Author Topic: The Top 100 Club (Mar 2013 - Aug 2015)  (Read 209708 times)

ses

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4050 on: August 31, 2015, 04:01:20 PM »


It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)


It's amazing to me (a probably others around here that are familiar with my taste in movies), that I haven't seen It Happened One Night before now.  I think it's a credit to this film that if felt so darn familiar to me.  That just shows how many films are influenced by It Happened One Night.  It was charming and slick and funny and delightful.  You have Gable's reporter wanting to get the story of the "on the run" socialite making her way to her playboy husband whom she eloped with against her father's wishes, but of course falling in love with the girl along the way.  Gable is so much fun here. He's charming and boisterous, making fun of Colbert's socialite, and arguing over the right way to dunk a donut ("Where'd you learn how to dunk? Finishing school?") or the definition of a piggy back ride ("Your father didn't know beans about piggy back riding").  He's great, but the gem of this film is Claudette Colbert.  She's perfect. I can't really describe her any other way.  The famous hitchhiking scene fits perfectly into their dynamic as a couple and the film itself.  It's a road movie, a screwball comedy, an opposites attract romance all rolled into one. 

Outside of It's a Wonderful Life, I don't think I ever took notice of Capra's directing style.  It never really stuck out to me in his other films, but I noticed it here.  When they are in the hotel room with the "Wall of Jericho" separating the two, you see their heads silhouetted by the outside moonlight and rain, it's a lovely shot for a lovely seen. Overall, I really loved this film.  I don't think it will make it into my Top 100, maybe after a few viewings, but thank you so much, Sandy, for finally getting me to watch this film
"It's a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart"

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Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4051 on: August 31, 2015, 04:11:59 PM »
 :))

ses and Jeff! So tickled the two movies worked for you!!

Working on Gattaca and will be back soon...

Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4052 on: August 31, 2015, 04:48:18 PM »
Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997)

I've been wanting to watch Gattaca for a while (thanks for the excuse sandy !), mostly because I find eugenics to ba fascinating topic, one that I was eager to see this film wrestle with. Basically I wanted an introspection of what is it to be human, which is what all good science-fiction is.

That's certainly how it started out, with Ethan Hawke narrating through his childhood, establishing this hypothetical future where eugenics have progressed to the point that conception through sex is seen as an anomaly, and setting up a natural conflict between him (natural-born) and his younger brother (born of eugenics). It's all pretty interesting and going in a direction I didn't really expect by avoiding the full dystopia, and having a more realistic approach, where discrimination based on genetics is illegal but wildly practiced anyway.

Then we drop the familial setting very suddenly, as we follow our protagonist's attempt at becoming an astronaut, which he tries to achieve by assuming the identity of a "valid". Ok, so we have this contrast between Jude Law (the valid in question, perfect casting by the way), the guy born with everything but who did nothing but fall short of expectations, and Hawke, the scrappy underdog who's determined to reach the stars, literally. It all sounds a bit cliché, but it works, because of the speculative setting and how well science-fiction lends itself to broad allegories.

So there we are, this is a movie about free will and how humanity is all about ignoring the odds and just going for it, right ?

Well, it is, but before it gets there, Gattaca becomes some kind of a noir-ish psychological thriller for about 45 minutes, and I wasn't sure what to make of it. I'm still not sure. I suppose it's essential as a plot device to re-introduce a key character but... why ? I felt the same about Uma Thurman in this movie : she's pretty good, but she feels completely extraneous to the proceedings. It's not that any of it is bad, but it feels like an interlude before we get back to what everyone, Niccol included, is really interested in.

Thankfully, once we get back to those big themes, it does work very well. I was a bit worried going in that Hawke was too limited an actor to make it all work, and I wouldn't say he's great here, but he's good enough, and the final 20 minutes wrap the film up beautifully. It certainly gave me much to think about, and I expect it to stay with me, I just wish it had been a more coherent movie overall.

Rating : 7/10

First, I'd like to say that 1SO and Martin would be very pleased to know that I have a noir-ish movie in my top 100! I'm glad you brought that up.

It's been a while since I've seen Gattaca, so can't remember how I felt about that re-introduction of the key character, but there is a lot of highly improbably plot points going on, so I think I just went with it. :)

I like Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman in this, but I absolutely love Jude Law. This was my favorite thing I'd seen him in until I watched A.I. and now I have two favorites. You're right, he really is perfectly cast.

I too was caught up in the big themes. What is the worth of a person? Who's to decide? and yes, "free will and how humanity is all about ignoring the odds and just going for it." I just saw T2 for the first time and thought of it while reading your review.



