View Poll Results: Which film (from KF's "Top 10 Favourite Films") do you enjoy most?

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  • 1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 - 2003)

    29 32.22%
  • 2. the Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    10 11.11%
  • 3. Apocalypse Now! (1979)

    5 5.56%
  • 4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

    7 7.78%
  • 5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

    7 7.78%
  • 6. Blade Runner (1982)

    20 22.22%
  • 7. C’era una volta il West (1968)

    2 2.22%
  • 8. the Third Man (1949)

    4 4.44%
  • 9. BEN-HUR (1959)

    3 3.33%
  • 10. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

    3 3.33%
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  1. #271
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (2012)
    dir. Joss Whedon
    writer. William Shakespeare
    Starring: Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher and Nathan Fillion

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: love and hate hold equal court at the mansion of Leanato (Gregg); uncle to Beatrice (Acker) and father to Hero; who is set to wed Claudio (Kranz), a kinsman of Don Pedro and Benedick (Denisof) in two days.

    THOUGHTS: as a Shakespeare play, it's wonderful, so going in with the script intact started them on good footing; and it IS a play (in many ways) about harmless nothingness, so bringing it to a rich socialite's house where everyone drinks from beginning to end, works perfectly. Modernization of Shakespeare is nothing new, but often the concept doesn't work, or jars with the text, so I must applaud the seemless through-line in this adaptation. Now the core of any Shakespeare film is the performances, and how a director teases them out. Joss Whedon employs Kenneth Branagh's technique of shooting monologues and soliloquies in one shot, which works wonders on the text, but is a double edged sword. Monologues are key narratives into a character's soul, and sadly too many of the performances are laid bare in this scenario. Shakespeare is not just in the voice, it's in the body too (and THAT is where the actors faulter). Even Amy Acker (who does the best job of the bunch) is physically too rooted in film, and a more 'stage' performance emphasis physical weakness in her movement and actions. Of course I must contrast this work to that of Branagh's famous 1993 film adaptation; and yes Thompson/Branagh vastly outclass the dual courtship in Acker/Denisoff, though Acker fairs better, and her Beatrice is the star of this film (as was Thompson's). Sean Maher outclassing Keanu Reeve's villain, though hardly an accolade of much significance (truthfully he only JUST delivers a more interesting performance). The surprise victor is Nathan Fillion. Keaton (like many actors) got Dogberry all wrong, he's not intense or psychotic, or charming and complex, but a buffoon of the highest caliber. Fillion delivery is comic gold from start to finish; the ONLY hilarious performance in (what is supposed to be) a comedy. I won't comment on the choice of black and white film; it was nice, but I saw no real need for it. Lastly, as an actor I very much enjoy this play and several of the characters in it would be a true privilege to play... BUT at it's core Much Ado About Nothing has a massive weakness: Claudio's (lack of) redemption. The film captures the cruelty of his act (but, like the play) does not offer enough of a penance necessary to make him worthy of Hero again. I don't want to dwell on it too much, since that is a fundamental failing in the play, which your can't hold against the film (too much). That said, film is a perfect medium to resolve this with montages and silent shots (i.e. free of impossible to replicate spoken necessity), and it doesn't. And as a film built on romance, when the audience doesn't like one of the two end pairs... it's problematic if you don't amend the play's hamartia.

    OVERALL
    A very pleasing piece of film and of Shakespeare; though lacking any true spark of genius to make it anything more than enjoyable. Nathan Fillion steals the show in the most unlikely of roles, and the clever setting of Whedon's own mansion makes for some creative playfulness. A worthy pet project among friends.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B]


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    THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (2008)
    dir. Sam Fell
    writer. based on Kate diCamillo's 2003 novel of the same name
    Voice Talents Of: Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Ciarán Hinds, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman and Sigourney Weaver

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: in the Kingdom of Dor, once famous for it's "Royal Soup Day", rats have been outlawed after the pirate rat Roscuro (Hoffman) accidentally kills the queen; but that will all change when a fearless mouse named Despereaux (Broderick) is banished from Mouse Town... and sent down into the dark, where the rats dwell...
    "When your heart breaks it can grow back crooked. It grows back twisted and gnarled and hard. " ~ NARRATOR
    THOUGHTS: it's strange, initially the dialogue really took me away from the story; it was all too on the nose; plot driven and not character based. And while this didn't change, the overall negative effect lessened. I think it's the storybook narrative, the Grim Fairy Tale atmosphere that made it more acceptable. It's okay to be a little cliche, it's okay to be a little obvious, because this is a "classic" fairy tale (though, in actual fact, it is not). This is aided by Sigourney Weaver's wonderful narration. She has the right amount of playful mockery and darkness is her tone (without actually adding much inflection, beyond gentle narration); it conjures up the very idea of fantasy. The voice acting, by and large, is very impressive (though some like Frank Langella are wasted in far too small a role). What impressed me most is how dark this story became. Outside of Despereaux, most characters were terribly conflicting in there actions. The Princess is not always kind, the parents are not always putting their child first. Both Dustin Hoffman and Tracey Ullman are given (what I call) gifts of characters; ones we both sympathise with, yet see a terrible amount of potential for wickedness within. I can absolutely see the appeal to them in these roles. And it's the layers to the characters that elevate this beyond the animated fluff I assumed it would be. It's a pity some elements of the story don't rival the character beats. For such complex motivations, the resolution felt very cheap and unfulfilling. HOW did the rats suddenly live in harmony? Why were they forgiven, last we saw they all gathered to eat the princess. When did they redeem? Who brokered this new found mentality? And what was with that food genie??? Now of course I must compare this to the Secret of NIMH (1982), not just for the shameful pilfering of Nicodemus' look for Botticelli. They are both films about a colony of rats, outcast, who must find some resolution and kinship with the humans in order to survive, while being led down a nihilist path by a very politically persuasive villain. Ultimately the Secret of NIHM earns it's resolution; this does not. I still applaud it's brave character work, but if you cheapen the ending, all that work was for naught.

    OVERALL
    Despite starting as a run-of-the-mill tale, the story veers into some truly exciting, and adult themes of love and betrayal. The storybook paper animation was a clever technique, and the film is pretty (though lacking those cinematic gems that lend themselves so easily to animated features). A pleasant film, better than it first appears.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 11-15-2016 at 02:46 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  2. #272
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    THE BFG (2016)
    dir. Steven Spielberg
    writer. based on Roald Dahl's 1982 children's book of the same name
    Starring: Ruby Barnhill, Sir Mark Rylance, Jemaine Clement and Penelope Wilton

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: ten year old insomniac Sophie (Barnhill) is awake reading at the orphanage; but at 3am (the "witching hour") she spies something her eyes can barely believe... a shadow of great magnitude, that is skulking the streets of London.

