Poll

Pick this month's theme

Movies where Summer is crucial to the plot
1 (11.1%)
Drive In B Movies
3 (33.3%)
1999
4 (44.4%)
Summer Blockbusters
1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Voting closed: June 06, 2013, 06:11:00 PM

Author Topic: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots  (Read 5097 times)

Corndog

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2013, 11:57:29 AM »
Kikujiro (Takeshi Kitano, 1999) -

I had not heard of this film, or even Kitano prior to this dictation from JolietJerry. My immediate reaction at the conclusion of the film, and even at certain points throughout, was "what the heck was that?'. Really out there film and in some ways reminded me of some of the anime films from Japan I have seen with a sense of supernatural and a certain mystical nature to the proceedings. However, it did not have the same effect as those Ghibli films have had on me, and I think the main issue I found with the film was the main character, the kid. Nobody I don't think ever cared for him, throughout the entire film. I can see how some would argue otherwise with the mild transformation of the Kikujiro character, and the couple strangers they meet along the way to take the kid to see his real mother, but I really saw Kikujiro as a selfish, fiendish character throughout, whose transformation was only for his good, and not the kid's.

It went from bizarre moment to bizarre moment and no scene I can remember ever felt fully thought out, which just resulted in an uneven, off-kilter pace and emotion. It never drew me in or piqued my interest. The only real good thing I can say about the film was its marvelous score, which, while it had a wonderful whimsy and hopefullness to it, never really matched with what was on screen. Kitano almost used it to do what he could not, bridge an emotional connection with the audience since his story never did. It just seemed to keep going, in a bad way, too. About half way through seemed the conclusion of the journey, but then Kitano goes even further into the fantastical and strange, adding nothing but fluff to the proceedings. Not really sure what that was all about at all. I am completely lost on this one.

I really wish I could have enjoyed it more JolietJerry; I also feel an obligation to give these dictations the benefit of the doubt and try my hardest to find the good in them all, but this time I really struggled. Thanks for trying anyway Jerry.

** - Poor
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

Eldog

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2013, 02:30:32 AM »
All About My Mother

I am relatively new to Pedro Almodovar's body of work. I saw "The Skin I Live In" and was amazed and immediately moved it into my Top 100 - a place I never thought Antonio Banderas would be welcome! Then I saw "Talk To Her" and maybe due to lofty expectations I was a little bit disappointed although by no means discouraged to delve deeper into his canon. So the question was: would "All About My Mother" be able to find a place amongst my all time favorites?

The film seems to be Almodovar's homage to women, especially mothers, with male characters only being peripheral and some even preferring to "alter" themselves to join the fairer sex. But what a range of female characters he brings! Transvestite prostitutes and less than celibate nuns to name a couple. Cecilia Roth gives a wonderful performance as a grieving mother that never gets the chance to relinquish her maternal instincts as she fosters a number of the other characters through their trials and tribulations.

There was a nice crossover in the story lines between Cecilia Roth's Manuela and the characters played by Marisa Paredes and Penelope Cruz which I thought midway through the film had presented some interesting questions. Unfortunately, I didn't think that Almodovar explored the darker possibilities that these questions posed and preferred to keep things upbeat and more sanitized. There were some funny scenes especially the scene where a number of the female characters were talking quite explicitly. The scene where the transvestite is explaining the cost of being a woman was rather tongue-in-cheek and very clever.

Not quite Top 100 material but enjoyable all the same.

78/100

JolietJerry

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2013, 05:10:23 PM »
Kikujiro (Takeshi Kitano, 1999) -

I really wish I could have enjoyed it more JolietJerry; I also feel an obligation to give these dictations the benefit of the doubt and try my hardest to find the good in them all, but this time I really struggled. Thanks for trying anyway Jerry.

** - Poor

Corndog, no problem. It's definitely an odd film and one I haven't seen in quite awhile. As I recall though it was the only one on my list you hadn't seen and I was trying to avoid the usual 1999 suspects.

Also, PeacefulAnarchy, I'm still awaiting "Three Kings" from Netflix. I'm on my 3rd movie since I moved it to the top of my queue and it still says "Very Long Wait." Just don't want you to think I'm ignoring your dictation.

roujin

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2013, 09:48:33 PM »
Just your friendly neighborhood child molester.

JolietJerry

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #44 on: July 03, 2013, 09:00:21 AM »
Three Kings

I was kind of surprised to see that my only previous experience with David O. Russell's work was with "Silver Linings Playbook." I think because of the Lily Tomlin YouTube vids and other stories I've read over the years of his battles with actors that his name was well known to me so I assumed I'd seen more of his films.

