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RE: Top 100 Films I've Watched This Year: 2009 - 7/12/2009 3:46:21 PM   
Gram123

 

Posts: 5537
Joined: 19/1/2006
From: Reino Unido
Mrs 123 and I played Round 1 of "introduce me to a film".
My choice was:

010) The Devil's Backbone  (Guillermo del Toro, Spain / Mexico, 2001) - 8.0

and her's was:

054) Angel-A  (Luc Besson, France, 2005) - 7.0

... which was better than I'd expected.

We also started watching Kidulthood, but I really have no idea why. We gave up after half an hour of ridiculous, irritating, poorly written, stereotyping bollocks. I could have watched it to the end, but I couldn't see any pleasure to be gained from doing so, and all signs suggested it was heading to the lower echelons of my list, so why bother?

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Post #: 7981
RE: Top 100 Films I've Watched This Year: 2009 - 7/12/2009 3:58:12 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
Joined: 1/10/2005
we did that a couple of years ago - lasted about 5 months in total. Part of the problem was it ended up one side me introducing a new film and him then deciding whether to put in a film I hated or not

Angel-A is very odd. But I like Debbouze.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 7982
RE: Top 100 Films I've Watched This Year: 2009 - 7/12/2009 4:18:10 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army

242. The Last Days of Disco (1998, Stillman) - 4/5
Today I discovered that Oscar-nominated writer-director Whit Stillman has only made three films, and his most recent was this film, 1998's subtle satire of 1980s yuppie culture couched in an ode to the dying days of disco. Here, Chloe Sevigny's Alice and Kate Beckinsale's Charlotte are two young assistants in a publishing firm who work all day, dance all night, and talk like seasoned saleswomen. While this trait of Stillman's characters in Last Days - that is, the characters talking as though they're about to have a job interview sprung on them at any minute - is initially grating, it soon becomes clear what he's trying to do, and that is stealthily skewer the social mores of these 1980s Young UPwardly-mobile Professionals, and their loquacious conversations become loaded vehicles that hide their real selves behind a sea of grammatically-correct, polite-but-assertive business prose. It's when the characters say less that they actually say more, and their body language says more than their perfectly-constructed sentences ever could. It's an ingenious tactic, and while their conversations are often fun in their wordiness and occasionally-bizarre subject matter (a discussion of Scrooge McDuck comics and a left-field analysis of The Lady and the Tramp do pop-culture conversing far better than, say, Tarantino), it's the characters who don't say so much who are the most endearing and interesting - in particular, the subdued and not-especially-confident Alice (played with great restraint by that queen of awkward glances, Chloe Sevigny) and the nice-guy ADA Josh (Matt Keeslar in a likable performance). The performances are all top-notch, with Kate Beckinsale playing the irritatingly polite queen bitch well and Robert Sean Leonard standing out in a great support role, and Stillman's direction is subtle and assured, never overly flashy but still feeling cinematic all the same. It's also worthy to note that the ode to the last days of disco that the film couches its commentary in is well done, with the dancefloor seemingly the only pure, untainted place in the entire film, when everyone is on an equal footing and the world's troubles are an ocean away. That may not be a necessarily original observation, but it's a good one, and a welcome reprieve from the cynicism that peppers the film.

Nice review. You've got to see Stillman's other movies. Barcelona is terrific (though it would have been even better if he'd left in the political stuff included as deleted scenes on the DVD), and Metropolitan is going to turn up very near the top of my all-time 100.


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Post #: 7983
RE: Top 100 Films I've Watched This Year: 2009 - 7/12/2009 4:19:53 PM   
Gram123

 

Posts: 5537
Joined: 19/1/2006
From: Reino Unido
I liked Debbouze in Amélie and even more so in Indigènes (Days of Glory).

Yeah, the film is a little unusual. The background (how André got into his situation) is really skimmed over very quickly to get onto the story of his experiences with Angela, and as a result it feels like some of the plot is absent. The end seems like it needs a bit more work too...
Anyway, my (very slightly) more substantial review is in the World Cinema forum.

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Post #: 7984
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 7/12/2009 4:38:58 PM   
paul_ie86


Posts: 11422
Joined: 4/1/2007
From: Chelsea Hotel #2
33. Happy Go Lucky (Leigh, 2008)
I don't know what I can say about Sally Hawkins performance in Happy Go Lucky than has already been said. Although it is a testament to her performance that Polly is so likeable, when I real life I would crack up at the thought of spending two hours with some like her.

56. A Serious Man (Coens, 2009)
Michael Stuhlbarg also excels in a central performance in this blackly comic film about a man's life falling apart, from the Coen Brothers. Best of the support cast was me Fred Melamed as Sy Ableman, the catalyst for Larry's recent problems.


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Post #: 7985
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 7:12:45 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77665
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
98. Taxidermia (1st view, 2006, György Pálfi) - 4/5*
To quote Victor Meldrew, what in the name of bloody hell? I don't think I'll ever be the same again. In a very weird way though, I liked it.

136. Taking Sides (1st view, 2001, István Szabó) - 4/5*
Stellan Skarsgård stars as Wilhelm Furtwängler, a composer who is accused of being a member of the Nazi Party, Harvey Keitel overacts as Major ordered to investigate/

154. Dead Snow/Død snø (1st view, 2009, Tommy Wirkola) - 4/5*
Zombie Nazis! Always good fun.

210. 633 Squadron (3rd view, 1964, Walter Grauman) - 3/5
It's been years since I saw this and my memories of it were quite fond and, as it turns out, rose-tinted.The aerial training exercise sequences are good though, and the main theme is superb.

222. Varian's War (1st view, 2001, Lionel Chetwynd) - 3/5*
TV film that stars William Hurt as Varian Fry, a journalist who helped Jews escape from Nazi Germany.


