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Old 10-29-2007, 12:47 PM   #16
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Gone Baby Gone - 8.5/10

Ben Affleck can direct! I'm amazed. It's far from a masterful job, but damn impressive nontheless. His brother Casey proves once again what a fine young talent he is. This film benefits from a rock solid script, that rarely surprised, but maintains a taught and deliberate narrative. The biggest strength of the film, though, comes from the seed of debate it plants in your mind walking out of the picture. The film itself doesn't ask many questions, but it succeeds at making the audience ask them themselves, which is the sign of a great script. Do I agree with Casey's character's dicision in the end? I don't know, but I do know that I've been thinking about it since this afternoon.

The Godfather - 10/10

My second time viewing the film tonight was a much more satisfying experience than the first. There isn't much to say about the film that hasn't been said, other than to affirm my admiration for the film. I still haven't seen Part II yet, though I'm planning to either this week, or possibly during Thanksgiving break. Either way, I feel much more prepared for the next installment than I did before, and I am genuinely looking forward to it now.

I gotta say though, I still greatly prefer Once Upon A Time In America, which I've only seen once.



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Old 10-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #17
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The Edge 8/10

Nice little, plane crash- get lost in woods, get eaten and chased by bear story. And yes, I tuned in because it was called The Edge.
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:00 AM   #18
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The Exorcist:

The original version. I just watched it on AMC, so there was stuff they edited out-I've yet to see the full, unedited version. But still a good one to check out. I'm not one to believe in devil possession and all that sort of thing, but for those who do believe in that stuff, and who are religious, this movie will definitely be an unsettling experience for you.

And besides, even though I'm not scared by the religious/non-religious aspects of the movie, let's face it, Linda Blair when she's in the throes of her insanity is frightening to look at. It never fails-every time I see that scene where she rises from the bed and all you see are the whites of her eyes, I get some serious shivers down my spine. That. Is. Just. Creepy. I really have to applaud her acting in this movie, she's incredibly convincing. All the actors do a pretty good job, actually-there may be moments here and there where there's some overacting, but eh, for the most part it's good.

What I also like about this movie is that they don't just assault you with the horrific events from the start. They build it up, slowly but steadily, and it does pay off in the end. This means that horror movie fans of today who are used to gore and blood all over the place may not be as interested in this movie as others, but for those who have patience and don't need lots of gore to make a horror movie worthwhile, then you'll likely enjoy it.

For my money, this isn't THE scariest film for me. It's up there, definitely, but personally, the original "Psycho" or "Halloween" take that prize-those two left me paranoid for, like, a week afterwards (and they deal with scary situations that seem much more likely to happen, unlike "The Exorcist", and those are the kinds of horror movies that scare me the most). And "The Exorcist" may seem a bit more tame to some after multiple viewings or to those who've seen more violent movies. But given its classic status in cinema, and given the lore and legend surrounding it (what I wouldn't have given to be part of the very first audience who ever saw this film...), I'd say it's worth a look. Though I think it's probably best to try and hunt down an unedited version-I imagine once you see the movie in its full form, it's probably a LOT scarier.

Angela
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:50 AM   #19
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I'd like to write more on each of these films, but I'm a lazy bastard, and my mind is still spinning from the last one on this list, so I'll keep things succinct.


The Godfather Part II - 9/10
Not the masterpiece I was expecting, and really not quite the film I was expecting. There are almost too many little tiny flaws to count here, so I won't get into all of them. It's still a powerful story, it all just seems a lot less important than that from the original film. Vincent Canby of the New York Times says "It's a Frankenstein's monster stitched together from leftover parts. It talks. It moves in fits and starts but it has no mind of its own." While I think that's far too harsh, he makes a fair observation. I have no problem with films following non-linear or uncontinuous editing, but this film rarely builds the momentum of the first film, and I think it suffers from it. It's also missing some of the most powerful performers from the first film. Most notably James Caan and Marlon Brando, and Robert Duvall (who gave my favorite performance in the first film) seems much less sure of his performance here and gets less screentime. For the record, I also wasn't too convinced by the flashback sequences, although they were some of the most beautifully filmed of the whole picture.

