Friday, May 30, 2014

471. Csillagosok, katonak

Csillagosok, katonak
The Red and the White
Directed by Miklos Jancso

I am recovering from surgery so I should probably be sleeping right now since it is 11:27.  However, I am determined to get caught up on this blog before I go to bed.  Actually, it is quite easy to stay awake when it feels like someone is squeezing your ankle ridiculously hard.  Who would have thought?

This movie follows the 1919 battle between in the Communists and the Czarists in Russia.  The plot is extremely hard to understand.  Usually when I have no idea what is going on in a film, it is because I completely zone out, which is something I always own.  I am happy to say, however, my lack of understanding with this film wasn't my fault.  Lots of shots are done at a distance so you cannot see what is going on.  I really couldn't even tell you who the main characters are or what happened.

Surprisingly, I didn't hate it.  I usually need a good story, which this film certainly did not have.  However, I wasn't really watching the clock at all and believe me, I get bored easily.  Maybe I was so relieved that it wasn't the same old war film that I have seen a thousand times.  Possibly I liked it because I have always been interested in that time period in Russia.  Or maybe the cinematography was so beautiful that it distracted me enough so I wasn't bored.

In any case, it was worth a watch and I am excited to hear everyone's thoughts on it.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Banned in Russia.

470. Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde
Directed by Arthur Penn

I am still going strong although nap time might be on the horizon.  I will power through my annoying exhaustion, however, since I haven't gotten to this blog in so long.

Okay, I lied.  It is several hours later now since I took a nap.  Maybe every blog post will require me to take a two hour nap.  Okay, let's just get to Bonnie and Clyde before my heads hits the keyboard.

Most people have seen this movie and even if you haven't, the plot has been so done to death that for all intents and purposes, you have seen it.  But for continuity's I will do a brief summary.  Bonnie meets the possibly homosexual Clyde as he attempts to steal her mother's car.  Bonnie is bored with her life as  an average waitress and is therefore fascinated by Clyde, who has just been paroled and is a known thief.  The two set off together, robbing banks across the country and acquiring their own gang while they are hunted by every law enforcement officer in America.

Frequent readers of my blog know how much I like stories where ordinary, unhappy people become anything but.  I have a few problems with the film but they are relatively minor.  For one thing, Faye Dunaway has always gotten on my nerves a bit (I never gotten over her performance in Mommie Dearest).  I will admit she is absolutely beautiful here and fiercely stylish which makes up for any qualms I have about her.

I also think the movie dragged a bit in certain places; I have no problem with dialogue scenes, but some of the conversations between the gangs just felt repetitive and took away valuable time that could have been used for tense bank robbing scenes.

It is, of course, an absolutely beautiful film; everything from the costumes to the cinematography was gorgeous.  The last scene alone is worth the price of admission.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

For the last year of her life, Bonnie Parker could barely walk after a car accident damaged her legs.

Bonnie Parker was married to Ray Thornton her whole life.  Thornton served a life sentence for murder.

Blanche Barrow sued because of her negative depiction in the film.

469. Wavelength

Directed by Michael Snow

Last Friday I had ankle and foot surgery.  Consequently, I cannot put weight on my foot for the next seven weeks, which means using a walker like the old lady that I am at heart.  I haven't been anywhere but my bed and the bathroom for the past week.  Before my surgery, I envisioned that this would mean a lot of movie watching and blogging.  However, it has mostly been me trying to read but falling asleep and my caretakers yelling at me to drink more water.  Today I feel fresh ( I slept until 12:15 which really cut out the middle man since I take a morning nap anyway) and ready to at least get something done.  I put on Wavelength and watched it with my sister.  Dear lord, haven't I suffered enough?

The only thing that stopped me from turning this movie off was the fact that it was only forty five minutes.  Between the high pitched noises and the flashing colors, I had a slight headache at the end of it.  I have enough problems with nausea due to pain medications that I am now on.   Do we really have to throw this in the mix?

See those pictures on the wall in the above screenshot?  The whole film is a tracking shot that gets us closer and closer to the wall.  During the excruciatingly long wait (honestly, I move faster with my walker) a man falls down in a very theatrical way.  Evidently he died from old age waiting for the film to end.  I feel you man, I feel you.

Just plain awful.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Nothing interesting about this film.  It is available on YouTube if you need to check it off The List.

