View Poll Results: Which film (from KF's "Top 10 Favourite Films") do you enjoy most?

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  • 1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 - 2003)

    35 32.71%
  • 2. the Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    13 12.15%
  • 3. Apocalypse Now! (1979)

    7 6.54%
  • 4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

    8 7.48%
  • 5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

    8 7.48%
  • 6. Blade Runner (1982)

    21 19.63%
  • 7. C’era una volta il West (1968)

    3 2.80%
  • 8. the Third Man (1949)

    5 4.67%
  • 9. BEN-HUR (1959)

    3 2.80%
  • 10. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

    4 3.74%
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  1. #331
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    (1963)
    #10 on Sight&Sounds "50 Greatest Films of All Time" in 2012
    dir. Federico Fellini [nom.]
    writer. Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano & Brunello Rondi [nom.]
    Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: famous Italian director Guido Anselmi (Mastroianni) is suffering from "director's block", seeking inspiration from luxurious spas, grand hotels, parties, from God, from critics, and even in the arms of beautiful women, despite his marriage to Luisa (Aimée)

    "I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everyone. A film to help bury forever all the dead things we carry around inside." ~ Guido

    THOUGHTS: This is often cited as one of the greatest movies ever made, so I was excited to finally watch it. Two minutes in I was concerned: after choking on smoke in a car while a woman in a neighbouring car bares her breast, the lead then flies off into the sky (genuinely NOT kidding) and now he’s on horseback on a beach, except he's not on horseback, he's floating in the sky and the guy on the horse is controlling him like a kite. THANKFUL this absurdity stopped (for the most part) and the film began to pick up. I have to be honest, as someone who is dyslexic subtitled films aren’t always an easy experience for me. I have to focus a lot. And the downside of Italian actors on film is they a) emote from their head to their toes b) talk very, very quickly. And in this film, sadly, there is A LOT of dialogue. So I’m not only having to read lots of dialogue very quickly, but I’m missing huge parts of their performance because I can’t see what they are doing physically. An hour in I realised how little time I’d spent watching the actual movie because I was so busy reading the subtitles. And for such a visual director as Fellini, that’s a great shame. Some moments still stood out: the sci-fi rocket silhouetted at night against the flood-lights, the circus coming to town, the wisdom of the cardinal in the bathhouse. But so much was missed. Added to that... I just didn’t buy the concept. At all. Maybe cinema has changed so much since the 60s, but I don’t believe a film would have hired all the actors (keeping them in a hotel for weeks), building all the sets and props... and yet the director hasn’t even got a script or knows who is playing what role. It just didn’t feel truthful. Plus I'm not sure how to feel about a film seemingly lauding the creative process and 'art' of a director's mind, while being so dismissive with the actors demanding to see the script, saying they "need time to live as the character". The film treated their feelings as a nuances, and that felt like a rather colossal double standard. Why is his process so sacred, and theirs so inconvenient? And I haven't decided how I feel about the fantasy scenes. I appreciate they were trying to explore how a director's mind works; and it blended truth and fiction very creatively, the point you don't know if he's dead at the end. But it didn't fully click for me. It occurred to me watching this if they turned it into a musical, and the day dreams became the songs (akin to Chicago (2002)) that could be fabulous... ONLY TO FIND OUT there is a Broadway musical called Nine (based off Fellini's ) that does exactly that. And to add to the kismet of the idea Rob Marshall (who directed Chicago) ALSO directed the film adaptation Nine (2009). Ha! Great minds, I guess?

