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Good Movies You've Seen - A Digression

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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2011 8:30:49 PM PDT
John Spinks says:
P. Blackburn & palJacky,

Made it through Black Swan. Certainly, it belongs more to the "I'm Going Nuts" genre than to any other. What's really disconcerting is the large swan mirror hanging in the hallway down from my bedroom. (Explanatory -- I've divorced and am lodging at my sister's place.) I may never look at that mirror in the same way again.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 9:34:49 PM PDT
Believe it or not, I just saw Seven Year Itch for the first time a few days ago. Fabulous movie starring Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe, and Rachmaninoff's 2d Piano Concerto.

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 9:50:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2011 9:51:21 PM PDT
P.B. writes, ""Withnail and I" -- one of my favorite comedies; one of those movies you either hate or love"

It's one of my favorite comedies too. Richard Griffiths was hilarious in the role of the uncle. In a double feature 'Withnail' goes well with "How to get ahead in Advertising"--another comedy written and directed by Bruce Robinson, and starring Richard Grant. BTW Robinson was himself a struggling actor in London during the 1960s, and played Benevolio in Franco Zefferelli's film version of Romeo and Juliet--so, the characters in 'Withnail' may not be entirely fictional. Robinson also wrote the screenplay for Roland Joffe's film, "The Killing Fields."

Posted on Apr 14, 2011 7:16:33 AM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
We saw "The Leopard" last night, Visconti's 1963 film with Claudia Cardinale, Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, in Italian, dubbed voices for Delon and Lancaster. Confusing battle scenes, a search through empty rooms of the palace that went on too long and to no end; and the 45-minute ball scene that went on WAY too long. Author Lampedusa was a Sicilian prince himself, and had shrewd things to say about Garibaldi, but the focus of the last half of the movie was on the love of Tancredi (Alain Delon) for the rich man's daughter. Nino Rota's music seemed often intrusive, too loud, and unrelenting, particularly in the ball scene. But the village band certainly sounded like a village band. This is considered a cinema classic, and I was a little shocked. My wife had seen it before, long ago, and also was disappointed, but we are not Sicilians.

Posted on Apr 14, 2011 8:08:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2011 8:11:19 AM PDT
<<Made it through Black Swan. Certainly, it belongs more to the "I'm Going Nuts" genre than to any other>>
I had to phrase it the way I did. When it first came out, a contributor here really fried it for its inaccurate picture of the ballet world, and I just felt they had completely missed the point.

If you are interested in that small sub-genre of movies check out the 'grandmother' of them all 'repulsion'.
The body transfigurations are pure cronenberg 'homages'. ('blatant ripoff' might be more accurate).

Nonetheless, it was my favorite film from last year. I liked 'the king's speech' an awful lot, and on an objective level I know it is a better film, but I've seen so many of those perfectly written perfectly acted kind of 'mechant ivory'esque sort of things over the years that they all have become a blur.

My least favorite film was the 'clever' 'Inception'.
wes craven did it better 25 years ago with 'nightmare on elm street'
without any of the pretensions.

and the guilty pleasure was 'piranha 3d', lots of fun and a nude water ballet to 'the flower duet' too.
what's not to like?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2011 8:34:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2014 8:38:16 PM PDT
Piso, if memory serves, The Leopard was much better as a book than as a movie.

You mention the long search through the empty rooms of a crumbling Sicilian palace---I remember those scenes vividly, and they did go on too long. Overall, I think the film was a LOT more self-indulgent than it had to be.

The Sicilian nobility were portrayed as elegant but semi-paralyzed by indecision---a theme examined a lot earlier in "The Cherry Orchard". Chekhov did it better, and shorter. And I'm not all that crazy about "The Cherry Orchard". My guess is: If I watched "The Leopard" after not having seen it since its release, I'd feel exactly as you did yesterday.

Posted on Apr 14, 2011 12:36:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2011 12:37:17 PM PDT
The first time I saw The Leopard I became so excruciatingly bored that I walked out of the movie theater in the middle of film. The second time was many years later on DVD and this time I thought it was a masterpiece. BTW the Italian language version is quite a bit longer than the American version--both versions came in my DVD deluxe set.

Chekhov is a favorite of mine, a brilliantly insightful comic writer, but not at all easy to stage well.

