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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.09.2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I loved Touch of Evil (and, hey, you defined "pro" as "very good or excellent," so I didn't give it a bad grade), and that opening shot is absolutely splendid, but it's a self-conscious noir (usually considered by most scholars to be that last "true" noir), so it doesn't quite carry that grim, semi-nihilistic feel most noirs do. Plus, Charlton Heston makes a ridiculous Mexican, and that's coming from a guy who lives in southern California.


Hehe. I know, I know, just playing with ya. I regard it as a masterpiece, I really do. It may not be as innovative as Citizen Kane, but I think I like it more, and it certainly is superior to The Magnificent Ambersons [a splendid film, too]. I don't know what was wrong with Heston's performance -- so many people seem to criticise it, but I thought it was fine. The decision to choose him as a Mexican may have been rather outlandish, but his acting was very good and his Spanish accent was spot on [this coming from a Spanish teen].
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 02.09.2004 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a problem with Heston's performance here than in any other movie. I think he's kind of a one-note performer and gets by mostly on screen presence and charisma. That's not to say I don't enjoy watching him in a movie, but, you know, it's watching a personality rather than a character.

It's interesting that you said, to you, as a native of Spain, Heston's accent was spot on. I always cringed when he delivered his Spanish dialogue, and your remark makes me think he might have been using a Spanish accent rather than a Mexican accent. I'm not fluent in the language, but as I understand it, Spain and Central and South America use different dialects. Not unlike British English and American English. Maybe that's why Heston's delivery sounded wrong to me.
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 02.09.2004 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Conversation is my favorite Coppola film, as much as I love The Godfather. Most of my reasoning can be found on the "Most Influential Films of All Time" thread, but The Conversation did more for my appreciation of the suspense genre than perhaps any other movie. It unfolds like many suspense films, but it has a deep understanding of the nature of alienation and paranoia - Hackman's character is a really complex explosion of insecurity, fear, and desperation. I also love the way it's constructed: the movie actually builds and builds and builds in suspense, so that at the very end - the most paranoid moment, the most intensely haunting - it just finishes, because we know exactly how Harry's life will be from then on. A masterpiece indeed.

Solaris is the only Tarkovsky film I've seen, and while I like both his and Soderbergh's remake (I think the earth scenes between Clooney and McElhone add a lot), Tarkovsky's is a bit better. Atmosphere with a capital A, that one - there's a sense of dread and foreboding surrounding nearly every scene in that movie. While it's "outer-space is bad, earth is good" sentiment can be a bit black-and-white (it really pissed off Stanislaw Lem, too, who wrote the book with a deep respect for outer space), it's surprisingly emotional nonetheless.

And, yeah, I can't resist playing along with your game:

8 1/2 [PRO]

Apocalypse Now [pro]

L'Avventura [n/a]

Big Fish [hmm]

Brief Encounter [n/a]

Commando [n/a]

The Conversation [PRO]

Fight Club [hmm]

The Goonies [n/a]

Lawrence of Arabia [PRO]

A Night at the Opera [PRO]

Punch-Drunk Love [pro]

Raging Bull [PRO - my favorite Scorsese]

Rashomon [PRO]

A Short Film About Killing [n/a]

Silence of the Lambs [pro]

The Sixth Sense [pro]

Sleepy Hollow [pro]

Solaris (2002) [pro]

Stalker [n/a]

Touch of Evil [hmm - I know you'll love that, Third Man]

Underground [n/a]

Vertigo [PRO]

Weekend [n/a]

Wild Strawberries [n/a]
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mfritschel
Cinematographer


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 143
Location: Port Washington, WI

PostPosted: 02.10.2004 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8 1/2 - PRO

Apocalypse Now - PRO

Big Fish - hmm

Fight Club - pro

The Goonies - hmm

Lawrence of Arabia -PRO

Punch-Drunk Love -pro

Raging Bull -PRO

Silence of the Lambs - pro

The Sixth Sense - hmm

Sleepy Hollow - con

Solaris (2002) - con

Wild Strawberries -con

-Coppola hasn't made a great movie since the Seventies, and minus Apocalypse Now and The Godfathers he really doesn't have a crutch to stand on.
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 02.10.2004 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that he hasn't made a great movie since the '70's (though I do enjoy Bram Stoker's Dracula and Peggy Sue Got Married), I think The Conversation is among his best work, and Finian's Rainbow is probably among the best as well.
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.11.2004 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just tallied the results and put them on the first post, guys.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 02.11.2004 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting results. Not a lot of disparity, which is somewhat surprising.

Eric
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the night watchman
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Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 02.11.2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing It cracks me up you rated Commando PRO, Mr. Lime.
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"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

-David Cronenberg
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.12.2004 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The second list!

Adaptation

Aliens

Battle Royale

The Bicycle Thief

Donnie Darko

Dressed to Kill

Gangs of New York

Gerry

The Gospel According to St Matthew

Halloween II

It's a Wonderful Life

Kids

Kill baby, kill!

