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The Golem (1920) A weird film that interested me mostly because of the connection with Kavalier and Clay ;)
This has been a great day. I discovered, thanks to a reblog on a friend’s blog The 500 Club, a stack of movies that are on my 1001 list that are online for free. I’m going to post them on here so you guys can watch along. I also watched Videodrome for the first time today… I’m gonna need a day to get my head around it then I’ll definitely post. Sorry it’s been such a long time between drinks everyone but Ystyn and I spoke today and we are both super keen to get stuck back into this list. So don’t change that dial.
First movie is Carol Reed’s masterpiece The Third Man. Ystyn already reviewed it here. I’m going to rewatch it and post soon. Enjoy. (Ps I’m over the one word thing… it was silly and I apologise.)
Hey guys we are on a one week break. Ystyn is in Japan on a school trip and I have been a bit busy with work and with a new blog I’ve been developing (Check us out here). We will get back in here in no time though and keep on working through the list. Hope you’re enjoying the ride so far.
Ystyn (99) - Fahrenheit 9/11
Now that I have been teaching for six years I think it is okay to reveal that I chucked a sickie on my last prac at university and went and saw this at the cinema. While Bowling for Columbine is a more balanced argument and probably asks more prevalent questions that hit at the heart of America’s problems, Fahrenheit 9/11 was on a grander scale and a pretty ballsy indictment of a government only recently voted [cough!] to power. The first two-thirds are confronting stuff that is horribly convincing despite Michael Moore’s heavy-handedness but by the time the evidence leans towards Iraq, Fahrenheit 9/11 loses focus whilst also treading some of the similar ground to …Columbine.
Like Sacha Baron Cohen and his Borat/Bruno antics, it is a wonder how Moore has gotten away with two more exposes since without anyway catching on to his agenda. While it all may be a little too far ‘left’, at least Moore got people asking questions while also making documentaries cool again. Sorry, again? I mean, for the first time.
Ystyn (98) - Gandhi
Does it say something about the quality of the movie if I saw it in high school and remember all-but nothing about it?
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Ystyn (97) - Mulholland Drive
For some reason I really want to watch this film again (and not for the reasons you other pervy males may think) but I also have the feeling that it’s not as good as my memory recalls.There are undoubtedly some moments in Mulholland Drive that are examples of strikingly original filmmaking and others that are positively terrifying. A particular scene where an almost fully decomposed body is found is aboslutely chilling to the bones, especially to the person who finds it. And the Spanish version of “Crying” is also really, really unnerving.
The opening scenes reveal a truly sweet conceit: a woman is thrown from a limosuine in the Hollywood Hills and is then discovered suffering from amnesia and in the shower of an aspiring actress fresh off of the farm. While Lynch’s surreal approach to storytelling is what makes him unique (and we really don’t want that to change), I have to be honest and say there was a part of me deep down inside that would have loved to see this story unfold ‘normally’ instead of leaving me totally perplexed.
But then again, as mentioned previously, we don’t want Lynch to change.
Ystyn (96) – The Deer Hunter
If Raging Bull is the boxing movie you must see then The Deer Hunter is the Russian roulette film you must see. If you thought that the opening wedding scene in The Godfather went on for far too long, then maybe this film isn’t for you. If you love watching De Niro going nutso on some poor, hapless chump then The Deer Hunter might not be for you either. However, if you like Christopher Walken acting freaking weird and the psychological Vietnam subplot of Apocalypse Now, you’re home!
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Ystyn (95) - Raging Bull
Intertextuality is one my favourite things to teach in Senior English. You could actually argue that the quality of any particular text can be gauged on how many times it is referenced in other texts. Three great examples of Raging Bull-inspired intertextuality is the wonderfully offensive monologue used as an audition piece in Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman, the wonderfully offensively oversized Raging Bull poster on the wall of the newscasters’ office in Aaron Sorkin’s awesome pre-West Wing television show Sports Night, and Dirk Diggler’s final wonderfully visually offensive moment at the end of Boogie Nights. It is ironic that this final example in particular, one of Raging Bull’s most memorable scenes, is intertextual in itself - the “I could have been a contender” speech - originally said by Brando in On The Waterfront. Yet another virgin viewing I must get around to.
