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July 6th, 2009


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10:06 pm - If You Like All Things Mini, You'll Love This Post
So, as none of you may recall, I posted a poll with movies I needed to clear off my DVR. Now, over five months later, I have watched them all! Let's talk.

Howl's Moving Castle (English dub): Nice little fantasy story that reminded me of Princess Tutu (Sophie is Ahiru and Howl is Mytho with more personality). The plot doesn't entirely hang together and I didn't understand the Witch's motivations at all, nor the war, but the titular moving castle is cool enough to make up for it. Calcifer and Turniphead are the best! A-

Monster House: Not bad, but nothing terribly special either. Although the girl in the trio is a redhead, which is unusual. A good kids' movie, but not too much bonus appeal for an older audience. Except that the uvula is a plot point. Now I want to see a Monster House vs. Moving Castle deathmatch. B-

Millions: It's like Shallow Grave for children! I didn't know this movie was so strange and surreal. There are a lot of fun stylistic touches, plus the kid talks to saints. And oh man, the kid (Damian) is awesome. He cracked me up and brought tears to my eyes. Between this and Slumdog Millionaire, I think Danny Boyle is really good with children. Well worth checking out if you like stories about people finding a shitload of money and testing their ethics. Bonus: awesome use of Muse! A

Miller's Crossing: The Coen Brothers do gangster noir. I was bored and confused for the first half an hour or so, but the movie steadily improved as I began to understand who everyone was and who wanted whom dead (although I never quite figured out WHY, exactly, but that's not really the point in noir since the answer is always money, sex, or power [or a combination]). Gabriel Byrne never loses his cool as tough guy Tom Reagan, and Jon Polito is a hoot as the ethical, proud, blustering Johnny Caspar. It's well acted and well made, but it didn't really DO a lot for me. B/B+

A Scanner Darkly: Visually interesting paranoia, and Robert Downey, Jr. and Woody Harrelson are pretty amusing, but mostly, I didn't know what the hell was going on and why I should care. I thought the story was going to be more about dual identities, and instead it seemed to be about drug addiction. It felt ultimately pointless, despite some cool sci-fi bits here and there. C+

Natural Born Killers: My first Oliver Stone movie. Or should I say, my first Oliver Stone mishmash of images. Do all his movies look like they were put together by a crack-addled monkey? The film switches between cinematographies and formats with no abandon and for no apparent reason, even throwing up projections in the background. It's technically proficient and cool, but what's the point? It's supposed to be a satire of the media's obsession of violence, but it's not funny. And the movie seems more focused on showing us that Mickey and Mallory are awesome than seriously criticizing the media culture. It's not subtle or intelligent. It's mostly bizarre and pointless. The best scene in the movie is Gale's interview with Mickey, and the film may have been more successful if it had been more truly contemplative. Props for Nine Inch Nails, though. C+

The Player: I thought this would be a complex, multilayered narrative like Nashville, which is the only other Altman film I've seen and which I really liked, but instead it focuses completely on one unsympathetic protagonist, an asshole film executive harassed by a writer he once screwed over. The story doesn't really go anywhere, and it's amusing at times but not as funny a Hollywood satire as I'd hoped. It seems to be most notable for its impressive opening tracking shot and the string of celebrity cameos. B

Gosford Park: Jesus shit, half of England is in this movie! Plus Ryan Phillippe, who has a date with a hot glass of milk. This Altman film unexpectedly had some pretty funny Hollywood jokes for a movie set in 1932. It's a murder mystery where the murder doesn't occur until over halfway through the movie and is largely beside the point. Because there is a LOT going on in this movie; if you don't listen to everything everyone says, you'll miss stuff. There are a couple dozen characters, and I couldn't keep track of them all. They say a lot of things. Wikipedia confirms that I missed an entire subplot, at least. It's an interesting look at ye olde English class structure. Lords and ladies and servants. Kelly Macdonald is adorable! She was my favorite. B+