So, as a whole, still a great film, but it's a glaring step down in quality from the first, and far from being one of the greatest film ever made or some such tomfoolery.

Serpico - 9/10
I must be on a Pacino kick. God damn, this is a good cop flick. Most noteworthly aspect for me was Lumet's masterful hold over the narrative. There wasn't a single sequence in this film that wasn't building off the tension from the first. This film was like a rollercoaster with one first hill that's so long and large, by the time you reach the top you pass out from the altitude, and plummet to the bottom where the ride ends immediately. That would be a shitty rollercoaster I'd imagine, but I hate rollercoasters. So fuck it. Makes for a hell of a film though. Pacino at the top of his game. That man ruled the 70's didn't he? Sheesh.

The Exorcist = 7.5/10
This film would certainly scare the will out of any good christian family in the early 70's during its first release. Unfortunately the horror film climate has changed during the past several decade, so kids like me aren't raised on smart horror works like this. The frights weren't really here for me (though to be fair, I don't often get scared by any movie), but this is still a deftly made work of the macabre. More effective than the horror aspect though, was the fairly smart commentary on the medical community, and the horrors of mental illness, or the lackthereor? Scary shit there my friends. Tom Cruise would have a heart attack before the girl even started spitting blood.

2046 - 10+/10
Now here we are. This is a film that won't be leaving me any time soon, especially since I plan on watching it again some time this week. I've never seen a Wong Kar-Wai film before, so that included this films spiritual, quasi-predecessor In The Mood For Love. A lot of material concerning this film stated the benefit of knowing Wong's catalogue in order to more fully grast the characters and motivation in 2046. I think I'm glad I wasn't familiar with his prior to this, however. Why? Well, I was able to view this film on its own terms, with no expectation and no frame of context. That might have been the wrong way to do it, but it obviously made its mark.

Let me just say I plan on buying In The Mood For Love as soon as humanly possibly, watching that, and then immediately watching 2046 again afterwards. For now though, my thoughts and reactions will remain a torrent of emotions, observations, and awes. I didn't need to understand Tony Leung's previous love affair to appreciate his state of mind in 2046. The film itelf sets up the fact that he came from a failed love, not sure whether or not she ever loved him back. It was the most sincere affair of his life (see In The Mood For Love). What transpirses here is the aftermath. The longing of a ruined man to recapture what he never quite attained before. Every woman he meets here demonstrates one or more similar qualities to the love of his past, but he treats them all as no more than shallow replacements.

I can't currently describe my emotional state after viewing this masterpiece of a film. The non-linear and often vague narrative will surely turn off a lot of people, but the importance of these scenes is what they evoke from the viewer in or outside of the context of the story. That caveat aside, I can say that every frame of this film is a work of art unto itself. I'm not entirely sure I've seen a more thoroughly beautiful film before. From the dingy echoes of Singapore's crowded alleys in the 60's, to the lush vibrant brushstroke of the technicolor future trains, 2046 could merely be a presentation on "How to film pretty shit".

It maintains a hypnotic dream-like aura, where characters and words fall in and out of conciousness. Every frame is pitch-perfect. The composition blows me away throughout every scene. The musical score, as important as any line of dialogue makes its presence obvious, but this itsn't your typical film anyway. Everything about this is beautiful, and really I'm not in a proper frame of mind to review anything rationally. Mr. Wong has left me overwhelmed and hungry for more. If there was ever a film I'd feel comfortable using the term "haunting" to describe, this would be it. 2046 is work masterful beyond masterful, where it takes on a life and meaning of its own, and I don't see it leaving me any time soon.
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Old 10-30-2007, 12:28 PM   #20
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Lars and the Real Girl


I'm not really one to give a score, so I won't. The film was interesting, although I feel it would have worked better as a short. Sometimes it trudged along in the middle. Ryan Gosling did an excellent job with his performance. There were a few good laughs and the "romance" between Lars and Bianca is oddly touching. The film takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and the behavior of the townsfolk and their treatment of Lars' new love are the best part of the film. Oftentimes, they bring out the best in human nature.