There’s been enough Scorsese worship in this blog already. Just know that this classic, one of the most famous films to be robbed at the Oscars, is shot in brilliantly stark black and white and has De Niro at his method acting best and Pesci at his foul-mouthed violent best friend best. [That sentence was awkward]. As good as Rocky, Snatch and Million Dollar Baby all are, Raging Bull is THE boxing movie you must see.
Ystyn (94) - 2001: A Space Odyssey
I just gave a student an A+ for an essay on this film and since this 17 year old understood the concepts behind Kubrick’s masterpiece far better than I did, I thought it appropriate to prove it.
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a film so equally enjoyable and pretentious at the same time. I had already read Arthur C. Clarke’s novel in high school (and loved it) so I wasn’t concerned about the film failing to fulfill my expectations…and it didn’t. If I weren’t a devout Christian I would argue that the opening scene with apes roaming the earth before evolving to be a very convincing theory on how I can trace back my family tree. The gravity defying running track aboard a uniquely designed spaceship was also super cool. And Hal, one of the most terrifying creations in cinematic history without evil playing any actual role in the terror, is the reason why I chose the above poster and not one of the other more ‘classic’ incarnations.
I did say pretentious as well though. The beautiful docking scene described as ‘space ballet’ by my Film and TV student had me screaming at the screen Blackadder style “GET ON WITH IT!” the first time I watched. And don’t expect to understand the final twenty-thirty minutes without some research under your belt. That having been said, it is totally worth the hard work your brain will be chowing through for the next 48 hours.
Ystyn (93) - Beverly Hills Cop
Delirious was the most quoted text by all during my university studies. Sing it with me in a mocking children’s voice: “I have some ice cream, I have some ice cream. You haven’t got none. Cos you are on welfare. You can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. Your dad’s an alcoholic, an alcoholic.” Those were the days.
As it must have been in the 80’s. So it would have been really cool to have seen Beverly Hills Cop in context on its release. From what I’ve read, it redefined the action comedy film. Wisecracking rogue cops are a dime a dozen these days in film and a good reason NOT to visit the cinema. I think my last experience in the genre was Bad Boys II which was a very long time ago. Don’t get me wrong; I had SO MUCH FUN watching that film - Will Smith and Martin Lawrence dressing in robes to bust up a Klu Klux Klan rally, bad guys throwing frozen cadavers at police cars on the freeway during a high speed pursuit, and that wonderfully homoerotic chemistry between the leads - but I will never forget Miami PD’s successful smashing of international treaties by ‘invading’ Cuba to rescue a kidnap victim. BIGGEST PLOTHOLE EVER!
I guess what I’m saying is that BHC didn’t do anything for me because it has been parodied to death my whole life and I just saw it too late. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s entertaining but even if it is was original at the time it has been sadly tainted by its predecessors.
Ystyn (92) - Hero
Those chop-socky martial arts films where ninjas defy gravity and run impossibly up walls or fight in the branches of trees are dead to me! I remember watching The House of Flying Daggers and wanting to meet the pointy ends of said daggers myself. That having been said, whether it was the fact that Hero came out close enough in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (before my hatred was kindled) or that I mistakenly thought that saying the movie was ‘presented’ by Quentin Tarantino meant anything, I really enjoyed it. For a movie that is really only about its astounding beautiful and wonderfully choregoraphed fight scenes, it has a pretzel-like ‘whodunnit’ narrative. Most of the story is told in flashback with the king allowing the ’hero’ (Jet Li) to move closer to him in the castle courtyard as more of the tale unfolds and as the king’s trust in the narrator increases. This was a really interesting, clever and aesthetically pleasing film.
And there were so many arrows.
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