    THOUGHTS: as a child I remember the animated BFG fondly. While it is possibly my least favourite of Dahl's classic stories, I recall with merriment Sir David Jason's effortlessly lovable voice as the BFG. That said: Mark Rylance is an acting GOD, and as wonderful as David Jason is, this was not a battle between titans. There are very, VERY few actors alive who could give Rylance a run for his money, and David Jason is simply not one of them. Rylance's BFG is just so beautifully human. He's sometimes slow, and sometimes petty, he's sometimes silly and sometimes illegible. To quote donkey: onions have layers! I've never known an actor to so truthfully embody a "somewhat dim" character, while bringing such warmth, depth and complexity to the role. Under Rylance a slow speaking, poorly educated giant isn't a baffoon. There is an element of pride and nobility, even with his confuzelled style of speak. His performance is quite simply delumptious. As to the rest, it's mostly rather tame. Gentle, but a tad dull at times. The creation of the dreams was visualy exciting, conjuring up favourable comparrisons to the Wicked Queen's enchanting the poisoned apple in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938). And Penelope Wilton's monarch desperately trying to hold in her raging whizzpopper was very amusing; but outside of that there is little to jabbel about. The lead of Ruby Barnhill... I'm still undecided; I'd compare it to the performance of Billy Chapin in the Night of the Hunter (1955), it just felt... off. When she was getting sleepy, like a methodical robot a) take glasses off, b) rub eyes, c) tilt head. Or when she's thinking, she twirls her glasses to show she's thinking. It was a level beyond over-worked or over-rehearsed; it didn't feel natural. I didn't feel she was making these choices at all, it came across as she was PERFORMING these choices made for her. A glorified puppet. Was it simply a bad performance by an untested actor, or was this a case of severe over-directing? I don't know. All I know is: her performance is ucky-mucky; and that is someone's fault, whoever it maybe. I have some minor praise for some elements, and some even smaller nagging criticisms on logic (in the humans, not the giants ) but it's all irrelevant. The film is made or broken on the relationships of the leads, and for me it's tepid (despite Rylance's sterling efforts). Not a disastrophe, but not a slam-dunk either.

    OVERALL
    It's frothbuggling and fun, but sadly just not magical; not in the way it's supposed to be. Despite all the CGI and fairytale whimsy hurled by Spielberg, only Mark Rylance's eyes sparkle with an otherworldly charm. As pleasant and non-offensive as the 1989 animated film of the same name, nothing more/nothing less. It'll please the kiddles to no end; though only Rylance will bring the adults a sense of Gloriumptious.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B-]


    FUN FACT: The character of The Big Friendly Giant first appeared in Roald's 1975 story Danny, the Champion of the World. He was a character in a bedtime story Danny's father told him
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    PROMETHEUS (2012)
    dir. Sir Ridley Scott
    writer. Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof
    Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pierce

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: 2089, the Isle of Skye. Archeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway discover an ancient 'star-map', pointing to the planet of humanity's forerunners; setting course on the Weyland Corporation funded scientific vessel: Prometheus.

    THOUGHTS: this film's greatest crime is NOT that it's bad (there are many redeeming qualities to it), it's that it is boring. This story has been done before, the same beats, the same ideas; it lacks any real imagination or creativity. It is a pointless film, entertaining to a degree, but utterly without creative merit (outside of a few performances). Michael Fassbender is the film's greatest asset, incredibly beautiful, playfully Machiavellian and who doesn't love an android obsessed with Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)? The cinematography mirrors Fassbender (it's very pretty); and that is categorically the most gruesome death of any Alien film to date, so kudos! Most everything else is passable, and to someone who doesn't knows the franchise I'm sure it's incredibly enjoyable... minus a few things. Idris Elba's accent isn't good, the sudden appearance of a storm is a bit of a cliche and Sean Harris' Fiefield is just BAD. Badly performed by an limited actor. He acts like a run-of-the-mill 'jaded mercenary' AND YET we're supposed to believe he's a geologist??? REALLY??? And the costumes lack creativity. The year is 2089, and yet the clothes seems akin to exploration gear of 2012. The fashion of Blade Runner (1982) is creative, showing an evolution in what is considered "current" fashion. I expected more from the Oscar winning costume designer behind Gladiator (2000). And yet if I had to pick the greatest failing it's simple: the script. The dialogue felt very clunky, more James Cameron than Ridley Scott-esq. On top of that, things just don't make sense (or plot threads are left unexplored). Was Charlize Theron a man? They emphasized that her "automated surgery table" is calibrated SPECIFICALLY to her, then the film says it's only designed for a male subject when Shaw tries to use it??? And did Elba's character leave the others to die? It's never referenced again, but surely he saw they were in danger and then just switched off the cameras (mirroring the duplicitous action of Burke in Aliens (1986)). Things do not bode well for me seeing Doctor Strange (2016) if the writing of Jon Spaiht is anything to go by...

    OVERALL
    An unnecessary prequel, to a franchise that has long since overstayed its welcome. Michael Fassbender continues to deliver gold (far beyond the disjointed script's best efforts) and Noomi Rapace does an admirable job (even IF she's a poor man's Ellen Ripley). If you've never seen any of the Alien franchise before, it's probably quite enjoyable (since it's nothing but a rinse-and-repeat of better work).
    ~ rating: 2 out of 5 [grade: D+]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 01-08-2017 at 03:11 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  3. #273
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
    writer & director. John Landis
    Starring: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, David Schofield and John Woodvine

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: despite the warning to "beware the full moon", American backpacker David Kessler (Naughton) heads across the North York Moors with his best friend; as howls blacken the night sky...

