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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time

 
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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 13/8/2011 8:34:41 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


83. All About My Mother (1999, Pedro Almodovar, Spain)

After the untimely death of her son Esteban (Eloy Azorin), Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid and heads to Barcelona, where her old friends still live. When there, she meets a variety of people – most notably a nun and an actress – and has a profound effect on their lives. Almodovar’s film, the second of his that I’ve seen, tackles a variety of themes and issues with deft skill. Amongst them, there are discussions of sexuality, sexual deviancy, death, life, and alienation. What’s more, it does exactly the same as “Amelie” (2001) did (being that it shows how helping others can lead to a turn around in your own life) without being too in your face and overly optimistic about it. Almodovar’s direction is wonderful, and I love a lot of the imagery and visuals that he puts on screen. He fills the film with clever little touches, like the pencil writing on the lens of the camera and the train tracking through the innards of a tunnel, that help make it a visual experience to remember. But his true skill lies in his writing. Almodovar obviously deals – more often than anything – in melodrama, but he doesn’t fall into the same clichés that you’d associate with the genre. Perhaps the key strength of the film, and the one that stops it becoming just another overly melodramatic story, is that there is genuine emotion to be found, and a lot of the more powerful events have real impact. The performances are superb, particularly those of Cecilia Roth (too knowing of the world’s flaws to be naïve), Antonia San Juan, Candela Pena, Marisa Paredas, and Penelope Cruz (who outdoes herself as the nun-gone-bad, indulging in her own sexual fantasies, yum). In fact, the whole female cast is sublime. The flaws evetually seem unimportant (the melodrama often becomes a little overbearing, Agrado’s speech on her life is a little silly and ineffective (despite it being a nice idea for a scene), and the character of Esteban is a bit of an annoying arse), and overall this comes across as Almodovar's greatest work to date (and there's enough competition for that prize).





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Post #: 91
RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 13/8/2011 8:35:55 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


82. Vengeance is Mine (1979, Shohei Imamura, Japan)

Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) commits violent, extreme, and insane murders and goes on the run. The police end up chasing him all over Japan, but he manages to elude them for seventy eight days, in the process meeting a woman who owns a brothel and falling in love with her. “Vengeance is Mine” is the first Shohei Imamura I’ve seen, and I was quite impressed by its visceral nature, its extreme, ruthless, and realistic portrayal of violence, and its superb handling of both challenging subject matter and a challenging un-chronological narrative. I think there are flaws – most notably that it felt about a quarter of an hour overlong, which is quite shocking when I watched it in-between an Ozu film and “Jeanne Dielman” – but most of them are easy to overlook, especially when you consider the scale and the episodic nature of such a story. It could have been messy, it could have jarred, but, for the most part (and there is the occasional blip), it really works, and it feels like a fluent yet visceral experience. First and foremost, it’s a character study, separating itself from the majority of them by attempting to delve into the mind of a murder who is, almost by his own will, uncontrollable, volatile, and perhaps un-understandable. Imamura attempts to look at why this man is doing these things, but his eventual conclusion seems to be that you can’t always understand such events and crimes, and you can’t always investigate them methodically. Mainly, though, it’s a thriller, and a very good one at that, with a superb central performance from Ken Ogata, who presents this volatile and unpredictable murderer as cagey, paranoid, and tragic in his inability to understand the world. I think, though, that my favourite thing about the film was the subplot between Enokizu’s wife and his father, who hide a secret love – and lust - from the world, constantly trapped by this volatile, hateful figure that plagues both of their lives. Their scenes together are often tender, as suppressed emotion pours out of both of them, but offset by the violent presence that bombards in and out of the film, never allowing them to safely relish their love. It really is a remarkable film, and eventually the flaws seem unimportant due to the overwhelming power of the piece.




