Films Worth Viewing Year 3

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It has that effect on many. It is an experience. When I finished watching it this time, I found I just had to go back and re-watch from where Willard reaches Kurtz's kingdom to the end of the film. The pacing is brilliant, it is real but unreal. I think that Sheen's performance has been underestimated. The best analogy I can come up with is :"In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king." I have an inherited condition which made me legally blind in one eye. I have no rods in my right eye; I can see amorphous blobs of color. I'm not sure that this condition has helped my understanding.
 
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Apocalypse Now was a very early Vietnam film. It came out before America had truly digested the war. Coppola's over ambitious approach to the movie was to give us everything, even a French Mansion in the jungle. It is an insane exploration of an insane venture. There were multiple different endings to the movie and just as there were multiple endings to the war. What did it all mean? Who the freak knows. How do you make sense of nonsense?
 

ClifSpliffy

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It has that effect on many. It is an experience. When I finished watching it this time, I found I just had to go back and re-watch from where Willard reaches Kurtz's kingdom to the end of the film. The pacing is brilliant, it is real but unreal. I think that Sheen's performance has been underestimated. The best analogy I can come up with is :"In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king." I have an inherited condition which made me legally blind in one eye. I have no rods in my right eye; I can see amorphous blobs of color. I'm not sure that this condition has helped my understanding.
'it is real but unreal.'
reality is but a function of life experience. i get ur rewatching from the point when sheen comes up on the compound, replete with scary monkey jungle sounds, and folks scurrying about as if tasks are to be done with some unseen force seemingly watching. good stuff, and very real, if ya've been around this rock. the scenes in 'valhalla' with the young girl in attendance, impart a sense of great power, real or imagined, and shock the western viewer into realizing that their understanding of this life may be woefully inadequate. dareisayit? 'errand boys, grocery clerks, ...'
bringing it back down to a mundane, micky d's level, i had an experience this past week which again raised the question 'real or unreal.' to wit
Ouch! Baby Crabs Postpone Plans For Beachgoers in Fairfield – NBC Connecticut i was in that area of fairdale that day, and we decided to bike over to the surf. no can do, sez the girl, beach is closed. im thinking august/western sound hypoxia, ya know, something experienced. she sez 'crabs.' say what? 'CRABS.' i say, 'wait, whut? what do crabs have to do with closing the beach?' (we've only been going to those beaches a 150 years or so). then came the crunchy lawyer talk from her.
unreal.
(sidenote: this is beyond idiotic given the realities at hand, and easily expected into the near future, specifically: the water is warming, the lobsters have skedaddled from here and headed north, while some fish and the crabs have similarily bolted from the chesapeake bay and are heading en masse to li sound. period, end of discussion, and so in the summer, when folks tend to prefer going down to the water, they're now going to start a growingly regular shut down whenever the crab thing happens, which will obviously be more and more? and the folks there, with very few understanding the big picture in real time, congratulating themselves on their superior sensitivity? ridiculous, and i suppose the beginning basis for a whole generation of children whose introductory experience to the wonders of the surf will now be jaundiced, as they learn this as their reality.)

and oh, as to your 'condition,' well, from what i read, your vision is vastly superior, and your understanding is sublime. dude, your observations are beyond bookworthy, and the market prospects are good with an expanding population spending more and more of their precious time swimming in celluloid, drowning in make believe, with some true aficionados hungry for the classics, cuz they're good. "Zymurg on Films Worth Viewing,' methinks.
one day at a time, cuz, you know, tomorrow just might be a good one.
signed, 'a relative of ol dolphy zukor, replete with tales of ancient family golf trips up to his crib in ny state, and others heading to tinseltown to get their foot in the door.'
 
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"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"- Justin Chadwick-2013

The title comes from Mandela's autobiography. Chadwick is known primarily for his work in British TV, However, he directed films between 2008-2017. The writer, William Nicholson, is known for some prominent films: Shadowlands, Les Miserables, Hyde Park on Hudson, and Gladiator. In "Hyde Park on Hudson" once you get over the shock of Bill Murray playing FDR; you see that both films attempt to show us the personal life of huge historical figures. Neither Murray, nor Elba pass the basic look test; this is my problem,but it detracted from my appreciation of the films.

