Author Topic: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New  (Read 7871 times)

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #90 on: October 19, 2017, 03:18:44 AM »
pixote, if you have access to a bigger screen I would recommend Sorcerer from your watch list. I found it to be better than Wages of Fear (although I did see Sorcerer first, which may have biased my view).

pixote

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #91 on: November 24, 2017, 11:59:04 PM »
1977: Something New



The Ascent  (Larisa Shepitko, 1977)

The Ascent has the reputation of a very emotional experience, but my appreciation of the film was rather clinical. I admired it without really feeling it. But that's okay because there's so much to admire, starting with the stark, black-and-white cinematography, which is wonderful in typical Soviet fashion. Unlike the shimmery grays of Shepitko's Wings, the high contrast photography of The Ascent creates a binary world of rough textures, where even snowflakes seem substantial in their brilliant whiteness. Even though I failed to connect on an emotional level, I did get a visceral sense of the harsh environment, no more so than when one character drags another through the snow. I might have shivered in empathy.

The character being dragged in that scene is played by Boris Plotnikov, and he possesses the most photogenic face in a black-and-white film since Max Von Sydow in The Seventh Seal. He has the perfect balance of light and dark features for this style of cinematography, and his eyes are alive to match. Every closeup of him is a bit awe-inspiring.

Bergman was on my mind throughout The Ascent, as was Tarkovsky. The story is something of a war survival tale (e.g., My Name Is Ivan, perhaps) but also plays as a spiritual allegory, which is an aspect that never quite worked for me. I was much more interested in the surprising turns the narrative took, as the protagonists staggered between episodes of The Twilight Zone.

Grade: B+

pixote
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 04:48:06 AM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #92 on: November 26, 2017, 12:51:08 AM »
1977: Bonus Short



Powers of Ten  (Charles Eames & Ray Eames, 1977)

An impressively made film that satisfyingly creates the illusion of traveling out to the stellar expanse and then all the way back in to the subatomic frontier. A humbling experience. I wish I'd liked the narrator's delivery a bit more, especially when finding out afterwards that he worked on the Manhattan Project. A cool touch.

Grade: B-



A few additional reviews, unrelated to this marathon ...



A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe  (Charles Eames & Ray Eames, 1968)

This 'sketch' isn't quite as rough as advertised. It's almost surprisingly how similar it is to the 1977 film though I imagine those similarities are driven mostly by Kees Boeke's 1957 book Cosmic View. Even though the visuals in A Rough Sketch are less accomplished than those of Powers of Ten, they're offset by a more appealing narrator (Judith Bronowski) and the added element of time relativity, which was of great interest to me.

Grade: B-





Cosmic Zoom  (Eva Szasz, 1968)

This animated adaptation of Boeke's book, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, feels empty compared to A Rough Sketch, which was made the same year. The absence of photorealism and narration underscores how important those elements are to the success of the Eames' film.

Grade: C





901: After 45 Years of Working  (Eames Demetrios, 1990)

Very amateur documentary filming of somewhat interesting topic the contents of the Eames' offices that's ultimately too cursory to be of any worth, like a slideshow of the collected bric-a-brac of hoarders with good taste. The musical choices, though understandable, are rather grating.

Grade: C

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

pixote

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #93 on: June 02, 2018, 09:09:27 PM »
1977: Something Old



Annie Hall  (Woody Allen, 1977)

My December viewing of Annie Hall was I think my fourth overall, and I no longer have any strong grasp of my relationship to the film. I'm definitely not as enamored with it as I once was or thought I was. The editing, for example, used to strike me as rather ingenious, giving shape and pace to a screenplay that possibly lacked both. Now, though, it seems to me more of a cheat that brushes the movie's flaws under the carpet. Perhaps that's an over-correction on my part; I certainly can't point to many concrete examples. There's one moment about halfway through the film where Allen's character says to the camera, "Is it the old Groucho Marx joke? That I just don't wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member?" That seems like it should be a call-back to the (brilliant) opening use of that same comedic reference, but instead it just plays as recycled material in sloppy fashion.

Much of my good will towards the film seems to come from its first act, which perhaps contains most of its iconic moments. I'm not sure it's ever quite as sharp and incisive as it moves forward from there (Allen's take on Los Angeles has always struck me as stale), but I give it the benefit of the doubt on account of that accumulated good will.

The title change from Anhedonia to Annie Hall was a great choice in many ways (Keaton is generally joyous to watch here), but thematically the change skews the film, which is much more about the inability to feel pleasure than it is about Annie Hall or even the idea of a relationship with Annie as a stand-in for pleasure. The film is so rooted in Alvy's perspective that making Annie the title character feels almost insulting to her, especially given his general lack of awareness of her perspective (something the screenplay often shares).

All that said, Annie Hall remains a largely entertaining film that does well not to overstay its welcome. It's a breezy watch, fun and inventive, with a highly memorable first act.

Grade: B+

pixote
« Last Edit: June 02, 2018, 11:06:31 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #94 on: June 16, 2018, 09:34:53 PM »
Finally time to start round two of this marathon.

Round one was fairly successful, with three films returned to my Top 100, two new discoveries added, and another nine films earning a B+ grade. Only three of the eleven years visited failed to turn up a qualifying film (1919, 1923, and 1926), so I'll likely spend a little more time on them in the second round.

The preliminary lineup of years looks to be: 1919, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1935, 1938, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1970, 1971, 1979, 1996, and 1998. I'm going to go chronologically this time around, especially seeing as I have a full set of six consecutive years to dig into (1947-1952).



1919 (Poll)

Films Graded                          Films Remembered               Watchlist
None!Broken BlossomsFor Better, for Worse
Broken Blossoms (B)SunnysideMale and Female
Male and Female (C+)The BusherDon't Change Your Husband
Back Stage (C+)SouthDaddy-Long-Legs
The Hayseed (C)The Mother and the Law
J'accuse!
The Doll
True Heart Susie
When the Clouds Roll by
The Oyster Princess
Hawthorne of the U.S.A.
Different from the Others
The Spiders
Back Stage (short)

I'm playing catch-up here, with reviews of the four films in bold forthcoming. If anyone has a strong recommendation for a fifth selection, I'm certainly open to it.

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

1SO

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #95 on: June 16, 2018, 09:39:59 PM »
My obsessive tracking begins at 1926. I've only seen 13 features and shorts from 1919 and nothing jumps out as a fond memory.

oldkid

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #96 on: June 16, 2018, 11:34:18 PM »
I'm curious about this early iteration of Daddy Long Legs, but I certainly couldn't recommend it.   Do you have a review of Broken Blossoms?
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

pixote

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #97 on: June 16, 2018, 11:47:34 PM »
Do you have a review of Broken Blossoms?

Yep, just a few pages back!

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

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Year-by-Year: Something Old, Something New
« Reply #98 on: June 17, 2018, 06:17:57 AM »
My obsessive tracking begins at 1926. I've only seen 13 features and shorts from 1919 and nothing jumps out as a fond memory.

I thought you were old, but I did not realise how old.