Author Topic: Write about the last movie you watched (2006-2010)  (Read 3811158 times)

Nathan Adams

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31840 on: June 02, 2010, 01:46:38 AM »
The Messenger (2009) ****/*****

 A quick poking around Internet reference sites has led me to believe that Tearing Down the Spanish Flag from 1898 is the first war film ever made.  Thatís a whole lot of years of people making war films, and itís no wonder that Iíve begun to tire of them over the years.  Every decade has its landmark war movies.  Every notable filmmaker seems to have their entry in the genre.  Despite all of the different wars that our aggressive species has waged, thatís a lot of stories about fighting with little more than scenery and weaponry changes to differentiate one film from another.   In order to keep the genre going, itís high time that filmmakers start to innovate, to look at the subject from different angles, to give their works a way to stand out from the pack and be noticed.  The Messenger accomplishes this by focusing on a part of war that usually gets glossed over.  Every war movie worth its salt has a scene where a mother back at home is informed that her son has been killed in battle.  Sheís doing something mundane around the house when she sees a man in military uniform pull up in front of her house.  Instantly she knows what it means, maybe she drops to the floor, maybe she begins shrieking, or maybe she stands there in a state of shock.  Whatever the reaction, chances are itís played out in slow motion, and chances are the camera is focused on the woman.  The man is secondary, a bit part, a nobody actor.  But where did he come from?  Who is he?  How does he handle being the bearer of nothing but bad news wherever he goes?  The Messenger plays out this same clichťd scenario over and over again over the course of its runtime, but for once the camera isnít focused on the bereaved, the focus is on the messenger.  There is zero action in this film, no fighting, no onscreen death.  The Messenger skips over all of that exciting stuff and focuses on the boring parts, the aftermath of the fighting, the broken families, and the broken soldiers.  But because these so called boring parts are so infrequently focused on by the war film genre, the material here feels very fresh.  By focusing on the bits we never really see in other films, The Messenger is able to be one of the most exciting war films Iíve seen in a while.  And without ever once resorting to a harrowing, slow motion battle sequence it manages to deal with the horrors of war perhaps better than any film Iíve seen in the last ten years...

Full review at: Temple of Reviews

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31841 on: June 02, 2010, 03:25:35 AM »

Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller, 1957)

Possibly my favourite Fuller, with Barbara Stanwyck as Jessica Drummond, the "high riding woman with a whip", and Barry Sullivan as Griff Bonnell, a self-diagnosed anachronism, the lawman whose time is passing before his eyes and whose regrets about his killing past weighs heavy. The melancholy of this Western narrative is keenly captured by Fuller and his leads (Stanwyck, especially, is amazing), as they lie in the barn, and she says "This is the last stop, Griff. The frontier is finished. There'll be no more towns to break, no more men to break. Time you started to break yourself." Time is slipping by for both of them, and the decisions they have made through their life bear heavily. There is love between them, but there is also family. Great stuff.

Then there's the brilliant flipside. A song sung about the "high riding woman with a whip", the singer walking into an open bath house full of bathing cowboys. The phallic psychology and symbology of guns constantly referenced. Even better is the typically perverse and lewd Sam Fuller talk that runs as a cheeky, camp, crazy undercurrent. The men are well and truly whipped by this woman, with the sheriff breaking down, giving a heartfelt, soppy, emasculated speech, as he realises who she really loves. Then there's the beautiful daughter of the gunsmith (herself a gunsmith, too), of whom Griff's brother, Wes, admiringly says "She even looks good in overalls. Built like a 40/40. I'd like to stay around long enough to clean her rifle." Then, when they canoodle, "I never kissed a gunsmith before." She replies: "Any recoil?"
Or, between Jessica and Griff, about his infamous gun:
J: I'm not interested in you, Mr Bonnell. It's your trademark. May I feel it?
G: Uh uh.
J: Just curious
G: Might go off in your face.
J: I'll take a chance.

Or:
G: Can you spare the time?
J: I want to see if you find him on my land
G: You wanna spank him?
J: I just want to see if you can take it.


The thing is, it all works. The psychological insight, the lewdness. That's Sam Fuller. No wonder the New Wave adored him.

chardy999

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31842 on: June 02, 2010, 03:50:31 AM »
The Secret in Their Eyes - Juan Josť Campanella, 2009



Here we have a basic plot where a retired criminal investigator can't shake the memory of a trial from 25 years ago. When he has a sudden yearning to write about the past, he opens the door to a range of rich and wonderful stories, which make the heart of this film. A tense thriller first and foremost, there's an absorbing romance to get your teeth into, and it's humorous too. We flow harmoniously from the trial to present day observing characters dealing with love and loss trying to find some tangible truth.

So what's the formula ... three great scenes and no bad ones equals a top-notch movie? Yes, sir. This Campanella is a clever fellow consistently finding the perfect way to elevate the intensity, in his framing, the structure, the pacing; each scene is better than the one before it. A few in particular transcend: the train, the soccer game and the one in the picture above. Best film I've seen at the cinema this year.