    OVERALL
    I didn’t dislike this film, I just feel I didn’t understand it. Maybe in years to come if I watch it again, I'll find appreciation for it, akin to with the Godfather (1972); which I didn't love until the third viewing. Until said time: the costumes and set by Piero Gherardi were beautiful (and he rightly won the Oscar), the concept of the film was bold and creative... I just didn't feel any connection. To any part of it.
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B]


    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  2. #332
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Default QUICK REVIEWS: three acclaimed films

    THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981)
    dir. Karl Reisz
    Meryl Streep said, of all her performances, this was her least favourite; now THAT peaked my curiosity since she won a BAFTA, Golden Globe and earned an Oscar nomination for it. And it's hard to tell if that statement tainted my view of her work; on the one hand I thought she was still very good, but something felt off. Her voice, some of the poses; it felt... inorganic; like she was directed to sit like that, stand like that, rather than it coming from a natural place within her character. Truthfully I was very confused, regarding the story, for a decent chunk of the film because the two worlds (Victorian England and present day) didn’t seemingly connect in a way that felt natural. I think the idea of delivering the famous “two different endings” from the novel by playing two different time periods, mirroring one another was (on one level) very clever BUT it overrode the entire film purely to solve the issue of the ending. And in so doing damages the entirety of the film. The two story-lines just didn't connect enough. Are we supposed to care about the Victorian era, since it's... acting? The pathos took a hit, due to the construct. A possible (better) solution would have been akin to the Hours (2002); where one of them is reading the book, one is living the book, one is acting out the book for a film. I found the exploration of a man’s need to ‘white knight’ a troubled woman fascinating, and I loved that HE became "the other woman" in the present day. In the end it was effective as a film, but the journey was too muddled for it to be a masterpiece.
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B]

    LE CHARME DISCRET DE LA BOURGEOISIE (1983) ~ the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie ~
    dir. Luis Buñuel
    This was interesting. It is described as a comedy about "middle class people attempting—despite continual interruptions—to dine together." While I understand the theme, I didn't really see that as the reality of the piece. Nor did it really hit home that idea (since it happens over many days, they obviously do eat in-between; so the lack of food consumption feel irrelevant). I have very little contextual knowledge of French history and the nuance of French society; so I felt a lot of the commentary (and humour) went over my head. And while I'm not against absurdism, I was frustrated that the intertwining stories don't really lead anywhere, which made it harder to hold onto anything of substance beyond this 'idea' of satire which I wasn't able to understand. By the end it was just one "it was all a dream" over another; to the point you lose all interest. The performances were overall very good, I especially enjoyed Julien Bertheau as the bishop turned garden (his story, at-least, had resolution). And I can't help but notice Jean-Pierre Cassel (father of Vincent Cassel) seems just as... impressive, in the trouser department. HA!
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B-]

    PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975)
    dir. Peter Weir
    Valentine’s Day, 1900. Four Australian girls and their teacher, from an exclusive Girls Boarding School, disappear while exploring the natural landmark of Hanging Rock. Their disappearance has never been explained... This👏🏻film👏🏻is👏🏻fascinating👏🏻. I was worried, initially that the film would laboriously spent all it's time building up the the disappearance, and in the last five minutes have the shock of the event happen. I was pleasantly surprised. As it turns out it is NOT based on a true story (as the movie makes you believe), but the way it presents this mystery is so crazy it feels real. The accounts, the misdirection, the contradictions; the entire intrigue is utterly engrossing. The downside is in an attempt to weave this web, we sacrifice character and psychology (because the film doesn’t want to give answers). There is just something very compelling and enthralling about these girls in their angelic white period costumes wandering round the outback, as we try to unravel the truth. Curiouser and curiouser; very Alice in Wonderland meets Walkabout (1971). Sadly the performance are sporadic in talent, the young girl complaining the entire trip was giving me Piggy for the Lord of the Flies vibes, while Rachel Roberts excels as the stern headmistress trying to suppress the scandal. Oh, and Dominic Guard’s ass looks sooooo good in his Victorian trousers; not really about acting bt certainly about talent, ha! And I did love the music, it was almost the docile tones of Vangelis meets the wierdness of Atonement (2007). Some gorgeous visuals round out a film that is more fascinating than enjoyable.
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B-]
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  3. #333
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    REVERSAL OF FORTUNE (1990)
    dir. Barbet Schroeder [nom.]
    writer. based on the 1985 non-fictional novel of the same name by Prof. Alan Dershowtitz [nom.]
    Starring: Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons [OSCAR], Ron Silver, Felicity Huffman, Christine Baranski and Uta Hagen

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: Law Professor Alan Dershowitz (Silver) is hired to prove the innocence of European aristocrat Claus von Bülow (Irons), convicted last year of attempting to murder his wife, millionairess Sunny (Close)... resulting in her vegetative coma that will never wake from...

