Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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Apex Predator
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:59 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:09 am
I think Splitting Heirs makes the most compelling case for the rear.
Hadn't seen. :shifty:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Torgo » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:06 am

Splitting Heirs at least deserves credit for the brilliant line "I'm bi-sexual. Whenever I want to have sex, I have to buy it."
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:28 am

Torgo wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:06 am
Splitting Heirs at least deserves credit for the brilliant line "I'm bi-sexual. Whenever I want to have sex, I have to buy it."
The only thing I remember is that it introduced me to the young Catherine Zeta-Acosta. And a lot of not laughing.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:52 pm

Time for quickies!

Us (2019) I really, really dug this; significantly more than Get Out, which I liked, but wasn't crazy about. Great performances from most of the cast, particularly Lupita Nyong'o and the girl. Good dose of scares, solid pace, narratively and thematically deep, and weird all around. Good one. Grade: A-

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) I guess I'll join the rest of the crowds in wondering why this film isn't mentioned more often. Great direction, solid performances, an entertaining and engaging plot. They even ended on a cliffhanger! Also, the chemistry between Crowe and Bettany was good, and the action sequences were handled nicely. Grade: a high B+

Summer of 84 (2018) I had heard/read some scattered stuff about this on Twitter and it ended up being quite solid. It plays its 80's nostalgic cards a bit too close to the chest, and the similarities to the Stranger Things vibe might result in some eye rolls, but overall, it's a competent and fun thriller that turns a bit darker towards the end. Grade: B

L.A. Confidential (1997, rewatch) This has been one of my favorite films since I first saw it 20+ years ago, but having not seen it in a couple of years, is it possible to end up loving it more? This film is soooo well made, so well directed, and sooo well acted. Ironically, the one thing I consider a weak spot is Kim Basinger's performance (which isn't bad, but it's not up to par to any of the four male leads) and her character as a whole, which feels more like a plot device than a real character. Other than that, a masterpiece. Grade: A

Lo que le pasó a Santiago (1989, rewatch) Another rewatch, this one for a Puerto Rican film, yay! Directed by our most prolific and successful filmmaker, Jacobo Morales, the film follows a widower that upon retiring at 65 y/o, finds himself having a bit of a crisis as he comes to terms with his new life and meeting a mysterious woman. Well directed and well acted, particularly by the lead (Tommy Muñiz). The performance of the female lead (Gladys Rodriguez) felt more forced, but it's not bad. The story is engaging, touching, and thought-provoking, even if it doesn't delve too much into its symbolisms. Still, a pretty good watch. Grade: Tempted to go as high as an A-, but a B+ might be more accurate.


I'm really cutting it close this month; will have to watch at least a film per day if I want to finish on time and considering how busy I am, it's gonna be a real test.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:44 pm

A film from the 1950s: NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1957)

The current project I've assigned myself is every Fellini film in chronological order. So I've seen 6 or 7 from the 1950s (all varying levels of great) but wanted to single this one out in particular. I wouldn't call it a comedy but I literally laughed out loud multiple times during the film. Not because something "funny" happened, but from the utter joy I was experiencing. Cabiria is just one of the most lovable characters I've ever come across, not sure how else to describe it. If it were physically possible to hug a movie I would do it. This is one I'm comfortable recommending to anybody on the planet because if you don't like this one you're just a hopeless monster, sorry. Watch it!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:49 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:52 pm
L.A. Confidential (1997, rewatch) This has been one of my favorite films since I first saw it 20+ years ago, but having not seen it in a couple of years, is it possible to end up loving it more? This film is soooo well made, so well directed, and sooo well acted. Ironically, the one thing I consider a weak spot is Kim Basinger's performance (which isn't bad, but it's not up to par to any of the four male leads) and her character as a whole, which feels more like a plot device than a real character. Other than that, a masterpiece. Grade: A
That is indeed a good one. Funny story about my first time seeing it-- My date for the evening wanted to see Scream 2 but that was sold out when we got to the theater so we called an audible and went with LAC instead, knowing absolutely nothing about it. Afterwards we were both like "ummmm...pretty sure that was WAY better than Scream...."
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:06 pm

It's really great. Like I said, for some reason, I hadn't seen it in several years, and it was funny to realize how giddy I was with every great scene or moment. As if it was the first time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:13 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:52 pm
Time for quickies!

Us (2019) I really, really dug this; significantly more than Get Out, which I liked, but wasn't crazy about. Great performances from most of the cast, particularly Lupita Nyong'o and the girl. Good dose of scares, solid pace, narratively and thematically deep, and weird all around. Good one. Grade: A-

I was really disappointed by this movie. I'd have to give it a B because the craft and a lot of it is enjoyable, but it's climax and denouement are like a faceplant to me, especially since Peele could not figure out a way to tell the story of his big reveal visually and simply had to have a character explain everything to the audience. I give Get Out an A or probably an A+, by comparison.

