Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

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Thief
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Thief » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:17 pm

Thanks for the recs!
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am

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My initial response was that Haneke was exploring where the support for Nazism came from and how the treatment of many of the village kids helped to influence this movement. As the schoolteacher says, "They could clarify some things that happened in this country". After watching the film though, I looked up some interviews only to learn Haneke denied that this film says anything about Nazism/fascism, so I realized I had to amend my reading of the film. I then came to the conclusion that Haneke was more interesting in exploring the repressive social order of the village and its effect on its inhabitants. While I wouldn't say this is a great film, I'd definitely say it does a great job at painting a bleak portrait of the village, one which is a lot more nuanced and complex than one would expect from reading a summary of its themes.

In the village, the father figures hold the most power, controlling their kids and sometimes even going against their wives. The baron lies at the top of this social order. He has a paternalistic attitude which he displays throughout the film and occasionally lectures to the villagers. Though he isn't popular, most of the villagers are dependent on him. Since he's the employer of half the village, he has the power to fire and refuse to provide work to all the members of a particular family, shown by what happens to the farmer and his family. The next prominent character is the Pastor, who ranges from strict puritanism, seen by how he restrains his son to his bed after he finds out that he masturbates, to authoritarianism, shown with his physical punishments of his kids and even his wife, to a degree. The film's title comes from how he ties white ribbons to his kids to remind them of their innocence and purity, but this motif later symbolizes the oppressive constraints placed on the kids concerning how white ribbon is used to tie the pastor's son to a bed or how ribbon is placed over a kid's eyes after he's savagely beaten. In spite of this, the pastor shows middle ground given a couple tender scenes where he allows his youngest son to care for an injured bird or how he accepts his son's gift of a bird later in the film. Another prominent character is the farmer. While we get to see some of the control he has on his family, he primarily shows us what can happen to a family who gets on the baron's bad side and he reinforces the dependency the villagers have on him. The last prominent character is the doctor. Although you initially sympathize with him, he's later revealed to be emotionally abusive to his wife (and possibly towards his previous wife) and physically abusive to his daughter. Each of these father figures contribute to the film's themes in many different ways. Due to this, it's not easy to pick up on everything from a single viewing and it usually takes a few viewings to grasp everything which goes on.

These father figures effect the children in a variety of ways, presumably causing them to carry out the acts of violence. The connection between these incidents are that they're caused by the repressive social order of the village. For instance, the farmer's son destroys the baron's cabbage field as he believes he was responsible for the death of his mother, leading to the other struggles his family undergoes throughout the film. The steward's son pushes the baron's son into the water as he was jealous of him for having a working flute (he likely had it due to his family's high position in the village) while he had trouble whittling one out of wood. The steward's violent confrontation with his son afterwards was the effect of that. It's likely that the acts we don't see are also carried out by the children. For instance, were the pastor's kids responsible for attacking the baron's son given how their Dad punished them in a similar way? Were the pastor's kids responsible for the rest of the incidents in the village concerning the conversation the schoolteacher has with the pastor at the end? The way the final act handles all these mysteries might disappoint some people, but I found the payoff to be quite unsettling. The schoolteacher's final narration stuck with me for a while after the film ended.

With all that being said, I'm not sure why Haneke chose to make the schoolteacher the protagonist. Where does he fit into all of this? Considering how fleshed out and interesting many of the other characters in the film are and how much they add to the themes, the schoolteacher feels one-dimensional by comparison. His relationship with Eva, for instance, holds such little relevance towards the film's themes, save for an admittedly interesting visit to her family where we see that the repressive social order of the village occurs elsewhere. For the most part though, I thought he was kind of boring. I wasn't quite as bothered with his character the second time around, but he still acts as a detriment to the film and locks it firmly in the really good tier.

In conclusion, I'd say this is an example of a film held back from greatness from one major issue which could've easily been fixed. In spite of that, the rest of it is truly excellent. I imagine I'll get more out of the film if I were to watch it again since there's so much to unpack from it in terms of all the character dynamics (I know I didn't say much about the steward). If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend it.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:06 pm

Anyways, the first round went pretty well. My rankings for them would go like this:

1) The House is Black - 10/10
2) Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors - 9/10
3) Minnie and Moskowitz - 9/10
4) The White Ribbon - 7/10
5) Greed - 7/10
6) Things to Come - 7/10
7) Forbidden Planet - 6/10

Here's the next set of films I plan to review in this thread:

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005, Puiu)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Resnais)
I Know Where I'm Going! (1945, Powell and Pressburger)
Invaders from Mars (1953, Menzies)
Taste of Cherry (1997, Kiarostami)
The Tenant (1976, Polanski)
The Wild Bunch (1969, Peckinpah)
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Ergill » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am
My initial response was that Haneke was exploring where the support for Nazism came from and how the treatment of many of the village kids helped to influence this movement. As the schoolteacher says, "They could clarify some things that happened in this country". After watching the film though, I looked up some interviews only to learn Haneke denied that this film says anything about Nazism/fascism, so I realized I had to amend my reading of the film. I then came to the conclusion that Haneke was more interesting in exploring the repressive social order of the village and its effect on its inhabitants. While I wouldn't say this is a great film, I'd definitely say it does a great job at painting a bleak portrait of the village, one which is a lot more nuanced and complex than one would expect from reading a summary of its themes.
I haven't read all his interviews on the subject, but a quick search gave an opening quote where he says "It’s important to me that the film isn’t interpreted as being solely about German Fascism." I'd emphasize "solely". I take that to mean he doesn't want to fall into an historical-artistic uniqueness trap where everyone tries to just reduce it to a Nazi allegory. That doesn't mean it has nothing to say about Nazism or didn't have it mind, because I think it's clear that it did. It just wasn't after explaining Nazism full-stop and it had a much more general subject in mind.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:17 am
With all that being said, I'm not sure why Haneke chose to make the schoolteacher the protagonist. Where does he fit into all of this? Considering how fleshed out and interesting many of the other characters in the film are and how much they add to the themes, the schoolteacher feels one-dimensional by comparison. His relationship with Eva, for instance, holds such little relevance towards the film's themes, save for an admittedly interesting visit to her family where we see that the repressive social order of the village occurs elsewhere. For the most part though, I thought he was kind of boring. I wasn't quite as bothered with his character the second time around, but he still acts as a detriment to the film and locks it firmly in the really good tier.
I don't have some ready excuse for the guy and his sideplot on the whole, but he worked well enough for me as a partial filter in the film. He's basically a decent and unexceptional guy: Fritz Jedermann. He gives you the sense of the bystander unable to process the forces at play around him, and the fact that he may have unwittingly slipped into complicity just adds another layer.