    "It's easier to love someone than live them them. Love is fantasy. Living is work. But if you don't do the work, the love dies." ~ Sarah

    THOUGHTS: Jeremy Irons won Best Actor for his very controlled performance of real life Claus von Bülow; and I have to hand it to him, he was excellent. Where other actors would give into their emotions to convey intent, Irons uses stillness and silence to say all he means when it comes ot this very complex individual. It was (oddly) a fascinating look into the reality of Niles & Maris’ relationship in TV's Frasier. We laughed at all the jokes of this joyless socialite who doesn’t eat and pops pills like candy; but the reality of a woman deeply unhappy and bored of life... it’s was painfully unsettling. I also LOVE that the film doesn't try to decide if he did it or not, because it's not about his 'innocence'. It's focused on giving everyone the right to a fair trial. The importance of law and order. And there is a wonderful subplot involving comparisons between Dershowitz's two cases: this rich white aristocrat who might have done it, and these two completely innocent black youths facing the death penalty. Because while the film is championing the right to a fair trial, it ALSO makes the point... but black people aren't given a fair trial. That is more topical now than ever before, and I found it very profound that even 30 years ago WE KNEW! WE KNEW that it wasn't fair, and nothing has been done to change that. While I enjoyed the majority of the performances as well as the story and concept, I found a lot of fault in the actual filmmaking. I didn’t love the 'knowing' Desperate Housewives voice-over that appeared so sporadically; it should have been cut, and a more creative way found to unfold the tale. On the subject of Desperate Housewives, a young Felicity Huffman appears in the film and, truthfully, she wasn't very good. I didn’t love the directing either; some of the fades to black and montages date it terribly. Add in some shake-y camera work and poor editing (people noticeably move between shots to different areas of the room); at times it felt like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie; rather than an Oscar winning Hollywood film.

    OVERALL
    A very enthralling true story, with the right balance of mystery and fact to make it entertaining to watch. Both Jeremy Iron and Glenn Close give bold performances, and I have adored Ron Silver's effortless excellence since TV's the West Wing. It's a shame the directing let down the overall product.
    ★★★★☆ [grade: B+]


    FUN FACT: the characters of Claus and Sunny in the 1999 children's book series A Series of Unfortunate Events were named after the real life Claus and Sunny in this story.
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-19-2020 at 09:11 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  4. #334
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    NOMADLAND (2020) [OSCAR]
    dir. Chloé Zhao [OSCAR]
    writer. based on Jessica Bruder's 2017 non-fiction book "Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century" [nom.]
    Starring: Frances McDormand [OSCAR] and David Strathairn

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: 2011, Empire, Nevada. After the death of her husband and the lose of her job, Fern (McDormand) decides to sell most of her belongings and purchases a van to live in and travel the country searching for work.

