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 33.33%
  • 2. the Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    13 12.38%
  • 3. Apocalypse Now! (1979)

    6 5.71%
  • 4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

    8 7.62%
  • 5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

    8 7.62%
  • 6. Blade Runner (1982)

    20 19.05%
  • 7. C’era una volta il West (1968)

    3 2.86%
  • 8. the Third Man (1949)

    5 4.76%
  • 9. BEN-HUR (1959)

    3 2.86%
  • 10. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

    4 3.81%
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  1. #316
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    THE COLLECTOR (1965)
    dir. William Wyler [nom.]
    writer. adapted from John Fowles' 1963 novel of the same name [nom.]
    Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar [nom.] and Maurice Dallimore

    "I'll tell you something. There'd be a blooming lot more of this if more people had the time and the money!" ~ Fredrick

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: wealthy loner Fredrick Clegg (Stamp) stumbles across an abandoned manor house in the country while out searching for butterflies; and upon discovering the cellar attached to the house... starts to plan the kidnapping of beautiful art scholar Miranda (Eggar).

    THOUGHTS: I stumbled upon this quite by accident on Netflix, I saw it starred Terence Stamp; now to me Stamp will always be Bernadette in the Adventures of Priscilla; Queen of the Desert (1994); but much like Lord Attenborough in Brighton Rock (1948) I enjoy immersing myself in their early work, when they were merely "bright young things". And joyously, upon the credits rolling I was delighted to see William Wyler's name pop-up as director. This is his 12th (and final) nomination as Best Director (having previously won for Mrs Miniver (1942), the Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Ben Hur (1959); two of which are in my "Top 100"). So I had high expectations... and it delivered. This is not an easy topic to explore; it cannot be one note, it cannot maintain any semblance of interest if all they deliver is "she wants to escape." And so it's the peeling of layer upon layer of complexity that makes it fascinating and unusual. This film would make a wonderful stage play. About 80% of it takes place within Miranda's cellar prison; giving great scope for the two actors to dual it out (metaphorically, and occasionally literally) with words, wit and weapons. William Wyler has directed 14 people into acting Oscars, he knows how to tease every drop of talent from his actors, and in his hands it's magical. The tension never drops, thanks to Wyler; and that scene in the bathtube is 20 minutes of pure old school Hollywood suspense, echoing the very best of Hitchcock. Imagery too is very strong, the choice of black and white for the flashback, and him carrying her in the dress into the bedroom, echoing carrying a bride across the threshold, but in a far more sinister context. Kudos. Scripturaly it's excellent too, from the author behind the Magus and the French Lieutenant's Woman; the development of class war within the story was a delightful addition; again creating more context and nuance to Fredrick. Fueling his motivation beyond "just" a sadist into almost a revenge piece of his allotment in life. And I greatly enjoyed learning of the Tempest connection, the idea he's akin to Caliban holding Miranda in his rocky lair. And this neatly brings us to Fredrick himself. Terence Stamp is EXCELLENT. It's flavoured with a little bit of Billy Liar, a little Asperger, even a little Norman Bates (before his conception, of course). Playing someone who is both believable as a determined, methodical kidnapper and yet (through necessity) still keep him interesting, with enough innocence behind the eyes that the possibility of some (bizarre) simpatico might exist. That glimmer must exist, otherwise Miranda is put in a near impossible task of convincing us of her reasons for some of her actions. And that moves us to Samatha Eggar; who delivers possibly the stronger of the two performances. Both are challenging in their complexity, but she has even less scope of flexibility and motive, as the victim. And in this confined box of a character (beautifully mirroring the enclosure of her cell), she must use every tactic available to carve out some sort of life. I found her utterly compelling. It's such a shame Samantha Eggar didn't flourish to greater heights after this, because her talent is undeniable. I did SQUEAL when I realised she played Picard's sister-in-law in Star Trek: the Next Generation, only because I always thought that actress did a bloody good job in the role. So very happy to have seen her best work. And she voiced Hera in Disney's Hercules (1997), a minor bit of voice work, but memorable and impressive nonetheless. My only pause was the music, at times I thought Maurice Jarre did a fantastic job adding to the atmosphere; building to the scream and that eerie silence afterwards was brilliant... but at other moments it felt... disjointed. Almost merry, or nonchalant; such juxtaposition can work, but here it just came off as out of place.