The Apartment: Billy Wilder, how are you so awesome? Jack Lemmon is adorable as the nice-guy insurance man who rents out his apartment to executives for their affairs in exchange for a rise up the corporate ladder, and Shirley MacLaine is heartbreaking as the elevator girl whom he dotes on. It's a romantic comedy and a corporate satire all in one. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll play some cards. There is nothing wrong with this movie. A+

Syriana: So I basically had no idea what was going on for most of the movie. There was a lot of talk about oil and assassinations and Middle Eastern leaders and corruption and then there were a couple explosions. The movie was oddly riveting even though I couldn't follow it, though. And I really loved the musical score. B

The Princess and the Warrior: It's Run Lola Run 2: The Runnening! Or not. Franka Potente gets hit by a truck, and she seeks out the mystery man who saved her life so they can live happily ever after or whatever. Except it's not that simple. This is a strange movie that doesn't go where you expect it to. I had no idea a mental hospital and a bank robbery were involved, for instance. The movie is needlessly complex for all the wrong reasons, and there is random surrealist bullshit at the end that's confusing until you realize it's a giant anvil. The music is good, of course, and it's strangely compelling anyway, if slow. It could be a good movie if it figured out what the hell story it wanted to tell. Mostly, it made me want to watch Run Lola Run again. C+/B-

subUrbia: I saw the play at Rice and really loved it, so I was interested in the movie, which pretty much feels like an adaptation of the play, so...good for it? It's got a lot of good actors, and every now and then location changes or motion make it feel like more like a movie, but it is essentially still the story of a bunch of slackers complaining about slacking, and I am feeling a lot less aimless than I did in college. It doesn't speak to me as much anymore; mostly, I just want to tell the characters to shut up and get over themselves. B/B+

The 400 Blows: A schoolboy goes to school and goes home and skips school and goes home and goes to school and runs away and goes to school and goes home and goes to school and goes home and goes to school and runs away and then finally the movie gets remotely interesting in the last half hour. Except even then it continues to be so boring. So boring. SO FUCKING BORING. This is one of the GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME or whatever, but it does absolutely nothing for me. I have no idea at all why it's so acclaimed. There were only 2 blows, and I spent the rest of the movie waiting for the other 398. Then there was 1 more, but I was still owed 397. Yes, I now know the title refers to a French idiom, but I reserve the right to rant absurdly. Whatever, French New Wave. Whatever, Truffaut. Now, like my innocence, pie gone. D

Great Expectations: I was only interested in this movie because of Alfonso Cuarón. Apparently, he likes the color green, and the entire movie is almost comically green. Everyone wears green shirts and green dresses and they practically blend into the wallpaper; it's ridiculous. The adaptation focuses almost entirely on Pip Finn and Estella, and it's very sexy (pre-teen kissing should NOT be that hot...) and he draws her vagina and stuff, and you do really feel how goddamn manipulative and awful she is (although she appears to truly like him a lot more than I thought she did in the book, which had less nudity, if I recall) but the whole enterprise sort of feels lifeless, as if it's just running like clockwork. It doesn't help that they gut the convict subplot and take out all the humor. One of the things I love about the book is how funny it is! There are some interesting shots here and there, but as a fan of the book, I was not impressed. B-

Spellbound: Not the documentary about the National Spelling Bee nor the Christopher Pike novel but Hitchcock's psychotherapy flick about a psychoanalyst who falls in love with an amnesiac who may be a murderer. They evade the police and try to figure out his childhood trauma (and his more recent trauma). The big selling point is supposed to be the Dali-designed dream sequence, but it only lasts a couple minutes! The movie is a little slow and not as exciting as other Hitchcock movies, which is understandable and appropriate when the story centers on psychoanalysis instead of psychopaths. There are some weird first-person shots scattered throughout the movie as if Hitchcock was just wondering how they would play to an audience. It keeps bouncing between meh and good, but it ends up more on the positive side, especially if you like Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, of course. B/B+

What movies can you look forward to agreeing and disagreeing with me on? Here's a look at coming attractions. Vote for ones you recommend!