1. Muppet Christmas Carol (25th+, view, 1992, Brian Henson) - 5/5
2. Babe (15th view, 1995, Chris Noonan) - 5/5
3. When The Wind Blows (1st view, 1986, Jimmy T. Murakami) - 4/5*
4. Blindness (1st view, 2008, Fernando Meirelles) - 4/5*
5. All The KIng's Men (1st view, 1949, Robert Rossen) - 4/5*
6. Avatar (1st view, 2009, James Cameron) - 4/5*
7. The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1st view, 1995, Benjamin Ross) - 4/5*
8. Gerry (1st view, 2002, Gus Van Sant) - 4/5*
9. As You Like It (1st view, 2006, Kenneth Branagh) - 4/5*
10. Happy Feet (2006, George Miller) - 4/5*

11. Déjà vu (2nd view, 2006, Tony Scott) - 4/5
12. The Holiday (2006, Nancy Meyers) - 4/5*
13. Taxidermia (1st view, 2006, György Pálfi) - 4/5*
14. Slither (2nd view, 2006, James Gunn) - 4/5
15. Family Plot (1st view, 1976, Alfred Hitchcock) - 4/5*
16. Endgame (1st view, 2009, Pete Travis) - 4/5*
17. Dead Snow/Død snø (1st view, 2009, Tommy Wirkola) - 4/5*
18. The Great Raid (1st view, 2005, John Dahl) - 4/5*
19. Nine Queens (1st view, 2000, Fabián Bielinsky) - 3/5*
20. Bell, Book and Candle (1st view, 1958, Richard Quine) - 3/5*

21. Russian Ark (1st view, 2002, Alexander Sokurov) - 3/5*
22. 633 Squadron (3rd view, 1964, Walter Grauman) - 3/5
23. The Return (1st view, 2003, Andrei Zvyagintsev) - 3/5*
24. Turtles Can Fly (1st view, 2004, Bahman Ghobadi) - 3/5*
25. Kung Pow: Enter The Fist (1st view, 2002, Steve Oedekerk) -3/5*
26. Carry On Behind (1st view, 1975, Gerald Thomas) - 3/5*
27. For The Moment (1st view, 1993, Aaron Kim Johnston) - 3/5*
28. Women Of Valor (1st view, 1986, Buzz Kulik) - 2/5*
29. I'm A Cyborg But That's OK (1st view, 2006, Park Chan-wook) - 2/5*
30. Epic Movie (1st view, 2007, Who Cares/I Sure as Hell Don't) - 1/5*

< Message edited by Gimli The Dwarf -- 1/1/2010 1:54:27 AM >


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Post #: 7986
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 10:29:43 AM   
MOTH

 

Posts: 3479
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Sittin' on the dock of the bay
The Great McGinty (Preston Struges, 1940)
A fun political satire, a little short and choppy in places, but with sharp and witty dialogue throughout. (8/10)

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Post #: 7987
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 12:23:23 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
205. The Informant! (2009, Soderbergh) - 4/5
Steven Soderbergh's latest reality-based film is, for all intents and purposes, a comedy, but it's not one that generates a barrel-full of belly-laughs. Our unlikely hero, Vice-President of agri-business giant ADM Mark Whitacre, is played with a nervy paranoia by Matt Damon, essaying a character who can never seem to tell the whole truth and hides behind a sort of casual righteousness (or lack thereof, depending on who he's talking to). The majority of the comedy stems from this human bundle of neuroses and double-takes, and the comedy feels sly, be it coursing through Whitacre's bizarre non-sequiter narration or embodied in his self-conscious 'spying' on his own workmates for the FBI. There's not a lot in this film that is laugh-out-loud, but because it's not, it feels almost simultaneously realistic and ridiculous, with Whitacre this manic centre to an otherwise-serious procedural case. This effect is enhanced by The Informant!'s support cast, inhabited with great comedy actors like Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Patton Oswalt, Tony Hale and Scott Adsit doing what is essential their best serious performances. Nobody knows what to make of Whitacre, and neither does the audience - and as the film progresses, he becomes intriguing and relatable despite, or perhaps because, of his unrelenting oddness. By the time the cause of that oddness is revealed, it's so ingrained in the audience that it feels real, and in the end, it doesn't matter how much of the story is 'enhanced' for dramatic purposes (as suggested in a title card at the start of the film), because it has as much veracity as it needs. It's a larger-than-life tale, but alongside being a funny and engaging film, it's a larger-than-life tale that actually feels like a part of life regardless.

217. Zombieland (2009, Fleischer) - 4/5 **SPOILER ALERT**
Hardly the comedy-horror salvation to save us from cheap British Shaun of the Dead copycats, Zombieland has more than its fair share of problems that seem lost on the people blinded by the promise of a funny zombie film that doesn't star Kate Ashfield. For starters, the film trips into as much horror film cliches as it subverts and plays with, with the most egregious being the otherwise pulse-pounding climax at Pacific Playland, where the two girls do stupid horror-girl stuff, while the two heroes consistently fight their way into corners. These moments stand out as particularly lazy writing in a film that's otherwise smart about its playing with zombie film tropes, and it's disappointing to see the film stumble occasionally even despite finishing the race at the front of the pack. The film also suffers from the casting of Abigail Breslin, who has replaced her cute little munchkin shtick with a decidedly intolerable precocious pre-teen image, and her smugness in the film is often unbearable. Furthermore, that much-touted cameo (here comes the spoiler) of Bill Murray isn't really all it's cracked up to be, a few choice jokes aside, and it seems less like poking fun at his celebrity and his persona than it does rattling off a roll-call of his films and fellating him for twelve minutes. That said, Zombieland is an exceptionally funny and exciting film. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg make for an entertaining mismatched duo, and Emma Stone is good in her role as con-woman Wichita, and the film succeeds in making them actually relatable human beings that we can empathise with and root for, a particularly hard gig when they seemingly only act to embody certain horror archetypes a bit of the time. The film's comedy is also ridiculously good for the most part, with there only being occasional slip-ups on the road to Pacific Playland (the cameo and the phrase "It's time to nut up or shut up," despite the latter's pithiness, are prime examples). Reuben Fleischer's also clearly a capable action director, and his kinetic, playful filmmaking suits the film's mood down to a tee (plus, the incorporating of the 'Rules of Zombieland' into the action is rather stylish and funny). Zombieland does deliver on promises of pure, balls-to-the-wall entertainment and comedy, and for that it's more than worth the price of admission, but it doesn't deliver in certain other areas, and that's just a bit unfortunate.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to MOTH)
Post #: 7988
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 2:55:11 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Furthermore, that much-touted cameo (here comes the spoiler) of Bill Murray isn't really all it's cracked up to be, a few choice jokes aside, and it seems less like poking fun at his celebrity and his persona than it does rattling off a roll-call of his films and fellating him for twelve minutes.


Shame on you, shame shame shame shame shame.

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Post #: 7989
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 3:23:16 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
Joined: 1/10/2005
I disagree with PA on Breslin, but I'm with him on the cameo. I do often find it quite interesting, though, at how many 4/5's PA has - 8/10 in myspeak. And the reviews, for me, just don't suggest such a very high score. Kind of the opposite of Gram, really!

