60. The Insider - One of the Top 5 Most Unnecessary Prologues in an otherwise great film. The film should start with Jeffrey Wigand. 'Directed by Michael Mann' should appear as he's walking out the door. Showing that Lowell Bergman has other stories before and after Wigand is unique, but a wholly unnecessary problem in an otherwise excellent film. * * *
Interesting criticism. I'll probably think about it next time I see the film.
59. Eyes Wide Shut - Before I got sucked into the Net, one of the longest film reviews I ever composed was for Eyes Wide Shut. I've never rewatched the film, though I plan to. Aside from the one-note piano score and a couple of scenes, I loved it. The luckiest extra in the history of cinema is the guy Cruise imagined having sex with Nicole Kidman. How many takes/days/weeks do you think Kubrick filmed till he had enough footage? * * * 1/2
Is it one you've feel might suffer from a second viewing?
58. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - I've written about this one a couple of times. Interesting that this is the one and only HP in your Top 100. Which one is your 2nd favorite? Have you ever tried watching it back-to-back with Part 2? It makes for its own unique experience. * * * 1/2
Second favourite would be Order of the Pheonix.
I didn't watch it back to back with part 2, no. There was probably a one year gap or so . It's kind of unfortunate since all the others were seen in rapid succession. I think I'll probably give it a few years and blast through them a second time, without the one year delay at the end.
56. Domino - The nadir of Tony Scott's developing hyper-kinetic style. This wasn't a wild ride like True Romance, it was a headache. * 1/2
A glorious headache!
55. Sideways - I liked it, but it didn't leave a lasting impression beyond the opportunity to see Paul Giamatti at his best. * * *
Were you chewing gum?
54. Arrietty - I was the first person to review this on the boards and the only person to say something negative. Too sedate for me. * 1/2
Better or worse than Honey I Shrunk The Kids?
53. Jurassic Park - So many script problems. This was probably the first blockbuster for me where days later the problems were quickly lowering my opinion of the film. In the end, there are two of the finest sequences of Spielberg's career - the T-Rex and the Raptors in the kitchen. * * *
Clumsy ass kids make it harder than it should be.
51. Labyrinth - Another one I don't like as much as everyone else. Just didn't engage with the story and hated Bowie, starting with his look. Is he The Goblin King or The Glam Rock King?* *
I guess he's both!
Happy-Go-Lucky is a 2008 film by English writer/director Mike Leigh and centers around Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a gregarious thirty year old school teacher who approaches every situation with a very positive attitude. Possibly best known for 1996's Secrets And Lies, Leigh's previous work has often been distinguishable by its gritty realism. Happy-Go-Lucky for the most part shies away from the gritty but Leigh still populates Poppy's world with situations that hint at the presence of a sinister (yet largely unexplored) underbelly. On a side note, it was nice to see a cast of "real" people rather than Hollywood "beautiful" people, ahhh gotta love the Brits.
I don't know if it's because Poppy is reckless or naive but she makes some bad choices that often put her in dangerous situations. She encourages a homeless man and overlooks Scott the driving instructor's prejudices and angry antics and continues to interact with them when it is clear they are unstable and possibly dangerous. Was Mike Leigh trying to say that any situation can be resolved with good cheer and a zany voice? In fact, the scene with the homeless man, other than showing another example of Poppy's compassionate nature, seemed out of place and unnecessary. The final scene with the driving instructor was exceptionally good but maybe that was just the fact that someone finally wiped that silly smirk off her face. Scott's tirade did bring up some interesting points including an ulterior motive to Poppy's behavior but I thought that was baseless and she was just a genuinely happy person. Then again, she kept on wearing those boots...
I know that not loving this film probably makes me a curmudgeon but the reality is that all that smiling and chirpiness started to grate on me. I did like Poppy but dealing with her in large doses would send me around the twist!
I think if Mike Leigh had any kind of intention with this movie it was to elicit a reaction very much like the one you had. That is to say, an honest one. He may not understand your feeling grated after spending so much time with Poppy, but that's more a personal thing. I think the fact that you are weighing the quality of Poppy's choices, considering how her attitude effects those around her, and other questions of that nature, is pretty much the purpose
of the film. So in that sense you've held up your end of the bargain.
Beyond that it kind of all depends on how much it happens to provoke/entertain you I guess.
