Author Topic: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films  (Read 34296 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2010, 09:51:42 PM »
Corndog, you set a pretty high bar with the effort of your write-up...it is pretty intimidating.
I like to look at it as inspiration.  ;)

'Noke

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2010, 10:00:31 PM »
I will talk about the awesomeness that is Princess Mononoke during Ferris' and mine Miyazaki marathon (PS when are we getting this started?). But I was planning on doing a commentary on Serenity, this should help push me towards this.
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

Corndog

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2010, 10:01:58 PM »
Corndog, you set a pretty high bar with the effort of your write-up...it is pretty intimidating.
I like to look at it as inspiration.  ;)

Yea, convince me guys. Tell me I'm wrong and back it up with proof. Let's go Filmspotters
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Basil

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2010, 01:23:29 AM »
My favorite film is Out of Sight. I go into pretty great detail about it here.
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Bill Thompson

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2010, 07:33:04 AM »
I wrote this a while back on my blog, but it does sum up my thoughts rather nicely on my all-time favorite and #1,

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Sometimes writing about movies can be difficult, other times the words flow like a river in the country. The Shawshank Redemption falls somewhere in the middle, because I regard it so highly that it gives me so much to write about, so much in fact that I have trouble collecting my thoughts into a cohesive form. At this point I know that most of my readers are shouting, ďCohesive? When did you start writing cohesively?Ē That is most likely the truth, but let a man have his delusions, okay! Even though I could write a book about The Shawshank Redemption, and have honestly considered it, I will keep this review as concise as I can.

The first thing that should immediately get anyone who experiences The Shawshank Redemption is the simplicity of its message and its theme, but how complex that simplicity becomes when you try to break it down. The base message is one of hope, of a stoic reserve that allows you to overcome the impossible. But, when you dig deep into that message and watch how the movie handles the delivery of that message one canít help but marvel at the depth of the message. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption isnít a tangible matter, it isnít an issue at the forefront. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption is a periphery matter, something the inmates donít allow themselves, yet something every one of them must carry around with them. The Shawshank Redemption isnít heavy handed in its handling of its messages because it never takes the typical prison story route. Chicanery is implied, not every character is rotten, violence is seen from far away. The Shawshank Redemption takes a unique approach to prison life and that unique approach creates an interesting delivery system for the various messages in the film. There can be, and often is, a deep complexity in simple ideas and The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of that way of thinking.

It should go without saying by this point but Roger Deakins and any film equals epic win for the audience. The Shawshank Redemption is no exception, from the opening aerial shot of the prison to his wonderful use of muted tones and colors to create a drab look, Deakinsí cinematography adds texture and depth to The Shawshank Redemption. The film is beautiful to look at, it is highly depressing and ugly, but there is a beauty in how Deakins renders through his visual style and lighting choices the tone of the characters and what they are going through in their lives. Too often in film prisons are wide open, but even in the scenes where the characters have space to work with they are shot so that they are corralled into small spaces. The Shawshank Redemption is a very claustrophobic movie and in a lot of ways it is a horror movie. Scary monsters and creatures from the beyond arenít necessary for a horror tale, the loss of a mans freedom and the redundancy of life as the walls continually close in on him can be the worst of all horrors.

The music is yet another excellent factor of The Shawshank Redemption. The music isnít bombastic or loud, like the characters and the setting, it is quiet and muted. In short, the score sets the perfect atmosphere for what happens in the film. The score doesnít really stand out in any way, but it isnít meant to, the score in The Shawshank Redemption is meant to seep into the prison itself, to become a part of the prisoners daily life for the viewer.

In a film full of nothing but strengths, the direction and the acting may be the strongest of all. Frank Darabont did the near impossible with The Shawshank Redemption, he made an extremely slow moving story fascinating and captivating to watch. But beyond that, he made evil men guilty of terrible crimes into characters we care about. This was only possible because of the bravo performances from Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, William Sadler and James Whitmore as the prisoners along with Bob Gunton as the warden and the always awesome yet extremely underrated Clancy Brown as lead prison guard. They are human characters, they are evil, they fear, they have insecurities, they arenít just malicious caricatures, they have reasons for why they do what they do and we loathe or feel for them depending on the character. When Brooks leaves the prison we know what his fate will be and in the hands of a lesser director we wouldnít care about his ultimate fate, but we care because Darabont understands how to make us care.