    THOUGHTS: it's no secret the true star of this film is the legendary Rick Barker; winner of seven Academy Awards for Make-Up and nominated a record 11 times since the creation of the award (that is averaging at one nomination every four years). A master of his field, and this film really shows why he changed the face of movie make-up. The transformation into the wolf was truly inventive, it's aged incredibly well (considering it's make-up NOT CGI), and the wolf remains quite terrifying. And it's not just the wolf; the ever increasing decay of Jack's face is a marvel. Sure the blending is a little patchy, but the flesh damage is incredibly impressive. Which is why I became confused later when the other ghosts visit David... their make-up was... I can't even say bad. It was red paint on their faces, NOTHING more. Had that scene been added last minute, and Barker was unavailable? Had they run out of budget? I just can't believe the pioneering work from the rest of the film could be behind such... uninspiring laziness. It make-ups no sense (lol). Now moving past the visuals, it's a mixed bag. I'm quite unfamiliar with Landis' work. I didn't like Trading Places (1983) last time I watched it (switching off after 40 minutes) and I haven't seen the Blues Brothers (1980); but I did enjoy the IDEA behind this film (and for that he deserves praise). It's a fun take on the classic werewolf genre; and scripturally I really appreciate that the main "thrust" of the plot is about persuading our "hero" to kill himself to end the werewolf curse (NOT in finding a cure as so many other films base their central concept of the werewolf around). It's unusual (and therefore bold) that we (as an audience) are placed in a scenario where we are rooting for our "hero" to kill himself; and that his refusal is seen as selfish. Brilliant. The pacing is very good, each step building to a satisfying grande finale and showdown; all developed from a suitably scary night on the moors (in fact the plot is so good, I'll forgive the weird Nazi inspired demons hallucination... seriously, WTF?). And as for David Naughton... as much as I appreciated his repeated nudity, and as much as he carries himself as a lead actor; he really lacks the talent for that honour. He's basically Ben Affleck; in theory a competent lead, unless you require ANY form of acting beyond the "safe" and "comfortable", at which point the realism crumbles. When your prosthetic wolf hand is more believable than your tears... we have a problem. Though he's not the soul offender: I thought the American councilor was a TERRIBLE actor, and I was shocked to learn Frank Oz played him (now I see why he sticks to voicing puppets). Thankful the rest of the supporting cast provide enough chops to see the film through; and I'm constantly reminded how underrated Jenny Agutter was in her youth.

    OVERALL
    A very imaginative story, sadly over worked in some portions. The music is disjointed, as are a few of the beats (the jump to his change was VERY left field, and not in the creative way). Groundbreaking make-up, a solid supporting cast and some genuinely unsettling moments make this a film worthy of its cult status BUT... I wouldn't hate a remake. It has noticeable flaws, not least the lead actor's performance.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B]



    FUN FACT: this film is not only Rick Barker's first Oscar win but THE FIRST ever Oscar awarded for Make-up
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    FINDING DORY (2016)
    writer & director. Andrew Stanton
    Voice Talent Of: Ellen Degeneress, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neil

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: amnesiac regal blue tang fish Dory (Degeneress) has remembered one fact about the past: her parents lived somewhere called the Jewel of Morro Bay.

    THOUGHTS: when I first heard they were making a sequel to Finding Nemo (2004) I groaned, it truly seems as if Pixar had lost the originality that made them such a force in cinema. And then I heard the concept: it was about Dory discovering who she is... GENIUS! Existential brutality, she is not lost physically, but mentality; and it's about discovering who she truly was, before Nemo. What a pity the film loses focus of this true brilliance, in favour of the "safe" re-plotting from their previous triumph (which yes, does involve her getting physically lost). What started as creative perfection, descended into mediocrity! Though it is still enjoyable, Ellen Degeneres' lovably voiced Dory really does shine in the lead role (where as Marlin actually loses a lot of his charisma from the first outing). And visually it's still very pretty (though I did feel the "wow" factor of the ocean either became less impressive a second time round, or the director really lacked inspiration in capturing something beautiful). The ONLY visually moment that stuck out was the pan-out of all the shells, leading to home (and that was more emotionally powerful, than visually impressive). As for the new additions: Ed O'Neil shines the most (though to be fair "grouch with a heart of gold" is a role he's spent decades refining) and his Modern Family co-star Ty Burrell does the worst. I love Phil, but that is such a specific character, it just becomes annoying translated into another medium. Destiny and Bailey's "subplot" was painful, it boils down to the Wizard pointing out the Tin Man already had a heart, and the lion, courage. AWFUL! 77 years later, and we can't do any better???

    OVERALL
    It was such a great concept, but it wasted the gems on regurgitation scenarios from the original. Everything from characters to visuals and score is just like the original, only slightly less charming. Slightly less creative. Slightly less magical. It could have delivered a piece of cinema that actually eclipsed it's predecessor... and instead... eh!
    ~ rating: 2 out of 5 [grade: C-]

    http://static.srcdn.com/wp-content/u...vie-Poster.jpg
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 01-19-2017 at 12:03 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  4. #274
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2016)
    dir. Stephen Frears
    wri. Nicholas Martin

    Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and Nina Arianda

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: 1944. New York socialite and heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep) holds regular soirees at the Verdi Club, celebrating her love of opera and music; determined to perform her solo piece at Carnegie... there's only one problem: she's possibly the worst singer in the history of the world!

    THOUGHTS: ultimately this film is a 'two-hander' between Streep and Grant, and unlike most of her other performances, this one (while very good) ISN'T the crux of the film. It's "about" her, but it is her husband who drives the action: it's really his story. She lives in ignorance, but he knows of her limitations, and yet still strives to give her what she wants. What motivates him? Why does he allow her to risk it all in such a public setting? Conceptually it's fascinating. Like the Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Rain Man (1988) before it, the most interesting and complex role is actually NOT the showy one. Florence Foster Jenkins is almost just the catalyst for HIS tale, and it's HIS feelings we care about. We don't worry about her embarrassment, more we show concern for how the devastating news of her singing "talent" will make effect him... and sadly I was left wanting. On paper Hugh Grant is perfect for the role, but the true depth of his character is lacking. I need more than half smiles and downward puppy eyes to convey what she means to him, what this means to him and how this revelation will break his heart (just as much as hers). While he has been nominated for the Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA, I cannot say he's been "overlooked" by the Oscars, because we needed more. This role should have stolen the film and swept the awards, it's an incredible character, and instead it is Streep's "warts and all" bravery that stands out. That said, even when it comes to Streep, it's still quite a shallowly scripted character (though she's crafted a wonderful performance out of it). That doesn't mean the film is a failure, far from it, as an audience we do care. We are enthralled (even if it comes close to Victorian "freak show" fascination). And I was even close to tears near the end, but it really was for the unspoken situation (his immovable love), rather than for what the characters themselves displayed or recite. Much like in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) you worry for how the chips will fall, and that creates a glorious uneasy building towards "opening night"; but the dialogue never unmasks anything deeper than the plot necessitates. I remember fondly the scene in Tea With Mussolini (1999) where Dame Judi Dench's character speaks of her sadness at not being the great artist she yearns to be, despite her passion and desire to be a good painter; and in those few lines I felt a greater connection (and sympathy) with her character than I ever felt for Florence Foster Jenkins. As for the rest (and maybe it's the influence of the Big Bang Theory and his character's nefarious morals) but I didn't believe Simon Helberg's journey from doubter to ardent supporter. I never, EVER believed this man had become devoted to her.

