Directed by: Preston Sturges
Starring: Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake
Genre: Comedy, Drama
The Plot: A comedy director at the top of his game wants to make a drama about the depression, but finds studio resistance. Despite this he presses forward, and decides to eschew his insulated lifestyle and go out as a peniless drifter to do first hand research for his project.
Why You'll Love It: A great and unique mix of comedy and drama. Sturges manages to make all the commentary on society he wants without being inauthentic or melodramatic. The film is continually self referential and it only enhances both the comedy and the points it's trying to make about both movies and society. A few plot points are imperfect but they're brief and fit well with the overall tone of the film. The cast is great and it's hard not to love Lake and McCrea. What I love about the Sturges films I've seen is his ability to give happy endings while still being quite cynical. The first time I saw this film I was a bit disappointed with the ending since it seemed to be oddly preachy and contradict much of the film that preceded it, but this time I see that contradiction as the whole point of the ending, a way of giving the audiences, and probably the studio, what they want while mocking them for thinking in such simplistic terms.
I leave you with this:
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 15:31|
|# ? May 18, 2013 06:20|
WALDEN: DIARIES, NOTES, AND SKETCHES
Directed by: Jonas Mekas
Starring: Jonas Mekas, Timothy Leary, Stan Brakhage, Carl Th. Dreyer, Ed Emshwiller, Nico, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Norman Mailer, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, John Cale, Lou Reed, Hans Richter, and Allen Ginsburg
Genre: Documentary, Art film
The Plot: Jonas Mekas, who would go on to do Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, carts a 16mm camera around his New York City home every day for four years, filming whatever strikes him. Some days it's nothing, others it's quite a bit. A hefty 180 minutes, split into six(?) parts.
Why You'll Love It: This is the first and probably best "diary film," which is a kind of art/documentary that captures a mood and a feeling. A lot of the avant-garde film movement in the 60s was about trying to make films as subjective and internalized as literature. Most were terrible. This is, to my eyes, the grand success of the genre. It feels like a scrapbook - little hand-typed title cards and scraps of narration guide you across four years of a man's life.
The editing is incomparable. It jitters and shakes with sped up footage and superimposition, at times feeling like the film itself is so overstuffed it's going to burst open, but with an easy cool elegance. It's long and dense and there's some parts where my eyes started to glaze over, but they're few and far between, enveloped in moments of rare etherial beauty that is, on a very basic level, life-affirming.
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 15:33|
Directed by: Richard Elfman
Starring: Hervé Villechaize, Susan Tyrell, Marie Pasquale-Elfman, Matthew Bright, Gisele Lindley
The Plot: Some people get lost in the Sixth Dimension, other people have to go and rescue them.
Why You'll Love It: Probably because, like me, you like unconventional musicals like Dancer In The Dark and Nashville. Or, if you're like me, you love Susan Tyrell. The plot is utter nonsense, an entertaining excuse to link the varied and spirited song sequences together, some original songs, some altered versions of existing songs (like Danny Elfman's show-stopping cameo as the Devil doing "Minnie the Moocher"), some lip-synch productions of jazz era songs.
If you've seen anything else Matthew Bright has written (Freeway, Guncrazy, Modern Vampires), you know what you're in for: vuglarity, sleazy sex gags and general tastelessness in the most absurd and off-kilter way you can think of. It's also got great set design, made up of cardboard cutouts and empty spaces that are reminiscen t of expressionist films of the silent era. It's practically the definition of a cult movie.
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 16:21|
USA - 1980 - Horror
Dir: Peter Medak
George C. Scott
Trish Van Devere
What is it?
Following the death of his wife and son in a tragic accident, composer John Russell (Scott) decides the best thing to do is move on. He buys a house in another town, a town where he spent a great deal of his younger life, however he is eternally haunted by the memories of his family, particularly his young son. It is not long before he finds that his new home is also haunted in a very literal sense, by the ghost of another young boy. With the help of his friend Claire Norman (Van Devere), Russell reaches out to the wayward spirit in an effort to learn the mysteries surrounding its untimely death.
What's so special about it?
The Changeling is a ghost story with a very effective emotional centre, the relationship between the father who lost his son and the dead child who wasn't wanted. The manner of communication between the two entities and the utterly gauling emotional depths that Russell is brought to in the process are superlative examples of horror cinema.
Scott's performance is very believable and centred, there is never a point at which you feel the reactions of the character to the situation are anything less than true. The ensuing plot regarding the mystery of the boy's death are mere side-notes to what is, essentially, a very focussed character study.
Professor Clumsy fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2010 around 19:24
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 19:20|
THIRTY TWO SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD
Directed by: Francois Girard
Starring: Colm Feore
Genre: Experimental Biography?
The Plot: The life of Canadian pianist and philosopher Glenn Gould is explored through a series of vignettes that touch on various aspects of his eclectic and fascinating career. They range from 30 seconds to up to five minutes, and each one is very unique.
Why You'll Love It: To start, Glenn Gould is the best possible subject for a film like this. Arguably the best Bach player of all time, his genius later spread out to other fields of study, from the nature of sound to the autocracy of art. The composition and timing of the films, when put together, is based upon Bach's Goldberg Variations, giving the whole picture a majestic, classical feel. It's easiest to get into this if you're a classical music nut, but if not, there's plenty here for the film buff as well. The film is experimental but not elitist, playing around with technique without straying too far from form. And there's the music; my god, the music is so amazing.
