Author Topic: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)  (Read 53743 times)


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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #650 on: October 13, 2017, 05:55:43 PM »
After I watched Toni Erdman, I came away with the same opinion.  There's some good, some bad, but I'm not sure what I think about it.  After consideration, despite the excellent characterizations, I decided it wasn't for me, but I'm glad I watched it.
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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #651 on: October 14, 2017, 07:49:26 AM »
Sorry for the lack of response. I should have a good chunk of time later today to write.


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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #652 on: October 16, 2017, 05:15:19 PM »
Låt den rätte komma in / Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

First of all, what a gorgeous film. Shouldn't be surprising since it was shot by Hoyte van Hoytema (who appears to have replaced Wally Pfister as Nolan's DP of choice, and also shot Her and the bad-but-very-pretty Spectre), who uses the peri-urban Swedish setting to great effect. There's something deeply unsettling about... well, a lot, really, but my first thought is an early scene in which Eli's helper is trying to drain someone in a forest, and you can see the cars in the background : the scene looks like it should be happening in the middle of nowhere, but it isn't (and as it turns out, random people are around). Then there's the simple magic of the two main actors faces: I guess pallor allows for some beautifully creepy imagery, especially once you get some blood in there, and we sure do get some.

The mood it sets in is what makes the film work. It feels like a modern-day Grimm tale, but almost does so... casually ? It plays around with vampire tropes in a playful way without drawing too much attention to it (well, except for the whole "coming in" bit I suppose). Now, I'm not entirely sure what the vampirism is standing for here. Sexuality is always the obvious one, but given that this a coming of age story about a 12-year old (well, two), that's not quite as prominent an aspect as it might otherwise be. It's there, certainly, but there's really no seduction here, and that's usually a big characteristic of vampires.

It's a bit of a struggle writing this because, while I enjoyed it a whole lot, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. Usually this would leave me feeling unsassified, like the film didn't fullfill its promise, but here I somehow find it satisfying nonetheless. I suppose mood is enough sometimes.

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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #653 on: October 16, 2017, 08:28:50 PM »
Jeff Schroeck-approved Scandinavian Filmspot Double-Feature

The Hunt  (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012)

The characters in this film clearly have not seen Indictment: The McMartin Trial or experienced The Crucible in any of its forms, so I guess they can be forgiven their actions. Yet, as someone familiar with both those works, I found many of the choices of the script and its characters to be rather unsurprising and thus borderline uninteresting. The Hunt is nonetheless a very well made movie, covering its familiar ground in polished fashion and delivering pretty much exactly what you might expect from a story like this. Although the film is consistently engaging, I wish it had dug more into the complexities of the relationships and the situation rather than just amping up the obvious past the point of credibility (the dog, the church, the epilogue).

I've always wondered what elevated this film to greatness for people, and now having seen it I confess to wondering still. It's not that I disliked the film, only that I was underwhelmed by it. My biggest takeaway is that I need to see Thomas Bo Larsen (Klara's dad) in more things. He's got the face of a great silent film actor and such expressive eyes. At times I wished The Hunt were told from his point of view rather than from Mads'. That might have delivered the complexity I was searching for. Anyway, I hope he has a good lead role in his future (or perhaps his past).

Grade: B-

I agree that the choices seem predictable for a townwide angry mob story but the film works for me because the reason for the misunderstanding is so clear that I'm silently screaming at these people to STOP being so predictable. But they're only getting the one side, which is where the tension comes from. I've rarely been at such prolonged tension as I was for most the running time of it.

Thomas Bo Larsen is great. The only other thing I've seen him in is another Vinterburg movie, The Celebration, and he is a great sleazeball in that.


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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #654 on: October 16, 2017, 09:39:35 PM »
In working with local prejudices, the only thing that was unusual for me is that they gave up on the assumption of his guilt so quickly.  Evidence doesn't mean anything to a mob mentality.  The predictability of it was the realistic part.
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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #655 on: October 16, 2017, 10:52:23 PM »
In working with local prejudices, the only thing that was unusual for me is that they gave up on the assumption of his guilt so quickly.

Doesn't the ending undercut that?

