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Thread: Random Film Thoughts: Spanish Guerrilla in AW

  1. #901
    Pompous hipster George Addison's Avatar
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    Someone should really change his custom user title.


    Too cool for words.

  2. #902
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pingy View Post
    I actually think Diana's characterization is pretty damned tame compared to what's walking around in corporate America these days...
    They still don't identify themselves as evil like Diana does. On real life evil people have lots of excuses for themselves.

  3. #903
    Team Huppert MorganaleFey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Giancarlo View Post
    OMG, Desire (Frank Borzage, 1936) is

    Dietrich really had a great comedic run between 1935-1937 (The Devil is a Woman, Desire, and Angel)! In Desire, you get to see more of that trademark Dietrich glam - aloof and unapproachable to mere mortals - but you also get to see her very modern, ironic sense of humour: she always seems amused by everything, and there is always a devilish twinkle in her eye.

    And what fun it is to see her as a jewel thief! The set-up of the first few scenes is great: she introduces herself to a jeweler as the wife of a famous Parisian doctor, looking to buy a priceless string of pearls to be charged to the doctor; she introduces herself to the doctor as the concerned wife of the jeweler who is not sleeping well, and trying to bill people for transactions that never happened. She introduces the doctor to the jeweler, and before they figure out that she has double-crossed both of them, she's already off in a convertible on her way to Madrid to drop in on @McTeague. But at the border, when going through customs, she slips the pearls into Gary Cooper's coat pocket, and since her own vehicle has a problem where its horn won't stop once she has honked, she hitches a ride with Gary Cooper, in a rental from his company, until she tricks him into getting out of the car, and drives off with it, only to crash a minute later.

    But, there has been a mix-up: the pearls are still in his coat pocket. Of course, they are reunited: after all, she still has to get those pearls back (and they still have to fall in love ). There are some really, really funny scenes like when she tries to explain how she stole his car because she was late for a lunch date, but after meeting him, she couldn't go through with that date! And, the first time she tries to get the pearls back is when she is sitting next to him at dinner, and tries to put her hand in his pocket, but he feels her hand, thinks that she is trying to hold hands with him under the table, and she has to appear delighted, and keep flirting. And then, she finally gets the pearls back when her partner in crime puts on a magic show, and makes Gary Cooper think that a fake strand of pearls she was wearing ended up in his pocket! Also, he thinks she's a Countess!

    The problem is while the first hour is so great, the last half hour really deflates, and becomes very predictable, wholesome and bland, once she suddenly falls in love with Gary Cooper's simpleton American, decides to get on the straight and narrow, and returns the pearls to the jeweler! Now I feel like the one who was robbed! Ewww, Marlene Dietrich, of all people, should NOT be moving to Detroit, of all places, to marry some basic automotive company's clerk. The film was much funnier and more entertaining when she was only pretending to show him any interest so she could just get her damn pearls back, already! I wanted her to laugh in his face, and ride off into the sunset, clutching her pearls!

    But, overall, despite a disappointing final third, this was a really, really fun movie, and Dietrich is a GREAT Leading Lady Stauw in this!

    One small complaint: why is the film called Desire? What a missed opportunity to call the film "Marlene Gets a Pearl Necklace"

    Is this joke too blue?
    Apparently I was absent in the best week ever in AW (though I think seeing Miss Huppert in a play in Paris was reasonable). Just too glorious of a week here

    “Desire" was born from the meeting of two of the giants of the time: Ernst Lubitsch, who inspired and produced it and Frank Borzage who realized it. We usually fear the worst when this kind of encounter occurs, because a duo often turns into a duel. There is nothing here, "Desire" reflects the symbiosis between the Borzage and the Lubitsch touch, while one could have erased the other, the two men knew to work in perfect agreement, Lubitsch bringing humor and Borzage feelings and glamor; and they are the two who emerge victorious signing one of the masterpieces of the sometimes underrated American comedy. Beautiful, there is no other word. The close-ups, many on Marlene (luckily too as her partner was meh) in all moments of contemplation not to say fascination.

    Your conversation @McTeague and @David Giancarlo is making me wish I could go to Il Cinema Ritrovato now that I know you David and @Aurelius too. I went there in 2013, and didn’t know anyone. I went just with my father that usually goes with me to events of this type, and I’m beyond glad he took noticed cause my mother couldn’t careless that I was pledging her to let me go as I had been always dreaming of attending it. But I did and will treasure forever that experience (I mean I saw Description d'un combat by Chris Marker on a big screen!), and wish I could repeat it in the future.