    OVERALL
    A surprising, unknown gem of a film. Not an easy subject to add complexity and layers to, but William Wyler skillfully draws out depth and believablity to this cat-and-mouse situation. Both stars deliver excellent performances, with Samantha Eggar shining brightest as the captured victim. A bold, daring film that delivers right to the very end.
    ~ rating: 4 out of 5 [grade: A-]


    FUN FACT: William Wyler is the only director of three Best Picture wins

    Quote Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
    Satoshi Kon's four films: Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue and Paprika are definite musts then. Perfect Blue served as the primary inspiration for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and some sequences in Requiem for a Dream while Paprika inspired Christopher Nolan's Inception. A word of caution though. Both Perfect Blue and Paprika veer on the disturbing side.
    Added to my list, thankyou. Disturbing as in mind-f*ck like Polanski's the Tenant (1976) or disturbing like torture-porn films like the Hostel series?

    Quote Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
    And have you watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower?
    I don't watch anything with Emma Watson in, I'm afraid. She ruins films. Literally drags good films into mediocre by destroying any realism or focus with the cardboard characters she "develops" and broken delivery of lines.
    #that'stheT
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 04-14-2018 at 09:22 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."

  2. #317
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    If you allow me i will speak my mind where i disagree. I think your criticisms are broadly speaking correct. But they aren't really problems to me. You are right that there are a lot of similarities to New Hope. But i am all for nostalgia if it works well. And it really worked for me. Ever since the Return of The Jedi i had not enjoyed Star Wars this much. Maybe one part is because it was similar. The prequels were really boring to me. They had good visuals and i liked some parts of it. But overall it was meh. But to finally see Star Wars which felt like Star Wars is one reason i hold it in high regard. Other reason is it being a really enjoyable film. I had a great time.

    I loved Rey's character. See was quite like Luke Skywalker. (And cute. lol). What works for me is that she was like the audience surrogate. She is a Star Wars fan. She lives in a Star Wars bed. She knows Star Wars as a story like us. Only difference being that for her that's actual history. She would be filled with wonder on seeing Han Solo.

    And i actually loved the last shot. For the first time i have heard a criticism like this. Its like Rey who on part of us fans want Luke Skywalker back. We want him back and be a hero as he once was. I can see why you disliked it. But for me it had the opposite effect. The best way to end the film.
    Thank-you for your reply, I think overall the biggest difference is the nostalgia worked for you, and not for me; and I assume that comes down to our level of fandom. You see Rey as a surrogate fan, and it would have never occurred to me to think of her as that; because I don't think beyond the film with this franchise. As I said, I do have a soft spot for Star Wars, but I'd never call myself a "fan" (I'm much more a Trekkie than a Jedi)

    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    I have no problems with her beating Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren was injured by Chewbaca's blaster. That thing was so powerful that it was throwing away people across rooms. On top of that its shown that Rey is not the average guy as Luke Skywalker was in New Hope. She had survived by herself on a planet like Jakku. She's tough. She knows how to fight. (In an earlier scene she easily beat up two guys sent by Unkar, who tried to kidnap BB-8 by using her staff in seconds. She knows how to use a staff). And she actually beat Kylo after she tapped into the Force. Before that she was barely able to hold herself against an injured Kylo Ren.
    It doesn't matter about the force, Han Solo was tough, but against Darth Vadar he wouldn't have stood a chance. Neither would Leia (and she had the force). The force doesn't make you a great sword fighter, and her staff is still a very different weapon to a lightsaber. Hell even a great swordfighter with a rapier, hand him or her a two handed broadsword and they wouldn't be able to stand long against someone TRAINED to use a two-handed sword. It just... no. It was absurd, and robbed Kylo of any danger now. He's now (to me) a pathetic villain, because a novice can beat him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    Finn being beaten up by a stormtrooper is not really surprising. Stormtroopers aren't known as really good fighters. And even then Poe looked like someone new. Rey has learnt a lot of stuff by surviving on that planet by herself since childhood. On top of that she has force abilities. This explanation works for me.
    True, he is a Stormtrooper at the end of the day. But it's the contrast of feats. Rey gets to go above and beyond anything that reasonably should be within her capability, but Finn doesn't? It just seems very disjointed and unfair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    I did not find Poe to be a deep character like you. But i loved his character. He lightened up the screen every time he was present. My favorite part being him and Finn escaping at the beginning.
    To be clear, I don't necessarily think Poe's deep as written, more I think Isaac bring a lot to the character, and creates the illusion of layered subtext. And yes, hs chemistry with Finn was great. I finally understand all the shipping they got as a couple. But it'll never happen. Disney. Star Wars. JJ Abrams. These are not three things that push the boundaries of LGBT+ representation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Soubhagya View Post
    Apart from 'The Last Jedi', keep an eye upon 'Rogue One'. I thought it was great. And that one is free from the criticisms you have made here about Force Awakens. Especially your main gripe about Force Awakens being same to Star Wars.
    Again, due to the complete absence of LGBT+ characters, I'll have to wait till one of my friends owns it to watch it.
    "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. #318
    Astonishing Member Soubhagya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    Thank-you for your reply, I think overall the biggest difference is the nostalgia worked for you, and not for me; and I assume that comes down to our level of fandom. You see Rey as a surrogate fan, and it would have never occurred to me to think of her as that; because I don't think beyond the film with this franchise. As I said, I do have a soft spot for Star Wars, but I'd never call myself a "fan" (I'm much more a Trekkie than a Jedi)
    So, you a Trekkie! I have not watched anything from Star Trek. Star Wars is really prominent. Even for someone who is far across the globe its easy to know and be a part of it. I remember watching the prequels first, and i had no idea that they were prequels then. I thought they were remakes. Star Wars releases would be on papers. Their hype goes beyond what one shall reasonably expect from a 40 year old franchise.

