Author Topic: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time  (Read 145985 times)

1SO

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #280 on: November 07, 2010, 08:06:06 PM »
The Apartment

Is it a depressing comedy or a cheerful drama?

It's neither. It's a story about life and love in all its emotional range.

That's funny.  I just saw it for the first time last night.  As a pre-view to my re-view, I'd say depressing drama.

Depressing how? I don't see it as a depressing film at all. It deals with some depressing subject matter, but it's so much about people taking control of their situation in the world. The message at the end is extremely hopeful, despite its measured realism.

I like what you saw in it FroHam.  I was trying to think about why I didn't.  My mind circles back on the comedic trapping built into the script.  The 1-dimensional side characters at the office who all help C.C. in exchange for the key.  These are the kinds of supporting types you find in Satire and not any sort of serious film.  Fran is very real, the other women are very not.  They all sound like Marilyn Monroe or Ellen Greene in Little Shop of Horrors.  Most of them are played as broad as they are bubbly/stupid.  And that extends to Mrs. Dreyfuss, as broad a Jewish stereotype as I've seen.  These are very much characters from a comedy and not a drama.
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FroHam X

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #281 on: November 07, 2010, 08:21:37 PM »
Since when does satire not make for a serious film? Satire is the most serious and thoughtful form of comedy. The use of broad supporting players and easily identifiable stereotypes is used to add comedy, but also to build a heightened sense of a world we recognize in very quick strokes.

Ahh, so much to say in response. I need to really think about this.
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1SO

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1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - Talk Radio
« Reply #282 on: November 08, 2010, 12:51:03 AM »
Marathon Update



Talk Radio
"The door is open.  Hit me with your best shot."

Once upon a time I was invited to be a part of a wonderful show called The Movie Dictator Club Podcast.  Episode 9 was about films that take place over a single night and for my further dictations I strongly recommended Talk Radio, calling it one of my favorite films of all time.  In the mid-90's I used to watch the film incessantly, but I hadn't seen it in at least 10 years so I decided to pull out my old VHS.  Despite the fact that I have much of the dialogue permanently tattooed in my memory, I came to realize that a) the film doesn't take place in a single night, and b) not only is it not as great as I remember, parts of Talk Radio are embarrassingly bad.

That's when I realized my list of All Time favorite films was completely invalid.

Talk Radio's not a bad film.  Far from it.  The dialogue remains highly quotable throughout, and for such a heavy drama there's a lot of hilarious cynicism.  Eric Bogosian is pure electricity as nighttime host Barry Champlaign.  His vocal mannerisms are pitch perfect - even better than Stephen McHattie in Pontypool - making this one of my Top 5 films to recommend to somebody who is unable to see.  Oliver Stone's camera (guided by Robert Richardson) glides and twirls and moves all over the place, perfectly complimenting and enhancing the energy Bogosian is giving off.  Performer and Director make superb dance partners and this 110 minute dialogue-fest flies by.

In order to open up the play, Stone makes the tragic mistake of breaking up the middle with a few scenes set outside the show.  Mostly flashbacks to how Barry became such a hotshot, and how his rising star led to bad behavior that wrecked his marriage.  These scenes could not be more clumsy or handled with less finesse.  I know that isn't saying much about an Oliver Stone film, but he really outdoes himself here.  Until we're safely back in the sound booth, Talk Radio becomes one hell of a face palm.

But I can't say the studio stuff is perfect either.  Some of the guests that call in are really bad actors, some force really bad character voices.  There's also an unbelievable subplot about how the show is going to go national... like immediately.

Overall I still really liked Talk Radio, but I don't know how much of that is a wave of nostalgia.  I'd like to think that with an even tighter edit it could still be one of my All Time Favorites.  I wish more people would see it, but I'd want them to be fearless about using the Chapter Skip on their remote.
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1SO

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« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 02:11:58 PM by 1SO »
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Bondo

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #284 on: November 08, 2010, 07:47:02 AM »
One begins to realize that for as much as our approach to modern film overlaps, I'm far too closed off to older film for that to remain the case on such a list. Of those seven I dislike three, haven't seen three and would put #7 in my 101-200 range.