  4. #904
    Noli Me Tangere lazarus's Avatar
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    I've been really lazy for a while and not writing up most of what I've been watching outside of new releases. Today I caught up with a title I'd heard good things about over 25 years ago but for some reason never got around to. As luck would have it, I came across it on the iTunes 99˘ rental list, and watched it tonight:

    DEEP COVER (Bill Duke, 1992)

    The plot is pretty high-concept and easy to describe briefly: a black police officer on the East Coast is recruited by someone from the Department of Justice to infiltrate the drug trade in Los Angeles and work his way up to the top of the pyramid: a South American drug importer. What follows is something much more psychologically and ethically complex than your usual Hollywood fare. The script by Michael Tolkin (The Player) and Henry Bean (Internal Affairs) apparently featured a white protagonist in its original incarnation, and whatever led them to change the character's race I think benefits this story. Because ultimately, the film's main sympathy lies with the working-class communities and addicts that are destroyed by drugs, and it saves its most vicious stabs not at the street-level dealers or middlemen, but the government institutions that allow the industry to continue in search of bigger fish to fry, and then sometimes throw those fish back in the water because of their ties to American political or business interests. This is a cynical, pointed film that carries its message with a sizable amount of humanity, primarily through the moral and ethical crisis that Laurence Fishburne's John Hull finds himself sinking further into. And the actor (in what crazily was his first starring role) is fantastic in his mostly subtle work that flares up at appropriate times.

    The film opens with a flashback scene that is so baldly melodramatic, it nearly sets a tone that's hard to take seriously, but then one remembers that this is the recollection of a traumatic, horrifying incident that Hull witnessed as a child, so why wouldn't he remember it in the same pulpy fashion that the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents has been depicted again and again? What it reminded me of was the opening to Samuel Fuller's Underworld USA, but the rest of the story that follows is considerably more nuanced in tone. The primary antagonist is played by Jeff Goldblum, in a slick, seductive, menacing role that is so atypical it makes you realize how often the actor has been slumming for decades. Goldblum's is an interesting villain because in one way, he's just an obstacle on the way to more important targets. And for the bulk of the story, as the two become partners, he winds up representing Hull's id: the glamorous, hedonistic life that could be led by someone high enough on the food chain who doesn't have to worry about the real-world consequences...until he does, and then Goldblum takes on other shades of vulnerability, desperation, and ruthlessness that makes him even more watchable. But as I said, the real villain here is the government, and how its moral code seems to operate in a state of flux, and how it will sacrifice or liberate anyone depending on their value at any given time, regardless of what their value may have been before.

    The editing style, photography, and hip-hop score date this very much in the early 90s, but its references to George H.W. Bush and Manuel Noriega make this a stronger work in term of its context. And the photography itself is legitimately gorgeous, giving us a Los Angeles-set neo-noir that is cut from a very different cloth than period pieces like L.A. Confidential and Devil in a Blue Dress, and much more distinct than something like Training Day 10 years later. Behind the camera is Bojan Bazelli, a name I wasn't familiar with but he's worked on some notable, stylish films like King of New York, The Rapture, Boxing Helena, Kalifornia, The Ring, and most recently the remake of Pete's Dragon and A Cure for Wellness.



    Lastly I'll mention Bill Duke, whom I know as an actor and was aware that he had directed a couple films, but he really has a feel for the milieu he's portraying here, getting some character out of the city in a strange time, exploring the gulf between the have-nots and those who would exploit them right before the Rodney King verdict and the ensuing riots would define the city's class and racial tension for a generation. He gets great performances out of his two leads, and has a keen eye for composition on top of it. I look forward to checking out his previous film, set on the other coast, A Rage in Harlem.

    This was a modest box office success but didn't do much awards-wise aside from Independent Spirit Award noms for Fishburne and Goldblum. Personally I think both were Oscar nom-worthy, and Goldblum may even been better than the actual Supporting winner, Gene Hackman. Both are fascinating villains but I'm more impressed with how Goldblum stretched himself.

    Highly recommend this to all and I wish I would have seen this before the 1992 canon where I would have sung its praises strongly.

  5. #905
    Orphan, Fool JeanRZEJ's Avatar
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    I recognize Bill Duke’s face as an actor. I did not know he was a director. Then I went to his IMDb page and saw the film above preceded by A Rage in Harlem, and succeeded by... well, see for yourself! Amazing. Can’t make this stuff up.
    “Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.”