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 7990
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 3:30:06 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Then you're both wrong.   The actor is so completely made of awesome that he could even have made Dog Soldiers entertaining.

My biggest problem with the film is Eisenberg. Second time this year I've felt he's only been cast because they couldn't get Michael Cera and ended up with his mini-me instead.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 7991
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 3:33:42 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
Joined: 1/10/2005
It isn't even specifically the 'who' for me - I mean, it's nice when you get the twinkie thing. But it is just one long longeur in the film where the pace just flops. I think it was a mistake, tbh - but, like PA, I really enjoyed a heck of a lot of it too.

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Lips Together and Blow - blogtasticness and Glasgow Film Festival GFF13!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 7992
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 3:36:28 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
Even you Hezbollah guys have seen Zombieland and I haven't.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.

quote:


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

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Post #: 7993
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 3:41:12 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

It isn't even specifically the 'who' for me - I mean, it's nice when you get the twinkie thing. But it is just one long longeur in the film where the pace just flops. I think it was a mistake, tbh - but, like PA, I really enjoyed a heck of a lot of it too.


I'm not sure I agree about the pacing, tbh, for me it was one of the highlights of the film.  Although maybe it helps if the actor in question has been one of your favourite people in the world since you were about five?  My CoC article on him where I expose my fanboy status is still to come.  And it was nice to see the chemistry with Woody Harrelson revisited, the two of them need to work together more often.  As for the film itself, I think it's one of the best comedies of the year and if there was any justice it'd show up at the GG noms next week, it's just the Eisenberg/Cera thing that bothered me.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 7994
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 11:40:32 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

I disagree with PA on Breslin, but I'm with him on the cameo. I do often find it quite interesting, though, at how many 4/5's PA has - 8/10 in myspeak. And the reviews, for me, just don't suggest such a very high score. Kind of the opposite of Gram, really!


I'll admit, I have a bit of a tendency to play up the things that are wrong with a film, and that's a fault of a lot of my reviews generally, but don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed both Zombieland and The Informant! As to the scores, well, 4/5 is for me a high 7-8 out of ten, and I don't tend to go out of my way to watch bad films so I can skew the results for the year. And, to be fair, I have around 120 films with less than a 4 out of 380, so that's not too bad.


_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 7995
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 8/12/2009 11:45:32 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Furthermore, that much-touted cameo (here comes the spoiler) of Bill Murray isn't really all it's cracked up to be, a few choice jokes aside, and it seems less like poking fun at his celebrity and his persona than it does rattling off a roll-call of his films and fellating him for twelve minutes.


Shame on you, shame shame shame shame shame.


quote:

ORIGINAL: rawlinson

I'm not sure I agree about the pacing, tbh, for me it was one of the highlights of the film.  Although maybe it helps if the actor in question has been one of your favourite people in the world since you were about five?


Clearly, you have no problem with watching that certain actor being fellated, so I'm hardly bothered with your proclamations of shame on my person.

< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 9/12/2009 3:20:15 AM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 7996
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 9/12/2009 3:13:55 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
And we were careful to keep it in spoilers and then you go and blurt it out. Shame shame shame shame shame.

Every film should feature a sequence where that actor plays himself and has fun with his public persona. And I mean every film. Ever. Shoah, Hotel Rwanda, Lesbian Spank Inferno. All of them.

I love the new sig quote, btw.  I still say you lawyered them in some way.

< Message edited by rawlinson -- 9/12/2009 3:14:53 AM >

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 7997
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 9/12/2009 11:34:15 AM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
274. Stay (2005, Forster) - 3.5/5 **SPOILER WARNING FOR THIS AND THE ESCAPIST IF YOU CAN READ BETWEEN THE LINES**
I was mightily looking forward to this film, and despite being disappointed, there's still plenty to recommend about it. The most obvious thing to recommend is Marc Forster's direction. While Forster does occasionally feel like he's aping Lynch, Fincher and their ilk in his work, as is usually the case with the man (Stranger Than Fiction and Jonze; Quantum of Solace and Greengrass; The Kite Runner and any number of directors of international prestige dramas), he still infuses the film with a much-needed eeriness, the camerawork, (sometimes obvious) sound work and set design all coming together to generate an environment that is often disconcerting and occasionally downright uncomfortable, an environment that nails what David Benioff's script is trying to do. There's also Ryan Gosling's insanely good performance as troubled teenager Henry Letham, the ultimate personification of a ticking time bomb in his volatile mood swings and unpredictability, and the fact that Gosling makes Henry seem entirely aware of all these things, and in fact makes Henry scared of himself as a result, only adds to the depth of the character and shows just how good Gosling really is. However, Stay suffers from a couple things - Ewan McGregor's lead performance, for one. While I do like McGregor when he's on form, here he's just an increasingly not-steely gaze hidden behind a godawful American accent, and it does the film a bit of a disservice when he seems to lack the ability to modify his voice or gaze (though, given the events of the finale, this could be intentional). Naomi Watts, Bob Hoskins and Janeane Garofalofalofabuffalo offer good support, but their characters are badly-written and seem to operate inconsistently with the logic within the film's narrative in a misguided attempt by Benioff to throw viewers off the scent, when there were far better ways to do it - which brings up my other problem with the film, Benioff's script. While it does add to the unnerving mood of the film well, and Henry and Dr. Foster are very well-written characters, it becomes too obvious too early what's going on within the film, and even then the end feels like a bit of a cop-out, unlike the similar but expertly-executed finale in The Escapist. While Benioff clearly is aiming for a film about internal guilt and retribution, it becomes muddled by a seeming desire to make the film a Lynchian thriller, and it proves the script's undoing several times. That said, though, Stay is still an engaging film with some interesting things to say and an absolutely stunning visual style; it's just not the film it should, and could easily, be.

Performance List Additions
44.
Ryan Gosling as Henry Letham (Stay, 2005)


_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 7998
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 9/12/2009 2:25:57 PM   
Gram123

 

Posts: 5537
Joined: 19/1/2006
From: Reino Unido
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49
I disagree with PA on Breslin, but I'm with him on the cameo. I do often find it quite interesting, though, at how many 4/5's PA has - 8/10 in myspeak. And the reviews, for me, just don't suggest such a very high score. Kind of the opposite of Gram, really!


The scoring of PA and others here sometimes makes me wonder if my whole rating system is flawed. Especially when it comes to things like The EMPIRE FORUM Official Top 100 Movies thread, wherein my harsh scoring negatively affects the position of films I really like. Still... Je Ne Seront Pas Conformes!!

