Author Topic: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)  (Read 10145 times)

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2013, 05:38:11 PM »

Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese, 1976


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I have to admit, the style of the film really threw me off from what I was expecting, but once I settled into it, I really enjoyed myself. I don't think it was the best film I have seen, nor do I even feel like it is De Niro or Scorsese's best. But that doesn't also mean that they didn't do outstanding work here. It deserves the praise it gets. I just kind of feel it is one of those that perhaps does not split audiences, which means pretty much everyone thinks it is a good movie, which doesn't necessarily always also make it a great film. There were some really interesting underlying themes here as well, so perhaps with multiple viewings my favor will increase, but as it stands Taxi Driver is just another really good Scorsese/De Niro film.

much quieter, much more interesting than I expected - another one to be glad I caught up with.  I guess there are Scorseses that I find quite fascinatingly compelling - like King of Comedy - and those I loathe - like Goodfellas. This one falls in the former camp. Such a good performance from De Niro - it felt both meticulous and utterly spontaneous.

Please don't make me watch Taxi Driver again. I've tried and I've tried and I've tried.

I saw Taxi Driver for the first time maybe 5 or 6 years ago now... all I remember is that I hated it.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2013, 05:54:28 PM »

Seven Samurai
Akira Kurosawa, 1954


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Best movie ever.

I am sure that Seven Samurai is a film that only gets better and better with every viewing (as sdedalus said somewhere around here a few days ago), but I didn't have the amazing first viewing experience with it that many others had. I am aware that I shot myself in the foot a little by watching this film in a state of exhaustion, and that, under different circumstances I could not only have seen that this is a great movie (as I did for the majority of the film), but felt it a lot more as well. I think you know what I mean.

The first half perfects the "assembling a team" sequence with Takashi Shimura being a complete badass and Mifune being a moron (so great). Then the second half is like the world's greatest extended action sequences - the geography of the town almost perfectly delineated and explained, the poetics of badassery, etc. Kurosawa's samurais reminded me of Ford's cowboys - men who are essential to the progress of civilization, but who always remain on the outside looking in. Easily one of the most entertaining movies ever made. I'll probably still be a douche and claim Kurosawa made better movies, but if anyone wants an idea of what, at its highest peaks, cinema can achieve, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this.

In the end I turned out to like it well enough, way more than I had imagined... Admittedly it took me a little while to get used to the style of acting, which draws to the melodramatic... But once I got into it, it didn't bother me too much. Instead I started to enjoy the flow in the storytelling, so nice and smooth, giving plenty of room for every character and plot line to develop, and yet never feeling boring or slow. While the film was a little darkish at moments (it could be my copy that wasn't the best), I was overall impressed by the cinematography. For something made in 1954 it felt strangely modern.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2013, 06:13:42 PM »

Alphaville
Jean-Luc Godard, 1965


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Okay, I think I don’t like Godard very much.  Too much pseudo-philosophical nonsense.  Either I didn’t “get” Alphaville, or more likely, there was nothing to get.  A lot of flim-flam babble.  The parts that were supposed to be funny elicited little more than a smile, but the parts that were supposed to be deep and serious were CINECAST!ing hilarious.  I can appreciate how unique and challenging it is, but I didn’t enjoy it much, and I sure wouldn’t bother with it again.

I was enjoying this movie but I kind of got a little lost in the plot and thought the ending was a bit underwhelming.

Don't get me wrong, Alphaville is great.  It was actually the first Godard I ever saw.  But it's really weird.

The dystopian future Godard builds is something we've seen many times before but he gives it enough flair to make it stand out. The fascinating thing is that he uses regular locations and gives them futuristic roles, like a swimming pool as an execution chamber. The technical aspects of Alphaville are quite impressive for the time. One of the first shots is a tracking shot through a building and up an elevator, following the main character. I'd heard some bad things about this film before going in but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had with it. Godard does a bunch of other experimentations with sound and the visuals and its was a lot of fun to watch.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2013, 11:03:32 AM »

American Psycho
Mary Harron, 2000


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Dumb yuppie black comedy/consumerism satire that takes "obvious" to whole new levels.  "Mergers and Acquisitions" / "Murders and Executions", har de har har.  Normally I enjoy composing a scathing review, but I just don't feel like wasting my time on this one.  Whatevs.

The Genesis speech is awe-inspiring.

