Author Topic: TSPDT Catch-up Marathon  (Read 1623 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: TSPDT Catch-up Marathon
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2020, 08:36:38 AM »
Wondering what new films will filter into the 2020 version. I might tackle a couple of films I'm pretty sure won't fall off the list but will probably wait until Feb before trucking back along with this marathon.

I also watched The Devils and Possession for Shocktober and never ended up writing about them. I'll try to do that now in here soon.
"It's all research." -roujin

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: TSPDT Catch-up Marathon
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2020, 07:19:05 PM »
A year late but here we go:

The Devils (1971) #595

A gripping historical drama about the real-life persecution of Protestants by the hands of the Catholic church. Okay, maybe that's a bit of a jest, but I did find that Ken Russel's depiction of real events while often indulging in a sense of b-movie camp still had a gravitas to it. I think Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave sell a lot of moments that would be downright silly otherwise.

And boy does this film has some silliness. That moment a man gets hit with the stuffed alligator has to be one of the most hilariously bad uses of a prop in cinema. I lost it. And then all the nuns getting naked and screaming about being possessed by the devil was a silly sequence.

Between this and Tommy, I dig Russell's style. It's so in your face and taken to an extreme that pushes the bounds of what is acceptable but always in service to telling this story about sexual repression and a system of religion where neither Catholics nor Protestants figured out how to deal with the sexual nature of human begins in the church. I'm certainly going to watch more Russell because even though I'm not sure I'd say The Devils is a great film or even good, but I think it's probably one of the most interesting films I've ever seen and after seeing as many films as I have, interesting goes a long way.


Possession (1981) #611

Another horror film that I found a lot more dramatic and emotionally engaging than I was expecting. Unlike The Devils where some of the intensity is a bit much, here it's all in service to telling this gut-punch of a story about how an affair ravages the lives of Mark and Anna. Isabelle Adjani absolutely sells the anguish of a woman possessed by something that might cost her everything and the emotional and physical turmoil is sold through some of the most disturbing moments I've seen an actor perform. She has one of the most fascinating and expressive faces I've seen in cinema. Her eyes alone tell us so much. At the moment, I was completely enraptured, afterwards, I wondered how the hell they made these scenes work.

Possession could have easily been goofy or bad, but every last moment of this film works for me. It's all-powerful and dramatic. I've wanted to see this film for about a decade now and it did not disappoint one bit. If anything, it exceeded beyond my expectations and I totally get why this film has a vocal and loyal following. I could see this film not working for most people, but for me, it's one of the most effective pieces of cinematic drama I've seen between a couple about being a couple.

A new personal favorite. The frontrunner for the best in the marathon. If I see at least one other film this good out of the remaining list, I'll be happy.


The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) #715

A solid film about making films. Coming from me, that's high praise. Is this Kirk Douglas's best performance? It's possibly his most complex and interesting character from what I've seen. Watching him slowly get into movies and then contrasting that to the man he's become is one of those stories of a man twisted into something monstrous by his dreams. The structure is notable here as the recollection of three character's experiences with the Kirk Douglas character and how he used each of them to get where he is. It's a more interesting way to tell what would otherwise be a rather predictable story.

It's a solid film, I see why people like it, I can't help but feel like it doesn't surpass the shadow of something like Citizen Kane which feels like it's about a similar kind of character's ascent/destruction and the telling of various character's perspectives of one man but there I felt the portrayal of Kane at least help us understand him as a person more. Here I'm never got past the fact I was watching all these characters play characters in a movie in a sort of simple morality tale about blind ambition and greed. It's a solid one of those, but not among the best of all time.
"It's all research." -roujin

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Re: TSPDT Catch-up Marathon
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2020, 07:59:56 PM »
The Devils (1971) #595
I can't say if the Ken Russell style is the best way to tell this story, but this story is the strongest anchor for Russell's style.


Possession (1981) #611
I thought I was prepared, but it was far goofier than I expected and even though I'm now more familiar with Żuławski's style, I don't see my opinion of this going higher.


The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) #715
If Citizen Kane is the top of the mountain, this is where you make camp before the final trek to the summit.
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