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Post #: 92
RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 13/8/2011 8:36:52 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


81. Secrets and Lies (1996, Mike Leigh, UK)

It's hard to believe that Secrets and Lies was made nearly fifteen years ago, because its themes of social diversity and family are just as relevant now as they were then, and will remain relevant into the foreseeable future. Mike Leigh's sprawling epic (as much as a film by Leigh could be sprawling or epic) is about a young, black, successful woman named Hortence (Marriane Jean-Baptiste) who searches for her birth mother (Brenda Blethyn), who happens to be white and lower class. It's a very good film, with a heavy emotional punch and - dare I say - gritty take on life and its pitfalls. It may verge upon the melodramatic every now and again (especially the performance of Blethyn, who - whilst good most of the time - often strays into the unfortunate category of ham), but for the most part Leigh restrains his film and gives it a sense of realism. As ever, the director observes the difference between the classes well, but here he makes his upper class just as likeable as the lower. He blames circumstance for the difference between mother and daughter, not pompousness, prejudice, or pretentiousness. The best moments come at the end, with the climactic scene at the BBQ being a just about perfect blend of melodrama, drama, tragedy and comedy. It's when all of the 'secrets and lies' that the title speaks about come to surface, and although some of them (not all of them) are obvious, there are still enough shocks here to shake a stick at. Leigh may succumb to a forced happy ending, but the question of 'what happens next?' is one that will be on every viewer's lips, and one that won't be easy to answer. It's true tragedy comes in that, although things seem to have sorted themselves out, they will end up becoming tangled and hard to deal with again. There's also an array of fantastic performances. Jean-Baptiste does well, playing one of the most normal characters in the film; a woman who is successful and likeable at the same time, and just wants to find out where she comes from even if that throws up a bunch of new questions. Brenda Blethyn, as mentioned before, may tend towards the melodrama every now and again, but she flutters between laughter and tears for the majority of the film, leading to a heartbreaking performance that verges on pantomime every now and again but always manages to keep to the right side of the line. The true star, though, is Timothy Spall, playing the brother of Blethyn's Cynthia. Oppressed from every which angle by a nagging wife and a dependant sister, he keeps all of his feelings bottled up, leading to a truly explosive finale. I haven’t seen enough of his films to say this definitively, but so far this is my favourite of Mike Leigh.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 14/8/2011 8:52:04 PM   
Dantes Inferno


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From: Norway
I'm ashamed to say I still haven't seen Festen. I have seen Network, though, but I'm not a big fan. Sad to see 12 Angry Men not make the list.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 14/8/2011 10:54:35 PM   
chris_scott01


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Joined: 5/1/2006
I recently rewatched All About My Mother, it really is amazingly affecting.  A solid inclusion in my own 100 I think. 

Quite a few people like Vengeance is Mine on these boards now, I hope Imamura becomes more popular.


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Post #: 95
RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 22/8/2011 4:39:18 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
quote:

ORIGINAL: chris_scott01

Quite a few people like Vengeance is Mine on these boards now, I hope Imamura becomes more popular.



I took some Imamura recommendations down a while back but I appear to have lost them. What would you suggest past Vengeance is Mine? Bizzarely and embarrasingly it's still the only one I've seen.


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Post #: 96
RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:05:11 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


80. Le Grande Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir, France)

"Le Grande Illusion” is the story of a group of French soldiers who have been captured by the Germans during World War One. These soldiers include aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and working class Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin), who – along with a band of merry Frenchmen – plot and attempt to carry out several escapes, whilst nasty German guards, impressive battlements, and prison transfers thwart their attempts. "Le Grand Illusion”, like any truly great film shout, works on two almost distinct levels; both a thematic one and an emotional one. The film is primarily – as the title, taken from British economist Normal Angell's book, which argues that the economic interests of European nations makes war futile, would suggest – about class. Captain de Boeldieu, along with one of the German officers, are both members of their respective aristocracies, have dined in the same restaurants, had affairs with the same women, and even know each other through acquaintances. Their conversations are perhaps the key scenes in the film, conversing in both casual, informal French and German, and often talking in English, as if to hide their discussions from their lower class counterparts. The film very much presents the idea that the social order should be lead by men who have worked for their riches and were not simply born into them, and the opinion of both de Boeldieu and von Rauffenstein (the German officer) – that of the war having a purpose and their service being their reluctant duty – paints them out to be tragic figures who are becoming all the more irrelevant and placeless in the modern world. This message is further solidified by de Boeldieu's fate, which I shan't go into here, through fear of spoiling the film for those who haven't seen it (but doubtlessly will after reading this review, of course). Emotionally, the film is just as satisfying, using these social differences between the lead characters to create drama, tension, and tangible relationships that grow organically and naturally. The final goodbyes of Marechal and de Boeldieu are as touching here as any moment in film, with stout resolution and acceptance of a changing world getting in the way of what should be tender emotion. A fine film, then, feature some fine performances and pitch perfect direction from Jean Renoir. It may even be better than the also majestic "The Rules of the Game”, and has persuaded me to instantly check out more Renoir.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:06:07 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