    THOUGHTS: There is a difference between films I love, and films I admire. I was certainly enthralled by this quasi-documentary style; and I wanted to know the process. Many of the nomads in the film, such as Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells ARE REAL! These are real people, telling us about their genuine reality... yet they play along with the make-believe of Fern. Seamlessly, almost. How did Chloé Zhao navigate this balance of fiction and non-fiction, truth and lies; when did she give into the make-believe and when did she embrace reality? It's exciting to think about. Did she have two cameras set up to captures Frances McDormand's reaction, or is that filmed secondary (because you can't expect non-actors to do take-after-take of their story and have any form of genuine emotion attached). And on that topic; colossal credit to Frances McDormand for all of her effortless humanity and honesty. It could not have been easy doing this, hearing these stories and building genuine bonds with all of them while also bringing a level of deception to their lives; so I applaud her, celebrate her, and am thrilled she is now the most decorated living actress (with three Best Actress wins under her belt). And I did not feel she was out of place; I believed Fern, her struggle, her need to be away from a world that has taken so much from her. This issue isn't the level of fascination, for me it lacked purpose and clarity. While the quasi-documentary element is the USP of the entire film, it's also the downfall. This is NOT a documentary, because so much of the plot surrounds a fictional character; and therefore it needed stronger closure, and more questions answered. If you look at some of the greatest documentary filmmakers like Louise Theroux or Stacey Dooley, they intentionally detach their own opinions from whatever story they are exploring, to give impartiality; allowing the audience to decide and contemplate the real truth. But this isn't a documentary; and therefore the end game cannot be the same. I needed opinions. I needed a statement. And I was left... concept-less. It posed a lot of questions, gave very few answers and left me feeling quite unfulfilled.

    OVERALL
    One of the more unique films I've seen in recent years, almost documentary in style. But unlike a documentary grounds too much of the film in fiction, then leaves you without solid conclusions (like in a documentary). A powerful critique of capitalist America, with a very original (if ultimately unsuccessful) concept; carried by Frances McDormand's Oscar winning humanity.
    ~ rating: ★★★☆☆ [grade: B]


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PARASITE (2019) [OSCAR]
    dir. Bong Joon-ho [OSCAR]
    writer. Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won [OSCAR]
    Starring: Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin and Lee Jung-eun

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: the deceptive and poverty stricken Kim family slowly infiltrate the household of the wealthy Park family; manipulating the entire set-up to their favour through betrayal and lies... but like a House of Cards, it will inevitably collapse...

    THOUGHTS: The first truly foreign film to win Best Picture at the Oscars (while “the Artist(2011) was technically French, its 99% a silent film and therefore more ‘acceptable’ to the voters). It’s a very interesting concept, exploring class divide and poverty; and despite the family being unrepentant charlatans I found myself rooting for them. It definitely takes time to get going, much like “Dogville(2003), the slow pace of the set-up is necessary because the pay off works brilliantly. And the entire ensemble impressed me (which is credit to the director), though I didn’t really have a stand out (possibly Lee Jung-eun as the much maligned housekeeper). But is the film a masterpiece? The simple answer is no, but it’s close. It reminds me a lot of “Magnolia” (1999); strong set-up, disappointing ending but a middle section that is STUNNING! That entire night segment was captivating; shocking, darkly funny, fascinating. Those 40 minutes were a masterpiece and I was rooted to my seat in awe. It’s just such a shame the ending, while full of lots of ideas... didn’t work for me; it felt sloppy and rushed. Chaos only works on film when it’s meticulously mapped out, this needed some refining. Too many ideas, not enough precision; but an enjoyable journey none the less. Lastly major props to cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo; some truly exquisite shots (but against “1917(2019) sadly he didn’t stand a chance to win that Oscar).

    OVERALL
    A compelling web of lies weaves a wonderful film together, with a middle act that is... just incredible. The darkest of comedies, with a wicked streak of schadenfreude infused through-out. It just contained too much chaos at the end to really leave you satisfied; but I applaud the cast for delivering a fantastically acted ensemble. It was excellent!
    ~ rating: ★★★★☆ [grade: A-]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-06-2021 at 04:31 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  5. #335
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Added to my "Top 100"

    DER BLAUE ENGEL (1930) ~ the Blue Angel ~
    dir. Josef von Sternberg
    writer. adapted from Heinrich Mann's 1905 novel Professor Unrat
    Starring: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti and Hans Albers

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: Prof. Immanuel Rath (Jennings) is diligently trying to keep his high-school students on the path to greatness, so when he finds a group of them are spending their nights at the infamous "Blue Angel" cabaret bar, he determinedly goes there to confront them...