Idris Elba is best known for his TV work most prominently "The Wire." Morgan Freeman was the original first choice, but he lost out after he made "Invictus" with Clint Eastwood. Trying to be fair, Elba is very solid in the role. I have more problems with Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. I admit that this is a crushingly difficult role; Harris stated she found seven Winnie's. She is best with the young and sexy Winnie. Elba gets stronger as the film goes on. He makes the transformation into the heroic Mandela believable. The trial sequence in the film is not the only time he was tried for treason. He and 28 other ANC leaders were tried between December of 1956 and March of 1963. They were acquitted.

I think that the film tries to cover too much ground. "Invictus" fares better with its more limited scope. Still for all my carping; this is a solid film. Serious biopics are a very difficult genre. They are unlikely to be big at the box office either. This is well worth viewing.
 
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"When Harry Met Sally"-Rob Reiner-1989
"Persuasion"-Ang Lee-1995
"Pride and Prejudice"-Joe Wright-2005

Rom Com is a genre which seems to be ailing and close to death, but seems to gain new life every few years. Shakespeare has been the basis for many films. Jane Austin is another prime source; in America we have Louisa May Alcott. Jane Austin's novels were published anonymously. The novel was a new form when she began writing. Her novels are alive today. Fiction is a popular medium, and female readership is necessary for success. IMDb ranks films popularity among men and among women. These 3 films rank very highly among women viewers. It is interesting that all three directors are male.

Jane Austin writes of a time when marriage was the only option for a woman. The necessity of marriage is in conflict with romantic love. Austen created intelligent characters both male and female. She wrote of what she observed and knew. It is a tribute to her genius that her characters have a reality 200 years later. However, the translation of novel to screen seems to be tied to a particular time. It is probably hopeless to look for a definitive screen version of any of her novels. Then we must give a nod to adaptations; "Clueless" is a prime example; this reconfiguring of "Emma" was a critical and box office success. I find "Pride and Prejudice" to be my favorite Austen work; however, this version isn't my favorite. The cast is mostly excellent. Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennet) is one of my favorite actors, he deserves praise. Keira Knightly is also a favorite, this is a nuanced performance which does her credit. Matthew McFadden I like, but this performance is lacking in the Charisma I want in a Darcy. "Persuasion" i a weaker book,but the screenplay by Emma Thompson is better.
Ang Lee is a superior director, and this first effort with an English story and cast shows his expertise. The 4 principals: Alan Rickman, Rosamund Pike, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson are excellent. This is the better of these two movies, but both are highly recommended.

"When Harry Met Sally" is an American take on the Rom Com. The Nora Ephron script is excellent. She and Rob Reiner worked on the script for years. Billy Crystal was a longtime friend of Reiner. He made several additions to the script the most famous of which is "I'll have what she is having" which punctuates the fake scene was a Billy Crystal suggestion. The actress who has the line is Rob Reiner's mother. This was Meg Ryan's first starring role. The film was a huge financial success. Reiner was in the groove in this film;he had a 10+year period where he made a bunch of classic films; this is one of those films. I like the use of music, Ephron did even better with music in "Sleepless in Seattle." We have two clever, articulate characters. They talk about male/female relationships in a way that hadn't been seen on screen before. Still there is a debt to Jane Austin. Filming in NYC added to the film's charm.

I'm big on DVD extras; "When Harry Met Sally" is one of the best ever. Don't miss the discussion between Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner. The DVD came out in 2008. "Pride and Prejudice"has lots of extras, but the quality is just okay. "Persuasion" has a single excellent extra, Emma Thompson's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.

I.ve watched many films lately. I thought of grouping these three films in a comment. I hope that this will interest you.
 
