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Author Topic: The Top 100 Club (Sept 2015 - May 2017)  (Read 324955 times)

Bondo

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3370 on: May 08, 2017, 08:45:17 PM »
My King (2015)

The DVD for this film included a short film from Maiwenn (the director of the feature) and that short, like My King, involved a pregnancy and a swimming pool for parts of it. So maybe watching that as an opener wasn't the greatest idea as at a couple I got them mixed up in my head. My King is chronologically choppy enough that it didn't need help confusing me. Admittedly, other than the shell story of Tony (Emmanuelle Bercot) recovering from a knee injury, it does seem to move chronologically, but it omits enough plot that it isn't always clear how much time is passing and often it relies on off-screen events to trigger the on-screen drama.

I think it was my reading into the blurb on the film, but I had suspected when the relationship was described as turbulent, it meant Georgio (Vincent Cassel) was the one causing the turbulence through emotional or physical abuse. There is some indication that might be happening but based on what we are shown, Tony seems the far more unstable party to the point where I hardly blame Georgio for his need for some distance from her. It’s only when things have already blown up that his bad side really starts to show, along, oddly enough, with some of their best moments together. Love is weird or something. I wouldn’t know. Just from viewing other relationships from the outside, I can appreciate that the film tries to contrast fiery passion that makes it so people can neither stay together nor remain apart, but I might have liked it feeling more nuanced and less melodramatic, but that might be my Lutheran anti-emotion talking again.

Doing a bit of further background reading, I was interested to discover that Maiwenn met Luc Besson when she was 14 and he was 32. They would marry and have a child together two years later before he left her for Milla Jovovich while filming The Fifth Element (at which point both women were 20, Jovovich having already been married as well). I don't know the specifics of course, but just going off the ages, it feels like that is the kind of relationship that could have inspired the themes of this film, and I'm not sure if this means I should be putting Luc Besson on my blacklist with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. Adoring Leon and The Fifth Element far more than anything from those other two, that would be an instance of principle actually demanding sacrifice. Though even at the end of the film I'm still not sure how bad Georgio really is, so to the degree it might be autobiographical, perhaps Luc Besson is safe.

P.S. Also discovered, Isild Le Besco is Maiwenn’s sister, and looks amazing as a brunette...not her usual look, so I didn't recognize her immediately.

Teproc

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3371 on: May 09, 2017, 11:44:03 AM »
While the film clearly takes a side, if only by the nature of its structure, what makes it work so well for me is how ambivalent it left me feeling about that relationship. The juxtaposition of intense joy with intense psychological abuse is not something that generally works for me, but the performances make it work. Cassel brings such an energy to those scenes, and Bercot is great at this ambivalence, knowing that this guy is bad news but still wanting to give it a try. Not a novel idea by any stretch, and I think the framing device is very clunky (though it has some funny scenes with the young guys, what did you think of those ?), but the execution just works for me.

Besson is known to be a huge dick, but I don't think he's been accused of anything on the level of Woody Allen, let alone Polanski.
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Bondo

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3372 on: May 09, 2017, 02:32:34 PM »
Well, having suffered a significant knee injury in the past (10 weeks non-weight bearing, 1 year light weight bearing), it felt like she was overacting, especially for just an ACL/MCL. Like, you get pretty good at finding workarounds for only having one leg and having your arms taken up by crutches. But I did enjoy the rapport with her fellow rehabees. It just felt like a different film, essentially all to set up the parent teacher conference.

I have to admit a general liking of Cassel, broadly speaking, so he starts with a bit of advantage with his character, even though his character is the kind of player that I would normally be repelled by.

One question: A blurb I read said her reflections lead her to question whether her skiing accident was really an accident, yet I didn't catch any moment that would indicate he somehow contrived for her to get injured. Did I miss something or was the blurb making it too much of a thriller.

Teproc

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3373 on: May 09, 2017, 05:31:58 PM »
Nah, there's the implication that she might have had the accident on purpose, but nothing thriller-y really.
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smirnoff

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3374 on: May 10, 2017, 02:14:12 AM »
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Years ago I resolved not to watch this film until I had familiarized myself with Hamlet. Now that I have I felt ready to give this a go. I had hoped that this familiarity would pay dividends. I imagined the film would be rich with references that only a knowing ear would pick up.

After watching the film (or the first 45 minutes of it) I concluded that either I didn't possess the knowing ear I thought I did, or the references were less abundant than I had imagined they would be.

I like the idea of the film... following a couple of periphery characters around, capturing what they're up to when they're not in the scene. There's a cheekiness to it, and a playfulness... it's not quite breaking the fourth wall, and not quite Hamlet either, but it's something in between. I suppose you could think of it as a spinoff. But I didn't really get what it was trying to do. It's a bit like those looney tunes cartoons where Bugs Bunny interacts with the animators pencil as it creates the scene. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern only know that which is set down for them by the play... they do not have a backstory beyond that. And so much of the movie is them trying to piece together the mystery of their existence, using the clues which the author provides, as he provides them. Again, it all sounds pretty amusing and clever. I just didn't enjoy it. I found all a bit inane if I'm honest.