    To be honest its my reading after sometime. After i have watched it three times. My first two viewings were enjoyable because i simply found it enjoyable.

    It doesn't matter about the force, Han Solo was tough, but against Darth Vadar he wouldn't have stood a chance. Neither would Leia (and she had the force). The force doesn't make you a great sword fighter, and her staff is still a very different weapon to a lightsaber. Hell even a great swordfighter with a rapier, hand him or her a two handed broadsword and they wouldn't be able to stand long against someone TRAINED to use a two-handed sword. It just... no. It was absurd, and robbed Kylo of any danger now. He's now (to me) a pathetic villain, because a novice can beat him.
    Rey learning to use a light saber as she knows how to use a staff is a stretch. I would admit that. But then its not very far from Luke knowing how to operate an X-wing in New Hope because he knew how to fly a Bush fighter. There is a difference between flying a plane and using the same to fight in battle conditions. Its not very far from how Star Wars has been so far.

    I can't really argue against you about Kylo Ren. For your information i shall reveal something from 'The Last Jedi' which addresses this to an extent. Snoke chides Kylo. Saying he has too much of his father's heart in him. The deed (murdering his father in cold blood) split his spirit to the bone. He was 'unbalanced'. And bested by a girl who had never held a light saber before.

    True, he is a Stormtrooper at the end of the day. But it's the contrast of feats. Rey gets to go above and beyond anything that reasonably should be within her capability, but Finn doesn't? It just seems very disjointed and unfair.
    Can't argue against you. It was not a problem for me as the reasoning has been given.

    To be clear, I don't necessarily think Poe's deep as written, more I think Isaac bring a lot to the character, and creates the illusion of layered subtext. And yes, hs chemistry with Finn was great. I finally understand all the shipping they got as a couple. But it'll never happen. Disney. Star Wars. JJ Abrams. These are not three things that push the boundaries of LGBT+ representation.
    I absolutely agree. Oscar Issac plays Poe simply too well.

    Again, due to the complete absence of LGBT+ characters, I'll have to wait till one of my friends owns it to watch it.
    Its alright. Keep an eye on such friends. But then you are doing it already.

  4. #319
    Post Editing OCD Confuzzled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    Added to my list, thankyou. Disturbing as in mind-f*ck like Polanski's the Tenant (1976) or disturbing like torture-porn films like the Hostel series?
    My pleasure. And definitely more in the vein of The Tenant lol. There is some gore but those two films (Perfect Blue and Paprika) are more psychologically disturbing. The other two (Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium Actress) are far more brighter and hopeful. So based on that, you can decide the order you want to watch them in.


    I don't watch anything with Emma Watson in, I'm afraid. She ruins films. Literally drags good films into mediocre by destroying any realism or focus with the cardboard characters she "develops" and broken delivery of lines.
    #that'stheT
    LMAO ok. I personally think Perks is her best performance though. Still, she isn't as prominent in the film as her co-stars who give outstanding performances, especially Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller. I recommend giving it a try, especially to fans of films with strong LGBT characters and poignant coming of age storylines.

  5. #320
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    It's been a while. I actually stopped doing reviews, because I was find reviewing them on here very consuming. It was becoming less a hobby and starting to feel like work (if that makes sense?). I even stopped watching new films (new to me, at-least), to avoid the issue of having to write reviews here. So instead of writing a review of every film I've seen (which isn't good for my soul), instead I'll review films that make it into my "Top 100", and films that won Best Picture (and maybe a few special films that stand out such a major LGBT+ films or anything by Studio Ghibli). And as I have two films to add into my "Top 100" AND both are up for the Oscars today... it felt fitting to reboot this thread.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1917 (2019) [nom.]
    written & directed. Sam Mendes [nom.]
    Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott and Colin Firth

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: April 6th, 1917. Lance Corporals Blake (Chapman) and Schofield (MacKay) have orders to travel across no-man's land, and stop the Devonshire Regiment from walking into a planned ambush.