The unfortunate point about this recommendation is that the DVD's been out of print for years. Netflix doesn't have it (at least in my region) and you can only buy it if you've got 150 bucks lying around. Hopefully your library might carry it. However, if all else fails, some gracious bastard threw all the films up on Youtube, and no one seems to care. I know, it's not the best way to appreciate a film like this, but I'm telling you, it's a beautiful movie worth seeing.
Part 1 to get you started
One of my favorite scenes.
Another beautiful moment.
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 19:53|
The Draughtsman's Contract
Directed by: Peter Greenaway
Starring: Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman
The Plot: For her husband's birthday, Mrs. Herbert contracts Mr. Neville to make a series of drawings around the estate. The terms of their contract is that Mrs. Herbert will pay Neville with sex - one act per drawing. When Mr. Herbert turns up dead, the drawings end up providing some useful clues...
Why You'll Love It: This is one of Greenaway's most "Greenaway" films - it seems to encompass everything that he likes to put in movies. There's a ton of games for the audience to play contained within it, and so it becomes more than just a "sitting down and watching it" experience - something I always appreciate a lot. This is really cleverly written and can be quite funny in places, depending upon your sense of humor, but largely it's a pretty serious mystery story. I really love the whole look of the film - the costumes, the cinematography (some great long tracking shots), the location, the inclusion of art (look out for the statues in the gardens). It's just a really enjoyable murder mystery, the kind that you can play along with as the characters do.
|# ? Jun 17, 2010 21:29|
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
Country: United States
The Plot: A commercial space crew touches base on a remote planet and inadvertently brings back a merciless killing machine that wreaks havoc on their ship.
Why You'll Love It: I know there's a lot of love on these forums for the sequel, Aliens — it's a fun ride and one of the greatest action movies ever — but when it comes to sheer bodily terror, the original is king. The creature is rarely on screen, but when it is, the fear leaps off the screen. Most of the film is spent exploring the relationships between the crew members, and thankfully that's handled with practically no cheesy exposition (e.g. "I've got a wife and kids back home" kind of poo poo). Scott has put together a gorgeous, atmospheric and contemplative tale of horror, where the boundaries between flesh and machine are blurred without any sort of camp.
thegloaming fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2010 around 14:17
|# ? Jun 18, 2010 04:37|
Directed by: John Lassiter
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles
The Plot: Woody, an old-fashioned pull-string Cowboy doll, is feeling threatened by Buzz Lightyear, a modern space man action figure who replaces him as his child's favourite toy.
Why You'll Love It: It is the film of my childhood, of everyone of my generation's childhoods and if there is any justice at all will be the film of every generation's childhood for the rest of time.
Toy Story can be summed up as 'a children's movie for all ages'. Before Toy Story, every animated film aimed at the 'family' market was either too dark for kids, too smart for kids, too light for adults or too 'kiddy' for adults to enjoy. Toy Story was the first film that finally struck that balance between children and their parents and was the first film that appealed to children and adults equally. Children enjoy the concept of their favourite toys coming to life whereas the underlying themes of abandonment and the injustice of growing up will resonate with any adult who has grown out of, and thrown away, their toys.
Above all else, it deftly juggles the laughs and tears in that unique way that Pixar would eventually make their trademark.
Also, it is the only film series in recent memory that not only managed to match the quality of the first film with its sequel but also in many's eyes bettered it. And against all odds, they appear to have done the same with the third (although I won't be able to see it until July because of my silly, silly country).
But to me, nothing Pixar ever do will best the magic of Toy Story. It was the first movie to ever truly blow my mind and it continues to blow my mind today.
|# ? Jun 18, 2010 08:54|
THE LONG GRAY LINE
Directed by: John Ford
Starring: Tyrone Power, Maureen O'Hara, Robert Francis, Donald Crisp, Ward Bond, Harry Carey Jr., Patrick Wayne, Peter Graves
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Romance, War
The Plot: Follows the life of Marty Maher, an Irish coach at West Point.
Why You'll Love It: Look, I know I'm disturbingly into John Ford. And this isn't even one of his big movies so I bet you're thinking "why bother," right? Because it's awesome, you dick.
On one level it seems like a simple, rather beautiful tribute to West Point, Ireland, the Army, and all that stuff that early John Ford held so dear. But this was late John Ford. Tag Gallagher: "On another level, it is a damning portrait of the 'heart' of the military. 'What is this place?' asks Marty Maher at first sight of West Point. 'Is it maybe a prison or – or is it a looney house?' And the sentry replies, 'This is the United States Military Academy.' All three answers are true." It's about how comforting rituals and regimens are, about how easy it is to march and chant in line. It's about how we become who we are. It's very subtle about it - wrapping all this up in a pretty sweet, strange little story about a regular guy (Tyrone Power is at his best as Marty Maher). There are moments of real sweetness, like a Christmas dinner scene that somehow manages to stay JUST on the right side of schmaltz.