    OVERALL
    A curious film, that is engrossing. Meryl Streep really does shine as the appauling singer, and her lack of clarity (and even her level of buffoonery) is one of the more unusual choices I've seen her make in recent years. There is no "moment of clarity", and that is brave. Unlike the Devil Wears Prada (2006) where Miranda Priestly (void of make-up) makes it clear she knows what people say about her... Florence Foster Jenkins remains entirely in the dark. Hugh Grant should of stolen the show, but he lacks the depth (or courage) to do it. Stephen Frears' had crafted wonderful biopics, this is not his best.
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: B]


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    MAGIC (1978)
    dir. Lord Richard Attenborough
    writer. adapted by William Goldman from his 1976 novel of the same name

    Starring: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith and Ed Lauter

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: shy magician Charles "Corky" Withers (Hopkins) introduces a foul-mouthed ventriloquist's dummy Fats into his act, to great acclaim... but Fats is more than just an outlet, he's becoming a controlling obsession...

    THOUGHTS: at first I found it more a curiosity than interesting; it's a film that you must allow a chance to grow, and develop into a final product, and it's worth the effort. I've known of this film's existence (and the 'rough' concept) for many years, and while it didn't transcend expectations, it was still incredibly enjoyable. The greatest credits to this film are the performances. Richard Attenborough really does tease out some stellar work from actors in his films (though all three leads are bursting with talent in their own right); truly an actor's director (which isn't too surprises, considering his own lauded skill as an actor). Anthony Hopkin's American accent is... interesting, but thankfully this is from a period when he was still hungry for "the craft", and you quickly stop seeing Hopkins and only see "Corky." It's not always easy for actors with such powerful screen presence to disappear into a believably weak and forgettable human being; so I give great kudos that he accomplishes that feat. Corky is so pathetic, and yet it's that very meekness Hopkins cultivates that increases the unnerving atmosphere of the second half. Praise must too be distributed to Burgess Meredith, a fantastically underplayed (yet engrossing) performance. Any actor who can sit there, smoking a cigar, barely speaking as the minutes tick by and yet be absolutely captivating deserves acclaim. And while Burgess is probably (to a modern audience) most famous for playing the Penguin in the Adam West classic 60's Batman TV series, he is an Oscar nominated actor in his own right (earning his second nomination as Rocky's hard-nosed trainer). And then we come to Ann-Margret... scene stealing Ann-Margret. I've only previously see her minor role in Any Given Sunday (1999) (which was still an incredibly good piece of acting), but she had me from the very start. For someone so beautiful, she truly captures "small time girl". She shreds all confidence, and just exists as a truly real person, with flaws, with desires and yearnings. It's a gorgeous performance (I really must see Tommy (1975), now I find her work so laudable). Attenborough is no stranger to quasi-horror films (though I believe this is his first directing efforts in the genre), and he has molded a disturbing tale, aided by an oddly uncomfortable score by Jerry Goldsmith (Oscar winning composer of the Omen (1976) and the master behind Star Trek's iconic theme). Though I would not say I like the score, it's not pleasing to the ear, but it is suitable unnerving (which is intended to be). Attenborough never goes full-blown horror, but lets some moments bleed into that realm; often conjuring up comparisons to Child's Play (1988) "is-he/isn't-he" with the stillness of the doll, mirrored in the violence of the aftermath.

    OVERALL
    A somewhat disturbing, possibly even sad piece of cinema; that showcases three wonderful actors. The script never quite explores the true psychological motives for Corky's persona, though the film is framed in such a way it really needed too. It's too intelligently crafted to "just" descend into murder and mayhem. What the script lacks in depth, the plotting compensates with some deliciously macabre treats. Like Chaplin (1990) after it, this was not a masterpiece, but could have been...
    ~ rating: 4 out of 5 [grade: A-]

    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 02-05-2017 at 04:33 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  5. #275
    Ultimate Member DebkoX's Avatar
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    Prometheus was such a let-down.
    That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.

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    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I watched about 3/4 of Torn Curtain (1966); a Hitchcock cold-war film starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. It was interesting seeing Andrews in a non-musical/non-comedic role, and she did well, but too much of the Hitchcock "romantic comedy" flare was present. It didn't gel; and I wanted the story to be braver. Andrews' character should have turned traitor, or Newman should have truly been a traitor; some bolder choice was needed to avoid a pit-fall of patriotic flag waving (which it did succumb too). Instead it should have been about the psychology of trying to understand the man you love making such a decision. A great concept, but sadly didn't excite me enough to finish. That said the costumes were GORGEOUS (as is Paul Newman, my goodness what a sexy man)! 8 time Oscar winning costume designer Edith Head really had a blast in this film, even a "simple" brown coat became stunning and exciting (often more exciting than the scene itself). I will give special applause to Wolfgang Kieling as the fearsome enforcer Gromek. An excellent performance, menacing, but in a very subtle, unimposing way. Kudos.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (2014)
    dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi
    writer. adapted from Joan G. Robinson's 1967 novel of the same name
    Voice Talent: Hailee Steinfeld, Kiernan Shipka, Geena Davies, John C. Reilly, Kathy Bates and Ellen Burstyn

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: 12 year old introvert Anna Sasaki (Steinfeld) lives in Sapporo with her foster parents, until her asthma and panic attacks get so bad she is sent away to a rural, seaside town; where ghosts live in dilapidated mansions across the marsh...