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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #656 on: October 17, 2017, 04:27:07 PM »
Le Bonheur

Sandy: hi pixote!
Knocked Out Loaded: hi!
pixote: hi, i hadn't been to dubtrack since i first introduced it to people, lol. i had to hunt around for the link and figure out my login
Sandy: your creation! I should have given you a link
pixote: all good :)
Sandy: is this the first time both of you saw the film?
Knocked Out Loaded: yes it is
pixote: it's the first time i saw the whole thing. i think i'd watched the first 5-20 on three different occasions, in my oft-thwarted attempts to keep up with the 1960s World Cinema marathon
Sandy: then you are the most experienced viewer here!
pixote: Which other Varda films have you each seen?
Sandy: The Gleaners and I and The Beaches of Agnes. how about you?
Knocked Out Loaded: cleo, vagabond, jaquot and beaches
pixote: I've seen Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, Beaches of Agnes, The Gleaners and I, La Pointe-Courte, and most recently Daguerreotypes
Sandy:You're the most experienced Varda viewer too! ...I didn't realize Vagabond was made so long ago. I hadn't heard of it until the forum.
pixote: Sandy, did you recognize the same filmmaking voice from those two documentaries in this fiction film at all?
Sandy: I did. Her focus on nature and objects and interesting editing. Do you think she has signature fingerprints on her films?
Knocked Out Loaded: she is very curious
pixote: Yes, it was interesting to watch Le bonheur right away having watched Daguerreotypes - to see how deliberate and thoughtful and playful she is with her editing - sometimes to great effect, other times less so. The opening credits of Le bonheur are striking in that regard, they really set up the whole film perfectly, I think.
Sandy: enough with the sunflowers already! ;) You're right, I felt like just that small piece of the film set me up to expect small surprises with the shots
Knocked Out Loaded: and the mozart music!
Sandy: brought some heft, didn't it?
Knocked Out Loaded: it was a little too much if you ask me
Sandy: perhaps, but at the end, it covered my anguished cries of "No!"
pixote: I believe those credits consist only of two shot: one is a field of sunflowers, with the family of four visible in the background, out of focus, walking along the beach; in the other, a single sunflower is at the center of the composition, and we don't see the family at all.
Sandy: and it's not done in a rhythm, those shots, sometimes the flower is held and others, it isn't. It keep me off keelter
pixote: Each shot, on its own, is pleasant enough; but Varda, through her aggressive editing between them, reframes their beauty into jarring juxtaposition.
Sandy: this ain't no picnic in the park
Knocked Out Loaded: the editing reminded me of godard
Sandy:I've only seen one Godard, but I agree.
pixote: And so for me that solitary sunflower had a connotation of almost violence to it.
Sandy: I hadn't thought of that, but it's an apt explanation. The bouquets in all the ending scenes felt like an affront too
pixote: And that seemed in keeping with the films themes, which I think you can read in multiple ways, but definitely seemed at least in part to concern the balance between the family and the individual. And whether happiness really works by addition. (with the editing perhaps being an example of 'addition', the joining of two shots into something more)
Sandy: well said. it's more powerful an idea that I was giving it credit for at the time
pixote: I'm trying to remember the bouquets in the ending scenes ... can you remind me?
Sandy: There were different wildflowers bouquets in the home and one of them Emilie was watering, just like Therese had. Therese's theme was the flowers and she got supplanted

pixote: I felt in the bouquets some notion of trying to harness nature in a way that turns it unnatural ... like how we pick flowers to enjoy their beauty, even though that dooms them to death. Just a hint of some idea like that.
Sandy: I remember as she picked the flowers, I wondered if that was okay. Picking flowers in a national park, or in a public park is a big no no.
Knocked Out Loaded: not in sweden, sandy!
Sandy: haha! we must be short of flowers.  ...My favorites editing was when the camera went back and forth from François to Émilie's face during their first time at the apartment, like an awkward flirt and discovery
Knocked Out Loaded: there were several funny edits, but i don't recall any particular
Sandy: I liked how she didn't edit things out, like extras looking directly at the camera, or when the little boy was fussing and they kept it in and must have dubbed the leads voices back in

pixote: The funniest edit, to me, when there was a fade to blue and then the film cut to a street shot where a blue truck passes by and most people on the street are wearing blue clothes. And maybe at first it seemed like a happy accident, but then the same thing happened with the subsequent fade to red and it was delightful.
Sandy: i missed it!
pixote:I believe this was Varda's first color film, and she's very conscious of how she uses that new tool in her filmmaking arsenal.
Knocked Out Loaded: i think godard have used colors in the same manner
pixote: I'll post screenshots in the 1960s World Cinema thread.
Sandy: thanks!