It's also stunning to look at - at 2.55:1, it's Ford's widest canvas (aside from How the West was Won), and he goes for broke. The West Point area, which I have a special attachment to from childhood trips to Bear Mountain and the Hudson Valley, is as beautiful a locale as Monument Valley.
|# ? Jun 18, 2010 14:34|
DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP
Directed by: Wen Jiang
Starring: Wen Jiang, Hongbo Jiang, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ding Yuan, Zhijun Cong, Zi Xi, Haibin Li, Kenya Sawada
The Plot: During the Japanese occupation of China, two prisoners are dumped in a peasant's home in a small town. The owner is bullied into keeping the prisoners until the next New Year, at which time they will be collected. The village leaders convene to interrogate the prisoners. The townspeople then struggle to accommodate the prisoners. One is a bellicose Japanese nationalist, the other a nervous translator. Will the townspeople manage to keep the prisoners until the New Year?
Why You'll Love It: A simple premise is the framework for an impressive work about the Japanese occupation of China and the relations between the two nations. Director Jiang Wen also delivers a memorable performance in the lead role, backed up by a dynamite cast of supporting actors. The film moves at breakneck pace, as the situation constantly develops in new directions, and turns from comedic to horrifying in its unforgettable final act. Not a dull moment at all, 100% riveting and funny and depressing and horrifying. The black and white photography is stunning, and the kinetic camerawork and use of close-ups really puts you in the middle of the story. This is superb filmmaking.
|# ? Jun 18, 2010 18:06|
Directed by: Michael Lehmann
Starring: Winona Ryder and Christian Slater
Genre: "Seriously, people are gonna look at the ashes of Westerburg, and say "There is a school that self-destructed not because society didn't care but because the school was society"! Pretty deep, eh?"
The Plot: From IMDB: A girl who half-heartedly tries to be part of the "in crowd" of her school meets a rebel who teaches her a more devious way to play social politics.
Why You'll Love It: "Dear diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count." Winona Ryder is pitch perfect as the completely conflicted Veronica Sawyer, who is in with the high school's in-crowd but loathes herself for it. When the smooth but crazy Christian Slater comes along, their chemistry is almost explosive-- literally. It's a pitch black comedy that involves murder and suicide and isn't afraid to poke fun at how seriously high schoolers take themselves. It's also one of the most quotable movies ever made: "I love my dead gay son!" is definitely one of my favorites.
If you ever felt miserable in high school, here is your catharsis.
|# ? Jun 18, 2010 19:19|
Lords of Dogtown
Directed By Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, John Robinson, Heath Ledger, Nikki Reed, Michael Angarano, America Ferrera
Release Date June 8th, 2005
Country of Origin USA
Genre Coming of Age
Why You'll Love It Because it's the movie that cements the idea that Hardwicke could be to teens in the 21st century what Amy Heckerling was to teens in the 80s. It's also the beginning of a renaissance in one actor's career and the gunshot announcement of another's.
It's the 1970s in Venice Beach. Stacy Peralta (John Robinson), Tony Alva (Victor Rasuk), and Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch) are frenetic and fanatic teenage followers of Skip Engblom (Heath Ledger), the local surf shop owner, and spend their free time surfing and skating. Their friend, Sid (Michael Angarano), one of Skip's employees - one of his only ones, really - alerts them to something new in Skip's shop: polyurethane wheels, made of a material that allow a board to be manipulated in new ways without the slippage wheels prior would have. And with this, their world - and the world of skateboarding - would change.
Hardwicke's docudrama style, employed in Thirteen to great effect, expands here to include the rise and fall of the originators of modern skateboarding and their friends and family - you truly feel the heat of Venice Beach, the claustrophobia of these latchkey kids' houses - Tony and his sister, Kathy (Nikki Reed), even share a room despite both being headlong into adolescence - and the feeling of freedom they have as their new wheels unlock their creativity and heightens their lifestyles. We watch as a family of brothers slowly but surely cracks apart over money and fame.
What particularly makes the movie work is Ledger's performance as Skip, a surrogate father to the Z-Boys; hiding behind false teeth and a mat of grungy hair, it was here he began to reinvigorate his career with character work after becoming sick of the teen idol status that was bestowed upon him with 10 Things I Hate About You. Towards the end of the movie, he has a moment with a Rod Stewart song that'll stick with you.
Another aspect is Emile Hirsch as Jay Adams. Jay Adams would grow apart from the Z-Boys and found himself involved in crime; within the parameters of the movie, Hirsch is able to make us see more than just "good kid gone bad", and we see a conflicted boy who is simply searching for a family who won't screw him over like so many others.
Lords of Dogtown at first seems like any other "fame poisons" story; but what's underneath is as strong a follow up to Thirteen as humanly possible, a sidestep of the sophomore slump and a brilliant, precise interpretation of the drastic different forms family can take and how important it is. It's a definition of why it's possible to have dramatic interpretations of documentary stories (four years earlier, Peralta had made Dogtown and Z-Boys, which would inspire this film) without either losing any of its effect.
Also, how many movies have Sparklehorse covering Pink Floyd as their credits music? I mean, really. That's just awesome.
The Cameo fucked around with this message at Jun 21, 2010 around 21:30
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 06:09|
...of SCIENCE! fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 20:07
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 13:19|
Directed by: Larry Peerce
Starring: Martin Sheen, Ruby Dee, Beau Bridges, Brock Peterson
The Plot: New York City, 2 am. A small assortment of people get on the subway heading home. Last on board are two hoodlums whose antics slowly turn into violence against the rest of the subway car.