I enjoyed the film, but it's nowhere close to being a top film of the year for me. I'd still recommend seeing it, though.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:06 PM   #21
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2046 - 10+/10
Now here we are. This is a film that won't be leaving me any time soon, especially since I plan on watching it again some time this week. I've never seen a Wong Kar-Wai film before, so that included this films spiritual, quasi-predecessor In The Mood For Love. A lot of material concerning this film stated the benefit of knowing Wong's catalogue in order to more fully grast the characters and motivation in 2046. I think I'm glad I wasn't familiar with his prior to this, however. Why? Well, I was able to view this film on its own terms, with no expectation and no frame of context. That might have been the wrong way to do it, but it obviously made its mark.

Let me just say I plan on buying In The Mood For Love as soon as humanly possibly, watching that, and then immediately watching 2046 again afterwards. For now though, my thoughts and reactions will remain a torrent of emotions, observations, and awes. I didn't need to understand Tony Leung's previous love affair to appreciate his state of mind in 2046. The film itelf sets up the fact that he came from a failed love, not sure whether or not she ever loved him back. It was the most sincere affair of his life (see In The Mood For Love). What transpirses here is the aftermath. The longing of a ruined man to recapture what he never quite attained before. Every woman he meets here demonstrates one or more similar qualities to the love of his past, but he treats them all as no more than shallow replacements.

I can't currently describe my emotional state after viewing this masterpiece of a film. The non-linear and often vague narrative will surely turn off a lot of people, but the importance of these scenes is what they evoke from the viewer in or outside of the context of the story. That caveat aside, I can say that every frame of this film is a work of art unto itself. I'm not entirely sure I've seen a more thoroughly beautiful film before. From the dingy echoes of Singapore's crowded alleys in the 60's, to the lush vibrant brushstroke of the technicolor future trains, 2046 could merely be a presentation on "How to film pretty shit".

It maintains a hypnotic dream-like aura, where characters and words fall in and out of conciousness. Every frame is pitch-perfect. The composition blows me away throughout every scene. The musical score, as important as any line of dialogue makes its presence obvious, but this itsn't your typical film anyway. Everything about this is beautiful, and really I'm not in a proper frame of mind to review anything rationally. Mr. Wong has left me overwhelmed and hungry for more. If there was ever a film I'd feel comfortable using the term "haunting" to describe, this would be it. 2046 is work masterful beyond masterful, where it takes on a life and meaning of its own, and I don't see it leaving me any time soon.

YES!!!!

My #1 film 0f 2005 (American release year) and in my Top 3 or 5 of the decade.

I'm so glad you liked this one Lance, especially without having seen any Wong before. He's definitely a love it or hate it type of filmmaker. The scene where Leung gives Zhang Ziyi money after what seemed to be a "real" date was totally heartbreaking. She should have been Oscar nommed for this one. Her best performance to date.

There are no superlatives that can match what this film does to you on a sensory level. For anyone that has lost in love, or carries any regrets or what-ifs with them, it will cut you to the marrow. And no, Lance, this film isn't going to leave you any time soon.

If you're going to dip into other Wong, I'd suggest checking out Days of Being Wild first, which tangentially connects to 2046, and then In the Mood For Love, which obviously this is a loose sequel to. After that I'd watch 2046 again just to get the whole experience.

You'll also want to get Chunking Express and Fallen Angels, which were originally all part of one film and were split into two, each with 2 different storylines.

Enjoy your exploration of the genius that is Wong Kar-Wai. There's arguably no one working in cinema today that is operating on his level.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:38 PM   #22
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And if I may follow that bit of hyperbole with some more, I'd like to tell you about an advance screening I saw last night:


I'M NOT THERE (dir. Todd Haynes)

Holy shit. I haven't seen Across the Universe yet, and can't say how well or poorly it represents what The Beatles were about or stood for, but this is pretty much the most perfect film one could imagine for Bob Dylan.

