Author Topic: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition  (Read 86719 times)

oldkid

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 12:36:33 PM »
It all depends on what you care for.  I like prayers and considered thoughts about everyday events.  Sarcastic, negative comments get on my nerves after a while.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2013, 12:46:38 PM »
Yes, tone is also a consideration. Malick's narration is often poetic and lyrical while in American Beauty it's more matter of fact.

MartinTeller

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 05:44:02 PM »

Hazy Life - Kee (Hiroshi Yamamoto) and Tsutomu (Uda Teppei) are two young aimless men.  They meet outside a pachinko parlor and start hanging out.  Kee works for a porno producer, dubbing tapes of illegal, uncensored movies... and occasionally starring.  Tsutomu has nothing to do, and spends all his time lounging around Kee's apartment, helping copy the tapes and snooping around in Kee's stuff.  Kee has an ex-girlfriend and a four-year-old child he sees occasionally.  Tsutomu falls for one of the porn actresses.

Gonna have to make a pretty quick writeup, I've got another movie to get to downtown.  But there's not a whole lot to say about this anyway.  Yamashita's first feature is like a lot of other first features... a very deliberately "about nothing" story of slacker types.  It's somewhat like early Jarmusch, so if that's your kind of thing you may like it.  It doesn't have the joy and humor of Linda Linda Linda, but there are definitely some funny moments.  Highlights are the few fantasy sequences, an intriguing scene where we suddenly are watching two different slacker types, and the sweet ending.  Also, Kee's pompadour is very reminiscent of the Leningrad Cowboys, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kaurismaki's deadpan tones and lethargic pacing were an influence.

It's all... okay.  The camerawork is competent but the photography is a bit rough, the score is quirky and fun but also sounds a little cheap, the performances are fine but uninspired, the writing is solid but lacks originality.  It's not the kind of thing anyone will get too excited about, but unless you're easily bored it's an okay watch.  Rating: Fair (65)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 10:02:02 PM by MartinTeller »

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2013, 10:31:01 PM »
Virus

"Virus is so bad that it's shocking... That would be the all time piece of s***...It's just dreadful... That's the only good reason to be in bad movies. Then when your friends have [bad] movies you can say 'Ahhhh, I've got the best one.' I'm bringing Virus." - Jamie Lee Curtis

As we look for the best of 1999, I hope the rest of you will also chime in with some of the worst films you watched from this year. The bottom of my pile would be this cyber-horror starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland about a transmission from space that takes over a ship and decides to wipe out the virus called man. (It's a twist on expectations. Get it.) It's amazing to think a studio put up 75 million dollars and this is the film they got in return. Much of the plot makes no sense, the dialogue pitifully lame and the effects are weak even if this were a straight to DVD film. There is nothing redeeming about Virus. Sutherland gives the worst performance of his 100+ film career, that's kind of a Scottish version of "The Simpsons" sea captain.

The film was directed by John Bruno, who was the special effects supervisor and many James Cameron films. He had to pass on Titanic to direct this turkey. I imagine one of the most uncomfortable moments in Cameron's career must've been when he sat through a rough cut for his friend who turned to him afterwards and said , "What do you think?"
RATING: 1/2 Star

Junior

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 10:57:05 PM »
It's really bad. That JLC quote is great, though.
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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 01:10:22 AM »
The Curve (Edwidge Shaki, 1999)

Written and directed by and starring Edwidge Shaki, a protege of Eric Rohmer, this is an interesting short dominated by a post-coital discussion between two art students that hits at concepts or perhaps concerns with objectification as inherent in art. Roman (Francois Rauscher) notices Eva (Shaki) in part because of a similarity to a sculpture he discusses with his uncle, a sculpture teacher at the school, and later falls into comparison of her to the art. This could be compliment as he is comparing her to things of beauty, yet things all the same.  Eva, perhaps even flattered all the same, pushes back at his need to relate her to others (whether art or in life) rather than value her purely on her own merit, and on the tendency to segment her charms into body parts as attributes rather than take her as a whole. But while it may poke at art (including tendency toward unrealistic portrayals), it does so from a seemingly loving place. It critiques without condemning. Technically it is pretty plain but it picks a perfectly sized subject for an economical 16 minutes.

4/5

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2013, 01:10:34 PM »
Cruel Intentions - The translation of the novel into single entendre late 90s prep school slang is often embarrassingly awkward, which may be because of the limitations of the lead actors and why Selma Blair's more comically physical performance comes off best. Ryan Phillippe is the weak link, and since he's got the most important role, the film can't manage to be anything more than camp. A better actor would have made Valmont's brooding actually attractive instead of the sleepy yet petulant poutiness Ryan Phillippe brings to the role. Heath Ledger or Jude Law, my wife suggests Cillian Murphy, might have brought some of the weight to the role than John Malkovich and Colin Firth managed in earlier incarnations.
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mañana

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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 02:15:47 PM »
Ryan Phillippe is the weak link,
Any film he appears in, and this isn't the case, is likely a pretty shabby cast.
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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 02:21:13 PM »
Very true.
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Re: Retro Filmspots Review Thread: 1999 Edition
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 11:21:29 PM »


The Green Mile

There's a slight dishonesty to the Retro Filmspots. This is a chance to right some wrongs, bring attention to the little guy, overlook the popular choice for something that can better define who we are as a group. I am guilty of this as well. I am very proud of last year's discovery of Un homme qui dort. (I believe it was Martin who got our attention.) This was an earned surprise. A film most of us never even heard of, but really wanted to champion it because it was honestly worth the acclaim. I hope we discover one of those this year too, but I hope you don't overlook the greatness of The Green Mile.

How many of you last saw this film over 10 years ago? How many of you are rolling your eyes right now because I'm writing great things about the movie that pretty much had greatness stamped on it before it was even released? (BTW, all of you who never understood the acclaim for The Green Mile, I submit this review by one of our own.) As for me, I loved this film then and I still love it today. The three hours goes by quickly because there's a lot of solid actors playing interesting characters, so Frank Darabont can quickly bounce from one situation to the next. Every prisoner, every guard and every family member make a distinct impression, and none of them need an excessive amount of time to do it.

There's a clean simplicity to the story, kind of like a fable. I love that the script doesn't go for complexity. It focuses on the people and gives them a lot of heart without pulling our strings. (Maybe a little gentle plucking.) The bookend section does reach for an importance that isn't needed. The biggest misstep I found. Overall I think this is better than his more acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption.

How about this cast? Tom Hanks, effortlessly commanding. (He also has the best small moment in this big movie when he's finally able to pee again.) There are shades of later Sam Rockwell performances in Wild Bill, but the nasty edge here makes it distinct among his work. My favorite performance is David Morse as the tough but tender guard nicknamed "Brutal". I used to be more of a fan of Doug Hutchison's sadistic Percy Whitmore, but he was a bit obvious in his evil at times. The picked on kid who grew up to have some power, needs more subtlety. Another difference watching this film today is Michael Clarke Duncan's character. It's become known as "the Magical Negro", and heavily criticized like a racial stereotype. I guess I see what they're talking about, and Duncan is the most limited actor in this strong ensemble. However, he really puts his heart into John Coffey, and his final scene still put a lump in my throat.
RATING: * * * *

Possible Retro Filmspot Nominations:

Picture
Director
Adapted Screenplay
Ensemble
Actor - Kevin Spacey
Supporting Actor - David Morse
Supporting Actor - Sam Rockwell
Best Year - Sam Rockwell

 

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