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#1 of 840 Brian Kissinger

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Posted November 10 2002 - 11:34 AM

I thought I'd start his thread in order to share my outlook on some movies I'm viewing for the first time. They will mostly consist of "classics" I'm just finally getting around to watching.

I invite everyone to post their thoughts and ideas on any movies they view for the first time as well. And you don't need to limit yourself to "classics." If all you watch is classics, you would be expanding your horizons by watching Porky's. And feel free to chime in any thoughts or ideas about my, and other's, views. Let's just keep it civil.

I'll start things off the probably the biggest of the big.


Citizen Kane (1941)
directed by Orson Welles

I'm not sure how the arguably "greatest movie ever made" got by me all these years, but it did. And I'm afraid it suffers from too much build-up. I did delight in much of the film's structure, but found the overall experience to be a bit of a let-down. Now before I give you the wrong impression, I did like the movie very much. However, I didn't find it the greatest ever. Now, I understand movies get better with repeat viewing's, and especially this one I've been told, so I'm not writing her off altogether. I intend to give her another viewing. But if first impressions are the most important, I'd probably not purchase this title outright. A good movie, but one that I wouldn't think I'd watch very much.
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#2 of 840 Brian Kissinger

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Posted November 10 2002 - 11:45 AM

Notorious (1946)
directed by Alfred Hitchcock

For some reason I can't explain, I haven't seen all that many "Hitchcock's." I haven't come across one that I didn't enjoy quite a bit, and Notorious was no exception. I wouldn't place it near as high on the list as Vertigo and Rear Window, but then again it didn't have the always masterful Jimmy Stewart. However, the movie seemed almost as if it were made for Cary Grant. I'm not a big fan of his, but he seemed perfect for the part. The romance sizzled, and the ending is one of the better I've come across. I'll definitely being seeing more Hitch in the future.
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#3 of 840 Rich Romero

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Posted November 10 2002 - 11:51 AM

I agree with your thoughts on Citizen Kane exactly. A great movie no doubt, but I thought by no means it was the best ever. Then again, I DO need to watch it more, and I'm sure my evaluation will go up.
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#4 of 840 Vickie_M

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Posted November 10 2002 - 02:08 PM

Quote:
Citizen Kane (1941) - directed by Orson Welles


I'd probably seen bits and pieces of this film dozens of times while growing up. I'd tried to watch it all the way through at least 4-5 times, especally after it came out on videotape. I hate to admit this, but it never struck me as anything other than boring as hell. I never made it very far in before my brain shut down and I was crying out for something more "interesting".

Then...

I'd guess it was the 50th(?) Anniversary release, when a new and restored print was shown in theaters. I decided I'd give it one last chance. I KNEW it was considered the best film of all time by several critics and people I admire and respect, and I knew the problem was with me, and had nothing to do with the film itself. I figured that if seeing it in the theater didn't do it for me, I'd likely never get it.

Oh. My. God.

Seeing it on the big screen, with no distractions and not having the choice to turn it off the second it became "boring" to me made all the difference in the world. I was engrossed by the characters, story, dialogue and the look of the film. By the time it was over, I fully understood **WHY it's so often listed as (or among) the very best. (Well, maybe not "fully" because I only have dim knowledge of film history and the filmmaking innovations Welles used or perfected).

I always say that no one can fully appreciate how great 2001: A Space Odyssey is if they haven't seen it on the big screen. I now say the same thing about Citizen Kane.

All that said, it's not one of my favorite films, far from it. Movies that become favorites hit me in a very personal way that is specific to that film, and who and where I was when I first saw it (or appreciated it). Understanding why others rate Citizen Kane #1 is very different from rating it #1 (or anywhere at all) on my own personal favorites list.


Quote:
A great movie no doubt, but I thought by no means it was the best ever.


My mind doesn't work like that. It doesn't have to be the "best ever" *to me* for me to accept and understand that others find it the best ever.
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#5 of 840 John Kilduff

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Posted November 10 2002 - 03:31 PM

NETWORK-

I'd always seen clips of the "I'm As Mad As Hell..." sequence, and that always impressed me. I didn't get around to seeing the whole movie, though, until 2001. On a whim, I bought the DVD of it (on that same day, I also bought "Crimes Of Passion" and "Reform School Girls"...aren't I versatile?). I saw all of "Network" (letterboxed, of course), and my God, the script was amazing. The performances were brilliant, but it's all in the script. Some people have described "Network" as a collection of monologues, but I must say, if that's true, then it's a hell of a compendium. Every word from first to last is rich as gold and beautiful as a Picasso. My hats off to Paddy Chayefsky and Peter Finch...may they rest in peace. The movie is solid as a rock, and the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences made a poor decision in the choosing of "Rocky" as Best Picture of 1976. If we base movies, though, on their words and not their looks, then Howard Beale got Rocky Balboa on a TKO.