9/10.
Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
- Groucho Marx

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31843 on: June 02, 2010, 04:13:21 AM »

The Lost Weekend (Billy Wilder, 1945)
A theremin-tinged nightmare, where Milland the drunk trudges along Third Ave during Yom Kippur desperate to hock his typewriter. Or where a bat attacks a mouse during an attack of the DTs over alcohol withdrawal. Or where the piano player sings "somebody stole my purse" and is joined by the entire bar as Don is led out in disgrace. Or Bim the nurse on the alcoholic ward, wryly observing Don's predicament and delusion with camp venom.
Strains of noir, neo-realism and Wilder's typically dispassionate approach combine with the darkness of the material and the melodramatic moralism dictated by the Code to create something grim and intractable, if a little episodic and mechanistic in its narrative arc and issues covered. Wilder and Brackett's dialogue is great, at times ("Don't wipe it away, Ned. Let me have my little vicious circle.") and not so great at others. The camerawork is fantastic, close-ups, the camera literally descending into the shot glass, and objects hugely foregrounded give a great psychological edge to the imagery of the film. Bad weekend, good Wilder.

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31844 on: June 02, 2010, 05:26:28 AM »

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Martin Scorcese, 1974)
Part road movie, part women's flick, this is a real revelation for me from Scorcese. The melodrama is underplayed, with none of the portentous meta-cinematic loudness, or, um, versions of masculinity that I expect from Marty. The material is handled with flair and wit, with typically great use of music, Burstyn is fantastic, as is Kristofferson. Heck everyone's pretty good in this film, Jodie Foster tomboys it up, even Keitel gets to be loose and charming! (Of course, that does not last.  :-\)
Anyways, it makes me wonder about alternate universes where Scorcese uses Ellen Burstyn as his muse instead of De Niro. I can live in that world.

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31845 on: June 02, 2010, 05:54:03 AM »

3:10 to Yuma (James Mangold, 2007)
A decent enough Western, with the lone decent man of Bale pitted against the charming psychopath of Crowe as they try to catch a train. No wacky screwball antics though, as the high body count, and the amorality of the townsfolk will testify. Mangold takes the taut, B movie/Elmore Leonard premise and adds more bits, not egregiously, but not unexpected or surprising (Apaches and Chinese labourers). Gets some great performances (Peter Fonda, especially), and makes a not disappointing film. But in the universe after Forty Guns it just doesn't seem enough. Conventionality is fine, but cinema has so much more.

Tim

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31846 on: June 02, 2010, 06:16:13 AM »
wow flieger, you have had a decent amount of spare time today!

The Lost Weekend is theremin-tinged? I always thought Bernard Herrmann was the first to include the theremin in film scores in 1951 (The day the earth stood still). Maybe it was the forward/reverse audio loops from that movie that were a first.......Now I need to order a new film for work!

I can play the Theremin rather well ;)
"Only cinema narrows its concern down to its content, that is to its story. It should, instead, concern itself with its form, its structure." Peter Greenaway

'Noke

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31847 on: June 02, 2010, 06:16:40 AM »
Titanic (1997, James Cameron)

"I don't know about you, but I intend to write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this."

Grade: Best movie-going experience of my adolescence.

Do you agree that a lot of the effects don't hold up?

they do a pretty good job, they aren't world beating or whatever but they didn't suck me out of the film so that's all good.
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31848 on: June 02, 2010, 06:54:12 AM »

Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002)
(Kudos to the executive who saw this film and decided that Greengrass was the man to direct United 93. Takes balls, my friend.) Vignettes of 16mm verite camera work - following the back of Protestant MP Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt, worried as ever) as he organises the peaceful march, the doomed young Irish man, the British military command ensconced in their base or the paras on the streets - build another compelling story of foredoomed people and the actions/circumstances that bring them there. So, when it comes to the shootings, the tension is about as high as it can get, and the deaths and confusion are viscerally and unsparingly captured by Greengrass. Worked for me. Those 45 minutes were about as harrowing a viewing time as I've had in a while. Then the sorrow of the hospital scene, weeping relatives monitored by armed soldiers, the planting of evidence, and the final information given at the end of the movie compound the outrage. Is Greengrass capturing the endless cycle of human action and reaction? Interrogating the awesome power of the state to inflict violence? Or just worrying about young male unemployment in the 1970s? Whatever he's doing, I liked it immensely.

flieger

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #31849 on: June 02, 2010, 06:59:11 AM »
wow flieger, you have had a decent amount of spare time today!

The Lost Weekend is theremin-tinged? I always thought Bernard Herrmann was the first to include the theremin in film scores in 1951 (The day the earth stood still). Maybe it was the forward/reverse audio loops from that movie that were a first.......Now I need to order a new film for work!

I can play the Theremin rather well ;)


Nah, this is catch-up from the past few days.

Lost Weekend is one of the first theremin movies, yes! Miklos Rosza did the score for this film, plus Spellbound (1945) and Red House (1947), using the theremin-thingy. Good stuff!

 

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