Anyway, liked your review.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm

Ergill wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm
I haven't read all his interviews on the subject, but a quick search gave an opening quote where he says "It’s important to me that the film isn’t interpreted as being solely about German Fascism." I'd emphasize "solely". I take that to mean he doesn't want to fall into an historical-artistic uniqueness trap where everyone tries to just reduce it to a Nazi allegory. That doesn't mean it has nothing to say about Nazism or didn't have it mind, because I think it's clear that it did. It just wasn't after explaining Nazism full-stop and it had a much more general subject in mind.
Okay, fair enough. I didn't catch the part where he said that Nazism/fascism wasn't the only thing he wanted to discuss, but a rewatch of the interview I was referring to earlier confirms your reading. I think that, since the film ends when WW1 starts, this does seem to suggest that the actions of the children will escalate to shape German history in the future.
Ergill wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:34 pm
I don't have some ready excuse for the guy and his sideplot on the whole, but he worked well enough for me as a partial filter in the film. He's basically a decent and unexceptional guy: Fritz Jedermann. He gives you the sense of the bystander unable to process the forces at play around him, and the fact that he may have unwittingly slipped into complicity just adds another layer.

Anyway, liked your review.
I will agree that his conversation with the pastor and his kids provides some depth to him, and I did admire him for what you described. It's just that I'm typically involved in the actions of the other father figures (the baron, the pastor, the farmer, and the doctor) since they shape the kids the most in the village. Seeing his reactions to the affair and his inability to make sense of them serve to show things I'm not interesting in watching. Also, some of his interactions with Eva have a tender feel to them and I'm not sure that's something I want to see considering how bleak the rest of the film is. The pastor also displayed some tenderness, but that wasn't his defining characteristic throughout the majority of the film. Many of the schoolteachers' scenes don't mean much to me other than a couple scenes within the film and the final act. Thinking about him a bit more though, I will take back the word "boring" from my review.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Ergill » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:53 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm
Okay, fair enough. I didn't catch the part where he said that Nazism/fascism wasn't the only thing he wanted to discuss, but a rewatch of the interview I was referring to earlier confirms your reading. I think that, since the film ends when WW1 starts, this does seem to suggest that the actions of the children will escalate to shape German history in the future.
The kids are also in the generation that provided the front lines for National Socialism.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:39 pm
I will agree that his conversation with the pastor and his kids provides some depth to him, and I did admire him for what you described. It's just that I'm typically involved in the actions of the other father figures (the baron, the pastor, the farmer, and the doctor) since they shape the kids the most in the village. Seeing his reactions to the affair and his inability to make sense of them serve to show things I'm not interesting in watching. Also, some of his interactions with Eva have a tender feel to them and I'm not sure that's something I want to see considering how bleak the rest of the film is. The pastor also displayed some tenderness, but that wasn't his defining characteristic throughout the majority of the film. Many of the schoolteachers' scenes don't mean much to me other than a couple scenes within the film and the final act. Thinking about him a bit more though, I will take back the word "boring" from my review.
Hey, if he bored you, so be it. No need to take back the term. I kind of like the tender side he and Eva bring to the movie. A rare thing in Haneke and he does it well. Thematically, I don't really have great excuse for it on hand. I trust Haneke has his reasons.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Stu » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:35 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:06 pm
Here's the next set of films I plan to review in this thread:

The Wild Bunch (1969, Peckinpah)
Yay! First time watching?
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:48 am

Stu wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:35 am
Yay! First time watching?
Yep. It's also my first Peckinpah.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:45 am

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I was planning to check this film out a while ago, but for some reason, I never got around to it. While searching this forum, I noticed that very few people mentioned it, nor do I recall anyone mentioning it in the past. And these are the kinds of films I'm trying to cover in here, so that makes it perfect for this thread! Overall, I was really blown away by it. I initially thought the first act dragged a little, but after rewatching it, I warmed up to it and the film impacted me to the point that it's become one of my favorites of the decade.

Ever since I got into film, I consistently got more and more used to slow paced films as I went along. Now, I sometimes can't even tell if a film is slow as long as I find it to be interesting. After watching this film, I tried to think of other films that used their slow pacing in a better way, but currently, I'm having great difficulty with coming up with much that compares to this. A couple critics felt that this film was too long, but I wouldn't say it dragged at any point as I was thoroughly engaged throughout it. The majority of the film serves as a criticism of the Romanian medical system as it details the various flaws with the doctors, shown in numerous parts where the doctors wasted time performing tests/asking questions which didn't accomplish anything or where it would take a while for them to get to Lazarescu. This repetition comprised the bulk of the film. Instead of becoming less impressed by this point as it went on though, the overwhelming reaction I got from this repetition (intensity of feeling is largely what the film conveys) was that each wasted minute was tearing him down, slowly but at a steadily increasing rate. This is set against how the film continuously details his declining health, shown by how he slowly loses the ability to walk and speak and how he grows less and less conscious as the film goes on. As the night unfolds, it's clear that the problem slowly escalates. Watching the film, you feel a quiet rage towards the doctors he encounters throughout the film, one that hangs on you to the point that it slowly wears you down as you watch it, causing any forms of progress made on him to feel like a catharsis.