Poll #1426175 Movies I have not yet seen

Which movies do you think make the grade?

The Deer Hunter
0(0.0%)
Shoot 'Em Up
0(0.0%)
Edward Scissorhands
3(4.8%)
The Omen
1(1.6%)
Almost Famous
2(3.2%)
Michael Clayton
2(3.2%)
Shadow of the Vampire
0(0.0%)
Black Sheep [the one about mutant killer sheep]
0(0.0%)
Be Kind Rewind
0(0.0%)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
0(0.0%)
A Fish Called Wanda
1(1.6%)
The Night of the Hunter
0(0.0%)

Current Mood: nervousnervous
Current Music: Lacuna Coil - Swamped

(94 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:lodessa
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
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I felt similarly that Howl's Moving Castle, cool as it was, didn't really hold together logically with cause and effect and motivation. Also the Great Expectations movie would have been better if they called it something else, since it's not the same story at all really. It was nice visually but had like no emotional resonance, it was about as dead at heart as Estella in the actual book.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
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I felt similarly that Howl's Moving Castle, cool as it was, didn't really hold together logically with cause and effect and motivation.
Ha. Yeah. I enjoyed it, though, so I could look past the nonsense.

Also the Great Expectations movie would have been better if they called it something else, since it's not the same story at all really. It was nice visually but had like no emotional resonance, it was about as dead at heart as Estella in the actual book.
Yes!! It really felt like they were sleepwalking through the major plot points.
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From:tibicina
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
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*makes hissy noises about Howl's Moving Castle*

I take it you have not read the book. Not that that explains the war stuff, because most of the war stuff wasn't in the book. (see also the hissy, spitty hate I feel for that movie.)

The book does a much better job of explaining the witch's motivations, but since half of the reasons for those motivations were removed when they decided to replace the actual plot with Folger's Crystals, it's a little hard.

HISSY SPITTY HATE! I don't care how pretty the artwork is, it doesn't make up for them doing /that/ to one of my favorite books. Especially since it /never let you forget/ that it was based on the book because it kept having scenes and dialogue and moments from the book... which now made no sense because they'd decided to play 'what happens if we stick an alien war in the middle of this to make a political point... oh, and remove these three characters and combine these two and that whole subplot needs to go and and and'.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
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Ha ha ha ha, no, I have not read the book, and I have heard hissy spitty hate from others who have. I want to read the book, though, now that I have distanced myself from the movie.
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From:sophia_helix
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
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I think I didn't finish watching Howl's Moving Castle once the random war started -- definitely read the book instead. And I say that as a passionate Miyazaki lover.

Gosford Park is best watched with subtitles on, and I'm very glad I read that tip before I saw it.

"I guess I've learned my lesson. Never wear mascara when you're dating a married man." Oh, how I adore Shirley Maclaine and The Apartment. I would recommend renting Some Like It Hot for more awesome Jack Lemmon.

Shadow of the Vampire is awesome. A Fish Called Wanda may be the absolute best movie listed in this post. Best best best! Also, I bet you'll like Black Sheep, which A. loved and I avoided.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
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I think I didn't finish watching Howl's Moving Castle once the random war started -- definitely read the book instead. And I say that as a passionate Miyazaki lover.
So there is no war in the book? Huh.

Oh, how I adore Shirley Maclaine and The Apartment.
She and it are to be adored!

I would recommend renting Some Like It Hot for more awesome Jack Lemmon.
Seen it!

Shadow of the Vampire is awesome.
Oh, good! The premise is pretty awesome. Will it still be great if I haven't seen Nosferatu?

A Fish Called Wanda may be the absolute best movie listed in this post. Best best best!
Hee. I think I've heard about how great it is for years, and I think I was always confused by the title.

