Author Topic: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller  (Read 19684 times)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2020, 12:34:51 AM »
Alas, I've not seen any Almodóvar films yet. This month will be a good introduction.

I'll start with AAMM.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #71 on: July 06, 2020, 09:02:44 AM »
Cruel Gun Story (1964)
Female on the Beach (1955)

Sometimes you get that Noir itch and once you've seen the Classics, Buried Treasures and Cult films it becomes a roll of the dice. A few hundred titles, usually low budget affairs with similar-sounding titles that sometimes don't represent the film, similar plots and characters. A few days ago I was itchy and I selected The Crooked Way because of John Payne and John Alton. Well, all the great Noir compositions in the world couldn't save how tired this film felt. Literally. It was like everyone was acting underwater, bored by the hand-me-down characters they were given.

Last night, my itch finally got scratched. These didn't break into the upper decks like they did for you, but they reminded me where I should be looking for pockets of gold. Cruel Gun Story is a Japanese heist film gone wrong. Classic armored car robbery plot, but lean and violent. I especially liked watching the plan as if everything goes right, and you can see things the robbers are expecting will happen that easily might not. Of course it all goes wrong, that's what makes it interesting. That and watching everyone try to beat and shoot their way out of it. 

Female on the Beach I've avoided because Joan Crawford noirs always get into the genre by the skin of their teeth. There's murder, but 90% of the story is melodrama about whatever is emotionally crippling Crawford. This one is hard to classify because it makes unexpected choices. (Something I read in your review after.) There's the opening death, the con artist old couple and the no good but oh so tempting shirtless man, but except for the death, which is resolved with a slapped on confession, events play out unexpectedly. This could've been a disaster, but Crawford is so good. So so good, she keeps everyone else focused and makes her characters reactions plausible. I'm now interested in going deeper down the path of Joan Crawford films of the 40s and 50s. She really was equal to Bette Davis.

I'm sorry I didn't give you much to react to Martin, but I did like both films and they came along at a good time.

MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #72 on: July 06, 2020, 10:49:33 AM »
Glad you enjoyed them! I need to revisit CGS myself, it's been 10 years. That whole "Nikkatsu Noir" set is pretty good, though. I especially recommend A Colt Is My Passport, if you haven't seen it already. Joe Shishido!

It's funny, when I think about Crawford, I have kind of "meh" feelings... yet, she's in three of my top 250 (also Sudden Fear and Baby Jane). And then I think of other great performances like Mildred Pierce, Possessed, Johnny Guitar. And I wonder what I ever had against her. Maybe that viewing of Mommie Dearest -- a loooooong time ago -- left an impression.

I do feel at this point I've likely seen all the great classic noir, hidden or otherwise. Discovering a halfway decent one in enough to scratch that itch.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #73 on: July 06, 2020, 11:10:19 AM »
I've seen Take Aim at the Police Van and A Colt is My Passport. This was my favorite of the three and the first time I could see the cool behind Joe Shishido's cheeks.

I had that same impression. Mommie Dearest set me up to believe she was the queen of Hollywood divas, but I keep reading stories of other actresses taking swipes at her. Not just Bette Davis but I recently read some stuff about Garbo on Grand Hotel.

The problem with the Noir itch is I lean towards specific types of noir. I feel I've exhausted finding ones with great dialogue, so I'm just looking for good twisty crime plots over gaslight scenarios and melodramas that end in murder. They Shoot Pictures... is building a list of 1000 Noir Films, but are there 1000 Noirs worthy of a list? Are there even 1000 Noir? Even IMDB only has 846 total, and I've seen 470 of them.

MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #74 on: July 06, 2020, 11:40:49 AM »
You beat me! I'm at 467. I've only rated 35 of them 9 or 10 stars.

TSPDT is filling out their list with a lot of neo-noir, proto-noir, foreign noir, and near noir. I'm at 620/835 according to ICheckMovies. 86 of the ones I haven't seen are post-1960.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #75 on: July 06, 2020, 11:53:48 AM »
17 IMDB titles Rated 9 or 10, and I see The Maltese Falcon is #66 chronologically, which is what I think of as the start of Noir and I know you put it later.

