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Author Topic: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)  (Read 57686 times)

Junior

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Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« on: July 18, 2012, 04:42:30 PM »
Second verse, same as the first.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 01:54:48 PM by pixote »
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toro913

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Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 12:05:14 AM »
It's barely a day in and I've already discovered my two least favourite films of 1974 so far:
The Murder on the Orient Express
Lancelot du Lac

The year can only go up from here.

pixote

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 12:13:01 AM »
Murder on the Orient Express

Yeah, that one is pretty bad. It could have been worse, though. You could have watched Earthquake.

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oldkid

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 12:17:56 AM »
Earthquake was pretty bad.  But I watched it a number of times as a grade school kid.  I liked The Towering Inferno much more, though.

"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Totoro

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 02:19:58 AM »
Let's get Fred Astaire a nomination!  8)
I liked The Towering Inferno much more, though.

oldkid

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 02:43:17 AM »
First review on the thread!  Woo hoo!

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Hijacking a subway train seems pretty stupid on the surface.  I mean, where are you going to go?  It's a tunnel.  But these criminals are smart.  Which is one of the few differences between this film and Dog Day Afternoon.  It does focus on the cops instead of the criminals, and so it has more of the feel of a police procedural.  But it is a hostage situation in the midst of NY, and mistakes are made, and tensions can run high.  But not as high as DDA, and although the individual lines are better ("You think for thirty five cents you get to live forever?"), this film overall isn't as charming, nor do the emotions run so high.  Still, Walter Matheau is his charming self.  And there are some fun side notes to the film-- the flu running through the city, the "difficulty" of having women in the middle of an all-male floor, the gruffness of the workers, trying to figure out who the officer is among the hostages.  Still, all together, it doesn't pull the film up to "great".  3.5/5
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 12:20:34 PM by oldkid »
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

verbALs

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 03:01:36 AM »
You said there are few differences between the two films. I would say there are few points of comparison outside of the (on the surface) unescapable situations, a NY location. What else? DDA isn't even a heist movie (is it?).

I suppose once you begin to compare to DDA it looks slight because it isn't trying to be a film with issues. It is trying to be great fun and it succeeds  100%. If it was trying to be great in DDA terms it fails 100%.

I made this point early this month;
Quote
This is a film that fits into the Rear Window category of effortless movies. On that front, it has me asking the question as to why this doesn't have the heft of RW. I can't put it in the classic weight class of Hitchcock, but it is note perfect. It has performers as good as Hitch. Elozondo and Martin Balsam are terrific support. Elozondo in particular is a great unhinged nasty piece of work. It is as tough as a travelling salesman with interesting cutting tools in his house, but it still ain't RW. Perhaps, like broad comedy and satire, it doesn't make enough salient psychological points, and it doesn't touch upon the human condition. It's just damn good fun
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 03:17:08 AM by verbALs »
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Bondo

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Re: Re: Retro Filmspots 1974: The Discovery Project
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 09:32:25 AM »
Swept Away (Lina Wertmuller, 1974)

There's something about Italian cinema that can be difficult to overcome. One doesn't like to indulge in stereotypes about Italians who talk loudly and fast, all while gesticulating wildly, but at least in their films this stereotype is too often strengthened. Swept Away is a romantic comedy of sorts (remade staring Madonna) but whatever finer points it has to offer are completely lost amid the overwrought English dubbing that matches perfectly the physical acting on screen and the oh so typical rom-com reversals.

Raffaella (Mariangela Melato, looking much like an Italian Shelley Duvall) is sailing the Mediterranean with friends, opining strongly about the various flaws of the communists, saving her harshest comments for one of the hired sailors, Gennarino (Giancarlo Giannini). At it's best, the film attempts to draw out this distinction (or perhaps similarities) between rich and poor, between the capitalists and the communists, and between perception of the Northern Italians, typically noted for their industry, and the Southern Italians, noted more for their crime and other shortcomings.

Of course, being a romantic comedy, given how much these two characters detest each other initially, her verbal abuse of him and his eventual physical abuse of her, we can only conclude that they will be a great romantic pairing. This implausibility combined with the general acting style that suffocates any good set of lines or any effective thematic point dooms the film to awfulness. Basic film-making competence is not optional.

1/5

Jared

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 10:22:12 AM »
The Great Gatsby

Im a big Coppola fan, but this movie, for which he did the screenplay, is easily Fredo of 1974 movies with his involvement.

I cant really figure out why the movie takes nearly 2.5 hours to adapt a 180 page book, a decent chunk of which is Nick Carraway's ponderings, but this is a long movie. Some of the more famous bits of writing are narrated what I believe is directly from the book, which is also weird. Normally I dont like to base a movies merits on its comparison to a book, but when a film is striving so hard to be faithful to it's text, its hard not to. There isnt really much in this film that makes it feel all that distinct.

Most of the performances are all right. Redford has the screen presence that Gatsby demands, and Farrow, Waterson, Karen Black, etc are all other people from the era that I like quite a bit. The best performance in my opinion came from Bruce Dern, who I think is generally a terrific antagonist. Doubtful Ill find a spot for him in our supporting actor category though.

If youre going to commit the time to watching this movie, you should probably just read the book again instead.

2/5

toro913

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2012, 11:08:22 AM »
Murder on the Orient Express (dir. Sidney Lumet)

What starts off promisingly and slightly surreal with a kidnapping told through newspaper clippings devolves into a run of the mill whodunit shot like a 70's TV show. This is my introduction to Hercule Poirot in any sort of media and it didn't help me understand the appeal or popularity of the character at all. He's odd enough to stand out, but not interesting enough to be memorable. Everyone knows the story, man gets killed on train, Poirot questions our cast of international passengers, all the pieces fall into place. My seemingly innate dislike of old school whodunits (even in comedy form, Clue and Murder by Death) is too strong to be overcome by a movie that has no interest of changing anything up. 4/10

Lancelot du Lac (dir. Robert Bresson)

I went into this with my mind switched on to my Robert Bresson mode (useful for any pre-1980 self serious european film). Again starts off interestingly with images of dying knights spurting (very fake) blood from their wounds. The knights of the round table have returned empty-handed from their quest for the holy grail. I'm not well versed in my Arthurian legends, so while the names ring a bell, that's all they are to me. Lancelot is having an affair (made entirely of spoken declarations of love)  with Guinevere (King Arthur's wife). Some knights suspect this affair, this conflict makes up most of the movie. This is a Bresson movie through and through: flatly shot, non-actors, flatly spoken dialogue, religious themes. Most importantly and much more so than any other Bresson I've seen, thoroughly, mind numbingly dull. All his other films have some sort of moral angle that keeps me interested in them, but this lacks even that. 3.5/10