Author Topic: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame  (Read 22745 times)

1SO

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #210 on: August 04, 2015, 12:26:19 PM »
Excellent. It does seem that popcorn Spielberg is more to your liking. This may not be the right time, but if you're looking to watch the film that bridges Duel to Jaws The Sugarland Express is on youtube in HD

Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #211 on: August 04, 2015, 12:36:39 PM »
This may not be the right time, but if you're looking to watch the film that bridges Duel to Jaws The Sugarland Express is on youtube in HD

Haha, alright. I'll promise to find it on rental some time this week. I don't usually make a habit of watching my movies without subtitles (in order to understand everything that's said), and I think I saw this the other day at the video store anyway.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 12:39:30 PM by The Kid »
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

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mañana

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #212 on: August 04, 2015, 04:04:55 PM »
Quote from: The Kid link=topic=13417.msg814176#msg814176
Spielberg should have stuck to psychological thrillers)
I'm sure he wishes he had it all to do over again.  ;)
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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #213 on: August 04, 2015, 05:02:56 PM »
Have you seen or are you open to Spielberg's War of the Worlds? Besides a terrible ending and having to believe that Tom Cruise is just a normal guy, it's a pretty fantastic thriller.
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Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #214 on: August 04, 2015, 05:53:10 PM »
Have you seen or are you open to Spielberg's War of the Worlds? Besides a terrible ending and having to believe that Tom Cruise is just a normal guy, it's a pretty fantastic thriller.

I don't know. I have several other films I would like to get to first. I'll try to catch it some time this month, but my memory of the film just doesn't really convince me to put it on a high priority list. :-/
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

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Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #215 on: August 06, 2015, 01:18:54 PM »

(1974)

I've mentioned before in my Perfect Storm review that movies that are based on true stories can be... problematic. I mean, real life just isn't that interesting, and changing the wrong details could either offend people or diminish the value of the real event. While Sugarland doesn't offend me since I have no prior knowledge of or attachment to Fae Holiday and Robert Dent (Lou Jean and Clovis Poplin in the film respectively), the dissonance in this realistic story between a light-hearted adventure and a poignant ending made my experience of this film a perplexing one.

The film spent a lot of time making me felt like Jean, Clovis, and Slide were having the time of their life, and then all of the sudden, when they arrived at the foster parents' house, I was suddenly hit with a mood whiplash that reminded me of the trap those rangers set up at that house. It wasn't a shocking revelation, since the film did inform me beforehand about the trap, but because the pacing was so often relaxed, I felt more often that it's a light-hearted comedy adventure than a tragedy waiting to happen.

Not to say that it's not a good film though. The character-bonding is well-done enough to make us care about these people before their inevitable end. I think the best description for this kind of movie shouldn't be "mediocre" or even "bland", but a less negative note of "nondescript". Even Williams' scoring didn't stand out in this movie.

7/10 (Well-written characters, but a confusing pace)
Enjoyability: Moderate
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

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1SO

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #216 on: August 06, 2015, 01:29:13 PM »
So would you say Spielberg made a huge creative leap from this to Jaws? Or can you see the filmmaking skills that worked well in Jaws flash up here and there?

Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #217 on: August 06, 2015, 01:35:33 PM »
So would you say Spielberg made a huge creative leap from this to Jaws? Or can you see the filmmaking skills that worked well in Jaws flash up here and there?

Oh yes, definitely the former. The tension-building is much more fluid in Jaws, much more enjoyable. Jaws is just one streamlined movement of dread pulling you under and never letting go.

But you know, even though it's not really my preferred kind of film, I can't say that Sugarland's way of telling its story is the wrong one. I mean, reality doesn't stop to tell you that you're going to die in the next hour, so why should Jean and Clovis' adventure have a blatant sense of dread that hammers you over the head before their inevitable end? I just wish the film was shot in a more documentary kind of style without John Williams' score, and that I didn't recognize William Atherton's face; would have made their adventure feel more realistic.
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

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Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #218 on: August 09, 2015, 12:47:30 PM »

(1958)

It's almost creepy seeing George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life turn into an obsessive nutcase. So much for not jumping from the bridge that Christmas night.

Vertigo plays exactly like the kind of Hitchcock thriller you'd come to expect. It toys with your expectations and leaves you with a shocking ending that will haunt you for days, perhaps years. Hitchcock cleverly gave Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart)'s infidelity with "Elster Madeleine" (Kim Novak) a saccharine, over-idealistic image. You could clearly tell how fake this relationship is, like it's from Gone with the Wind or something. It's romantic, that's for sure, but it's as romantic as one of those pretentious gifts of 99 roses adorned across a bedroom. Interesting enough, when Scottie gets together with Elster again, revealed to be "Judy Barton", their distance from each other mirrors the kind of realistic marriage you'd see normal people have. Before the marriage, it's all romantic and rosy, but after which, reality seeps in and you realize the woman you married to isn't Marilyn Monroe but Marilyn Manson underneath.

Even though Scottie and Madeleine's short-lived romance was revealed to be phony, I have to admit that, despite my mockery, Hitchcock did paint a convincing image of two people in love. Hitchcock films were known to have a lighthearted touch to them, unlike edgy horror films today that try so hard to be dark and horrifying throughout the entire film. It's that lightheartedness that gives the audience the comfort and immersion before Hitchcock reveals the trap he has been playing you into. It's a more intelligent version of what people call today, "the jump-scare". It's the after-thought of that terrible thing that occurred in the midst of happiness that should scare you the most, not the trigger-reaction of something leaping at your face.

And it's indeed a terrible thing this film has to offer, a cynical message about the artificiality of love. The term "vertigo" refers to the medical condition when you feel like you are moving when you are not. Much like Scottie and Madeleine's relationship, it's fake and imaginary, yet you have to admit that Hitchcock's portrayal of what a vertigo looks like is psychedelic, almost adrenaline-fueling. It hooks you in like the power of love, and no matter how fake it might be, it's hard to let go of such a sensation. Regardless of whether if Scottie was truly 'in love' or was merely having infatuation, it was a sensation he wanted to feel again when he met Judy.

There are a few faults with the film, and I'd admit that some people's criticisms are valid. In particular, the film could achieve the same effect without the inclusion of Midge Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes). I felt that her role to show Scottie's loss of innocence was redundant, and the film would have been more thrilling had her part been cut out. That being said, this is still one hell of a film that exemplifies Hitchcock's mastery of suspense. I must also note that the film is well-crafted enough that neither the existence of Midge nor Gavin Ester (Tom Helmore)'s convoluted plot to kill his wife distracted from the suspense of the movie. And that's how Hitchcock (as well as other well-crafted thriller) movies should be rightly judged.

9/10 (Amazing)
Enjoyability: High
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.

Paul Phoenix

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Re: Paul Phoenix's List of Shame
« Reply #219 on: April 01, 2016, 06:59:19 PM »
Haven't updated this thread in a while.


(Oct 22nd, 2015)

It's not bad. It's realistic, and the characters' morality are greyed out.

I've seen better, more entertaining Spielberg though. Watching this makes me miss the Indiana/Jaws days of Spielberg, the days when he could wow you with a spectacle.

3.5/5
Enjoyability: Low
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone." - Lance Clayton (played by Robin Williams), World's Greatest Dad

Eternally seeking variety. 'Tis the spice of life for me.