At least I kind of believe in my ranking of films - I prefer Film B to Film C, but it's not as good as Film A - even if I end up shuffling them about every now and then. Maybe in next year's thread I won't give the films scores....

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(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 7999
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 9/12/2009 4:21:01 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, Peter Jackson): 5/5
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002, Peter Jackson): 5/5
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003, Peter Jackson): 4/5
 
My appraisal of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, taken from www.CultOfCinema.com
 
About a month or so ago, I concluded a series of columns on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy, which discussed each of the entries individually and then as a whole in a concluding entry. I’ve seen a handful of trilogies since then, and I’m not sure that I’ve seen a better one. In fact, only two come close; Satyajit Ray’s epic but humble series entitled “the Apu Trilogy”, and Peter Jackson’s epic and far-from-humble melodramatic fantasy opera, “the Lord of the Rings”. Jackson’s films are the most recent trilogy I’ve watched, or rather re-watched, this time as part of an all-nighter which saw me and a group of friends view all three extended editions back to back. Some might say sad, but others will say inspired, and I really don’t think there is a better way to kill twelve hours. And so, just as I was watching Frodo sail off into the horizon with Gandalf and the elves, it struck me that this series needed a proper appraisal.
 
That’s not to say I’m going to give this quite the methodical, technical, and critical going over that I gave “the Three Colours”, simply because “the Lord of the Rings” is not a film that can really hold up under too much critical scrutiny. Regardless of what I thought when I walked out of a packed theatre after “the Return of the King”, the trilogy is undeniably flawed. At times it’s cheesy and overly melodramatic, and some of the dialogue is poorly judged (“I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!”). Still, I don’t want to go into all of that, because that’s not what this column is about. Instead, it’s a testament to the things that Jackson did get right, and – to be fair – the positives do indeed completely overwhelm the negatives.
 
Let’s start, as you really should, at the very beginning. In the 1950s, JRR Tolkien published a ‘sequel’ to his 1937 work, “the Hobbit”. Far less complex and much more digestible, “the Hobbit” introduced the world which “the Lord of the Rings” would inhabit, and a few of its primary characters too. When asked for a follow-up piece, Tolkien provided this epic fantasy opera which, for all intents and purposes, was about as far away as you could get from the children’s fable without writing Wolverine slash porn. It is also, despite what my fellow contributor Darren Williams will tell you, a work of genius. It’s a multi-faceted work of art, with dozens of finely honed characters, a world as rich and textured and as well envisioned as our own, and a complex story which is all too often unfairly boiled down to ‘two people walking to a volcano’. But this column is about the films, right? Right. I just wanted to let you know that I am indeed a fan of Tolkien’s work, and wanted to set up the next part of this discussion, Jackson’s changes.
 
Of course, these are the sourest of points when it comes to Tolkien purists, and I’d say I’m half way in-between the opinions of the book fanboys and the filmic ones. First and foremost, I do believe that it was correct to cut Tom Bombadil out of the finished product. I probably wouldn’t have been caught saying that before I’d seen the first film (even though I read the books between viewings of the second and third instalments), but hey, I can see Jackson’s logic. It ties in neatly with a discussion of Faramir’s place in the films, because the changes to his character and the exclusion of Bombadil’s are both vital to the legitimacy of the film’s central drive. If Bombadil could flick the ring high up in the air, put it on his finger, take it off, and not flinch – and what’s more for this to happen in the film’s opening sequences – then all of what we’ve been lead to believe about the ring would be disproved. It’s the same with Faramir; his decision to ‘not pick up the ring if it were lying in the wayside’ would deflate the well-built aura of the golden band, and Jackson was sure to give the Gondorian archer an equally effective chance to prove himself later on in the film.
 
But then there is one, really quite major flaw that Jackson is the main perpetrator of. Of course, as far as our merry band of nine fellowship members go, there are more important travellers than others. The story is essentially about Frodo’s journey and Aragorn’s character arc, and there are other characters who make their way through it. The first instalment (when I talk ‘instalments’, I’m talking both book and film) puts Boromir close to centre stage, and Gandalf is never far from the fore throughout. However, and here’s where the book and the film differ, Jackson seems to see the ‘lesser’ characters of the book in a different manner to Tolkien. Pippin and Merry have their arcs in the book, but they are only half translated onto film. Even worse, Gimli and Legolas are reduced to comic sideshows, and certainly caricatures of their literary selves. Perhaps worst of all, Sam – who has his own journey, both emotionally and physically, to go through in Tolkien’s vision – is left as a sidekick, and even his defining moment in Cirith Ungol is played off as a fluke accident.
 
The characters that Jackson does get right, though, he gets right wonderfully. Gandalf is transformed from a second rate, deflated old man into a regal master over the course of twelve hours. Aragorn finds himself on screen. Frodo goes in reverse, turning from a wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky hobbit into a world-weary martyr. Boromir, helped out by a perfect bit of inspired casting of Sean Bean, is a brilliantly troubled soul in turmoil about his true calling in life. The supporting characters, like Theoden, Eomer, Denethor, and indeed Faramir, all have their perfect miniature character arcs that don’t draw away from those of the ‘more important’ protagonists, but seem just as important within the context of the film. I think, though, that Jackson’s biggest victory comes in the unlikeliest of forms; Treebeard.
 
My favourite chapter in the book is a sixty page meandering into topics and stories that don’t seem of the slightest importance in the grand scheme of things. That Tolkien is confident enough in his own skill as a story teller to forget about the preparation for Helm’s Deep and in deed the fate of Isengard, and instead discuss Ent moots and Ent wives for such a substantial period of time is fascinating. What’s more, it somehow works. It’s a marvel that, not once whilst reading that epic meditation on walking trees, did I yearn to be back with Aragorn or Gimli or Legolas, and instead was willing to dwell in Treebeard’s world, and be concerned with Treebeard’s thoughts. Jackson understands this, and it’s even more astounding when put in the context of a film. Granted, studio bosses – and Jackson’s co-writers Boyne and Walsh – wouldn’t allow him to put these huge tree-ish conversations in the theatrical cuts, but in the extended editions their re-instated. That Jackson is able to translate Tolkien’s wonderful tangent onto celluloid is miraculous, and the stories of the Ents ‘losing’ their wives is just as enthralling as Legolas skate boarding down the stairs at Helm’s Deep.
 
