Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sandy  (Read 7656 times)

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #160 on: February 26, 2019, 10:16:57 PM »
Matilda
The lows are just as bad as I feared but the highs are much higher than I expected and, most importantly, more frequent. Devito is probably where I'm most torn because he's so entertaining and I'd watch a movie focused on his character, but as a secondary character in Matilda's story he's too absurd and distracting. Trunchbull has no such positives, she's annoying and such a pure villain that the only value in her existence is in the sense of menace she possesses but neither the acting nor the direction really sells it. Thankfully the story isn't as much about battling the big mean headmistress as a plot summary might indicate. It's a film about a little girl finding herself, finding her happiness and delighting in a love of learning, with a little silly bit of surreal adventure on the side. That film is quite heartwarming and even when it's a little cheesy there's a lovely undercurrent that holds it together. Miss Honey feels as overdone as the other adults to start, but unlike the others she develops a second dimension and provides a necessary balance to Matilda thanks partly to the writing, the reveals about her childhood add a nice extra layer to her character, but also the performance that balances the mannered style of the film with an underlying humanity to the character. I'm sorry I didn't like it more, but I did really enjoy the good parts and many of the not so good parts as well, though in a different way.
 

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #161 on: February 26, 2019, 10:28:23 PM »
In some ways I had a very similar reaction. Not about Keaton though! On that point we are completet opposites.:))

I love broad-comedy Keaton.  Much better than Keaton Batman.

It was like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean!

This adaptation deserved some PotC.

:))



Well, he is a Pirates fan.





Much Ado About Nothing

The major criteria for my viewing of an adaptation of Shakespeare is how well the director and actors interpret the script.  We have the "writer's cut" of each play, as the original performances were shorter, but a full length presentation is three hours, at a steady pace.  I am unsure about others, but the difficult language and poetry slows down my comprehension, let alone the centuries-old puns.  So I need an interpretation, whether on stage or screen, that pauses, allowing me to catch up, and uses all tools at hand to explain the script.  Not just the plot, but the jokes as well.

Me too!!!

Quote
In this, Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing is as good as it gets.  Clearly the script is edited for length's sake, but each line is given it's due, and a proper context for comprehension and enjoyment. Perhaps it has a little too much mugging for the camera, and they spend a bit too much time setting up some scenes, but it all works for the clear presentation of a difficult script.  And I know it's difficult because this play is much different than Joss Whedon's adaptation a few years ago, which was mostly incomprehensable.  Branagh and his team pull every stop to make a fun presentation of all that Shakespeare is about.  The songs, the costumes, the acting, the setting, it all works together.

This in no small part is why it's in my top 100. I am starving for understandable Shakespeare. I want to get it, I really do. Branagh's acting and directing bring me the clearest Shakespeare I know. I would put Thompson's ability right there too. They make me feel smarter. :)

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And then we come to the script.  I find Shakespeare's comedies, with one exception (AMND), to be little more than sitcom-level entertainment. Fun, but rarely laugh-out-loud, and, of course, his situations and lines have been used for centuries.  Generally, I find them tiresome.  But watching these performers are not.  These are some of my favorite performers of the last 20... dare I say 25?... years. Most of them have done better work, but it is fun to see them cheerful and energetic.  Three performances really pushed ahead: Emma Thompson, of course, who speaks the acidic wit as if she were born to it.  Keanu Reeves, who rolls the Elizabethian words naturally off his villianous tongue.  And, surprisingly, Michael Keaton, who stole the show with his idiot clown.

Yes, yes and hmmm. I've got some studying to do about Dogberry. I just know if I figure out what he is trying to say and do, I'll appreciate Keaton more.

Quote
Not a favorite play, but one of the best Shakespeare adaptations I've seen.

3.5/5

In agreement! :)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #162 on: February 26, 2019, 11:12:56 PM »
Matilda
The lows are just as bad as I feared but the highs are much higher than I expected and, most importantly, more frequent. Devito is probably where I'm most torn because he's so entertaining and I'd watch a movie focused on his character, but as a secondary character in Matilda's story he's too absurd and distracting. Trunchbull has no such positives, she's annoying and such a pure villain that the only value in her existence is in the sense of menace she possesses but neither the acting nor the direction really sells it. Thankfully the story isn't as much about battling the big mean headmistress as a plot summary might indicate. It's a film about a little girl finding herself, finding her happiness and delighting in a love of learning, with a little silly bit of surreal adventure on the side. That film is quite heartwarming and even when it's a little cheesy there's a lovely undercurrent that holds it together. Miss Honey feels as overdone as the other adults to start, but unlike the others she develops a second dimension and provides a necessary balance to Matilda thanks partly to the writing, the reveals about her childhood add a nice extra layer to her character, but also the performance that balances the mannered style of the film with an underlying humanity to the character. I'm sorry I didn't like it more, but I did really enjoy the good parts and many of the not so good parts as well, though in a different way.