Also, I bet you'll like Black Sheep, which A. loved and I avoided.
Heh. I do love me a good SciFi Channel Original Movie. Which that basically is, with a budget! And I think it's funny on purpose in addition, which is good.
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From:hecubot
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
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I love Howl's Moving Castle and don't really worry too much about it's many plot inconsistencies. I haven't read the book so I have no hissing investment. I don't really expect movies to be faithful to books though. I like Porco Rosso better though.

Shadow of the Vampire: yawn. Boring execution of good premise.

Night of the Hunter is where it's at! All time classic. A+. Dreamy nightmare noir fairy tale.

Edward Scissorhands: some plot weakness but worth it for (a) mythic imagery workout of Burton's suburban geek traumas and (b) awesomeness of Dianne Wiest and Alan Arkin.

Almost Famous: very pleasant and enjoyable. Nothing groundbreaking.


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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:39 am (UTC)
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Shadow of the Vampire: yawn. Boring execution of good premise.
That is what I am afraid of! But sophia_helix thought it was awesome, so I'll hope she's right.

Night of the Hunter is where it's at! All time classic. A+. Dreamy nightmare noir fairy tale.
Yeah, a friend of mine just wrote a little review that really intrigued me.

Almost Famous: very pleasant and enjoyable. Nothing groundbreaking.
I generally like Cameron Crowe movies, so I am hopeful.
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From:sterope
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
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I love Gosford Park to pieces, which is funny because I hated it when I first saw it. It's definitely one of those movies that grows on you with repeated viewings because you can always notice new things. Shoot Em Up is hilarious. I only watched it because I love Clive Owen, but it's really silly and amusing. I hated Be Kind, Rewind. I almost turned it off because I was so bored with it. Black Sheep is on my Netflix list and I am very excited to see it.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
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I am looking forward to Shoot 'Em Up. I have heard it is ri-goddamn-diculous.
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From:sabra_n
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
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A Fish Called Wanda is filled with awesome and also one second of Stephen Fry.

And yeah, I couldn't even get through Natural Born Killers because of all the needless technical crap going on. I get that they were doing takeoffs of a lot of TV/film styles, but at a certain point you're just sticking too many pieces in there and it all becomes mush.
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From:the_narration
Date:July 7th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
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Somebody above pimped Porco Rosso, and I'd like to second that. Very fun little Miyazaki film about a WWI-veteran flying ace who fights air pirates and is half-pig for some reason. Kiki's Delivery Service is also a fun little bit of cuteness. I haven't seen Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds yet, but I plan to someday. Those are some of his best known and recieved ones, as I recall.

(The thing with Miyazaki is that--other than Princess Mononoke, I guess--he largely makes kid's films. Very, very pretty kid's films. So you have to have kid's film expectations.)

I have not seen Night of the Hunter, but it is considered a classic, and got a mention in my film analysis class textbook.

Shoot 'Em Up is hilariously over the top. You should enjoy it.

I saw Shadow of the Vampire because Willem Defoe is awesome. There's a lot of good acting, a few bits of humor, and a really neat premise, but it's rather slow. Even the climax doesn't have much energy. I'm not saying "don't watch it", but... be aware that it will be very slow.


(On an unrelated note, I read that volume of Gurren Laggen manga that my coworker loaned me, and I was not impressed.)
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Shoot 'Em Up is hilariously over the top.
That's what I've heard! It sounds awesomely ridiculous.

There's a lot of good acting, a few bits of humor, and a really neat premise, but it's rather slow. Even the climax doesn't have much energy. I'm not saying "don't watch it", but... be aware that it will be very slow.
Ergh. I will be aware!

(On an unrelated note, I read that volume of Gurren Laggen manga that my coworker loaned me, and I was not impressed.)
I'm enjoying the anime. It is also hilariously over the top at times.
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From:chrryblssmninja
Date:July 7th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
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aww, I liked The 400 Blows. Not a favorite and didn't blow my mind with amazingness, but I liked it. -shrugs-
and the title refers to the act of conception.