    THOUGHTS: I don't get it, I don't get why they built an entire film around a concept they sabotage in the final minutes??? Nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature two year ago, this was supposed to be a coming of age film, about a young girl accepting her true feelings for another girl. It starts with her panic attacks at school, envious of the girls hanging out with one another, repeating phrases like "I wish for a normal life everyday" in her head. Later, after being sent away, she is confronted by a group of popular girls who say "you look like just what you are" as we watch our heroine rush off crying; screaming in her head "JUST WHAT I AM!!!". But all is okay, she meets a lovely girl in a mysterious, ghostly apparition house; and we get treated to countless scenes with the following dialogue repeated over and over in various ways: "In my dreams I saw a girl, just like you" (she blushes). "I love you more than any girl I've ever known", "Didn’t you know, you’re my secret? You're my precious secret", “You remember I said last night that you were my secret? I knew just what you meant. You’re mine" and "Promise me Anna, that we'll remain a secret forever." Add to those snippets of dialogue a scene where Anna becomes insanely jealous of Marnie dancing with a boy, and refuses to calm down until Marnie takes her aside, and they dance together in secret outside; and a pivotal scene where Anna quite literally takes the physical place of Marnie's betrothed, sheltering and protecting her in the present, the way Marnie's fiancee did so in the past. SO NORMAL, RIGHT!!!! Ugh! This film wrote one giant cheque and when it came time to cash it in, it bounced; it... bounced... HARD! And it's all I can think about when it comes to reviewing this movie. And that's a shame, it's from the director of the Secret World of Arietty (2010), a wonderful Studio Ghibli film, and one of the few worthy to sit just under Miyizaki's unsurpassable features. The music, the voice talent, the animation, all exquisite. That's why story is so important to Studio Ghibli films, because the quality of everything else is so high, we need plot to differentiate the films. When Marnie Was There is just... ugh! The story makes no sense! Why must she be a secret, if it's platonic? Why is Anna paranoid what people will think of her? (though I will add maybe the importance/genuine social shame of blue eyes is "lost in translation" into a Western audience). What were the writers thinking when Anna got jealous at Marnie dancing with a boy? Why make such a point of supplanting her in the fiances place in the old mill? Fundamentally I don't understand this plot, if the two aren't trying to hide anything from anyone, if nothing must be kept a secret, why are we told repeatedly of this urgency in secrecy? The struggle of foster parents/mother issues comes as an after-thought, it doesn't feel like a satisfying conclusion, because little up to that point has implied the narrative was exploring that issue. I never got the impression the panic attacks were about that, I never felt the bond between Anna and Marnie was due to her displaced feelings of not knowing her grandmother. It felt... disingenuous as a finale. Now a similar situation happened in From Up Poppy Hill (another Ghibli gem); where the bulk of the film spends time crafting an idea that, in the last moments, is erases as a possibility. Though I'd argue with two major difference at play: firstly, that film is NOT about the incestuous love, it's ultimately about a girl missing her father, and trying to supplement that longing for a father figure by this bond with another man in her life. So the 180 of "he's not ACTUALLY your brother" didn't effect the story's overall motivator and apex. Secondly, incestuous representation isn't (to my knowledge) something anyone is clamoring for, nor are they a minority group (in a social construct), so removing that plot, while detrimental to the effort within the story, doesn't come with the same emotion stab that When Marnie Was There delivers. Take out the blossoming romance, and this plot... is sort of adrift. So why make such a no-nothing concept into a film? I just don't get it...

    OVERALL
    In line to become (arguably) the most beautiful LGBT+ animated film of all time... until the entire film nose dived for a "safe" (and irrelevant) conclusion, along the same lines of From Up Poppy Hill (2011). It's hard to say I enjoyed a film that left such a sour taste in my mouth; but it was enchanting until that moment (even if the story is basically a lesbian version of Il Mare (2000)).
    ~ rating: 3 out of 5 [grade: C+]



    Quote Originally Posted by DebkoX View Post
    Prometheus was such a let-down.
    Based on Sir Ridley's track record of the ten years before then, I didn't find it a letdown (the bar was pretty low as it was ).
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 04-24-2017 at 09:45 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

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    Jesus Christ, redeemer! The Whovian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kieran_Frost View Post
    Back in 2005, while I was halfway through my university degree(s) I made a concerted effort to watch all the "greatest films" of cinema. I had grown frustrated at having directors or other actors reference a film, or say along the lines of "that amazing moment in [INSERT FILM]... do it like that." So I compiled numerous lists from numerous "100 Greatest Films", ranging from AFI, BFI, Sight and Sound, IMDB, Empire, SFX, the Guardian, etc; and have systematically 'crossed off' the films once I've seen them.

    But along with seeing them, I also started to compile my own list of what I thought were the '100 Greatest Films'. You'd be amazed how quickly you run out of 100 slots! Now (of course) this is all subjective; but I try to use a gage of: where appreciation and enjoyment collide to a very high standard. We all have films we love, but truthfully we also know they are pretty worthless (artistically). Similarly we have all seen films we appreciate... but CHRIST we'd never want to sit through again. The only other "rule" I have in place is no actor can be the lead in more than 5 films, and no director can have more than 5 films in the list (this is purely because, at some point, it's obvious you just have a perchance for said actor or director, and therefore your objectivity has become clouded).

    I've been meaning to do a thread like this for ages; and put "reviews" of the newest films I've seen that either go into my "100 Greatest Films" list, or I watched because other lists rank it as 'one of the greats'. Anyway, that's my thread. Enjoy, don't enjoy; entirely up to you.

    Kieran Frost's "100 Greatest Films"
    1. 12 angry men (1957)
    2. the Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
    3. the African Queen (1951)
    4. Андрей Рублёв (1966) ~ Andrei Rublev ~
    5. Alien (1979)
    6. All About Eve (1950)
    7. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    8. All the President’s Men (1976)
    9. American Beauty (1999)
    10. Apocalypse Now! (1979)
    11. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
    12. BEN-HUR (1959)
    13. Billy Elliot (2000)
    14. Birdman; or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
    15. the Birds (1963)
    16. Black Narcissus (1947)
    17. Blade Runner: the Final Cut (1982)
    18. the Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    19. Brief Encounter (1945)
    20. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    21. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
    22. Cabaret (1972)
    23. Casablanca (1942)
    24. C’era una volta il West (1968) ~ Once Upon A Time in the West ~
    25. Chicago (2002)
    26. Chinatown (1974)
    27. Cidade de Deus (2002) ~ City of God ~
    28. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    29. Close Encounter of the Third Kind (1977)
    30. the Devils (1971)
    31. Dirty Harry (1971)
    32. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    33. the • Elephant • Man • (1980)
    34. the Exorcist (1973)
    35. Fargo (1996)
    36. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
    37. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    38. the Full Monty (1997)
    39. Gladiator (2000)
    40. the Godfather (1972)
    41. Gone With the Wind (1939)
    42. Gosford Park (2001)
    43. Gravity (2013)
    44. Heat (1995)
    45. the Hustler (1961)
    46. In Bruges (2008)
    47. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
    48. It Happened One Night (1934)
    49. Jaws (1975)
    50. the King of Comedy (1982)
    51. el Laberinto del fauno (2006) ~ Pan’s Labyrinth ~
    52. the Ladykillers (1955)
    53. the Lady Vanishes (1938)
    54. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    55. the Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
    56. Life of Pi (2012)
    57. the Lion In Winter (1968)
    58. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    59. THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 - 2003)
    60. M (1931)
    61. the Maltese Falcon (1941)
    62. M*A*S*H* (1970)
    63. the Matrix (1999)
    64. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
    65. Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988) ~ Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown ~
    66. My Fair Lady (1964)
    67. Mystic River (2003)
    68. Network (1976)
    69. Nora Inu (1949) ~ Stray Dog ~
    70. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
    71. On the Waterfront (1954)
    72. Ordinary People (1980)
    73. Ostre sledované vlaky (1966) ~ Closely Observed Trains ~
    74. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
    75. Rain Man (1988)
    76. Rebecca (1940)
    77. Road Warrior (1981)
    78. Secrets & Lies (1996)
    79. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
    80. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001) ~ Spirited Away ~
    81. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
    82. Shakespeare In Love (1998)
    83. the Shawshank Redemption (1993)
    84. Shichinin no samurai (1954) ~ Seven Samurai ~
    85. Short Cuts (1993)
    86. the Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    87. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
    88. det Sjunde inseglet (1957) ~ the Seventh Seal ~
    89. the Social Network (2010)
    90. Some Like It Hot (1959)
    91. Star Wars - Episode V: the Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    92. the Terminator (1984)
    93. There Will Be Blood (2007)
    94. the Third Man (1949)
    95. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
    96. Touch of Evil (1958)
    97. Unforgiven (1992)
    98. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
    99. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
    100. Wo hu cang long (2000) ~ Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ~



