Author Topic: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film  (Read 43507 times)

Corndog

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #120 on: July 07, 2010, 03:51:42 PM »
'Noke
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

The famous Miyazaki. The famous gman, or should I say ĎNoke. This one seemed to be a long time coming, as is all of Miyazaki really. I have very much enjoyed the other Miyazaki I have seen (Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro) and this being a respected forum memberís favorite of all time, I had expectations going into the thing. It took me a while to get through it honestly. The last time I posted in this thread was a while ago and part of that is life and part of that was my struggle to finish the film. The first time I sat down to watch it I quickly lost interest and began only half paying attention to it. I finished it, but you could barely count it as seeing it. Then I started it over again last night, about a week or so since my first attempt. I made it solid through the first hour or so, but my interest waned and I didnít get back to it until this afternoon, when I finished the rest of the film. The circumstances of my viewing experience may have had something to do with the problems I faced, but honestly, they werenít all my problems.

To start, let me just say I liked the film, and on top of that I respected it. But I might stop from saying that I truly enjoyed myself, or that the film is great as opposed to just good. The story line is where I had the most trouble I think. The message, themes, characters, they were all good and I liked them and I thought they brought a lot to the table. The themes dealt with here are things I generally fall for, but my problem came with the execution of it all. It just seemed so political to me and maybe that is just something I have to take personal issue with, but it seemed to in-your-face political for me to really get engaged into the story. Another thing was the flow of the film. Sure it is over two hours and for an animated film that is rare, but Iím not talking about runtime, Iím talking about stringing together enough interesting and engaging scenes to keep the viewer interested and paying attention. The film, to me, failed to do this and I think that is my main peeve with it and why I didnít love it as much as others might have. And just one more thing, I was kind of surprised at how violent the film was at times. It wasnít really a negative, I just wanted to mention it because it did surprise me.

So what about what I liked about the film, because I did like a lot about it, regardless of my previous paragraph. As always, Miyazaki creates a magical world to spend time in. The characters, human and animal alike, are great and Ashitaka and San are clearly my favorites. But the other thing Miyazaki always seems to do is the little things, and by little things I mean that literally. He creates these creatures, in this case the Tree Spirits, that are so great. They are so imaginative and so is the world we are immersed in every time we see a film by Miyazaki. I respect the man so much for doing what so few people today are able or willing to do, explore his imagination. The ending of the film was pretty great too and really made watching the whole thing worthwhile, saving what could have been just a run of the mill animated film in my opinion. So all in all I had a good time with it and am happy that I have now seen it, but it is not something that will pop up in my Top 100, or even my Top 50 animated films.


***

Next Up: Apocalypse Now (Redux?) Which version do you prefer I watch FroHam?
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

Corndog

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #121 on: July 25, 2010, 09:16:25 PM »
FroHam
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by John Milius & Francis Ford Coppola

I finally found time to get around to this after always being intimidated by the runtime. For the longest time I avoided the Redux version, which was all I could find for a while, always wanting to see a film in its original format first. Once the "Complete Dossier" came out I was excited to check it out once and for all and once I started this marathon I was also reminded of my enthusiasm. I got home late one night and decided maybe I'll watch Part 1 and finish the rest tomorrow, well that didn't work because I was so hooked by the film that, despite my tiredness, I pushed on to finished, so intrigued by what I was watching. I know the viewing was probably not ideal as I was tired and I did have to go back and rewatch the last thirty minutes or so as I was nodding off, but this is also something that I think needs a second viewing anyway.

The film follows Williard (Martin Sheen), a soldier in Vietnam who has been assigned the task of tracking down, infiltrating, and eliminating the rogue power of Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Through this mission Williard is exposed to many dark things that mark the Vietnam War. For instance he meets a crazy calvary man (Robert Duvall) dead set on finding a great surfing beach, even while the enemy is firing on them. He also meets a young, and wet behind the ears Laurence Fishbourne playing a young soldier on a boat that takes him deep into the jungle. There are so many horrible things that happen along the way and we the viewer are exposed to many dark things.

My favorite aspect of the film had to be the look of it. The cinematography was astounding. There were so many shots and scenes that literally made my jaw drop. The spectacle, as well as the lighting, camera movements, and choreography of each scene was spectacular. To be honest, at the start of the film, and even looking back now actually, I didn't much enjoy the voice over by Sheen. I found it explaining the movie away too much and sometimes just awkward sounding. I do understand its need however, as the film was 2 1/2 hours as it was, so I do forgive it that. Apart from that one small quarrel, I thought the film was excellent. Probably the best Vietnam movie I have seen, and it was made not too awfully long after the war ended. Also I would say that this is Coppola's best as well, even better than his work with The Godfather, which is saying something. I just think he creates and captures more of an emotion and a set of feelings here and he nails it beautifully. The struggles of Williard and his fellow soldiers was captivating, especially when photographed so beautifully as well. I suppose I should check out Redux now too. I need to see it again at the very least.