These big themes are very important and important to me personally, so it is easy to put this movie in my top 100. Happy that last 20 minutes brought it all in for a satisfying landing for you! Thanks for the review Teproc, for it has given me a lot to think about too. :)

Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4053 on: August 31, 2015, 11:14:00 PM »
Shadowlands (1993) 8/10
An unexciting film, but far from an uninteresting one. I don't know how accurate this is to reality, but I really like Hopkins' Lewis. He's very capable and very smart and unquestionably flawed, and the film doesn't sugarcoat any of these aspects. It makes him sympathetic without ever making you feel sorry for him, which in turn allows the film to explore his flaws a bit without becoming too preachy. It does at times become a little heavy handed, but it fits the characters so it never feels like it's the film telling you things but rather Lewis realizing them. There are some really great lines that cut to the heart of the situations, even if the conclusions they imply may not always be the ones I agree with. I can identify with Lewis' personality in the film, but for various reasons couldn't really connect with it emotionally. So in the end I very much appreciated the exploration of love, loss and faith, even if I was somewhat distanced. It's not the kind of film that I could love, but it's the kind of film I'm thankful for having watched because it does a really good job of presenting its perspective.

This is excellent. You're showing me your appreciation for something, even if it doesn't always fall into your own, for lack of a better word, philosophy. So many times I'm looking for stories that resonate with me and I would do well to make an effort to seek new and different perspectives. Thanks for the reminder!

I knew C.S. Lewis through some of his writing, long before I saw this film, so seeing him as that "very capable and very smart and unquestionably flawed" man was rewarding to me. I too really like Hopkins in this, very, very much.

I thought you might like to read a part of what smirnoff wrote about the unexcitement, yet interesting nature of the film that your mention. You seem to be in agreement.

I'm familiar with method-acting, but this film makes me wonder if there's such a thing as method-filmmaking. It feels like that's what director Richard Attenborough was attempting here. It's not just that he's created a rustic atmosphere to fit the story, it's that the filmmaking itself feels rustic. The way it sounds and looks... the ways it's all put together... you notice the plainness of it, the simplicity. An uncomplicated production... like coffee before Starbucks.

I think that's why it crept up on me... my sensibilities are trained to a more modern style, and in it's absence my expectations were lowered.

This is part of my reply and also helps to show why Shadowlands must be in my top 100.

I find myself using this movie as a touchstone, to keep me from forgetting the deal.

Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal.


It's also home to one of my other favorite quotes.

I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me.



Thank you so much for watching this film, PeacefulAnarchy! :)

Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4054 on: September 01, 2015, 12:02:20 AM »
Ikiru

Kanji Watanabe is nearing 30 years as a Tokyo City bureaucrat that reviews and signs of papers all day long for the department that he runs.  Having lost his wife and his son now grown, his life has become tedious and without meaning.  Upon learning that he has stomach cancer with 6 months to live (why is it always 6 months?) he decides to make some life changes.  Having not taken a day off in over 29 years, he suddenly doesn't show up to work and takes some solace hanging out with a stranger and getting to know one of the former office girls from his office.  But he still is not ultimately fulfilled.  He son and daughter-in-law offer no comfort to his life and so he turns back to the only thing he knows, his job.  But now he returns with a purpose and drive after realizing the previous 30 years were a waste and sets out to have one real accomplishment in his life.

Anybody that works an office job will at times relate to the feeling of what a wasted life it can be at times.  Most of your life is just passing time only to come home and be around ungrateful family members.  There is a lot to explore here from the inhuman nature of bureaucracies to letting your life pass by without living it without personal fulfillment.  But ultimately aren't we most like his co-workers, when said and done, you everything goes back to the way things were? 

Ikiru manages to walk a line of him redeeming the years lost and then pull part of it away.  I suppose its a lot like life in that way, which is why I liked it quite a bit.  Do you find personal inspiration in the film, Sandy?

I cut out more then half of what I originally wrote as it was mostly a factual description of what happened instead of what it really made me felt or the ideas that it explored.  I was having a bit more difficulty with that as it is pretty much a simple film but can be taken many ways.  I could easily see it being inspirational as well as quite depressing in the end.  But it is good in that way, I think there are different ways to take it.

Your writing reminds me of the difficulty I had in trying to come to terms with this movie. I knew it was affecting me, but like you said, it can be taken in many different ways, so I sat with it for the longest time, trying to understanding what exactly the movie was saying to me. You write about redeeming and then pulling away and about a type of futility. I agree and had to come to terms with that too. I hope it's not a cop out to share my review, but I've only seen it once and my words are my reaction to it, that personal inspiration that you ask about.

Quote
Ikiru



Why are you so incredibly alive? Before I die, I want to live just one day like you do.

I've wrestled with this movie for some time. When working on an essay about The Phantom Carriage last fall, I read enough about Ikiru that I could pull out some quotes. Wonderful quotes like, "I can't afford to hate people. I haven't got that kind of time." and "How tragic that man can never realize how beautiful life is until he is face to face with death." It was apparent that Ikiru would take me places that I would need to prepare for, and when is a good time to make that journey? How easy it was to find other movies to prioritize, but it waited patiently until I was ready. Sure enough, it was all that I imagined it would be and much more. The internal struggle for life to hold meaning is wondrously caught in this blessed old movie. I know what The Classicists are telling me right now. "I told you so." I know, I know, the world is in the black and whites, but the shiny new ones keep distracting me.

