Author Topic: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)  (Read 9461 times)

pixote

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Re: The Ratings Project: Top 100 Most Divisive Films (2013)
« Reply #70 on: August 27, 2013, 02:44:14 PM »

Goodfellas
Martin Scorsese, 1990


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I'd also forgotten how epic the story in Goodfellas was, and how messy and unweildy at times. The narration really hurts here. Though it serves the film alright in the first half, at a certain point in becomes kind of a nuisance, creating too much distance between viewer and story, so that the story felt less epic and more just like empty montage. Even with that obstacle, though, the second half is still more engaging than not, and it's all pretty good to great. The minute-by-minute breakdown of that one day felt like an empty promise, and I could have done without Liotta breaking the fourth wall (another one of those "I appreciate the idea, but that kind of sucked" moments), but, with apologies to Junior, it's still a pretty good film, I think.

I don't think the film as aged as well as Scorsese's other work.  Perhaps because it is so much a genre film, and its success inspired so much further development of that genre. ... It's great, but it feels weirdly out of place, neither of the classical past nor the present moment.  Maybe that doesn't make any sense.

Goodfellas is a pretty darn good movie. It’s fun to be Mr. Contrarian, but to my mind, Goodfellas lives up to the hype. It doesn’t have The Godfather’s prestige ambitions, this isn’t grand classical tragedy or a critique of American capitalism, it’s about middle managers/wiseguy working stiffs, and I like that. I guess at its essence it’s a standard morality play, these actions ultimately have consequences, they rise and then they fall. What it lacks in structural originality it makes up for with good performances, terrific use of music, and awesome editing. It’s slick and stylized, and I like that stuff more than I maybe should.

The Goodfellas episode of Community is better than Goodfellas.

The movie was masterly made.  Here is a filmmaker at the top of his craft. ... The narration was good-- perhaps used a little too much, but when Karen started in her narration, that was excellent.  The editing was perfect.  Breaking the fourth wall at the end was surprising and perfectly timed.  The plot was paced perfectly.  If I were going to film school I would watch this film over and over because it is an almost perfectly made film. ... However, I am not in film school.  And despite the perfect technique, I hated every character in this film, and I hated almost everything they did.  I had no sympathy for them.  No one, at any time, had an ethical moment where they considered whether what they were doing was right.  Sure, I get the theme.  The system was self-destructive, it couldn't last.  But in reality, if Henry hadn't moved into drugs, that system could have continued.  Frankly, I am disgusted.
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 #71 on: August 27, 2013, 03:04:40 PM »

Meet Me in St. Louis
Vincente Minnelli, 1944


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I really want to like this film, love this film even, but ... I just don't get it. ... But I know that Judy will sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" soon and make everything better.

uh, this was hell to get through. All prim and proper, all Hallmark postcard-y. Just hell. Maybe it's because I miss the dancing and the physical inventiveness that it provides but I just didn't find much of this interesting. I mean, sure, the sets and color were all great but whatever. I think the uprooting of the family is interesting but it's too fluffy and cutesy and whatever for me to care about it. My two biggest complaints are that I don't really like the songs that much (except for one exception) and I guess I don't like Judy Garland. I mean, she was great in The Pirate cuz she was acting all insane and throwing shit around but here it's just boring. The only song that was memorable is "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas." It's CINECAST!ing sublime with a fantastic set-up and a great delivery. The final moments of the film make me think I like it more than I do, actually. But it's hard for me to forget how bland and uninteresting the rest is.

Really, really underwhelmed by this film.

I would argue that Meet Me in St. Louis is a film that could be improved with a remake.  I see special magic all over, but in it's current state it's completely wrong.

My main beef was that there weren't enough songs.  In the 50+ minutes between "Trolley Song" (pure, exuberant joy) and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (so gorgeously sorrowful I had to watch it twice) there's only "You and I" to break it up.  Now, that's a lovely little tune, but that's a long period with only one song for a musical.  But you know, I didn't mind it so much.  The songs are magnificent, but there's enough of them in the first half.  I enjoy the characters so much that it's okay that the second half isn't much of a musical, focusing more on the wonderful interactions in this family.  Terrific performances all around, especially Garland, Bremer and Astor. ... I still don't feel quite right bumping this up to "Masterpiece" status, but it's definitely a film I enjoy immensely, and brings some tears to my eyes.

Subtle melancholy hidden in the technicolor. The impermanence of all things...

My 9-year old and I watched this together - and we both fell in love.