Note: This post does not reflect the continually evolving nature of the above list.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 10:43:55 PM by Bondo »

michael x

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - 8 1/2
« Reply #285 on: November 08, 2010, 11:23:42 AM »
There's a continuing debate on these boards about screenplays where every line is calculated to fit into a very precise puzzle.  (Happens every time Christopher Nolan makes a film.)  Some complain that it doesn't factor in the music of chance.  That the structure is put together like a swiss watch, choking out all signs of life and humanity.  Fellini films (and this one in particular) are the opposite of that.

I've been thinking about this divide you mention. I like both styles of film: for example, Memento and Three Colors: Blueare both in my top 50. I tend to be more critical of an elliptical film and look askance at ambiguity for ambiguity's sake. There has to be something significant and weighty brought to the table by the ambiguity for the film to work for me.

Fellini is a bridge figure between the two styles in my mind. His films focus first and foremost on the emotional truths of the moments, like elliptical films, but I find very little ambiguity, and no ambiguity for ambiguity's sake there. His intentions are clear, as are the mental states of his characters and it's not hard to extrapolate to Fellini's own memories and feelings from the screen. The layering of emotions that makes watching a Kieslowski film such a rich experience is also present in its own way.

Without discounting Fellini's influence on film generally, I really think that Antonioni's L'avventura is a much clearer predecessor to Wong Kar-wai, Kieslowski, et al.

1SO

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1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - The Collector
« Reply #286 on: November 08, 2010, 08:59:11 PM »
Marathon Update



The Collector
"I suppose it was the loneliness and being far away from anything else that made me decide to buy the house. And after I did I told myself I'd never go through with the plan, even though I'd made all the preparations and knew where she was every minute of the day."

I wasn't sure at first if The Collector would hold up to my respectful memory of it.  The first 20 minutes is needlessly slow.  A mostly two-character drama about a psychologically wounded butterfly collector who kidnaps an attractive woman in the hopes that she will come to love him, the set up is a lengthy, wordless section where predator (Freddie, played by Terence Stamp) stalks Prey (Miranda, played by Samantha Eggar).  I would have loved to spend this opening learning more about our two leads, but we only learn what Freddie tells us in the opening narration (quoted above).  It's rather dull, with an overbearing score by Maurice Jarre.

A bit later, there's an awkward flashback that shows Freddie's outsider status in society.  It's cartoonishly directed, like the coworkers in Wanted.  However, every time Freddie brings up his deep rooted feelings of alienation - a major theme of the picture - I reflected back to this scene.

MIRANDA: We all want what we can't have.
FREDDIE: We all take what we can get.

The bulk of the film is the interplay between Freddie and Miranda and this is a classic case of "they don't make 'em like that anymore."  Rather than rely on sensational suspense pieces, or cheap and tawdry violence and sexuality, The Collector gets under your skin merely on the basis of the great performances, the verbal battles.  It's cat and mouse where the mouse must constantly talk the cat out of eating her.  That being said, there is a perverse air to the claustrophobic setting.  The film feels as sleazy as you can get for 1965, a mixture of Freddie's disturbing look at the world and Miranda's inability to hide her disdain - which Freddie interprets to be based on social class and not the fact that he's her captor - as well as her spectacular beauty.

During a great, very telling moment at the beginning of the film Freddie grabs hold of Miranda, and is in such close proximity can't help blurting out "I love you."  He immediately recoils in shame, begins to make excuses like a lover who suffered from (*ahem*) premature release.  Freddie constantly insists his attraction to her isn't sexual, yet time and again his actions show a man fighting with his primitive nature.  He says he wants her to get to know him, but when she asks questions his answers are terse.  He's walled off.  She constantly tries to appease his requests, but he's too damaged by this point to let his guard down and trust her.  He finds reason to fault her for not trying to connect, but the problem is his own.  (Part of what I love about The Collector is you can interpret the relationship different ways.  Many will argue that Miranda is partly responsible for what happens to her.  That there was a better way to handle the situation.)