L.A. Confidential (1997, rewatch) This has been one of my favorite films since I first saw it 20+ years ago, but having not seen it in a couple of years, is it possible to end up loving it more? This film is soooo well made, so well directed, and sooo well acted. Ironically, the one thing I consider a weak spot is Kim Basinger's performance (which isn't bad, but it's not up to par to any of the four male leads) and her character as a whole, which feels more like a plot device than a real character. Other than that, a masterpiece. Grade: A

Great movie, not only never gets old but I actually seem to marvel at it just a little more each time. I ended up liking Basinger in this but one wonders if another actor would have done it better.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:58 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:13 pm
I was really disappointed by this movie. I'd have to give it a B because the craft and a lot of it is enjoyable, but it's climax and denouement are like a faceplant to me, especially since Peele could not figure out a way to tell the story of his big reveal visually and simply had to have a character explain everything to the audience. I give Get Out an A or probably an A+, by comparison.
I understand that, but I really wasn't bothered by the character explaining. Regardless of that, all the themes and metaphors hit me perfectly. I haven't seen a lot of 2019 films, but this might be the best I've seen so far.
Wooley wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:13 pm
Great movie, not only never gets old but I actually seem to marvel at it just a little more each time. I ended up liking Basinger in this but one wonders if another actor would have done it better.
Maybe, but I don't even think it has to do with Basinger, but with how the character is written. Like I said, she's more of a plot device to get the characters from A to B, and B to C.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:52 am

Okay, here are my quickies on the last 5 films of the month...

The Perfection (2018) A bit weird, a bit bizarre, and all around twisty. A local critic wrote "don't read anything about it, don't see the trailer or read the synopsis; just push play" and I agree. It's not that the film is great (it isn't), but there's something about its genre-bending nature that makes it sooo interesting. The first half hour when you're still trying to figure out what's going on are great. Overall, it's a solid film, with some good performances, but the real fun is in trying to figure out its twists and turns which might go too far in the second half, but you'll probably not guess where they're going. Grade: B+

Menace II Society (1993) Very 90's film that follows the life of Caine, a young man growing up in poor LA. The film is intense and gritty, and has several pretty good performances (most notably Larenz Tate as Caine's best friend). Even though at times, it can't help but feel like an after-school PTA on gang-life, drugs, and guns, the film is well made and has a nice pace. Grade: B

The 12th Man (2017) Based on a true story, this Norwegian film follows Jan Baalsrud, the sole survivor of a covert mission during World War II. Trapped in German territory in Norway, Jan has to find his way out while trusting locals to survive. It is a typical survival story, with little surprises and little flare to it. But overall, it's competently made and well told. The pace is a bit slow, but there is enough tension here and there. The lead performance from Thomas Gullestad is pretty good, but Jonathan Rhys-Meyers easily steals the show as the German baddie that ruthlessly pursues him. Grade: B-

The 6th Day (2000) I had a hard time figuring out what to watch for the "Sixth" category, but in the end I thought "An Ah-nuld film should at least be fun, even if it's crap", so I went with this one. And to a certain extent, I was right. The film has some disturbing and thought-provoking ideas about cloning and what it means to be a live human being, but in typical Ah-nuld film fashion, they're mostly treated in a clumsy way. The direction and editing were also spotty and shoddy, and the ending felt stale, but there's enough punch-and-sock-em to appease Ah-nuld fans. Grade: C

Seven Samurai (1954) Now this is where I will probably lose some cinephile points... I liked it, but I really wasn't blown away by it. Not sure if it was the height of expectation after so many people here and on #FilmTwitter hyped it up for me, or because of the rush to just finish all 15 films after a really hectic and busy month, or the fact that I kept dozing off while watching it, not because of the film, but because I was fuckin' tired (see "hectic and busy month"). I'm already planning a proper rewatch where I can sit through and digest it better, but I really like all of its moving parts (the direction, the story, the performances, Mifune, etc). I just wasn't particularly blown away by the whole. Grade: Pending
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:56 am

Here is June's tally...

A film with the number 6 (Six, Sixth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): The 6th Day
A film with a title that starts with the letters K or L: L.A. Confidential
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #6 (i.e. 16, 64, 216): (see list here) Incendies (#126)
A film from the 1950s: Seven Samurai
A horror film: Us
A film with an the word "Summer" in its title: Summer of '84
A film that features basketball or hockey prominently (NBA Finals/Stanley Cup) Slap Shot
A film about LGBTQ+ lifestyles or with prominent LGBTQ+ characters (LGBT Pride Month): The Perfection
A film from a Caribbean-American filmmaker (Nat'l Caribbean American Month): Lo Que le Paso a Santiago
A film with an the word "Kiss" in its title (Nat'l Kissing Day, June 6): Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
A World War II film (D-Day, June 6): The 12th Man
A film mostly set in the beach or the ocean (World Ocean Day, June 8): Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
A film prominently featuring fathers (Father's Day, June 16): A Quiet Place
A film from Billy Wilder (born June 22): Some Like It Hot
A film that won the MTV Best Movie Award (June 17): Menace II Society

Not counting rewatches, the best I saw was probably Us and Some Like It Hot. Incendies is also pretty high.