Why You'll Love It: In the pantheon of great New York movies, this one somehow got lost in the shuffle. It's incredibly tense - a good 70% of the film takes place in one subway car. The people are slowly and convincingly stripped of their dignity and every act of bravery is shut down quickly. It's tense and disturbing and, for anyone who's ever been in a similar situation, very realistic. There's no false heroics and no saintly characters. Even the hoods aren't much worse than people you'd meet on the street. Everybody's a regular kind of a guy, no better or worse than you or I. Things escalate so smoothly that, before you realize it, things have spiraled totally out of control. They start with insulting the "dregs" on the train - a homeless man, a homosexual; and it's kind of a nice. realistic representation of that Holocaust poem about "by the time they came for me."
The acting is terrific. Martin Sheen puts in a great performance - he's young and unpredictable and surprisingly intimidating. Ruby Dee is beautiful and subtle. Brock Peterson (who I know best as Joe Sisko on Deep Space 9 because I'm a chump) has a great turn as a man done in by his own bitterness.
It's a small, brutal, shocking film. Very much worth viewing.
I can't get a trailer, but here's a great clip. The quality's for poo poo, but you take what you can get:
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 17:26|
Directed by: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Hélène de Fougerolles, Zoé Auclair, Alisson Lalieux, Astrid Homme, Lea Bridarolli, Olga Peytavi-Müller, Ana Palomo-Diaz, Bérangère Haubruge
The Plot: A look inside an offbeat boarding school for young girls.
Why You'll Love It: It's beautiful and enigmatic and loaded with material that's ripe for interpretation. The emotional canvas is rich and complex, the world is a dreamlike landscape between reality and fantasy. Girls' schools make good settings for mysterious goings-on (see Suspiria, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and the goings-on here are certainly mysterious. There's a lot left unexplained... most of it is blatantly metaphorical, but it's not always obvious what the metaphor represents. A thought-provoking work, beautifully shot with a lovely score and a talented batch of young actresses.
(lower-quality, but subtitled, version of the trailer here)
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 17:40|
I Fidanzati (1963)
Director: Ermanno Olmi
Starring: Carlo Cabrini, Anna Canzi
Plot: Ermanno Olmi’s masterful feature is the tender story of two Milanese fiancés whose strained relationship is tested when the man accepts a new job in Sicily. With the separation come loneliness, nostalgia, and, perhaps, some new perspectives that might rejuvenate their love. Olmi’s deep humanism charges this moving depiction of ordinary men and women, and the pitfalls of the human heart.
Why You'll Love It: I've seen plenty of romances, but this is one of a kind. It's so subdued and tender that it's indescribable. There's a strong undercurrent of yearning running throughout as the man tries to overcome his loneliness in his new town. The structure is really intriguing - the extensive flashbacks, implemented at the drop of a hat, lend the film a somewhat surreal quality, and provide a linear emotional arc that is at once able to establish the past history of the relationship while moving it forward at the same time. It's an incredibly understated film, enigmatic and touching (and very brief).
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 17:54|
Directed by: Aleksandr Askoldov
Starring: Rolan Bykov, Nonna Mordyukova
Country: Soviet Union
The Plot: A female Red Army commissar in the Russian Civil War is forced to abandon the front lines after becoming pregnant. She stays at the home of a welcoming poor Jewish family whose carefree, loving lifestyle contrasts her battle-hardened, pessimistic outlook on life.
Why You'll Love It: Komissar is an unseen gem mainly because it was banned in the Soviet Union upon its completion. Even in 1967, when Communist censors were becoming more lenient towards the content of the films they released, it still carried too controversial a perspective towards the Russian Civil War, which was the bloody four-year aftermath of the October Revolution. Long thought to be lost forever, it was not shown to the public until twenty years later, where it received great acclaim.
The movie has several top-notch components. The cinematography is beautifully poetic, showing not only the simplistic splendor of simple village life, but also the imposing horror of war. Rolan Bykov turns in one of his many great performances, bringing across his trademark tragic quirkiness. And then there is Nonna Mordyukova, whose pained facial expressions aptly convey her character's fear of bringing a child into such a terrifying world. If you're a fan of Soviet films at all, you should check this out.
A scene from Komissar.
|# ? Jun 19, 2010 23:54|
Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
Starring: Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly
The Plot: Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff essentially playing himself) worries that he's washed up in a world full of new horrors closer to home - like this sniper in the neighborhood.
Why You'll Love It: 1968 has to be the year of greatest upheaval in film - you had the shutdown of Cannes, Kubrick's 2001 challenged audiences with almost post-narrative film, Night of the Living Dead and Rosemary's Baby dared to take the horror movie into the home, comedies like The Producers went where others wouldn't dare, even documentaries weren't safe like the acidic Montery Pop. Of all of these, perhaps no film addressed the change that was occurring more explicitly than Peter Bogdanovich's debut Targets.
Story goes, Roger Corman had Boris Karloff on contract for a few extra days and told this young punk what showed some promise that he could make a movie with him. Bogdanovich cranked out a script which smashed a loving, elegiac tribute to the Universal horror era with the angry, unpredictable violence of Charles Whitman's then-recent crime spree.