And let’s talk about Helm’s Deep, because it’s just a wonderful sequence in an already wonderful film in an even more wonderful trilogy. I think, if I were ever to draw up a list of the finest War and battle scenes ever committed to film, this would be up there with the finale of Klimov’s “Come and See”, the opening of Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”, and the skirmish scenes of Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”. And yet, it does something much different to all of those films. Whilst Spielberg conveys the gritty realism of battle, Klimov presents a delirious representation of the horrors of war, and Herzog aims to display a visual metaphor of his crumbling characters, Jackson goes hell for leather for entertainment. There is such a drama within these scenes, both on a huge, epic scale and a personalized, character-orientated one. That we are so invested in Theoden and Aragorn and all of the others is primarily down to Jackson, and I’m even willing to overlook the ridiculous and unnecessary inclusion of the Lothlorien Elves when praising Helm’s Deep from both an action standpoint and a dramatic one.
 
You can probably see now that “the Two Towers” is my favourite of the three films, taking that prize away from “the Fellowship of the Ring” by just a head. Not only does it feature some incredible battle sequences (the siege of Isengard is enough to rival even the great Helm’s Deep), but there’s also the fabulous Treebeard sequences. What’s more, it introduces the Rohirim, who amongst them feature three of the series’ best supporting characters. Eomer is portrayed wonderfully, and is a man who wants to honour a country that has sent him into exile. Wormtongue, despite the fact that you can spot him out as a bad guy from about three miles off, is brilliant characterized, and is helped out by a fantastic performance by the Oscar winning (for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, not this) Brad Douriff. Finally, there’s King Theoden, who may just be my favourite Tolkein supporting character. He’s a man living in the shadows of former, more impressive leaders, and one facing an insurmountable task. His death sequence in “the Return of the King” is possibly the best standalone scene in the trilogy, and Bernard Hill’s performance is nothing short of perfect.
 
As we’re talking about the film’s individually, I think it’s time that I discussed one of the most often derided aspect of this trilogy; “the Return of the King”. Or, more specifically, the ending of “the Return of the King”. Or, even more specifically, the many endings of “the Return of the King”. Jackson has been accused of over-indulgence, and – when you watch the film as a standalone experience – you almost have to agree with his detractors. These closing scenes, which introduce finale after finale after finale, feel a little bit of an ordeal, and after sitting through the incredible Minas Tirith siege (which falls short of Helm’s Deep, but is still great) it feels like a bit of a low after an incredible high. However, and here’s the important thing, the flaw of the standalone film is a strength of the trilogy as a whole.
 
Jackson could have very easily have ended the film after the Minas Tirith coronation. Heck, he could even have ended it as Frodo and Sam comfort each other on Mount Doom, at the end of all things. However, it’s important to note that that’s not how Tolkien wanted to finish it. For those of you that own the six book edition of the novels, you’ll know that the ring is destroyed about three chapters in to the final edition. However, Tolkien felt the need to continue for another eight chapters, tying up all the loose ends, crowning Aragorn, wedding Eowyn and Faramir, finishing of Saruman, and saying good bye to Frodo. When you look at the film, it’s already evident that Peter Jackson has taken the bare minimum of these endings. I mean, after spending ten or eleven hours with these characters, nobody would begrudge Jackson marrying Sam off. In fact, I’d feel hard done to if we said goodbye before Aragorn had a crown on his head or Frodo was sailing off into the Grey Havens to find his final piece. Maybe not as a standalone piece, but as a trilogy, every single one of those endings was needed.
 
Even with these apparent numerous finales, Jackson left out one that I myself found very vital to the book. Of course, I’m talking about the Scouring of the Shire. I think if Tolkien were still alive and had seen these films, I think there would only be a handful of things that would have upset him. One would have been Bombadil, one would have been Haldir’s death (he wasn’t even meant to be there!), and the third would be the Scouring of the Shire. Yes, I’m fully aware that the extended edition of “the Return of the King” gives us Saruman’s comeuppance, but that is not what it was about. Part of the book’s multi-faceted genius is that they’ve been through so much, walked to the edge of the world and tasted horrors that those around them could never dream of, and yet when they return to their homeland things aren’t right. That evil could penetrate even the most serene corners of Middle Earth is one of Tolkien’s most damning thoughts, and it also outs Saruman as a petty old man rather than an all-powerful villain. Falling from the roof of Isengard’s tower onto a spike is not how Saruman’s tale is meant to end.
 
Now I’ve gotten down from my high horse (seriously, the lack of Scouring is perhaps the only thing about the Rings films that actually annoys me), I’ll conclude with a thought about this trilogy’s effect on the filmic world. Yes, it was revolutionary in its special effects, and yes, it spawned about a thousand poor rip-offs under the banner of ‘fantasy literary adaptations’ (even Tolkien’s buddy CS Lewis got screwed over), but it’s most positive effect is the one it has had on DVD. It confirmed that the step up from VHS was indeed worth it. The features on the theatrical cuts are a bit thin on their feet, but the extended editions are a must-have on any film fan’s DVD shelf, and the wealth of wonders that they hold are second to none. They are a testament to what DVD can do, and although “King Kong”s features didn’t quite have the same wealth of interest, there’s no denying that Jackson – along with the people at criterion and the Monty Python crew – is one of the true pioneers of the new age of entertainment.
 
I understand that this column may have read like a mixture of fanboy praise, criticisms you’ve already heard, and things you already know, but hey, I felt the need to convey my love for this trilogy after an incredible eleven hours. There were two problems that I faced when coming to write this; I like the trilogy too much to be objective, and everything that has already been said about Jackson’s vision has already been said. Maybe I’ll write something about a lesser known series, or one that I have middling opinions on, but “the Lord of the Rings” still ranks amongst my very favourite trilogy, thanks to its mixture of epic battle scenes and personal characterization. It’s an experience, and anybody who hasn’t seen the series in one sitting and has any slight inclination to do so should do so now. It’s worth every one of the thirty nine thousand seconds you’ll lose.
 