    N.B. the ones in BOLD won Best Picture at the Oscars
    This is really cool Kieran! I like your list, although there are some I have never seen or don't have the desire to. Overall, really good. And a great idea! I wish I had seen it earlier
    “I will fight. Forever. For everyone, whether they know it or not. Whether they are watching or not. I will always fight.”---Daredevil

    "There is a difference between you and me. We both looked into the abyss, but when it looked back at us... you blinked."---Batman

    "I am a mad man with a box!"---The Doctor

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.---John 3:16

  8. #278
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2016)
    dir. Travis Knight
    writer. Marc Haimes & Chris Butler
    Voice Talent: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: Feudal Japan. Young Kubo (Parkinson) spends his days begging for coin by entertaining the villagers with magical origami, returning home before sunset to care for his impared mother; all the while avoiding the moonlite night... for after dark his mother's sisters seek the wayward boy...

    THOUGHTS: a gorgeous stop-motion feature from Laika, the producers behind Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012) and the Boxtrolls (2014); and it's a crying shame their best film (and most critically acclaimed) is ALSO their poorest box-office return. It deserved so much more. It's inventive, it's witty and it doesn't compromise. Where as most animated films give you a simple ending, or at the very least a magic resolution that washes away the sins... no, here it's brutal and unfair and NOT. SIMPLE! The ending isn't simple, the reality of what must happen, and how people are punished (or not punished) isn't simple. And the plot is gorgeous: a little boy being hidden from his grandfather the Moon King who plucked out his left eye when he was a baby and now wants to rip out the right one. That's HORRIFIC! That's AWESOME! What a wonderfully macabre, Brothers Grimm-esq level of messed up, and kids love that. Children's literature is full of darkness. Roald Dahl trapped you in a world of horrors, Hans Christian Anderson was brutal in his endings. And like all the best kids stories, behind this terrifying world is a beating heart of real emotional clarity. This film has more profoundly honest comments on loss and the responsibility of a carer than... well than the entirety of Youth (2015) [SEE: below]. The film has a wonderful talent of shifting so effortlessly between whimsy and fear, not an easy balance to maintain through-out. And the comedy gold-star must go to Charlize Theron; the most amusing she's been since Young Adult (2011). Her dry, no-nonsense delivery, mixed with the stillness of the animation; it's a real treat. And she kicks ASS! A talking monkey with no sense of humour, a samurai sword and a heart of gold. It's magical. Praise must also be given to director Travis Knight in his directorial debut. Yes he is the son of Laika's owner Phil Knight BUT like Duncan Jones before him, his talent is clear and THAT makes him exciting. The film lost the Oscar for Best Animated Feature to Zootopia (2016), which I haven't seen, so I can't comment. There's so much more I want to praise, the creepiness of the sisters, the excellent fight choreography; but as my final thought I'll heap praise instead on the perfectly subtle score by Daro Marianelli, the Oscar winning composer of Atonement (2008) (and most of Joe Wright's films). Like the film, the music so intrinsic to Kubo's power and history is deceptively clever, hitting the right tone each scene, yet doesn't intrude on the truly heartbreaking moments.

    OVERALL
    Possibly one of the most exciting and rewarding animated films I've seen in a long, LONG time. It was brave and bold, which is something a great many animated films strive for, but fail to achieve. It didn't take the easy out, and I loved having a disabled lead character in a film about real issues (masquerading behind seemingly "frivolous" fantasy). Spot on voice performances, great comedy and beautiful visuals make this a real, REAL treat. An excellent film from start to finish.
    ~ rating: 5 out of 5 [grade: A]


    FUN FACT: only two animated feature films have ever been nominated for Best Visual Effects, this and the Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    YOUTH (2015)
    written & directed. Paolo Sorentino
    Starring: Sir Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachael Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: renowed composer Fred Ballinger (Caine) and screenwriter Mick Boyle (Keitel) are vacationing at a luxury spa in the Swiss Alps, when to the surprise of everyone, Ballinger turns down on offer to perform his greatest work in-front of Queen Elizabeth II

    THOUGHTS: from the Academy Award Winner behind the Great Beauty (2013), this film surprised me. In almost all instances of cinema where a sizeable chunk of the plot is conveyed through (seemingly irrelevant) vignettes; I find it pretentious. I believe "artistic masturbation" is my "go-to" terminology for such movies. Films by Terrence Mallick, Richard Linklater or Darren Aronofsky, for example. It doesn't work because it comes across as lazy storytelling, it's easier to shove in "a metaphorical aside" than try and express the deeper meanings of your films with believable character beats. It's easier to just "cut" into a scene, than have to thread organic set-up between plot revelations. But this is a story about fleeting memories, about all the (seemingly innocuous) moments of life, that shape our existence. It's okay to dive into a scene, because it's merely an idea of life; you remember the arguement in the mud room, Miss Universe in the pool, conducting in a field of sheep... what came before or after isn't the imprint left on you. It's the moments that shape you, that rock you to the core, and for that reason it's all we see. The film is beautifully shot, and some moment are truly touching. This is the most compelling Caine performance since... probably the Statement (2003) and the revelation of why he won't perform broke my heart. THAT. SAID. The film is a little shallow. It's a film about intellects, one is even a writer talking about the "great work"... and I just never felt anything was said about finality and death (or life) that I hadn't heard before. When your entire film is basically an elaborate exploration (or thesis) of a theme... and it just... had so little to say on the matter beyond the obvious. This 'smoke and mirrors' failing is emphasized by Pultizer Prize winning composer David Lang's "Simple Song #3". We're told how powerful this piece is and (despite being nominated for the Oscar for Best Song) when it came time to hear it... it was impossible to live up to that accolade. It was nice, but reminds me of seeing "good" screen performers playing theatre actors having to deliver "their great performance", you always feel it's a little over-sold by the fawning dialogue. As for the rest: the entire ensemble work in their roles, even if initially (like Rachel Weiz) you feel something is "off". It is, but that's the point. Harvey Keitel has never been more lovable, though his journey lacked an epiphany I believed. This is a film about time running out, and I never got "the why". Though he and Caine had great chemistry, and I'd eagerly watch another buddy movie with them.

