Author Topic: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts  (Read 472781 times)

Thor

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2950 on: March 18, 2009, 09:27:51 PM »
Now cut off your arms and try typing up a list!
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skjerva

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2951 on: March 18, 2009, 09:45:22 PM »
do people type anymore?  i use VR
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Junior

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2952 on: March 18, 2009, 11:44:23 PM »
American History X
vs.
Lost Highway

These two are pretty different films. One is a straightforward(ish) tale of racism and redemption and the other is... uh... something.

American History X is a pretty great film hampered by one pretty bad performance but boosted by two awesome ones and less-than-conventional-direction. Taken backwards, the use of black and white during flashbacks is pretty clever. It distinguishes Derek's old way of life from his new one and actually strengthens the impact of THE SCENE. Well, actually THE SCENES. Both the curb-stomping and the shower rape scenes were particularly dramatic and impressive. The direct aftermath of the curb stomping (Derek's arrest) was perhaps the best scene I have seen in quite a while (at least back to Watchmen!). Although the film seemed more like a series of disconnected stories (it didn't feel like only one day passed in current time and the flashbacks could mostly be taken on their own and didn't connect much outside of a shared cast) I think it worked pretty well. Probably the worst part was the father's only scene in the film. It seemed like they were trying to fill a hole instead of it being a true event in the world of the film.

Next on the list is one of the great performances. Avery Brooks (Sisko! with awesome beard!) is excellent as the double doctor/high school principal. He is integral to the story and a poor performance would really ruin this film. His first scene is particularly impressive as the director chose to have an as-close-as-possible close-up on him for most of the time. This choice doesn't let you look anywhere else and the full power of his performance is felt throughout. He doesn't have many more scenes in the rest of the film but the one in the prison and the last scene contain even more great acting from Brooks.

And the last great part of this film, the one, the only Ed Norton. I have never denied that he is a good actor (despite my perception of his off screen personality) but this is one of the best performances I have seen in this bracket. He is great as the hate filled Derek and awesome as the reformed version. I brought up the arrest scene earlier and it is great because of the acting from Norton. Check it out.
















Now go back and check out the range of emotion you can see just from his facial expressions. It's an amazing performance.

Unfortunately the little brother actor was super annoying (played by the super annoying actor from Terminator 2). His whiny voice was severely grating and he has to narrate a majority of the film. I read that Ed Norton was in the editing room to give himself more screen time and I can see why. Any time the little brother is on screen and Ed Norton isn't I was just angry with the film. Luckily this didn't happen too much.

Lost Highway, as I said in the intro sentence was something else. I have a muddled history with Lynch. I saw Mulholland Dr. last year and I loved it for all of its confusing awesomeness. I saw Blue Velvet this summer and was a little iffy on it. This film (which comes between the two, albeit closer to the MD side of the timeline) is kind of a stepping stone between the two. It has the ridiculously awesome sense of... atmosphere and tension found in both of them. I feel like Lynch was going for broke on this one and the results let him focus clearly on MD. There are so many things that I don't understand about this film, and I think Lynch wanted it that way. The problem for me is that there is nothing as supremely compelling as Naomi Watts' performance in MD to pull the whole thing together. Patricia Arquette was pretty good in her two(?) roles and Bill Pullman was effective, as was Balthazar Getty, the surprise co-star. I don't really understand the relationship between Pullman and Getty and I think Pullman was a lot more interesting to follow (though that may be the influence of Pullman being the first man introduced). The first thirty minutes or so was mostly dialog-free and it worked, especially when combined with the awesome score.

The best part of the film was Robert Blake's Mystery Man. Like Ed Norton in AmHistX the movie was immediately more compelling whenever Blake was on screen. He was like the Winkies Man but scarier. Again, I don't really understand his place in the film but I loved him doing whatever he did.

I normally like experimental films and I liked Lost Highway a good deal. I think Mulholland Dr might have ruined the experience for me. It is a more polished and concentrated version of the ideas Lynch was exploring here. I can appreciate it without fully being behind it.

American History X takes it in a close battle. AmHistX would have it in a walk if it had a better younger brother and Lost Highway could have pulled it out if Lynch had focused his efforts a bit more.
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pixote

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2953 on: March 19, 2009, 03:16:19 AM »
I like seeing Norton get his props, especially in screenshot form, so I'm happy.  I don't remember American History X too well (Sisko's in it? I had no idea!), and I haven't seen Lost Highway, so I don't have too much of a rooting interesting here.  I definitely want to see the Lynch film now since a flawed version of Mulholland Dr is probably better than most movies.  Then again, I've already kicked two Lynch films out of this bracket, so I should probably shut up or something.