The result is a bifurcated film, two threads which you can't see coming together at all until they do and fit so perfectly that you realize neither story was complete without its compliment. It's an angry, shocking, stunningly intelligent film. Probably Karloff's best late-life role, and probably the best film to come out of the Corman warehouse. And that ending! Says all there is to say about serial violence without a word.
|# ? Jun 20, 2010 06:12|
Directed by: Edmund Goulding
Starring: Tyrone Power, Mike Mazurki, Coleen Gray, Joan Blondell, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes
Genre: Film Noir
The Plot: Stanton Carlisle is an ambitious carnie who plays scams alongside phony mentalist Zeena and her alcoholic husband Pete, working the crowd as Zeena pretends to read their minds. But Stan has no intention of staying with the carnival; he has his heart set on an upscale night club act.
Why You'll Love It: One of the great films noir and one that still is largely and sadly overlooked. Carny life makes a perfect noir setting, and the film is loaded with cynicism, desperation, and other black themes. It explores hucksterism and con artists... with psychiatry being the biggest con of all. It's got a trashy, seedy B-movie feel to it, despite being a fairly high-budget production and a little bit of star power. Tyrone Power is the protagonist of the story who becomes more corrupted with ambition and (naturally) spirals downward. Coleen Gray was coming right off Kiss of Death, and looking even more drop-dead gorgeous. And Helen Walker has a bunch of devious surprises up her sleeve as the femme fatale. The film just drips with atmosphere, and crams a hell of lot of plot into its running time.
|# ? Jun 20, 2010 16:59|
Directed by: Hal Hartley
Starring: Adrienne Shelley, Martin Donovan, Edie Falco
The Plot: When high school dropout Maria Coughlin announces her pregnancy to her parents, her father drops dead on the floor. She is kicked out of the house by her grief-stricken mother, rejected by her quarterback boyfriend and considering abortion when she meets the "sincerely dangerous" man Matthew Slaughter, a drifting philosopher and out-of-work electrician who carries an old hand grenade from the Korean War around with him "just in case." Matthew takes Maria under his wing (and vice versa), and they begin a relationship that will leave them both changed forever.
Why You'll Love It: Hal Hartley is one of my favorite directors, and this film stands out for me as his masterpiece. Though the unique plot doesn't seem too far removed from today's indie comedies competing over how "quirky" one can be over the other, Trust achieves something that none of the ones I've seen can really come close to: honest feeling, and heartfelt introspection. The dialogue is especially good, and though farfetched, the story never feels campy. The music, composed and performed by Hartley himself, is fantastic. When I am feeling happy I watch Trust; when I am feeling sad I watch Trust.
Sadly the American distribution rights are a mess, with no hope for a DVD release in sight until 2015. It is, however, on VHS, streamable on Netflix and floating around other places. I think it has been on IFC before as well.
|# ? Jun 20, 2010 22:07|
Touching The Void
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Joe Simpson, Simon Yates
Country: United Kingdom
The Plot: The true story of two climbers that attempted to reach the peak of Peru's Siula Grande. After reaching the summit, a storm blows in, disorienting the pair and setting them off course. The rest of the movie details their effort to get back down the mountain - fighting the weather, a potentially fatal injury, dehydration and exhaustion.
Why You'll Love It: It's a wonderfully told, unbelievable true story. The recreated footage and talking heads mix well, creating a tense, at times horrifying film. I can't think of a movie that had me more nervous while watching it, despite the fact that there's no ambiguity from the start about the ultimate fate of the climbers.
|# ? Jun 20, 2010 22:28|
Directed by: Michael Haneke
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Maurice Bénichou
Country: France, Austria, Germany, Italy
The Plot: Georges and Anne Laurent, a successful upper middle-class French couple, receive strange tapes in the mail that could be linked to Georges's childhood.
Why You'll Love It: This is a slow film. Shots linger for what seems like hours, and there is no score to heighten the experience. The performances are suitably understated. Details crucial to the plot can be easily missed if you're not scrupulously watching the frame. Why watch something that's so difficult to decipher? It's a brutally honest exploration of guilt, memory, and surveillance that leaves so much up to the viewer. There are no closed ends or preachy messages, just a nuanced narrative that will leave you pondering its workings for months.
|# ? Jun 21, 2010 15:00|
Tell No One
Directed by: Guillaume Canet
Starring: François Cluzet, Marie-Josée Croze
The Plot: Alexandre Beck's (Cluzet) wife (Croze) is murdered, 8 years later while still mourning her loss he receives an email from her.
Why You'll Love It: It's a Hitchcockian thriller at it's finest, featuring lead actors that are dead ringers for Dustin Hoffman and Naomi Watts. What sets this movie apart is the characters that inhabit it. A wide array of carefully crafted, memorable characters that really flesh out the world. The relationships between the characters are believable and touching. The story truly unfolds and keeps you guessing throughout the narrative, at times you'll think you have it figured out only to have it take a 180, keeping you guessing throughout. It's all wrapped up in an airtight package that ends up being very satisfying and emotionally involving. Definitely a must watch if you haven't seen it.
e; I hosed up and re-read the rules and realized the movies were supposed to be older than 5 years, sorry.
Robert Analog fucked around with this message at Jun 21, 2010 around 16:12
|# ? Jun 21, 2010 15:20|
Directed by: Gregory Nava
Starring: Lupe Ontiveros, Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, David Villalpando
The Plot: Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life.
