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Good Movies You've Seen - A Digression

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Posted on Apr 13, 2011 10:18:32 AM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
No love for "Picnic At Hanging Rock"? How about "Babette's Feast"? "Blade Runner", "All That Jazz", "Cabaret", "Aguirre, the Wrath of God", "The Godfather I and II", "Chinatown"? Some of my favorites off the top of my head.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 10:36:46 AM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
"Babette's Feast" made me hungry; what a gallery of Scandinavian faces! . Will trade "Ox-Bow Incident" for "Hanging Rock".

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 11:01:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 2:02:43 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
Thanks to Angelo. Glad to see 'City Lights' mentioned - one of Chaplin's poignant masterpieces. For those who enjoy an occasional and exceptional documentary, I highly recommend 'The Unknown Chaplin' for its amazing in-depth look into his creative process, using footage that has never been shown before... He rarely if ever used a script and worked things out in doing.

Other documentaries worth watching are the ones on Frank Lloyd Wright (who loved Beethoven's musical architecture), Alfred Stieglitz (American photog and mentor to countless artists), Man Ray (in Paris with the Dada and Surrealists), and the superb, 'Paris: The Luminous Years' (on the beginnings of modern art during the start of the 20th Century).

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 11:08:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2011 7:29:02 AM PDT
I would urge people to take a couple hours out of their evenings this week to watch Sidney Lumet's film, "The Verdict". Lumet was one of our greatest film directors, and passed away this week. It's a brilliant movie, with great performances from Newman, Mason, and Rampling.

The most perfect film I've ever seen is "A Room with a View" directed by James Ivory--Merchant-Ivory productions. Other classics that have made a strong impression on me would include, Bresson's "Au Hazard Balthazaar", Visconti's "The Leopard", and Claude Berri's "Jean de Florette" and it's sequel "Manon of the Spring".

My favorite comedies are usually British B & W--"The Ladykillers", with Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, and Herbert Lom, "School for Scoundrels", with Alastair Sim, and well, anything with Peter Sellers in it. I'm also fond of a Scottish comedy called "Local Hero" (in color) with Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert.

Peter Greenaway's early film "The Draughtsman Contract" is brilliant and fascinating--with a great visual sense.

In recent years, I've liked: "Everything is Illuminated", "The Fountain", "The Namesake", "After the Wedding", "The Quiet American", "Amazing Grace", and "Bright Star". And if you're looking to laugh, try the original British version of "Death at a Funeral"--it's a hoot (and preferrable to the Hollywood remake).

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 11:31:01 AM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
I apologize for not going through the whole thread and trust I don't repeat anyone's choice. For fave movies I would like to submit "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork Orange", both for their content and soundtracks, which I possess. The classical and mix recordings on these films helped spark my interest in the music.

On another note the fairly recent film "The Baader Meinhof Complex" was a very well done capsule of recent German history that sholdn't be missed. Having experienced a 'milder' version of this scene in my own country, the time period was indeed riotous. Baader Meinhof took it to the next level and this movie-documentary is relevant even today, as the Arab world rebels against ???

