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RE: The Wild Bunch

 
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RE: The Wild Bunch - 12/9/2010 5:44:11 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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From: the waters of Casablanca
Which came first, The French Connection or Dirty Harry? Its interesting to think they both practically came out at the same time. Name a few police thrillers before these two, then think of everything they spawned.

When the code came in in the 30s, much in response to the popularity of the gangster movie, one of the plays that the studios made at the time was to dress up gangster films as police films. So for instance with have G-Men. And it almost feels that after a 35 year gap Hollywood turns back to this. Doyle and Callahan, certainly seem like they could easily work the other side of the fence if they did not have a badge.

I think there is also a certain feel about these films that they are also born from the western. These sheriffs pretty much operate with their own set of laws and are equally driven to get their man.

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RE: The Wild Bunch - 19/9/2010 2:12:01 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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From: Norway
I have actually not seen Dirty Harry yet. I fear watching Zodiac might have ruined it slightly for me. I will nevertheless check it out.

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Post #: 32
Five Easy Pieces - 19/9/2010 2:14:38 PM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
Five Easy Pieces (1970)


Easy Rider may have given him a breakthrough, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest may have bagged him the Oscar, but it was Five Easy Pieces that gave Jack Nicholson legitimacy as a serious actor, establishing him not only as a star, but also as a true key piece in the actor’s section of the New Hollywood movement. The film itself is one of the period’s more subdued efforts, dampening the blood and guts of Bonnie & Clyde, but softening none of its blow. Nicholson plays Robert Dupea, a blue-collar oil rigger with a background in classical music. Having left his high status past behind him, Robert lives an ordinary life with his waitress girlfriend, Rayette (Karen Black in a superb “bimbo” performance). Upon receiving some ill news, he has to travel back to not only his childhood home, but to the past he purposefully left behind for another life of dissatisfaction.

The existentialistic mood and subtle approach of Five Easy Pieces is not only a standout in the New Hollywood model, but also in American films in general. Disregarding clear cut answers and a happy ending for ambiguity and openness, the film will come to a surprise to anyone who knows Jack Nicholson for his more over-the-top material. There are none of his eyebrow tricks here and none of the madness in The Shining, only subtlety and true, rugged emotions (watch Nicholson in one of the film’s last scenes, where he converses with a man who can’t answer back, and observe true acting talent). Unfortunately, I found the film itself, while a solid effort, to be slightly disappointing, as it failed to engage me. It often felt aimless, which perhaps might have been purposefully done, but which nonetheless left me looking at the watch sometimes. However, standout scenes, such as the “chicken salad” dialog, and the one where Nicholson plays a piano on a truck on a freeway, give the film an added power.

< Message edited by Dantes Inferno -- 24/9/2010 4:18:43 PM >


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Post #: 33
The Exorcist - 24/9/2010 3:46:45 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
The Exorcist (1973)


If you are about my age, chances are high your parents have seen The Exorcist. Chances are also high that they member details of it well, even though they most likely only saw it once. Its legacy has become one of extremity; ask someone like my parents and they’ll talk about vomiting, spinning heads, lots of blood, and little sleep. But I want to talk about what everyone doesn’t remember about The Exorcist. An audience success and notorious classic it might have been, but it was also an Oscar contender, with a whopping ten nominations in 1974, including Best Film, Best Director, and three nominations in the acting categories. The audience of the Spike TV awards might take note and realize that horror films so definitely have been the stuff of awards (it’s the bad films that the Academy won’t touch, and in the horror genre, there are plenty of those). I must have seen this film so many times. For each time, I discovered something new. At first, it was a bona fide horror film, armed with plenty of guts and with a damn good story on the side too. Then, as I saw it more and more, I looked beyond the horror and realized why actors such as Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow would participate in a film that would supposedly turn mainstream cinemas into grindhouses and the basket bins of those cinemas into barfing bags.