The journey itself is this swirl of philosophical questions:

What does it mean to truly be living? In the commentary to the film, author Stephen Prince said, "We believe that death is something that happens to other people not to ourselves and that we have all the time in the world. It makes us indifferent to beauty. Now that time has run out for Watanabe he is no longer indifferent to beauty. The problem is he has no time for it."

During the film so many other movies came crashing in. I thought of Strictly Ballroom's catch phrase, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived" and wondered how much of Watanabe's life was a dull fear. Of rocking the boat? Of letting too much feeling in that would cause him pain?

What are the things that bring happiness? This whole process that he goes through couldn't have been more perfectly handled. All the exterior pleasures aren't enough, or even finding a happy person's light and energy to bask in isn't enough. Watanabe has to find it in himself.

The Phantom Carriage creeps into the scene with, "Let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped." Can I make a difference? The swing set scene is one of the most beautiful movie moments I've ever experienced. I get teary just thinking about it. He's at peace. What about you Schindler? Are you at peace? Your breakdown comes so often to my mind...

Oskar Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don't know. If I'd just... I could have got more.
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Oskar Schindler: If I'd made more money... I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I'd just...
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Oskar Schindler: I didn't do enough!

Is there more? Even though Kurosawa was secular, he left openings for possibilities.
These clouds link to a deep structure of meaning in Kurosawa's work for which he customarily used this kind of imagery. When he wanted to counterpoint the finitude of human life with the sense of greater purpose, mystery or spirit. His characters will gaze at the heavens, or his camera will do so. The cloud imagery provides a vision of cosmic design that reorients their thinking. --Stephen Prince

What is reality? Stephen Prince also went on to say, "One of the terrible suspicions that Kurosawa has about the nature of human life is the process of psychological alienation, of estrangement. The fact that our personal realities don't coincide with those of other people." It makes me think of Corndog's signature.

It's just weird that you can never know what someone else is thinking. We're all trapped in our own neuro-transmitting soup, having our own indelible perceptions of a universe, which for all we know is just an illusion anyway.

Is this inability to connect true? I hope not. The later half of the movie deals with men trying to find out who Watanabe really was (12 Angry Men style). I believe for the most part only a brief understanding takes place, but not for everyone and that makes all the difference.


Thank you for watching this, jdc and for your question. It inspired me a few years ago and getting to read your review, which had me thinking about the movie, it inspired me again. :)


MartinTeller

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4056 on: September 01, 2015, 12:47:32 AM »
Thanks Sandy!

The following people did not post a review:

Knocked Out Loaded
Sam the Cinema Snob
smirnoff


Bondo, it's up to you to decide what to do to make them suffer for their sins.  This is the third missed month in a row for Sam.


I'm glad this club has been a success and continues to attract new blood.  Thank you for taking over, Bondo! 

Okay everyone... head over to the new thread!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 08:11:01 AM by MartinTeller »
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chardy999

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4057 on: September 01, 2015, 01:03:53 AM »
MT, ses just did It Happened One Night at the top of this page.
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PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4058 on: September 01, 2015, 01:10:04 AM »
It looks like I may be more of a trekkie than I had considered! :) Thanks for the review and the questions, PeacefulAnarchy. I had a good time watching it again and pondering why it's in my top 100.
That was a good read. I wish I had that kind of love for something. It also helped me see a bit of what I was missing. I could see the general thrust of the Data and Picard arcs, but they are probably much more meaningful in the context you provide.

Re: Shadowlands

smirnoff's quote is good, I couldn't really explain what I meant by unexciting, but I think that's accurate.
I find myself using this movie as a touchstone, to keep me from forgetting the deal.

Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal.

I was that boy, does that mean I have to be that man? Do I want to be? I've chosen safety for so long I'm not sure I can change that. Am I being a coward, or do I sincerely not believe that's the choice we have to make? It's a great quote but I'm always resistant to wisdoms that view suffering as a necessity rather than an unfair and unfortunate reality.

It's a great quote, regardless of how I feel about its conclusion, because it comes off as sincere and personal. That's why I liked the film, because it wasn't telling me how to feel, it was telling, and showing, me how Lewis felt. I can take it or leave it, or in this case continue wrestling with it probably for the rest of my life, for Lewis it was truth and that gives me perspective.

Every time I ponder on his character, I learn more, or I should say am reminded of what I'd like to emulate. One of my very favorite role models and I wish to high heaven I had more teachers like him!
It's a hard path to follow, especially since success is far from being as uniform as what he gets. But, yes, it's what I try to do every day and I appreciate that the film shows his flaws and humanity.

Thanks for another good month. I always find something enlightening in your picks.

ses

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #4059 on: September 01, 2015, 07:56:01 AM »
MT, ses just did It Happened One Night at the top of this page.

You know I always squeeze one in at the end of the month.  Can you please add me to Sandy's index.
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