    THOUGHTS: What a stunning, shocking, beautiful film. This was Marlene Dietrich’s first ‘sound’ film, having come up through the silent era of cinema, but you wouldn’t know it. She is captivating as the disarming Lola; so modern in her performance, so electric! And her songs are real showstoppers; it's all about how she performs them; rather than pleasing tones or sweet lyrical pleasure. Equally impressive is Emil Jannings as the misguided, but doomed professor. His arc is brilliant, I believed every stage of his devolution and... goodness he broke my heart. The contrast of humour and love in his chicken call, which by the end has been transformed into something so uncomfortable. It's really very clever; and stays with you long after the sound dissipates. Several shots (esp. in the alley) reminded me of “the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari(1920), and the creativity of the costumes really made me chuckle, cabaret ladies take note: THIS is how you do a reveal! The film works best as "A Cautionary Tale"; the metaphor of a classroom setting to explore class divide is very clear without ever seeming ham-fisted. I don't feel it's against mixing of social classes, more a gentle warning against mistaking lust for love and where that can leas. Anyway, I'm trying not to spoil too much, it’s on BFI Player, go watch it. It’s a masterpiece.

    OVERALL
    An incredibly sweet and funny story, that takes the most unexpected (and dark) twist. Beautifully shot, exquisitely acted; a truly gorgeous piece of cinema that will haunt you for many days after.
    ~ rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ [grade: A++]


    N.B. added to my "Top 100"

    FUN FACT: Emil Jannings is the first ever recipient of the Oscar for Best Actor for "the Last Command" (1928), and (as of 2020) remains the only German actor to win it.
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-06-2021 at 06:42 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  6. #336

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    Of your list I really enjoyed these
    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    Kieran Frost's "100 Greatest Films"
    1. 12 angry men (1957)
    2. Alien (1979)
    3. Dirty Harry (1971)
    4. Life of Pi (2012)
    5. My Fair Lady (1964)
    6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
    7. the Shawshank Redemption (1993)
    8. the Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    9. the Terminator (1984)
    10. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
    Looks like I'm not that much into highly regarded films.
    TRUTH, JUSTICE, HOPE
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  7. #337
    Astonishing Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    I think one should wait a decade before bringing a movie less than five years old into the conversation of best movies of all time.

    It's great that you included The Devils on your list. I personally think that Ken Russell competes with Kubrick and Bergman as possibly the "greatest movie director" of all time. Though I contend that Velentino, The Rainbow, and The Music Lovers, are as good as The Devils, if not better.
    Last edited by Timothy Hunter; 06-07-2021 at 06:21 PM.

  8. #338
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed Force League Unlimited View Post
    Of your list I really enjoyed these
    Looks like I'm not that much into highly regarded films.
    Firstly, I'd say my list is hardly the epitome of 'high regard'; some would scoff at a lot of my choices, but I pick the films I feel are 'the greatest' not ones I'm told I should think are the greatest. Secondly, YOU DO YOU! Don't ever pretend to like a film you don't enjoy. It's perfectly possible to appreciate art, yet find yourself not excited by it. Love the films you love and never ever apologise for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Hunter View Post
    I think one should wait a decade before bringing a movie less than five years old into the conversation of best movies of all time.
    Well... I understand the logic of that, in some regard. But (for me) I don't factor in 'iconicness' or 'game changer' or 'longevity' into whether I think a film is one of the best. A completely unknown film could be a masterpiece you adore, the fact it never shaped society, or made it into popular culture/reference doesn't meant it's not one of the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Hunter View Post
    It's great that you included The Devils on your list. I personally think that Ken Russell competes with Kubrick and Bergman as possibly the "greatest movie director" of all time. Though I contend that Velentino, The Rainbow, and The Music Lovers, are as good as The Devils, if not better.
    I've not seen any other Ken Russell movies, much to my shame. I would love to see more, so added those three to my 'watch list'. Thank-you for the recommendation. I've seen nearly all of Kubrick, but not Bergman (though I love "the Seventh Seal").
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  9. #339
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Default Four Recent Animated Films... All A Little 'MEH'