    THOUGHTS
    What made Birdman (2016) special was it had a "gimmick" but one that a) worked for the film, as it's mirroring the world of stage, in that theatre is 'one take' and doesn't stop b) the film is so much more than said "gimmick." It was brilliantly acted, the scripting was fantastic, and it was utterly playful and beautifully made. So to make another 'one take' film that works to that level and yet still feels organic and original is a tall order. And 1917 achieved that, because it was STUNNING! I have never, ever seen the horrors of war so perfectly conveyed. It's relentless. By not cutting away from the action means you don't get any relief from the ceaseless brutality, the unending trauma of life on the front lines. It's a necessary cruelty to the audience and it works perfectly. AND YET they are brave enough to not be inflexible in this "gimmick" (in a clever way I won't spoil). Now cards on the table: I'm not a massive fan of war films, to keep my attention they have to engage me in a way that most fail to (playing the bugle slowly and talking about duty won't interest me). The "one take" is the hook that brings a fresh idea to a war film, but it is Sam Mendes' trademark visuals that elevate this for me. It was a feast for the eyes, cleverly introducing us to many 'worlds' of colour, texture and variety; despite it being limited to one style of location. I was a huge fan of his (criminally underrated) movie Jarhead (2005), that was also a visually delicious film, BUT in 1917 it's a more mature treat. The subtlety of passing into the white chalk walls, or the slowly falling blossom into the river is less heavy handed (and therefore more impactful) than, say, a horse walking out the darkness coated in oil (a beautiful surprise in Jarhead, but one lacking nuance). Lastly, considering how topical the complaints about Oscar "snubbing" has become, how is no-one outraged for George MacKay? He was INCREDIBLE! Just on a technical level, learning all that blocking in such detail is as impressive as Natalie Portman re-learning ballet for Black Swan (2011). And from an emotional level he holds the whole film together. He doesn't cave to an easy "heart-on-sleeve" performance, he keeps it all so tight, and bottled inside; being very tactical in when he opens up. That moment where he's pushing the truck out of the mud, letting all his pent-up sorrow pour out in such a specific burst of energy... just heart-breaking. It's an immensely impressive tour de force; and one I cannot praise enough.

    OVERALL
    Pure genius. Everything about this concept, how the story is told, and the dedication to this idea (but not being intractable to it) works for me; it's truly a masterpiece. An instant classic, and (possibly) the best war film since All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).
    ~ rating: 5 out of 5 [grade: A++]


    N.B. added to my "Top 100"
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MARRIAGE STORY (2019) [nom.]
    written & directed. Noah Baumbach [nom.]
    Starring: Adam Driver [nom.], Scarlett Johansson [nom.], Laura Dern [OSCAR], Ray Liotta and Alan Alda

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: successful New York theatre director Charlie Barber (Driver) has recently separated from his wife, actress Nicole Barber (Johansson); but when she is cast in a TV series in Los Angeles she relocates to California with their son, and hires a divorce attorney (Dern) to gain custody.

    THOUGHTS
    I understand why people would describe this as a 'modern day' Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), but that misses all the best parts of the film. It's not even an updated Ordinary People (1980); this is actually more akin to When Harry Met Sally (1989). It's funny. It's irreverent. The beginning is almost an interview segment, and the way the story unfolds, the change of tone and pacing, all the over-the-top characters we meet along the way; it's almost absurdist, in the best possible way. It's just so bold, and I love how you 'flip/flop' constantly on who you feel more sympathy for, and who is more "just". And that's what the film conveys better than anything, better than any film I've ever seen: divorce is a mess. It's expensive, and messy and no-one wins. Not really. Despite its absurdist elements, it's actually a very truthful film when it matters. And I adore how Baumbach believed in his script and his actors enough to do those monologues in one shot. Laura Dern is winning her Oscar FOR THAT MONOLOGUE! Scarlet Johansson gave the best performance of her career, in that monologue. And the fight! Not since In the Bedroom (2001) has there been a couples fight that was more visceral and brutal, without anyone throwing a punch. It was stunning. The whole film was stunning; and I can't wait to watch it again because there is so much I missed. The cinematography intentionally spliced the couple apart in many shots, you'll notice when they're in the room together, often they are divided by a wall, a line, something to give that idea of separation. And there is also a lot of subversive commentary on culture conflicts (theatre vs film, New York vs LA, art vs profit). It has so many little gems that shine; but most importantly: when a film comes along and surprises me, truly surprises me and tells me a story in a way I've never seen... that excites me more than anything. Originality is a rarity and it must be cherished in cinema.