It's a lot of banter played for humour but nothing it did managed to elicit so much as a smirk on my part. The whole feel of the movie is as though it takes place in a vacuum. Lines are given so much room to breathe, and the tempo is... well there really isn't any tempo. Scenes are bare. Stark. I guess to accentuate the absurdity of the humour in such an sacred setting (like a big loud fart in quiet church), but if like me you found the jokes dying on impact, that starkness merely accentuated how bored I was, there being so little else to take notice of.

I only pushed on for 45 minutes but found my dislike too strong to want to carry on. So a bust for me.



West Side Story

Too much lovey-dovey! I didn't mind the love story premise to drive the plot and create conflict, but it began to feel like every song was about how in love with each other they were. TONY TONY MARIA MARIA TONY TONY MARIA MARIA! I wished more people had opened their windows to yell "hey, people are trying to sleep here!"... as they are usually so good at doing in this setting.

America was a great song. That was the height of the movie for me... and snuck in just as I was on the cusp of losing interest. I did lose interest after that, but was glad to have stuck it out that long. I finished the film, but mostly just to say I had and without any real enthusiasm.



Don't be too disheartened by these reviews Teproc. Pretty much everything I've seen on your top 100 I love... all that was left was stuff I didn't really want to watch. I'm far more exciting about the films I've already seen on your list. The Martian for instance, which I find myself continually watching, and coming away feeling like it has earned a spot on my own list. Or Crouching Tiger which has grown massively after a recent revisit and, like your own list, feels that it should be in my top 10. ^_^

« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 02:20:50 AM by smirnoff »

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3375 on: May 10, 2017, 02:30:54 AM »
Nah, there's the implication that she might have had the accident on purpose, but nothing thriller-y really.
Isn't that the implication of the second scene, when she enters the clinic and has to talk to the super annoying therapist/psychologist? Luckily that whole angle goes nowhere.

Well, having suffered a significant knee injury in the past (10 weeks non-weight bearing, 1 year light weight bearing), it felt like she was overacting, especially for just an ACL/MCL. Like, you get pretty good at finding workarounds for only having one leg and having your arms taken up by crutches. But I did enjoy the rapport with her fellow rehabees. It just felt like a different film, essentially all to set up the parent teacher conference.
The actress or the character was overacting? I thought it was clear with the way the film shows both her and the other characters in that part of the film that much of her slow physical progress was her getting in her own way mentally and viewing everything from a desperate frustrated perspective. Her inability to deal with seemingly simple things is a reflection of the character's mental state at that point. As that part progresses she gets her bearings mentally and progresses physically as well. Unlike you I didn't really like her rapport with the other rehabers, much of it felt forced and since they never grow as characters I just found them annoying. Actually the whole full-time rehab facility for relatively minor surgeries seemed super strange. Is that a normal thing in France or just a reflection of her being a rich lawyer?

Mon roi (2015) 8/10
Since I'm complaining, I also found the tonal whiplash between the "present" and the flashbacks in the first half hour rather frustrating to watch, and neither of the characters, nor the worlds they inhabit, felt familiar to me. Thankfully both parts of the film meet each other tonally and settle into a more even melancholy mood which worked better for me. The performances are what really make the whole film work and they're exceptional enough that any complaints I have about the film are minimized. The two leads are great both together and alone, expressing a range of emotions that are at the heart of the film's depiction of a turbulent and messy love affair. The humanity they put into the characters allows them to become sympathetic, which in turn allows us to see them through the eyes of the characters as people who are flawed but also have positive qualities that can be charming and mitigate those flaws. As such, the film becomes less about blame and finger pointing (though there is some of that, from the characters, implied by the film's perspective, and from the viewer bringing in their personal biases) and more about the moments, shown and implied, and how people will follow threads in their lives even as warning signs pop up. By structuring the scenes as flashbacks, even though they flow temporally, the film allows itself to skip a lot of the connecting tissue and show us turning points and breaking points. This helps highlight the highs and lows, and makes certain things more obvious than they would be for the characters in the moment, but it does have the tradeoff of making some transitions excessively abrupt.

Teproc

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3376 on: May 10, 2017, 04:02:54 AM »
Nah, there's the implication that she might have had the accident on purpose, but nothing thriller-y really.
Isn't that the implication of the second scene, when she enters the clinic and has to talk to the super annoying therapist/psychologist? Luckily that whole angle goes nowhere.

Hm. I'll have to watch out for that next time I watch it I guess.


