Author Topic: Top 100 Club: 1SO  (Read 50214 times)

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #140 on: March 08, 2019, 03:04:07 PM »
Mary Poppins Returns (2018): On DVD in 3 weeks. It's magic and the best film Rob Marshall will ever make.
Hmmmmmm. Do you have a review that talks about this magic? It's very much a Rob Marshall film, which to me means a mess.

I've written about the films twice. (1, 2)
At least we agree on Streep. She does a good job getting into the character, but the character, and the entire scene, should be on the cutting room floor.

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For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda is nothing like Dick Van Dyke, but DVD is more comfortable working his goofy magic in front of the camera while LMM evokes a John Boyega joy at getting to be in a Mary Poppins film.
Yes, that's what was bothering me about his performance. It wasn't bad, just kinda hollow. At least his giddiness at being in the film kind of works in character. It does make his romance plot feel a bit creepy, though.

Agreed about the first film also not being about the children, but this one makes it really really clear it's not about the children. Maybe if Firth wasn't sleepwalking and the father had some kind of personality it would work for me.

But I see where we differ is the music and our feelings about the original. I just don't enjoy this kind of singing and the best performances, inside the bowl, are hampered by me not liking the sequence that leads up to them in the first place. I like the original well enough but it's not something special or meaningful to me, so a film that's kind of but not quite as good feel to me like a copy lacking the magic of the original, where to you it still has the magic even if it's not as special as in the original.

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #141 on: March 08, 2019, 03:28:56 PM »
But I see where we differ is the music and our feelings about the original. I just don't enjoy this kind of singing and the best performances, inside the bowl, are hampered by me not liking the sequence that leads up to them in the first place. I like the original well enough but it's not something special or meaningful to me, so a film that's kind of but not quite as good feel to me like a copy lacking the magic of the original, where to you it still has the magic even if it's not as special as in the original.

When I first saw the film I was shocked they managed to recapture lightning in a bottle. On my 2nd viewing there was a couple nearby, complete strangers, and when it was done, she turned to her man and said, "that was everything I hoped for but didn't think I'd ever get." She then turned to my wife and I and said, "right?" So I've been living on the high that there is now a 2nd Mary Poppins film and it's nearly as good as the first one.

Over time, this has become an unpopular opinion, but I remain stedfast that this is a special film and will rank high in my Best of the Decade. So, my unbridled joy is now a fist pump in the air that draws the attention of everyone in the room who didn't get the same enthusiastic charge.


Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #142 on: March 08, 2019, 05:17:28 PM »
I Saw the Devil (2010)

I Saw the Devil is exactly what I expected it to be: a bloody, Korean New Wave revenge film. Stylish camera work and gory violence mix with drama and dark humor to concoct a dark brew of evil one-upmanship. But is it enough for the film to just meet expectations or is there more to this horrific tale of blood?

Kyung-chul (Choi Min-Sik) brutally rapes and kills a woman stranded on a snowy night on the side of the road. For him, itís just another victim in a long line of dead women, but this woman is Se-jung (Kim In-Seo), daughter of Chief Jang (Jeon Gook-hwan) and fiance to secret agent Soo-hyeon Kim (Lee Byung-Hun). Soo-hyeon is driven to hunt down Se-jungís killer and force him to suffer for raping and killing his fiance.

From there, the film develops into a twisted game between Kyung-chul and Soo-hyeon as the two meeting is the end of the lengthy first act and the catalyst for a brutal and bloody second and third act. Itís a fascinating structure because the film should be lopsided with a lot of time spent on the setup and final act and a lean middle portion, but the structure works because itís both the buildup and payoff that remain the most tense and suspenseful parts of the film.

That being said, itís a shame the film relies on the woman in the refrigerator trope where the death of women serve to further male-centric plots. There is a small supporting role of Se-jungís sister (played by Nam Bo-ra), but itís extremely marginalized by the end of the film. Granted, every other character exists in the shadows of the two men who lead the film. It comes across as the one lazy and overused element in an otherwise interestingly built film.