Your words about the film are more positive than I would have imagined, so I'm very happy! You found the heart amongst all the rest and it's why it lingers on my list. The story is strangely funny and all, but it's this "finding" which really calls to me. We find our oasis in the desert, whether it's through knowledge, or community, or empowerment. And with many of us, I found my way through books. :)



(Devito's narration helped me to not be so utterly turned off by his awful character. It was a good choice to have him do that.)

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #163 on: February 26, 2019, 11:42:08 PM »
Yeah, the part about books was what touched me most. I wish the film had gone more in that direction. Books were my first love too. I didn't get into movies until I was an adult and didn't really watch TV or listen to music until I was a teenager and never had the passion for either that I did for books, so they were with me for a long time. But movies really devoured the book part of my brain and I don't read books much anymore. Now that my passion for movies has waned a bit I hope I can find a way back to books.

And yes the narration worked well too.

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #164 on: February 27, 2019, 12:14:08 AM »
Very nice! Thanks for telling me. :) Books are the best.






PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #165 on: February 28, 2019, 01:03:06 AM »
Persuasion (2007)
I had some fears about this being a TV production but those were put to rest right from the start with the the wonderful first shots. Honestly the cinematography throughout the whole thing wonderful. There are some tells in the sound design and the general production looking a bit drab, but both those things actually work for me. It's nice not to see pristine costumes and the almost theatrical sound design helps ground the film more than most period pieces. Hawkins is excellent, a wonderfully layered performance that is quite restrained yet always in command. I did want to scream "just say it" at her character sometimes , but unlike most such cases it always feels understandable why she (and he in return) doesn't. Not from a contrived way or from external social norms reasons, though both of those hang around, but at the heart of her decisions is her heart and Hawkins makes sure we can always get a real sense of how she's feeling and what she's thinking. I really enjoyed spending time with her. The climax felt a bit rushed but its execution is so amazing that I doubt any alternative would have been better. Hawkins running back and forth was already really effective, but the zoom in subsequent waiting for the kiss a great cherry on top. I'm going to watch one more tomorrow, but I find it hard to imagine anything can top this.

Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #166 on: February 28, 2019, 01:30:45 AM »
Benny & Joon (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1993)



This feels very representative of a certain brand of 90s American indies which lead into the 2000s idea of the Sundance movie: a comedy with dramatic elements and lot of quirkiness, preferably the type that appeals to cinephiles. It's probably unfair of me to think of this film as part of that category, seeing as this is neither an indie nor a Sundance movie technically, but it fits that mold so well, it's possible it played a role in defining it.

I... did not care for this film, at all. None of these characters ever felt like people to me: Depp is doing his mid-90s Depp thing, Masterson is doing mental illness as a quirk, and Aidan Quinn is perpetuating the proud tradition of the bland, milquetoast protagonist. A charitable view would see him as the "straight man", but that would imply he's enhancing the comedic performances around him, which I didn't find to be the case at all... in general, the film's tone felt very strange to me, as it often can in these types of stories. The plot elements are... ridiculous ? Depp ends up living with our protagonists because of a poker bet ? I guess we're supposed to see that as whimsy and cute, but really everyone involved should probably go to prison just for that. There's also the idea of the group home, which Aidan Quinn decides to send his beloved sister too after suddenly realizing that he doesn't have a life because of her... is this the first time this thought has occured to him ? I guess we're not supposed to think about any of this too much, because the screenplay does not acknowledge any concept of the characters existing outside of the exact role they play here: nothing exists outside of what's on screen.

What is on screen is Johnny Depp doing terrible silent comedy routines. Yes, Chaplin and Keaton were great. That's nice and all, but their comedies had some sort of point to them, some wit. We're supposed to be wowed by Depp's public performance, and he does commit - I'll give him that - but to me it seems that the character (and, given how the film treats it, the screenwriters) understand nothing about what made those silent comedies work. For example, there's a bit where Depp's hat is moving all on its own, and Depp is chasing after it. Why... why is the hat moving ? I guess Depp is making it move, but how does that make sense ? If this were a Keaton gag, you'd have an actual reason (like a mouse trapped under it or something), which would give both the performer and the audience something to react to, as opposed to just watching someone do a trick. Maybe I missed something in there, but all of Depp's bits fell flat to me, which may also be due to the wacky "are we having fun yet?" score accompanying them.