Beside these characters lie a couple others who bring a lighter side to the film. The most notable of which is Mioara Avram, the nurse who accompanies Lazarescu throughout the night. While she sometimes speaks up towards the doctors and expresses criticism towards their practices throughout the film and especially with the third hospital, she usually faces verbal abuse in response. As much as she has the right to be mad at the doctors though, she remains calm and passively accepts the behavior they treat her with. At one point, she says she's had her job for 16 years. With all of this, I got a portrait of a woman who, after many years of experiencing the issues with the medical practices in the country, eventually understood over time that there was nothing she could do to help the situation. While she has a few friends in the medical field (one of the women she meets apologizes that he couldn't be operated on in the second hospital), she's largely powerless in the face of them. Despite this though, she still at least attempts to make a difference. Again and again. Other memorable characters include Sandu Sterian, Lazarescu's neighbor who helps him out in the opening act. While I had issues with this act during my first viewing, I enjoyed it much more this time around. Although his neighbor isn't able to help him out that much, it's interesting that, even though he isn't a doctor, he still does more for him than most of the doctors he encounters throughout the night are able to do. It's a good way of showing how flawed many of the doctors depicted in the film are since many of them compare unfavorably to someone who doesn't even have a medical degree.

Overall, I'd say this is a great film given how Puiu did so much with such a simple premise. It hooked me right at the beginning and held on to me firmly throughout the whole film. This one gets a strong recommendation for sure.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 3:43 pm

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The first time I saw this film, I didn't give it nearly enough credit. I really loved the first 15 minutes, but largely tuned out for whatever reason quickly afterwards and wasn't able to get back into it. I chose to revisit it for this thread as I felt like I wasn't fair enough to it when I first watched it. Overall, I really loved it. It's full of a lot of great material, found in Resnais' fantastic direction and the complex romance between the two leads.

As with my first viewing, Resnais' direction impressed me quite a lot. Topped with one of the most beautiful opening shots I've ever seen, the film often cuts between the present and the past, showing images which occur during and after the war. In spite of the occasional violent imagery in some of these scenes (I had to look away from the screen at a couple points), there's a strong sense of lyricism to this imagery, whether you're referring to the opening shots of a rebuilt Hiroshima with people walking through a museum made to commemorate the bombing of the city which seeps with emotion, Riva's flashbacks of a former lover which transitions from tenderness to a biting sense of loneliness within a single frame, or Riva's atmospheric flashbacks to when she was locked up in a cellar. Due to all of these scenes, it's easy to get lost in these aesthetics and swept up by the film. And these are deeply impressive aesthetics to get lost in, concerning the heavy subject of the film.

I also really enjoyed the central romance between the two leads as it made for a compelling dynamic between the two of them. During an early scene, Riva says to Okada "You're destroying me. You're good for me." I think this summarizes their relationship pretty well as two lovers who want to be together but can't. As the film progresses, its handling of their identity gets increasingly cloudy. Throughout several scenes of her discussing her past lover who was killed during the war, she begins to confuse Okada as her lover, oftentimes referring to him as such in several scenes such as their memorable exchange in the Tea Room. With these segments, we get a sense that she's still held prisoner by her wartime memories and maintaining her relationship with Okada will only exacerbate this problem. It's a really powerful dynamic. This culminates in their actions during the final 20 minutes which were a pretty decent way to end the film, even though this is the only portion where I think the film drags. While I wouldn't recommend cutting this portion out of the film, maybe trimming a couple of their encounters out of it would make it flow much smoother.

The romance also works to establish metaphors for the post-war traumas which would've existed back then as, in addition to how Resnais occasionally undercuts their intimate moments (the opening shot, the time they spend together in bed), he also dehumanizes the two leads in a number of ways, which can be observed by how the two leads are referred to as "She" or "He" or with the famous final lines that raises a number of questions. Due to this, their romance feels rather abstract given the ambiguities which underlie it. While they both seem to represent the scars and traumas many people had during post-WW2 (European and Japanese trauma), could the two of them be symbolic of their countries or are their countries symbolic of them? That Riva confuses Okada as her lover can also be read as an attempt that many people would've made to cover their traumas by projecting an image over them in an attempt to overshadow them. These kinds of questions persist after the film ends given that it can be interpreted both ways.

In conclusion, this is a really spectacular film that represents cinema at its most daring and beautiful. Regardless of what direction the last 20 minutes go in, the film which comes prior is wholly evocative and complex, overwhelmingly so at times. While several clips of disturbing war-time footage found at the beginning will keep some people from watching it, if you're able to get past that, you're in for a great treat with this one.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 02, 2020 4:04 pm

Hiroshima Mon Amour was one of the very first movies I watched when I decided I was going to start going on a 'serious film' kick in my mid twenties. While I probably wasn't quite ready for a number of them, they all left an impression, except for this one. I remember the dreaded word 'boring' coming up in my younger mind. I've known for years I should revisit it, but I don't own it like many of the others, and it just hasn't called to me. I do like Resnais' Marienbad, but the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with the rest of his work is probably part of the reason.