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The Idiots (1998, Lars von Trier)
The self-proclaimed “best director in the world” caused controversy in Cannes ten years prior to “Antichrist” – the film that would bring him to mainstream attention thanks to a critical backlash at the festival – with “the Idiots”, a film about a perfectly intelligent group of young people who like to release their inner ‘idiot’ in public. It even had Mark Kermode shouting “mierde! Mierde!” before promptly getting kicked out of the auditorium. The reason for such controversy is because “the Idiots” plays host to scenes were able bodied people pretend to be mentally ill in a process which they call ‘spassing’. For me, this would only really be a problem is the film had no purpose and if the characters within it did not understand the impact of what they are doing. The fact that one of the film’s characters (Karen, played by Bodil Jorgensen) brings up the process and questions whether it is unfair to people who are actually disabled. It also has the characters at odds with themselves when they meet a real group of “retards”. More than anything, though, I feel that this morally questionable subject is acceptable because of the social commentary it has to offer. The reason that the characters act like idiots is to shock, to suggest, to annoy, and to disturb conventional minds, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. What’s more, it is a comment on how the everyday people of this particular Copenhagen suburb react to the group, and how people put up a facade of understanding and acceptance from a safe distance. The film’s very low-fi, Dogma look helps out in this goal, and at times it feels almost Documentary-esque in its realism, as if the cast has dropped in on some unsuspecting victims. More than anything, though, the film is a comment on doing what it takes to be happy in a world where most are miserable. There are a few minor flaws here and there. The orgy is completely unnecessary, and the penetration shot seems to be present simply to get tongues wagging and people to see the film. But hey, it’s von Trier, and I guess you’d expect nothing less from Europe’s agent provocateur. It gets by thanks to its themes, photography, and superb, quite powerful performances. 4/5.
 
Audition (1999, Takashi Miike)
I’m now of the opinion that this film is best viewed completely cold, with no pre-conceived notions as to what to expect, so if you’ve not seen the film yet, I advise you to stop reading here. “Audition”, the first Takashi Miike film that I’ve managed to see, tells the story of Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a man who lost his wife to illness some seven years ago. Finally deciding that he’s over it, he decides to look for another woman to replace her. And so, what is the most sensible way to go about finding a girlfriend? That’s right, get your movie producer buddy to set up a mock audition and find thirty potential candidates to choose from. It’s amazing how “Audition”, which has a reputation that precedes it by miles, starts out. Rather than the hell-for-leather, base horror that I was expecting, “Audition” begins like a gentile romance. And this is its key success; in beginning as if this were a run-of-the-mill drama, Miike lures his audience into a false sense of security… even those of us who know what is going to happen a little further down the line. He drops a couple of hints, like the imposing image of the chair in the middle of the shiny new audition room – which is oddly unsettling, but never really gives Asami away as the maniac that she so obviously is. When things take a turn to the worse, Miike does indeed go hell for leather, introducing some excruciating (to watch) torture and unprecedented gore. “Audition” has the insane ability to merge a small scale, gentile art house drama with a base, torture porn style horror, and it does so perfectly. It’s not all good; I don’t think Miike can make up his mind as to whether he’s on Asami’s side and condemning Aoyama for his one-time objectification of women, or if he has sympathies only for the male, and I would question how scary – not repulsive, scary – “Audition” actually is, but for the most part its an interesting, well directed, and exquisitely performed film that will certainly live long in the memory. 4/5.
 
Fanny and Alexander (1982, Ingmar Bergman)
This five hour epic film from the master of Swedish film Ingmar Bergman, which I viewed in four segments as it was released for television, is often considered the summation of his work. I hate the term ‘summation’, because it implies that the entire career of a director has been adding up, or leading up, to this one film. It implies that this is as good as all of his previous films combined, and that they exist only to give the director the tools he needed to make this film. Of course, that’s utter rubbish, because I would find it hard to consider “Fanny and Alexander” even in the same league as some of Bergman’s early work. It’s overly indulgent (even for Bergman), and its ridiculously giant running time could easily be cut (part of me wonders if the shortened version would be more agreeable) to something much more manageable and digestible. It’s no “Seventh Seal”, “the Silence”, or “Through a Glass Darkly”, put it that way. However, it does have its virtues, and there are many of them. The themes which “Fanny and Alexander” discusses are numerous and important, including the innocence of childhood and the importance of the theatrical art. It also shows Bergman’s theatre background off to great effect, and the film does feel like it’s been custom built for the stage. What’s more, the characterization is just about perfect. Alexander’s character arc, bearing in mind that this is the boy whose perspective we see the entire film from, is wonderfully built, going from a happy and buoyant young man to a deflated pariah in his own family within the space of a couple hours. The final images, too, which imply that Alexander will never quite be free of the memory of the priest, are just about as haunting as you’ll find in cinema. There are many sequences where time seems to fly, but there are others when it grinds to a halt, and although the content may make this Bergman’s most accessible film, the excessive running time is certainly a negative. 4/5.
 
Bunny and the Bull (2009, Paul King)
Stephen (Edward Hogg) stays at home all day long, watches eight hours of Ray Mears’ Extreme Survival, files his dental floss and urine, and brushes his teeth for exactly the right amount of time (not necessarily in that order). However, he hasn’t always been like this. In fact, just a year ago, he and his best friend Bunny (Steven Farnaby) had just won two and a half thousand pounds on a bet and were about to go inter-railing around the continent. Visually, the film is brilliant, with King drawing from the hyper-colour of “Boosh” wonderfully. Things move out of the background, whole scenes take place in snow globes, and the majority of the scenery is hewn out of cardboard. The horse race, which takes place near the beginning of the film in the opening flashback, is a certain highlight. It’s an almost monochromic animation which doesn’t care about looking rickety or half-hearted. In fact, it’s all the better for it, because with this flimsiness (and unprecedented whimsy), a certain amount of charm and amiableness is inflicted onto the audience along with a sense of awe. I don’t think we’ll see a comedy with a better look for at least the rest of this year, and perhaps until Gondry gets back on the ball after the awful “Be Kind Rewind”. And here is where the key flaw of the film lies. It’s certainly reminiscent of Michael Gondry, both in the visuals (“Science of Sleep”) and partly in the story, too (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). Both Eternal Sunshine and this have protagonists living in the past, dwelling on memories, and unable to move on with their lives. The cardboard cut-outs and background rickety-ness are also reminiscent of Gondry, a lot of the whimsy and surrealness finds its home in Kauffman, and the opening gambit – which I’ve already lauded for its silliness and humour – feels like a carbon copy of Marc Forster’s “Stranger than Fiction”. And then there’s “Withnail and I”, in which an anxious, paranoid young man and a boisterous yob – who you can’t ever see being friends in real life – take to the road for a holiday. It’s not like “Bunny and the Bull” is plagiaristic about these things, and it does carve its own identity thanks to its very different humour, but that it is so reminiscent of these better films makes the whole thing feel overly familiar and a little bit redundant. 3/5.
 