pixote's pictorial review of Le Bonheur

Sandy: I've loved the shots of the ford films you've posted. You make the movies look greater than they are. As I look at them I think what an amazing movie and then I see your ratings! :D 
pixote: (I always have a debate about whether I should cherry pick the best screenshots or post a selection that's more representative of the film itself. In the end I always decide that I have no use for mediocre stills, lol.)
Sandy: haha!
pixote: In those fades to blue, red, yellow, I felt like Varda was retraining our eyes in how we perceive colors. The opening scenes are like a painting (I reference Seurat in that thread), and then the film breaks that painting down into primary colors and then builds back up into new colors (purple, green) -- more addition!
Sandy: a bouquet
pixote: I read a review somewhere that said that main colors were red, white, and blue, tied to the notion of France like Francois' name, but I don't think that's accurate.
Sandy: I've also read that it is a reflection of France at the time, with women gaining rights and privileges. ...This makes me want to study Varda's history and see how she had access to filming, like Godard. She herself is ahead of her time in many ways
Knocked Out Loaded: i think she started out as a photographer
Sandy: ooh, that makes sense
Knocked Out Loaded: there is a recent interview with her at the reverse shot site
Sandy: I'll look for it...

Agnes Varda's interview on "Reverse Shot"

pixote: What meaning did you take away from the film? How did you feel about Francois' actions?
Knocked Out Loaded: i think F acted without responsibility
Sandy: I don't know if I like my knee jerk take away, but it shows the dispensability of women.
Knocked Out Loaded: if the movie had been directed by a man, maybe it would have had a different status
Sandy: tell me more
Knocked Out Loaded: well, F took what he could get, like men always have had. that statement from a male director would seem patriarchic or similar
Sandy: and this way it is turned on it's head?
Knocked Out Loaded: when it is made by a woman it is a different thing. it think. ...i am not sure, really
Sandy: I'm not sure either. It's confusing to me.
Knocked Out Loaded: to maximize one's happiness, other people's will be affected
Sandy: that's a shame, isn't it?
Knocked Out Loaded: and the delicate thing is to find the right balance. it is a shame, it is the human condition
Sandy: is there a way to maximize happiness and not hurt others?
pixote: I think Varda keeps things nuanced enough that there's no really definitive reading. The film never explores, for example, whether Francois would be okay with Thérèse adding to her happiness in the same way.
Sandy: ha! I don't think he'd like that very much!
Knocked Out Loaded: no, but that would be a very interesting path
pixote: I'm not sure. He seemed so naive and carefree, in a lot of ways, maybe he could have. It would have been an interesting discussion, for sure.
Sandy: it would.
pixote: Same with Emilie. I didn't sense any expectation on Francois' part that she would stop seeing other guys.
pixote: We don't know, either, what led to Thérèse's death.
Sandy: I thought it was suicide, but the one shot of her in the water, shows her trying to survive. strange
pixote: We're shown a shot that shows her grasping for a branch in the river, suggesting either an accident or a suicide with second thoughts ... but that shot it highly subjective in nature and could easily be interrupted as Francois imagination of what happened since he doesn't seem the sort to blame himself in any way
Sandy: oh!
Knocked Out Loaded: it could be wishful thinking
Sandy: yes

pixote: And it's interesting, I think, that Francois gets a happy ending. So you can easily read it (as some have) that he was right and Therese is wrong. By adding to his happiness, he was better equipped to handle a tragedy.
Knocked Out Loaded: or he was the creator of the tragedy....
Sandy: :( There's a strong case for it. ...I cannot strongly argue the "adding to happiness" concept. Putting our whole lives into one person is bound to create acute heartache at some point. Amy Taubin wrote for Criterion about how Therese's character shattered, because she thought she was solely feeding his happiness
pixote: I don't know that Therese is well drawn enough a character for us to really know her thinking. We're left to guess and to project our own feelings onto her.
Sandy: I believe you, it brought up a whole lot of unrest in me.
pixote: If you think monogamy is a primitive notion, then Therese's tragedy is that she couldn't let go of tradition and see the simple truth in Francois' point of view. (for example)
Sandy: The way he told her about the affair, was so clueless, to his wife's feelings. I think he continued to be clueless, but it worked for him in the end, so what's there to change from his viewpoint? He was telling her the truth. Polyamory is all about everyone being in the know, but she didn't get to choose...
Knocked Out Loaded: i am not sure that ideas like those you referred to, sandy, were political correct 50 years ago, not even in europe, hi
Sandy: :) so was he ahead of his time, or clueless to what his actions wrought?
pixote: So, back to your question, I read the film more generally -- not about marriage, exactly, but about that sunflower notion of the individual versus the group. And how they're always a delicate balance, with the increased happiness of the individual often hurting the group and vice versa. Whether it be in marriage or the social contract.
Knocked Out Loaded: to me he felt clueless, and naive in a way
Sandy: and so are we, with the social contract per say, how happy i am to go on vacation, or buy a new appliance when one wears out. Is that what what social contract means, pixote? That haves and the have nots?
Knocked Out Loaded: excuse me for being slow, now i get the contradiction between the group of sunflowers and the sole on so much better[/color]
pixote: At one point in the first act, we see a Renoir film on the television that mirrors the scene in the park we saw, and the characters are talking about revolution/evolution (a mixup of words) Varda seems very interested in those sorts of dichotomies. Not just individual/group, but also art/life, nature/home, and maybe revolution/evolution
Knocked Out Loaded: they also mentioned something about bonheur in that play, but i am not sure what, like dialectics?
pixote: By social contract, I meant, like, how our acceptance to be governed involves a ceding of rights, in a way. The American Declaration of Independence speaks of the "pursuit of happiness" but with strings. I can't drive as fast as I want on the highway, for example.
Sandy: Ah, I see.