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 12:01:28 PM PDT
Just watched "Mamma Mia" for about the 11th time. Although ABBA lurks in my 1970s memory, this diverges widely from my usual classical listening habits. My copy is the special 2-DVD disc edition, with a wonderful option: scrolling lyrics, and many other great extra features. The flick's key-eties:
*Meryl Streep (!!!) *All actors doing their own singing and dancing, and fabulously *Beautiful location in Greece *Brilliant direction *Clever and delightful use of "Greek Chorus" *Equally clever construction of a good story, all built around ABBAs music. Unusual concept.
Cast (Fabulous Cast!): Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski.
One scene on the side of a mountain has Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan in an interesting confrontation. Streep delivers--as only she can--the most gorgeously dramatic song live! She insisted on doing it live for the sake of dramatic integrity. Even the most hard-core opera fan will be blown away. Get out the popcorn!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 12:30:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 12:31:35 PM PDT
Larkenfield mentions documentaries on FLW and Stieglitz---May I add two short ones: Pare Lorentz's "The Plow that Broke the Plains" (27 minutes) and "The River" (31 minutes). Made in 1936 and 1937, they tend to define (IMHO) the genesis of the American documentary. Both films are available, beautifully restored, on a Naxos DVD. Virgil Thomson wrote the scores for both films.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 12:33:06 PM PDT
P Blackburn and Piso: Finally saw "Babette's Feast" via Netflix about a year ago and was totally dazzled.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 12:39:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2011 6:18:12 PM PDT
Piso, yes, Fonda made a seven-year pact with another studio in return for the right to play Tom Joad. In those seven years, he didn't get much from that studio---so in a way he paid a terrible price. But who can imagine a better portrayal than the one he gave in The Grapes of Wrath? The final scene between Tom and Ma---filmed on the deserted dance platform---is beyond description. And there was only one take. Ford was satisfied with the one, and his instincts were unerring.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 1:16:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 7:35:46 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Though Stanley Kubrick is my second-favorite director with two films in my top ten, Akira Kurosawa is number one director with "Seven Samurai" as number one film. Two others are "The Hidden Fortress" (a b&w comedic drama), and "Yojimbo". Kurosawa also fills the most shelf space for my limted collection.

Ridley Scott is number three, with "Blade Runner" (top ten), "Black Rain", and "Alien."

Silent Film entries are numerous, with "Piccadilly" (Anna May Wong, in top ten), and Fritz Lang's "Metropolis". There are two Metropolis' in the top ten, this and Rintaro's Anime interpretation. Speaking of Anime, "Ghost In The Shell" and "Akira" are near top ten. "The Lord of the Rings, extended version" is a top ten. I havn't been counting so if I go over ten, that is okay too. These are the kind of films that defy restraints on their creativity.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 1:33:30 PM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
The only version of 'Metropolis' I've seen (and was utterly mesmerized, repeatedly) was the Giorgio Moroder touch-up. The picture in my Amazon profile is from that film. I've heard this version is a travesty -- is it significantly different from the original? Was the 'message' (the coordination of the head, heart, and hands of human society) any different?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 1:59:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 7:40:56 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
P. Blackburn----The Japanese Animé version of "Metropolis" is not Fritz Lang's vision of the production. I give it points for animation and colouring. In this version the lowest caste of workers are robots, with a semi-fascist 'volunteer' militia supposedly keeping order. The main part of the story concerns a Japanese detective and his nephew searching for a mad scientist who is building tha android that is destined to rule the world. Everything goes awry when the android escapes a 'murder' attempt and links up with the detective's nephew.

This was state-of-the-art animation for it's time and is simply beautiful. I don't think viewers are concentrating on the story as much as the film overwhelms. This is not Merry Melodies or anything like it. Though some of the scenes take place in grimy location--it is all so astonishing with detail that you don't notice. It's just done so well. I think if there's an indirect message in the story it's 'don't trust those that gain too much power.' Which fits in with the original production by FL.

I have the 2002 original Restored Authorized but they found yet more pieces of the original (20-30 min.) and will release that sometime. And what happens when they find more missing film? Another $30.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:18:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 2:27:12 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:

I highly recommend one of the later restored versions of the Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' masterpiece - I love the German Expressionist period. The film has the original Gottfried Huppertz score, plus additional rediscovered footage and more to see of the innocent, sexy and diabolical Maria, played by the stunning Brigitte Helm. Huppertz's score fits like a glove and he was an outstanding composer with a gift for mood and drama, the movie being a wonderful legacy in tribute to his gifts as a composer. I love the better silent films because if the score is good, there's continuous music for over two hours that can carry one away. The message is essentially the same but developed in a greater detail... "There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."

Metropolis (Restored Authorized Edition)

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:27:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 2:29:52 PM PDT
I knew better than see the Moroder 'Metgropolis' when it first came out, so I can't comment too much on the differences.