  6. #906
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    King Kong (1933)'s sense of adventure and scale, after all these years, still transcends the advancement in technology and especially acting. The latter is so fitting for something this unapologetically grand that I unexpectedly enjoy the characters even in the Skull Island-less first act (not coincidentally, the human romance stands out the least awkwardly here out of the three versions). Also amazing how much the template is set right away for its two remakes; I previously thought Kong ripping off T-rex's jaws was Peter Jackson's own detail. 8/10

  7. #907
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    It also has a poetry that none of the remakes even attempted.

  8. #908
    Magnificently Monolithic Aaron Leggo's Avatar
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    Jackson's version is an unapologetic homage, through and through. The extensive V-Rex fight, the big bug attack that is a tribute to the sequence infamously cut from the original, the "beauty killed the beast" line... it's all a garishly obsessive love letter to the 1933 movie. Since it's Jackson, it also has this funky B-movie flavour that indeed lacks poetry, but I find it intriguing as basically the most expensive fan film ever. The 1976 version is something else entirely, a sardonic modernizing that is overly clunky.

    So yes, the original is far and away the best. I think it owes an unimaginable debt to Willis O'Brien. I'm biased because O'Brien/Harryhausen stop motion is some of my favourite stuff ever, but the sense of wonder coupled with empathy for the monster is what makes the movie so enduring and much of that is due to O'Brien's incredible artistry.

  9. #909
    Senior Member Lukes's Avatar
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    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a weird movie. I've been a huge fan of the play during my obsessed Tennessee Williams stage in high school and finally saw it last week. Paul Newman (whose eyes are just gorgeous in this, don't know why I need to say that but they really are beautiful in HD), Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, and Judith Anderson are all very good in it but it felt like it was missing the glue to hold it all together - namely all of the homoerotic/gay subplot from the play that is only subtext in the movie. I understand why they had to do that in the time that it came out (I recall they had to cut the gay subtext of Blanche's husband in Streetcar as well) and it at least feels like they tried going around it. It works, somewhat, but I do think it stops a good film from being a great film. An iconic movie for sure though, Elizabeth Taylor in the white dress is one of the most striking images out there.

  10. #910
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukes View Post
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a weird movie. I've been a huge fan of the play during my obsessed Tennessee Williams stage in high school and finally saw it last week. Paul Newman (whose eyes are just gorgeous in this, don't know why I need to say that but they really are beautiful in HD), Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, and Judith Anderson are all very good in it but it felt like it was missing the glue to hold it all together - namely all of the homoerotic/gay subplot from the play that is only subtext in the movie. I understand why they had to do that in the time that it came out (I recall they had to cut the gay subtext of Blanche's husband in Streetcar as well) and it at least feels like they tried going around it. It works, somewhat, but I do think it stops a good film from being a great film. An iconic movie for sure though, Elizabeth Taylor in the white dress is one of the most striking images out there.
    I also think it has to do with Newman's acting. He just doesn't seem to be able to convey "repressed homosexuality" the way other actors could have (Clift, Brando...) Don't get me wrong, Newman grew into an exceptional actor, but in this stage of his career, I think he just wasn't able to convey so many things bubbling under the surface.

  11. #911
    Senior Citizen OnTheAisle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukes View Post
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a weird movie. I've been a huge fan of the play during my obsessed Tennessee Williams stage in high school and finally saw it last week. Paul Newman (whose eyes are just gorgeous in this, don't know why I need to say that but they really are beautiful in HD), Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, and Judith Anderson are all very good in it but it felt like it was missing the glue to hold it all together - namely all of the homoerotic/gay subplot from the play that is only subtext in the movie. I understand why they had to do that in the time that it came out (I recall they had to cut the gay subtext of Blanche's husband in Streetcar as well) and it at least feels like they tried going around it. It works, somewhat, but I do think it stops a good film from being a great film. An iconic movie for sure though, Elizabeth Taylor in the white dress is one of the most striking images out there.
    When Newman discussed his early films, he was quoted as saying he took a number of roles that would have gone to James Dean if he had lived.

    Clearly Brick was one. It is not difficult to imagine the film with Dean as the drunken, pained former athlete mourning his best friend Skipper who committed suicide.