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#6 of 840 SteveGon

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Posted November 10 2002 - 03:52 PM

Regarding Citizen Kane:

It really does get better with repeat viewings. I also recommend listening to Roger Ebert's commentary on the DVD - it should prove enlightening. Posted Image

As far as seeing more Hitchcock, I've got quite a few of his films on DVD so you'll have to check 'em out. Frenzy, The 39 Steps, and Shadow of a Doubt are all top-notch.

It's a shame that there are still some excellent Hitch films still unaccounted for on DVD.

#7 of 840 Rich Romero

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Posted November 10 2002 - 04:16 PM

My mind doesn't work like that. It doesn't have to be the "best ever" *to me* for me to accept and understand that others find it the best ever.


Neither does mine. I was just stating my opinion, but I can see why others regard it so highly.
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#8 of 840 Dome Vongvises

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Posted November 10 2002 - 04:21 PM

Posted Image to this thread

I'll start with some non mainstream fare and work my way to better known things.
Three Colors: Blue

During the Fall semester of my Senior year, I had the opportunity to take an Introductory Film class. It would be my very first foray into taking film as an extremely serious hobby.

I got to watch some old favorites such as Se7en, The Matrix, Psycho, and Forrest Gump. I was also exposed to new and delightful films such as Madadayo, Cinema Paradiso, and Rio Bravo. On my own free time, I took it upon myself to watch Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2, three Kurosawa classics Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and The Hidden Fortress. I also got to see Andrei Rublev a really, really slow-moving but nevertheless compelling look at a Russian icon painter's observations of life. I also got to see two great Ingmar Bergman films Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal.

Which brings me to Three Colors: Blue. I bring this film up because I researched much of its history to find that many film critics hold it in very high regard. I can't say I was excited to watch this because I've always heard how pretentious and boring French films can be. But nonetheless I wanted to see my first French film ever and overcoming my prejudices.

I should've stuck to my instincts. Blue was quite possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The last time I'd Posted Image this hard was Batman and Robin. It isn't until Amelie and The Vanishing that I thought French films had redeemed themselves in my eyes.

There are several things I thought were plenty stupid with Blue. The first one is Julie's character. I don't think I've ever seen somebody so stupid as she is, no wait, that Joe guy from Midnight Cowboy comes pretty close. Needless to say, stupid people piss me off in movies.

Second, the movie is god-awful boring. It seemed like it took forever for the narrative to advance. Every character seemed utterly devoid of life. Everybody's distraught. Everybody's having an affair. Blah blah blah.....

Third, and the biggest strike, the pretentious nature of the blue fadeouts among other things. Our whole class spent three good class periods trying to the whole deal behind it. We all came to the conclusion it was simply artsy fartsy crap that added no dramatic weight or narrative revelance to the already boring story at hand. Let's not forget the whole fishtank sex at the end of the movie. So much for Julie's freedom. Posted Image

Overall Score: D

Federico Fellini's 8 1/2

The college library received a copy of Criterion's edition of one of Fellini's masterpieces.

I'll get straight to the point with no setup: I liked this film quite a bit.

Everything positive that's been said about this film is true. It's a film within a film, it's a reflection of Fellini's own struggles, it's just huge a smorgashborg of things so confusing that somehow it all makes sense towards the end.

I thought the way the sequences played out were wonderful. You really couldn't tell whether you're watching the actual film, or the film within a film, Guido's own imagination, or simply flashbacks to an earlier time. The transitions are extraordinarily seamless which adds to the overall confusion in the audience. Is he imagining this? Or is he playing out the characters in his mind whom he wishes to audition? It's amazing the amount of discussion this film can ellicit.

I highly recommend this film to anybody interested in their first exposure to Fellini.

Movie Score: B
Film Score: A-
Overall Score: B+

I'll chime in with more thoughts on other firsts.