Worst of the bunch? The 6th Day, easily.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:15 am

Here are July's categories...

A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel):
A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N:
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): (see list here)
A film from the 1960s:
A musical:
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster":
A film about sharks (Shark Week):
A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1):
A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4):
A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14):
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20):
A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23):
A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26):
A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27):
A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30):

I already have two in mind (a rewatch of Seven, and Mission: Impossible - Fallout for the "M" category), but as usual, recommendations are welcome. Maybe some Armenian or Czech films? :shifty: :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:22 pm

Seven Samurai gets off to a slow start, but it picks up when Toshiro Mifune shows up. I get why so many love him.

I bet another go will make you appreciate it better (and it looks like in your review that you like it a lot outside of maybe pacing). Some films, you kinda have to be in the proper mindset to get through and fully awake. :up:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:25 pm

Seven Samurai might be one of those movies that has been canonized so often that it is hard to approach it without super-high expectations. I wouldn't give you grief if it didn't click with you, I'm sure the same thing happens with a lot of people who watch Citizen Kane or The Godfather for the first time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:17 pm

My tentative plan for July after finishing A Quiet Place and completing Moonlight...

A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): 7 Boxes (2012)---I could have seen this one earlier this spring on Cinema International, but it wasn't meant to be...until now.
A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: M (1931)---Overdue to see this and I've found a place to do it!
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): (see list here) For a Few Dollars More (1965)---Would complete the Man with No Name trilogy; as a bonus, it''s on Prime.
A film from the 1960s: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)---It sounds like House on Haunted Hill, only substitute ghosts for a young couple. Could go another direction, though.
A musical: Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical (2017)---Huzzah for PBS, home of interesting documentaries and occasionally stage productions and operas! I believe this got some theatrical wranglings from Fathom.
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": I don't watch blockbusters that often so I got a plethora of choices. Perhaps Frozen or Black Panther?
A film about sharks (Shark Week): Shark Lake (2015)---Kind of an uninspiring lot. Going with Lake because it has the best chance of not being terrible. Well, there's also Open Water and maybe 47 Meters Down.
A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1): Remember (2015)---Need to switch it up and I don't think I've seen too many from Atom Egoyan.
A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4): American Sniper (2014)---In my neverending 2014 project, I'm down to two Best Picture nominees: this and Whiplash. Only one of these fits this category.
A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): I'll have to look at this and get back to you.
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): Moonlight (2016)---Nice to include this in several categories over two months.
A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23): Mission Impossible 3 (2006)---For some reason, I haven't watched a lot of blockbusters. I got through the first two MIs with no problems, but haven't seen part 3. Saw a few snippets and was intrigued (it almost seemed personal).
A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26):
A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27): For a Few Dollars More (1965)
A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30): Friends Don't Let Friends (2017)---A decent array of choices so don't be shocked if I go a different direction.

Shame I couldn't find room for Snowpiercer or Whiplash this month. Maybe if I can get done early?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:35 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:17 pm
My tentative plan for July after finishing A Quiet Place and completing Moonlight...

A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): 7 Boxes (2012)---I could have seen this one earlier this spring on Cinema International, but it wasn't meant to be...until now.
A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: M (1931)---Overdue to see this and I've found a place to do it!
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): (see list here) For a Few Dollars More (1965)---Would complete the Man with No Name trilogy; as a bonus, it''s on Prime.
A film from the 1960s: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)---It sounds like House on Haunted Hill, only substitute ghosts for a young couple. Could go another direction, though.
A musical: Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical (2017)---Huzzah for PBS, home of interesting documentaries and occasionally stage productions and operas! I believe this got some theatrical wranglings from Fathom.
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": I don't watch blockbusters that often so I got a plethora of choices. Perhaps Frozen or Black Panther?
A film about sharks (Shark Week): Shark Lake (2015)---Kind of an uninspiring lot. Going with Lake because it has the best chance of not being terrible. Well, there's also Open Water and maybe 47 Meters Down.
A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1): Remember (2015)---Need to switch it up and I don't think I've seen too many from Atom Egoyan.
A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4): American Sniper (2014)---In my neverending 2014 project, I'm down to two Best Picture nominees: this and Whiplash. Only one of these fits this category.
A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): I'll have to look at this and get back to you.
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): Moonlight (2016)---Nice to include this in several categories over two months.
A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23): Mission Impossible 3 (2006)---For some reason, I haven't watched a lot of blockbusters. I got through the first two MIs with no problems, but haven't seen part 3. Saw a few snippets and was intrigued (it almost seemed personal).
A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26):
A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27): For a Few Dollars More (1965)
A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30): Friends Don't Let Friends (2017)---A decent array of choices so don't be shocked if I go a different direction.

Shame I couldn't find room for Snowpiercer or Whiplash this month. Maybe if I can get done early?
Highlighted the ones I've seen and I would recommend them all. Much love from me to Mission: Impossible 3 which is my favorite from the franchise (I have the last one set for tonight, though). It's nice to see Remember mentioned there. It's a nice little film that might be predictable from some angles, but doesn't necessarily flow in a predictable way.