what you wrote speaks to what KOL said about balance and letting go of some happiness for the greater good. ...Regarding our takes on the film, here's a Varda quote, "In my films I always wanted to make people see deeply. I don't want to show things, but to give people the desire to see.

pixote: So this discussion is a victory for Varda, yay!
Sandy: haha! yes it is! she would be very pleased.
pixote: I can't find the Picnic is the Grass excerpt. I'll try to look it up later.
Sandy: And, regarding polyamory, as much as I was sad regarding his wife not being enough, i was very touched by how he described both women and loved them both, like his capacity grew. That is a good thing on a certain level. Maybe there is something to be said about that view of relationships. 
pixote: The idea of one person being enough sometimes seems a very unnatural - though relatable - idea.
Knocked Out Loaded: but in the end the price became to high
Sandy: you're both right
pixote: That's assuming that it resulted in Therese's death?
Knocked Out Loaded: the girl in vagabond tries, but eventually goes under. assuming, yes. for my part i think her death came as a result
pixote: To play devil's advocate: If Therese's death was an accident, how does Francois' affair with Emilie affect their kids? Does it hurt them or benefit them?
Sandy: positively. they had shorter lived trauma, for she was replaced quite smoothly
pixote: There's a fairy tale-like transition from one mother to the next, like, "Mom is dead. Long live Mom!"
Sandy: so true!
pixote: Now, for all we know, she turned into a wicked stepmother, but that's another movie. Le bonheur does seem to imply a happy ending for the kids, though ...
Knocked Out Loaded: yes, it ended like a western
pixote: And going back to that opening shot of the family out of focus behind the sunflowers ... we can't tell whether it's Emilie or Therese in the family, I don't think (assuming it's one or the other).
Sandy: If F was left alone in the end, the meaning of the film would be much more apparent, but this way, it is a conundrum.
pixote: I suppose, within the group, the individual becomes expendable/disposable? I don't know.
Sandy: it seems that way
Knocked Out Loaded: from the outside the individual is not important, but within the group it is another story
pixote: It's like when your kid's pet dies and you get them a look-alike and hope they don't notice, lol
Sandy: :D and sometimes it works
Knocked Out Loaded: because they are naive?
Sandy: Maybe, or because they don't want to feel pain, so they adjust
pixote: I feel the pain of everyone / Then I feel nothing ...I feel like there are key scenes in the film that I'm forgetting at the moment ... Like the discussion between Francois and his co-workers. And the importance of the wedding.
Knocked Out Loaded: what importance did the wedding have, pixie?
pixote: I wish I remembered! I'm pretty sure I had theories as to the importance of Therese's designing a wedding dress, etc., but it escapes me now. And then the scene where they're dancing and changing partners seamlessly ...
Knocked Out Loaded: it was a very playful scene!
Sandy: that reminds me of the talk Emilie had with her friends and how she was in love, and would only be friends with others. She was committed too, in her side role.
Knocked Out Loaded: and it paid off for her.
Sandy: it did, what did you make of the happy ending?
Knocked Out Loaded:personally, i don't know what to think of the happy ending
Sandy: I'm not sure I like the idea of waiting patiently for a turn, but she probably won't be his only into the future either. Once those barriers are down, he is liable to choose others too.
Knocked Out Loaded: you can predict the future by looking at the past
Sandy: you're right. ...The more I think about this film, the less I know about life. Nothing is solid under my feet. Again, Varda would be so pleased.  ...pixote, is this from a song? "I feel the pain of everyone / Then I feel nothing"
Knocked Out Loaded: The line seems to be from a Dinosaur Jr song
Sandy: is Dinosaur Jr. a thing?
pixote: it may or may not be playing now. i forget how dubtrack works.