I got the satire, but it didn't work on any other level, and I felt that it could have been a decent SNL skit, but no more than that. ... I also think that the feminine touches are seen in the film, and there are parts of it shown from a female point of view.  But it was still dull when it wasn't unnecessarily gory.

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

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2013, 11:25:35 AM »

The Long Kiss Goodnight
Renny Harlin, 1996


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Yeah, it certainly lacks the polish and sophistication of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it is one of my guilty pleasures too.

I love all the characters in this, with their little quirks. Crazy how it basically predicts 9/11 and the conspiracy that emerges from it (with amazing accuracy). This movie delivers in the way only a 90's action/whatever movie can. I'm surprised at the production value. Up there with Speed and the like. It wins at everything it does.

But don't be fooled-- this is no Die Hard.  Far from it.  The throwaway comic lines are the best part of the film.  But this might be the worst acting I've seen from Davis or Jackson.  The last third of the film I laughed so hard because it was just sooo stupid.  If I had the time, even I could do a marvelous Smirnoff review of this one.  It's just too easy.  The script was occasionally clever, but then some actor read a line horribly, or in the middle of a quick action scene they go for a reaction shot.  Honestly, I couldn't stop thinking about how poorly this film was made.

A guilty pleasure for me, where Shane Black's writing wrestles Renny Harlin's direction to the ground. Harlin still gets in a bunch of cheese, but the story and dialogue are much more memorable. One of my favorite Sam Jackson turns. His reactions to Geena Davis are hilarious.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #45 on: August 23, 2013, 11:44:00 AM »

The Double Life of Veronique
Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991


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The Double Life Of Veronique. I won't even pretend that I have a grasp to what this film was trying to say or if it even has anything to say. I felt as I watched that I shouldn't pay so much attention to the details so much as focus on the way the film tries its hardest to achieve the lyrical quality of a poem. If you look at it that way, the film succeeds. I also want to bring attention to the way that the film has purely perfect moments. Little bits and pieces of the film where you can't believe you've never seen a scene quite like this one such as the one where Weronika witnesses herself inside a bus (or does she?) or when Veronique listens raptly to a tape of sounds that someone else has sent her. The film is beautiful.

If The Reader is Oscar bait, then this one is Cannes bait. It’s stunning to look at and Kieslowski photographs Irene Jacob beautifully, but I dunno that kind of thing doesn’t hold my attention the way it does other people. I guess the whole metaphysical thing didn’t really turn my crank, the internet tells me it was an exploration of identity or something. Sure, I’ll buy that. Not that I need things to always be narrative driven, far from it, but for whatever reason nothing really drew me in in a big way. Anyway, it was pretty enough and there were enough good moments to get a good grade.

I've watched it twice now and each time I am drawn in, stunned by the beauty and power of the simple story.  It is intellectually stimulating and sensual, but somehow it is the beauty of it that captures me.  I am misty-eyed at the end of the film, and I don't know why.  It moves me as no other film does, and it is a mystery how it stirs my soul at all.  In all, The Double Life is one of my favorite films of all time.

I just love the way the film focuses on living. There are so many moments where the sound is so carefully constructed - think of the diegetic music sprinkled around, think of the performances throughout, think of the scene with the headphones, think of the ending... There are so many scenes where vision plays a prominent role - think of the opening upside down scene, think of viewing the puppeteer in the mirror, think of viewing the world through the inverting glass ball, think of the photographs... There are so many scenes where touch takes over - think of the rustling with papers in the street, think of the interlocking bodies, think of the failing heart, think of twisting the finger while singing, think of the string twisting in her fingers as one of the clues... I don't think the way these elements are portrayed has any greater significance to the other 'meaning' in the film, but they do convey a sense of the senses, of sensing, of living. I like to bathe in the film.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #46 on: August 23, 2013, 12:03:46 PM »

The Wild Bunch
Sam Peckinpah, 1969


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Sam Peckinpaugh's apocalyptic Western is great, but I've seen it at least three times and it's never been able to stick in my memory. I remember individual parts of it, the brilliant opening sequence especially, but I just can't recall the whole of the film. The mood is what's important though, as Peckinpaugh turns the romantic, mythic Western into a chaotic, bloody hell, and that's always fun.