MILLLLIIIIOOONNNNSSSS

Syriana is one of my favorite movies. The plot made sense to me when I watched it one and a half times (my mom and bro were watching and I just had to drop in and finish it with them. Maybe it's the style that carries you along even when you don't get things.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
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and the title refers to the act of conception.
Er? I think it refers to raising hell and sowing your wild oats, but not necessarily in that way.

MILLLLIIIIOOONNNNSSSS
So good!
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From:kibarika
Date:July 7th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
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Could you even hear the people talking in Gosford Park? I had so much trouble because they were so quiet that I stopped watching after about 10 minutes.

Also, to your icon: Hi Natalie Portman my best famous friend!
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From:gymble
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
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The plot doesn't entirely hang together
That's all Miyasaki's fault! Read the book. It's better and it makes sense.

I love The Apartment. And I haven't seen anything else on that list.

ETA: Oh, wait. Except for Gosford Park which was good but not outstanding.

Edited at 2009-07-07 02:11 pm (UTC)
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From:vonniek
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Billllly Wiiiiiilllllder. I love him so. The Apartment is one of my favourites. You should also check out Double Indemnity and A Foreign Affair and Sunset Boulevard and Stalag 17 and Sabrina and, well, pretty much everything he's ever made. The man had such a fantastic range.

Of the films on your list, the first one you should see is OBVIOUSLY A Fish Called Wanda. Freakin' classic. Almost Famous is a lesser Cameron Crowe, but there is a fantastic moment in which everyone sings along to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" that will kill you with the awesome.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
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I love Sunset Boulevard but haven't seen the others.
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From:faithx5
Date:July 7th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
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I think it's funny that we agree completely on The Apartment and disagree completely on The 400 Blows. Although I like other films more now, The 400 Blows is probably the one film that's meant the most to me in my life. In a way, the very mundaneness that turned you off is why the film is so important - if you read Truffaut's criticism, his main diatribe against the French cinema of his time was that it was over-literary, stitled, and had no relation to real life or real people. The 400 Blows is one of the first films to be actually filmed on the streets of Paris, with non-actors in several of the roles, and that feels more like life unfolding, in its meandering, sometimes pointless, but realistic way, than like a pre-constructed film. (Robert Bresson pioneered French realism to some degree, but his films are far more deliberate, religiously angsty and message-y than Truffaut's.) The thing The 400 Blows and other New Wave films achieves, for me, is a synthesis of realism, stylization, intellectualism, sympathy, and distance that very few other films manage - and that I love.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
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that feels more like life unfolding, in its meandering, sometimes pointless, but realistic way, than like a pre-constructed film.
When I see a movie, I want a story. A narrative. I know I've enjoyed some movies that have the meandering and pointless "just like life!" style (see: Richard Linklater [but not A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life...so just Slacker and subUrbia, I guess]), but I think I tend not to like them. (500) Days of Summer sort of has the realism aspect but filtered through non-linear narrative and the occasional bit of whimsy.

The thing The 400 Blows and other New Wave films achieves, for me, is a synthesis of realism, stylization, intellectualism, sympathy, and distance that very few other films manage - and that I love.
Those are lots of words and I don't know what they all mean in conjunction with each other. But you and I clearly watch films differently and for different things! That said, I obviously respect your recommendations. (Actually, now that I think about it, haven't we agreed on a lot of movies?)
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From:pandora_17
Date:July 7th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Quentin Tarantino actually wrote the original screenplay for Natural Born Killers. Oliver Stone butchered the hell out of it, so Tarantino took his name off the movie. Tarantino's version is actually published in book form and is supposedly more focused and thought-provoking. (Or so I've heard. I haven't gotten around to reading it.)

I cannot believe you've never seen Edward Scissorhands. How did that happen?
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't know, how did YOU disappear from the Internet for eons?
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From:smrou
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
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The Apartment is one of those movies that I just can't get tired of. One of my local PBS stations shows it pretty regularly (usually back-to-back with Some Like it Hot) and whenever I notice that it's on I watch and I swear I just get to like it more and more. And it completely rests on the great performances of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, which are totally flawless. I think your statement that there is nothing wrong with the movie is spot-on.