It's worth noting that Stamp and Eggar won Best Actor and Actress at Cannes.  Eggar went on to earn an Oscar nomination.  This is all deserved.  There's also a very suspenseful sequence involving a bath, and while there are a couple of physical fights they're not nearly as interesting as the two leads and their characters engaging in psychological battles.

The Collector mostly holds up and may find a spot in my Top 100 of All Time.  To see my current Ranks Click Here.

Next Up:
Because they seem so thematically similar I'll be watching Peeping Tom next.  Followed by...

Breaker Morant
The Long Good Friday
The Tin Drum
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chardy999

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #287 on: November 09, 2010, 03:05:35 AM »
I like what you said about The Apartment. The loosey-gooseyness doesn't fit with the gloom. On top of that I hated the loosey-gooseyness to begin with.

And I have said before that 8 1/2 is a poor man's La Dolce Vita. The protagonist feels like so much less of a character.
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ProperCharlie

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #288 on: November 09, 2010, 04:53:31 AM »
Just added the Collector to my LoveFilm queue.  Not seen it before but I've always been fascinated.   :)

I'll be interested to read what your take on The Long Good Friday.

1SO

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1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - Peeping Tom
« Reply #289 on: November 10, 2010, 12:30:03 AM »
Marathon Update



Peeping Tom
"What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me, Mark."

It was the combination of Filmspotting's current Powell/Pressburger marathon and my recent rewatch of The Collector that got me interested in seeing Peeping Tom again.  I haven't enjoyed the marathon films overall as much as most of you, but I have been repeatedly knocked out by Powell's direction.  Bring that to The Collector's British take on sleazy material and I was hoping for a film that would be even better.

Alas, this is not the case.  While Powell's direction is typically strong, the script isn't able to match him here.  It's a solid premise, and there are scenes which present some big ideas about voyeurism and obsession as well as some unexpected wit.  (Mark poses as a reporter to film a dead body and when asked which paper her represents, he replies "The Observer.")  But many of the scenes are so focused on being artistic, they don't work in a realistic sense.  In numerous encounters with our serial killer lead, our ladies should be frightened out of their wits yet remain calmly in the room alone with him.  Even when they know that they are to be victims, they don't even put up a struggle.  And the scenes are quite long, which compounds this fundamental flaw.

Also, the cause of Mark's mental problems is explored in a very clunky matter.  A friend asks to see something Mark's filmed, but instead he shows films from his childhood shot by his father.  Not only is this forcing backstory into the narrative, the friend never brings up that this isn't what she asked to see.  Later, a shrink arrives to help one of Mark's coworkers get over a recent trauma.  By coincidence the doctor used to treat Mark's father and Mark pulls the doc aside for some questions/insight.  You can't defend plotting this bad.

The scenes, some shots, and the major theme have been lifted/given tribute/stolen by about half of Brian DePalma's career.  Even the score is reminiscent of early DePalma thrillers.  And while DePalma often has his own problems with logic, he gets more milage out of the subject than Peeping Tom.  His films are also more intense and considerably more stylish.  I sense that this is a groundbreaking film, and I especially loved seeing Red Shoes' Moira Shearer back on screen.  (Perfect example of my problem.  I love watching her dance again, but I don't understand why her character is doing it.)  Powell accomplishes a lot with the material he's chosen to tackle, but this needed a couple of more passes through the typewriter.

I liked Peeping Tom more than my review probably let on, but it's not as good as The Collector and will not be making my Top 100.

Next Up:
Breaker Morant
The Long Good Friday
The Tin Drum
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