    ONWARD (2020)
    dir. Dan Scanlon
    I do admire Pixar movies; while not as consistently brilliant like Studio Ghibli, they always manage to deliver heart in the finale. And this was no exception. The premise of this (which I will not spoil) is certainly unique. I love the post-magic fantasy world; where pixies forgot they used to fly and centaurs no longer gallop. And the D&D mirroring is super fun. But it needed a subplot, it needed more than a paint-by-numbers coming-of-age journey. And while I did have all the feels by the end, I wasn’t inspired in the journey. I didn’t ache to see more of this world - despite a great setting - unlike with, say, “Zootropolis(2016) where I just want to stay there forever. It just... lacked boldness. It was VERY SAFE storytelling, which is surprising consider the concept is so out-there. That said Marvel alumni Tom Holland and Chris Pratt are super fun as the brothers and it’s of-course beautifully animated. It’s better than “Finding Dory(2016) but not in the league of “Brave(2012) (and Brave isn’t exactly a masterpiece either).
    ~ rating: ★★★☆☆ [grade: B-]

    OVER THE MOON (2020)
    dir. Glen Keane
    In 2017 director Glen Keane shared Best Animated Short at the Oscars with Kobe Bryant for "Dear Basketball", but ultimately Keane's greatest claim to fame is designing and animating Ariel in "the Little Mermaid" (1989). In fact he was the supervising animator for Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Tarzan (to name but a few); it is no surprise he was made an official 'Disney Legend' in 2013 for his wonderful work. BUT this is his debut feature animated film and.... is has a lot of problems. The fact he's only done short films before shows; because this is a stretccccccccccccccched out paper thin plot. And if it seems odd I haven't really talked about the film yet, there's a reason for it: there's not much to talk about. The lead is very unlikable, the plotting cliché, the characters stock. And the songs... ooof... put it this way, none of the songs were up for Best Original Song at the Oscars DESPITE it being a very weak year for songs. "Eurovision Song Contest" (2020) was nominated for Best Song that year, and this was not. What does that tell you? The one bright spark in this is Chang'e, the Moon Goddess (voiced by Tony Award nominated Phillipa Anne Soo, famously belting out "Burn" as the long suffering Eliza in the original Broadway cast of "Hamilton"). While her song was COMPLETELY out-of-synch with the rest of the score, it was still the best moment of the film. And her costumes... yassssss kween! The film should have been about her, it would have been infinitely more interesting.
    ~ rating: ★★☆☆☆ [grade: C-]

    RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (2021)
    dir. Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada
    There is a lot to admire. It's Disney, OF COURSE it is beautifully rendered and detailed. "Mulan" (1998) meets "the Mandalorian"; and it did give me the feels by the end with a story that kept me interested despite a very formulaic plot. But WHAT A MISSED OPPORTUNITY!!! Why, why, why make this 'cutesy' and 'comical' so much? This is a world devastated, where most kids are orphans because all their parents are turned to stone, people starving because you can't go out of the city walls to pick rice... it's basically a Mad Max-esq level of screwed. They shouldn't have gone for so many 'ba-doom-CHA'/'yak yak yak' moments (esp. because most of them didn't work). And the lead character... goodness she's unlikable. At the inevitable showdown between Raya and Namaari I literally didn't care who wins the fight, they both left me so cold. It sounds like this is a fail, and it's not. It's perfectly entertaining, but the dialogue especially is very... 'message of the week' in a 90s cartoon TV series. Pretty depthless, spelling everything out, leaving NO subtlety, and preachingly moralistic. It's also very predicable... every plot point I guessed ten minutes before it happened. Thankful much needed joy and originality is breathed into the film by Awkwafina's gorgeous last dragon, Sisu. She's giving me Whoopi Goldberg in her prime with warmth and energy and life and passion. A fantastic voice performance, kudos kudos kudos. Watch it, enjoy it, but appreciate that this could have been a masterpiece if only Disney had allowed it to be bolder. Lastly, special shout-out to Pixar alumni Alan Tudyk's ADORABLE Tuk Tuk. Truly one of the best sidekicks Disney has had in a long, long time.
    ~ rating: ★★★☆☆ [grade: B-]

