Author Topic: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)  (Read 57642 times)

spoko

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #320 on: August 31, 2012, 11:42:59 AM »
The Conversation.

. . .really, it's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Or, TTSS is this movie.

I think it's more The Lives of Others. But either way, it's a compliment.

pixote

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #321 on: August 31, 2012, 11:47:46 AM »
Or, TTSS is this movie.

Both times I've read this, my mind tried to convince me you were inventing a new way to say, "This movie is the tits!"

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spoko

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #322 on: August 31, 2012, 11:49:21 AM »
Animals Are Beautiful People (1974)


      

   If you've never seen The Gods Must Be Crazy, this movie will probably be pretty surprising. If you have seen it, this should still be awfully entertaining. Animals Are Beautiful People is offered more as a straightforward documentary than is its obviously-fictional descendant, and that pretense makes a beautiful stage on which to present this parody. Filmmaker Jamie Uyr treads the line carefully, and manages a nearly pitch-perfect comedic documentary (a rare genre indeed, and certainly not to be confused with the more familiar mockumentary).

Actors, directors, and writers have long argued that comedy is much harder than it looks, and specifically that it requires real commitment if you're going to pull it off. This is Uyr's strongest asset. He does have some great footage of the animals & plants which populate the deserts of southern Africa. The film is rife with can-you-believe-it facts, just as any nature documentary would be, and most of them seem to be true. This is, at its core, a nature documentary. A careful observer may notice some liberties in the editing, and elsewhere, but they are infrequent and subtle enough to be harmless. And they do serve the tone of the film well.

It's that tone that sets the film apart. Certainly no straightforward documentary would describe its subjects with the casual, judgmental, and even mocking lines that fill out most of the narration here. It comes on gradually, though, and Paddy O'Byrne speaks with just the right amount of irony to sell it but not oversell it.

It's a well balanced film, with plenty of levity punctuated by serious—even grave—moments, and humor laid casually over a documentary's worth of interesting factual information. Mostly, it's just surprisingly fun to watch. I'm sure I'll be watching it again soon (with the kids), and I'm hopeful it will hold up well.

Junior

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #323 on: August 31, 2012, 12:05:11 PM »
The Conversation.

. . .really, it's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Or, TTSS is this movie.

I think it's more The Lives of Others. But either way, it's a compliment.

Yeah, the problem is I've owned TLoO for several years now but I still haven't watched it yet.
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Antares

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #324 on: August 31, 2012, 12:19:17 PM »
The Conversation.

. . .really, it's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Or, TTSS is this movie.

I think it's more The Lives of Others. But either way, it's a compliment.

Yeah, the problem is I've owned TLoO for several years now but I still haven't watched it yet.

You're missing out on a very good film.
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Junior

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #325 on: August 31, 2012, 12:20:15 PM »
I know. Something about not reading during my movies, or whatever.
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george96

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #326 on: August 31, 2012, 09:25:31 PM »
The Thief of Bagdad (39)
Thief
Thieves Like Us
Thieves Highway

Hold on. No Bicycle?

verbALs

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #327 on: September 01, 2012, 02:15:42 AM »
The Thief of Bagdad (39)
Bicycle Thieves
Thief
Thieves Like Us
Thieves Highway

Hold on. No Bicycle?
Oh good call.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #328 on: September 01, 2012, 05:26:08 PM »

Mr. Frog Went A-Courting - An animated rendition of the classic folk song.  The cut-out animation is crude and not very impressive, but lends a surreal eerieness to the work, which has a mavabre ending.  Nice performance of the song, too.  Rating: Good (74)


Wednesday - Jack Lemmon plays a sleazy DJ who is forced to contemplate the possible repercussions of his lurid call-in show.  A satisfying little morality tale that packs some tension.  Lemmon’s always fun to watch.  Nothing about this is stunning, but it’s all executed nicely.  Rating: Good (77)


…No Lies - At some point in the last few weeks, IMDb started classifying this as a 1973 film instead of 1974, but since I’ve got it handy, I watched it anyway.  A woman is preparing to go out as her friend films her.  The casual feel turns harrowing as she reveals she was raped the previous week.  Utterly compelling and thought-provoking exploration of attitudes concerning a very uncomfortable subject, and the title has an intriguing interplay with the film’s verite style.  Layered and affecting.  Rating: Very Good (87)


Przeswietlenie (X-Ray) – One of Kieslowski’s early documentary shorts, featuring interviews with patients at some sort of sanitarium (it isn’t clear in the film, but a little research tells me they’re being treated for tuberculosis).  The men discuss their feelings of uselessness as their illness has left them idle, their desire to recover and work and rejoin society.  In the final shot, a haze of factory smoke looms over the area.  There are a few interesting moments and the subjects are sympathetic, but overall it’s hard to call it one of Kieslowski’s more intriguing works.  Rating: Good (71)


The Miracle of Flight - An amusing look at man’s attempts to conquer the skies, done in an animated mockumentary style.  I always thought Gilliam’s interstitials on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” were the weakest parts of the show… essential to its format but rarely as funny as the live-action sketches.  But this was quite chuckle-worthy, with a great ending.  Rating: Good (76)


Puppeteers of Rajasthan - I’ve been meaning to check out some Mani Kaul.  I didn’t expect my introduction to be a documentary short, but so it goes.  Kaul examines the lives of nomad puppeteers, particularly their economic hardships as practitioners of a dying art form, their craft supplanted by film and radio.  A sad story, I suppose, but such is life.  It’s hard to imagine getting too worked up about how hard it is to prosper as, say, a juggler.  Although the voiceover is in English, I wish the dialogue had been subtitled.  I would have liked to understand what the people were saying.  Rating: Fair (67)


What a shame that easily the best of these shorts is no longer eligible.  But I will nominate a couple of the other ones.  I've got one more short I'm working on acquiring.  Other than that, I'm open to suggestions for 1974 films I should see.  Anyone got any they want to recommend to me?

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread (1974)
« Reply #329 on: September 01, 2012, 05:51:49 PM »
Glad you liked …No Lies. It's hard to sell it without spoiling the impact of the reveal but it really is amazing.

As for other 1974 shorts, none of these come close to No lies, but:

I rather liked Voyage to Next which is a strange hippyish animated short. I can see someone criticizing it as pretentious but I thought it worked well enough.

Robert Breer's Fuji is a well regarded avant garde animation, though I didn't find it to be anything special.

Closed Mondays is a kind of cool, but also kind of obnoxious claymation so your appreciation of it will depend on which aspect wins out.

 

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