There is, contrary to mainstream knowledge, a story behind the goriness. Like Eraserhead, it tackles the issue of parental challenges through the use of special effects and extreme make-up. This is a film about a mother whose child gets sick to the point where the child is unrecognizable, possibly even unlovable. It is also a story about a son who feels he has left his mother behind, feeling tremendous guilt. The son is a Greek-American priest named Karras, who drinks, smokes, boxes, and says he is beginning to lose his faith. When a crazed woman in an insane asylum tears off his clerical collar, it doesn’t take a literary professor to understand the symbolism. Whichever way you choose to approach it, The Exorcist still remains a staple of its genre. Its extremity has been imitated by many, but often with its heavier elements left unused (the film tackles difficult subjects, such as religion and faith, among other things). Time may have dulled its shock impact to some, but time can’t erase its power as a drama. The Exorcist has lived through trepeated viewings to become a true classic and a key film in the New Hollywood movement.

< Message edited by Dantes Inferno -- 24/9/2010 4:19:20 PM >


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RE: The Wild Bunch - 24/9/2010 4:24:47 PM   
elab49


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I'm not a fan, but I think you're right about how 5 Easy Pieces placed Nicholson in career terms. Obvious trivia - it starred the writer of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe! At least I've always assumed it's that Fannie Flagg.

I've never really seen The Exorcist as part of the kind of 'new' type of film coming out of Hollywood in the 70s. It's an interesting review.

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Post #: 35
RE: The Wild Bunch - 24/9/2010 4:43:39 PM   
MOTH

 

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I first saw The Exorcist in my local fleapit cinema, back around 1990 when it was still banned. The cinema was due to close and they pulled out a (presumably never-returned) print of The Exorcist to show as their last film. So I went along and had the happy experience of watching it in a crumbling, musty, near-empty cinema, with the odd thump and rattle from the attic above as the rats (at least i hope it was rats) scuttled around.
And, like Dante, it was with no small surprise that I discovered an intelligent, thought-provoking drama underneath all the horror hype. In terms of New Hollywood, it was phenomenally successful and helped continue the Movie Brat revolution - i think it's still in the Top 10 earning films of all time, when adjusted for inflation, although that's also due to multiple releases.

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RE: The Wild Bunch - 24/9/2010 5:25:22 PM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway

quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

I've never really seen The Exorcist as part of the kind of 'new' type of film coming out of Hollywood in the 70s.


Really? Though I admittedly mostly review American films from the era, I still try to be critical of which films I include here. The Exorcist, which broke the $100.000.000 record of The Godfather and then some, was directed by William Friedkin, a small, but important figure of the era, and though I don't think it played on the Vietnam conflict in the same way Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it exploited the opportunity to use the violence and gore of Bonnie & Clyde in a way that many other films of the era did.

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RE: The Wild Bunch - 25/9/2010 4:42:15 PM   
elab49


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It wasn't so much I disagreed, more I hadn't thought of it that way. Which was a bit odd given Friedkin was in the directors seat and, as you say, he was part of that.

?

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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 #: 38
RE: The Wild Bunch - 25/9/2010 11:09:34 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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From: Norway
Oh, rite. Well, you could see where I was coming from too.

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RE: The Exorcist - 26/9/2010 1:17:31 AM   
HughesRoss


Posts: 5669
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From: Merthyr
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dantes Inferno

The Exorcist (1973)


If you are about my age, chances are high your parents have seen The Exorcist. Chances are also high that they member details of it well, even though they most likely only saw it once. Its legacy has become one of extremity; ask someone like my parents and they'll talk about vomiting, spinning heads, lots of blood, and little sleep. But I want to talk about what everyone doesn't remember about The Exorcist. An audience success and notorious classic it might have been, but it was also an Oscar contender, with a whopping ten nominations in 1974, including Best Film, Best Director, and three nominations in the acting categories. The audience of the Spike TV awards might take note and realize that horror films so definitely have been the stuff of awards (it's the bad films that the Academy won't touch, and in the horror genre, there are plenty of those). I must have seen this film so many times. For each time, I discovered something new. At first, it was a bona fide horror film, armed with plenty of guts and with a damn good story on the side too. Then, as I saw it more and more, I looked beyond the horror and realized why actors such as Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow would participate in a film that would supposedly turn mainstream cinemas into grindhouses and the basket bins of those cinemas into barfing bags.

