Author Topic: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon  (Read 20181 times)

sdedalus

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #70 on: November 12, 2010, 01:41:59 PM »
Yes.  Of course.
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Bondo

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #71 on: November 13, 2010, 12:04:44 AM »
High and Low

I feel like my expectations for Kurosawa were overly biased by the fact that Seven Samurai is his most acclaimed film, perhaps followed by Rashomon, and they are the films I don't like. Yet he's also someone who has made one film firmly in my top-100 and two others that would certainly be in my top-250. And High and Low, my sixth Kurosawa film, joins that top-250 conversation. That means the majority of the films I've seen aren't just good but exceptionally good, so it is probably time to ignore SS the way I am capable of ignoring bad movies from most of my other favorite directors.

So High and Low is a kidnap/ransom tale. I like the time it takes before getting to that aspect, setting up Gondo's business position as a fairly upstanding guy, in spite of some hardball tactics, fighting for a company that takes pride in quality rather than simply maximizing profits. This aspect certainly has continued relevance as corporate critique but it also makes Gondo a more morally pure character so that when he is later put in a moral bind we can trust he won't simply be self-serving, but shows how difficult knowing what is right is. There is some good discussion about the ambiguity of what the right thing to do...basically game theory, trying to predict the kidnapper's response to various approaches.

The proposed choice, his business or the child, is made a bit more intense given the business culture in Japan, one where an employee tends to be tied to one employer for life and there is a sense of pride in that. So really it is the choice of his driver's child or his "child." I would add that even though one might easily say that a human is more valuable than a corporation, it isn't entirely clear that giving into the kidnappers demands are actually the right choice on its own. I actually think a lot of the complications are unnecessary because you simply can't give in to this kind of extortion, that whole "never negotiate with terrorists" thing.

I'd say a bit of a weakness, ultimately, is the continued corporate treachery on display. I felt the opening scene was all that was needed to set the stake and some of the subsequent developments just seemed to mix things up without adding anything to the ethical dilemma. But the procedural aspect of the film is tense and rewarding and surprisingly thorough. This probably could be tedious for some but I like the methodical nature of how it examines all the logical avenues of evidence. It makes you realize how horrible all the television procedurals are...well more than their obvious horribleness does. I'm not going to talk about the acting because it is all top notch.

Being a political scientist, bureaucracy speaks to me, so my inclination would be to prefer Ikiru. But as this unfolded I mostly found myself liking it more. It seems in some ways more ambitious, and perhaps even stumbles at a few points under that burden (such as deciding arresting the kidnapper and retrieving the money wasn't sufficient and that they had to prove the murders to get him executed, it doesn't seem worth the risk of losing him). This also led the film to be perhaps longer than it needed to be and that may be what keeps it out. Though the Junkie Alley scene makes me think Kurosawa could have made an awesome zombie film.

But more importantly, I have no excuses now, I need to watch more Kurosawa. Oh, and I am planning on rewatching (well, finishing for the first time after twice failing) Seven Samurai as part of this marathon, so there's always a chance for a turnaround there. Rashomon is something I've seen fairly recently and not something I see changing from my 2/5 rating.

High and Low is probably making my top-100, Ikiru may make my top-100.

Added: He did it out of economic envy/spite? Really? Are medical interns really impoverished in Japan circa this film? I know they don't make the crazy money in Japan as doctors do here but I'd say the motivation is another weakness here.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 12:17:00 AM by Bondo »

MartinTeller

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #72 on: November 13, 2010, 12:26:25 AM »
Have you tried The Bad Sleep Well?  I'm starting to get a feel for your tastes, I think you might really like that one.  And maaaaaaaybe Red Beard, although I'm getting the impression that maybe you just prefer contemporary works to period pictures.

At any rate, glad you liked H&L.  It's my #3 Kurosawa, right after SS (a "bad ::) movie") and Red Beard.


the Junkie Alley scene makes me think Kurosawa could have made an awesome zombie film.

Well, there's zombie-esque ghosts in Dreams.  One of the better segments of that film, too.
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1SO

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #73 on: November 13, 2010, 01:02:11 AM »
the Junkie Alley scene makes me think Kurosawa could have made an awesome zombie film.

