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Old March 26 2010, 02:12 AM   #391
Harvey
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

64. Notes on a Scandal [A-]
65. Shutter Island [B-]
66. Gosford Park [A]
67. The Third Man [A]
68. Fantastic Planet [A]

I've seen The Third Man many times, and I continue to love it. Watching it yet another time, what sticks out to me is the beautiful use of location shooting. If this movie was made on a back lot, it wouldn't be nearly as memorable. In fact, I'd wager that it might not be remembered at all.

Fantastic Planet is such a weird movie. It's probably one of the more shocking animated features I've seen (less for the nudity, which is really nothing, and more for the violence, which is pretty twisted). It's also pretty incomparable to...well, anything. I'm giving it an A, because I loved it, but it's also a film that I probably won't own in the near future, nor will I have the desire to watch it again anytime soon.
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Old March 26 2010, 02:44 AM   #392
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Brothers (2009) [B+]

Great performances from Gyllenhall, Maguire, and Portman, but nothing really original for me to give it an A.
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Old March 26 2010, 04:31 AM   #393
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

46. The Sweet Hereafter (A+)

Atom Egoyan is arguably Canada's most acclaimed director (between him and Cronenberg, anyway), his reputation resting mainly on two movies he made in the mid 1990s: Exotica, and this. This is the second film of his that I've seen (the first was Where the Truth Lies, which was a weird attempt at increased commercialism that ended up with an NC-17 rating; it didn't work, to be brief), and there's really no comparison. This has gotten a lot of hype over the years, but it lived up to it. It's an adaptation of a novel (refreshingly, an American setting has been exchanged for a foreign one for once) of the same name, about the aftermath of a bus crash in a rural BC town that kills all but one of the town's school-age children. Ian Holm gives his best performance that I've ever seen from him as a lawyer who is looking for a villain to sue; the character could be reprehensible, but he's got personal problems of his own. The rest of the cast is Canadian, including notables like Bruce Greenwood; the real standout is Gabrielle Rose, who I'd never heard of before, as the bus driver. She has a couple of really agonizing scenes that are played just perfectly. There's also Sarah Polley, now a rising indie filmmaker in her own right, as the lone survivor; her plight (and the town situation more generally) is frequently compared to Robert Browning's The Pied Piper of Hamelin, lengthy passages of which are read aloud (she's the one lamed child who couldn't follow all her schoolfriends into the world "where everything was strange and new").
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Old March 26 2010, 04:33 AM   #394
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
45. City Lights (B+)

James Berardinelli's #4 of all time, and generally one of the most acclaimed American films, City Lights is the iconic Charlie Chaplin film, and more generally the iconic silent film (though it makes limited use of sound effects, though not dialogue). If you're going to start anywhere with a genre, might as well start at the top. I enjoyed it overall. Discussion of this movie inevitably hypes the final scene, which is indeed nicely done, but it probably suffers from that kind of hype. Physical comedy isn't generally my main area of interest, but Chaplin's stuff is as "witty" as that sort of stuff gets; most of it got a smile. A lot of the individual bits feel kind of strung together and not relevant to the plot (of course, the Tramp is the original "SNL character goes feature-length" scenario), but the story overall is simple and nicely told. When WALL-E was released, a lot of people compared it to City Lights, and you can see the comparison (when it comes to dialogue-less situations, Pixar and Kim Ki-Duk are the modern masters). It's kind of interesting to consider how technical limitations become a storytelling genre.
I wasn't too thrilled with the comedy in that movie. I thought it was way too corny slapstick. I was disappointed after that critic hyped it up so much. On the other hand, I thought the love story was marvelous, despite how simplistic and obvious it was. What impressed me most about the movie was the music, especially since Chaplin composed it himself.

I don't understand all the hype of around "The Third Man". Yes, there are some beautiful shots and sets and a great glorified cameo by Orson Welles, but doesn't it take more than that for a movie to be a classic? How about some great characters and storytelling?