It was a nice couple of hours, and certainly had its strong points, but didn't really strike a chord with me. ... It was a beautiful film to look at though. The costumes and sets were marvelous, and filmed with full color, vibrant. The screen seemed drenched with it. Judy Garland is a national treasure by the way. Not sure why I don't have more of her in my life, like all the time, every day. Such a beautiful voice and a kinetic personality on screen. One can't help but fall in love with her and root for her. The interactions between the sisters and the whole family actually were pretty wonderful. A great portrait of the midwestern family. I just wish there had been more memorable moments throughout, as I struggle to recall anything too specific about 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 #72 on: August 27, 2013, 04:17:02 PM »

Clue
Jonathan Lynn, 1985


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One of the few attempts to make a modern screwball comedy that actually works. And, as far as I know, the only good movie adaptation of a board game ever.

Murder By Death lite.  It even includes two of the actors who were in Murder by Death, and had a number of scenes that were reminiscent of that movie.  However, it simply wasn't as funny, so reminding me of the much better movie didn't help.  Still, it was fun.

The first half is just okay, with probably an equal number of laughs and groaners. But once Tim Curry takes over the film, it's fantastic.

I just really, really hate Clue...

I just watched Clue a month ago so I know it isn't just bad memory telling me it is awesome.

I really liked Clue when I was a kid but I don't have a strong attachment to it or anything.

I love this film so much. It is just so funny. I loved playing the game as a kid and I loved it for the same reasons I love this film, it is just too much fun. Tim Curry and Madeline Kahn are so funny in this and the rest of the characters are played out nicely. So many little things about the film, so many great quotes you can take from it, and one of the funniest, best endings. It may be easy to figure out if you are really paying attention to the mystery, but how can you do that when you are spending so much time laughing? This is one of those movies for me that I could just watch in a loop.
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 #73 on: August 27, 2013, 04:34:34 PM »

A Woman Is a Woman
Jean-Luc Godard, 1961


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Often irresistible but also a little too cute (the book title thing for example) for me to love it. It looks great and it's good fun. I can't even imagine how much my wife would hate this one. 

Perhaps my favorite Godard movie. A lot of funny 4th wall moments and good goofy stuff in general. I don't remember laughing this much the first time through.

There are some wonderfully playful moments (like when Angela and Émile communicate by pulling books off their shelf), but Godard prefers to play around with his actors instead of grounding the characters and giving the emotional side of the plot some feeling of consequence. Godard doesn't care about Angela's desire to have a kid and so I don't either. I especially hate the score, which is doing some kind of over-bearing anti-musical thing. It constantly lays the groundwork for the characters to break into song and occasionally they would half-heartedly take the bait. More often it quickly switches to a new melody, as if somebody's iPod got stuck on 'Sample Shuffle' during the sound mix. Another frustrating misuse of talent from Godard, who includes the line "I don't know if this is a comedy or a tragedy, but it's a masterpiece." No. It. Isn't.

It is a comedy, but A Woman is a Woman isn't most effective as one. There are many levels to enjoy it on, but I enjoyed it most as a study of a loving, slightly deranged relationship, and the indecisive woman driving 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 #74 on: August 27, 2013, 04:59:18 PM »

Pi
Darren Aronofsky, 1998


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It was a little obvious. Religion is bad. Consumerism is bad. Alright. I get it. Some of the acting was a little sub-par, but... This movie is so damn intense. It is riveting and I was engrossed throughout. It is aurally as well as visually arresting. As a former math nerd the whole concept was intriguing.

This film just works on every level, for me.

I had trouble getting interested in this. The story was just slow and I didn't care about it. I never really liked math in school and the idea that this guy is trying to find the ultimate pattern of the universe in numbers was insignificant in my mind. It was done in an interesting, and bizarre, way by Aronofsky that allowed me to sit through the whole thing. But it just wasn't my bag, baby.

Fun "losing-my-mind" kind of movie. The more I watch lower budgeted films, the more my filmmaking sensibilities actually feel like there is hope for what I'm going to try to be accomplising in five to ten years time.
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 #75 on: August 27, 2013, 05:35:57 PM »

Nashville
Robert Altman, 1975


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Nashville was a huge disappointment for me. Not just because of a its reputation, but its themes and subjects are right up my alley: music, politics, the 70s. What was with the car crash at the airport? I was cringing. 

Released in 1975, Nashville remains one of the most quintessentially American films ever made.  A portrait of a specific time and place, Altman's vision is of a packed microcosm of society that represents all the hopes and fears, the underlying tension and paranoia embedded in the nation.  His characters include the top (fictional) country stars, folk and gospel singers, all surrounded by a pack of wannabes, hangers on, political figures and even a couple of movie stars.  Some are just there for the groove and good feelings.  Others have more sinister intentions.  Altman makes it impossible to tell one from the other, moving people in and out of each other's lives like a complex game of musical chairs.

I agree it was too long.  Still, I don't know what I would cut out.  Perhaps it was all too painful for Altman to cut anything, so he just left it all in, critics be damned!