You also have a couple there that I've had on my mind for a while, particularly the Dollars one. It's also the only one I haven't seen from the trilogy.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:21 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:17 pm
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): (see list here) For a Few Dollars More (1965)---Would complete the Man with No Name trilogy; as a bonus, it''s on Prime.
For a Few Dollars More is hands down the best of the three. It's not even close.
A film from the 1960s: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)---It sounds like House on Haunted Hill, only substitute ghosts for a young couple. Could go another direction, though.
This film is epic and gnarly. Make sure you give it about 15 or 20 minutes to build momentum.
A film about sharks (Shark Week): Shark Lake (2015)---Kind of an uninspiring lot. Going with Lake because it has the best chance of not being terrible. Well, there's also Open Water and maybe 47 Meters Down.
I liked both Open Water and 47 Meters Down. I don't know if you've seen The Reef--I like it a lot and it's free on Prime.

I've actually seen Shark Lake and I would say that it's enjoyably bad. If I decide to go the "so bad it's good" route, I might check out Sand Sharks.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:51 pm

A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: The Maids

This film is based on a play written by Jean Genet and I loved it.

The stage origins of the story are very clear, as there are only three actors in the whole thing. Maids Claire and Solange have a deep loathing of their employer (Madame). They take turns dressing up at her and role playing this weird, sexualized ritual (they call it "the ceremony") that begins with praising Madame, then insulting her, then physically assaulting her. The maids wrote a letter that got Madame's husband (lover?) arrested, and when they learn that he is being released from jail they decide to make their murderous fantasies a reality before their treachery is discovered. It's a story that is clearly inspired by the real life Papin sisters.

I find it hard to put into words exactly what it was about this movie that I liked so much. It's something to do with the intense emotional current, the way that desperation and high emotion run through every minute with almost no respite. The acting is cranked up to a 10 and there are epic stretched of what feels like mania. There are shots of the outside world, but the you can feel the way that the sisters have been trapped in this home and just slowly gone crazy.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:17 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:21 am
For a Few Dollars More is hands down the best of the three. It's not even close.
This is surprising to read. I think you're the first one I read that thinks this. Most people hold The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as the best.

Anyway, I'm on the same boat as Apex. It's the only one I haven't seen so there's a good chance I will finally check it out this month.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:49 pm

Netflix won't allow me to download Virginia Woolf so that's out. Options that I have include The Graduate and Easy Rider. Any preference on which one I tackle?

Also, the friendship one I think I'm down to Love and Friendship (which I've downloaded a couple of times but haven't gotten around to) and The Big Chill (opportunities on two days in the next week on TV). Thoughts?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:17 pm
This is surprising to read. I think you're the first one I read that thinks this. Most people hold The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as the best.
Those people are wrong.

Fistfull of Dollars is fine, though it really pales in comparison to it's inspiration.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly has fun central performances and some memorable moments. But I find that it really drags around the sequence with the soldiers and the bridge. It finishes incredibly strong with the three-way shootout, but it's pacing really drags for me on rewatches.

For a Few Dollars More has the most complex and interesting villain of the trilogy. The frenemy relationship between the Eastwood character and the van Cleef character is great. It has (and this is the part where everyone will disagree with me, and that's okay) a better final shootout sequence than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly because there is an "ah ha!" moment in there that hits with a punch and there's just so much more emotion embedded in it.
Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:49 pm
Netflix won't allow me to download Virginia Woolf so that's out. Options that I have include The Graduate and Easy Rider. Any preference on which one I tackle?
I was pretty underwhelmed by Easy Rider
Also, the friendship one I think I'm down to Love and Friendship (which I've downloaded a couple of times but haven't gotten around to) and The Big Chill (opportunities on two days in the next week on TV). Thoughts?
I've seen Love and Friendship, and gave it a 7/10 on the IMDb, but darned if I can remember much about it. I think it was . . . fine.

The Big Chill is one of my mom's favorite films. I've never seen it all the way through (not out of dislike, just haven't ever gone past the first 10 minutes).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:21 am

The Graduate it is...although I will still need to see Easy Rider at some point. Seen parts of it and outside of Jack, it felt like it was take it or leave it.

I just may watch the Big Chill and get it over with.

I got 36 hours more or less after work tomorrow. And most of the weekend may be free so I plan on some movie watching.