Last Action Hero

Lost Highway

The Matrix

Operation Intercept

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Red River

Reservoir Dogs

The Return of the King

The Straight Story

Unbreakable

The Usual Suspects

xXx
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 02.12.2004 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adaptation - PRO

Aliens - PRO

Battle Royale - n/a

The Bicycle Thief - n/a

Donnie Darko - pro

Dressed to Kill - pro

Gangs of New York - pro

Gerry - n/a

The Gospel According to St Matthew - n/a

Halloween II - hmmm+

It's a Wonderful Life - con

Kids - n/a

Kill baby, kill! - n/a

Last Action Hero - hmmm

Lost Highway - PRO

The Matrix - pro

Operation Intercept - n/a

Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO

Red River - n/a

Reservoir Dogs - pro

The Return of the King - PRO

The Straight Story - PRO

Unbreakable - PRO

The Usual Suspects - PRO

xXx - hmmm
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"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

-David Cronenberg
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.12.2004 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aliens - pro

The Bicycle Thief - PRO

Donnie Darko - PRO

It's a Wonderful Life - PRO

Kids - con

Last Action Hero - pro

The Matrix - PRO

Operation Intercept - CON-, but unintentionally funny as hell.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - PRO

Reservoir Dogs - pro

The Return of the King - PRO

The Straight Story - PRO

Unbreakable - PRO

The Usual Suspects - PRO

xXx - CON


Last edited by The Third M?n on 02.16.2004 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Third M?n
Studio Exec


Joined: 09 Sep 2003
Posts: 575
Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 02.12.2004 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


It's a Wonderful Life - con

xXx - hmmm


These two somewhat bother me. Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is a manifestation of the power of love and family which improves remarkably as the years pass. It is one of those truly timeless movies, like Casablanca or The Third Man which is able to enthral you with such power it's impossible to let go. If one was to combine the elements of the picture; the characters, the story, the situations and, above all, the message (which not only tells the truth but supposes the finest component of the film), it would not be hard to discover why It's a Wonderful Life is considered the classic that it is. There are many things to enjoy in the film and one of the main ones is of course the acting. James Stewart is utterly convincing in his portrayal of everyday American man George Bailey (though I much rather prefer his performance in Vertigo) and the rest of the cast is, too, a standout. Frank Capra's direction is no exception; everything seems to be under his control and the he gives the pace a light-footed feel (and deliberately so) which helps in telling the story with much more skill and fluidity. The wonders that the movie works are as astounding as they're bewildering, given that upon its initial release the movie bombed - its reputation would grow years later with repeated TV showings in the '80s. The one thing that most strikes me is the touch of optimism which floats around the film. Capra includes several dark moments in the film (George's suicide attempt, his drinking problems, the rows between husband and wife, etc), but nonetheless he never forgets to tell us, "Despite all odds and whatever the circumstances, one must look on the bright side of things." Which is practically the entire message of the film. But It's a Wonderful Life doesn't solely succeed because of its moral - rather, it succeeds because of the way it is told, with such magic. Heartwarming, sweet, outstanding, It's a Wonderful Life is a gem. Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.

What did you not *like* about it?

xXx, on the other hand, is a film whose utter far-fetchedness turns it into mere visual diarrhea -- but it's not just that; the film seems to be only suitable for hyperactive teenagers looking for a fun time for the hell of it, Samuel L. Jackson is wasted, the scenes are bland, lifeless, preposterous and whatnot -- everything about the film, apart from the avalanche sequence, is way below par. Vin Diesel tries to emulate the "machoness" of the good old 80s' action heroes -- and he fails. He's not Arnie, Stallone, or hell, even Chuck Norris. The script is predictable, there are some scenes which are just laughable, and on the whole, the film is tedious, mainly due to the fact that we've all seen this before [and better done, in fact]. xXx sucks.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only one I feel inclined to comment on is Unbreakable, an excellent movie (Shyamalan's best) that's wholly underrated. It's rare for an American movie to muster the somber, contemplative, spooky atmosphere that that movie has, and its integration of comic-book heroics and real-life terrors contain a wit and dark intelligence that's seriously impressive.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brief responses:

It's a Wonderful Life - Simply put, I don't buy it, not one bit of it, even for a second. I've watched this movie a few times, but it's always felt like a grand exercise in emotional manipulation. I did like the photography. But to prove I'm not a cynical bastard, here are some movies I like with affirmative messages: The Shawshank Redemption, Whale Rider, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Straight Story, and Babe.

xXx - Silly, hyperactive, and far-fetched? Sure. But I think it also functions as a subtle parody of action movies, especially action movies in the post-Playstation/XBox age. Also, I don't think "Vin Diesel tries to emulate the 'machoness' of the good old 80s' action heroes." (And even if he did and failed, I'd have to rank him over Chuck Norris, if only because he's not Chuck Norris.) Diesel plays Xander Cage as a guy playing an action hero. Xander's world-view is fed by video games and action movies and extreme sports. The movie does actually have little fun with this perspective at the character's expense; for example, the car Xander has designed to his specifications is nearly useless for the first situation in which it's put to use. The movie also allows short moments of humanity to peek through; for instance, in one scene early on, after Xander passes the first "test," the camera lingers on his emotional reaction as he makes the choice to join Jackson's team or go to jail; in another scene, Xander watches in impotent horror as a group of scientists are betrayed and murdered by the bad guys. Beyond that, I suppose whether or not the action sequences are "bland, lifeless, and preposterous" are simply a matter of opinion. For me, most of them didn't quite cross the line over into absurdity.
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-David Cronenberg
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 02.12.2004 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
The only one I feel inclined to comment on is Unbreakable, an excellent movie (Shyamalan's best) that's wholly underrated. It's rare for an American movie to muster the somber, contemplative, spooky atmosphere that that movie has, and its integration of comic-book heroics and real-life terrors contain a wit and dark intelligence that's seriously impressive.


I fully agree.
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