Why You'll Love It: It's simply a work of beauty and heartache, that never gets too preachy about its message. The two lead actors project such sweetness and innocence and sibling love that it is truly heartbreaking to watch their spirits gradually get crushed. This is a bitter and moving look at the empty promise of the "American dream." It's not especially subtle or sophisticated, and maybe somewhat manipulative, but it always touches me. The music is also wonderful.
|# ? Jun 21, 2010 15:22|
DAVID HOLZMAN'S DIARY
Directed by: Jim McBride
Starring: L.M. Kit Carson
Genre: Mockumentary, Comedy
The Plot: David Holzman decides he's going to film his entire life to make some sense of it. It doesn't work.
Why You'll Love It: This movie was 40 years ahead of its time. Holzman is obsessed with Godard's quote that "cinema is truth 24 times a second" but doesn't really understand it, and films films films his life collapsing, unable to understand why filming won't help him put meaning to it.
His pathetic ineptitude perfectly deflates whole idea of film-as-truth. At the time it was a riff on cinema verite - the works of Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles, and Pennebaker. Looking back on it, it predicted and skewered the very idea of youtube, reality TV, and video blogging and the whole self-centered aspect of contemporary culture. The more we look to the camera for our self worth, the more detached and worthless we become. It's a very difficult film to describe but it's fairly brilliant in an absurd way.
|# ? Jun 21, 2010 16:48|
Directed by: Craig Monahan
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, Aaron Jeffery, Michael Caton, Paul Sonkkila
The Plot: After being arrested for an unspecified crime, unemployed man Eddie Rodney Fleming engages in a battle of wits in the police interview room with the canny Det. Sgt. John Steele.
Why You'll Love It: It sounds like it's cribbed from Kafka, but The Interview is so much more than a retread of The Trial. It's an incredibly tight thriller that plays with audience perception and constantly challenges your interpretation of events, the power constantly shifting between the characters, each one holding their own agenda close to their chest. Hugo Weaving gives a career-defining performance as the initially-pathetic man hauled in for a crime he's unaware of, and Tony Martin is every bit his equal as the slimy, determined Det. Sgt. Steele, a man with a tenuous hold on ethics but an unwavering grasp on right and wrong. It's also excellently shot, with an ever-threatening location (a cathedral converted into a police station) providing us with a pitch-perfect atmosphere.
|# ? Jun 21, 2010 23:39|
The Last Metro
Click here for the full 1920x1080 image.
Directed By François Truffaut
Starring Catherine Denueve, Gérard Depardieu, Heinz Bennent, Jean-Pierre Richard, László Szabó
Release Year 1980
Country of Origin France
Genre WWII Drama
Why You'll Love It Because it proves that art and love will triumph over hate every day of every year, in the darkest conditions, in the toughest cells.
Lucas Steiner (Bennent) is a Jewish theater owner and director in the middle of Paris during the German occupation. His wife, Marion (Deneuve), a Gentile, was his lead actress. Now she must live a role under the roles she continues to play on stage - that of the theater's "owner". Lucas has been hidden under the stage, where he continues to work on plays, lending advice to his wife when she needs it. Bernard Granger (Depardieu), an actor by day and a revolutionary by night, has joined in their latest production. The importance of this production is paramount - if they do not impress the Nazi-sympathizing drama critic, Daxiat (Richard), the freedom of the theater to do art of their own volition will be gone.
Truffaut's second of a trilogy he had planned on the power of performance art - following 1973's Day For Night - Metro is more sober, subtle, and focused, building plots upon plots, all leading towards one big performance piece in front of a sold out crowd in which everything that has been boiling for the past hour and a half comes out in a subtext-filled melodramatic play about love denied. Truffaut claimed that he envisioned the movie to give Ms. Deneueve a counter-role to her ice queen typecasting; and he succeeded, as the life of Marion Steiner is larger than most, her heart wide and full, having to both expose and disguise her life in equal turns.
The movie is a spotlight on the multiple simultaneous lives of actors, particularly theater ones; Depardieu's Granger is the most obvious symbol of that - going from dedicated actor to equally dedicated guerrilla soldier in the underground fight against the occupation. He brims with anger and finds himself always poised for a fight, and before long, you begin to wonder which is he more dedicated to? And as times go on - you begin to wonder - is there a stronger bond between Marion and Bernard than there is between Marion and Lucas? Can only an actor truly understand the layers of falsehood another one must go through in order to survive day to day?
The movie was one of Truffaut's last; he would only make The Woman Next Door and a Hitchcock ode, Confidentally Yours, before dying of brain cancer in 1984. This was his last great work. But it's a doozy.
|# ? Jun 22, 2010 03:02|
Directed by: John Huston
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Dan O'Herlihy, Donal Donnelly, Helena Carroll, Cathleen Delany
The Plot: John Huston's last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston's favorite authors, James Joyce.
Why You'll Love It: You wonder at first where this is leading, but gradually it creeps under your skin... thanks to the performances (every one exceptional) you just get involved with the characters and their interactions. By the time everyone goes home, nothing special has "happened". But it feels so real and alive (and the period recreation is effective without being too fussy) that it doesn't matter. And then there's the final part, a 15-minute stretch that could theoretically be completely disconnected from the rest of the story, but wouldn't have half the impact. A pair of utterly exquisite monologues, beautifully written and perfectly spoken, opening avenues of thought and emotion about life and death. It's a marvelously subtle and understated film, a quiet masterpiece of restraint and nuance, joy and heartache. It sweeps you along without your being aware of how it has cast its spell over you.
|# ? Jun 22, 2010 15:01|
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Starring: Klaus Kinski
The movie is loosely based on Carlos Fitzcarrald, a Peruvian rubber baron.