    The tragic death of Dean was a great loss.
    Aisle be seeing you in all the old familiar places

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l44_n60QQ8

  12. #912
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaleFey View Post
    Apparently I was absent in the best week ever in AW (though I think seeing Miss Huppert in a play in Paris was reasonable). Just too glorious of a week here

    “Desire" was born from the meeting of two of the giants of the time: Ernst Lubitsch, who inspired and produced it and Frank Borzage who realized it. We usually fear the worst when this kind of encounter occurs, because a duo often turns into a duel. There is nothing here, "Desire" reflects the symbiosis between the Borzage and the Lubitsch touch, while one could have erased the other, the two men knew to work in perfect agreement, Lubitsch bringing humor and Borzage feelings and glamor; and they are the two who emerge victorious signing one of the masterpieces of the sometimes underrated American comedy. Beautiful, there is no other word. The close-ups, many on Marlene (luckily too as her partner was meh) in all moments of contemplation not to say fascination.

    Your conversation @McTeague and @David Giancarlo is making me wish I could go to Il Cinema Ritrovato now that I know you David and @Aurelius too. I went there in 2013, and didn’t know anyone. I went just with my father that usually goes with me to events of this type, and I’m beyond glad he took noticed cause my mother couldn’t careless that I was pledging her to let me go as I had been always dreaming of attending it. But I did and will treasure forever that experience (I mean I saw Description d'un combat by Chris Marker on a big screen!), and wish I could repeat it in the future.
    I'm going to read the review, since I decided to peak this thread and I remembered how beautiful was Desire in itself and how the blend from both of the directors made everything. Frank Borzage is one of the filmmakers I'm hoping to watch more in the future.

    Also, I've seen L'enfant secret. I was waiting for the BluRay and oh, boy, I didn't regret it. Possibly the best film Garrel ever made, and in such a way that he mesmerized me. It makes me remember of the films he made in the 80s: the confusing narrative (through editing, refilming or rewriting) that takes profit of the movies' themes, the constant metaphor of the title played literally and also throughout the film -maternity is played here indirectly, since both of the main characters nurture each other, but gradually everything starts fading out, and Garrel here decides to use the images of the "enfant" like his image is being shot at your face in slow motion. Also, I think this is the trademark for the generational movie, because it is not only about generational movies, but about how lost each new generation of young adults -or not so much- feels when the world is kind of a cage to them, and they start clinging out to things that are slowly collapsing until escapism is only left. It is a very romantic movie, but what surprised me -and it's usual, but in here is what is played the best- there are comedy bits, like Garrel was fully conscious that this is a movie, and while it's serious, it's better to take yourself seriously in just the same amount.

    Also, another thing that amazed me is the planning of the film, specially at the beginning (because of how daring he is with the story -or well, "no story) and at the ending (because of its simplicity). Also, having Bressonian actors in this work I think proved for the best, since the dialogues and acting is, while romantic and pessimistic, very low-key in that sense. And well, I don't like to say those kind of things, but it must be Wiazemsky's best role in her career: SHE. IS. STUNNING.

  13. #913
    Team Huppert MorganaleFey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minutemen View Post
    I'm going to read the review, since I decided to peak this thread and I remembered how beautiful was Desire in itself and how the blend from both of the directors made everything. Frank Borzage is one of the filmmakers I'm hoping to watch more in the future.

    Also, I've seen L'enfant secret. I was waiting for the BluRay and oh, boy, I didn't regret it. Possibly the best film Garrel ever made, and in such a way that he mesmerized me. It makes me remember of the films he made in the 80s: the confusing narrative (through editing, refilming or rewriting) that takes profit of the movies' themes, the constant metaphor of the title played literally and also throughout the film -maternity is played here indirectly, since both of the main characters nurture each other, but gradually everything starts fading out, and Garrel here decides to use the images of the "enfant" like his image is being shot at your face in slow motion. Also, I think this is the trademark for the generational movie, because it is not only about generational movies, but about how lost each new generation of young adults -or not so much- feels when the world is kind of a cage to them, and they start clinging out to things that are slowly collapsing until escapism is only left. It is a very romantic movie, but what surprised me -and it's usual, but in here is what is played the best- there are comedy bits, like Garrel was fully conscious that this is a movie, and while it's serious, it's better to take yourself seriously in just the same amount.

    Also, another thing that amazed me is the planning of the film, specially at the beginning (because of how daring he is with the story -or well, "no story) and at the ending (because of its simplicity). Also, having Bressonian actors in this work I think proved for the best, since the dialogues and acting is, while romantic and pessimistic, very low-key in that sense. And well, I don't like to say those kind of things, but it must be Wiazemsky's best role in her career: SHE. IS. STUNNING.
    It’s not my favorite (that’s Le berceau de cristal) but it’s a close second. Every image is beautiful, not because it is beautiful in itself, but because it is the splendor of truth and Garrel starts from the truth. It’s cinema of poetry!

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