    OVERALL
    A sophisticated, beautifully played masterpiece. Everything, from script, to directing, to performance... it's an incredible film. It's unique, which is gold dust in cinema these days; both in tone and depiction. I cannot find a fault; please, please watch it.
    ~ rating: 5 out of 5 [grade: A++]


    N.B. added to my "Top 100"
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 03-10-2020 at 09:53 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. #321
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR (1959)
    dir. Alain Resnais
    writer. Marguerite Duras [nom.]
    Starring: Emmanuelle Riva and Eiji Okada

    ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Hiroshima 1959. A French actress (Riva) awakes in the arms of a Japanese architect (Okada) after a night of passion; and their undeniable kismet will unlock painful memories from her past.

    “Sometimes we have to avoid thinking about the problems life presents. Otherwise we'd suffocate." ~ Elle

    THOUGHTS: I have never been a fan of French New Wave cinema, in-fact I often use it as the bench mark to succinctly convey overtly pretentious tones in a film. And so it was with great surprise, and a little joy, that I found myself not only enjoying this film, but being captivated by it. And what makes it different, and better, is surrounding this in-depth character study and cyclical dual-log are some very powerful, REAL WORLD issues. The first ten minutes plays out like a documentary in the style of Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), splicing real-life footage with fictional narrative. And it was only last week that I learnt about the post-WWII misogyny visited about French women who had liaisons with German officers. The shaving of the head, the glee in the eyes of the men doing it... it's powerful. And important to bare in mind when discussing World War II. Much like the Americans liberating the concentration camps, but then taking any survivor who had a pink triangle on their lapel and sending them to jail to 'serve out their prison term'; the idea it was "Allies pure/Axis evil" is very naive to the complexity of humans. So beyond these dual-logs are very weighty, significant political and historical issues. Maybe that's why the movies by Richard Linklater never work; because these back-and-forth conversations have no real meat, or context. None of the conversations feel organic, unlike here. The connection between the memory triggered by the cat, the evolving 'lovers dialogue' you have at the early stages of a relationship, about past intimacy with others and what that then reveals in the story; it all happened so perfectly. The tale unfolded and I was enthralled. I think the finale, while eventually effective, does drag a little and though I understand the end result... maybe a sharper, quicker cut would have left you with more of a gut punch (and therefore an even better film). I'm still deciding if I will add it to my 'Top 100' or, like Babette's Feast (1987), it's a wonderful movie that one only watches once.

    OVERALL
    A truly unique and beautifully crafted masterpiece; that smartly explores very important and overlooked themes in our history, while encapsulating them within the set perimeters of a doomed romance. Emmanuelle Riva is just sensational as Elle, and the whole film still feels fresh and captivating (despite being over 60 years old). If for no other reason, watch it as a fascinating glimpse of the true horrors post-"Little Boy" Hiroshima.
    ~ rating: ★★★★★ [grade: A]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 05-10-2020 at 06:01 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."

  7. #322
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    LA LA LAND (2016)
    dir. Damien Chazelle [OSCAR]
    writer. Damien Chazelle [nom.]
    Starring: Emma Stone [OSCAR], Ryan Gosling [nom.] and John Legend.

    ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Los Angeles. Aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Stone) spends her days auditioning, working in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros' lot, and attending parties to "get noticed"; when a chance encounter with a jazz musician Sebastian (Gosling) puts them both on a path to either success or ruin...

    “This is the dream. It's conflict and it's compromise and it's very, very exciting. " ~ Sebastian

    THOUGHTS: I think the film has many excellent qualities, top among them is Emma Stone. She's majestic in her infectious playfulness, not since Julie Roberts has someone managed to capture that 'broken girl next door' quality so succinctly. Great comic timing, great vulnerability, with enough quirks to spice up even the blandest of scenes. She really is a joy to watch through-out and carries the movie. The colour blocking in both set and costume is GORGEOUS, Mary Zophres you were robbed of your Oscar. The major con... it shouldn't be a musical. The film shines when dancing, I wish they'd just committed to it being a dance extravaganza to rival Funny Face (1957) (ironically another film that could have done without the songs). Other than "City of Stars" (which I think rightly won the Oscar for Best Original Song) the soundtrack is not good, and the film got noticeably better the more it moved away from 'musical' territory. It should NOT be the most Oscar nominated musical ever made though, let me make that clear; but it wasn't a particularly inspiring year for movies... so...

