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Author Topic: A Decade of Filmspots  (Read 24542 times)

pixote

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #150 on: May 03, 2020, 06:16:18 PM »


The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2015) A sumptuous, visual feast. I loved every image and probably would've taken screenshots of most of them had I watched this on DVD (instead of Amazon Prime). How Mark Lee Ping Bing's cinematography wasn't nominated for a Filmspot is sort of mind-boggling (especially juxtaposed with The Grandmaster's surprising Filmspot win for Art Direction). But it finished seventh on the nominations ballots (behind Sicario, hmm) in a pretty stacked year for cinematography (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Carol, Tangerine, The Hateful Eight); and sixth in the Art Direction race, where it was also hugely deserving. Makes me really regret not having had time to watch the film back then, welp. Then again, I wasn't able to watch any of the eventual Non-English Language Film nominees in 2015, but I'm retroactively grateful The Assassin managed to win that category.

I hope I make time to revisit this film in the very near future. I'm fairly certainly my opinion of it will only improve, especially when I'm armed with a better understanding of the story. The first time around, I often only had the gist of exactly what was going on but I really didn't need all that more than that. The visuals and atmosphere and overall craftsmanship were more that enough to keep me engaged. The best discovery of this marathon so far. Grade: B+

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pixote

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #151 on: May 03, 2020, 06:52:27 PM »
Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, 2013) Six years later, I thought I might get more out of this film than on my original, fatigue-laden attempt, especially having recently caught up (and enjoyed) Primer. And through Upstream Color's first act, this second attempt went pretty well. I was thoroughly engaged by the theft-via-hypnosis storyline (no more taking drugs from strangers at clubs for me!) as well as by the film's very assured style. (I normally play devil's advocate against the association between Most Editing and Best Editing, but Carruth's Filmspot win in that category was hugely deserving; the editing makes the movie.) When the story shifts gears in the second act to a sort of collective trauma love story (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets The Fisher King, as directed by Terrence Malick), my interest waned and never recovered. I think it's partly a case of a film's hook being too good. Having been, um, primed by Primer, I was keyed up for another really intricate sci-fi experience. Upstream Color delivers that in its first act, but it's a little bit of a bait-and-switch. I've seen other films that accomplish this with great success (Aoyama's Eureka being the most notable example), but Upstream Color's post-traumatic explorations never interested me as much as the original trauma itself. Despite the somewhat impressionist photography and editing, there's still a certain coldness to Carruth's aesthetic that kept me at an arm's length from his characters. So I didn't real care all that much whether they found love or ended up as bacon. Sorry, Sandy! I tried. Grade: C+

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Sandy

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #152 on: May 03, 2020, 10:45:34 PM »
Sorry, Sandy! I tried. Grade: C+pixote

You sure did! :)

That coldness seemed appropriate to me, like "it's as good as it's going to get," after all that was stripped from them. Barry Swaminathan, a film blogger, expresses that bleakness succinctly, "Each of these victims has a gaping, inexplicable hole in their lives that has ruined them. Each of them has had to create an answer and embrace that new version of themselves. Finding the farm gives them closure for at least one part of their misery." I don't think I'll be watching this film again any time soon, if ever. It tears me up inside thinking about it, but it's that tearing, that cycle of abuse shown in allegory, with a pale victory over it, that puts it in my top 100. Nothing else I've seen captures it quite so resignedly and accurately, tone wise. 

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #153 on: May 04, 2020, 03:05:04 AM »
Maybe I should rewatch The Assassin. Too many movies. Not enough time.

Upstream Color is one I plan on rewatching soon. It was a favorite of mine when it came out so I'm hoping it holds up to a rewatch.

pixote

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #154 on: May 05, 2020, 04:08:24 PM »
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011, Kanopy) A pleasant, ruminative exploration of Cannes-ian things (human nature, human connections, local government, parenthood) set against the backdrop of a murder investigation. The heavy reliance of subtext-laden dialogue give the proceedings a theatrical feel, but I also found myself wishing the film was the pilot of a new television series an anti-procedural police procedural. I definitely would've tuned in for at least the next couple episodes to watch these characters interact more and continue to bring some very mediocre justice to their community. Might make a good double feature with Memories of Murder; or even 12 Angry Men. I'm surprised people were such a fan of the cinematography, resulting in a Filmspot nomination in that category. I'm not a fan of this highly digitized look, and I found the compositions rather rote. That said, it doesn't look to have been a particularly strong year for the category. Grade: B

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pixote

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #155 on: May 05, 2020, 04:19:13 PM »
I recently watched Melancholia (C-) and Under the Skin (C+) for this marathon as well, but didn't really feel like reviewing either. I don't really understand the appeal of the von Trier film at all; it largely annoyed me. Glazer's film had the better moments, but the overall experience felt incomplete to me.

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1SO

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #156 on: May 05, 2020, 04:27:28 PM »
pixote, I'd love to get a count of how many films you watched before the binge and how many once you submit a ballot.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #157 on: May 05, 2020, 04:43:54 PM »
I forgot Once Upon a Time in Anatolia was in the last 10 years. Need to add it to the list.

goodguy

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #158 on: May 05, 2020, 04:47:47 PM »
... Under the Skin (C+) ... Glazer's film had the better moments, but the overall experience felt incomplete to me.

Yeah, right. Let's turn another movie into a TV series:
https://www.indiewire.com/2020/05/under-the-skin-tv-series-respectful-glazer-1202229055/

At least now I know who to blame.


Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: A Decade of Filmspots
« Reply #159 on: May 05, 2020, 07:36:25 PM »
pixote, thank you for noting which streaming service you used to watch the movie. Makes finding the movie so much easier.

 

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