Over the first 80 minutes of the 160 minute runtime (I'm sorry, but I just couldn't be bothered to keep going), there is essentially no direction or momentum. I couldn't begin to tell you what happens in the second half because nothing was established. It's just a bunch of shallow characters existing in Nashville, with music.
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 #76 on: August 28, 2013, 11:52:28 AM »

Planet Terror
Robert Rodriguez, 2007


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All of Planet Terror was balls to the wall action. It was great. I love everything about this movie. I had to turn my head away from the screen during parts of it (especially when a certain somebody did a certain cameo) and it was probably the goriest thing I have seen since Brain Dead. That being said, every single character in this movie was gold. Michael Biehn, Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin. All fantastic. This movie was perfect.

Planet Terror really only worked for me as a film within that grindhouse context, seen in a crowded theater with an enthusiastic audience, appreciative of films that were appreciative of us.  I really can't imagine watching it at home on DVD.

I laughed so hard at this.  I truly love Rodriguez, mostly when he refuses to take himself seriously.  This is quite possibly the perfect example of this.  A zombie film so full of gags and "bloopers" and editing errors and mysterious props and cheesy special effects and impossible makeup and costume changes and... it was great.  The greatest "bad" movie ever.  Another good thing, though, is he allowed most of his actors to play it straight.  So it was reasonably good acting under the "worst director" ever.  So much fun.

This movie would be ideal viewing if you had a few buddies over and wanted some good entertainment. There's lots to oooh and aaah at and a good amount of laughs too. It's preposterous to the max. ... When a talented director with a good budget sets out to make a old fashion zombie movie it's hard not to like the results. It was pitch perfect. Everyone involved seemed to get it. It felt like a tribute not a parody.
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 #77 on: August 28, 2013, 02:04:00 PM »

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tobe Hooper, 1974


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I'm too scared to see it.

The first third occurs mostly before the main body of the action and then by the time the final third starts, it feels like most of it should have winded down, even though the final third contains the best of the horror action. The beginning and end needed compression to let the middle be developed more effectively. As it is, I felt very little tension or horror from this, it was all too ridiculous.

The film starts perfectly with those flashbulb images and the squeaky sound effect. Then for quite a while it settles into bad, cheap movie mode with some terrible acting. The film's reputation comes from that final third where the heroes often think they are about to get away, only to plunge further into the dark heart of that twisted family. (The dinner scene works as both horror and satire, poking fun at the people we call "family.")

This movie isn't very good. It's full of bad acting and silly plot choices. It's not particularly well filmed, for the most part, though there are moments of greatness and the aesthetic works for the movie it's trying to be. ... But also, this movie is amazing.
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 #78 on: August 28, 2013, 04:00:12 PM »

Miami Vice
Michael Mann, 2006


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In essence a sequel to Heat, it covers the same terrain of professionals who are obsessed with their jobs. The difference is that this time there's no need for all the speeches foregrounding the themes. Instead, there's hardly any dialogue at all that isn't mumbled, jargonic and oblique. That's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned at least. Visually, the film is stunning. Mann, with this and Collateral (#11, 2004) has done some pioneering work with high-definition digital cameras. The daytime scenes are filled with light, vibrant, colorful and incredibly detailed (the digital camera has an unbelievable depth of focus), while the night scenes are blurry, fuzzy, and impressionistic.

It was good enough, but not great. I liked the visual style and the story, but, for me, the acting wasn't there. Did Mann forget to tell the actors to speak up? I couldn't hear half of what was said, which made it unnecessarily hard to follow the plot. The action scenes were incredible, and I liked a couple parts a whole heck of a lot, but other times, I was underwhelmed.

I got bored with it. It looked great though.

Not even Gong Li, who I love in just about anything, could get me to really enjoy this.
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 #79 on: August 28, 2013, 05:04:57 PM »

Oldboy
Park Chan-wook, 2003


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The film was very well made I thought. The score was something that complimented the tone of the film well. The electronic parts were cool and slick, which matched up with the visual style of most of the film. And the more traditional parts matched up well with the understated moments in the film. The angles and shots Park capture are quite good and interesting. The style helps match the violent and fast paced film. Violence doesn't usually do it for me, but every once in a while, a violent film will come along that does.

I’m still bothered by the strangeness, but it never detracts too much from the main story, and the unforgettable performance of Choi Min-sik. ... This is not a film for everyone.  Emotionally charged and coldly manipulative, Park really knows how to twist the knife a few times over at the end. If you're curious about his movies, this is the one to start with. ... But I so could’ve done without the ants.

The first time I was repulsed while the second time I felt there was no justification behind the repulsiveness. I really don't want to revisit the film a third time despite how masterfully put together everything feels.

Oldboy single-handedly put my interest in Asian cinema on hold for several years.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.