    OVERALL
    A film that struggles at first, then gets progressively better the more and more they stop singing, and instead let the performance of their two talented leads be the attraction. A beautifully shot, beautifully crafted love-letter to Hollywood; and much like the City of Angels, it is a spectacle, shiny and irreverent and flawed and deeply troubling with its moral compass. It's not a masterpiece, by any stretch of the imagination; but it is very enjoyable and has a good heart. Ultimately you watch it for Emma Stone, because she is a revelation.
    ~ rating: ★★★★☆ [grade: B+]


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    MOONLIGHT (2016) [OSCAR]
    writer & director. Barry Jenkins [nom.]
    Starring: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris [nom.] and Mahershala Ali [OSCAR]

    ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Liberty City, Miami. Following the life of a withdrawn outcast from Little (Hibbert) into Chiron (Sanders) and finally Black (Rhodes), as he navigates his evolving shame of his homosexuality.

    "At some point you gotta decide for yourself who you gonna be." ~ Juan

    THOUGHTS: I wanted to love this so much, as it's award winning LGBT+ goodness. Maybe I expected too much, but I was left deeply underwhelmed. On the positives: Mahershala Ali is GENIUS in his performance; easily the best part of the film. The most minuet flick of his eyes conveys volumes. Without showboating, he manages to build layer upon layer of nuance into his character, and the film is worse off in his absence. I must commend the casting on the three leads, from boy to teenager to man they are very talented and believably the same person. I just wish the film didn't get progressively worse. The first act is great, and I was hooked, the second still somewhat compelling due to Ashton Sander's tender performance and the third act... was... tepid? That was the pay off?? Trevante Rhoades is STUNNING to look at, let speak facts, but I felt little impact with that conclusion. In fact I felt nothing, and that's a large problem in a movie that is quite low on narrative. The biggest fault for me is the directing. I HATED Some of the camera work, it was genuinely giving me a headache. Too inconsistent, was it going for realism or art house; both is fine but pick one. It lacked focus on narrative, erratic in style but seemingly unintentional. It just left me very cold. Pity.

    OVERALL
    An interesting exploration of growing up gay in a very masculine driven environment; a very sensitive narrative that just... lacked that gut-punch. It was too gentle. The performances are strong, and Mahershala Ali is absolutely brilliant (as always). Naomi Harris... was too much (for me) and the directing really didn't gel with me. A noble effort and one I am pleased succeeded for others.
    ~ rating: ★★★☆☆ [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."

  8. #323
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Apocalypse Now!, followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Blade Runner are my top three favs on the list (in that order).
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

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    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    Apocalypse Now!, followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Blade Runner are my top three favs on the list (in that order).
    You have EXCELLENT taste then

    Which version do you watch of Apocalypse Now! (1979) and Blade Runner (1982)?
    "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. #325
    Spectacular Member Valentis's Avatar
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    Lord of the Rings topping your list is further evidence that it just might well be the greatest franchise of all time.

  11. #326
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    You have EXCELLENT taste then

    Which version do you watch of Apocalypse Now! (1979) and Blade Runner (1982)?
    I prefer the (longest) extended cut of Apocalypse Now!, while I stick with the theatrical cut of Blade Runner.
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

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    ROMA (2018) [Nom.]
    dir. Alfonso Cuarón [OSCAR]
    writer. Alfonso Cuarón [nom.]
    Starring: Yalitza Aparicio [nom.], Marina de Tavira [nom.], Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Nancy García and Verónica García.

    ONE LINE SYNOPSIS: Mexico City 1971. Live-in maid Cleo (Aparicio) spends her days cleaning, cooking and babysitting for matriarch Sofia (de Tavira) and her four children; navigating life through an ever changing political climate.

    “We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone." ~ Sofía

    THOUGHTS: this is a very significant film. It was the first film distributed primarily by a streaming service to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars; and that was a GAME CHANGER!!! It was the first (and so far only) time Mexico has won Best Foreign Film. AND Alfonso Cuarón became the only person to win Best Cinematography for his own film. Speaking of Alfonso Cuarón; I'm such a huge fan of his work, it's just sublime. He's never let down, and each of his films is varied and different in so many wonderful ways. I cannot take the cinematography of Gravity (2013) or the long shots of Children of Men (2006) and arrive at this film, or feel it's 'more of the same'. It is unique, it's own creation. Cuarón finds beauty in the mundane, gorgeous shots without flash but full of storytelling. And yet still finds a way to delve into fantasy with the forest fires and the singing straw man monster (which gave me flashes of Andrei Rublev (1971)). And some imagery I loved (such as a beautifully endowed naked martial artist showing us his skills for a good long time) and some I could have done without (such as the wall of dog heads). I feel, plot wise, it could have been more helpful explaining the political strife of the period, because that left me a little confused. It’s not like Closely Observed Trains (1966) where we all know what the Nazis were, so mirroring the lead's journey with the countries revolution was self explanatory. Here I had no context for the political climate of Mexico in 1971. So certain moments maybe lacked impact, because I felt no 'historic' significance. Was the murder of the student protesters by the Falcons a key turning point, for example? I also missed some of the subtleties such as Cleo speaking Mixtec with the other maid, rather than Spanish, and what that said about her being indigenous. It's a lovely addition that added flavour, but didn't necessarily aid my understanding while watching.