I was similarly numbed when I watched my first Fassbinder (Love is Colder Than Death), but because I followed that up with so many other films by him that I responded really strongly too (Ali, Fox and Friends, Beware of a Holy Whore, Gods of the Plague) I eventually returned to that one, and liked it a fair bit. Maybe I should check out my copy of Resnais' Muriel to ignite a little more interest in going back to his first film.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 4:24 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:04 pm
Hiroshima Mon Amour was one of the very first movies I watched when I decided I was going to start going on a 'serious film' kick in my mid twenties. While I probably wasn't quite ready for a number of them, they all left an impression, except for this one. I remember the dreaded word 'boring' coming up in my younger mind. I've known for years I should revisit it, but I don't own it like many of the others, and it just hasn't called to me. I do like Resnais' Marienbad, but the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with the rest of his work is probably part of the reason.

I was similarly numbed when I watched my first Fassbinder (Love is Colder Than Death), but because I followed that up with so many other films by him that I responded really strongly too (Ali, Fox and Friends, Beware of a Holy Whore, Gods of the Plague) I eventually returned to that one, and liked it a fair bit. Maybe I should check out my copy of Resnais' Muriel to ignite a little more interest in going back to his first film.
Regarding Resnais, I've only seen Marienbad and Night and Fog. I think it's possible to get a lot out of this film without being familiar with his other films, but if you'd rather see some more of his work before watching this one, I can understand that. Night and Fog is a good film to watch before this one (as long as you're fine with all the disturbing imagery in it) as both these films deal with memory in one way or another, so if you enjoy that film, you might like this one as well.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 02, 2020 4:44 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:24 pm
Regarding Resnais, I've only seen Marienbad and Night and Fog. I think it's possible to get a lot out of this film without being familiar with his other films, but if you'd rather see some more of his work before watching this one, I can understand that. Night and Fog is a good film to watch before this one (as long as you're fine with all the disturbing imagery in it) as both these films deal with memory in one way or another, so if you enjoy that film, you might like this one as well.
I've seen Night and Fog. Forgot he did that.

I don't think I need to see anything else of his to get a handle on Hiroshima. Only that if I find a few more movies by him I like, it might make me want to rewatch HMA a little more than a currently do.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 4:50 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:44 pm
I've seen Night and Fog. Forgot he did that.

I don't think I need to see anything else of his to get a handle on Hiroshima. Only that if I find a few more movies by him I like, it might make me want to rewatch HMA a little more than a currently do.
Ok, that's understandable.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Macrology » Sat May 02, 2020 5:28 pm

It doesn't get better than Hiroshima Mon Amour. The opening images are sublime, the first twenty minutes ranks among the finest sustained sequences in cinema history, and I can't think of another film that conflates personal history and political history as seamlessly as this one. You could argue that the last fifteen minutes start to drag, but I'd say that's part of the design, a la Antonioni.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 02, 2020 5:52 pm

Macrology wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 5:28 pm
It doesn't get better than Hiroshima Mon Amour. The opening images are sublime, the first twenty minutes ranks among the finest sustained sequences in cinema history, and I can't think of another film that conflates personal history and political history as seamlessly as this one. You could argue that the last fifteen minutes start to drag, but I'd say that's part of the design, a la Antonioni.
The Antonioni point is a good connection. I'll have to see if I warm up to the final act once I watch it again.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 16, 2020 1:28 am

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It pains me to say that, until this film, I've had trouble with falling in love with the films of Powell and Pressburger. The first of their films I saw, Black Narcissus, didn't do much for me. After I added this film to my watchlist, I decided to give it a rewatch and while my initial criticism (that Sister Ruth's arc was too predictable) didn't bother me, I'm still not sure I liked it other than the gorgeous cinematography and the final act. Maybe another viewing will help to solidify my opinion on it. I then saw The Red Shoes, which I thought was pretty decent, although it wasn't till the 2nd half when Victoria's and Julian's romance began that I was fully into it. However, I did like this one quite a bit, so maybe I'll rewatch the other two as well.

After a fairly cheesy opening (which I kind of like as, since its feel contrasts with the Isle of Mull, I got a sense that Joan was steeping from one world to the next) with a mix of good and not-so-good visuals, the film definitely takes on a unique feel once we get to the island. As we spend time on it, we hear about all kinds of curses and bits of folklore of the area such as a castle which might curse the laird if he ever walks into it or a story concerning a King who attempted to anchor a boat in a massive whirlpool for 3 days in order to marry a princess. While these stories are interesting in and of themselves, what I enjoyed the most about these tales was how they aligned with the present dynamic between Joan and Torquil. While these tales definitely give this feeling during the later scenes in the film, there's a constant mystic air throughout the film. Maybe their relationship isn't really going anywhere because Torquil hasn't stepped foot into the castle? Maybe encountering the whirlpool will have an effect on their relationship? The overwhelming reaction I got throughout the film was that the state of their relationship was informed and impacted by their surroundings and the folklore of the area.

In addition to the folklore, the atmosphere also helps add to this hypnotic feel. The Isle of Mull is shown as a gorgeously atmospheric area with several impressive views of the ocean stretching out to the horizon, large waves crashing against the shore, fog occasionally filling certain scenes, and the constant sound of the wind which is either shown in the way of it violently shaking the tree branches on the island back and forth or how it's quietly heard in the background throughout most of the film, even indoors. I also liked the atmospheric shots of various people standing near the ocean who were covered in shadows, preventing you from seeing their faces. These visual and sensory pleasures further help to give it this unique feel. Other standout shots include Joan imagining her wedding while a transparent scene of it dissolves over her current state (the first shot of this really impressed me since it happens shortly before she arrives to the island, setting you up for the differing tone in the process) and the ship voyage near the end, which contains a handful of jaw-dropping visuals.