Monday, May 19, 2014

468. Point Blank

Point Blank
Directed by John Boorman

I was shocked to look at the checklist in The Book and see that I had checked this off.  What?  When had I seen it?  I had absolutely no memory of it.  I watched it (again?) a couple of days ago and already the details are slipping from my mind. What is wrong with me?  I think I just need to focus.

I stopped writing for about five minutes to surf the internet.  Do I have a problem?  Anyway, Lee Marvin plays Walker, a man who, along with an accomplice, steals a large sum of money.  His accomplice ends up betraying him and running away with his wife.

I enjoy revenge movies.  They are certainly not that original, but they are always entertaining and satisfying, at least for the viewer.  I have no problems with a formulaic film, though, as long as it is fun. I personally would have enjoyed it more if his anger had been a bit more righteous, but I suppose I am just fantasizing about far superior revenge stories, like The Count of Monte Cristo or Kill Bill.

In any case, it was worth a watch although did anyone else think the car scene made everybody involved look ridiculous?

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

John Vernon cried after Lee Marvin hit him particularly hard in one of their rehearsals.

First movie to be filmed at Alcatraz after the closing of the prison.


Monday, May 12, 2014

467. Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg

I am currently writing this review with the movie Leprechaun on in the background.  Well, anything would look good compared to this monstrosity, but thankfully this film is great no matter what you compare it to.

Luke is caught knocking the heads off the parking meters and sentenced to two years in prison.  His inner strength makes him somewhat of a hero to his fellow prisoners.  Oh my goodness, the Leprechaun just offered a character a shoe shine.  Why is this movie allowed to exist?  Ahem...sorry getting back on topic.

I really should hate this movie.  I detest movies that try to be allegories for christ; they tend to just get on my nerves.  Also, Paul Newman is absolutely great to look at but I have never been blown away with his acting skills.  It is hard to tell since a lot of his characters are supposed to be rather unexpressive, but it can still make for some dull viewing.  On the other hand, I love any kind of prison movie, so I was ready to give this one a shot.

Even now as I am writing this I am still annoyingly indecisive, which is probably getting on everybody's nerves.  It is a great film, with quotable lines and fantastic performances. Still, I remember watching the clock quite a bit during this one.

My god what an infuriating review.  Commenters unit and tell me what to think!

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Bette Davis was offered a role but refused to do a bit part.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

466. Le Samourai

Le Samourai
The Godson
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

I apologize for taking so long with this post.  I had trouble finding this one and took to just googling it everyday.  I eventually found a link that worked, though it might be gone already.  I would advise my fellow List followers to track down this film as soon as they can.

Fair warning: the plot summary makes the movie sound a lot more interesting than it actually is.  In fact, the things I didn't like about this film (the pacing, the woodenness of the lead) are exactly the things that are most praised.  I know everybody has different tastes, but surely watching an expressionless face for an hour and a half would get on anybody's nerves?  No?

Jef Costello is a hit man who... does some things. Huh.  This is a hard plot to describe without giving away spoilers.  As I mentioned, this character never seems to be fazed by anything and is stone-faced throughout the entire film (much like I was when I was watching it).  I get that this was his character, but it did get a bit dull after awhile.

There are quite a few good action scenes in this film but I was still bored throughout most of it.  Still worth a watch, though; I think I am just getting harder and harder to please.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

No dialogue for the first ten minutes of the film.

The caged bird that Jef owns later died in a fire.  But that was my favorite character!

Friday, May 2, 2014

465. Week End

Week End
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Here we are again with yet another Godard, which in my opinion are getting progressively worse.  Let's see how this one fares.

A husband and a wife are both planning each other's murders with their respective lovers.  They set out by car to visit the wife's dying father in order to secure her inheritance. Um, then some other stuff happens.  See above picture.

This film involves one of the most famous tracking shots in movie history, which even I have to admit was pretty fantastic.  For seven minutes, the camera follows a traffic jam in one long shot that is an absolute beautiful piece of filmmaking.   There, I was nice.

I am getting bored with my own complaints, but unfortunately for all of us, The Book is obsessed with this guy.  I like plot and character development and those two things are very rarely present in Godard's films.  We get a bit of a plot here but absolutely no explanation on why these characters are seemingly losing their minds.  I suppose since this is kind of a screwball comedy, no one really deemed explanations necessary.

You know I never give away movie endings, but what the hell was with the last five minutes?  Dear God-ard, are we done with this guy yet?  I have to go cleanse my palate.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

One of Premiere's 25 Most Dangerous Movies.