Director Kim Jee-Woon and cinematographer Lee Mo-gae are the true stars of this film as they come up with so many well-framed and tensely shot moments coupled with occasional chilling imagery such as a standout moment where a water drain transitions from flowing with water to blood. Itís a moody, chilling film to look at. The images also conjure up ideas as well, such as how Soo-hyeon is often framed and shot like a boogieman in this film, complicating the idea of him being a hero.

I Saw the Devil is ostensibly a revenge film about how revenge is horrible and self-destructive. The film hammers that point home early on, but the extent to which it goes and how relentless it becomes is what makes it stand out. Soo-hyeon very much becomes a monster to monsters which is not shown here as some superheroic feat or vengeful, but deeply inhuman and sadistic.

Is I Saw the Devil a well-crafted musings on the dark side of the human thirst for justice gone wrong or simply another revenge flick? The truth is a bit in the middle. It falls into many of the trappings of the genre and relishes in the stylish violence but also doesnít try to put its hero on a pedestal. Revenge is a bloody, messy business and I Saw the Devil wouldnít have it any other way.

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #143 on: March 08, 2019, 07:26:19 PM »
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The film hammers that point home early on
I see what you did there.


Man, I was nervous when I saw this is the film you selected. Not one to be taken lightly even though it has that kind of surface. When I first watched it, it saw it twice in quick succession. I went in expecting a super cool revenge flick, and what I got was something that initially comes off as more shallow than I would want, but drills down so deep that it hits the final decision that cool revenge is a horrible thing. Would make a great double with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, which also draws you in by acting cool only to gut the soul. With that film, you can more easily tell there's a morality at work. This one keeps stuffing lit cigarettes into your mouth until you no longer want to smoke. Yet, I still look back fondly on the expert style. (The shot for me is the greenhouse stand-off where individual lights above them turn on at slightly different times.)

I return to the film (4 viewings so far) because stepping back it's hardcore, and can easily be seen as offensively so. The opening mutilation is not something most will want to watch, but it sets up the tone of violent excess not being done for thrills. The rest of the film contains rape content, something I object to out of hand, but within the context it would be pulling a punch to not take things as far as possible. (This extends to the other bad people we meet on the journey.) Had this film not found the right tone it would be an abomination, but with the director and Cinematographer behind the camera and Choi Min-Sik and Lee Byung-Hun in front, they create a uniquely thought-provoking film out of exploitation material.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #144 on: March 09, 2019, 06:52:41 PM »
Yes, it flirts with being full-on exploitation, but there were just so many moments that made you grimace more than grin. It's an unnerving watch and I certainly did think of the Vengeance Trilogy while watching parts of it but felt like the comparison to those films would be a bit too obvious and wanted to tackle it on its own terms a bit more.

I also watched The Man From Nowhere which I plan on writing up in the next day or two.

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #145 on: March 14, 2019, 06:01:40 PM »
The Good Earth (1937)
This is a great story with a good movie. The beats and general structure are very good, with some interesting and reasonably complex characterizations that allow us to get interested in the ups and downs of this family over a generation. The specific pacing could do with some work (or maybe I just wasn't quite in the mood for a 140 min film?) as some scenes seemed to drag and a few beats felt superfluous (maybe stuff that is elaborated more in the book and only in the film as a nod of acknowledgement). The film won an Oscar for cinematography, and that aspect is quite good, though not as consistent as I'd expect. Even so there are plenty of great shots, both wide shots of the country, medium shots of the action and closer shots of the people, so while my initial reaction was "this won an award?" it made more sense as the film went on. But the one big, inescapable, aspect of the film is the acting and all the non-Chinese leads playing Chinese characters.  Rainer won an Oscar for her performance, and it was well deserved. She slips into the role effortlessly, the makeup works well with her features, and she plays it completely straight without affecting an accent or relying on any gimmicks. It's a hard part too since she doesn't have many lines, but she emotes well and delivers when she has to. Muni is a mixed bag, he's a good actor and he plays the role well, but he stands out as a white man with makeup and the accent he affects is a bit weird. His acting overcomes most of these issues, but they still linger and there's this weird uncanny valley feeling at times, especially since everyone else is, or convincingly looks, Chinese. There's one other big role though, and it's the annoying uncle and that one role significantly lowered my opinion of the film. It's not a well acted role, annoying accent and all, but most of the blame lies on the writing which pits him as an antagonist of the worst kind, the annoying whiny self centred naysayer who will not shut up. He's in the film way too much, and every time he shows up I wish some character would show up and kill him. He's worthless on every level and the film not only doesn't have any kind of redemption (or comeuppance) arc for him, it leans into his worst qualities so that the slightly annoying guy at the start of the film becomes a droning overwhelming annoyance at it's climax. Most of this stuff isn't even in character by the second half, he just shows up to be annoying in a way no real person ever would with no real context for why he's in some of these scenes Why is he there in the scene where Muni is being pressured to sell his land for nothing? What is he gaining? Why does the film keep coming back to him in the locust scene? We get it, he's an annoying ass, you don't need to keep letting him annoy us when none of the other character even take notice as they're busy doing stuff.

