Author Topic: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!  (Read 9093 times)

oldkid

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2010, 01:06:46 PM »
The Twilight Samurai (2002, Yoji Yamada)

For those looking for an action filled film, this isn't it.  Rather, it is the kind of samurai film I like, reflective with a strong moral character at the center.  But I was surprised to find that it was also a deeply romantic movie that truly stirred me. 



Once the characters were in place, you could see how it is going to go.  But it is the details, especially in the second half, that are so wonderful.  The servant who struggles with giving a simple message... how much is made of a proposal and then it is uncharacteristically dropped without a word... the Tarantino-like discussion before the final fight... all excellent.



I also loved the device of the daughter-narrator who was too young to understand what was going on at the time of the events.  Obviously, she is narrating a story having been told to her, not just recalling events.  And this is why the narration is so seamless and Seibei is such a hero, even though he quietly stand against important mores of his culture.  It is a very modern film of an ancient age and Seibei is a very modern hero-- not ambitious, quiet, allowing himself dishonor, yet doggedly determined not to let anything harm his small, poor family.  And, of course, a great warrior.



There are some missteps-- some dialogue I wish were was written better and some acting that I wish were touched up a bit.  But overall, a very enjoyable film and one I will gladly visit again.  Thanks, Bill.   4/5
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Bill Thompson

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2010, 05:16:44 PM »
Glad you liked it Steve, the more people I can get to see this one the better.  :)

smirnoff

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2010, 08:01:32 PM »
Once a Thief (John Woo, 1991)

This was a light-hearted and enjoyable caper/action flick. Every scene was different and more elaborate than the last, and it's that variety that kept me watching. I can't say the comedy did much for me though. Just a tad silly. I don't think Chow Yun-Fat or the others quite have the nose for comedy it would take to make it work. It takes a special kind of actor to make slapstick funny after all... guys like Rowan Atkinson and Jackie Chan are rare. And even they aren't funny all the time. It's a pretty common style of comedy for that era though. I can live with it.

The action, that's where it's at. The fights and car chases get crazy to the point of being absurd, but it's always fun. This is a movie I could see myself watching again on those rainy days when I just need to have a good time and be distracted for a couple hours. Watching it restored my faith in John Woo a little bit. I think the next movie of his I'll watch will be The Killer.

Thanks Sam.  :)



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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2010, 11:06:40 PM »
You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. And I understand about Woo. Sometimes he's awesome. Other times you just shake your head.

Colleen

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2010, 12:37:16 PM »
The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991)

Awesome! I didn't know what to expect from this dictation, but I had a blast with it. It's about a rag-tag group of (mostly) young people in Dublin who form a soul band and seek success. Not a particularly innovative plot, but it's an incredibly charming take on it. I love the strong sense of place in the setting, and the characters have such strong and great personalities. The overall arc of the story is fairly predictable, but it's done so well and is so much fun that it doesn't matter. And funny! The humor is great.

The music is also really good. It's awesome that the band they form is genuinely quite good, and they have good performance chemistry together, so it's easy to really want to root for them. They play a lot of music throughout the movie, and the camera really takes you into their performances and lets you feel it.

Special mention should go to the character of Jimmy who takes the lead through most of the film. I thought he was pretty phenomenal, and makes a lot of the movie as good as it is.

Great choice, Colleen. I love dictations like this where I probably never would have seen the film (or thought I would be interested in it) otherwise and end up loving it. Thanks!

Yay!  I'm so glad you liked it!  The montage of band applicants at Jimmy's front door is one of my favorite sequences in a movie ever.

The book was written by Roddy Doyle, and you might also want to check out The Snapper, which came out a couple of years later and was based on a book in the same trilogy.  Colm Meaney is in that one too, and it was directed by Stephen Frears.  Not quite as good and memorable as The Commitments, but I enjoyed it.

Emiliana

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2010, 12:50:46 PM »


Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973)

Oodelally! (sp? edit, much later: just checked, and Corndog spells it Oo-da-lolly... lol!)