Sandy: it is for me!
Knocked Out Loaded: it plays!
Sandy: how do you both know this?!
Knocked Out Loaded: i googled it just now! ;D
Sandy: haha! :)) that's my trick!
Sandy: i like it, pixote. You chose well.  ...when I break down the film into a very simple triangle, both F and E chose their part, but emilie did not and whether she chose to die or not, her action removed herself from the triangle and no one seemed to be affected, in the end. :(
pixote: I liked Le bonheur a good deal, even without any sort of full understanding of it. It's well-filmed, thought-provoking, occasional delightful, and fully engaging.
Sandy: i did too. It's been on my mind ever since watching it. sign of a good film. i want to go back and see the color themes.
pixote: I'll try to post those screenshots tonight.
Sandy: thanks, pixote!
Knocked Out Loaded: i questioned the movie at first, but our discussion has opened it up somewhat
Sandy: did you want more answers, KOL, or more consequences?
Knocked Out Loaded: formally, it is very well done. not answers, but less ambivalence, i think
Sandy: yes
Knocked Out Loaded: i'd like a statement of some sort
Sandy: i guess you get to make your own. :)
Knocked Out Loaded: i guess you're right sandy
pixote: 'Agnès Varda wrote that she had envisioned the film as “a beautiful summer fruit with a worm inside.”'
Sandy: great metaphor! i do feel squeamish
Knocked Out Loaded: it is beautiful! ...I'd also like to add how great it was to have everything filmed on location
pixote: Le bonheur est un pistolet chaud.
Sandy: eh?
Knocked Out Loaded: vraiment!
Sandy: eh eh? i'm outclassed. :-[ 
pixote: (Happiness is a warm gun.)
Sandy:  :)) yes it is
pixote: Thanks for organizing this chat! It was fun and made me want to watch the film again.
Knocked Out Loaded: Yes, thank you both. now i understand and appreciate the film more and want to continue with some more of her films
Sandy: i'm so glad we could get together!you guys are a blast to talk with


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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #657 on: October 17, 2017, 06:30:45 PM »
In working with local prejudices, the only thing that was unusual for me is that they gave up on the assumption of his guilt so quickly.

Doesn't the ending undercut that?


Not for me.  That was an individual act, not representing the whole community, although the film indicates that it may never end.  But the whole community just shutting up, accepting him without a fight?  Accepting evidence that is right in their face when their fears have been triggered? Not in my experience.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #658 on: October 19, 2017, 06:39:45 AM »
Thief (1980 - Michael Mann)

I have just finished watching this, so this review lacks a lot of polish, but I wanted to get some thoughts down.

Unfortunately I had to split this viewing over 2 sessions. Michael Mann has created some great films (Heat and Collateral), and at least one no so great film (Miami Vice). Thief leans much more towards the great end. James Caan very well plays a jaded realist thief. While he has a purpose and his planning and actioning thefts is done, he seems world weary and passionless. The film has many strengths, Cann and Tuesday Weld, and the 2 main robberies in particular, but Mann has kept to a minimum the depth of the supporting characters. The bringing in of the police, but taking them nowhere was a problem. They were a loose end without a satisfying conclusion.

Still for a heist film this one has a lot to chew on. Definite  recommend. Thanks.

Rating: 76 / 100


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Re: The Top 100 Club (Episode III)
« Reply #659 on: October 19, 2017, 12:57:14 PM »
Le Bonheur

I loved your guy's discussion on Varda's film.  It should be included in a future version of the Criterion Collection.

The film is ambivalent, but I think that is it's genius.  In 1965 it would have been easy to give a solid, moral ending to this tale.  "Adultery is bad," that kind of thing.  Instead we are left with questions.  Okay, so this turned out bad, but whose fault is it?  Was it false expectations?  Was the idea itself wrong?  Would it have worked if there was more communication, if all the partners agreed to it to begin with?  This movie allows us to think all these questions, while still being realistic.  This isn't a movie about polyandry, but about the naivete that could eventually lead to it.

Varda, as usual, is curious, speculative, exploitative, without landing on anything, but instead offering important questions, allowing others to create answers or solutions. 

For the record,  VIVA SUNFLOWERS!
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky