love

Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Teproc  (Read 22561 times)

Teproc

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3529
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #60 on: July 17, 2019, 04:54:31 AM »
I watched If... about a week back but don't have much to say. The whole boys boarding school setting is kind of a personal hell and that was a barrier to entry. I suppose maybe that would maybe make me more susceptible to valuing the radical shift the film takes but...I am not sure any of it feels justified or meaningful.

I also started The Hidden Fortress, which I was mostly checking out to catch the aspects that inspired Star Wars. I could vaguely see the influence. But this film has many of the aspects that have so sharply turned my favor against Kurosawa. I find the dialogue, and especially the performance, just entirely grating. It somehow cheapens the drama. There was a point when I had 3-4 Kurosawa films in my top 100 (Ran, Ikiru, High and Low...Dreams in a more extended list). I think High and Low is the only that would even be a consideration at this point.

I was struck by how much If... reminded me of Harry Potter when I watched it, which I suppose is my main frame of reference for boarding schools. It's both a culmination of the Angry Young Men genre and an evolution of it, if not quite the eulogy that Easy Rider is on the other side of the pond. I really like McDowell's performance, which could be summed up as "Alex from Clockwork Orange before he snapped", and I find the film overall to be full of vitality and inventivity, far from an easy distillation of "the older generation sure sucks", though that is certainly present. You didn't find it resonant at all ?

The Hidden Fortress certainly features some typically Nô-inspired acting from the two main characters, which I can certainly see as being hard to take, especially given how the characters are written. We're meant to feel extremely conflicting things about them I think, which is quite a tough balance to find. On a more basic level, I just enjoy basic heroic fantasy narrative a lot because I spent so much of my childhood reading that stuff, that this felt like a deeper version of that, with Kurosawa using the widescreen very effectively, especially in Mifune's big fight.
Legend: All-Time Favorite | Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Poor  |  Bad

Letterbox'd

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 19040
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #61 on: July 17, 2019, 09:47:24 PM »
If... reminded me more of C.S. Lewis' description of the boarding schools he went to in his autobiography.  But the surrealistic stamp it has by the end is certainly fascinating to me.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 12062
  • "The life we build, we never stop creating.”
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #62 on: July 23, 2019, 04:39:23 PM »
Only Yesterday sounds to me like it'd be right up your alley, but I'm perhaps more curious to read what you'd think about the other two.

R & G are Dead has been on my to-watch list for a long time! I've been curious about it, so that makes two of us wondering what I'll discover. :)

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2019, 11:56:47 PM »
Foxtrot
Teproc, you challenge me in all the good ways. The film starts like... well I'm just going to compare it to Kurosawa's High and Low. It's a rather brilliant idea for an opening act, staying inside the house, focusing on just the people inside dealing with the news they receive at the start. Then, they are given different news and I liked that I didn't know how genre the story was going to be. Is this the opening of a Hitchcockian manhunt thriller? (Like the father, I had serious doubts about the new story which seemed like a cover-up attempt to make the parents temporarily happy.)

Then the film makes as big a narrative change as I've seen since you brought me Nocturama last September. The deadest of pans creating comedy that cuts through a low but unceasing tension. Like a natural extension of Waltz With Bashir - rifle dancing, surreal animation - where connecting it to the opening lets you know something very bad is probably going to happen. And then the film makes a 3rd jump, and at this point I was losing my engagement with the narrative, but still very wrapped up in how the film was making me feel. Might be the first puzzle box type film where I cared more about the people than the plot mechanics.

So glad I made time for this. A reminder that most people only see the commercial topsoil of what cinema can do. A fresh combination of storytelling and technique that isn't difficult to follow.