There is, contrary to mainstream knowledge, a story behind the goriness. Like Eraserhead, it tackles the issue of parental challenges through the use of special effects and extreme make-up. This is a film about a mother whose child gets sick to the point where the child is unrecognizable, possibly even unlovable. It is also a story about a son who feels he has left his mother behind, feeling tremendous guilt. The son is a Greek-American priest named Karras, who drinks, smokes, boxes, and says he is beginning to lose his faith. When a crazed woman in an insane asylum tears off his clerical collar, it doesn't take a literary professor to understand the symbolism. Whichever way you choose to approach it, The Exorcist still remains a staple of its genre. Its extremity has been imitated by many, but often with its heavier elements left unused (the film tackles difficult subjects, such as religion and faith, among other things). Time may have dulled its shock impact to some, but time can't erase its power as a drama. The Exorcist has lived through trepeated viewings to become a true classic and a key film in the New Hollywood movement.


Very interesting review mate, and quite short for you.......

Its actually an horror that I am not the biggest fan of.  I know its a classic, and its power to scare is outstanding, but its not one of my personal favourites.  I actually prefer the third film would you believe.  There are two scenes in that film that are really stunning and damn right frightening.....



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RE: The Exorcist - 26/9/2010 9:24:24 AM   
Dantes Inferno


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Whaaat?

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RE: The Wild Bunch - 26/9/2010 4:50:22 PM   
HughesRoss


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I suppose that Whaaaat! is for my shocking announcement of my not so much love for the original, and my love for the third.....

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Post #: 42
RE: The Wild Bunch - 27/9/2010 5:50:52 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
Haven't seen the third, actually (nor the second, for that matter). Just was astonished to hear you don't love the first, which you should. You... something.

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Post #: 43
RE: The Wild Bunch - 27/9/2010 5:53:37 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
I just got The Deer Hunter from lovefilm, should I post my review in here when I watch it or would you like to keep it a personal thread?
I can't (or rather, don't make the effort, unfortunately) write reviews as good as yours, but I'll try to go above my usual standard...

< Message edited by Miles Messervy 007 -- 27/9/2010 5:54:29 PM >


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Post #: 44
RE: The Wild Bunch - 29/9/2010 7:42:34 AM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
I said in the opening post that people are free to write reviews, so by all means. I don't just encourage it, I insist you should do it.

As for the quality of the reviews: it's not a contest.


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Post #: 45
The Deer Hunter - 9/10/2010 8:56:16 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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Joined: 11/2/2009
As per Dante's permission, a review:
***spoilers***

The Deer Hunter (1978, Cimino)
Was one of my biggest American cinema blindspots. Glad to be rid of it now, but ambivalent about the actual film.
Let’s start with the positives. The cast is faultless, with Walken as a stand-out and Streep and Cazale in solid support, considered the latter, who was the former’s fiancée, was dying and didn’t get to see the release of the film. The cinematography is also very impressive (both the deer hunting scenes and some of the more claustrophobic stuff), though I think this is only the second film I’ve seen of Zsigmond’s lauded resume. There are some outstanding scenes, like the Green Beret at the wedding, the last deer hunting scene, or the very first Russian roulette. Unlike for many others, the film never dragged for me, and I can’t fault it for taking the time it took to tell its story.
However, there’s a flip-side. Leaving the important factual error alone despite the misrepresentation it causes, and disagreeing with Rosenbaum’s notion that this is apologetic of America’s Vietnam involvement (even though I can see where he’s coming from, I think this is a story about 3 friends and the effects the war has on their lives and the stuff others derive from it is not intended), as for instance I find the final scene sad and ironic rather than patriotic, there are still a lot of problems. First of all, unless I’m mistaken, there’s a huge plothole/logical flaw: if the reason for Nick’s catatonic state is his belief that his friends are dead, how can he send money to one of them back home?
But more importantly, the film’s 3 acts never work as a satisfying whole for me. The wedding, as I mentioned above, doesn’t drag for me at all and I think it’s great at establishing the characters, but after that, the film just doesn’t rise above its general melancholic mood except for a few exceptions. Compare it to Apocalypse Now, which escalates in its madness, and this seems almost dry.
I can understand the haters and the lovers, and I think the latter are more right as this is an important and well-made film, but it doesn’t work as it should, and give me Bullet in the Head over it any day.


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RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 4:48:24 PM   
Deviation


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Spoiler for The Deer Hunter

It's rubbish.

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I really wish I could go down to see Privates

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RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 4:48:50 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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Insightful.

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RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 4:53:14 PM   
Deviation


Posts: 27284
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Fine, here is a review filled with the insight that The Deer Hunter deserves...