You point out one of the virtues of the film was the cast of "real" people, and it sounds like your familiar with Mike Leigh in some capacity already. Have you had better experiences with other films of his? I don't think there's much of a consensus on which is his best, and if there was it certainly wouldn't be Happy-Go-Lucky... I was just thinking if you liked the style you might find more fertile ground elsewhere in his catalogue.
In any case I'm not here to assign you homework.
Thanks for giving it a go!
The Joy Luck Club
I've come to the point where I should stop watching smirnoff's favorite movies (it ain't gonna happen, but I really should). If I'm not careful, my own list is going to turn into smirnoff's Film Appreciation Apprentice's Top 100. I could not hand pick a more resonating film than Joy Luck Club. I'm not sure if I can write what's in my heart about this film...
It's okay, you don't have to tell me. I already know what you're going to say.
Okay no, I'm kidding, I'm dying to hear more!
...I have considered instead to try and graph the mother and daughter's relationships and how the mother's experiences altered the way they parented, whether through a determination to right wrongs or through a brokenness of guilt and grief. As I'm writing this, the scenes are flooding in and I'm immobilized. No, graphing isn't going to be any easier. Looking out my window, it looks like it's about to rain. I think I'll go out and consider on all this movie has to tell me.
Wonderful! I think that's all anyone can do. It's kind of something to be chipped away at. The film helps this by being pretty rewatchable in my experience.
That it was such a good viewing for you makes me Happy Gilmore happy.
Stanley Kubrick is the master of the hypnotic film. I didn't really know what to expect into his excursion across the classes of the 18th century, but like The Shining and 2001 and Eyes Wide Open, his set pieces and long takes and paced action by worn people can't be set aside easily. They lull you into a trance, so that the whole experience just washes over you until it's done and you say, "What was that about?"
One of the great aspects of this film that is different than others is his beautiful, natural scenes capped with gorgeous architecture. So many scenes open with a picture that is a piece of art. That only preps us for the orderly, mannered society that we are to enter into. Mind you, the world is terribly violent, immoral and, at times horrifying, but it is all done in a stately manner, paced, even and polite.
What is the film about? Honestly, I think I'd have to watch it again to give a semi-complete response. But, as the title suggests, it is about a man-- and, in a sense, all men. We see the rash nature of a young man both at the beginning and the end, implying that this is a cycle that is repeated in many men-- perhaps all men.
We begin our manhood in youth as rash, bold creatures, not really knowing what we want or what our lives are going to be about, but we are ready to commit our lives and make any sacrifice (even others' sacrifice) for our whims. When we fail, as we inevitably do, we seek stability, but by our own terms, no matter how unwise we are. If we are uncomfortable, we rush to the next opportunity. Soon, we seek ambition. This ambition might be power or lust or wealth or notoriety, but we claw for it, and hurt others to obtain our ultimate desire.
Finally, after some ambition has been reached, we might give in to our most hidden fantasies, but then we will seek to establish the stability we sought for all along. We might be harsh in this action, and we might whittle away what good will and resources we have in this endeavor, but the long term goals will be reached by hook or by crook.
Some men actually achieve their long term goals, the stability they have worked so hard toward. But many men only obtain the wisdom gained through the attempt. The wisdom that to create something long lasting in the world, the main tool we must hone first is ourselves. Because without that disciplined, forged and sometimes tarnished tool, made to build others, not ourselves, then we will ultimately fail.
The amazing thing to me is that every step of Redman Barry's story is not just foreshadowed, but foretold, but this practice did not hamper the tale at all. The voiceover narrative was soothing yet sobering, even as the rest of the story was. This is master storytelling. A tale-weaver who is so confident at his skill, that he can break one rule after another and yet still succeed. This is easily one of Kubrick's best, perhaps his very best.
You got all of that one!
Honestly, what can I say when my own experience with the film was so much the same!
You've told me before how you feel a good score exists in the background, and that remembering it isn't necessarily a good thing. I'm wondering if, among the many rules Kubrick was breaking here (and getting away with), the score being SO prominent and SO often repeated was one of them?
We seem to have different feelings on this matter generally, and the powerhouse soundtrack is a huge part of what does it for me in this film... which is why I ask.
I'm very glad to see you find such a rousing film.