Damn, the look on Norton's face in those last two stills actually makes me physically uncomfortable.

pixote
« Last Edit: March 19, 2009, 03:21:00 AM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2954 on: March 19, 2009, 07:37:45 AM »
(First viewing of both - Reviews with lots of pictures and few words)[/center]
We need more people like you in the forums. Films are primarily a visual medium after all.

what a turd ;P  gimmie a list of yr ten fave films and i bet they'd be completely different without sound (i'm assuming they all have sound)
But we watch movies, we don't listen to them.  ;)

And this is a discussion for elsewhere.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2955 on: March 19, 2009, 09:51:54 AM »
I've never seen Lost Highway, but I really don't like American History X. No matter which film takes this round can we basically pencil The Thin Red Line to advance at least one more round?

Thor

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2956 on: March 19, 2009, 10:17:05 AM »
Then again, I've already kicked two Lynch films out of this bracket, so I should probably shut up or something.

Yes. Definitely.

I normally like experimental films and I liked Lost Highway a good deal. I think Mulholland Dr might have ruined the experience for me. It is a more polished and concentrated version of the ideas Lynch was exploring here. I can appreciate it without fully being behind it.

What do you mean by that? Could you elaborate on what ideas you feel like Lynch is exploring in the two films, and the similarities?

(By the way, I have no problem with your verdict, since you explained pretty clearly that it was the attractiveness of the respective central performances that mainly swayed your vote)
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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2957 on: March 19, 2009, 10:30:57 AM »
I've never seen Lost Highway, but I really don't like American History X. No matter which film takes this round can we basically pencil The Thin Red Line to advance at least one more round?

Not if I get my hands on it.
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winrit

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2958 on: March 19, 2009, 10:37:12 AM »
Glengarry Glen Ross vs. JFK

"That watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? CINECAST! you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave."


This was my first viewing of Glengarry Glen Ross. Going in, all I knew to expect was a lot of cursing and Alec Baldwin. I was rewarded on both counts. Alec Baldwin is truly awesome in this small part. Without him the movie is a ho-hum character study, but with him, he perfectly sets up the high-pressure situation that ultimately impacts every choice made by the characters.

The entire cast really sold me (no pun intended). I was transfixed by Ricky Roma's (Al Pacino's) introductory monologue; I was heartbroken by Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon). I felt every rejection and the painful slide of each character. Even Kevin Spacey did his part as the disconnected office manager.

My only complaint, is the same as that echoed in other reviews: the movie is less a movie and more a play. This does take the dialogue to center stage, but it also puts an odd slant on the visual elements.

JFK

"The Warren Commission thought they had an open-and-shut case. Three bullets, one assassin. But two unpredictable things happened that day that made it virtually impossible. One, the eight-millimeter home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder while standing by the grassy knoll. Two, the third wounded man, James Tague, who was nicked by a fragment, standing near the triple underpass. The time frame, five point six seconds, determined by the Zapruder film, left no possibility of a fourth shot. So the shot or fragment that left a superficial wound on Tague's cheek had to come from the three shots fired from the sixth floor depository. That leaves just two bullets. And we know one of them was the fatal head shot that killed Kennedy. So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet now has to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connelly. But rather than admit to a conspiracy or investigate further, the Warren Commission chose to endorse the theory put forth by an ambitious junior counselor, Arlen Spector, one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people. We've come to know it as the "Magic Bullet Theory." This single-bullet explanation is the foundation of the Warren Commission's claim of a lone assassin. Once you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven of those wounds, you'd have to conclude that there was a fourth shot and a second rifle. And if there was a second rifleman, then by definition, there had to be a conspiracy. "


It isn't hard to get wrapped up in this real life detective story. The mind gets carried away with all the possibilities the movie has to offer. I had not seen the movie since it's theatrical release, so it was interesting to go back.

The editing is really the star here and Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scalia deservedly won an Oscar for it. What a huge task to successfully weave together the complex body of new and old footage. Ultimately though, the editing does create a dilemma for me. Combining the new and old footage muddles the historically facts in a way that leaves me wondering how I should approach the movie itself. Is the movie legitimately trying to present a valid theory on the assassination of JFK or is the movie historical fiction. I am sure it is somewhere in between, but I never really felt comfortable and I am still unsure what my attitude is toward the ways in which the information is presented.

The supporting cast does a lot with what is essentially excessive exposition, but I ultimately wished the information could be brought down more quickly to a distinct theory. I think Basil was right when he said the there isn't enough consistency in the revelation of evidence to create escalating suspense and that's really where the movie loses me. If the bulk of the movie could have an ounce of the suspense, intensity, and directness as those last few scenes of the movie, I could love this movie.

JFK is both wonderfully crafted and a total mess at the same time. I know past reviewers have given more weight to the former, but I'm leaning toward the latter: a bit of a mess. Glengarry is on a much smaller scale, so it is hard to compare the two, but ultimately I would go back to Glengarry long before I would go back to JFK.

Glengarry gets it.
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Thor

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Re: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
« Reply #2959 on: March 19, 2009, 10:39:52 AM »
Wow. That took some
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