Overall, this is a really effective film. Behind the central dynamic between the two leads lies a moody, mystical atmosphere which envelopes the island throughout and gives it a unique feel, one which I can't recall seeing in any other romance film. Even though this is the only film I really like from Powell and Pressburger, I'll definitely keep watching their films. As of now though, it's my favorite of theirs.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 16, 2020 1:37 am

I found I liked Black Narciccus the second time around much more. I also initially didn't click with films by The Archers but have grown to like most of what I've seen. Colonel Blimp I think is just about the best way to get on their wavelength.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 16, 2020 1:39 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 1:37 am
I found I liked Black Narciccus the second time around much more. I also initially didn't click with films by The Archers but have grown to like most of what I've seen. Colonel Blimp I think is just about the best way to get on their wavelength.
I'll consider Colonel Blimp as the next film I see from them then. It might make my rewatches of BN and TRS easier.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu May 28, 2020 7:43 pm

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This was recommended to me by crumbsroom, making it this rounds science fiction film. Overall, I typically enjoy early science fiction film like this one, even when I have some issues here and there. I typically enjoy the look of them and the alien/monster designs which strangely impress me more than the cgi garbage which typically gets produced nowadays. This was another example of such as I enjoyed a great deal about it. There's plenty of solid material to love.
My favorite thing about this film was how so much of it was changed with the ending. Typically, I'm not a fan of the "It was all a dream" ending, but I actually thought this film utilized that twist really well. While thinking about this film, I noticed that certain parts of it felt exaggerated or fantastic (outside of the alien scenes of course) as if it was caught between reality and a dream. For instance, I found it odd how the military was so quick to believe that there was alien activity, that the military would let the kid and the two doctors remain on-site as they prepared to fight the aliens, how the kid and the female doctor were the only ones at the entire site to be sucked underground during the last act, or how the kid knew how to work an alien gun at a critical moment. I wasn't sure what to make of these scenes throughout my first viewing. Instead of taking issue with these moments though, the film resonated well for me upon reflection as I got a sense that it operated alongside the kid's perspective.
The mind control concept was handled really well as I thought the film did quite a lot with it, given how it was able to produce various reactions and feelings from me while watching. For instance, since the opening scene showed that David's parents were nice and got along with him pretty well, this made certain scenes in the opening act such as his parents yelling at or slapping him hard to watch. An uncomfortable atmosphere filled the early scenes. This dynamic of mind control also made certain encounters really suspenseful as it sometimes seemed as if David was at the mercy of them, something I mainly felt during the police station sequence. Finally, I tend to love horror films like this where, once the human characters are "changed", they still keep their human form (the first two Evil Dead films and Night of the Demons come to mind as examples) as this can sometimes make their clashes with the human characters (family, friends, et al) all the more effective.

I also enjoyed certain technical merits, specifically the cinematography and set design. David is occasionally shot using low angles which represent how small and insignificant he is in the presence of those around him. This applies for the adults he encounters such as how he looks up at the police in the police station or how the aliens from the final act are treated as giants in comparison to both him and the other adult characters. I also enjoyed the set design of the alien ship. While something like, say, Forbidden Planet, for example, put much more geometry and color into the set design, I thought the minimalist design in this film gave a rather barren look to the alien ship which I found appealing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. While I can't quite say it blew me away, I still enjoyed a great deal about it such as the childlike perspective, its handling of the mind control premise, and various technical merits, so it gets a strong recommendation from me.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:30 am

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I was meaning to check this film out for a while as it looked pretty interesting. While I wasn't blown away, I did like it quite a lot and I definitely think it's much better than the 1/4 rating Roger Ebert gave it.

I think it's at its best when it depicts Badii's conversations with the various people in his car. There's three main people he encounters throughout and each of them react in a different way to his offer. The first is a shy Kurdish soldier. When Badii encounters him, their conversation starts out normally, but as it goes on and we see Badii suggest driving around with him and how he drives further and further away from where the soldier plans to go, this conversation grows uneasy. We see that the soldier increasingly grows disconnected by how he doesn't talk much and often asks to be driven back or let out. It's a quietly tense sequence. The second man is a seminarian. With this section, I found their musings on whether suicide is a sin to be interesting as it opened up a few thought provoking questions. The third man is a taxidermist named Mr. Bagheri, the only one of the three who's named. He agrees to take part in it since he needs the money to take care of his sick child, but warily so since he attempts to persuade him otherwise during the car ride back to his workplace. With his scenes, I could tell he was disgusted by what he'd have to do, but felt that was his only choice in the matter. I also found the story of his attempted suicide to be powerful. All three of these characters had differing personalities and reacted to his offer in different ways, each of which were compelling.

The look of the film is also worth praising as a number of scenes and aspects appealed to me quite a lot. The sequence which stood out the most to me was of Badii sitting in an active construction site as he was covered in a cloud of dust. This is a well-shot and sort of eerie scene which causes you to wonder whether something bad might happen to him or if he's thinking of giving up. Since it's edited in a way which makes it seem as if Mr. Bagheri was in his car throughout this sequence (as if he already discussed his plan with him) makes it feel all the more mysterious. Another notable sequence is how a thunderstorm began as Badii lied down in the hole. It's a small touch to the scene but it adds a lot more power to it since everything which happens before the final act is shot in broad daylight. This shift in lighting adds a lot of mood to that moment. I also liked the shooting style. Although most of the film takes place in his car, I liked how the camera wasn't restricted to showing everything from inside the car as it occasionally showed shots from outside, overhead views of him driving by, or people looking at him as he drove by. This may not seem like a major detail, but I think this style adds a lot of variety concerning the camerawork and since many of the final portions don't take place in his car, this caused the "transition" to feel more natural rather than abrupt.
The coda is probably what's discussed the most. It's a surprising scene and I didn't expect it to end the way it did. I was really mixed on it at first, because I felt like the film risked a lot on the strength of it and I wasn't sure I preferred it over how I thought the film was going to end (or, the two ways I thought it was going to end). Not knowing what to make of it, I looked up some theories and the reading I settled on is that it shows life isn't meant to be analyzed but merely experienced. This fit well into Badii's characterization since we didn't know much about him (his family, his job, his motivation for wanting to take his life) other than a brief mention that he was in the military. So, in a way, the ending works at extending the mystery of his character. As a whole though, while I at least appreciate it, I'm not sure I got much out of it. There is, indeed, an air of mystery which flutters around Badii which is heightened by the ending. I thought of this throughout the film, in fact. My experience though was that, by the time Mr. Bagheri appeared, I wasn't thinking of how mysterious he was as much as I was focused on wondering what his outcome would be. Shifting the focus back to the mystery of his character served to show something I wasn't interested in seeing explored at that point. With my first viewing, I thought it was surprising and had fun pondering over it, but when I rewatched the film after processing the coda, I was taken out of the film when I got to it as I found it to be jarring.
Even though I don't think the ending works, I still enjoyed this film quite a lot on the whole and I found it to be an engaging experience. I definitely recommend it and am surprised that it isn't discussed here more often.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:31 am