Teproc

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3529
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2019, 02:59:35 AM »
Foxtrot
Teproc, you challenge me in all the good ways. The film starts like... well I'm just going to compare it to Kurosawa's High and Low. It's a rather brilliant idea for an opening act, staying inside the house, focusing on just the people inside dealing with the news they receive at the start. Then, they are given different news and I liked that I didn't know how genre the story was going to be. Is this the opening of a Hitchcockian manhunt thriller? (Like the father, I had serious doubts about the new story which seemed like a cover-up attempt to make the parents temporarily happy.)

Then the film makes as big a narrative change as I've seen since you brought me Nocturama last September. The deadest of pans creating comedy that cuts through a low but unceasing tension. Like a natural extension of Waltz With Bashir - rifle dancing, surreal animation - where connecting it to the opening lets you know something very bad is probably going to happen. And then the film makes a 3rd jump, and at this point I was losing my engagement with the narrative, but still very wrapped up in how the film was making me feel. Might be the first puzzle box type film where I cared more about the people than the plot mechanics.

So glad I made time for this. A reminder that most people only see the commercial topsoil of what cinema can do. A fresh combination of storytelling and technique that isn't difficult to follow.

Teproc, Challenge Provider. Glad to be of service.  ;D

High and Low didn't even occur to me, but you're absolutely right, there are definite echoes of that at the start here, though - as you point out - Walz with Bashir becomes the more obvious reference point as it develops. Another influence that I kept thinking about was Kubrick's formalism and sense of humour: Kubrick's movies are all comedies in my mind (I actually don't know if this is a hot take or a widely accepted fact), and Foxtrot has a similar blend of rigid, cold formalism mixed with a dry sense of humour.

It certainly does shift quite aggressively (talk about a three-act structure), but it didn't lose me along the way - I probably have a soft spot for puzzle narratives when they're this strong formally and still engaging emotionally.
Legend: All-Time Favorite | Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Poor  |  Bad

Letterbox'd

BlueVoid

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1841
    • Movie Fodder
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #65 on: July 26, 2019, 09:47:51 AM »
A Star is Born (1954)
Having recently watched the '37 version I can't help but compare the two. I was struck on how many scene-for-scene similarities there were. Because I saw it after the original it was always going to be at a disadvantage. The thing is I liked the cast in the original more. The original Libby was my favorite thing about it, and I don't feel James Mason or Judy Garland are particularly good in this one. The music numbers drag on and never gripped me. Everything was just slightly less-than the original.
5.5/10
Former blog on FlickChart: The Depths of Obscurity
Letterboxd 
iCM
Twitter

Teproc

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3529
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #66 on: July 26, 2019, 03:53:52 PM »
A Star is Born (1954)
Having recently watched the '37 version I can't help but compare the two. I was struck on how many scene-for-scene similarities there were. Because I saw it after the original it was always going to be at a disadvantage. The thing is I liked the cast in the original more. The original Libby was my favorite thing about it, and I don't feel James Mason or Judy Garland are particularly good in this one. The music numbers drag on and never gripped me. Everything was just slightly less-than the original.
5.5/10

I haven't seen the original (sounds like I should), so I can't comment there, but I love, love the music numbers here. They are absolutely extravagant and drag on forever, but that excess feels completely appropriate to the story to me, and I love both Garland and Mason in the respective roles.
Legend: All-Time Favorite | Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Poor  |  Bad

Letterbox'd

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #67 on: July 26, 2019, 08:04:38 PM »
I haven't seen the original (sounds like I should), so I can't comment there, but I love, love the music numbers here. They are absolutely extravagant and drag on forever, but that excess feels completely appropriate to the story to me, and I love both Garland and Mason in the respective roles.

I've seen all versions and the original is the best for the story and characters, but the 1954 version is superior because of how much is added by the musical excess, the casting of Garland and her chemistry with an equally brilliant Mason. I came so late to this one I've only been able to watch the reconstructed version. (3 times). I would like to see the theatrical cut, but I don't think I would prefer one over the other.