79. Sherlock Jr (1924, Buster Keaton, USA)

‘Sherlock Jr’ is the story of a man (Keaton) who works at a movie theatre changing reels who is madly in love with a girl (Katheryne MacGuire). However, the girl is also being pursued by a handsome but morally questionable 'sheik' (Walter Crane). Our projectionist and protaganist also wants to be a detective, and is reading up on the subject whenever he can. When his sweetheart's father's watch goes missing (and happens to be planted on the projectionist), he agrees to look for the culprit, and ends up finding himself. Sherlock Jr is a film split up into two parts; real and imaginary. The real bits are when Keaton, half projectionist and half rubbish detective, is in the real world trying to get his girl.  The imaginary bits happen within a film (Keaton jumps into the screen in the film’s renowned ‘special effect’), where Keaton suddenly becomes legendary detective 'Sherlock Jr' and is solving a similar crime in a very stylish and glamorous world. Keaton, as director, creates a parody of the silent crime films that populated Hollywood in the 20s, with ridiculous and quite hilarious weaponry, and glamour surrounding the criminals as much as it surrounds the heroes. As performer, he's as brilliant as ever, combining ridiculously impressive stunts (riding the traffic barrier from the roof into the car is brilliant), fantastic physical humour (slips and prank falls aplenty), some nice clever gags (Keaton offering a dollar to the man who has lost his wallet), and his trademark stoic face to create a performance that is the epitome of entertainment. The supporting cast are good too, but this is Keaton's show. As always.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:07:00 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


78. The Leather Boys (1964, Sidney J Furie, UK)

"The Leather Boys” stars Colin Campbell as Reggie, a young biker who marries Dot (Rita Tushingham), a young girl about to finish school. Needless to say, they have rushed into things, and soon enough the flaws and troubles of their short-lived relationship begin to rear their ugly heads. Reggie meets Pete (Dudley Sutton), another biker with an off-kilter sense of humour, who becomes his best friend and confidant. Much of the strength of "The Leather Boys” comes from this relationship between Reggie and Pete, despite the fact that Tushingham gets top billing. All three of the leads play their parts perfectly, but it doesn't take long until the relationship between Tushingham's Dot and Campbell's Reggie becomes a tiny bit one note, with the two constantly shouting at each other about the same thing. Obviously, that's the point, because they keep going back to each other for the wrong reasons and end up back at square one, but the film certainly needs something more to bolster its runtime. That comes in the form of Pete, a man with obvious homosexual tendencies which quickly turns into admiration for his friend. The film spends most of its time with this hidden love and the potential affair that threatens to come from it. For its time (or for any time, I guess), the film is a consummately sensitive and thought provoking study of taboo love, as well as a riveting tale of that unrequited. The film may constantly play off the clichés and situations associated with British kitchen-sink realism, but the fact that there aren't a huge amount of these films made in the sixties makes this perfectly forgivable. Throw in some fantastic performances (Tushingham is brilliantly quirky and equally as fiery, Campbell seems suitably repressed and uneasy, Sutton struggles somewhat with the comedy but delivers some incredibly tender and powerful scenes in the film's dying moments) and some perfectly able direction (the bike scenes are often exquisitely shot), and what you have is one of the finest examples of this somewhat short lived sub-genre.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:08:17 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