'metropolis' is worth getting a decent print of,
the version I have is from King Video and is about 10 years old, I don't know if it still the 'latest and greatest' but after years of only seeing it in yellowing art house prints seeing a crisp 'black and white' with real greys is astonishing.Metropolis (Restored Authorized Edition)
actually the 'insert product link' shows a few other 'restored' editions. so even though I'm pushing for an 'upgrade', I'm not pushing for this upgrade in particulier

'ghost in the shell' was one of just a handful of anime's I saw in the theater,.
I actually had a copy on VHS!!! very original, kind of takes up where '2001' leaves off.
when it comes to human consciouness and Artificial intellegence.

its sequel 'innocence' was interesting and pretty good, but not nearly as profound and I was ultimatly kind of dissapointed and never bothered getting it on DVD.
'pleasure model' robots and all C'mon.
Cartman dressed as AWESOM-O screaming 'lame' always comes to mind when I think of it.

I haven't seen any of the 'Ghost in the shell'series nor played any of the video games.
(not against the latter, replaying 'parasite eve 2' right now)

but as long as we are going over our all time faves I have to mention fassbinder's 'berlin alexandrplatz'.
it was originally a 15 hour miniseries for German television but got a theatrical release in 'art houses' when it was first brought to america.
usually 5 nights of about three hours.
'berlin alexanderplatz' is based on a book written in the late 1920's.
Fassbinder is VERY accurate to the book on how he depicts the struggles of the times. It is an era that everyone seems to second guess due to subsequent History.
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [Blu-ray]
Berlin Alexanderplatz - (The Criterion Collection)

and for the AWESOM-O episode of 'southpark'
I suggest the 'little book of butters' since it is a delightful way to gather all the favorite episodes 'south park's most lovable dip****.and you get a cool WWBD bracelot.(what would butters do?)

South Park: A Little Box of Butters

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:32:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 2:34:22 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
PB, there's a later restored version of Metropolis that I haven't seen with a newly recorded score, but I still recommend the one I listed because the score is recorded beautifully already, and I would be surprised if the performance is exceeded. The latest restored version has even more rediscovered footage (found somewhere in Brazil, I do believe) and perhaps that's why the score of the lengthened movie had to be redone. The main thing is to make sure which version one wants and is getting, and unfortunately the reviews of the different versions are lumped together.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:33:53 PM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
B. A.,

While not a fan of anime, your enthusiasm makes me want to give this a look-see. I will do so. As for the story, the film is so visually stunning that I was only dimly aware of its underlying theme. There are notable parallels to Parsifal. Thanks for the heads-up and for the recommendation; the film is a fascinating artifact and I'm reminded of the line from 'Sunset Boulevard': "We didn't need dialogue -- we had faces!"


I've never heard the Huppertz score and so I thank you for another recommendation. I agree that the performance by Helm is remarkable, as her ability to act the saintly and diabolical is effective in the extreme. The scene outside the bar ("Yoshiwara's"?) is a tour-de-force. The Moroder version added certain specific sound effects (besides some 80s songs) and the first footsteps of the animated robot made my hair stand on end.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:41:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 2:48:49 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
PB, if you get a chance to hear the Huppertz score recorded in full orchestra, beautifully played, you might enjoy it a great deal - much more in keeping with what Lang had in mind. I feel the film and music work hand in glove together, and the restored film itself is light years ahead of the Moroder version. But the Moroder helped keep the film from being entirely forgotten until the new footage was found, and that's very much to its credit.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 3:09:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 3:11:22 PM PDT
John Spinks says:
I've got Black Swan on the burner for tonight. I fully expect it to be a snoozer, but the rest of the household wants to see it, so I must give it a chance. Has anyone seen it? Should I run for cover?

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 3:35:28 PM PDT
Dichterliebe says:

I must see the restored version then. That I was so impressed with the Moroder tells me that I will have a new level of appreciation. I got caught up in the 80s culture big time -- I was in high school and impressionable; it was the last good decade for pop music and I found the neon and harsh colors of the touch-ups as well as the juxtaposition of German expressionism and Wall Street culture a kind of tonic after the deeper but more troubled 1970s. Isn't it interesting how the art of our youth is lasting, despite a retrospective criticism?