I was a fan of the action to a point. Very bloody, very raw. Innocent bystanders going down left and right. A real cluster-f***. Peckinpaw made me feel the chaos perfectly without disorienting me as to what was going on. I did have a problem with some of that editing though. The flashier bits had the opposite of the intended effect. Made me think about the technique and not the film. ... I'm intrigued to know there's a shorter cut of the film but disappointed it's only about 10 minutes less. I think there was about 30 minutes worth of stuff I could've done without.

I don't so much hate The Wild Bunch as I hate the reputation around it.

The movie is a lot of fun and perhaps on this re-watch the male bonding stuff feels a little too excessive. It leads to some great moments, but I think having already seen the film, I just sort of tired of it a lot quicker. I also got into the performances a lot more. William Holden was an incredible actor. Stalag 17, Network, this... the man was amazing.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2013, 12:26:24 PM »

The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan, 2012


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That is to say, from the first moment in which Bane speaks, to the odd one-liner (Batman, stood up by Kyle, quipping "So that's how it feels"), to the final, superlatively edited, feel-good, Inception-like emotional pay-off - in which we feel real joy on behalf of Michael Caine's loyal butler Alfred - there are moments of real superhero excitment here between long bouts of utter drivel.

The new film is just as impressive in its scope – magnified by the IMAX screen – and in the effort that went into it, to the point that I feel almost guilty for not enjoying it more. Nolan again rushes us through this long, epic, rollercoaster ride, like a magician using misdirection so we don't catch on to any of the holes in his tricks; and Hans Zimmer plays the magician's assistant, with his score operating at crescendo for nearly the full running time of the film, constantly prodding us with a locomotive's linear propulsiveness, "this-is-exciting-this-is-exciting-this-is-exciting-don't-look-back-don't-look-back-this-is-exciting-this-is-exciting!" But it's not always exciting. Bale's normal Batman was pretty boring, but his emo Batman is even worse. And yet when he pretty much disappears from the narrative for a full half hour, I realized that I missed him, because he's at least more interesting than Bane.

I'll remember the film just as we experienced it that night, before I listened to all those whiny podcasters:  immersive, thrilling, funny, touching and surprising. And I'll remember the wonderful audience that laughed when it was funny who held their breath when it was exciting and who took up a huge applause as the movie finished. It doesn't get much better in a theatre.

These movies are fun for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then their relentlessly prosaic nature wins out, and you realized you're stuck with Nolan's incredibly oppressive and punishing love of empty spectacle for 3 hours. And then you get really bored.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2013, 12:36:37 PM »

Constantine
Francis Lawrence, 2005


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villains are almost always coded gay somehow in classic hollywood (and even modern...Constantine, i'm looking at you).  Making a villain with effeminate traits = instant identification with the masculine hero in most of your audience.

I enjoyed it.  Entertaining and effective mix of action and comedy.  Tilda, thanks for your reaction after getting Holy Shotgun-whipped and for driving your foot into Keanu's chest.  Those two moments and Keanu's middle finger are three of the best movie moments I've seen in a while!  Stomare's Lu is the business as is Tilda's Gabriel.

If your in the habit of tuning out critics based on their reactions to certain films, Constantine doesn't leave many to read.

It’s really impressive, with a clever story and some superb directing by first-timer Francis Lawrence.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #49 on: August 23, 2013, 12:52:09 PM »

Fanny and Alexander
Ingmar Bergman, 1982


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I've seen Fanny and Alexander... twice!-- and it just didn't do anything for me.

It was only after watching Fanny and Alexander that I sort of fell in love with Bergman.

This is a film that celebrates the creature comforts of life, finding pleasure in “the little world.”  For as much as Bergman gets saddled with labels like “austere”, here we see him practically spitting in the face of austerity.  The Ekdahl home is joyously lavish, stuffed with artwork and food and precious items.  And of course there’s also the packed-to-the-rafters shop owned by Jacobi, filled with exotic and supernatural mysteries.  Where Fanny and Alexander suffer is in the stifling environment of the barren Vergerus household, forbidden from bringing any of their belongings (the bishop reluctantly allows Alexander to hold on to his battered teddy bear).  It’s a wholehearted endorsement of material, physical decadence.  “Let us be happy while we are happy.”

Embrace the little joys of life: food, theatre, companionship, etc.  Still, art can provide more than diversion and pleasure.  For participants of art whether it's as a creator even as a child or as part of the audience, it can be a means through which we make sense of life and work out our questions and despair. 
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.