As for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I saw this one at CI and was more or less blown away. Even with the soldiers and the bridge which serves as a breather between the scenes at the monastery/hospital and the sequences at the cemetery.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:31 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:49 pm
Netflix won't allow me to download Virginia Woolf so that's out. Options that I have include The Graduate and Easy Rider. Any preference on which one I tackle?
The former, definitely; not that I don't think Rider is a daring, unique little slice of New Hollywood, and a somewhat-exaggerated but still valuable time capsule of the various social movements sweeping America during the late 60's (whether it be the free-loving, free-spirited hippies of the "Left Coast", or the backlash of the reactionary conservatives of the nation's mid-section), but it's more effective as a free-wheeling, stream-of-consciousness road trip with a rockin' period soundtrack of contemporary popular tunes than it is a coherent, engaging narrative, so I think The Graduate is definitely the better choice for you, not just because it was also directed by a fresh-off-of-Virginia Woolf Mike Nichols, but also because it's just a better film, and one of my favorites of all time, as it finds a great balance between the rampant stylistic experimention of its cinematic movement with a near-perfectly measured, incredibly emotional and evocative overall mood (the trailblazing Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack helps a lot on that front), with the two aspects of the film serve to compliment and serve the other to amazing effect, so it definitely has my vote on this choice.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:53 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm
Those people are wrong.

Fistfull of Dollars is fine, though it really pales in comparison to it's inspiration.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly has fun central performances and some memorable moments. But I find that it really drags around the sequence with the soldiers and the bridge. It finishes incredibly strong with the three-way shootout, but it's pacing really drags for me on rewatches.

For a Few Dollars More has the most complex and interesting villain of the trilogy. The frenemy relationship between the Eastwood character and the van Cleef character is great. It has (and this is the part where everyone will disagree with me, and that's okay) a better final shootout sequence than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly because there is an "ah ha!" moment in there that hits with a punch and there's just so much more emotion embedded in it.
I haven't seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in a while, but I remember it dragging a bit towards the middle. Anyway, I've had For a Few Dollars More on my "to watch" list for a while, but now I'm more intrigued :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:02 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 2:53 am
I haven't seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in a while, but I remember it dragging a bit towards the middle. Anyway, I've had For a Few Dollars More on my "to watch" list for a while, but now I'm more intrigued :D
The less you know about it going in, the better. I think that the narrative evolves in a really cool way--it manages to encompass both some classic Western elements (bank robberies! shootouts!) with some outright weirdness and dreamy emotional stuff. I find the intersection between Leone's style and the actual content of the narrative to be kind of fascinating.

I'd be more than happy to hash it all out after you've watched it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:10 am

I would have voted Easy Rider over the Graduate. It's the quintessential end of the 60's film.

I recently upgraded to a 65" 4k TV so I'm thinking a rewatch of the Dollars trilogy and Once Upon a Time in the West is in order this summer.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:22 am

I don't know if I'm completely on board the idea of For a Few Dollars More being better than TGTBATU, but I'm not completely against it either.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:01 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm
I find that it really drags around the sequence with the soldiers and the bridge.
I find this sequence to be very poignant in its portrayal of the futility of war (I mean, it isn't quite River Kwai, but few films are), and I think Aldo Giuffre gives a fine performance as the Union captain.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm
It has (and this is the part where everyone will disagree with me, and that's okay) a better final shootout sequence than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
OK? OK.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm
I was pretty underwhelmed by Easy Rider
This is kind of a backhanded way of saying The Graduate.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:11 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:01 am
I find this sequence to be very poignant in its portrayal of the futility of war (I mean, it isn't quite River Kwai, but few films are), and I think Aldo Giuffre gives a fine performance as the Union captain.
I don't have a problem with the sequence itself, per se, but every time I watch the movie this is when I start checking the time. I like the movie a lot, but I think it is too long, and while I get that this part is a break of sorts, to me it creates a lull.

This is kind of a backhanded way of saying The Graduate.
I haven't seen The Graduate, so I can only testify as to my tepid reaction to the alternative.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:19 am

A film from the 1960s: Petulia

This film follows a recently divorced surgeon named Archie who is romantically pursued by a young woman named Petulia. As Archie tries to sort out his own life (ex-wife is dating someone new; trying to be there for his kids), we slowly get more of a glimpse into what is happening in Petulia's life.

I'm still working through my feelings about the plot. And I don't mean "Did I like it?", I mean just the different emotions that it made me feel.

But what's undoubtedly true is that the way the film is shot is pretty brilliant. In the "recently seen" thread Rock referred to it as "visually fractured" and I think that's a great description. The angles, the framing--it's all just really awesome and different.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:23 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:11 am
I haven't seen The Graduate, so I can only testify as to my tepid reaction to the alternative.
No hurry, I guess.


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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:27 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:23 am
No hurry, I guess.