I've been a Dylan fan for over 15 years now, and it took me half of that to finally get through all of his material, including studio work, outtakes and rarities, and the odd bootleg. When you step back and look at the total output of his work, it's difficult to imagine that this all came from one person. Not because of the quantity (which is still impressive considering it takes a band like Radiohead or U2 four years to make one fucking album that isn't any better than the Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, or Dylan albums that were written and recorded in 1/10 the time), but because the periods in his life are so markedly different. They are different in sound, different in lyrical content, and in the public (or reclusive) personas that Dylan appeared to inhabit at the time.

It's long been clear that a standard biopic a la Walk the Line or Ray would be impossible with someone like Dylan. Even if you managed to wade through all that was written or said about the man (especially what he himself contributed to the morass) and were able to separate the truth from the myth, a straight telling of the life of Bob Dylan doesn't bring you closer to the essence of what he was/is. Bob Dylan is an idea that meant many things to many people over the years, and often were not what Dylan himself wanted to be. By choosing 6 different actors to represent the stages of Dylan's life, we get a kaliedoscopic view of an artist who was as mystifying, contradictory, and inspiring as they come.

What's interesting is that none of these characters go by the name Bob Dylan in the film. His name is never mentioned. You have the young black boy (Marcus Carl Franklin) representing the precocious old-before-his-time kid who liked to invent strange backgrounds for himself. Christian Bale then plays the Greenwich Village folk/protest singer who appears to really be selling a strong message. The standout here is Cate Blanchett, who represents the Dylan of the famous Don't Look Back documentary, a man who often spoke in riddles to confound journalists, fans, and critics, a defiant character who turned his back on the folk movement and felt the first pressures of superstardom. One of the Dylans, played by Ben Whishaw, seems to exist out of time, though is most likely from the 1965-66 Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde period, his scenes shot like some kind of interrogation or congressional hearing. That he's named after Arthur Rimbaud isn't a coincidence as he represents the most stream-of-consciousness poetic aspect of Dylan as he tries to avoid (or explain himself to) his off-screen questioners. You then have Richard Gere, who portrays the post-motorcycle accident recluse Dylan, a man who took his family to upstate New York and seemed to sit out the peak of the late-60's anti-war/Woodstock scene (he famously refused an invitation to the music festival). It's here that he disappeared into some kind of ancient, arcane version of America to write first the humorous, and folkie (but not political) material that was eventually released as The Basement Taes, and then the American frontier, biblical-styled stories found on John Wesley Harding. Dylan eventually emerged from this seclusion, and you have Heath Ledged portraying the Dylan that dealt with the separation and eventual divorce with his wife and mother of his children, but in the guise of a Brando/James Dean-type movie star. Christian Bale makes a short reappearance as the born-again Christian incarnation of Dylan, and is chronologically the last Dylan in the film (even though Gere's character is clearly "older").

The reason I've broken down all these characterizations is that it's hard to get a grasp on what's going on here, because Haynes cuts back and forth between these time periods throughout the film. There's really no plot or narrative thread, even though Gere's fugitive Dylan comes at a fairly late point in the film, and his return to "normal" life is in some way the climax of the journey. Haynes also uses a different film stock/photography style for each segment. From what I've read, certain films inspired the look and feel of each one, the jumping-off point for Blanchett's was Fellini's surreal masterpiece 8 1/2, and the work of Godard for the Heath Ledger section.

What you really are subjected to here is just a barrage of breathtaking images and the music of Dylan (which is taken from his entire career). The songs are so powerful in context with the images, and though there aren't many literal connections made, they manage to complement and comment on what's on-screen through much of the film. There are a few inside jokes strewn throughout but it's not necessarily just for Dylan fanatics. I think seeing this film will give people unfamiliar with Bob an appreciation of the very large scope of his impact and his representation of so many aspects of American life and culture. Because the revolutionary aspect of Dylan has as much to do with the breakthrough method acting of Brando as it does with plugging in an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival and turning pop music on its ear. It's about challenging the old ways and finding new doors and windows into other ways and worlds. It's a russian doll or M.C. Escher film of a man who lived his life the same way. There's always another personality hiding underneath, and the turns you think will lead to one place take you to another. It's the only way to describe the indescribable life and work of America's greatest artist.

