pleasure of seeing this on the big screen for the first time. It was during the annual 24-hour horror movie marathon I attend. It’s a good crowd for some things, but as I learned here, not the best crowd for all things horror. This proved to be one of those cases. Dialogue and actions that play one way at home in a quiet house play quite different in a rowdy theater of horror-mad dudes (let’s face it, it was definitely about 85 percent guys in this crowd). The increasingly adult exchanges between Giddens and Miles, especially as the film approaches its climax, really were taken for laughs by the group. On one hand that bummed me out since that’s one of the more unsettling things as The Innocents creeps along, but on the other, I have to admit some of it did play rather awkwardly funny. I hope most whom I saw it with will revisit in a more reverent setting.
     
  21. KallioWeHardlyKnewYe

    KallioWeHardlyKnewYe Blue Jacket's Curse

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    My next pick will be Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle (1987).
     
  22. kihei

    kihei Registered User

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    [​IMG]

    The Innocents
    (1961) Directed by Jack Clayton

    Based on Henry James’ enduring horror story The Turn of the Screw (there is nothing else even remotely like it in the rest of James’ canon), The Innocents is a successful cinematic reworking of one of the best ghost stories ever told. Hired by a charming but uncaring uncle to take responsibility for two small children who have been unfortunately dropped in his lap by circumstance, the unworldly and inexperienced Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) is hired to look after the children on the uncle’s remote country estate. She has full authority over them because the uncle doesn’t wish to bother with them anymore. Assisted mainly by a kindly housekeeper, Miss Giddens at first eagerly warms to her task and loves the children, but it is not long before strange occurrences begin to make her question just what is going on. Either the house is haunted and the children are victims of cruel sexual exploitation or Miss Giddens herself is unhinged and reacting to things that aren’t real. As the incidents pile up, Miss Giddens reads what is happening in her own feverish way and the situation goes from bad to very much worse.

    I remember seeing this movie as a young teenager at the local movie theatre. I saw the movie one very simple way—Miss Giddens is trapped in a haunted house and trying to protect the children as best she can, though she is increasingly over-matched by the events taking place. However, seeing it again the other night, the far more older and experienced me saw it another way: Miss Giddens is the real villain here, and her wild imagination imperils the children whom she is supposed to be safeguarding. There is a whole Freudian dimension that I missed initially because I was at that point in my life unfamiliar with Freud. To wit, Miss Giddens, a mature, high-strung, sexually repressed woman, harbours hidden desires of the most unnerving kind that she cannot admit to consciously but which affect her behaviour nonetheless. In crude Freudian terms what this boils down to is Miss Giddens needed a good **** and never got one and the lack of such a release of her inner demons has driven her into being a crazed nut case (this laughably sexist logic also shows you why Freud has gone so far out of fashion over the last fifty years or so). Both readings—she’s a victim of her overheated imagination; she’s the true defender of the children--are like two sides of the same coin, and both interpretations exist in the movie in about equal measure. Or are they equal?

    I remember when I first saw the film I didn’t like the ending. Now, given my more thorough reading of the film, the final scene really fits very nicely and reinforces the “repressed spinster” side of the argument. In fact, the Freudian implications of the movie are overpowering this time around. It helps that Miss Giddens is played by the seemingly ever pristine Deborah Kerr, an actress who like Audrey Hepburn would appear to be made of porcelain and entirely free from messy bodily functions of any kind. To think of the ever prim and proper Miss Kerr running the gamut of sexual fantasies from child sex to sodomy to sado-masochism is, for lack of a better term at the moment, deliciously perverse. Cleverly the movie never explicitly shows what might have happened to the children, but nonetheless manages to suggest a lot between the lines though perhaps only in Miss Giddens’ imagination. Then there is Miss Giddens' own contribution to their trauma. For instance, in an attempt to comfort, Kerr gives not one but two passionate kisses (on different occasions) on the mouth of the little boy—these days those moments carry an even more powerful charge than they did in 1961. I would love to know what Kerr thought about those scenes. Whatever her opinion, it is difficult to imagine an actress better suited to giving the undertones of her character impact than Kerr.