Image
I have to be in a certain mood to watch Dustin Hoffman act.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:28 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:22 am
I don't know if I'm completely on board the idea of For a Few Dollars More being better than TGTBATU, but I'm not completely against it either.
I am :shifty: Don't get me wrong, as I remember enjoying A Few Dollars (about as much as Fistful), but it just felt kind of felt a bit too... small and inconsequential on the whole to be truly great. While I can respect people for enjoying it more due to the more intimate overall nature of its narrative, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is when Leone truly graduated to making the epic, larger-than-life scale entertainment that defined his greatest works from that point, and is one of the very first films I ever truly loved. And anyway Takoma, if you thought the original North American theatrical version of GBU was over-long, then definitely don't watch the 2004 restored version, with its nice but inessential, deleted-for-a-reason scenes, complete with a noticeably much-older sounding Eastwood & Wallach re-dubbing their roles, along with another actor entirely reading for a then-deceased Cleef's lines; awkward...
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:36 am

TGTBATU is the only film I've seen in the trilogy, but I like it quite a bit more than most American Westerns I've seen (I'm not a huge Western movie buff to be honest). Should probably watch the other two films in the trilogy at some point.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:51 am

Stu wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:28 am
I am :shifty: Don't get me wrong, as I remember enjoying A Few Dollars (about as much as Fistful), but it just felt kind of felt a bit too... small and inconsequential on the whole to be truly great.
I have nothing against epics, but I prefer my Westerns with a strong emotional element and some degree of intimacy. Films like The Tall T or Ride Lonesome. My top 5 Westerns would include the surreal Django Kill . . . If You Live, Shoot! because of its dreamy nature and it's wonderful subversion of the heroic protagonist.

Most Westerns have that piece of backstory that drives the main action (things like the fate of Harmonica's brothers in Once Upon a Time in the West), but For a Few Dollars More takes the backstory and weaves it into the present of the narrative more than any other Western I can think of. It's deeper than understanding why someone wants revenge. I love that it's not just about *SPOILERS, SO THIEF DO NOT READ!!!*
Van Cleef wanting revenge, but also about the way that the attack still haunts the man who committed it, almost as if he is recovering from a trauma and yet without the film feeling like it's trying to garner sympathy for him.
I think that there's a difference between events being small and events being inconsequential. The ripples of what happened push the action through the whole film, and it all comes together--present and past--in a really powerful final sequence.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:40 pm

While looking for a film for myself with the number seven, I saw the the following films are free on Amazon:

Seven Psychopaths
The Magnificent Seven


I'd recommend both of them.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:41 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:37 pm
I was pretty underwhelmed by Easy Rider

The Big Chill is one of my mom's favorite films. I've never seen it all the way through (not out of dislike, just haven't ever gone past the first 10 minutes).
Easy Rider is a seminal film.

I love The Big Chill, been one of my favorites since I was like 13 years old (I'm 46 now). We just had a bunch of people over to watch it recently and everybody really liked it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:42 pm

If there's a film here I was underwhelmed by, it's The Graduate.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:01 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:10 am
I would have voted Easy Rider over the Graduate. It's the quintessential end of the 60's film.
Agreed.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:01 pm

I'm going to catch The Big Chill on TV.

As for The Graduate vs. Easy Rider, I'm going to let Wheel Decide pick it in a best 2 out of 3 series.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:21 am

A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Madonna of the Seven Moons

This was a film that was doing some really interesting things in its first 20 or so minutes. After that it veers into a much more melodramatic, improbable story. It's not bad, but I wish it had continued with the vibe and direction of its first act.

In the very opening scene, a teenage girl, Maddalena, is out picking flowers when a strange man approaches her. She runs, but can't escape him and he rapes her. After she is sent to a convent where she loves her life and feels safe. But when she turns 18 her father pulls her out of the convent because there is a man who wants to marry her. She pleads with the head nun, but to no avail.

We catch up with Maddalena years later. Maddalena now lives in Rome with her husband, Guiseppe. Their marriage is a caring one, though Maddalena is clearly someone carrying a lot of anxiety. The couples has a daughter, Angela, who has been away at school in England for many years. Angela returns home a thoroughly modern woman (wearing shorts! kissing her boyfriend! drinking alcohol!) and Maddalena is visibly frightened at what the world might hold for her. During a party Maddalena faints, and in the middle of the night she wakes up and runs away to Florence.

From this point, the film goes into some far-fetched territory. I loved it when the movie was just a look at a woman who has been traumatized trying to reconcile her fears with letting her daughter be independent.

For the rest of the film, the plot shifts to this: Maddalena has a split personality brought about by her trauma. She turns into "Rosanna" and goes to live with Nino, a jewel thief. Angela tries to find her mother, and becomes intertwined with a cad called Sandro. Sandro pretends to help Angela look for Maddalena, but only so that he can rob and rape her.

This is a film that is full of coincidence. One of "Rosanna"'s friends just happens to show up at Maddalena's party. Angela's boyfriend knows an artist who just happens to see and sketch "Rosanna".

The acting is pretty good, and there are several beautiful shots. The character of the artist is really fun. He and his wife, a woman named Nesta, are a model of a loving, caring partnership. They are the most real feeling characters and they help to ground the far-fetched nature of the plot. There's also a standout scene that is pretty horrifying, when Sandro takes Angela to a restaurant where everyone is complicit in victimizing her. As the waiters serve her spiked drinks that she thinks are just coffee, and slowly the patrons filter out until it's just Angela, Sandro, and a handful of men circling her. There's a moment that Angela realizes what's happening, realizes that she's too drunk to help herself, and it's horrible. It isn't Angela's independence that has led her to this point--it's the manipulation of someone she thought that she could trust. I appreciated that the film didn't present the assaults of the two women as something that they brought on themselves or should have been able to avoid.