Posted on Apr 15, 2011 9:39:04 AM PDT
This one is simply incredible from every aspect: 1612

And if you can somehow scrounge a copy of the Chinese (contemporary) version of *The Gadfly*, you'll find the film score pretty compelling -- but that fine film remains incredibly elusive. The original (Russian) version of the film featured the superb score by Dmitri Shostakovich: Shostakovich: The Gadfly; Five Days - Five Nights (Suites)


Posted on Apr 15, 2011 7:22:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2011 7:40:07 PM PDT
I remember seeing "Solaris" (the original, by Tarkovsky) and thinking how overlong and boring and pseudo-intellectual and more Bergmanesque than Bergman. I still think that. Ah well. Not big on Bergman either. "Cries and whispers" made me wonder why anyone bothered to put that stuff on celluloid. Probably marks me as a Beotian.

You want a good movie, watch "Z" by Costa-Gavras. Or "The seven year itch", as Craig reminds me. Tom Ewell was absolutely hilarious in that. And "Some like it hot" was another great comedy.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2011 7:23:53 PM PDT
John Spinks, sorry to hear about the divorce. Major bummer.

Posted on Apr 15, 2011 7:33:25 PM PDT
<<I remember seeing "Polaris" (the original, by Tarkovsky) and thinking how overlong and boring and pseudo-intellectual and more Bergmanesque than Bergman>>
it was 'solaris' and I agree with you.
what a pretentious snooze fest that thing was
the only thing I remember is the guy who conjured up midgets.
you didn't realize at the time you saw the midgets they were conjured up.
kind of like the toe sucking scene in 'the last emperor' which is the only scene I remember in that coma inducer.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2011 7:44:03 PM PDT
palJacky says:
[it was 'solaris' ]
Thanks, I edited the post. Freudian slip or something.

And your post on the Order thread reminded me of "Touch of evil" - what a great opening scene ! Robert Altman paid homage to it at the start of "The player".

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2011 7:49:28 PM PDT
...and I remember at least one midget in Solaris. Couldn't figure out what the heck the character would want with a midget. There were were probably more than one, but I don't want to watch it again...

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 8:34:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2011 8:36:32 AM PDT
<<...and I remember at least one midget in Solaris. Couldn't figure out what the heck the character would want with a midget.>>
I remember two midgets. and I could be wrong.
the thing is you only see them before you realize that they live on a planet that allows them to physically manifest their desires. And this guy was desiring midgets. I was also told that focusing on the midgets was 'missing the point' by the art phonies I saw it with. I took that to mean they had no answer either.

One of my favorite 'tributes' to the opening scene in 'touch of evil' was in brian de Palma's 'phantom of the paradise' I can't find the whole clip on-line but you can see the bomb going into the trunk of the car in the trailer

you do have to see the whole thing to see the 'single shot' effect.

also If you want to see brian de palma pulling off another pretty amazing single shot sequence check out the beginning of 'snake eyes'
then pull the film out of the DVD player and watch no more of it.Snake Eyes

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 9:24:54 AM PDT
All right, you got me curious about Snake eyes. I liked De Palma's Blow out, also - very good variation on Antonioni's Blow up. Is Phantom of the Paradise as cheesy as the trailer ?

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 10:29:11 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2011 10:40:41 AM PDT
<< Is Phantom of the Paradise as cheesy as the trailer ?
even cheesier,
well worth watching, if you can tolerate such things.
More than just a send up of 'phantom of the opera'(it was done in the seventies so it pre-dates the ALW musical perversion), it adds in 'faust' , in the form of Paul williams as the devil. remember than little tiny singer songwriter from that era.

William finley, a de palma regular plays the Phantom.
and the love interest is done by Jessica'suspiria' Harper!!!!

just keep in mind that it was the era and genre that gave birth to 'the rocky horror picture show' craze and have a good time. this led to both 'obsession' and 'carrie' two of his best films.

Overall, his favorite 'rip off' target seems to be hitchcock with 'sisters', 'obsession', and 'dressed to kill' all falling in that category.
I can't even tell you which Hitchcock films because it gives too much of the endings away.

but while we are on 'tribute'(or cheap rip off films), I saw 'scream 4' yesterday.
the best since the original one, but still not all that good.