    OVERALL
    A semi-autobiographical love letter to his childhood in Mexico City; it’s a powerful story about race, servitude and politics. Marina de Tavria was fantastic in her Oscar nominated performance, as the middle-class mother trying to hide the pain within while holding the family together. A beautifully shot, loving told narrative that favoured truth over flash. A wonderful movie, well worth seeing.
    ~ rating: ★★★★☆ [grade: A-]


    FUN FACT: the title refers to the Colonia Roma district of Mexico City

    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    I prefer the (longest) extended cut of Apocalypse Now!, while I stick with the theatrical cut of Blade Runner.
    I assume you mean "Redux" for Apocalypse Now! (1979) which is the one I prefer too. For Blade Runner (1982) I like "the Final Cut" best. It adds to the world so much more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentis View Post
    Lord of the Rings topping your list is further evidence that it just might well be the greatest franchise of all time.
    HA! Well I don't consider it a franchise, just a trilogy. And to be fair, I actually count it as one film in my list (because it was all filmed together).
    "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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    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    DUNKIRK (2017) [nom.]
    writer&director. Christopher Nolan [nom.]
    Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy.

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: France, 1940. The Allied soldiers are trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, unable to evacuate back the England; as small sailing vessels set out across the Channel to bring their boys home...

    THOUGHTS: This film can be summarised in one phrase: style > substance. It is soulless, as a piece of storytelling; constantly trying to manipulate your emotions based not on what they themselves produced, but on what history informed us of what happened. That is not good cinema. The Oscar nominated score by Hans Zimmer constantly tries to add importance to uninformed moments. Did we need dramatic ‘will they/won’t they?’ music in reference to getting a guy we’ve never met, onto a ship we’ve never seen, carried by two guys we do not know? Did we need to revisit Inception (2010) territory, constantly cutting back to a falling van, only this time the van is a flooded fishing boat full of personality-less actors, playing unlikable cowards with NO NAMES!!! And on that subject: the young cast are painfully lacking in charisma and talent. Harry Styles was easily the best of them, and that’s less a laureate to his talent and more a scathing critique of the p*ss poor job British drama schools have done in training the next generation. The narrative was poorly laid out, giving no heart to the film, and worse no anchor to root the story upon. 30minutes in and I knew one person’s name (and he was dead). That’s a failing. If you don’t humanise who they are, they become nameless, if they are nameless you feel nothing when they die. Compare their acting to that of George MacKay in 1917 (2020) who, with equally little dialogue, conveyed the raw, beating cruelty of war and the incomprehensible emotional gamut you go through from death to loss to danger and instantly repeat. The film needed to spend less time playing with arty shots of droning sound and pretty skies and more time asking themselves who were these people, and what made this event so moving? And the answer is the tiny vessels from England, so why did we not follow those stories more? Compare this to Mrs Miniver (1942), where the emotional journey to bring the boys home is shown from the perspective of those you leave behind; where all the uncertainty is felt without any flashing camera shots or diatribe on the event. Instead what do we get here? They’re on a boat, there is a plane, they’re in the water, music music, on the boat, in the plane, music music, on the boat, in the water, on the plane, MUSIC MUSIC!!! I've never been on the Nolan kool-aid, so this shameless attempt to evoke tension does not fly with me. I can pinpoint the moment I knew I hated this film: “What do you see?”/“Home!” Cue cheap manipulative music to evoke emotion over a situation this film did NOT earn. Not even a little bit. Not one iota. They did not earn Churchill’s speech. They did not earn Elgar’s Enigma Variations. They want all the praise for making a film about Dunkirk without putting any effort into making it a story of substance, beyond what history already told us. And they didn't even tell us anything, had I not known about Dunkirk, I wouldn't have understood what the significance of all those little fishing boats meant, because at no point did the story tell you an army of civilians were traveling across the Channel to rescue the soldiers. Lazy. Souless. Worthless.