    SOUL (2020)
    dir. Pete Docter
    From the director of "Inside Out" (2015) this is a fascinating interpretation of the journey a soul makes before life and after death; sensibly putting in a loop hole that buys them an out from any logic traps they might fall into. And what a brave concept to kill the lead character so early; I really appreciated that bold spark. And much like "Inside Out" the creative 'soul land' had wonderful Picasso influences and imagination overflowing in philosophical interpretations of how souls 'exist' outside the body. And in true Francis from "Deadpool" (2016) style, the name Jerry NEVER gets old. HAHAHAHA! I applaud the originality, and the film took me places I didn't expect, he didn't learn he was a great jazz musician, he didn't come back to life... but... gosh darn it, this film lacked a cathartic release. Jamie Foxx and (an unrecognizable) Tina Fey do a marvelous job, but it's not their fault the film hinges on applauding him being 'a great inspire(r)' when... NO! No, he was a terrible inspiration, SHE made all the choices, SHE lead the charge, SHE learnt to appreciate all life could have to offer. I know it's very woke to go on about man-splaining, but she literally did all the work, and he took all the credit. That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    ~ rating: ★★★☆☆ [grade: B]
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-10-2021 at 03:09 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  10. #340
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    ONCE UPON A TIME... IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) [nom.]
    dir. Quentin Tarantino [nom.]
    writer. Quentin Tarantino [nom.]
    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio [nom.], Brad Pitt [OSCAR], Margo Robbie and Margaret Qualley

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: Hollywood, 1969. Western television star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) is trying to rejuvenate his fading career by shifting to 'Spaghetti Westerns' in Italy; but his new neighbours Sharon Tate (Robbie) and Roman Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha) could make such a move unnecessary...

    THOUGHTS: Quentin Tarantino, at his core, is a lover of cinema who spends his career paying homage to films that influenced and inspired him through-out his life. And yet in this, I think he's created his most mature and beautiful work, finally breaking free from reverence, and forging his own path. YES, the ending is very Tarantino, but everything before then is a detailed, subtle dissection of fame, Hollywood, aging, of dreams and the unfulfillment of ambition. And I hope he continues this insightfulness in his final two films. The heart of the movie is Leonardo DiCaprio, and my goodness he's exquisite. This is (possibly) my favourite Leo performance, right up there with "the Wolf of Wallstreet" (2013) and "Django Unchained" (2012). I was enraptured by this broken man with colossal talent; fighting to stay relevant with a reverence for acting, true acting. The best segment of the entire film was the 'film within a film' western segment; exploring both the talent of this character that is an actor (and of Leo himself). It was BRILLIANT! It's everything "the Hateful Eight" (2015) failed to deliver. But this is a film about partnership, and Leo's foil is the ever fantastic Brad Pitt, delivering his career best as well, but in a very different way. While Leo is all about displaying every nuance of his character, chewing the scenery in the best possible way... Pitt gives away almost nothing while containing a huge amount of detail and subtlety. It's his most mature performance, and MY GOODNESS at 54 he looks... just... out of this world beautiful. The most beautiful man alive!!! But this is not a movie solely reliant upon star performances to captivate; the film carries with it a certain menace, and foreboding that I love, and makes a lot of the 'seemingly innocuous' moments (like Sharon Tate watching her own film in the cinema) tinged with sadness and horror. And despite [SPOILER!!!] Tarantino pulling an "Inglorious B*stards" (2009) and changing history, the cruelty of that reality still remains. It perfectly captures that 'fairy-tale need' when you are 'Once Upon A Time...' Nothing sums up Hollywood better than make-believe, so the 'Hollywood ending' for Sharon Tate (and Rick Dalton) is utterly fitting. My only question: would this film have that key foreboding if I didn't know what happened to Sharon Tate? If I didn't know who Charles Manson was? (since the film never tells you about either truth) I cannot answer that, but even without this element you still have a beautifully shot, beautifully acted 60s celebration of free love and innocence.