Also, this is the most wrong reading of the ending I came across:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Charles » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:37 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:04 pm
Hiroshima Mon Amour was one of the very first movies I watched when I decided I was going to start going on a 'serious film' kick in my mid twenties. While I probably wasn't quite ready for a number of them, they all left an impression, except for this one. I remember the dreaded word 'boring' coming up in my younger mind. I've known for years I should revisit it, but I don't own it like many of the others, and it just hasn't called to me. I do like Resnais' Marienbad, but the fact that I'm mostly unfamiliar with the rest of his work is probably part of the reason.
Me too! Except I didn't find it boring, but I didn't get it at all and I forgot most of it, except for the part where the woman says all she's seen at Hiroshima and all. So many movies were too advanced for me when I started.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Charles » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:37 am

How many and what 50's sci-fi movies have you seen?
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:42 am

Charles wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:37 am
How many and what 50's sci-fi movies have you seen?
I have some blindspots, but the most notable ones I've seen include War of the Worlds (still haven't seen Spielberg's remake), Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and this one of course. Out of those four, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is my favorite.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:44 am

Charles wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:37 am
Me too! Except I didn't find it boring, but I didn't get it at all and I forgot most of it, except for the part where the woman says all she's seen at Hiroshima and all.
I think it definitely improves with rewatches. I didn't think much of it either with my first viewing, but I now think it's really good.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:02 am

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The Tenant (1976, Polanski)

This is the third psychological horror film I've seen from Polanski (I've also seen Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion). I love all three of these films and think they're really well-crafted and impressive. Of the three of them, however, I think I like this one the most.

While watching this film, I often questioned whether the events in it were real or if they were just in Trelkovsky's head. Though Trelkovsky could've just imagined everything in it, that about 101 mildly or really fishy things happen in it which involve the other tenants in the building complicates this. While some of these incidents could be dismissed or explained with simple, rational factors, when all of these are stacked up together, it does cause one to raise doubts. A lot of this has to do with the dialogue as certain lines have double meanings to them. For instance, in an early scene, the Concierge says "Don't worry, she won't get better." when referring to the attempted suicide of the previous tenant. While this line and a handful of other lines and conversations could be meant in an entirely non-sinister context, the greatness is that they can be used interchangeably. While some scenes are harder to make a case for one way or the other, Polanski usually refuses to either confirm or deny Trelkovsky's suspicions, creating an air of mystery which flutters around this film. This ambiguity also causes many scenes in the latter portions of the film to be terrifying since this possibility that Trelkovsky may be right is maintained through the entire film by Polanski, as he illustrates with the ending scenes by how the tenants who appear to have good intentions on the outside still have a sinister atmosphere around them. However, since the film also raises some doubt towards whether or not Trelkovsky's right such as how he mistakes a salesman for Monsieur Zy while in Stella's room, we also wonder if the tenants actually don't mean any harm to him. The final act carries this feeling with it. Overall, I think this film does an incredible job at eliciting complex emotions from the audience through this ambiguity.

Polanski also has a unique way of building up to the more horrific moments in this film. While a handful of "horror" sequences are found throughout the film, it takes over half the film for the horror to be emphasized as the main focus. What I find interesting about what comes before this emphasis is that, while the film tells us that it's going to be horror fairly early on, the horror sequences eventually become fewer and fewer and the romantic/dramatic sequences begin to replace them until the film convinces you that it's actually not going to be a horror film. Due to this, the emphasis on horror can strangely come off as a surprise. Beyond this, however, what's even more clever is that the film strangely evokes questions on whether it, for a brief moment, achieves transcendence from the horror genre. While, on one hand, you could point out how the early horror sequences show what genre it is from the start or how it's easy to find out it's a psychological horror before you even watch it, the film does such a good job with buildup by placing a greater emphasis on the romance between Trelkovsky and Stella, having most of his conflicts with the other tenants boil down to noise complaints, and by having a number of other non-horror sequences and conversations that it complicates this question. In a way, it does convince you that it's actually not going to be a horror film around the middle. I think this is one of the hardest and most impressive things for any genre film (horror, action) to achieve and I'd say this film accomplishes it really well, especially so considering that I never felt impatient while waiting for this shift to happen as it contained more than enough to keep me interested.