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"Taxi Driver"-Martin Scorcese-1976belon

Many cinephiles think this belongs in the highest reaches of film heaven. Many others hate it. While critical opinions vary; they generally hold this film in high regard. Well over 40 years have passed since this low budget (1.8 million) film with a young director and an unknown screen writer was made. I hadn't watched this film in at least a decade. I found this film to be better, much better than I remember.
I was fortunate enough to watch a DVD version which included many hours of extras. Despite a gore filled ending; this is introspective filmmaking. Who is Travis Bickle? We know little about him; he was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1973. He served in Viet Nam. The film opens with him applying for a job as a cab driver. He has trouble sleeping, and he wants to work maximum hours.

Travis is lonely. He refers to himself as "God's lonely man." During the picture no one comes inside his apartment. He has no friends. De Niro is great as Bickle. His performance carries the film. There is a discussion about whether Travis is responsible for his isolation. He tries with Betsy (Cybil Shepard), he tries with Wizard (Peter Boyle), he tries with Iris (Jodi Foster), all are failures. He despises the city. He comes to believe that he can make a difference. We watch him as he purchases guns, practices shooting, develops methods to conceal his weapons; the first culmination comes when he shots and kills a grocery store robber. The store owner tells him to leave; he will take care of things.

We see the world through Travis' eyes. Sometimes that view is almost hallucinatory. There is the famous scene where Travis is posing before the Mirror. "You talking to me?...." There is no one else there.

I believe that certain individuals find it difficult to relate with others. Some people find interpersonal contact easy. They search out situations with crowds. They reach out to others regularly. Others find such efforts difficult. If they are rebuffed; it is very difficult. Several rejections in quick time, and they are less likely to put themselves out there. Sometimes the reaction can move the person to violence.

Rarely do we find a film which delves so successfully into the internal workings of a troubled mind. I should mention the Bernard Herman score. He is one of the all time greats; this was his last score. He died while the score was being recorded. Herman used no strings. This adds an underlying melancholy note to the film.

This isn't an easy film, but it is a great film.
 
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"Taxi Driver"-Martin Scorcese-1976belon

Many cinephiles think this belongs in the highest reaches of film heaven. Many others hate it. While critical opinions vary; they generally hold this film in high regard. Well over 40 years have passed since this low budget (1.8 million) film with a young director and an unknown screen writer was made. I hadn't watched this film in at least a decade. I found this film to be better, much better than I remember.
I was fortunate enough to watch a DVD version which included many hours of extras. Despite a gore filled ending; this is introspective filmmaking. Who is Travis Bickle? We know little about him; he was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1973. He served in Viet Nam. The film opens with him applying for a job as a cab driver. He has trouble sleeping, and he wants to work maximum hours.

Travis is lonely. He refers to himself as "God's lonely man." During the picture no one comes inside his apartment. He has no friends. De Niro is great as Bickle. His performance carries the film. There is a discussion about whether Travis is responsible for his isolation. He tries with Betsy (Cybil Shepard), he tries with Wizard (Peter Boyle), he tries with Iris (Jodi Foster), all are failures. He despises the city. He comes to believe that he can make a difference. We watch him as he purchases guns, practices shooting, develops methods to conceal his weapons; the first culmination comes when he shots and kills a grocery store robber. The store owner tells him to leave; he will take care of things.

We see the world through Travis' eyes. Sometimes that view is almost hallucinatory. There is the famous scene where Travis is posing before the Mirror. "You talking to me?...." There is no one else there.

I believe that certain individuals find it difficult to relate with others. Some people find interpersonal contact easy. They search out situations with crowds. They reach out to others regularly. Others find such efforts difficult. If they are rebuffed; it is very difficult. Several rejections in quick time, and they are less likely to put themselves out there. Sometimes the reaction can move the person to violence.

Rarely do we find a film which delves so successfully into the internal workings of a troubled mind. I should mention the Bernard Herman score. He is one of the all time greats; this was his last score. He died while the score was being recorded. Herman used no strings. This adds an underlying melancholy note to the film.