There's a really interesting idea in there about how Maddalena's reaction to her trauma is to run to both extremes: one version of herself is this proper woman who prays in her bedroom and wears incredibly modest clothing, while the other personality is sexually liberated and has no qualms about making love to Nino in a garden. It's a good insight into the way that women struggle to reconcile the feelings brought about by sexual violence: the "be a saint so that I'm never in danger again" or the "screw it--might as well just have a good time because I'm never really safe".

In the end I felt like the melodrama overshadowed the solid character work that was done in the first half hour. I think that this movie was good, but could have been really something if it had resisted the urge to be salacious with the side plots and coincidences.

Also: the actress who plays the mother and the actress who plays her daughter were literally the same age (both born in 1915), but in this case I didn't mind that. It adds a sort of surreal edge to their scenes.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:54 am

A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): Sherlock Jr.

This one was okay. I was more engaged with the framing story than the second half. There were some fantastic stand-alone stunts (and him jumping THROUGH the tie saleswoman was something else!), but the storyline itself didn't really grab me.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:08 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:42 pm
If there's a film here I was underwhelmed by, it's The Graduate.
Jesus. I don't even really hate The Big Chill like some do - some of the acting (Hurt, Close, Kline) is terrific and it's still before Kasdan's writing completely turned to pus - but in terms of zeitgeist cache, this Boomer midlife crisis is such far less a film than its Boomer prelife crisis candidate.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:36 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:08 am
Jesus. I don't even really hate The Big Chill like some do - some of the acting (Hurt, Close, Kline) is terrific and it's still before Kasdan's writing completely turned to pus - but in terms of zeitgeist cache, this Boomer midlife crisis is such far less a film than its Boomer prelife crisis candidate.
I didn't realize you didn't like The Big Chill, which is fine, as I always say, not every movie's for everybody, but I'm not sure I follow your statement above. It's a character and dialogue driven film that really nails its characters and dialogue. It's really not about mid-life crisis, it is about this group of friends coming together and facing who they really are and what they've become in the mirror of their past shared experience. Which does include some mid-life crisis, but I'm not sure why a study of shared mid-life crisis is any less than a study of lone pre-life crisis. Being middle-aged myself and having gone through it myself and watched almost everyone I know, male and female go through it as well, I think, if anything, it is one of the defining emotional transitions of life and was worthy of a real look instead of being played for laughs as usual.

As for The Graduate, it's one of two Great Films that I was truly baffled by when I saw it.
"The gripping tale of a privileged little shit's struggle with ennui and the collateral damage he does with no consequences to himself and in the end, defying any reason, getting exactly what he wants."
Awesome.
And I'm certainly not saying it's a bad film, I am perfectly capable of recognizing the craft and the shift that it was and I have read quite a bit about it and its place in cinematic history.
I just didn't like it. At all.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:44 pm

I personally found the self congratulatory Boomer Porn of the Big Chill to have a significantly more privileged veneer to it than Benjamin Braddock's character in The Graduate. And I say that as someone who enjoys the big chill quite a bit.

While Braddock does act badly a number of times in The Graduate, I just view these indiscretions as aspects of a more complicated character. Not really privileeged, at least not beyond a fairly average middle class lifestyle. Most of the characters in BC though to me seem more like composite characters, token identities salvaged from memories of being part of 'the greatest generation'. I've grown to find the endless boners that 80's films had for the 60's tiring and even insufferable. To me this prediliction seems built upon a pretty privileged perspective, even if the characters themselves are not.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:48 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:36 pm
It's really not about mid-life crisis, it is about this group of friends coming together and facing who they really are and what they've become in the mirror of their past shared experience. Which does include some mid-life crisis....
I'm not sure we share the defintion of what a mid-life crisis entails.


Wooley wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:36 pm
"The gripping tale of a privileged little shit's struggle with ennui and the collateral damage he does with no consequences to himself and in the end, defying any reason, getting exactly what he wants."
This is primarially discounted on the fact that his ennui is caused by his privilege (the original novel called for a WASP lead, which is why Robert Redford was the favorite to star). I don't think that class designation is enough to dismiss empathy, especially when the character is wrestling with the pros and cons of his class designation. In any event, this is a facile complaint.

And does he get "exactly what he wants"? We don't know, and neither does he. In fact, one of the more ridiculed (by heathens) aspects of the film is that final shot, which shows our characters in an ambiguous confusion, uncertain about where they are headed. The point of the film, on a number of different levels, addresses the question of what it is that we exactly want, and rather than provide an answer, the film proposes the chance. I don't think that class affiliation or wealth diminishes this question, and is therefore empathetic for most people in their early 20s.

The film is also a great comedy, which the previous gif was supposed to allude to.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:17 am

A musical: Swing Time

In terms of classic films, and certainly in terms of musicals, Top Hat is one of my favorites. I was excited to check out another Astaire/Rogers film.