Spoilers

It's Fucking Rubbish.


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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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RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 5:24:47 PM   
rawlinson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation

Fine, here is a review filled with the insight that The Deer Hunter deserves...

Spoilers

It's Fucking Rubbish.





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Post #: 50
RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 5:49:43 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


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What do you think of it, rawls?

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RE: The Deer Hunter - 10/10/2010 6:30:28 PM   
Rhubarb


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Miles Messervy 007

give me Bullet in the Head over it any day.



Obviously.

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The Graduate - 22/12/2011 12:03:05 AM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
The Graduate (1967)


It is the audience who is being seduced.

Though not having the honor of winning the Best Film award at the Oscars of its year, nor necessarily sharing the status of significance with Bonnie & Clyde, The Graduate is nonetheless a key movie in the earliest years of New Hollywood. Apart from Dustin Hoffman banging his head against a hotel room wall, it is light on violence, but makes up for it with a damn good amount of frankness. Little of it is shocking for modern audiences, but I can imagine that the thought of seeing Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) confidently seducing Benjamin (Hoffman) might not have been everyone’s cup of tea in 1967. More importantly, however, is the fact that Benjamin’s frustration over his future and the uncertainty of where to direct his life spoke eloquently to a lot of young people at the time. Who chooses plastics over the girl anyway?

The film is not perfect, but it gives the impression it will be in its opening stages. Being young and uncertain of what profession I shall choose to make a living, I must admit I connected with Benjamin. Luckily, my family has more support and understanding than his, who have a lot of expectations for him and an even greater amount of preferences. Notice for how briefly they allow him to relax after graduation before hassling him with parental clichés about getting his lazy ass out of the pool. Haven’t we all been there at some point, albeit perhaps without being required to wear green scuba diving suits?

I mention the film’s imperfection. Can anyone really disagree? The second half is where it starts to grow wrong. Characters start to behave less naturally, and they become far less engaging. Simon and Garfunkel’s songs outstay they welcome as the same ones are repeated for the second and third time (I say this while simultaneously trying to underline their excellence, a task which I may have failed before writing this sentence). Only in the final frame does things start to pick up. Director Mike Nichol’s genius was of course to add that little frame of reality in the closing moments of the movie. The ending is not downbeat, but something else. I won’t try to find a fitting word, because why would I of such a defining moment, speaking endlessly about the 15 years of movie excellence that would follow?

< Message edited by Dantes Inferno -- 22/12/2011 12:26:00 AM >


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RE: The Graduate - 22/12/2011 8:07:33 AM   
matty_b


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Woo, you're back!

I really, really like The Graduate, but it's all about the performances. Bancroft is fantastic, but Hoffman is amazing. I'd also agree that it runs out of steam somewhat in the second half, best typified in the repeated use of Scarborough Fair.

It's mainly brilliant, though.

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Post #: 54
Jaws - 23/12/2011 10:22:54 PM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
Yeah, I agree about the performances and Scarbourough Fair. I think I prefer Bonnie & Clyde, though I'd have to see it again.


Jaws (1975)


New Hollywood is sometimes wrongfully perceived as American cinema at it most artistic. I’d say ”exciting” is a better adjective. One might argue that movies such as Steven Spielberg’s Jaws represent the period’s demise, but such an argument can easily be countered by the fact that it wasn’t until the early 1980s that it met its end. It did so not by the hands of producers, but directors. New Hollywood killed itself. That it was replaced by blockbusters shouldn’t be used against movies such as Jaws. It may have provided the blueprint for where the film industry would eventually go, but as time has shown, the sketch is sometimes better than the final drawing.

The premise is simple enough. A great white shark is terrorizing the fictional Amity Island (filmed at Martha’s Vineyard), and the newly arrived sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider) has to stop it. However, he is caught between his duties as a protector of people’s lives and as a protector of the island’s economic interests (insert subjective or well researched political theory at will). As if that wasn’t enough, he has a fear of water. Meanwhile, the death count rises, and so the imminent duel at sea makes its entrance.