This isn't an easy film, but it is a great film.
IMHO, one of the best films of all time. There is an absolute iconic scene (no not that one) about halfway through. Travis is waiting for the presidential rally to begin. But all we see is his feet. Slowly the camera pans up. We all know the mayhem hiding in his clothes, the knife in his socks, the hand guns on his wrist and under his shoulder. The slow pan up reminds us of the horrible potential of his madness until it reveals, he has shaved his head and now sports a mohawk. He is not only dangerous --- HE'S INSANE.

I also agree the score is sensational. Watch the scene in the beginning where the taxi comes through the steam of the city sewer grate. Without the score it is pedestrian, with the score it is foreboding as hell.
 
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IMHO, one of the best films of all time. There is an absolute iconic scene (no not that one) about halfway through. Travis is waiting for the presidential rally to begin. But all we see is his feet. Slowly the camera pans up. We all know the mayhem hiding in his clothes, the knife in his socks, the hand guns on his wrist and under his shoulder. The slow pan up reminds us of the horrible potential of his madness until it reveals, he has shaved his head and now sports a mohawk. He is not only dangerous --- HE'S INSANE.

I also agree the score is sensational. Watch the scene in the beginning where the taxi comes through the steam of the city sewer grate. Without the score it is pedestrian, with the score it is foreboding as hell.
Excellent comments.
 
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"Fargo"-Joel Coen-1996

I have watched the TV show several times since I watched the movie. I had forgotten just how good the movie was. The film won two Oscars (Best Actress and Best Screenplay). The budget was 7 million, the US gross was 60.6 million. The setting of North Dakota and Minnesota is realistic with fantasy undertones. The film opens with the statement that it is based on a true story. The brothers called the area "Siberia with family restaurants." The disposal of a body via woodchipper is an historic Boneyard meme.

Frances McDermand and William Macy are so perfect in their roles (Marge Gunderson and Jerry Lundegard) that it is difficult to see any other actors in the roles, in "Fargo" season one the needle is threaded to perfection. There is a bit in "West Wing" where Donna Moss (Janel Maloney) is sent to a state party conference in North Dakota where the principal item on the agenda is the removal of North from the state's name. Marge and Jerry are Minnesota nice. Their polite affability masks aspects of their character. Marge is a superior police investigator and Jerry is a sociopath.

Roger Deakins' cinematography is compelling. The open vistas have the ability to conceal the nasty action. The characters defy conventional interpretations. When Marge interviews the two young prostitutes, they seem totally wholesome. The Coen Brothers enjoy using conventions to reveal truths.

I watch this film smiling despite the excessive and horrible nature of some of the crimes. Joel and Ethan have created a parallel universe where their films are the reality. There is one limitation in their vision; the films are generally not emotionally involving. I think that this is one of the reasons why "No Country for Old Men" is my favorite Coen Brothers film. I care about the Tommy Lee Jones character. I don't want Javier Bardem's character to define reality. Is everything a coin toss? Don't we have the ability to affect our life? I've written before abut the importance of questions to my filmic enjoyment.

I have avoided laying out the plot. I'm sure that virtually all of you have seen the film, but if it's been a few years since your last viewing, I don't want to pre-empt your experience. This is a film which holds up to repeated viewings. This is a true classic.
 

ClifSpliffy

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"Fargo"-Joel Coen-1996

I have watched the TV show several times since I watched the movie. I had forgotten just how good the movie was. The film won two Oscars (Best Actress and Best Screenplay). The budget was 7 million, the US gross was 60.6 million. The setting of North Dakota and Minnesota is realistic with fantasy undertones. The film opens with the statement that it is based on a true story. The brothers called the area "Siberia with family restaurants." The disposal of a body via woodchipper is an historic Boneyard meme.