I've never seen Spellbound, and while your review is not a rave I think I should as I do quite like Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. I sort of go back and forth on Hitchcock.

Of the movies to vote on the two that I have seen that I think are must-sees are A Fish Called Wanda and Edward Scissorhands. I really love both. The former because it's wonderfully clever and funny and Kevin Kline is pretty much brilliant in it. The latter because it's fairly stunning and also an interesting and nice story. But I haven't seen most of the movies on the list, to be honest.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
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I think your statement that there is nothing wrong with the movie is spot-on.
It's just so perfect!

I've never seen Spellbound, and while your review is not a rave I think I should as I do quite like Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. I sort of go back and forth on Hitchcock.
I generally lurve Hitchcock, but this one was a little slow and sort of pedestrian in a way; there was pretty much just the A plot with very little else going on. It was the first Hollywood movie to deal with psychoanalysis, though, so we can thank it for everything that came afterward. It was one of his earlier films, before he hit the real classics, and I think it shows. I've seen more post-Spellbound movies than pre-Spellbound movies, so I can't really tell, though.

Hitchcock movies I have seen, for anyone who wants to pop in for discussion: Shadow of a Doubt, Spellbound, Rope, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds.
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From:enshanam
Date:July 7th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
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I loved the movie version Howl's Moving Castle and then I read and loved the book. See, the two sentiments can coincide.

Nausicaa is about as much a children's movie as Princess Mononoke is, if that makes sense. The English dub is pretty great (with Patrick Stewart!), although maybe not as awesome as the Mononoke dub. Also, if you end up watching more Studio Ghibli films, you should see Pom Poko. It's all about the secret lives of raccoons!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
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See, the two sentiments can coincide.
Yay!

I really liked the Mononoke dub, but I'm not really head-over-heels for Miyazaki or anything. I was sort of meh on Spirited Away, which everyone thought was OMG AMAZING.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
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I hope you enjoy it! And I hope I enjoy Almost Famous.
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From:spadada
Date:July 7th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
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I have "Howl's Moving Castle" waiting for me on my TiVo. Haven't seen it yet. Maybe tonight if I write my poem I will reward myself with it.
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From:rachelmanija
Date:July 7th, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
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The book by Diana Wynne Jones of Howl's Moving Castle has a very intricate plot which makes perfect sense, though it's not as steampunk. I recommend it.

Miller's Crossing is a set of gorgeous set pieces that don't really work as a complete movie.

Night of the Hunter is the best film on your second list. It's a strange, poetic, creepy film, full of dreamlike images and fairytale themes, all wrapped around a (somewhat slow in parts) suspense thriller about children in peril.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
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Miller's Crossing is a set of gorgeous set pieces that don't really work as a complete movie.
I think it did work as a complete movie; I just didn't find it incredibly compelling for the most part.

It's a strange, poetic, creepy film, full of dreamlike images and fairytale themes, all wrapped around a (somewhat slow in parts) suspense thriller about children in peril.
It sounds so much more interesting than I thought it was. Jandy described it thusly:

If there’s ever a film that defined "Southern gothic," it’s this one. Underhanded "preacher" Robert Mitchum weasels his way into a young widowed family to try to gain the money the late father hid before he died. But what starts off as a well-done but fairly standard crime thriller turns into a surreal fable somewhere in the middle, and at that moment, jumps from "good film" to "film you will be able to get out of your head NEVER." In a good way.

All I ever knew about it is that the dude has LOVE and HATE on his knuckles. I'm not sure what to expect now. Should be fun.
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From:rachelmanija
Date:July 7th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
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Oh, forgot to mention:

Do all his movies look like they were put together by a crack-addled monkey?