#9 of 840 SteveGon

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Posted November 10 2002 - 05:13 PM

Dome, I beg to differ with you on Blue. I found it quite compelling. A bit too stylized perhaps, but very good. And I'm puzzled as to why you think Julie is a stupid character. Care to elaborate? Posted Image

#10 of 840 Brian Kissinger

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Posted November 10 2002 - 07:23 PM

I'm glad to see the positive feedback here. One of the many great things this can accomplish, is that it will hopefully turn members on to some really great stuff they might otherwise overlook. I'm heading over to netflix now to add Network and 8 1/2.Posted Image

As far as the three colors trilogy goes, I've heard way too much on them not to give them a try. And as I'm sure SteveGon has made known, they are coming to DVD next year.
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#11 of 840 Patrick McCart

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Posted November 11 2002 - 02:45 AM

8 1/2, Citizen Kane, and Notorious are indeed essential films to see. I actually didn't like Notorious that much (although, I still think it's a great movie) while I enjoy most other Hitchcocks.

I have yet to see Trois Colours: Bleu and Network, so I can't give you any advice on them.

Here's a reccomendation which isn't on DVD, but is worth a viewing:

Napoléon (1927)

IMO, the best silent film ever made. The story of Napoleon Bonaparte's life from childhood to the Italian Campaign is the framework for a collage of the ultimate in cinematic technique. Through hyperactive editing and amazing camera movement, there are few shots in the film that look like a standard silent film shot. Just about camera and editing, though? Not in the slightest! Every character, even the extras, are convincing. There is also humor injected into the film. It's also very accurate to the true life of Napoleon. Despite being 4 hours long and just reaching the Italian campaign, it's probably the best film on Napoleon.

The film is not on DVD, but the VHS has been around for a while and you may be able to find it at a rental. The video is the 235 min. American version of the restoration and features a powerful score by Carmine Coppola. The last 30 minutes of the film are letterboxed to accomodate the 3-panel tryptich image.

This was the film that got me hooked on silent cinema and I'm hoping it'll do the same for others!

#12 of 840 Dome Vongvises

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Posted November 11 2002 - 04:28 AM

SteveGon said:
Quote:
Care to elaborate?


The three colors trilogy supposedly represent the three colors of the French flag. I think it was liberty, fraternity, and .....I forgot the other one. But blue was supposed to mean liberty right? A lot of my disgust for Julie comes from this. First of all, she fails miserably at suicide. She gives away a nice home TO THE FUCKING BITCH THAT CHEATED WITH HER HUSBAND!!! What kind of dumb shit is that? I know she's trying to move on and forget her past life as a hidden concert composer, but does she really have to go out of her way, hunt the woman down, stalk her, and give away the home to a woman that's bearing her dead husband's child? Let's see what else. She turns down a necklace somebody who took his own free time to find for her. And in the end, she fails pretty miserably, her attempts at escaping her life as a poser symbolized and signified by previously said fishtank sex. Dumbass couldn't dump her boyfriend on the side.


I'll think of more, but everytime I concentrate, that stupid blue fadeout comes to bother me again. :P)

#13 of 840 Rob Tomlin

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Posted November 11 2002 - 12:40 PM

Brian-

Your feelings regarding CK are virtually identical to mine. I also agree that it does get better with repeat viewings (as do many other great movies, such as LoA), and I certainly appreciate it much more now than I use to. However, in the end, it is the story itself that I simply do not connect with. The structure, acting, cinematography are all great though!

Regarding Notorious, it's an extremely good Hitchcock movie, and I loved it. For a slightly less known Hitchcock, give The Man Who Knew Too Much a try!

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#14 of 840 Dome Vongvises

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Posted November 11 2002 - 02:06 PM

Rob Tomlin just inspired me to do something. Posted Image

Lawrence of Arabia

Movie Score: A-
Film Score: A+
Overall Score: A

It was the summer of 1997 after my senior year of high school. My friend Wes Ray and I had gone on a trip from our hometown of Pikeville, Kentucky to the big town that is Lexington, Kentucky. Back then, we all though Best Buy was the greatest thing in the world. And we still do.

We decided to use our graduation money and go on a spending spree. We walked into the VHS Widescreen rack (we learned at a young age Posted Image ) and picked up various movies. I got Face/Off and Con Air while he got "classics" like Chinatown, The French Connection, and Lawrence of Arabia.

We watched TFC and Ctown the very day we got the movies. It wouldn't be until the leaves had turned until I (he still hasn't watched his VHS copy Posted Image ) decided to borrow and watch it.

My memory is very vague at this point, but I'll be frank about the thing I remember the most. I remember being very pissed when I was taking a leak at intermission (pun intended Posted Image ) thinking to myself, "Damnit, I want to go back and finish this movie."