What could have been a routine thriller is arguably one of the greatest of its kind (no matter the setting and villain), much thanks to Spielberg’s superb storytelling. He keeps the shark hidden from view most of time, using clever replacements to suggest its whereabouts (a torn pier, harpooned yellow barrels, screaming people dying from digestion). The most classic scene of the movie happens late, when Brody’s two companions compare wounds, eventually leading into the USS Indianapolis monologue, but my favorite is the one at the beach, where it slowly becomes clear that the shark is in the water, and that kids are too. At one point, Spielberg steals explicitly from Hitchcock, but any judge would look away from that. Something so well done cannot be called a crime.

I must also mention John William’s main theme, one of cinema history’s most iconic and recognizable (it consists of only two deep notes, played closely together and used to accompany POV shots of the shark). What makes the theme memorable isn’t necessarily its melody (which it has little of), but the fact that it underlines what Spielberg knew all along: that it isn’t necessarily the great white shark that’s going to scare us, but the deep, black water. Most of us will only witness sharks in movies or in aquariums. Few of us will swim with them. But a lot of us will swim. Anyone gazing into Davy Jones’ locker after watching Jaws will meet understanding from people if he suggests that it tingles somewhat.

< Message edited by Dantes Inferno -- 23/12/2011 10:23:52 PM >


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RE: Jaws - 23/12/2011 11:48:01 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


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Good to see you back! Two great reviews.

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Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

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Post #: 56
Annie Hall - 6/1/2012 7:38:19 PM   
Dantes Inferno


Posts: 5887
Joined: 27/10/2007
From: Norway
Annie Hall (1977)


Prior to watching Annie Hall, the only film involving Woody Allen that I had seen was Take the Money and Run, and it was so long ago I might as well have not seen it (I can’t for the life of me remember what it was about; probably some rich jogger). Either way, not watching any of his work definitely qualifies as a black spot on my cinematic curriculum vitae. Whether spotting him on the cover of a DVD or inside the pages of a movie magazine, I long knew him only by look, but not his style or his voice. Yesterday, that changed, as I was introduced to of both of those things when I finally got around to seeing the film you are currently reading this review of.

The tone is established even before the credits are finished; Allen’s character, Jewish comedian Alvy Singer, speaking directly into the camera about his world-view, saying he would never be a part of a club that would have him as a member. He attributes the quote to either Groucho Marx or Sigmund Fried (the insecurity is his, not mine), which says a lot about his character, a goofy left-wing New York intellectual who spends 15 years in psychotherapy (for good reason), before meeting what could be his soul mate, Annie Hall (Diane Keaton).

While watching the film, one quickly gets the feeling you are watching some cinematic variation on the real Woody Allen, who seems to have written the screenplay not in ink but with his real-life influences dripping from his mind. I have no idea of how he is in reality, and in a way, it doesn’t matter. One just gets the feeling Allen has himself figured out pretty good, elevating absurd scenes and moments of the film into something I like to call “potential reality”. Do you really think Allen didn’t have parents who argued whether or not their black housekeeper had a right to pocket their money?

The movie moves at such a brisk pace that the audience is lulled into forgetting how much of it consists not only of dialogue, but also of the kind that is concerned with either heavy psychological and political themes, or just plain old paranoid narcissism. Of course it helps that Allen is not afraid to not just experiment with the medium of film, but also have fun with it, whether using captions to illustrate character’s actual thoughts when conversing, animation to visualize a fantasy involving the Snow White movie, or Annie’s soul stepping out of her body when having sex because it can’t be bothered to get engaged. Filmmakers who pour their love of cinema onto the screen, whether through technique or such as scenes as when their alter ago has to listen to the absurdity of Fellini being a bad director? Gotta love that.

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Post #: 57
RE: Annie Hall - 6/1/2012 7:39:26 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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I might be watching The Last Picture Show tonite. I've seen it before, but it's been a while, and I'd like to give it another shot (not that I didn't like it beofre, I just think the review will be better that way).

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Post #: 58
RE: Annie Hall - 6/1/2012 7:47:08 PM   
matty_b


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I haven't seen loads of Allen, and I do like this, but I don't think it's his best work.

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Post #: 59
RE: Annie Hall - 6/1/2012 7:54:37 PM   
Harry Tuttle


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quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

I haven't seen loads of Allen, and I do like this, but I don't think it's his best work.


Yeah same here. I think Manhattan is a much better film.

I'm going to watch more Allen this year, I've only seen about 4 of his films.

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Post #: 60
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