At this point in time, the Best Film of 2007.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:48 PM   #23
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Ooh, cool! I'm really curious about this movie. Glad to hear a rave review.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:15 PM   #24
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You review has reaffirmed my excitement for that film Laz.

Back to Wong for a second though, how do you think 2046 stacks up against his other film, if you were forced to compare them, which I'm already thinking might turn out to be a fruitless exercise.

edit: also, after seeing that film, I really feel like editing my Best of 2000's list for LMP's competition. It would definitely place in the top 3 somewhere if I did.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:49 PM   #25
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I'm really psyched for I'm Not There. It's one of those movies I probably have to see in theaters. Like every other relatively good movie, it'll take forever to get to me though.

And Lance, you can edit the list whenever as long as you post it in the '00s thread.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:41 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lancemc
You review has reaffirmed my excitement for that film Laz.

Back to Wong for a second though, how do you think 2046 stacks up against his other film, if you were forced to compare them, which I'm already thinking might turn out to be a fruitless exercise.

edit: also, after seeing that film, I really feel like editing my Best of 2000's list for LMP's competition. It would definitely place in the top 3 somewhere if I did.

I think it's his masterpiece, but many adoring critics turned on him when it came out, thinking it was an unworthy follow up to ITMFL. It's kind of a culmination of his entire career. I'm a sucker for this kind of image orgy (like The New World), which is why I like it the best.

If I had to rank them, it would probably look like this:

2046
Days of Being Wild
Chungking Express
In the Mood For Love
Fallen Angels
Ashes of Time
Happy Together

Keep in mind there isn't one of these that isn't great. I have yet to see As Tears Go By, which is the earliest, and is in the boxed set put out by Kino Video, which I bought earlier this year. ITMFL is on the Criterion Label (amazing DVD, and well worth the high price) and 2046 is from Sony Pictures Classics, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:46 AM   #27
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I just bought the Criterion of ITMFL through amazon and should be getting that Friday, and Days of Being Wild is next on my netflix queue, once I recieve and watch Network and send that back.

I wonder what you think about My Blueberry Nights. I've read a lot of mixed critical responces from the film's debut at Cannes. Some outright calling it a mess, and none calling it truly great that I've read.

AS for Malick, The New World is right behind ITMFL in my queue, and I just finished watching Days of Heaven. Absolutely beautiful, though I'm not ready to commit to a proper rating.
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:28 PM   #28
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I just bought the Criterion of ITMFL through amazon and should be getting that Friday, and Days of Being Wild is next on my netflix queue, once I recieve and watch Network and send that back.

I wonder what you think about My Blueberry Nights. I've read a lot of mixed critical responces from the film's debut at Cannes. Some outright calling it a mess, and none calling it truly great that I've read.

AS for Malick, The New World is right behind ITMFL in my queue, and I just finished watching Days of Heaven. Absolutely beautiful, though I'm not ready to commit to a proper rating.

Blueberry's not coming out proper until next year, and I haven't seen it yet. I'm sure I'll like it more than the critics, who love to tear down their idols after a few years.

Yeah, you should definitely watch Days of Heaven again, or let it sink in before commenting. Did you happen to check out the new Criterion edition that came out last week, or the old one? I can't wait to get my hands on that DVD.

Have you seen The Thin Red Line yet?
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:38 PM   #29
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laz, I've got both In The Mood For Love and 2046 kicking around here somewhere. Which should I watch first?
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Old 10-31-2007, 02:44 PM   #30
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ITMFL, definitely. If you have the opportunity to watch them in order, you may as well. It will make 2046 an even more hearbreaking an experience.
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