    With super heavyweight writers like John Mortimer and Truman Capote partially credited for the screenplay, I think we can conclude that all these not especially subtle nuances and Freudian overtones are fully intended. They give the movie a slightly risque quality that has only grown more pronounced over the years.
     
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  23. Ralph Spoilsport

    Ralph Spoilsport Rookie Mistake

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    Presumably everything was fine at Bly, the British country estate owned by a man called "uncle". Mrs Grose took care of the house, Mr Quint took care of the garden, Miss Jessel took care of the children and kept uncle out of the loop…the way he liked it. Quint and Jessel had a thing going on and were at times caught in the act by servants and possibly the children. Then tragedy struck; Quint died suddenly and Jessel, in grief, took her own life. The ghosts of the two lovers now roam the estate and possess the souls of the children. Into this situation comes the new governess Miss Giddens. As she grasps the horror of the situation her own sanity begins to unravel.

    But don't worry, uncle will come along and sort everything out. Right? Sure he will. I mean, Michael Redgrave was too big a star to appear in just one scene, and get top billing to boot. But what? He doesn't show up? That's a bit disturbing, as Miss Giddens is clearly in over her head. Either that's a nice piece of strategic casting, or Redgrave has a really, really good agent.

    The most disturbing details of The Innocents are the ones we expect the least. Sure, there are plenty of dark shadows and bumps in the night to set the atmosphere. But it is the delicate and beautiful things which tip us off to the presence of evil: a butterfly (being eaten alive by a spider), the sweet singing of a gentle voice (of unknown origin), the petals of a flower (which crumble to the touch), the singing of birds (which give way to the menacing cawing of crows), a recital of poetry (to resurrect the dead), the laughter of children (albeit evil children). There's a lot to unpack and sort through, given the movie's undercurrents of sexual repression and suppression, but whatever your take--it's all in her mind/those ghosts are real--corruption of the heart and soul would seem to be a constant basic theme and these scary details, found in the most unscary things, reflect this.

    The job interview scene with Miss Giddens and the uncle is a kind of perverse marriage ceremony. Two people uniting for the welfare of their children, who actually are neither theirs, they hold hands at one point and take vows; she to love the children and care for them, he to not love them or care at all. The uncle's heartlessness, and the governess' attempt to be understanding--commending his honesty rather than calling him out for being the bastard that he is--is itself a harbinger of bad things to come.

    Great Halloween pick!
     
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  24. Ralph Spoilsport

    Ralph Spoilsport Rookie Mistake

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    My number is 85, or thereabouts. There's a couple that I think I've seen, but I'm not sure.

    I'm a sucker for these kinds of lists, especially if the full voting results are included. Post a link, and I'll get very little work done that day.

    I pasted the individual ballots into an excel spreadsheet and crunched the numbers a little bit. Because I'm suspicious of the BBC's one-to-ten point scale: one rogue critic who may be nuts about The Room (or it's foreign-language equivalent) could place it at #1 and that would carry as much weight as another film which shows up on ten other lists at the final spot. Doesn't seem right to me.

    The Sight & Sound poll doesn't ask respondents to rank their films and assign point value accordingly; they just count the number of ballots on which a title appears. The drawback here is that it's hard to get a clean "Top 100". There were 91 movies with 6 or more votes, then a 16-way tie for the final eight spots. But then, S&S is only looking for a top 10 list, and their method works for what it is intended to achieve.

    The S&S method would work in the favour of a few 21st century films if applied here. In The Mood For Love jumps from #9 to #3. City of God moves into the top 20. Beau Travail and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon also make big gains. Of course, some classics benefit from dropping the point system too. The 400 Blows for example moves from #8 to #4.

    I thought you should know.
     
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  25. Amerika

    Amerika Acute suppression of the libido!

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    Surprised that you guys have such a high opinion of Unforgiven. I thought it did a lot of things well but that it was ultimately a lazy film which took the easy way out far too often. Didn't really know what it wanted to be and ended up veering within both sides of the fence. Gene Hackman does dominate, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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