I seem to like the same things about those movies as you guys do, yet I call them disappointments because those are a handful of good things about them that go along with a bunch of problems that hold them back from being truly worthy of iconic status.
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Old March 26 2010, 05:20 AM   #395
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
How about some great characters and storytelling?
I thought The Third Man had that. Admittedly, a lot of these noirs lose some of their edge when their twists become really well-known, but I'm not clear that Lime being alive ever was a twist, since Welles' presence is heavily advertised. And I like it because it captures a very specific time and place so well.
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I seem to like the same things about those movies as you guys do, yet I call them disappointments because those are a handful of good things about them that go along with a bunch of problems that hold them back from being truly worthy of iconic status.
Generally, I try to set myself up to be disappointed, to allow myself to enjoy it as much as possible; if I do, that's in the win column. It's rarely possible for a film hyped as one of the Greatest Films EVAR to truly live up to that label, and, with City Lights, it's as much a matter of my own tastes (probably if I was more familiar with silent films and the storytelling of the genre I'd appreciate it more).
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Old March 26 2010, 05:44 AM   #396
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Too Much Fun wrote: View Post
I don't understand all the hype of around "The Third Man". Yes, there are some beautiful shots and sets and a great glorified cameo by Orson Welles, but doesn't it take more than that for a movie to be a classic? How about some great characters and storytelling?
Welles' part is indeed small, but it's larger than a cameo, even a glorified one. Harry Lime is also a great character, and the cuckoo clock speech (however historically erroneous) is a delight every single time I view the movie. The film is populated by an array of fantastic bit parts, too, including a young Bernard Lee. The music, far from the expected cliché we associate with noir pictures, is upbeat and unique. The use of actual locations and the people who lived in those locations, instead of studio sets and contract actors, creates a true sense of authenticity that is rare in films of any era. The camera work is superb, and unconventional--Reed uses a constant stream of canted angles to put the audience at a state of perpetual unease. I could go on, but I realize I'm unlikely to change your opinion. The Third Man has often been named the best British film ever made. And, while there are other British films I like just as much as it, I don't quibble with that placement too much.
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Old March 27 2010, 05:48 AM   #397
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

47. Chloe (B)

Back-to-back Egoyan, this time his newest release (my first visit to the theatre in a while) - this is easily his most commercial film yet, and it's gotten a much bigger marketing campaign than most of his films normally get. Selling out? A bit, perhaps, but then, there's only so long you can go making uncompromising art films that few people see (seriously, The Sweet Hereafter made pretty much nothing, and it's been voted the greatest Canadian film ever made). He's tried this before, with Where The Truth Lies, which failed both as a film and as a box office draw (accidentally hitting NC-17 is obviously not a commercial bonus). Here he's got two established stars (Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore), and an up-and-comer (Amanda Seyfried) in a sort of hybrid relationship drama/erotic thriller; a lot of the reviews have compared it to Fatal Attraction, but, to my surprise, he downplays those elements pretty heavily. The title character is clearly not right in the head, but she's not murderous (the climax has her draw blood, but from earlier it seems she's into BDSM, so it's probably not so cut and dried in her head). There's also a good plot twist that I genuinely didn't guess (it has the advantage of being concealed by the possibility of a seemingly more obvious twist). While downplaying the psycho-thriller, it's not wholly successful as a character exploration; we get a decent bead on Moore (who's her usual strong self), but Seyfried's character never becomes completely clear (no fault to Seyfried herself, who's cast well against type; she's usually the warm, ditzy character; here she's an ice-cold blonde; Hitchcock would have approved).

Oh, and, while the film was a B (possibly a B+; may be subject to revision), I'll assign a separate grade to the scene that will no doubt be the main reason any larger audience sees the movie:

Julianne Moore/Amanda Seyfried sex scene: A+
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Old March 28 2010, 12:17 AM   #398
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Films seen for the first time in 2010 -

Where The Wild Things Are ~ B+
Up in the Air ~ A
Avatar ~ C+
Precious ~ B
Invictus ~ C+
Inglourious Basterds ~ A
Twilight ~ C-
Law Abiding Citizen ~ D+
Sherlock Holmes ~ B
An Education ~ C+
The Blind Side ~ D-
A Serious Man ~ C
Crazy Heart ~ B+
Julie & Julia ~ B-
The Princess and the Frog ~ B-
StepBrothers ~ B-
The Prophecy ~ F
Green Zone ~ B-
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus ~ B
Kick Ass ~ A+ (Maybe I need to look at this grade again in a day or two but right now, straight after seeing it, I love it!!!)
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Old March 28 2010, 06:58 PM   #399
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Secret of Kells

Among the cartoons I grew up with, there were a few Irish ones. These were never particularly good or memorable - mostly I recall them for their purported edutainment value (they often had an Irish Gaelic dub in addition to English).