    OVERALL
    An intelligent film, gently exploring some very real feelings of loss, death, legacy and inevitability; but it never quite hits the cathartic release the audience patiently yearns to witness. It is a movie speaking about wisdom, yet has no real pearls of its own to give. Wonderful seeing Sir Michael Caine on top form once more.
    ~ rating: 4 out of 5 [grade: A-]



    Quote Originally Posted by The Whovian View Post
    This is really cool Kieran!
    Cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by The Whovian View Post
    I like your list, although there are some I have never seen or don't have the desire to.
    Which from the list do you have no desire to see, maybe I can change your mind by briefly saying why it's awesome? Why don't you want to see them?
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 05-22-2017 at 03:39 PM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  9. #279
    EMMA WAS RIGHT!!! Kieran_Frost's Avatar
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    THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007)
    dir. Andrew Dominik
    writer. adapted from Ron Hansen's 1983 novel of the same name
    Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck [nom.], Sam Shepard, Sam Rockwell and Mary-Louise Parker

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: 1881. Blue Cut, Missouri. The James Gang, led by the notorious Jesse James (Pitt) are planning a train robbery, hiring in local criminals to bolster numbers, include starstruck "Bob" Ford (Affleck).

    THOUGHTS: I have owned this film for years, but never got round to watching it. With Casey Affleck's Oscar win, I wanted to see the film he was first nominated for; because I'd never really seen anything he's in (outside of a small role in Good Will Hunting (1997)). And I was incredibly impressed. Affleck brings a perfect balance of extreme vulnerably, and utter hubris. His obsession or maybe lust for Jesse is palpable, every scene between those two makes this film. When his brothers find his Jesse James comics, the shame and fierce protectiveness in his eyes was glorious. I never fully decided if Robert was sexually interested in Jesse, or if his need to supplant Jesse comes from a yearning to dominant. I think it's a bit of both, ultimately, but I'm not sure (and I like that the film never confirms this, leaving it up to debate). Affleck is the stand-out performance; you yearn for his presence, and when he's absent from the film for a time it does lack something. I did very much enjoy Pitt's work, but it felt very... "safe" territory. While he's perfect as the charismatic, yet troubled rogue, that is not new for Pitt, in fact he's done this role many many times. Like Julie Roberts working and re-working the "tough girl with a heart of gold" performance through-out her career (culminating in perfecting it for Erin Brockovich (2000)) I'm certain Pitt will one day deliver the quintessential broken hero, but it was not today. Sam Rockwell continues to impress me with every role, and the entire ensemble was enjoyable. My only question mark was on Mary Louise Parker. I adore her as a theatre actress and star of TV's the West Wing and Weeds, and I understand why they needed a really good actresses for the role, because of the end breakdown... but for such a small role, I felt another, less famous actress should have been given a shot (excuse the pun). It was a waste of her talents. And I haven't even got to the créme de la créme running along side Affleck's stunning performance: THE CINEMATOGRAPHY!!! From 13 time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins (this being one of his 13), the genius cinematographer behind the Coen brothers and Skyfall (2012); comes one of his most stunning collaborations. It's not just the beautiful shots of the train robbery in fog and lanterns, or the sweeping desolation of the prairie. For this film Deakins actually pioneered a technique to create that "old time camera" effect. And it adds wonders to the film, taking it beyond just a historical tale; you actually start feeling like you're there. It transcends the film from period into near legend (which is a PERFECT parallel for Jesse James himself). It's magnificent. And lastly: the score by rock legend Nick Cave fits well with the tone of the film, melancholic and inquisitive BUT sadly it doesn't aid the pace, which is the film's biggest failing. When Affleck isn't there, the tension and urgency drops. Now you don't need action for urgency, but the complacency of the characters bleeds into the film's narrative too much for my liking. A snappier score (though less symbiotic) might have improved that issue. Then again rather than blame the score, an issue with pacing is a directorial issue. And blaming the score is like a workman blaming his tools.

    OVERALL
    A sombre and analytical examination of the final years of the outlaw Jesse James, driven by a colossally engaging performance by Casey Affleck. It is a character piece that explores everything about the two legends... except why they actually do what they do. Which is simultaneously frustrating yet brilliant. It doesn't try to answer questions, instead it tries to show who these men were, warts and all, during their downtime. And it succeeds. Housed within an appropriate score and gorgeous cinematography, it's not the most exciting Western, but possibly one of the truest to reality. A very original film.
    ~ rating: 4 out of 5 [grade: B+]


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ZOOTROPOLIS (2016)
    dir. Byron Howard & Rich Moore
    wri. Jared Bush & Phil Johnston
    Voice Talent: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate and J. K. Simmons

    ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS: young, impressionable rabbit Judy Hopps (Goodwin) from rural Bunnyburrow, has just become the first ever rabbit graduate of the police academy, and has been asigned to urban Zootropolis, where all animals live in harmony together... accept there is now a sudden outbreak of carnivorous animals attacks herbivore civilians...

    THOUGHTS: for an animated film aimed at kids, to discuss in very real metaphors the racial bias of the police... damn, that's bold! And it doesn't sugar coat it, which is refreshing. The open prejudice against "carnivores" is right there from the beginning; all the police are guilty of it (even the police who ARE "carnivores"). Yes the ending is conveniently resolved, wrapping up a complex issue with nice, simple get-out clause (which does somewhat dampen the issue) but it's still bold, it's still challenging. And it's FUNNY too. The purpose of entertainment is not sidelined in favour of the message, the two exist in tandem. It's a very good balancing act. And the casting director did a bang-up job, because every actor fits his or her role BEAUTIFULLY! It's perfect casting, not a voice felt wrong or off. Even Jason Bateman (who I've never particularly cared for) was flawless; funny, charming, with that right level of selfishness to make the con-artist believable. My only "criticism" was I guessed the surprise villain, because it was too heavily NOT signposted (if that makes sense?). Agatha Christie understood this in her writing, EVERYONE has to be given motive and darkness, otherwise you instantly suspect the person NOT being suspicious. My final comment is about the Oscar. Having now seen Zootropolis... I think Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) should have won Best Animated Feature over this. Both talk about bold issues, both are funny, both lovingly crafted... but to put it bluntly: Zootropolis is funnier, Kubo is bolder. And when talking about art, I personally think boldness should outweigh funny. Kubo gives us the right ending, and it's sad and poignant and not perfect. It's bitter sweet, yet justified and true to reality. Zootropolis sweeps all that complex narrative about police brutality out the window, as if deep rooted prejudice can so quickly be erased. It's the main failing of an otherwise excellent (and challenging) animated feature.