Frances McDermand and William Macy are so perfect in their roles (Marge Gunderson and Jerry Lundegard) that it is difficult to see any other actors in the roles, in "Fargo" season one the needle is threaded to perfection. There is a bit in "West Wing" where Donna Moss (Janel Maloney) is sent to a state party conference in North Dakota where the principal item on the agenda is the removal of North from the state's name. Marge and Jerry are Minnesota nice. Their polite affability masks aspects of their character. Marge is a superior police investigator and Jerry is a sociopath.

Roger Deakins' cinematography is compelling. The open vistas have the ability to conceal the nasty action. The characters defy conventional interpretations. When Marge interviews the two young prostitutes, they seem totally wholesome. The Coen Brothers enjoy using conventions to reveal truths.

I watch this film smiling despite the excessive and horrible nature of some of the crimes. Joel and Ethan have created a parallel universe where their films are the reality. There is one limitation in their vision; the films are generally not emotionally involving. I think that this is one of the reasons why "No Country for Old Men" is my favorite Coen Brothers film. I care about the Tommy Lee Jones character. I don't want Javier Bardem's character to define reality. Is everything a coin toss? Don't we have the ability to affect our life? I've written before abut the importance of questions to my filmic enjoyment.

I have avoided laying out the plot. I'm sure that virtually all of you have seen the film, but if it's been a few years since your last viewing, I don't want to pre-empt your experience. This is a film which holds up to repeated viewings. This is a true classic.
'filmic?'
never heard that word before. webster sez it's real.
ok eh? thanks a bunch.
 
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"Fahrenheit 451"-Francois Truffaut-1966

This is of course one of Bradbury's most famous works. It was Truffaut's first color film and his only English film. Truffaut wasn't interested in SciFi,but he spent 6 years of his life bringing this work to the screen. There have been numerous reported remakes, but none have gotten off the. SciFi fans are eagerly awaiting the re-make of "Dune" and a first time effort to make Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Classic SciFi is not the cultural force it once was. Comic books and graphic novels have replaced novels as sources for films.

The title refers to the temperature of burning paper. Bradbury found that there was no available number. He called a fire chief who performed an experiment recording the ignition temperature. In real life the ignition temperature is affected by the age and type of paper.
In this twisted future firemen burn books rather than putting out fires. The issue of censorship is alive and well in our contemporary society.

Truffaut knew little English. He wrote the script with Jean Louis Richard who knew little English. The original script was in French. David Rudkin and Helen Scott wrote the English version uncredited. Bernard Herman wrote the score; he and Hitchcock parted ways. Neither Oscar Werner nor Julie Christie were first choices. This was a very unhappy set. Truffaut said that if he hadn't spent six years developing this project, he would have just left. He and Werner despised each other. Christie had a mental breakdown according to Truffaut.

The film did get made cudos to Lewis Allen the producer. It didn't achieve critical or popular success. 50+ years later this film is worth a look. Julie Christie's performance in the dual roles of Linda (Montag"s wife) and Clarisse the book activist is excellent. Werner as Montag is more problematic. The change in his beliefs is too abrupt to be credible. The Montag who joins the book people and becomes a book is totally at odds with the type of person who would excel as a fireman. The counter argument references the banality of evil. Good people say/do nothing.

This is worth viewing, but it could have been so much better.
 

ClifSpliffy

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ur back at the keyboard! noice!
sadly, and unknown to our general public, china has gone full dystopian since their ccp anniversary this past summer, including book removal and book burning. locally, pert near the only other place on planet earth that both confiscates, then destroys, motorbikes is nyc. they also seem to have ramped up their 'no free speech allowed' tendencies. not good.
past is prologue. here's a 'film' worth viewing.'
 
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"Fahrenheit 451"-Francois Truffaut-1966

This is of course one of Bradbury's most famous works. It was Truffaut's first color film and his only English film. Truffaut wasn't interested in SciFi,but he spent 6 years of his life bringing this work to the screen. There have been numerous reported remakes, but none have gotten off the. SciFi fans are eagerly awaiting the re-make of "Dune" and a first time effort to make Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Classic SciFi is not the cultural force it once was. Comic books and graphic novels have replaced novels as sources for films.