What fun, what joy! This film is completely irreverent towards everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood:
Guy of Guisborne? - Who needs him?
Other merry men, apart from Little John? - What, there were others?
Everybody should speak with English accents, as this is England after all? Pfft, who cares?
The music should match the setting?  - Humbug, we'll introduce this character, he's a rooster, and he's going to narrate parts of the story in American country-folksy songs!



And it all works magnificently. The songs are catchy, the animation is absolutely beautiful, and the first half of the film is very, very funny. Best of all, it's funny in many different ways: you get the silly, hilarious word-play, the simple, laugh-out-loud slapstick, and the really clever kind of humour that comes from drawing very distinct characters in very few but extremely effective strokes.

My favourite character by far was Prince John - greedy, megalomaniac, ridiculous, thumb-sucking, pathetic Prince John who is just a few sizes too small for the grand crown of England.



His side-kick Sir Hiss is another magnificent invention - the snake-related humour and word-play is as imaginative and delightfully silly as the material relating to Prince John. What's brilliant about the film, though, is that you can choose to understand all the humour as metaphors about power, greed and slithery slyness, or you can simply choose to revel in the sheer fun of it all.

For me, the film started to run out of steam a bit just as it headed into its second half. There, the action picks up as we are getting from the more plot and character-oriented scenes into the more action-y prison-break-and-heist part of the story. I understand why the film would want to mix up its tone here and there to keep all parts of the audience entertained, but I was missing the cleverness and charm of the first half of the film so much that it affected my overall enjoyment of it.



I was wondering whether this minor problem (a second half of a film that feels more like "just stuff happening" after an amazingly clever first half) was something that animated films were particularly susceptible to, considering that this issue has come up in relation to animated films before (the more recent examples that came to my mind were, of course, Wall-E and Up, both of which I loved but against both of which I had this same minor reservation), or if that was just a coincidence. Well, I haven't even begun to answer that question in relation to all the other animated films I've watched and loved, because, as I said, it is a minor complaint and by no means spoils the tremendous fun that is to be had here.

Bottom line: films like Robin Hood exist to charm you off your feet, make you laugh and leave a big smile on your face for hours afterwards. Mission accomplished, thanks Corndog!  ;D

« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 05:09:27 PM by Emiliana »

Bill Thompson

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2010, 03:00:42 PM »
Glad you loved Robin Hood, I love it too and for my money it's easily the best to come out of Reitherman era Disney, and also the best Disney had put out since Fantasia. It will be interesting to see how it fares in relation to some of the modern Disney classics when I finally reach that part of my marathon.

oneaprilday

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2010, 03:12:46 PM »
What a fun write-up, Em! It's been years since I've seen it, but you make me want to revisit it. :)

ferris

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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2010, 05:01:27 PM »
Very nicely worded review Emiliana.  That was a fun read.  I wanted to respond to this section specifically:

I was wondering whether this minor problem (a second half of a film that feels more like "just stuff happening" after an amazingly clever first half) was something that animated films were particularly susceptible to, considering that this issue has come up in relation to animated films before (the more recent examples that came to my mind were, of course, Wall-E and Up, both of which I loved but against both of which I had this same minor reservation), or if that was just a coincidence.

I had the same reservation with both of those movies.  I'm not much of a fan of the action genre.  Long fight scenes and car chases bore me - I'm like "yada yada yada, tell me who wins and let's pick back up on the character arcs!"  With Peter Pan I did not sense that same problem quite as much - but I've seen that film so many times now that each scene is just iconic - hard to think of removing or improving on anything! But I'm sure if I watched it again today I'd probably have the same reaction.
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Re: March 2010 MDC write ups: Free skate!
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2010, 05:37:18 PM »
Yes! Hooray! Oo-da-lolly, Oo-da-lolly, Golly what a day! Glad you had fun with it, as it is my favorite animated film of all time and all  ;D.
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