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 26772
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #68 on: July 27, 2019, 09:44:24 AM »
The Hateful Eight (2015)

Auteur Theory is a fickle master. At its best, helps develop stylistic and thematic points of analysis for a body of work. At its worst, it marginalizes and ignores that unlike many artistic mediums, film is collaborative and those collaborations often inform and enhance the work that it’s hard to imagine the work being as good without certain contributions.

For instance, the absence of Sally Menke as Quentin Tarantino’s editor is felt throughout The Hateful Eight. The film tries some of the structural nonlinearity and multiple perspectives of something like Pulp Fiction, but lacks the stylistic flourishes of editing to make it come across as seamless. It even gets to the point that moments that could have been told through strong editing instead are conveyed through the odd late inclusion of narration.

Tarantino also owes a lot to the performances in The Hateful Eight. It would be hard to imagine the film without the return of many familiar faces to Tarantino’s ensemble. Samuel L. Jackson gives the standout performance, but Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Kurt Russell all return to give great performances. For a film as dialogue heavy as this one, Tarantino needs a cast that can pull off these lines and the ensemble does help the material.

And while Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue shines here, it’s a bit of a two-edged sword. Tarantino is so in love with his writing that certain scenes go on and on to the point of being too much. Some character monologues are too much and certain scenes exist more for the verbal wordplay than to advance the story. Perhaps it’s missing the point for criticizing Tarantino for having indulgent dialogue, but this film feels like some of his most meandering and least punchy.

The story feels drawn out far too long and leaves certain elements unmentioned until far later in the film just for the sake of trying to have a revelation or hook to keep a moment interesting when there isn’t a good reason to not be upfront with the information. It takes far too long for the conflict to ratchet up a notch and the central conceit of two groups of strangers stuck in a snowstorm gives way to something more engaging.

In contrast to something like Inglorious Basterds where each moment has a clear set of stakes and an obvious tension, so many moments here go on and on without any clear set of stakes. Once things do ratchet up, the whole film feels like a downward spiral into spectacular violence for its own sake with no true interest in any of the characters or their fates.

One last problematic element is the Jennifer Jason Leigh character. Quentin Tarantino often has issues depicting women in his films and this one feels like his most problematic. While she doesn’t get into some of the male voyeurism of his other films, she is constantly abused and misused. As the only female character, her role is simply to be subjected to the worst men can do to her and after a while it becomes too much to bear.

The Hateful Eight is problematic and messy, and, at times, spiteful. There’s no denying the glossy style of it all, but this many films in Tarantino’s penchant to casually use the n-word, brutal violence against women, and self-indulgent writing is getting old. He’d likely retort that this is all just a movie, but that may not be enough anymore. Even ignoring the problematic elements, The Hateful Eight fails to live up to most of Tarantino’s previous works.

Teproc

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3529
Re: Top 100 Club: Teproc
« Reply #69 on: July 27, 2019, 05:45:28 PM »
I agree with a few things here: Sally Menke's absence is quite noticeable, and the result is Tarantino's most self-indulgent work. It's why it's so important that so much of the cast is made of Tarantino regulars: it's Tarantino at his most Tarantinesque, for better or for worse... for me, it feels like home, but where it gets interesting is in how angry a film this is. Spiteful is the term you use and I think that works as well, but this is a film about a divided nation, and this is where I think it's actually interesting beside the self-indulgence. It helps that I just love Tarantino's style and dialogue so much that I would still like the movie a lot even if it didn't have that.

I don't agree re: Jennifer Jason Leigh's character. She gets beat up, yes, but she never lets you forget that she's actually in control, until she's not but at that point we're in the full mayhem phase of the film so no one is in control at all. I don't get the n-word thing here, these characters would use it and it is relevant for it to be used... I get why people are annoyed at Tarantino for using it so much in Pulp Fiction, but here ?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2019, 04:10:02 AM by Teproc »
Legend: All-Time Favorite | Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Poor  |  Bad

Letterbox'd