The title refers to the temperature of burning paper. Bradbury found that there was no available number. He called a fire chief who performed an experiment recording the ignition temperature. In real life the ignition temperature is affected by the age and type of paper.
In this twisted future firemen burn books rather than putting out fires. The issue of censorship is alive and well in our contemporary society.

Truffaut knew little English. He wrote the script with Jean Louis Richard who knew little English. The original script was in French. David Rudkin and Helen Scott wrote the English version uncredited. Bernard Herman wrote the score; he and Hitchcock parted ways. Neither Oscar Werner nor Julie Christie were first choices. This was a very unhappy set. Truffaut said that if he hadn't spent six years developing this project, he would have just left. He and Werner despised each other. Christie had a mental breakdown according to Truffaut.

The film did get made cudos to Lewis Allen the producer. It didn't achieve critical or popular success. 50+ years later this film is worth a look. Julie Christie's performance in the dual roles of Linda (Montag"s wife) and Clarisse the book activist is excellent. Werner as Montag is more problematic. The change in his beliefs is too abrupt to be credible. The Montag who joins the book people and becomes a book is totally at odds with the type of person who would excel as a fireman. The counter argument references the banality of evil. Good people say/do nothing.

This is worth viewing, but it could have been so much better.

Always good to see these reviews from you.
 
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"Roma, Citta Operta"-Roberto Rossellini-1945

This is an amazing film. It is amazing first in that they actually made it. I have mentioned the difficulties that American film makers endured during WWII. They at least had film stock. Rossellini began with no stock. Some sources report that an American in the Signal Corps, Rod Geiger, helped Rossellini obtain film stock. We know that two basic types of stock were used. Leica was low quality used to make home movies for American servicemen in Italy. There was higher quality stock used to make newsreels. Tag ends were retrieved and spliced together. Cina Citta was unavailable, so everything had to be shot on site. Some critics have belabored the apparent continuity errors, poor lighting, and the mix of professionals and amateurs. The concept and early work on the screenplay began under Nazi occupation;filming began before the end of the war in Europe. BTW the original print was re-discovered in 2004. Criterion performed a minor miracle in their re-issue.

This is the first film in Rossellini's trilogy ( Paisan and Germany Year Zero are the others) about WWII. It is considered the first film of the Italian neo-realist school. Some of Rossellini's contemporaries objected to his use of professionals in the cast. They hadn't participated in the struggle against the fascists. There was an Italian film industry during WWII; it was supervised by Mussollini"s son. Free streaming is available on YouTube.

After very limited credits a disclaimer appears on the screen saying that this is fiction and that the resemblance to real life is purely coincidental. Actually the films principal characters were based on real persons. Rome became an open city after the fall of the Fascist government on August 14, 1943. The German's took over the city. There was a well developed underground opposing the Nazis non-violently and violently. The film focuses on individuals in the resistance. Aldo Fabrisi plays Dom Pietro Pelligrini, a priest involved in the resistance and Anna Magnani who plays Pina a women with a young son who is the intended of Francesco an active member of the resistance, Georgio Manfredi, a communist resistance leader, shows up in Pina's building looking for Francesco. Georgio is on the run from the Nazis. From this point on these four principals are doomed. Pina is shot running after the truck carrying Francesco away. That scene is so memorable that it was reproduced on an Italian stamp marking the 50th anniversary of the war. Manfredi is tortured for 16 minutes on film. Dom Pietro is shot in the back of the head by a Nazi officer.

I liked the performances of Fabrisi and Magnani. But for me the real wonder was being thrown into the chaos of the Occupation. Life is messy. There are elements of the film which diverge from the central focus. Dom Pietro forges papers to help an Austrian soldier desert.
There is a side bar about a woman who witnesses Manfredi assassinate a Nazi. The occupation had direct consequences for all Romans..
There are some moments of humor as when a boy sneaks home after curfew. His father who was worried about the worst, his son's death, threatens to kill him. The humanity of the characters comes through. The German soldiers were played by German POWs.

This is a must see film.
 
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