    OVERALL
    A clever, witty film that draws bold statements about the relationship between the police and "carnivores". The entire ensemble fit their narrative perfectly, and I haven't laughed this hard for a long time. It's a shame the ending wasn't braver (though still very fun), and for that reason... Kubo was better!
    ~ rating: 5 out of 5 [grade: A]



    ODD FACT: for some reason the film is called Zootopia in the US and Zootropolis the UK???
    Last edited by Kieran_Frost; 06-21-2017 at 06:04 AM.
    "We are Shakespeare. We are Michelangelo. We are Tchaikovsky. We are Turing. We are Mercury. We are Wilde. We are Lincoln, Lorca, Leonardo da Vinci. We are Alexander the Great. We are Fredrick the Great. We are Rustin. We are Addams. We are Marsha! Marsha Marsha Marsha! We so generous, we DeGeneres. We are Ziggy Stardust hooked to the silver screen. Controversially we are Malcolm X. We are Plato. We are Aristotle. We are RuPaul, god dammit! And yes, we are Woolf."

  10. #280
    Astonishing Member batnbreakfast's Avatar
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    I'd rate Youth and The Assassination of Jesse... above Zootropolis, Youth taking the top spot between the 3 of them.

  11. #281
    Astonishing Member Derek Metaltron's Avatar
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    I've seen about a fifth of these, not sure whether that's bad or just a reflection of my interests in film. I think Twelve Angry Men is on Netflix though so I might try and give that a watch some time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Metaltron View Post
    I've seen about a fifth of these, not sure whether that's bad or just a reflection of my interests in film. I think Twelve Angry Men is on Netflix though so I might try and give that a watch some time.
    I think I've seen just about all of them besides Gravity and The Devils. Seems like a pretty boring list of favorite films, less like a list of personal favorites and more like a generic list of films considered good. Even the oddball kind of choices, or choice I guess because The Devils seems to be the only one, is a very well regarded film.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Za Waldo View Post
    Seems like a pretty boring list of favorite films, less like a list of personal favorites and more like a generic list of films considered good.
    You totally skimmed the opening post where Kieran explained the nature of the list, didn't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panic View Post
    You totally skimmed the opening post where Kieran explained the nature of the list, didn't you?
    I read it, point? It's a 100 Greatest Films list where they're trying to be objective about what makes it. Still, it comes off as a very boring list of 100 Greatest Films. Even if we're playing the game of trying to be objective about where things may fall it's pretty boring. Everything seems to be the big shit you'd know. It's almost all "prestigious", it's all leaning heavily into the serious. There's no comedy overtly and unabashedly funny. There's no genre film that wasn't given accolades on release, even with some like Gladiator and Lord of the Rings where you're somewhat left wondering why. It's also somewhat weird that it's mission statement is to be objective, yet it looks very unobjective. I enjoy Little Miss Sunshine too, but is it a better film than Annie Hall, is it better than Producers, is better than The Jerk, or Ghostbusters, or His Girl Friday, is it one of the best comedies of the 2000s. I'd say the answer to all those questions would be a no. I like Little Miss Sunshine and Pan's Labyrinth quite a lot, but those being the two films to make a Top 100, especially one with the aims of objectivity, seems pretty weird to me. AFI isn't exactly known for how great their Top 100 list is, it partly being a marketing gimmick to sell movies, but their list seems more interesting, and their list is just American films.

    It's just a very weird list. The African Queen at number three? It's not even top three Bogart or Hepburn films.
    It's got a strong start but after that it just kind of meanders about. The best bits of the movie got snatched up by Star Wars, which I'd say is a better movie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Za Waldo View Post
    I read it, point? It's a 100 Greatest Films list where they're trying to be objective about what makes it. Still, it comes off as a very boring list of 100 Greatest Films. Even if we're playing the game of trying to be objective about where things may fall it's pretty boring. Everything seems to be the big shit you'd know. It's almost all "prestigious", it's all leaning heavily into the serious. There's no comedy overtly and unabashedly funny. There's no genre film that wasn't given accolades on release, even with some like Gladiator and Lord of the Rings where you're somewhat left wondering why. It's also somewhat weird that it's mission statement is to be objective, yet it looks very unobjective. I enjoy Little Miss Sunshine too, but is it a better film than Annie Hall, is it better than Producers, is better than The Jerk, or Ghostbusters, or His Girl Friday, is it one of the best comedies of the 2000s. I'd say the answer to all those questions would be a no. I like Little Miss Sunshine and Pan's Labyrinth quite a lot, but those being the two films to make a Top 100, especially one with the aims of objectivity, seems pretty weird to me. AFI isn't exactly known for how great their Top 100 list is, it partly being a marketing gimmick to sell movies, but their list seems more interesting, and their list is just American films.
    Kieran has compiled a list of his favourite films from the "worthy" lists of several sources. Of course there will be only be worthy, well regarded films in the list as only they were taken into consideration. Kieran isn't trying to be objective, he's taken what others consider objectively great movies, then he's come up with his own (subjective) favourites from that group. You've got a personal, subjective list from an impersonal, supposedly objective list. It is what it is. I can see why he has done this, though a list 100 names long in some ways is less interesting than a list of say 10 favourite films out of "the greats", which is I guess why he's included presumably his top 10 at the top of the page in poll form (Lord of the Rings appears to be his favourite of "the best" movies).

    Quote Originally Posted by Za Waldo View Post
    It's just a very weird list. The African Queen at number three? It's not even top three Bogart or Hepburn films.
    It's got a strong start but after that it just kind of meanders about. The best bits of the movie got snatched up by Star Wars, which I'd say is a better movie.
    I'm not trying to get on your nerves or anything, but...

    Look at the list. The whole list. Notice any sort of pattern?

    Kieran has listed the films in alphabetical order, not order of merit. The African Queen is third because alphabetically it comes third. I don't know why he bothered numbering them, it is a little confusing, but there it is. Look at his poll at the top of the page to see his favourites in order (I'm assuming).

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