Go through the house and confiscate all nail clippers.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 3:35:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 3:53:09 PM PDT
John S,
the black swan is lots of fun, unless you are expecting a realistic depiction of the life of a ballerina.
It has as much to do with ballet as Aronofsky's previous film 'the wrestler' had to do with wrestiling.

Be warned, it falls firmly in the category of polanski's 'repulsion' and Sam Fuller's 'shock corridor' and other psychological films of that nature(including the more recent 'shutter island' even a heavily flawed scorcese film is better than most other films)
Miles away from 'the turning point'.

Here is a complete list of other films by Aronofsky.
The Fountain [Blu-ray]
Requiem For A Dream/PI (Two Pack)
The Wrestler [Blu-ray]

with the 2-pack being the must see(even with 'the swan' thrown in)

If you do like it watch these two immediately
Repulsion- (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Videodrome (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

I'll say aronofsky is heavily 'inspired' by these two.
but he actually created a film in this strange little sub horror genre that got noticed during awards season.
and honestly the comparison to 'videodrome' seems sketchy at first unless you've seen a few other cronenberg films like 'Naked lunch', 'the fly' and most importantly one of his best films 'spider'
but no one has heard of that.
pity because it really is one of his best films.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 3:47:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 3:50:25 PM PDT
Larkenfield says:
Isn't it interesting how the art of our youth is lasting, despite a retrospective criticism? - PB.
So true. It's like time stands still regardless of what one learns later about certain films after the fact, especially when most everything seemed new when one was young. I felt that way about some of Andy Warhol's films in my impressionable youth, such as Chelsea Girls. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing it again because I enjoyed it so much at the time, and it was liberating to the spirit and mind... I was hungry for the unusual combination of things and of truth discovered, and I'm glad to say that I still feel exactly the same way.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 5:01:34 PM PDT
Loved "Repulsion". Catherine Deneuve looks like a complete whack job in it. Scary. There are similarities with "The tenant" and even "Rosemary's baby". A person in an apartment building who might be going nuts. Or maybe it's all real. Gotta get them all.

I'll have to think about all time faves. "Blade runner" is definitely on the list. "North by Northwest", of course... damn, too many of them, my head hurts !

I have no idea why I liked "Babette's feast", but I did.

I think "Mamma mia" is a girl thing. No guy I've talked to about it liked it, but all the girls are nuts about it.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 5:37:25 PM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
"L.A. Confidential" -- great film ruined by the casting of Danny DeVito
"Eastern Promises" -- overrated to the max
"A Perfect Murder" -- surprisingly good middle-brow lurker
"Four Weddings and a Funeral" -- surprisingly good middle-brow comedy with the beautiful Andie MacDowell
"Withnail and I" -- one of my favorite comedies; one of those movies you either hate or love
"Almost Famous" -- touching film about growing up and maintaining a shred of innocence
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" -- never gives you a chance to stop laughing
"There's Something About Mary" -- low-brow with sight-gags but oh, so funny
"Lost in Translation" -- poignant comedy...the end brought some tears
"The Lives of Others" -- I know this has been mentioned, but this is the best film I've seen in many years
"The Elephant Man" -- who hasn't seen this one?
"My Life as a Dog" -- a little too much treacle, but I liked it
"Million Dollar Baby" -- way, way better than it sounds; 4/4 stars
Any of the Dirty Harry movies
Any of the Eastwood/Leone movies, especially "A Fist Full of Dollars"
Pretty much any Eastwood movie because he's such an artist

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 5:40:39 PM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
Just thought of another favorite: "Once Upon a Time in the West" -- one of the greatest Westerns ever made

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 7:38:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 7:40:17 PM PDT
Thank you P. Blackburn, you just reminded me I showed "My name is nobody" to the kids this week-end. They loved it. A story inspired by Leone, and I think he directed a scene or two. With Henry Fonda and Terence Hill. Fonda was a superb villain in "Once upon a time in the West" - and I believe it's his ONLY villainous role.

As an aside, Morricone mixed in the Ride of the Valkyries to his "wild bunch" music in that movie.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  90
Total posts:  4548
Initial post:  Mar 24, 2011
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