****

Next Up: George Washington
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #122 on: July 25, 2010, 10:21:55 PM »
Yep, it's great. I didn't much care for the Redux. In fact, I didn't even finish it. :-\
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FroHam X

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #123 on: July 25, 2010, 11:15:14 PM »
Great review corn! Glad you enjoyed it. I actually prefer the Redux, but I am a crazy person and basically nobody else is on my side. I do take issue with your taking issue with the narration. The narration is very important in setting a very specific dreamy tone. The film literally would not work without it, and that has nothing to do with the need for exposition.
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #124 on: July 25, 2010, 11:32:09 PM »
Great review corn! Glad you enjoyed it. I actually prefer the Redux, but I am a crazy person and basically nobody else is on my side. I do take issue with your taking issue with the narration. The narration is very important in setting a very specific dreamy tone. The film literally would not work without it, and that has nothing to do with the need for exposition.

I think by the end of the film I was alright with it because, as you say, it was very necessary. It was just at the beginning when I wasn't used to it yet it did feel really weird to me.
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FroHam X

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #125 on: July 25, 2010, 11:35:09 PM »
Great review corn! Glad you enjoyed it. I actually prefer the Redux, but I am a crazy person and basically nobody else is on my side. I do take issue with your taking issue with the narration. The narration is very important in setting a very specific dreamy tone. The film literally would not work without it, and that has nothing to do with the need for exposition.

I think by the end of the film I was alright with it because, as you say, it was very necessary. It was just at the beginning when I wasn't used to it yet it did feel really weird to me.

Yeah it can come off as very "why the hell is he talking". I think part of why I enjoy the Redux more is that it pushes the dream narrative quality even further, so maybe I'm also just more into the creation of a dream state within the film.
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zarodinu

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #126 on: July 25, 2010, 11:41:17 PM »
Cool review Corndog, glad you liked it.  Definitely watch redux in a little while, I feel like it makes this great movie even better.
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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #127 on: July 26, 2010, 12:21:59 AM »
I look forward to you watching George Washington. I wish it was in this Criterion sale.

Melvil

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #128 on: July 26, 2010, 01:15:55 AM »
Nice review. It reminds me that I really need to watch this for a second time (I started with the redux on accident, now I want to see the original).

Corndog

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Re: Corndog Watches Your Favorite Film
« Reply #129 on: July 29, 2010, 10:19:38 PM »
FLYmeatwad
George Washington
Written & Directed by David Gordon Green

My love for David Gordon Green apparently knows no bounds. I loved Pineapple Express. Then discovered his artsier work. I loved Snow Angels. I loved All the Real Girls. So once FLY made the imposition that I use his 3rd favorite film, George Washington, for this marathon, I jumped at the idea and allowed the exception. This film affirmed in me the reasons why I love DGG, though I would say that it may be my least favorite of his films, at least on first watch. Who knows, with more viewings this may grow on me because I still am somewhat inconclusive in my assessment of the film to this point.

Like his other films, George Washington follows a group of people in small town, blue collar America. In this case it is a group of pre-teens: Vernon, George, Buddy, Nasia and Sonya. They are friends, but the relationships do get more complicated than that. It is a slow moving narrative that develops the characters and strives less on plot and more on the interpretation of these characters. The major event in the film is the tradgic, accidental death of Buddy, and the ensuing "cover-up." Past that, there is not much that I could say actually happens in the film apart from seemingly random character interaction. However, it is in the dialogue and visuals that Green manages to tell his story.

The first thing I can think of in terms of what the film is about is love. And that is why I love DGG, he touches on this in his films and does so in a manner that I can connect with, something in the way he does it just makes sense to me. And I know I was somewhat lambasted for my recent reviews of The Shining and Army of Shadows, well here is a perfect way to make my point about those. This film did something for me. Sometimes it is hard to explain what it is, but if a film doesn't make a connection with me then it is hard to like it. I certainly have respected films that I didn't connect with and I understand not every film is for every person. I think that is what happened with those other two films more or less, but with this one, it made that connection.

My heart was seeminly breaking inside so many times I can't remember. But that being said, Green did not "nail it" in my opinion. The moments always seemed just a little off of perfect, and maybe others would explain that as the great realism of his indie films, but the narrative took directions that I didn't fully understand. The characterization of George for instance was strange and I'm not sure I totally "got it" by the end of the film, though I certainly responded to some of his feelings/actions, though not to all. It was these miscalculations that maybe connected with other people, that I found the film lacking. And once again, I will rate the film 3 out of 4 stars, which is a good score. I was so close to adding an extra 1/2 star, but these abnormalities if you will pushed it back. And I also hate the fact that I am now explaining my grading scale due to negative responses to me rating The Shining the same score. I've never much liked ratings, but it is the easiest and shortest way of referencing my likes and dislikes. Maybe I'll go all sam on everybody and discontinue my ratings.

Wow, I sounded really crabby just now. I'm sorry. I promise I'm not in a bad mood, just not the best day of watching movies I guess, though I will say, I greatly enjoyed this one, whichever way you read into my review.

***

Next Up: Vertigo?
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."