Overall, this film is really impressive. While I was fairly mixed on it when I first watched it, I now think it's pretty incredible. Both the ambiguity found throughout the film and the feeling of transcendence it evokes as it rolls along are two really effective concepts in my mind and they definitely make it worth recommending.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:06 am

I really need to see the Tenant. One of my biggest blind spots.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:25 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:06 am
I really need to see the Tenant. One of my biggest blind spots.
https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=26941

July 28 8-) :up:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:07 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:25 am
https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=26941

July 28 8-) :up:
Oooh, nice.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:09 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:25 am
https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=26941

July 28 8-) :up:
Oh indeed.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:24 pm

I first saw The Tenant when I was in college and was underwhelmed because I didn't think it was "Scary". Years later, as an adult with my own apartment, I watched it again and it really resonated with me. I don't know what Polanski was going for, but for me it's the perfect illustration of the nightmare of having to live around lots of strangers. (I realize that's not a nightmare for everyone, but it is for me, oK?) :shifty:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:51 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:24 pm
I first saw The Tenant when I was in college and was underwhelmed because I didn't think it was "Scary". Years later, as an adult with my own apartment, I watched it again and it really resonated with me. I don't know what Polanski was going for, but for me it's the perfect illustration of the nightmare of having to live around lots of strangers. (I realize that's not a nightmare for everyone, but it is for me, oK?) :shifty:
Yeah, I'm not entirely sure I know what the deeper meaning in this film is, but the ambiguity of the film and the structure in the way of how it builds up to the horror are both really impressive and more than make up for this and render it obsolete, to my eyes at least. I also laughed a bit when Trelkovsky's friend talked back to the neighbor for complaining about the noise.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:15 am

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The Western genre isn't necessarily my favorite genre out there, but it can hit the spot every now and then. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is an all-time favorite, but it's the only Western which makes it on my favorites list. Or, at least, it was until watching this film, which is now the newest addition to my favorites list.

What resonated with me the most were certain character dynamics. Pike Bishop was a complex character. Early on in the film, he says "When you side with a man, you stay with him. And if you can't do that, you're like some animal, you're finished," revealing one of his philosophies. As we observe though, Pike doesn't uphold this belief as he abandons a number of people throughout the film, as we learn either via flashback or throughout the events of the film. Seeing these scenes play out brings some gray to his character and gives us a sense of his troubles. It isn't until the end where he finally upholds his belief, which marks the start of an utterly perfect final act. There's also Deke Thornton, the leader of a group of bounty hunters, who's told he has thirty days to kill the gang of else he will be sent back to prison. In a flashback, it's revealed that he used to be a member of Pike's gang but was captured and arrested in a shootout. As the film rolls along, he visibly expresses his frustration over the bounty hunters he rides with. He gets in a handful of arguments with them and refers to them as "gutter trash" a couple times. Seeing both this and his various confrontations with Pike, we get the sense that he doesn't want to kill them and wishes to be accepted back into their gang instead. Without spoiling anything, I found the payoff for this dynamic to be deeply effective and it resonated with me long after the film ended. Other notable characters include Angel, who acquires a seething hatred for General Mapache after he learns that his troops ravaged his village, kidnapped his girlfriend, and killed his father. Though Pike instructs him not to avenge his father, his desire to get revenge on the corrupt General often complicates their goals and puts his own life at risk in the process.

Also effective were the musings on how the politics of the American West were disappearing around the gang members (the film took place a year before the start of World War I). There were a handful of visual indications that the gang was in need of retirement such as how Pike had difficulty mounting a horse at one point (Unforgiven, which serves as a great companion piece to this film, also featured a protagonist who struggled with this; I wonder if this film influenced Eastwood) or how the gang commented on how cars will be used in the war. In addition to this, the gang, whose original goal was to pull off one last successful heist before retiring, often commented on how they'll have to find a new line of work pretty soon. One of the members also questioned whether he would've been better off running a whorehouse as opposed to his life of thievery. All of these ways of coping with the end of the era all resonated with me and made for some interesting discussions amongst the characters.
The gunfights bear a ridiculously high level of craft. They're deeply engaging to watch with their combination of multi-angle, quick-cuts, montage editing, slow motion, and, of course, the massive body count, which was uncharacteristic for Westerns when this film was released. The most notable gunfight is, of course, the famous Battle of the Bloody Porch, which was foreshadowed to earlier in the film when the machine gun used in the final shootout accidentally fired at Mapache's troops, missing every single person present. Looking past the craft and the high body count in the ending though reveals a clever sub-textual interpretation on how the gang members, by killing most of Mapache's troops in the final shootout, unintentionally helped the rebels with their fight against the Mexican Federal Army, which, historically, disbanded in 1914, a year after the events of this film. Since a central theme in this film focuses on the death of the American West, it's shown that the gang actually helped pave the way for a new way of life with the final shootout, taking multiple people representative of their way of life with them to the grave in the process.
Overall, this film is a masterpiece. The character dynamics, central themes, and the gunfights resonated with me in the best possible way. As stated earlier, I'm not the biggest fan of Westerns, but I'm really glad I saw this film as it left a massive impact on me.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by The Nameless Two » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:24 am

Trivia question. What is the cinematic "gun fight" inspired by? I'm looking for direct influence, direct example. Pro Tip: They do not utilize guns in this duel

Trivia question x 2. What film is noted for post-modernizing the Western genre?
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:31 am

The Nameless Two wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:24 am
Trivia question x 2. What film is noted for post-modernizing the Western genre?
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? I'm not sure tbh. :shifty:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by The Nameless Two » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:36 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:31 am
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? I'm not sure tbh. :shifty:
A) The Seven Samurai


B) Once Upon a Time in the West. Watch that one next :)
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by The Nameless Two » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:39 am

But hey, that's just what I was taught in school. If you have a different answer I'd love to hear it, still haven't seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:39 am

The Nameless Two wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:36 am
A) The Seven Samurai


B) Once Upon a Time in the West. Watch that one next :)
Two famous films which I haven't seen but should. Maybe now's the time to watch them. Thanks for the recommendations.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by The Nameless Two » Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:40 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:39 am
Two famous films which I haven't seen but should. Maybe now's the time to watch them. Thanks for the recommendations.
Enjoy! No problem
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:00 am