A few years back - alright, half a decade or more - I remember seeing a bunch of Irish shorts, and by far one of the most memorable was an animated one called Give Up Yer Aul Sins, an animation based on an audio recording of an Irish schoolchild recording a Bible story (in a precociously amusing sort of way.) Charming and fairly stylish.

I'm also a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, so I spent around four years within walking distance of where the Book of Kells is currently held. More importantly, I can't stand half the crap entertainment that's ever been made about Ireland and Irish history. It drips of leery sentimentalism and/or incompetence or it's hectoring me with its pet peeves (I loathed, loathed Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley, an Englishman's way of valorizing the irredentist sentiments of Sinn Fein, which I find almost offensive, but that's another rant... and let's not get started on Hollywood. No, don't touch that.) Granted, 'modern' Irish fare is also stuff I'd like to look the other way and pretend doesn't exist.

Well. The Secret of Kells - the first Irish animated feature film, and by the folks behind Give Up Yer Aul Sins, is astonishingly stylish. It's a cartoon of stark lines, surrealistic touches, considerable verve and with, predictably if not all too tiredly, use of Celtic imagery. It can be breathtaking in its beauty, and it's also wryly funny in places - the story is subordinate to the imagery to the point where the imagery may dictate the sense of the story (as one confrontation proves); but that works fine. Despite its loose basing on real events and a period in Irish history, it's basically a vivid fantasia about creativity, light and darkness, and your usual hero journey arc beats - even if the journey is all about drawing a damn fine book. Incidentally, Brendan Gleeson is in this picture, and he gives a nicely restrained and nuanced performance.

Despite my ranting on issues only the Irish probably care about, this film is - and is no doubt designed to be - very accessible to a foreign audience. You don't need to know what the Book of Kells is to follow this movie, or to get that the 'Northmen' referred to constantly are the Vikings, or that the island of Iona is off the coast of Scotland (and they've tried to get the Book for themselves - never gonna happen, trust me.) And actually the presence of a Chinese stereotype actually makes less sense if you know anything of the era. The only Irish Gaelic in this film is the only song in the film, and I actually rather liked that, too. For once I just don't feel particularly ashamed or patronized watching something about Ireland, and that's rare.

It's definitely the best Irish cartoon I've seen, though that may not be saying a great deal, and it's just generally a very good cartoon in general.
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Old March 28 2010, 07:25 PM   #400
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
I will be going to The Lovely Bones on Monday or Tuesday.

I gather this thread is for movies we see at the cinema, on TV or on DVD?
Ah, well if it's all three, then, and includes ones I've seen before

Cinema- So far this year, only Sherlock Holmes (10/10)

Home viewing- too many to go back and list, so I'll start with last night's Inglourious Basterds (10/10)

Movies I know I've watched so far this year, but couldn't put them into order or date would include: The Fast And The Furious (7/10), 2 Fast 2 Furious (6/10),The Searchers (9/10), Pale Rider (8/10), Outlaw Josey Wales (10/10), Layer Cake (8/10), Generations (4/10), Star Trek VI (9/10), Hitman (based on the game 7/10), Watchmen (10/10)
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Old March 28 2010, 09:57 PM   #401
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Che: Incredibly boring, gives you zero sense of the title character's inner life (I assume he had one, since human beings generally do). He's a cardboard cutout who speaks in commie cliche. Some well-staged battle sequences, that's about all it has to recommend it. Watched the first half, not sure I'll bother with the second DVD.
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Old March 28 2010, 10:02 PM   #402
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Che: Incredibly boring, gives you zero sense of the title character's inner life (I assume he had one, since human beings generally do). He's a cardboard cutout who speaks in commie cliche. Some well-staged battle sequences, that's about all it has to recommend it. Watched the first half, not sure I'll bother with the second DVD.
Watch The Motorcycle Diaries instead. It's probably an overly-romantic take on Che's pre-revolutionary days, but a good movie.

Saw Sherlock Holmes, surprised at how good it was...and to learn how many of the cliches of the character weren't in the books but later additions, thus really weren't "missing" from the film.
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Old March 28 2010, 11:13 PM   #403
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Star Trek (still 10/10)
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Old March 29 2010, 03:40 PM   #404
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Going to see Kick-ass on wednesday. Looks awesome!
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Old March 29 2010, 03:59 PM   #405
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Going to see Kick-ass on wednesday. Looks awesome!
I liked it. Will probably see it again next week.
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