I guess I can see how this may all be endearing and charming if you got on its wavelength... but I didn't.

2/10
Legend: All-Time Favorite | Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Poor  |  Bad

Letterbox'd

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #167 on: February 28, 2019, 09:59:09 PM »
Summer Stock
That was disappointing. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. It was just there. Garland and Kelly were about as good as they usually are, which for me is steady and reliable but not exciting. The supporting cast doesn't add much though, and a film really doesn't need two bumbling fool comic relief guys (I'd prefer none, but I'll abide one, in this case I'd choose Bracken because at least his character serves a real purpose). Some numbers are fine, some are merely ok, but there's nothing that stood out to me. The story also kind of sputters through with what we're told are big stakes, but they never feel that way.
Probably should have watched Jane Eyre, but I was in the mood for something light.

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #168 on: March 02, 2019, 12:30:02 AM »
Persuasion (2007)
I had some fears about this being a TV production but those were put to rest right from the start with the the wonderful first shots. Honestly the cinematography throughout the whole thing was wonderful. There are some tells in the sound design and the general production looking a bit drab, but both those things actually work for me. It's nice not to see pristine costumes and the almost theatrical sound design helps ground the film more than most period pieces. Hawkins is excellent, a wonderfully layered performance that is quite restrained yet always in command. I did want to scream "just say it" at her character sometimes , but unlike most such cases it always feels understandable why she (and he in return) doesn't. Not from a contrived way or from external social norms reasons, though both of those hang around, but at the heart of her decisions is her heart and Hawkins makes sure we can always get a real sense of how she's feeling and what she's thinking. I really enjoyed spending time with her. The climax felt a bit rushed but its execution is so amazing that I doubt any alternative would have been better. Hawkins running back and forth was already really effective, but the zoom in subsequent waiting for the kiss a great cherry on top. I'm going to watch one more tomorrow, but I find it hard to imagine anything can top this.

Now I want to go back and focus on listening to the sound design! I'm sure it's amazing, but I sometimes get lost in the story and forget to pay attention to the details of why I'm being swept away in the first place. I too really appreciate a period piece which lets the dirt show. Sometimes I look at films with their perfectly costumed and coifed characters and have to remind myself that they didn't have air conditioning or deodorant, so what I'm seeing is basically cosplay; a fantasy of a bygone era.

Once again, PeacefulAnarchy, you find the heart of a film that I love so much. It's my favorite adaptation of Persuasion and Anne Elliott is probably my favorite Austen character. I feel her pain and her regret, as well as understand her need to stay quiet. She is condemned by Fredrick Wentworth and cannot fault him for doing so. She condemns herself as much and more as she has to live with the choice she made as a young and persuaded woman. :(  Sitting with your review brings it all back to me -- the film and the book itself. sigh. It sits heavy on the heart.

My pensive book review.

I too admire Sally Hawkins' layered portrayal. This was the first movie I saw her in and each one after just added to my appreciation of her abilities. I've always struggled with trying to describe her acting, but you've hit on something just right, "quite restrained yet always in command." Yes! Except for Happy Go Lucky she has that quality about her. The Shape of Water is another perfect example of what you wrote. Thanks for putting words to it! 

I'm so happy you liked the part you put in spoilers! Some people get frustrated at the long anticipatory wait, but I find it to be lovely, seeing the emotions play across her face. No need to rush that moment. :)

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #169 on: March 02, 2019, 12:48:47 AM »

Now I want to go back and focus on listening to the sound design! I'm sure it's amazing,
There's not much to listen to, a couple of notes here and a few piano pieces at some key moments, but for the most part it's ambient sound with a bit of a hollow quality. Which is what I actually like. I dislike films that constantly use the score to tell you how to feel, and that's unfortunately most of them, it's always a breath of fresh air when a film trusts it's actors and the material to do the heavy lifting. It fits well with the visual design which is a bit drab and plain, but not boring and has some flourishes. The camerawork on the visual side and the sound of wind and rain on the sound side.

I like your review of the book. I also laughed at DH's comment, dismissive though it may be.