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo) wants to build an opera house deep in the Peruvian jungle, because he loves Enrico Caruso and wants to bring his music to the Iquito natives. He is laughed at and dismissed by those around him (namely two rubber barons), and one night after being made a fool of at a party, proclaims:
"As true as I am standing here, one day I shall bring grand opera to lquitos. I will outnumber you. I will outbillion you. I AM THE SPECTACLE OF THE FOREST. I AM THE INVENTOR OF RUBBER. I will outrubber you."
So he sets out to do just that, and must literally move a giant steam ship OVER A MOUNTAIN to do it. I don't want to talk about the hows and whys, because that's half the movie.
It is the story of a man driven by his passion against great odds that are probably insurmountable, but that doesn't matter. gently caress the world, he's going to do it anyway.
Why You'll Love It:
Basically if you don't love Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski movies, especially the Selva Trilogy (Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde) you are scum. The first Herzog and Kinski movie I saw was Aguirre: Wrath of God (which should probably also be included in this thread and might be better than Fitzcarraldo), and immediately fell in love with them both in terms of the director/actor dynamic. Fitzcarraldo shows just how effective they were as a team. I actually DREAMED about this movie the night after the first time I saw it. I've only had that happen a couple of other times in my life.
Herzog actually, physically, literally moved a steamship over/through a goddamn mountain to make this movie.
Here's an interesting tidbit about the production of the movie: Kinski was kind of a dick on set, so much so that one of the natives earnestly offered Herzog that he would murder Kinski if Herzog approved. Herzog did not.
|# ? Jun 22, 2010 20:30|
La Grande Illusion (Grand Illusion)
Directed by: Jean Renoir
Starring: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim
The Plot: It's the first World War. Two French aviators are shot down by Germans and taken prisoner by a kindly German officer before they're taken to a camp. There, they meet other imprisoned officers and plan their escape.
Why You'll Love It: Orson Welles thinks it's one of the greatest films ever made; he'd even "take it on the ark" with him. Do you want to make Orson Welles look like an idiot?! Seriously, though, it's a joy to watch from start to finish. Unlike most war movies (especially its contemporaries), every character is a human first and a patriot second. The conflict comes from the circumstances of war, and humanity prevails in the most unlikely places. It doubles as both an endearing personal tale and a telling depiction of society's shift into modernity and away from antiquated ideas of class and patriotism. Funny, touching, and never dull — Renoir became the master of French cinema decades before the New Wave.
thegloaming fucked around with this message at Jun 22, 2010 around 21:48
|# ? Jun 22, 2010 21:38|
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Directed by: Robert Hamer
Starring: Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Dennis Price
Genre: Comedy, Drama
The Plot: A man who's mother was shunned by her wealthy noble family vows to exact revenge on his remaining relatives and regain the titles he believes he rightfully deserves.
Why You'll Love It: You'll love it because it's hilarious, because Dennis Price is excellent and because curiosity will drive you to want to watch Alec Guinness play 8 different people, including a woman. Really, it's a very tightly written dark comedy with good dialogue and creative plotting.
|# ? Jun 23, 2010 00:30|
Romancing the Stone
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
The Plot: Kathleen Turner is an urbanite novelist in NYC. Her sister is kidnapped in Colombia and she has make her way through the jungle to deliver a treasure map as ransom. She runs into a lot of trouble and adventure along the way.
Why You'll Love It: It's not an artsy film, it's just tons of fun and it has everything: action, adventure, romance, and Danny DeVito. If you wished there were more movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, you should give this a try. The music is also pretty good. It's out on Blu-Ray, see it now.
|# ? Jun 23, 2010 04:15|
AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE
Directed by: Jane Campion
Starring: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, Iris Churn, Jessie Mune, Kevin J. Wilson
Country: New Zealand/Australia
The Plot: Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education as a teacher but since she is considered abnormal she is locked up in a mental institution for eight years. Success comes when she starts to write books. (iMDB)
Why You'll Love It: Although linear in structure, the story doesn't take you from point A to point B, but rather produces fragments of interest. Some large (most notably the eight years she spent institutionalized for schizophrenia), some small (a minor childhood humiliation, for instance) but all rich with sincere human behavior, emotion, and drama. The three actresses who play Frame at various ages are all fine, but it's Kerry Fox who dominates with a stunning, nuanced portrayal. You can tell how deeply she inhabited this character, and can appreciate how difficult it is. The film is gobsmackingly gorgeous, with bright warm lighting and vibrant colors (always punctuated by Frame's shock of red hair) that leap out of the screen. I find that this movie keeps haunting my thoughts.