O (2001, Tim Blake Nelson)
Unfortunately, the film I watched most in the winter of 2007 was this good-not-great Shakespeare adaptation, “O”. It’s a modern re-telling of my favourite Shakespearean play, “Othello”, with the Venetian military exchanged for a High School basketball team. Its lead character is Odin (Mekhi Phifer), the MVP of the team and the only black student at a white-dominated high school, who dates Desi (Julia Styles). Hugo (Josh Hartnett) is the jealous friend out to get him, and Michael Cassio (Andrew Keegan) is the pawn in his plot. If you excuse the clumsy puns on the original names, there is quite a bit to like in “O”. It doesn’t disgrace the great playwright, and although it is pretty obvious that Blake Nelson and screenwriter Brad Kaaya do nothing to further the themes and ideas present in the original play, it’s worth watching for its good performances and its modern setting. The angst and the jealousy of Iago feel at home on the shoulders of Hartnett’s Hugo, and at times you feel that these motives are better suited to high school – where hormones and oestrogen fly more regularly than arrows – than the Venetian upper military. But then there’s the flaws; O’s complete u-turn is so uncharacteristic, and a seemingly level-headed youth is reduced to a homicidal, moody martyr in the space of a few scenes. The scene where Odin competes in a slam-dunk competition is horrible, exchanging the intensity that it could definitely have played host to for cheese and contrivances. I’ve never been a fan of Julia Styles, and every time I see her wooden, unchanging mush I get horrible flashbacks of my sister playing “Save the Last Dance” on a seemingly never ending cycle. Doing my A-Level English Lit essay on a comparison between the language used here in comparison to it in Shakespeare’s original was interesting enough, but only as a study of the audience rather than of the material itself. Both were made for a certain time and place, and it’s well worth noting how this time and place has changed over a few centuries, but the film itself feels rather redundant and unnecessary. Josh Hartnett is very good, though, and although the clichéd voiceover interrupts his flow on several occasions, he does a good job in a role that Frank Finlay and Kenneth Brannagh near perfected in the past. 3/5.

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Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

(in reply to Dantes Inferno)
Post #: 8000
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 9/12/2009 10:34:51 PM   
paul_ie86


Posts: 11422
Joined: 4/1/2007
From: Chelsea Hotel #2
61. High Fidelity (Frears, 2000)- 8/10

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(in reply to Piles)
Post #: 8001
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 4:58:24 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77665
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
Piles, I said similar over on the (neglected and lonely) Cult forums, but bravo. I loved reading your LOTR bit.


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So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to Piles)
Post #: 8002
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 1:47:45 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54583
Joined: 1/10/2005
The Black Windmill (Siegel, 1974)

Enjoyable but not great return to the spyworld for Michael Caine post Harry Palmer. Lots of plotholes but some wonderful actors to carry you along – Donald Pleasance playing a spyboss who reminds me quite a bit of his similar turn in Innocent Bystanders, Revill and Quilley, etc. Curious lack of tension throughout, though.

Vault of Horror (Baker, 1973)

Portmanteau horror as 5 men come together and discuss curiously vivid nightmares, most with supernatural elements. Massey's ends in a nicely grotesque note and the real life brother and sister killing each other is fun. Terry-Thomas and Glynis Johns are excellent in theirs – he as the anal retentive everything in its place husband, and her desperately trying to keep up. The next two aren't up to much (and as one deals with being buried alive you'd think it would have more impact) and it ends with Tom Baker's as expected slightly mad artist voodoo turn. Along the way we get a rare appearance from Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt), Edward Judd and the wonderful Denholm Elliott.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Lord/Miller, 2009)

Decent enough but tries waaay too hard and the script tips over into just a little too clever-clever (and goes too far over the top towards the end, for me). But the animation is generally very good – not particularly the backdrops (or the eyes) but, in particular, the movement – they often seem very Muppet-like to me and that was very appealing. I thought Steve was a bit too much cookie cutter add-on character (although the heart ripping thing was rather enjoyable) but 'im indoors thought he was great, so clearly he works for some people. Mani, I liked. But the end reminded me just a bit too much of Evolution!

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to Gimli The Dwarf)
Post #: 8003
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 5:00:45 PM   
TRM


Posts: 4797
Joined: 20/10/2006
From: Bristol
Your husband has sense. I thought Steve was brilliant as well  I really didnt have a problem with the script. Just about every joke seemed to hit, and visually I did think some of the backgrounds were excellent (like the ice cream one, or the avalanche). But yes the character movements were probably the best bit of the animation. So where would this fit now in your animation list for the year?


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I'm going out to the states to redeem the social outcasts. My only real ambition is to cultivate Texas. I love Texas. You must watch "The last picture show". That film! It was my first real sexual relationship.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 8004
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 5:09:18 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Vault of Horror (Baker, 1973)

Portmanteau horror as 5 men come together



Are you sure it was a horror you watched?  (Sorry, couldn't resist)

It's not my favourite Amicus anthology, I don't think it comes near the glories of Tales from the Crypt or From Beyond the Grave, but it's still a very good film.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 8005
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 8:38:46 PM   
Jasiri


Posts: 2496
Joined: 23/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

The Black Windmill (Siegel, 1974)

Enjoyable but not great return to the spyworld for Michael Caine post Harry Palmer. Lots of plotholes but some wonderful actors to carry you along – Donald Pleasance playing a spyboss who reminds me quite a bit of his similar turn in Innocent Bystanders, Revill and Quilley, etc. Curious lack of tension throughout, though.


Damn,I meant to record this. Purely for nostalgia,for some reason watching this with my dad as a kid has always stuck in my head.It was on a wee while back and I missed it then too.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 8006
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 11:01:55 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Lord/Miller, 2009)

Decent enough but tries waaay too hard and the script tips over into just a little too clever-clever (and goes too far over the top towards the end, for me).


Completely disagree. I've always felt the great thing about Lord and Miller's work together is that the comedy always seemed so effortless - is flows so damn well. It's the same in Clone High. And explain what you mean by "clever-clever", plz.

quote:

I thought Steve was a bit too much cookie cutter add-on character (although the heart ripping thing was rather enjoyable) but 'im indoors thought he was great, so clearly he works for some people.


GAH! Your husband, at least, knows what he's talking about.

quote:

But the end reminded me just a bit too much of Evolution!


Not necessarily a bad thing (Evolution's a guilty pleasure, shut up).