"Three Kings" was a mixed bag for me although I did enjoy it overall. The visual style suited the material as the washed out colors work well for a film that takes place in the deserts of Iraq and is focused on characters burned out by a war they aren't even sure of what it was for. I was particularly amused by the warning that accompanied the DVD about how the colors were intended to look that way by the filmmakers and there was nothing wrong with my television...lol. I also found it genuinely funny at times, especially when it came to Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg's characters. One of the best things about "Three Kings" was how it portrayed Iraqis as complex characters instead of simply villains or ignorant foreigners happy to see Americans.

My issues with the film lay with the fact that I wish it had leaned a little more to either the comedy side or the serious drama side. It walked the line too carefully for me and I wish it had attacked one of those angles more aggressively than the other. I know walking that line is one of the achievements a lot of people point to as a reason they love this movie but for me it made it difficult to buy the more dramatic scenes. For instance, the sequence of Mark Wahlberg being held prisoner and interrogated and Spike Jonze's death never carried the weight that it should have. Other moments in the film just came off as silly or heavy handed, in particular Ice Cube using a C4 strapped football to blow up a helicopter. Maybe if it was an Expendables movie I could've had fun with that but not here. Another example would be Wahlberg being force fed oil with a CD case jammed in his mouth. Clooney's performance also didn't do much for me. He's an actor I struggle with since it's hard not to like him and he's sometimes engaging but he's always just playing George Clooney (though I did like him in "Michael Clayton" and he was about the last of my complaints in "Batman & Robin.")

So, in summary, I like "Three Kings" but I don't see it as the masterpiece some do (maybe it would've helped to have seen it in 1999 before several other wars and films about them) and I think it should have decided what it wanted to be: serious war drama or comedy.

*** out of 5 stars.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 09:02:18 AM by JolietJerry »

WillMunny

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2013, 04:42:24 AM »
Nabbie's Love
 
A peculiar and eccentric blend of love stories, different cultures (from Okinawa and Japan of course, plus a crazy Irishman) tradition and modernity and a lot of music played on local instruments (and a violin too). All of this is mise en scene with a light touch by the director and the overall mood is rather funny/comic thanks mainly to the light-hearted characters.
My first reaction to the film has been looking for info about the Ryukyu Islands where it is set, no doubt about the fact that much of its charm comes from the location, its folk tradition plays a major role in the film, but this is an afterthought, Nabbie's love managed to keep me enchanted and amused for 90 minutes, not a minor feat.
 
3.5/5

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2013, 10:37:52 PM »
Sorry I'm so late.

Boys Don't Cry 7/10
There's not much I can point out as being wrong here. It's an interesting story with a compelling arc, and while you can sense the tragedy coming from the very start it handles things very well. I won't spoil what happens but suffice to say the pacing of the film gives the events that happen exactly the right punch they need. The performances are very good, particularly Swank who gives one of the best performances I've seen in a while. Despite all this good stuff, it just wasn't something that really drew me in or was particularly emotionally effective. While Swank's character is sympathetic for the emotional pain he goes through, the same can't really be said for his, or his friends. as personalities. There's a bunch of joy riding, drug use, and just general ambling about that I don't find particularly interesting in real life or in film, and the film focuses much more on that than it does on the gender issues underlying the lead character. Perhaps there's a connection between the two that I missed, but what I saw was mostly an irresponsible young person who happened to have sexual identity issues, rather than someone particularly driven by those issues. The story is enough to make the film worth watching, but as film it doesn't really hit me in the right places.

goodguy

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2013, 12:59:25 PM »
Interesting tidbit I found out today: A couple of years before the Peirce film, Fox (Searchlight?) offered Boys Don't Cry to Claire Denis.
http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/23/denis_interview/
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/03/claire-denis-french-director-interview
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 01:14:18 PM by goodguy »

pixote

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Re: June 2013 MDC: 1999 Retrospots
« Reply #48 on: December 02, 2013, 06:26:49 PM »


La balia
Marco Bellocchio, 1999

Based on a novella by Luigi Pirandello, La balia concerns itself with a wealthy family in turn-of-the-century Italy that hires a wet nurse from the country to feed and care for their newborn child when something resembling postpartum depression renders the biological mother more-or-less incapable of even holding her own offspring. As a condition of employment, the illiterate balia whose husband is a teacher jailed for revolutionary activities has to leave behind her own newborn son. The fracturing of these maternal and class ties yields some good thematic resonance that Bellochio explores in a very controlled, deliberate manner. The resulting film is a little too cold and formal for my tastes there's no room for laughter or even smiling, really; but plenty of room for an infant's cries and the musical score punctuates too many a word and gesture with distracting gravitas. I'd nonetheless recommend the film to viewers who don't share my irrational bias against short stories and the film adaptations thereof specifically to fans of John Huston's The Dead and Bill Forsyth's Housekeeping (which, though based on a novel, has a very similiar feel to it).

Sorry it took me so long to get to this dictation, WillMunny! I really appreciate the opportunity to see a film I likely would have missed otherwise!

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.