With TSPDT I'm at 647/835. Many of them are foreign language, like Panique (1946), Série noire (1979) and Le dernier tournant (1939)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #76 on: July 16, 2020, 08:11:53 PM »
All About My Mother



“I don't believe in "original sin." I don't believe in "guilt." I don't believe in villains or heroes - only right or wrong ways that individuals have taken, not by choice but by necessity or by certain still-uncomprehended influences in themselves, their circumstances, and their antecedents." - Director Notes on A Streetcar Named Desire

My mind is full, but my words are few. No insights to convey, just a nodding of a head and an acknowledgement that this film touches on oh so many aspects of being a woman, or mother, regardless of gender assignment. To ponder on one's own experiences and find compassion for the messiness of it and the messiness of others, there lies the impact.

Tennessee Williams had some more to say in his director's notes. Words that are as important now as then. "This is so simple (no villains or heroes) I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm sure it's true. In fact, I would bet my life on it! And that's why I don't understand why our propaganda machines are always trying to teach us, to persuade us, to hate and fear other people on the same little world that we live in.”



MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2020, 10:26:15 PM »
Such a rich film with so much to chew on, and loaded with kindness and understanding.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #78 on: July 20, 2020, 12:42:11 AM »
Dillinger is Dead
First of all I found this post and I don't rate it that low.

Now, I've been on an interesting trip through ICM blindspots and I've gone into most of them not know what was in store. It's been a surprisingly rewarding month. All I knew about Marco Ferreri is that it was from Marco Ferreri, whose La Grande Bouffe I watched last April. I didn't even know you were such a big fan of the director until I was reading afterwards. Bouffe I wrote off as a victim of high expectations. Something I'd heard about for most of my life I expected the surrealism of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie but instead got way more Salo and Sweet Movie gumming up the content.

Dillinger is Dead is not that, but I didn't know it was going to be so... I don't want to say Jeanne Dielman, but it's a good starting point. There's a strange monologue at the beginning that my brain brushed aside, but afterwards I played it again and realized it was spelling out the entire film. It's a clumsy way to write a script, but this isn't ordinary storytelling anyways, and it's certainly less heavy-handed then if the scene had ended with that monologue.

So it's a film where a lot of nothing happens and after a dozen years on the Forum I've learned to pay attention because there's a lot in the nothing and it'll make the important moments more important. It's true that 10 years ago I would've had no patience for this film. What works for me is the last 10 minutes, mostly how casual they're presented even though what's happening at this point is completely bonkers. Also, the film runs a tidy 95 minutes, which is still plenty of time to get across the emptiness of this man's life. What doesn't work for me relates to this...

Quote
Dillinger is Dead is an allegory of how the suffocation and anxiety of sheltered living can cause members of society, or society as a whole, to act irrationally ... in order to break the stagnation. There's also something about the desire for control (cooking his own meal) and the dangers of fantasy (watching the home movies).

This was a quote from somebody I follow on Letterboxd. If this is true, and the opening monologue makes me think it is, then I didn't connect with this at all, and you think given our current state of sheltered living would've made the connection incredibly easy. Maybe it's because my daily routine pre-Covid was sheltered from society that I don't feel suffocated or anxious by it.

I wonder if there's a Ferreri movie for me. He's pretty far down on my Directors Marathon list so it might take awhile. Reading your reviews, The Seed of Man or The Ape Woman would be my next choice.

MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #79 on: July 20, 2020, 08:53:09 AM »
Unfortunately it's been 10 years since my first (and last) viewings of DID, and it's so fuzzy that I really don't have anything to say. It certainly made a big impression at the time, enough to put it on my list obviously. In my experience, it's something of an anomaly in Ferreri's career, none of his other films are quite as inscrutable. I definitely need to do a rewatch soon.

You might also like The Man with the Balloons.