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 8007
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 10/12/2009 11:56:32 PM   
paul_ie86


Posts: 11422
Joined: 4/1/2007
From: Chelsea Hotel #2
11. Leonard Cohen: Live in London (Sanders, 2009)
15. Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle Of Wight (Lerner, 1970)

Two brilliant concert films from the best.


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Post #: 8008
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 11/12/2009 12:24:50 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
94. Quadrophenia (1979, Roddam) - 4.5/5 **SPOILERS**
Based on The Who's lesser-known rock opera, Quadrophenia starts off feeling like a sort of ancestor to the Guy Ritchie school of filmmaking - slightly obtuse slang, characters with cockney accents who can't sit still for two seconds, violence, drugs, copious amounts of swearing. However, as the film progresses, it slowly plays its cards with good pace and skill, revealing an honest and two-pronged portrayal of 1960s mod culture, one that recognises both the great things of that life and the ultimate superficiality behind the whole thing. Phil Daniels is excellent in the lead as Jimmy, a young mod who lives for the rock, the blues, the clothes, the people that come with the mod scene, a young guy wired to the eyeballs (both on drugs and on his own personality) who slowly becomes disillusioned with the group he committed his life to. With a real world that seems to be passive-aggressive to him regardless of what he does, he's already fallen in with the one group that doesn't give a shit, the mods, because he feels like he has to be "somebody". As he builds up to his trip to Brighton, cracks are already beginning to show - his fleeing the beating up of his friend, rocker look-a-like Kevin (played by a young Ray Winstone); his increasingly strained relationship with his father - but after the cinematic shot of adrenaline that the Brighton scenes are, everything falls down around his head, and he becomes increasingly bewildered by the sense that the mod lifestyle is abandoning him, rather than he's abandoning it. The one thing in life that he thought was real is slipping away from him, and he doesn't know why. Franc Roddam and the screenwriters convey this destruction of a boy's perceived life with subtlety and heart, and at the end of the day, this isn't a film celebrating mod culture. It's a film that embodies Pete Townshend's assessment of it - "Mod is a shorter word for young, beautiful and stupid." It's not idealised, it's honest - and that makes all the difference in a film like this. Quadrophenia is a gripping, emotionally-charged slice of life that doesn't pull any punches in the name of rose-tinted glasses, and that's what makes it great.

151. L’armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows) (1969, Melville) – 4/5
Melville's French Resistance film is a slow-burning piece of work, encompassing a year in the life of a French civil engineer, Philippe, who works as one of the Resistance's chiefs. We follow him as he gets arrested, escapes, kills, plans, executes, gets arrested, escapes, kills, plans, executes, gets arrested, etc. etc. His line of work is one of repetition of a most dangerous sort, a cycle where every stop on the roundabout could mean certain death. Melville presents this figurative roundabout well, with the film making Philippe's various endeavours seem like just another day for him - today, London, tomorrow, parachuting into France, Thursday after tea, breaking a compatriot out of jail. Melville also knows how to milk the threat of death in each one of these events to the last delicious drop, with almost every scene dripping with sometimes unbearable tension. With a strong cast - Lino Venture, Jean-Pierre Cassell and Simone Signoret all give great performances - a great cinematographer and a cracking script, Melville's film is a very interesting piece of work. However, the big problem is just how much of a slow-burner it is. It is, at times, almost painfully slow, and while not slow on Blade Runner levels, it certainly impacts on the film's roundabout of death approach. That said, though, Army in the Shadows is a great watch, and I hope it'll end up really clicking with me on a rewatch.

217. Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) (1984, Miyazaki) – 4/5
Nausicaa is a film about man and their relationship with nature. It is an environmental film. This set off warning bells for me, as it seems, unfairly so, that environmental films have a higher chance of sermonizing than films dealing with any other theme. It's a very thin line to tread between subtly conveying a message and preaching it, and Miyazaki wobbles occasionally on that line - though, really, he doesn't help himself when the proponent for the environment is a perfect, flawless, occasionally irritating young heroine like Nausicaa. Her perfection is, at times, ingratiating, and while Miyazaki holds off from making her too much of a Mary Sue type, she occasionally descends into this. That said, though, Nausicaa is a beautifully animated, captivating film, with a message that, while laid on a bit too heavy, is much-needed. The pitch-perfect voice acting and the immaculately-executed action choreography go a long way to help things (though the synth-heavy soundtrack doesn't), and the film's characters are very easy to get behind, though if only because given the option between Nausicaa and Lord Yupa versus Kushana and Kurotawa, the former always seem to be the better option. The film also deserves marks for its utterly magnificent climax, with the Ohmu stampede and the fight for the Valley of the Wind being absolutely thrilling pieces of animation. While Nausicaa may be the weakest Miyazaki I've seen so far, it's still great fun and thrilling viewing.

SHORT FILMS
41. Monkey Drummer (2000, Cunningham) - 4/5
Chris Cunningham directs a robotic monkey with nine appendages for drumming, drumming to Aphex Twin. It's awesome.


_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to paul_ie86)
Post #: 8009
RE: Top 100 Films I've Wathced This Year: 2009 - 11/12/2009 12:28:53 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
quote:



151. L'armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows) (1969, Melville) – 4/5
Melville's French Resistance film is a slow-burning piece of work, encompassing a year in the life of a French civil engineer, Philippe, who works as one of the Resistance's chiefs. We follow him as he gets arrested, escapes, kills, plans, executes, gets arrested, escapes, kills, plans, executes, gets arrested, etc. etc. His line of work is one of repetition of a most dangerous sort, a cycle where every stop on the roundabout could mean certain death. Melville presents this figurative roundabout well, with the film making Philippe's various endeavours seem like just another day for him - today, London, tomorrow, parachuting into France, Thursday after tea, breaking a compatriot out of jail. Melville also knows how to milk the threat of death in each one of these events to the last delicious drop, with almost every scene dripping with sometimes unbearable tension. With a strong cast - Lino Venture, Jean-Pierre Cassell and Simone Signoret all give great performances - a great cinematographer and a cracking script, Melville's film is a very interesting piece of work. However, the big problem is just how much of a slow-burner it is. It is, at times, almost painfully slow, and while not slow on Blade Runner levels, it certainly impacts on the film's roundabout of death approach. That said, though, Army in the Shadows is a great watch, and I hope it'll end up really clicking with me on a rewatch.




IT'S ALL FANTASTIC YOU POMPOUS SHITHEAD.


I've been dying to use that. Think PA, if you gave it 5/5 I would have died.

Anyways, glad you liked it.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978
There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.

quote:


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 8010
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