Little did I realize the hold the film had over me. It was an adventure the likes I'd never seen before. The wide desert landscapes, the bravado of Lawrence, and the whole dynamic of the drama that was being presented to me was just fantastic. It would be close to three to four years before I could finally appreciate the craft of master director David Lean. I could better appreciate some of the more underlying themes and the wonderful cinematography in LOA.

#15 of 840 Rob Tomlin

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Posted November 11 2002 - 02:51 PM

Dome-

It's always nice to hear someone else talk about their experience with Lawrence!

My reaction was very similar to yours. I was immediately impressed, but it took a while before I truly realized the films greatness, and in many ways its hold on me continues to grow...especially after seeing it a few weeks back in glorious 70mm! Posted Image

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#16 of 840 Brian Kissinger

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Posted November 11 2002 - 03:27 PM

Well Mr. Tomlin, you'll be glad to hear the next movie I have lined up is indeed Lawrence of Arabia. I had planned on watching her today, however I didn't sleep well last night, and couldn't give her the attention I wanted to to. It will probably be a couple days though, tomorrow is official Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring day. You got to have your priorities.Posted Image
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#17 of 840 Dome Vongvises

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Posted November 12 2002 - 09:46 AM

Two things need to happen:
1. Move this thread to movies
2. Change the thread title

I like this thread. I think we ought to hear from more people.

Rashomon

Movie Score: B
Film Score: A-
Overall Score: A-

I'm not really sure how it works, but was it this film or Seven Samurai that put Akira Kurosawa on the map? Either way, I'm glad it happened.

Many folks hold Akira Kurosawa in very high regard for whatever reasons they may be. For myself, he perfectly blends art and entertainment into one seamless piece.

Rashomon is the story of a farmer, a priest, and a woodcutter who exchange four different perspectives on a murder/rape that took place recently.

And the simplicity ends there. I'm not sure of the other actors, but one thing is for sure, if you know Toshiro Mifune, he's going to be yelling and screaming in this one too. Posted Image

Anyways, it's often been said that Rashomon is a compelling look at the nature of truth. This is exemplified in the film by the subjective nature of the four different testimonies in the film. While there is a supernatural seance/possession involved which could raise a Posted Image, it's inclusion is nevertheless important because it's a venue often used by folks believe it or not. Even though we know it's supernatural, we are affected by the side of the story told.

However, I think I got more out of the "courtroom" drama presented here. I thought the film was more about how people not only treat themselves, but others as well. Notice how the priest is not bothered by what is the truth, but by how simple acts of cruelty like murder and rape can make humanity look as trashy as the surroundings of the temple in which the story takes place.

I'll leave it to people who haven't seen the film, but there's a hopeful ending in store that helps to turn the priest's outlook on life.

Having said that, you're all wondering why I haven't gotten Criterion's wonderful edition of this film. It's simple: I'm broke.

#18 of 840 JohnRice

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Posted November 16 2002 - 07:15 AM

As far as Citizen Kane goes, I was probably lucky because the first time I saw it was for a film class in college and I got to see it on a very good film copy. Because we had studied it before seeing it and my first viewing was not on video but in a theater in a very good presentation, it made a big difference. I was literally numb when I walked out of the theater.

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#19 of 840 JohnRice

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Posted November 16 2002 - 07:17 AM

BTW, Dome, I'm pretty sure it was Rashomon that got Kurosawa his first real attention. Ironically, we also studied it in the same film class where I first saw Kane.



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#20 of 840 Andrew_Sch

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Posted November 16 2002 - 08:21 AM

Regarding Lawrence , those of you who've been around a while might remember that I started a thread way back when saying that it had a magnificent script, score, direction, etc., but that it still, in words I will never forgive myself for typing, "sucked." In fact, the first time I watched (WS DVD on a 27" 4:3) I was so bored I fell asleep after the whipping in the Turk-held town. Then, some months later, I saw it breathtaking 70MM at the best movie theater ever built (the Senator) and my opinion of it changed dramatically. Now it's one of my favorite movies of all-time. I still think it's a flawed masterpiece because it drags pretty mightily in parts, but that was probably Lean's intention. There was also fundamental change in the way I viewed and appreciated movies between my first and second viewings. The first time, I was still very much a casual fan in that I basically just looked for entertainment value and not much else. If a film could entertain me, it was good, if it couldn't, it wasn't. Since then, I have learned to appreciate and take pleasure in the acting and artistic elements of movie-making, not just the entertainment value.

Regarding Kane , the first time I saw I thought it was a great movie, then I bought it and have watched it a few more times, and my opinion of it has only gone up. To me, it does just about everything (story, script, acting, direction, cinematograhpy, score) perfectly.
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