    OVERALL
    It was competently made in the purely technical aspects of film making, but with a budget of $150 million that’s not an achievement, that’s bare minimum in expectations. The last film I gave one star to was Lolita (1962). To summarise: it was sh*t. The End.
    ~ rating: ★★☆☆☆ [grade: D+]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 05-25-2020 at 07:35 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."

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    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    FUNNY GIRL (1968) [nom.]
    dir. William Wyler
    writer. adapted from the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name
    Starring: Barbra Streisand [OSCAR], Omar Sharif, Kay Medford [nom.] and Walter Pidgeon

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: New York City. Aspiring actress Fanny Brice (Streisand) is determined to get an audition with the vaudeville theatre owner Florenz Ziegfeld (Pidgeon); but her comedic style and refusal to just be 'one of the pretty girls' might make such ambition problematic...

    "Helloooooooo GORgeous" ~ Fanny Brice

    THOUGHTS: The film that made Barbra Streisand a star (well technically it was the original Broadway show that did that, but the point still stands, without Funny Girl we’d have no Barbra). And she is truly magnificent. Every moment she’s in, you can’t take your eyes off her; and she is FUNNY!!! The film shines best when Fanny is performing her shtick on stage; from roller-girl to pregnant bride, and ballet chicken... it was all wonderful. I was quite let down by a lot of the score, which is an issue in a musical. And then came ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’; I love this version, I’ve had it on my Spotify for years... so when I saw it performed over a traveling montage, where you don’t even see her singing for chunks of it??? Grrrrrr... waste! Waste of a true showstopping number; esp. for a musical not overflowing in iconic songs. Anyway; I do wonder if the film would have been stronger if ONLY Fanny sung (outside of show numbers). Food for thought. Finally we come to the weakest element: Omar Sharif. I loved him in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but started noticing his limitations in Doctor Zhivago (1965). He played laidback and charming very well, but all the other stuff, the gnawing addiction, the ruthlessness... it was all absent. And unlike Barbra he didn’t have songs to fall back on; his character hinged on depth of performance. And he had very little.

    OVERALL
    A very enjoyable film, carried on the shoulders of Barbra's powerhouse comedic performance. Her Fanny Brice is truly iconic, for all the best reasons. Very well directed, and visually enthralling, it's let down by an overall uninspiring score and a surface level performance by Omar Sharif.
    ~ rating: ★★★★☆ [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."

  15. #330
    CBR's Good Fairy Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    QUICK REVIEWS: 80s on Netflix from three acclaimed directors

    MIDNIGHT RUN (1988)
    dir. Martin Brest
    It's very, very 80s; and the tone is oddly erratic. Sometimes a thriller, sometimes a comedy verging on slapstick... which is a very odd line to want to tread. Martin Brest most famously directed Beverly Hills Cop (1984), so it is possible to achieve. I think the success rests on Robert deNiro and Charles Grodin's shoulders; a wonderful duo with great chemistry. A surprise smash hit in the 80s, it's become very ingrained in that time period due to Danny Elfman's score (which is both a blessing and a curse). It's surprisingly rewarding if you stick with it.
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B-]

    SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)
    dir. Spike Lee
    This was Spike Lee's first feature film, a black and white, low-budget modern day version of the Philadelphia Story (1940). Exploring the themes of female empowerment through sexuality, it is a very interesting concept, maturely handled. It just isn't enough to sustain a whole film. It's a thesis that waits very late in the game to reach the meat of the idea. And as it's a very sexual movie, I do commend Lee's balanced camera eye when it comes to the nudity, we get a lot of male candy along with female nudity (and for me none of it tips into "CUNF" territory - completely unnecessary nude female). John Canada Terrell is especially gorgeous, by the way. And I found Lee's acting less destructive to the film than in Do the Right Thing (1989).
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: B]

    VIDEODROME (1983)
    dir. David Cronenberg
    A cult erotic horror classic from the 80s featuring James Woods... ohhhhh boy. On one level I applaud this (very out there) concept; that did actually have a decent amount to say about violence and porn leading to a corrupt society. And the makeup and special effects, for the time period, were excellent. I think if I tried to pinpoint the moment I knew this wasn’t a movie me: when the literal vagina in his chest... stay with me... is penetrated by the guy’s fist, and the vagina turns said fist into a stick of dynamite... still there... and he stumbles back coated in juices and explodes. Metaphorically subtle, it was not. Blondie’s Debbie Harry was surprisingly good as the femme fatale; and I liked all the performances. It’s just... not a Frost film, shall we say.
    ★★★☆☆ [grade: C+]
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 05-31-2020 at 11:48 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."

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