I thought the film was good but not great upon finishing it, but after some reflection I feel more positive than that. There's a lot of really good stuff in there and a lot of strong moments. The racial stuff is a bit awkward from a modern perspective, but it's not hard to get past for the most part and shouldn't be a reason to avoid the film. If someone could edit out annoying uncle, though, that would significantly improve the film.

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #146 on: March 14, 2019, 09:23:00 PM »
A great read. I don't really disagree with you about anything. The uncle was my least favorite character too. My favorite section is this...

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But the one big, inescapable, aspect of the film is the acting and all the non-Chinese leads playing Chinese characters.  Rainer won an Oscar for her performance, and it was well deserved. She slips into the role effortlessly, the makeup works well with her features, and she plays it completely straight without affecting an accent or relying on any gimmicks.

I always feel like the old racist around here for my occasional comments about old films casting white actors in ethnic roles. It's less forgivable now, not just because we're more aware of cultural insensitivity but because there's more access to international talent. While it's easy to point to Al Jolson or Eddie Cantor in blackface as terrible, there are a couple of cases - probably no more than a couple - where the actors give it a more respectful level of commitment to the culture. The Good Earth doesn't make it okay to have Edward G. Robinson as The Hatchet Man, but it shows that it's possible for a performance to be about creating a character and exposing people to a culture, even in a mild and safe way like this, without promoting a stereotype.

I don't love The Good Earth because of this, but I understand that at the time you couldn't get big Hollywood financing to tell this story with an all Chinese cast, and it's an epic story I'm glad I got to see in the grand Hollywood style.

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #147 on: March 14, 2019, 10:00:33 PM »
No Name on the Bullet



If you were to size up this movie by what you find in Google Images, you'd think it was a coffee drinkin', chess playin', shootin' the breeze kind of Western. Well, you'd be half right. There are plenty of those type of scenes and often there's not much going on, but other times, there's quite a bit of undercurrent to the chit chat. Overall, it's a psychological study with much paranoia and guilt in play.

This is the first movie I've seen with Audie Murphy and he fits this role rather perfectly. For much of the story, it's hard to know whether he deserves the infamy or not. No mustache twisting here! I keep thinking there's a twist, where the legend has far exceeded the reality and everyone has gotten themselves up in arms for nothing, but that doesn't pan out. There must be another Western, or a Star Trek episode I am remembering. If anyone can solve this mystery, you get a big thank you, from me. :)

Thank you Antares and 1SO for the recommendation. It's a good, solid Western for sure!

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #148 on: March 14, 2019, 11:07:11 PM »
This is your first Audie Murphy western, but you've seen The Red Badge of Courage.

Like your comparison of what happens visually to what's going on. I go the other way with the character, wondering if he really is just quietly passing through or not this cold killer at all.

Really glad you watched this.

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #149 on: March 14, 2019, 11:43:59 PM »
This is your first Audie Murphy western, but you've seen The Red Badge of Courage.

That's right! I thought I knew the name, but didn't go looking for why. Too many actors to keep track of. :D

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Like your comparison of what happens visually to what's going on. I go the other way with the character, wondering if he really is just quietly passing through or not this cold killer at all.

Yes, my mind pondered on those things too. I kept thinking the story would shift.

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Really glad you watched this.

Me too! This one moved right along and kept my interest.