They do have 'peeping tom' as the answer to seminal horror movie quiz question(if you've seen any of the films you know what the horror 'pop' quizzes are about.) nice touch since I've been saying that for years, and it is always nice to get my intelluctual thoughts validiated, even in this sort of not too funny, not too scary deconstruct of a genre type thing.

Peeping Tom - Criterion Collection
two things worth noting about this film to this forum.
the director Micheal Powell did 'the red shoes' which comes up a lot here.
and the title character is played by Karlheinz Boehm, the son of the conductor.
He became a fassbinder regular in the seventies('martha' see that one too)
and speaking of great camera work 'martha' has got 'the shot' which scorsese and coppola saw and got them to bring Micheal Ballhaus to america.
the first review on the amazon page talks about 'the shot'.
though purely 'fassinder' in design, the fact that the cinematographer was able to pull it off perfectly is what made it a carrer maker for him.

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 11:58:55 AM PDT
Just noticed a Criterion Edition of Blow out is coming out :
Blow Out (Criterion Collection)
Wonder if Obsession will be re-issued. Never seen it.

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 12:03:33 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 17, 2012 9:53:33 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 12:13:28 PM PDT
I liked Blow out. But no movie has ever pleased everyone. I hated Thelma and Louise, for instance, but I seem to be part of a minority.

Posted on Apr 16, 2011 1:40:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2011 1:44:15 PM PDT
along the same lines,
check out 'sisters' brian depalma's first nonstudent film.
Margot kidder as recently separated siamese twins
one nice, one a crazy murderer.
Sisters - Criterion Collection

criterion did a great job like always, including an essay on dePalma working with one of the greats,
bernard Herrman.

'blow out' like so many other pre 'scarface' films of depalma is actually is lots of fun when taken with the right spirit. 'Carrie' and 'dressed to kill' seem to be my favorites.

dePalma has a tendency to give endings that are so obvious they are surprising.
'sisters' in particular is 'why didn't I see that coming?'

I figured out 'obsession' early on. I considered the ending of 'body double' but dismissed it for some dopey reason.
since I don't live in the moment, my mind races when watching a 'whodunit' and I try to juggle all the various scenarios at once.

PS I got it 'half right; in 'scream 4' yesterday.
. the 'twist' is that Craven made the killers two people who wouldn't seem to have gotten together for any other reason. Hence my instincts were saying it could be either one of them, but I had no idea the who the accomplice would have been.
well, one of them had a pretty understandable duet partner, but s(he) got killed.
IE when one died, i said 'erase the name of those two' but that might have been the film's intention all along.

Posted on Apr 17, 2011 8:20:15 PM PDT

check out the best 'repulsion' send up from the truly funny series 'absolutely fabulous.
Of course, the rat on the plate comes from 'baby jane' and was sent up in the title credits for John waters 'desperate living'.
the dead thing in 'repulsion' is a rabbit.

Posted on Apr 18, 2011 2:04:10 AM PDT
Ash says:
Legend of 1900 was a film I really enjoyed, not necessarily a good classic movie but it really made me appreciate the piano

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2011 7:28:11 PM PDT
barbW says:
Has anyone seen Chopin:_Desire_for_Love?

Posted on Apr 19, 2011 9:49:56 AM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
Do television specials count? Last night PBS had an hour-long special program on naturalist John Muir, champion of Yosemite National Park with Theodore Roosevelt, and founder of the Sierra Club. Mostly good. Muir lost his left eye in a shop accident, then walked from Indianaolis to Florida and took ship to San Francisco, then walking to Yosemite where he stayed six years.

If Eutychus sees this, Gary Snyder appeared twice in this film, looking ruinous.

Posted on Apr 30, 2011 12:17:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2011 4:35:15 PM PDT
Piso Mojado says:
"Much Ado About Nothing", 1993, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington, Kenneth Branagh. Filmed entirely out of doors at an Italian villa except for two interior scenes, one a banquet, the other a jail. In Shakespearian British with legible English sub-titles across the bottom of the screen. Screenplay by Branagh, who directed, co-produced, and played Benedick.

Branagh's "Fortunes of War" BBC series seen on PBS here was 1987; "Henry V" 1989; and "Hamlet" 1997. We've seen all these again recently. Branagh and Emma Thompson were so good together, and married for at least part of this time. Shakespeare is Shakespeare, but the "Fortunes of War" was so ideally cast, and everyone so young.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
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Initial post:  Mar 24, 2011
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