Well, there's zombie-esque ghosts in Dreams.  One of the better segments of that film, too.
And the sequence in Ran where the lord has gone crazy and walks through the battle in a trance.
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Bondo

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2010, 01:09:06 AM »
Have you tried The Bad Sleep Well?  I'm starting to get a feel for your tastes, I think you might really like that one.  And maaaaaaaybe Red Beard, although I'm getting the impression that maybe you just prefer contemporary works to period pictures.

I'm almost positive this is part of it, though I do like Ran best (it has the period setting but is also one of his later works so maybe it is contemporary in other ways). Anyway, Rhapsody In August and Throne of Blood are the two that I'm likely to watch next (so yeah, the former isn't considered very highly but it is bracket work) but I'll definitely consider The Bad Sleep Well. Just read the description and it does sound interesting...much more so than something like Yojimbo. I can't do a straight comparison not having seen The Magnificent Seven or Yojimbo, but considering my feelings about SS and Leone's westerns (liked GBU but not the others) it seems that there is something there, samurai or cowboy, that doesn't connect for me while Shakespeare, even adapted to the samurai setting, does.

MartinTeller

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #75 on: November 13, 2010, 03:18:29 AM »
there is something there, samurai or cowboy, that doesn't connect for me while Shakespeare...does.

All the more reason to check out Bad Sleep Well then (it's a loose adaptation of Hamlet) :)

I'm tempted to recommend Madadayo as well, but you might go either way on that one.
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Bondo

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #76 on: November 22, 2010, 03:06:33 PM »
The Shawshank Redemption

This was my second time watching this, after seeing it initially a good ten years ago. I remember really liking it at the time, if only because it seemed less overrated than the rest of the imdb top 10. I certainly wouldn't make such a claim anymore, mostly because I've discovered and loved a number of the others near the top of that list. And I do still like this, it has a lot of charm and feel goods, some moments of tragedy. And it has certain points of interest about the function of prisons and your run of the mill corruption. It also has some absolutely fantastic moments of cinematography. However, I do have one main complaint:



The film plods. It lacks energy. It is rather prosaic. That doesn't stop it from being good, but it makes it a little less fantastic. It won't be making my top-100

MartinTeller

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #77 on: November 22, 2010, 03:10:11 PM »

Are you applying this to any film over a certain length?  Are there any films over, say, 150 minutes that you enjoy and think merit the runtime?
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Bondo

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #78 on: November 22, 2010, 03:16:15 PM »
I refer you to my recently completed Bollywood marathon. Heck, I just raved about Harry Potter 7A. For me a film being too long means it stretches its material too thin and creates pacing issues. I like a film with solid forward momentum. Of course I would claim most films are too long (or use the time it has less effectively than it could) so it isn't a critical failing. Most of those Bollywood films are a bit saggy but one deals with it. And ultimately I deal with it here.

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Re: Beavermoose & Friends FS Top 100 Group Marathon
« Reply #79 on: December 17, 2010, 11:18:38 PM »
Eraserhead

So I'm now moving on to the five films from the prior two iterations of the Top 100 that I hadn't seen. I got half an hour into this and then I remembered, I'm done with David Lynch. I just don't understand how The Room is considered so bad (sometimes in a good way) and something like Eraserhead is considered a good enough film to make the top 100 list. The acting in The Room is superior to the acting in Eraserhead. The plot of The Room is more coherent than the plot of Eraserhead. Sure, you can say the terribly stilted line delivery and such are intentional parts of the mood, but if you are willing to wave it away here, I just don't understand how you can judge it elsewhere. I guess you can credit Lynch's demented weirdness as a show of virtuosity...this film is certainly more unique, but I've never considered weird for weirdness sake to be a very noble attribute.

I don't know, I just feel like there is a lot of groupthink going on and the group decided Eraserhead is profound and excellent and something like The Room is terrible and then others feel compelled to share the view and it becomes established as "truth." And for the record, so great was my disgust with this film that I actually bothered to finish it, just so I could sound off from more solid footing.