I know my praise for The Shawshank Redemption is gushing, but I believe it is a film worthy of that type of praise. I have broken down this film numerous times, watched it more times than I can remember and it remains just as perfect today as it did when I first witnessed it. Whether it is the cinematography, the score, the acting, the story, the human drama or any other enticing factor, The Shawshank Redemption reaches its mark. I canít say much more, and I doubt many people havenít seen The Shawshank Redemption, but great messages always need to be heard and hope always springs eternal for anyone who hasnít seen The Shawshank Redemption to join everyone else in the experience.

zarodinu

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2010, 06:15:14 PM »
Woman in the Dunes



My all time favorite film.  It was made by Teshigahara whose background is in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.  This unique credential results in every shot of the film being a delicate balance between light and shadow and the different objects occupying frame.  Roger Ebert pointed out how he lost count of all the different symbolic meanings of sand in this film, and I agree, Teshigahara has a gift of endowing inanimate objects with menace, foreboding, and meaning.



The story is pretty simple.  A Japanese man goes out to the desert to collect bugs, his hobby.  However, he is surprised by a storm and seeks shelter with desert villagers who live in pits dug in the sand dunes.  He is allowed to spend a night in the house of a woman who lives on the bottom of one such pit, her entire existence consisting of shoveling sand out of her pit to keep the desert from consuming her home, recently her husband and daughter were buried alive when one of the pits walls collapsed.  In the morning he wakes up to discover the ladder is gone and he is a prisoner in the sand pit; he quickly realizes that the villagers want him to take up the role of the dead husband as a full time sand shoveler to help the woman.      
 


So the basic plot is similar to a prison escape movie.  But the movie takes the simple premise and really runs with it.  Our hero is smart, resourceful, defiant, creative, and possesses tremendous willpower.  No prison, however well constructed or carefully guarded can keep him in or break his spirit.  However, even as he plans his escape, a second prison threatens to ensnare him forever.  Life in the pit is simple, and the manual labor slowly dulls the mind and creates a certain resignation to ones fate.  As the hero starts to forget about the outside world, the broken down hut in the middle of sandpit suddenly doesn't seem so squalid.  The routine is simple and has a certain pavlovian effect on the man, he becomes so used to his situation, that slowly he gets used to his new fate.



All these cobwebs that begin to wear down our hero are perfectly symbolized by the pits other occupant.  The woman is utterly servile to the new man in her life, she meekly suffers his wrath and abuse, and yet despite her utter submissiveness she seems to slowly gain the upper hand and ensnare the man.  As the two enter into sexual relations, one feels how the man is slowly consumed by his lover who herself is perfectly content to spend her entire existence in the pit.    



Ultimately the sand pit is a symbol of all the things that grind down a free man until he is no longer a master of his own life.  The film shows how work, routine, relationships, responsibilities, and family slowly wear down on us until we are living in a prison of our own making.  Ever wonder how the same generation that went to Woondstock, took LSD, and made love in the mud turned into the cynical, lonely, aging ex-hippies of today?  This movie gives the answer.

10/10 and the best movie ever made.

PS:  This movie has the best sex scene in any movie ever.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 06:19:28 PM by zarodinu »
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smirnoff

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2010, 08:18:18 PM »
Even I liked it. And me and zaro don't exactly have identical tastes.  ;)

zarodinu

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2010, 08:50:43 PM »
Even I liked it. And me and zaro don't exactly have identical tastes.  ;)

Indeed not ;D
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Pratters

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2010, 04:03:18 PM »
Greed - The TCM Restored version. Absolute masterpiece. Shame the original prints were destroyed.

oldkid

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Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2010, 01:19:40 AM »
Greed - The TCM Restored version. Absolute masterpiece. Shame the original prints were destroyed.

Interesting.  I'd love to have you convince me to watch it.
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