77. The Mouse That Roared (1959, Jack Arnold, UK)

The plot of this film is quiteamazing, and I shall recite it to you now. Peter Sellers plays three parts in Jack Arnold's comedy; the Grand Duchess Gloriana XII of Grand Fenwick, Prime Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy of Grand Fenwick, and Tully Buscombe, general of Grand Fenwick's modest army. Fenwick is the smallest country in the world, located somewhere in the French Alps, and – impoverished as it is – it decides to wage a war against the USA, hoping to lose and reap the rewards of rehabilitation. However, Tully accidentally wins, capturing General Snippet (MacDonald Parke), Professor Alfred Kokintz (David Kossoff), his daughter Helen (Jean Seberg), and the dread, potentially devastating Q-bomb. The reason I've taken great lengths to recite the plot (or at least the plot of the first twenty five minutes of the film; there is plenty more afterwards) is because it's absolutely genius, a fantastic concept with brilliant possibilities. I almost expected the film to be disappointing or unable to live up to its promise, but it is really a classic, with three fantastic Sellers performances (particularly as the hapless Tully) and some really quite brilliant gags. The 'this isn't the end of our film' gag is the highlight of the film, beautifully done and hilariously irrelevant, but there's high, prolific, and (most importantly) efficient gag rate in this film that meant I was laughing every couple of minutes. The script is superb, particularly when the troops of Grand Fenwick 'invade' New York with hilarious consequences, and one of the soldiers is determined to win and claim his rewards ("See that building there?”… "Yeah”… "Well I saw it first. It's mine.”). Most of all, though, it's Sellers who is the heart of this film, giving three very different performances as the hopeless hero Tully, the malevolent Count Rupert, and the surreally clueless Gloriana, showcasing his wide range of comedic talent. It also has Jean Seberg, which is enough to make any film awesome.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:09:08 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


76. Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden)

Contains spoilers. The first in Bergman’s faith trilogy is “Through a Glass Darkly”, a film about a woman just released from a mental institute, Karin (Harriet Andersson). Taking place over a twenty four hour period, the film tells the story of how Karin begins to see God in the attic of their holiday home, and examines her relationship with the three men sharing her surroundings; husband Martin (Max von Sydow), father David (Gunnar Bjornstrand), and brother Minus (Lars Passgard). “Through a Glass Darkly” is a dark and depressing film about God and faith, and the existence of both upon earth. The film’s final conclusion is the God exists on the face of earth in the form of love, and it’s a very nice thought. Therefore, at the climax of this film, I didn’t feel depressed or down at the sad consequences of Karin’s illness, I felt liberated by its re-assuring message. The film also examines taboo themes, such as incest and schizophrenia. The performances are mostly excellent, with von Sydow and – in particular – Andersson putting in some great work. Andersson’s scenes of mental breakdown are done wonderfully, in particularly the first one, where she is alone in the attic. It is like a monologue of suffering, with no dialogue but plenty of brilliant physical acting. It loses points for Lars Passgard, who doesn’t manage to inflict himself on the viewer in a role that, really, should be just as powerful as the rest of the film is. Still, it’s expertly scored, with fantastic cinematography, and some wonderful scenery. I’d certainly recommend this as one of Bergman’s very best.




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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:23:37 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
Le Grande Illusion, a film that made my own Top 100, great write up. Have you seen  Partie de campagne, It's a sublime film I'd also recommend La Bête Humaine, if only for Jean Gabin's performance.  

The Leather Boys - I saw this in the Forum's Top 1000 and it reminded me about the film, I absolutely love it, a great choice.  

Through a Glass Darkly - Top Five Bergman for me.


< Message edited by impqueen -- 29/8/2011 3:24:05 PM >


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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:36:46 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5541
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
quote:

ORIGINAL: impqueen

Le Grande Illusion, a film that made my own Top 100, great write up. Have you seen  Partie de campagne, It's a sublime film I'd also recommend La Bête Humaine, if only for Jean Gabin's performance.  


I actually just got Partie de campagne earlier, so I'll be sure to watch it soon. For some reason I've only seen Le Grande Illusion and Rules of the Game.


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Post #: 103
RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 3:55:27 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

quote:

ORIGINAL: impqueen

Le Grande Illusion, a film that made my own Top 100, great write up. Have you seen  Partie de campagne, It's a sublime film I'd also recommend La Bête Humaine, if only for Jean Gabin's performance.  


I actually just got Partie de campagne earlier, so I'll be sure to watch it soon. For some reason I've only seen Le Grande Illusion and Rules of the Game.



I hope you enjoy it, barely forty minutes but quite brilliant and both funny and moving. I'm also fond of French Cancan, The Golden Coach (it's a bit silly in places) and The River. Though to be honest not much can match his earlier work of the thirties.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 of All-Time - 29/8/2011 5:29:12 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

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I am a big Renoir fan from what I have seen too, The Rules of the Game is one of my favourite ever films. I have the River on my love film list, along with a bunch of other of his films, so should be having a JR fest before long!

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