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Author Topic: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"  (Read 2858 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #110 on: March 20, 2021, 11:36:06 PM »
Murder by Contract - Prior to January 2010, I had seen most of the major noirs (and a couple of minor ones). Not seeking them out specifically, just by virtue of their being on the Sight & Sound list, or in the Criterion Collection, or they were Hitchcock films or whatnot. I had completed the S&S list and was now tackling the TSPDT list, which included this film I had never heard of. And I was blown away. I had a few favorites before, but this was the movie where noir really "clicked" for me. It sent me on a journey hunting down practically every example of the genre I could get my eyes on (there are still plenty I haven't seen, and at this point I'm quite sure 1SO has seen more).

So it's a bit surprising to me that it took me this long to give it a second viewing. I was sure the initial excitement would have worn off, but it didn't. The film is still as gripping as I remember, with spots of humor, a compellingly oddball character at the center, a Third Man-inspired guitar score, and a bit of strangeness to keep things interesting. By the end, you're almost rooting for Claude to get away with murder, the way the film draws into his meticulous and studied methods. Pretty sure this will stay on the "favorites" list. Rating: Great (93)

Antares

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #111 on: March 21, 2021, 05:24:04 PM »
This is a feelgood film for me, and is worth the time for Anita O'Day's amazing "Tea for Two" alone.

Check this out...https://youtu.be/XwueWoo7n-8
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MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #112 on: March 22, 2021, 11:57:32 PM »
Check this out...

When I have a little extra time, I definitely will!


Orlando - I didn't have high hopes for this one. I sold off my Blu-Ray a while ago, and I kind of had to force myself to watch it again. But it turned out pretty damn good, I got really into it. Not at the "favorites" tier but it's such an odd and -- in its own way -- enchanting film that it still deserves a space in the HMs. It has a Greenaway vibe (which I'll talk more about in my next review) but is also its own unique thing, with a lot of dry humor and cleverness. Last time I watched this I said I ought to read some Virginia Woolf. Still haven't gotten around to that, I'm afraid, but my interest is renewed. Rating: Great (91)

Antares

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #113 on: March 23, 2021, 04:29:34 PM »
Check this out...
When I have a little extra time, I definitely will!

About three songs in, you'll hear the influence Billie Holiday had on her.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #114 on: March 23, 2021, 07:10:18 PM »
A Zed & Two Noughts - Like Tsai or Maddin or Wes Anderson, talking about Greenaway tends to involve enumerating the director's very distinctive tics. But I did that last time, so I'll just quote myself: "dense symbolism, double meanings, fringe intellectual pursuits, outrageous coincidences, bizarre names, art history, the alphabet, taxonomy, anecdotal storytelling, self-reference, and painstaking compositions". There.

The thing is, it all tends to overwhelm the subject matter. Ostensibly a film about death, decay, and grief, it's all so steeped in Greenawayisms that it doesn't actually say anything about those things. It's a little too much cool detachment and too many clever touches. One can appreciate the thoughtfulness of the script (not to mention the beauty of Vierny's compositions and Nyman's score) but it only connects on an intellectual and aesthetic level. Lots of brains, not enough heart. Not staying on the list at all, and this might not bode well for the two other Greenaways I've got. Rating: Good (79)

1SO

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #115 on: March 23, 2021, 10:49:41 PM »
Without looking at his thread, the two Greenaway that stick with me are The Cook, The Thief... (the Masterwork) and Drowning by Numbers (the fun one.) The Baby of Macon is my personal taste outlier. I say this as a fan who hasn't explored his filmography as deeply as you have.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #116 on: March 23, 2021, 11:00:19 PM »
Drowning by Numbers - Ah, this is better. Yes, this is the "fun one" (although it has a horrendously sad scene). This time Greenaway balances his directorial obsessions with a lot of humor, enjoyable games (this was the first time I realized that "Colpitts" sounds like "culprits"), a plot that draws you in, and some actual emotion. Spotting all the numbers (hint: some of them are in dialogue) is an entertaining endeavor that doesn't distract you from the story. I kind of want someone to go back in time and recreate this as a 40's noir. Dan Duryea as Madgett, Bette Davis as Cissie Colpitts #1, Barbara Stanwyck as Cissie Colpitts #2, and Gloria Grahame as Cissie Colpitts #3. Rating: Great (93)

Cook Thief Wife Lover isn't currently part of this marathon, but my last viewing was October 2011, so it's coming due pretty soon.

MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #117 on: April 04, 2021, 11:25:15 PM »
El Norte - There was little doubt this would be staying on my list, it's been one of the closest films to my heart since I watched it in high school Spanish class. It's a beautiful mix of humor and tragedy, where the social message is not exactly subtle but nonetheless powerful and moving. You can't help but love Enrique and Rosa, their characters are so rich and gentle and earnest. As I've noted before, some of the supporting performances (i.e., the white people) are not that great, but they're all serviceable. Rating: Great (96)

MartinTeller

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #118 on: April 07, 2021, 12:13:16 PM »
You, the Living - I was sure this would end up on "honorable mentions" list. I thought having Songs from the Second Floor would be enough Andersson for the top 100. But I like this one almost as much. Wonderful little absurdist scenes about our petty cruelties, existential dread, misunderstandings, and yearning to be loved. Lighter in tone than its predecessor, but also tinged with a deep sense of melancholy. Rating: Great (94)

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Martin Re-Familiarizes Himself With His So-Called "Favorites"
« Reply #119 on: April 07, 2021, 08:31:05 PM »
El Norte - There was little doubt this would be staying on my list, it's been one of the closest films to my heart since I watched it in high school Spanish class. It's a beautiful mix of humor and tragedy, where the social message is not exactly subtle but nonetheless powerful and moving. You can't help but love Enrique and Rosa, their characters are so rich and gentle and earnest. As I've noted before, some of the supporting performances (i.e., the white people) are not that great, but they're all serviceable. Rating: Great (96)

I'll come back around after I watch it, which will be soon. Very much looking forward to it!
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