This one was good, but definitely a step down from Top Hat in several ways.

There were multiple elements here that just didn't age well. There's both a dance sequence and a scene played out with Astaire in blackface, which just . . . .NO. (The writing for a black servant later in the film extends this unfortunate aspect). There are also some gendered pieces that ding the film but specifically the Astaire character. In their "meet cute", Astaire asks Rogers for change and she complies. He later wants his "lucky quarter" back, and he and his friend contrive to steal the coin from her purse. When she (rightfully) tells a police officer that she's been robbed, the officer calls her crazy and literally shoos her away while Astaire says nothing. He then follows her into work and buys a dance lesson from her. She has no choice to be polite to him, even as he repeatedly falls into her body pretending he doesn't know how to dance. When she grows visibly annoyed at his harassment, she is fired by her boss for not being sweet enough. Yes, Astaire does help her get her job back, but the whole set up feels wrong. He makes her lose her job then helps her un-lose her job--and this is supposed to make us like him? Not to mention he's literally just come from promising his fiance he'd raise money so that they can get married.

Look, Fred Astaire has a tremendous wealth of charisma and this wonderful "who me?" persona that helps him get away with a lot of questionable behavior in all of his films. But I found his character here pushing into unlikable territory too often. He lets the Rogers character fall for him, never hinting that he has a fiance waiting for him. It all feels very sketchy, and the film lets him off the hook by devising an ending where his fiance is the one to call things off. But that doesn't change his incredibly deceptive behavior. Other films work more off of misunderstandings, but in this film Astaire's character is guilty of everything she believes of him: cheating on his fiance, gambling, etc.

On the flip side, I found Rogers to be absolutely radiant in this film. Both actors have great comic timing, but her character really shines because she doesn't have the same moral baggage as his character. I laughed so hard at one sequence where Rogers is determined to kiss Astaire. But she's so nervous that he keeps pulling away when she moves toward him. Finally she just blurts out "WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY DRESS?!" and awkwardly holds up the cape. As in their other films, the two have great chemistry and it really shines in their banter. But the ickiness of his character's behavior frequently drags down the sparkle of the narrative.

What is solid is the dancing. They both really show off some great moves. I loved the final dance, and in particular the way that Rogers makes her gown move as she spins and leaps(!) through the air. The dancing is artful and athletic and an excellent partnership.

It's unfortunate that the dated racist and sexist elements pull the film down--not just in an isolated sequence, but repeatedly throughout the movie. There is a ton of talent and comedy on display but just a few too many problematic pieces to overlook. Still, I feel like this is a film worth seeing.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:33 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:44 pm
...the self congratulatory Boomer Porn of the Big Chill...
This has to be one of the most dismissive things I've ever read on this forum.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:18 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:33 am
This has to be one of the most dismissive things I've ever read on this forum.
I probably wouldn't be a fan of The Big Chill if this was such a dismissive comment. And, as I stated, I am. Just because I have a distaste towards the Boomer generations seemingly endless need to impress their superior sense of nostalgia on every subsequent generation, I can see the benefits of the movie. It has charm and good performances regardless of the rose tinted glasses it puts on to stare at itself in the mirror. And, no The Big Chill is not the worst offender regarding this, but it is very much a part of the greater filmmaking culture that was going on during the 80's. In retrospect I find it to be an aggravating symptom of what was ultimately just as entitled and self absorbed generation as any other (yet they were the generation that could have saved the world!! barf). It is one thing to reflect swooningly on ones own youth, we all do it to some extent, but quite another to try and convince everyone else they should be swooning about it as well. No thanks.

The reality for me is that The Graduate is a much more frank look at this generation as it came of age. This likely has to do with the fact it was made at the time, before this particular generation grew up and forgot how to be critical towards the era they grew up in. As Janson stated, Benjamin Braddock pushes back against that middle class entitlement which, it just so happens, was very much an ingredient in the hippy culture of the time. Braddock is not a flawless character, but he is at least willing to be skeptical towards the life that is being carved out for him. If anything, I would consider dismissing his struggles as 'privileged' as being a significantly more dismissive comment towards the actual content of a film, than my generalized griping about Boomer Porn. Especially since I'm not even dismissing The Big Chill. I like it. And I will at least give it credit for being self aware enough to know what all those hippies eventually grew up into (ie. not hippies)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:44 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:18 pm
(yet they were the generation that could have saved the world!! barf)
I like how they see "could" as a compliment. "Hey kids, we could have done so many things. It's really amazing at what we could have done. If only we also had a little shoulda woulda." I guess that beats trying to take credit for rock and roll, civil rights and the moon landing, and all of the other things accomplished by the "silent" generation ("silent" due to their utter indifference to marketing their generation) that boomers happened to watch on TV.

But I also wouldn't go so far as to write off this kind of boomer navel-gazing. I don't mind Big Chill, but Return of the Seacacus 7, a film that Chill tried to replicate, is a genuinely excellent motion picture.
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