Anyhow, here's my rankings for the second round of films:

1) The Wild Bunch - 10/10
2) The Death of Mr. Lazarescu - 9/10
3) I Know Where I'm Going - 9/10
4) The Tenant - 9/10
5) Hiroshima mon amour - 8/10
6) Invaders from Mars - 8/10
7) Taste of Cherry - 7/10

Here's the next set of films I plan to review in this thread:

American Movie (1999, Smith)
The Baby of Macon (1993, Greenaway)
Dead Man's Letters (1986, Lopushanskiy)
The Great Silence (1968, Corbucci)
How Green Was My Valley (1941, Ford)
Nocturama (2017, Bonello)
Swing Time (1936, Stevens)
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Charles » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:28 pm

I'm a bit curious about How Green Was My Valley. I only ever hear about it when people say it shouldn't have beaten Citizen Kane.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Wooley » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:26 pm

The Nameless Two wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:39 am
...still haven't seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Then you have still have a great film you get to see for the first time.

It remains, at least 30 years after I first saw it, on my short list of Favorite Films.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Wooley » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:27 pm

Charles wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:28 pm
I'm a bit curious about How Green Was My Valley. I only ever hear about it when people say it shouldn't have beaten Citizen Kane.
It's fine. I've seen it a few times. Good movie but doesn't exactly blow you away. The fact that it IS mostly remembered as the wrong Oscar winner probably says a lot.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by The Nameless Two » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:25 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:26 pm
Then you have still have a great film you get to see for the first time.

It remains, at least 30 years after I first saw it, on my short list of Favorite Films.
I messed up and thought I had a thought here. I don't! Will try and watch, er, one of these days :shifty:
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:56 pm

Charles wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:28 pm
I'm a bit curious about How Green Was My Valley. I only ever hear about it when people say it shouldn't have beaten Citizen Kane.
That's what I've heard about it as well. It might not be as good as Welles' film, but who knows, maybe it will still be solid. I'll try not to expect it to be better than Kane though. After all, it's not the film's fault it beat it.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Macrology » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:08 pm

Charles wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:28 pm
I'm a bit curious about How Green Was My Valley. I only ever hear about it when people say it shouldn't have beaten Citizen Kane.
It's actually a sublime film. A tad sentimental, maybe, but I'd rank it among my favorite Ford films. It's not as formally audacious or thematically complex as Citizen Kane, but it doesn't deserve the legacy of being "that film that isn't as good as Citizen Kane" either.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Re: Popcorn Reviews' Reviews

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:07 am

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This is one of the few non-well known films I saw before I got into film. Since I wasn't used to slow pacing at all, I struggled quite a bit and, before rewatching it for this thread, I hadn't thought much about it. Now that I've finally sat down to give it another chance though, I've come to the conclusion that it's pretty excellent and criminally underseen.

When I rate and review films I dislike, I rarely think about how dedicated the director could've potentially been to their work while in production or how many hurdles they could've run into in the process of directing that film. More importantly though, I encounter films which fail to give me any insight into the mind of the director who made that film. However, learning about the personal struggles of a director or getting a sense of who the director is can be a really beautiful experience. Since I haven't watched Coven, I can't speak to whether it's a good film or not. However, this documentary reminded me that even if a movie can feel student film-y or misstep a number of times, a lot of work can still be put into that film and the director can also show a strong, overwhelming passion when making it, regardless of how much it shows in the film. Knowing this about the director can cause you to feel more sympathetic towards their work. I find that getting a sense of this is really fascinating and this film evokes this sense in spades. Not only did we get to see how determined Borchardt was in the production of this film, but we also saw him run into a number of obstacles while creating it in addition to several conflicts with other people in his life. Given this knowledge of Borchardt, this induced a truly affecting and strangely personal layer of empathy for him. Also, I say the word "personal", because watching this documentary reminded me a lot of all the times I've watched/read/played something by a close friend of mine. Though I may have my issues with what they make, I often find myself hesitant to point these issues out since I'm really close to that person and am aware of what creating that form of media means to them. Since this documentary did such a thorough job at fleshing Borchardt out and exploring his motivations and aspirations, he felt like a proxy for all the times I've encountered this.

While Mark Borchardt was at the heart of the story, the film also fleshed out a handful of other characters around Borchardt who influenced and shaped him as he went about the production of Coven. The first of which was his mother, who fervently supported him and occasionally went out of her way to help him out with his goal despite having her doubts that he'd ever succeed as a movie director. Knowledge on how she used to fight with Borchardt's father also interested me since it gave a sense of Borchardt's background. Borchardt's best friend Mike was also compelling. Little about his ambitions were known. Like, we knew he was a musician, but we didn't know whether he worked anywhere or if he was unemployed and simply played it on his own accord. Regardless, I appreciated him for his strong dedication to Borchardt, not just in the sense of how he helped him with Coven, but also how he helped him with a number of the films he made when he was younger. His prior struggles with drug addiction were also compelling to learn about. The most interesting of these characters, however, was Bill, Borchardt's uncle. He was elderly, lived alone in a trailer, and had a negative outlook on life in how he constantly expressed his dissatisfaction and indifference towards Borchardt and a number of other things which happened in the film. He seemed to have no ambitions left. In spite of this, however, Borchardt consistently tried to get him involved with the production of his film, perhaps an attempt to help him find happiness given that he recommended this to him at a few points in the film. Bill's final lines really resonated with me as they were the culmination of Borchardt's efforts.

Overall, this documentary was powerful and it lingered with me for a while after finishing it. With documentaries, I rarely find myself eager to rewatch them, but I can definitely see myself watching this one again in the future since it impressed me so much. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend doing so.
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