Mon roi (2015) 8/10
Since I'm complaining, I also found the tonal whiplash between the "present" and the flashbacks in the first half hour rather frustrating to watch, and neither of the characters, nor the worlds they inhabit, felt familiar to me. Thankfully both parts of the film meet each other tonally and settle into a more even melancholy mood which worked better for me. The performances are what really make the whole film work and they're exceptional enough that any complaints I have about the film are minimized. The two leads are great both together and alone, expressing a range of emotions that are at the heart of the film's depiction of a turbulent and messy love affair. The humanity they put into the characters allows them to become sympathetic, which in turn allows us to see them through the eyes of the characters as people who are flawed but also have positive qualities that can be charming and mitigate those flaws. As such, the film becomes less about blame and finger pointing (though there is some of that, from the characters, implied by the film's perspective, and from the viewer bringing in their personal biases) and more about the moments, shown and implied, and how people will follow threads in their lives even as warning signs pop up. By structuring the scenes as flashbacks, even though they flow temporally, the film allows itself to skip a lot of the connecting tissue and show us turning points and breaking points. This helps highlight the highs and lows, and makes certain things more obvious than they would be for the characters in the moment, but it does have the tradeoff of making some transitions excessively abrupt.

Agree with all of this, especially the emphasis on the performances, though I did end up enjoying the rehabilitation scenes, even though they do feel somewhat out of place.
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PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3377 on: May 10, 2017, 04:05:16 AM »
Nah, there's the implication that she might have had the accident on purpose, but nothing thriller-y really.
Isn't that the implication of the second scene, when she enters the clinic and has to talk to the super annoying therapist/psychologist? Luckily that whole angle goes nowhere.

Hm. I'll have to watch out for that next time I watch it I guess.
To clarify, the implication is the one you're saying, not what Bondo was saying.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3378 on: May 10, 2017, 07:19:23 AM »
Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002 - Alain Chabat)

Growing up I was a big fan of the Asterix & Obelix comics, and this film captures the feel of the comics (the random bumping into the pirates is a classic type interlude from the comics) very well. Then there are the various references to other things. I loved that in one of the fights it starts out with a spagetti western feel, moves on through music into blacksploitation, then goes all martial arty.

The plot, as much as it is relevant, is an excuse to move the action from France to Egypt.

Plenty of laughs, but some definite flat spots, trapped in the pyramid being one of them. Glad I watched this.

Rating: 73/100

Teproc

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #3379 on: May 10, 2017, 07:52:37 AM »
Missed smirnoff's post the first time around...

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

I like the idea of the film... following a couple of periphery characters around, capturing what they're up to when they're not in the scene. There's a cheekiness to it, and a playfulness... it's not quite breaking the fourth wall, and not quite Hamlet either, but it's something in between. I suppose you could think of it as a spinoff. But I didn't really get what it was trying to do. It's a bit like those looney tunes cartoons where Bugs Bunny interacts with the animators pencil as it creates the scene. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern only know that which is set down for them by the play... they do not have a backstory beyond that. And so much of the movie is them trying to piece together the mystery of their existence, using the clues which the author provides, as he provides them. Again, it all sounds pretty amusing and clever. I just didn't enjoy it. I found all a bit inane if I'm honest. 

The playfulness of it is certainly was drew me in as well, and I do find it quite funny (not necessarily laugh-out-loud, though both Roth and Oldman have some great moments), but I think it's that feeling of being "in a vacuum" that really makes it work actually: it's more Becket than Shakespeare in the end, and the way it blends that irreverent meta humour while still taking R&G's existential crisis seriously is what I find masterful about it.

West Side Story

Too much lovey-dovey! I didn't mind the love story premise to drive the plot and create conflict, but it began to feel like every song was about how in love with each other they were. TONY TONY MARIA MARIA TONY TONY MARIA MARIA! I wished more people had opened their windows to yell "hey, people are trying to sleep here!"... as they are usually so good at doing in this setting.

America was a great song. That was the height of the movie for me... and snuck in just as I was on the cusp of losing interest. I did lose interest after that, but was glad to have stuck it out that long. I finished the film, but mostly just to say I had and without any real enthusiasm.

It certainly goes all-in on the romance, but that's what makes it work for me: it doesn't undercut it, it really goes for the whole Romeo & Juliet (was the Shakesperean double-bill on purpose by the way ?) drama with all its weight. The shot in which they first see each other and the whole rest of the screen literally goes blurry is kind of a litmus test: either you're in for that kind of heightened romance, or you're not.

That being said, I definitely agree on America being the high point, so fun while still having a real bite to it.

Don't be too disheartened by these reviews Teproc. Pretty much everything I've seen on your top 100 I love... all that was left was stuff I didn't really want to watch. I'm far more exciting about the films I've already seen on your list. The Martian for instance, which I find myself continually watching, and coming away feeling like it has earned a spot on my own list. Or Crouching Tiger which has grown massively after a recent revisit and, like your own list, feels that it should be in my top 10. ^_^

No worries, at least you gave them a try ! :)
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