|# ? Jun 23, 2010 15:11|
...of SCIENCE! fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 20:07
|# ? Jun 23, 2010 16:04|
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Directed by: John Cassavetes
Starring: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Fred Draper, Lady Rowlands, Katherine Cassavetes, Matthew Laborteaux
The Plot: Peter Falk is a blue collar man trying to deal with his wife's mental instability. He fights to keep a semblance of normality in the face of her bizarre behavior, but when her actions affect their children, he has her committed. (iMDB)
Why You'll Love It: Though from a technical standpoint it's unremarkable (Cassavetes never paid much mind to the photographic aspects of filmmaking), it's a tour de force of perfect writing as performed by brilliant actors under a powerful director. It's not easy to watch -- the tension and awkwardness is packed so densely it could drive the viewer as mad as the characters -- but it's impossible not to be held in its sway. The film is about insanity of a nuanced and thoroughly un-Hollywood kind. Mabel's madness is nervous and desperate and held in by only the barest of threads. But there's also Nick's madness, his violent need for a happiness he can't define, a happiness that one feels he wouldn't know what to do with if he ever found it. And yet despite their madness, I feel that I understand and sympathize with these characters so deeply. I wince at their mistakes but I know exactly why they make them. An incredibly rich, though constantly painful and emotionally draining, experience. Gena Rowlands is amazing in her performance, and Peter Falk is excellent too. It keeps getting better and better every time I watch it, I continue to find new depths in it.
|# ? Jun 24, 2010 16:48|
Directed by: John Hillcoat
Starring: Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Emily Watson, John Hurt, David Wenham, Tom Budge
The Plot: When he and his younger brother are arrested by well-meaning lawman Captain Stanley, Charlie Burns is given an ultimatum - kill his notorious and psychopathic older brother in the next nine days, or see his younger brother executed.
Why You'll Love It: Written by Nick Cave, a man who understands a thing or two about humanity's more brutal aspects, and directed by John Hillcoat, The Proposition is quite possibly the definitive revisionist Western in the outbreak of them during the middle of last decade. The windswept outback of Cave's colonial Australia, shot as a vast and palpably hostile landscape by Hillcoat, is full of backstabbers, bounty hunters and people without any sense of human decency, and Hillcoat and Cave nail the sense of resignation to a base human state almost every character has in this "fresh hell". Cave's score is equally fantastic, and the performances are spectacular - Pearce is excellent as the grim-faced outlaw and Winstone personable and sympathetic as the lawman trying to bring the people to civilisation by any means necessary, and Danny Huston steals the film as the eloquent, vicious Arthur Burns.
The American trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7V-CW_SUos
|# ? Jun 25, 2010 00:25|
Directed by: Terrence Malick
Starring: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek
Genre: Crime Drama
The Plot: An impulsive and angry young man travels the American plains with his teenage lover, on the run for murder.
Why You'll Love It: Malick is a genius at literary film-making, and Badlands is by far his finest work. Based on the real life killing spree of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, the film is at once touching and shocking, repulsive and intriguing. Sheen gives what I believe to be a career-best performance as the deeply troubled Kit, and Spacek portrays Holly's childlike innocence with skill in an early role. Above all, Badlands is a meditation on the limits of humanity and the brashness of the young, and remains a powerful and brilliant work. One of my all-time favorites.
|# ? Jun 25, 2010 00:38|
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Comedy
What It's about : A young, aspiring actress (Watts) moves to LA, where she becomes entangled with an amnesiac woman (Harring) who is on the run from mysterious figures and can remember nothing about her past. Meanwhile, a director (Theroux) has lost control of his latest film project which is being manipulated by shadowy figures.
Why You'll Love It: The above really does nothing to describe Mulholland Drive. It's an incredibly diverse and complex film, both narratively and tonally. Lynch has never been known for coherence and while Mulholland Drive is pretty straightforward after a couple of viewings, it'll still leave you shaking your head early on as you try and piece it together. Mostly, you'll love it because it's funny, bizarre, creepy, romantic, even nostalgic (taking tons of cues from old Hollywood films) all at once; because Watts, Theroux and Harring deliver knockout performances; because it's a fantastic mystery and thriller; and because the direction by Lynch is amazing.
|# ? Jun 25, 2010 02:10|
Directed by: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden, France Rumilly, France Delahalle, Valérie Camille
The Plot: Monsieur Hulot has to contact an American official in Paris, but he gets lost in the maze of modern architecture which is filled with the latest technical gadgets. Caught in the tourist invasion, Hulot roams around Paris with a group of American tourists, causing chaos in his usual manner. (imdb)
Why You'll Love It: A real masterpiece from Tati. A work of mellow social satire as the inhabitants (and visitors) of Paris find themselves constantly at battle with ridiculous and sterile modernities. Inventive, brilliant, wonderfully comic, and at times gently melancholy. Wide shots and long takes give you time to process how much is happening in any scene, while still leaving plenty to discover during subsequent viewings. The frame is loaded with sight gags, mellow slapstick, and social commentary. The movie grows on me more and more each time I see it, always discovering new things. I've even warmed up to Barbara... I used to think of her as a bland counterpart to Hulot, but now I affectionately look forward to seeing her.
|# ? Jun 25, 2010 18:36|
|# ? May 18, 2013 06:20|
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow
What It's about : A group of high schoolers, including the Hardesty siblings, go on a road trip to visit the site of the Hardesty's grandfather and an old house belonging to the family. Along the way, they pick up a bizarre hitchhiker, and eventually arrive at the house and begin to investigate the area and search for assistance as their van is out of gas.
Why You'll Love It: It was made on a shoestring budget, so it's really rough around the edges, but it's still one of the best horror movies I've ever seen. Everything before they arrive at the old Hardesty home kinda sucks, with the exception of the brief hitchhiker incident; everything after they find Leatherface's digs is amazing and incredibly intense. The last hour of the film is relentless. And the ending is completely perfect.
|# ? Jun 26, 2010 10:49|