Yes. Though NBK was the apex of that.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
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Ha ha! That's so bizarre. Oh, Oliver Stone. What about Platoon? Isn't that supposed to be good?
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From:darlingviolenta
Date:July 7th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
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As others have said regarding Howl's Moving Castle, the book does a better job explaining motivations. But I love the movie, too!

I like Monster House just because Ben and I enjoy randomly saying "DJ! You pee in bottles?!" in shocked voices. That line just had us dying.

Love, love, love The Apartment.

I was just talking about The Princess and the Warrior this weekend. I watched it for some class in college and I just remember being bored and thinking the characters were stupid. I really don't remember much of it and I'm okay with that.

I think Great Expectations is a movie I might have enjoyed if I hadn't read the book first. As it stands, I did not particularly like it, although probably if I watched it again and told myself it was just a movie inspired by the book I might like it.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 7th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
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The reviews I've read have made me interested in it, but I am prepared for it to be possibly boring. I think it's supposed to be simultaneously boring and compelling, so I want to see how that works.
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From:maka2000
Date:July 8th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
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You've never seen Almost Famous?! I just had to exclamation point because that movie helped me decide to up and quit a job I hated and move to Chicago - jobless and with only $900 in my checking account. A particular scene and song in that movie, changed my life.

I voted for some others, but if you're going back and watching old movies too - if you haven't already watched it - I submit East of Eden with James Dean and Julie Harris. I just never got what the big deal was with Dean until I saw this movie.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 8th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
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You've never seen Almost Famous?! I just had to exclamation point because that movie helped me decide to up and quit a job I hated and move to Chicago - jobless and with only $900 in my checking account. A particular scene and song in that movie, changed my life.
Oh, wow. I'm looking forward to it. Once I see the movie, you'll have to tell me your story. It's always cool when a movie has such a strong personal effect on your life, like when Spider-Man 2 kept me from dropping out of grad school...for a few months.

I'll keep an eye out for East of Eden.
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From:ethanvahlere
Date:July 8th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
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Let's see now:

Never saw Howl's Moving Castle, Monster House, or Suburbia.

Sorry, but Millions doesn't do anything for me. I like some of Danny Boyle's films, but I don't go crazy for him.

Miller's Crossing is my favorite Coen Brothers movie. It is incredibly complicated, but there are so many great scenes in it (Albert Finney shooting down thugs to the tune of "Danny Boy," Finney punching Gabriel Byrne all the way down the hallway, John Turturro begging Byrne for his life in the forest), and as you say, Jon Polito is awesome. It also helps if you've seen a lot of gangster movies. This came out, as a matter of fact, the same year as two other high-profile gangster movies, Goodfellas and The Godfather Part III, but I think this is better than both of them, even though I like both of them.

Agree completely re A Scanner Darkly, The Princess and the Warrior, and Great Expectations (never could figure out why the color scheme of that movie was puke green; distracted me from the rest of the movie).

I HATED Natural Born Killers the first time I saw it. I should probably see it again. And in answer to your question, not all Oliver Stone movies look that batshit crazy - it didn't really start for him until JFK.

I like both The Player and Gosford Park, but understand why you might find the former a bit overrated - basically, this is Altman's way of telling Hollywood to stick it after suffering under them for so long.

Glad you love The Apartment. Since you mentioned liking Cameron Crowe, you might like to know this is a big inspiration for Jerry Maguire. Matter of fact, Crowe wanted Wilder to be in that movie, but Wilder turned him down.

Syriana is quite complicated, but I still think it's brilliant. I haven't seen 400 Blows in a long time - I remember liking it, but not loving it. Shoot the Piano Player or The Bride Wore Black might be more towards your liking - the former is Truffaut's gangster homage, while the latter is his Hitchcock homage. Speaking of Hitchcock, Spellbound is a little silly, it uses watered-down Freud, and I never had a dream that looked like Dali designed it. Still, it is fun.