    OVERALL
    Tarantino is in his element, celebrating "Once Upon A Time... in the West" (1968) while still forging his own path, built around two powerhouse performances in Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. An irreverent fairy-tale that delivers the most mature outing from Tarantino, though there are a lot of driving shots... is that an LA thing? A minor critique.
    ~ rating: ★★★★★ [grade: A]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-14-2021 at 01:53 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  11. #341
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    LUCA (2021)
    dir. Enrico Casarosa
    writer. Jesse Andrews & Mike Jones
    Voice Talent: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Jim Gaffigan and Maya Rudolph

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: Teenage sea monster Luca (Tremblay) lives off the Italian coastal city of Portorosso, spending his days herding goatfish... until a chance encounter with land loving sea monster Alberto (Grazer) changes his life forever...

    THOUGHTS: this will be an odd review, because little will be focused on the film, but the overall message (or lack there of). It left me with feelings similar to "When Marnie Was There" (2014); how if you take away the (supposed non-existent) romantic element the plot is left lifeless and void of detailing. According to the director this is NOT a gay coming-of-age romance... merely a platonic friendship. But I fundamentally don't understand what they were going for if not that? From establishing how helpless he feels on the bike, and only relaxes when Antonio rides with him, holding him safe; to planning a life together away from their family, which is okay because they'll have each other and only each other, to getting jealous when a girl takes Luca's attention away from him... it just... makes no sense if it's not romantic. It reminds me of actors who play Antonio in "Twelfth Night" with only platonic feelings for Sebastian, his actions and everything he risks is a HUGE stretch for a guy he just met... if he wasn't romantically interested. A kid willing to run away from his family and his whole life with another boy he barely knows, to spend THE REST OF HIS LIFE with only said boy for the reason of 'we've a week long friendship' is a little hard to swallow. It's fine to have a thread bare plot when you spend time on details and character development (that's just as important in progressing a story as plot) but we established the device 'they're friends' very quickly. Everything after that, if not evolving into romance... is... not development. They were friends after ten minutes of the film, nothing to develop, so now we have another 70 minutes left filled by 'let's win a race'. COME ON! Word for word this is what I concluded my review of "When Marnie Was There" and it's as true here as it was then: "Take out the blossoming romance, and this plot... is sort of adrift. So why make such a no-nothing concept into a film? I just don't get it..."

    OVERALL
    Either a very gentle, simple dipping of a toe into the LGBT+ pond... or a bit of a waste of space. Either a beautifully crafted subterfuge of a romance or a thread bare plot crying out for details. You decide. Animation was pretty and it nonetheless entertained me. The end.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B]


    REVIEW OF "WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE": https://community.cbr.com/showthread...=1#post2769485

    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    I have a list of films to get through, I've never seen (to name a few): City Lights (1931), the Great Dictator (1940), Modern Times (1936), Amores Perros (2000), the Blues Brothers (1980), Sunrise (1927), the Best Years of Our Lives (1946), the Battle of Algiers (1966), 8 1/2 (1963), Persona (1966), la Strada (1954), Avatar (2009), Tokyo Story (1953), Dead Poets Society (1989), Ghost in the Shell (1995), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Talk to Her (2002), the Wages of Fear (1953), Sherlock Jr (1924), the Gold Rush (1925), Three Colours: Red (1994), Ikira (1952), Bicycle Thieves (1948). I could go on. The list is huge. No-one can see them all, as long as we slowly tick off many of the greats, we can consider ourselves versed in cinema. Plus finding some of them is HARD (unless you want to spend a fortune).
    Looking back for my "When Marnie Was There" review I found this, and it's quite nice to see I've ticked off a few of them since then (one's in BOLD I've now seen)
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

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