Now for the movies in your poll:

I'm sure nothing I say will talk you out of seeing Shoot 'Em Up, especially after reading the above comments, but do yourself a favor and avoid The Deer Hunter. I still maintain it's one of the worst Best Picture winners of all time. It says nothing about what it purports to be talking about (the Vietnam War, manhood), it's racist, and it's boring. I also don't like The Omen, either version. Finally, I found Be Kind Rewind too whimsical for its own good.

I've never seen Black Sheep. Sounds like it could be either stupid fun or just stupid.

I LOVE Edward Scissorhands, Michael Clayton, A Fish Called Wanda, and Almost Famous (though you probably already knew about that one). Night of the Hunter I didn't like the first time I saw, but it does get better with time, and Mitchum is scary as hell. Shadow of the Vampire is a good movie if you understand it as a kind of satire on Method acting. Finally, I think 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 Days is brilliant, but it's definitely not for everybody. I can understand those who find it boring.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 8th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
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Sorry, but Millions doesn't do anything for me. I like some of Danny Boyle's films, but I don't go crazy for him.
Whereas Millions really pushed him into Director-to-Watch territory for me. I find that he does very interesting work.

(Albert Finney shooting down thugs to the tune of "Danny Boy," Finney punching Gabriel Byrne all the way down the hallway, John Turturro begging Byrne for his life in the forest)
All great scenes!

not all Oliver Stone movies look that batshit crazy - it didn't really start for him until JFK.
That's a movie I thought would be relatively normal!

Glad you love The Apartment. Since you mentioned liking Cameron Crowe, you might like to know this is a big inspiration for Jerry Maguire. Matter of fact, Crowe wanted Wilder to be in that movie, but Wilder turned him down.
Huh! I haven't seen Jerry Maguire since it came out; I can't think of how you get from The Apartment to it.

Shoot the Piano Player or The Bride Wore Black might be more towards your liking - the former is Truffaut's gangster homage, while the latter is his Hitchcock homage.
Hmmm. We'll see, thanks. I currently have no desire to see anything by Truffaut! I think we saw Fahrenheit 451 in high school or something, though.

I'm sure nothing I say will talk you out of seeing Shoot 'Em Up, especially after reading the above comments
Hee!

do yourself a favor and avoid The Deer Hunter. I still maintain it's one of the worst Best Picture winners of all time. It says nothing about what it purports to be talking about (the Vietnam War, manhood), it's racist, and it's boring
Iiiinteresting. It definitely feels like it's going to be a spinach movie, but my co-worker highly recommended it to me, and I've heard good things from other people.

I also don't like The Omen, either version.
There's more than one version? Wait, didn't they remake it recently? I'm watching the original.

Finally, I found Be Kind Rewind too whimsical for its own good.
This may be true. I'll see.

Thanks for your comments!
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From:sinca
Date:July 8th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
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Almost Famous is probably my favorite movie of all time. It hits a ton of stuff I love, 70's music, music in general, relationships between band members (NOT SLASH, EW), groupies, journalism. It totally inspired me to follow Rufus Wainwright's tour a few years later and that changed my life completely. I hope you like it! Especially after all the hype that me and some of your other commenters have heaped on it!

Night of the Hunter is a movie I am super glad I have seen, it was recommended to me and I likely wouldn't have picked it up on my own. It is a great story and to me, genuinely chilling. Mitchum was great.

I saw Natural Born Killers in the theatre when I was in high school and I remember how it danced around the whole "satire" thing. I mean, the movie itself is so in love with Mickey and Mallory that it's hard to swallow that message that it's the MEDIA's problem.

I loved all the green in Great Expectations and that's all I remember loving. The book is definitely much better.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:July 8th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
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I hope you like it! Especially after all the hype that me and some of your other commenters have heaped on it!
I know! It has a lot to live up to!

Night of the Hunter is a movie I am super glad I have seen, it was recommended to me and I likely wouldn't have picked it up on my own. It is a great story and to me, genuinely chilling. Mitchum was great.
Awesome.

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