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Old 02-10-2008, 03:26 AM   #31
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The intro where Lois is drunk at the movie premiere is pretty great, too.
The Glad Game won me over.

"A piece of cake from the fair. A doodad to wear in your hair."

And, of course

"Everything was all slowed down...I was like 'WOAH' but I couldn't stop it."
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:19 AM   #32
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As Tears Go By

For the first 25 minutes here I thought I was in trouble. After that, it was pure WKW through and through. It seems fairly obvious that he didn't have nearly as most creative control as he did throughout the rest of his career, but for a debut, this is rock solid. The soundtrack is pretty terrible, but it's an 80's flick...so I typically just expect such. It also suffers from being a pre-Chris Doyle film, and it's remarkably noticeable given the fact that every other WKW film till My Blueberry Nights has been filmed by him. Just the same, WKW has a natural eye for cinema, and certain scenes here are just gorgeous. It's past-paced, the characters are likable, the action is cathartic, and the story is always just different enough that it never feels stale. Perhaps not a great film, but it's vintage Wong Kar-Wai and I love it.
Heh, I just watched that myself on Wednesday.

I pretty much agree wit what you said there, especially concerning the soundtrack. It was interesting to see Andy Lau and Maggie Cheung at such an earlier point in their careers, although Maggie didn't really get have too much to get her teeth into (*insert laz joke here*). Like any lauded director with a distinctive style, it's hard to judge their debut on it's own merits or in relation to their later, more acclaimed work. I'd say this holds up on both counts. On it's own it's an interesting counterpoint to other gang related HK films around at the time. As an example of WKW's work it's a pretty good debut but one may wonder what all the fuss is about if not having seen anything else by him yet.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:04 PM   #33
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Blithe Spirit
Very silly but very entertaining early film from David Lean, filmed before he settled into epics. Rex Harrison plays an upper class married man who is visited by the ghost of his first wife, much to his current wife’s annoyance. Only he can see or hear her as he was the one who called out for her spirit in a séance, but for the life of him he can’t think why he would have done so. Margaret Rutherford provides great support as the batty medium who initiates the whole mess but any more plot details will spoil the fun.

If I’m honest, I much prefer Lean’s earlier films than his later epics. As grand and majestic as Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and The Bridge on the River Kwai (my favourite of these) were, I can’t help but feel much fonder of this, Great Expectations and, of course, Brief Encounter.

Husbands and Wives
After feeling slightly underwhelmed by Hannah and Her Sisters, this Woody Allen was a great watch. While it’s similar to that film in that we follow a number of couples examine their relationships and embark on affairs, this one just clicked with me more. To me it seemed much more focussed, discarding the time hopping narrative structure of Hannah… and being much more direct. The tone was also more consistent, as even though Woody’s midlife crisis subplot in Hannah… was fun to watch it didn’t quite gel with the rest of the film. Here I felt he got the tone just right and the character interview segments were a great way for each of them to verbalise their mixed feelings and contradictions against a Devil’s Advocate interviewer. On the other hand it never quite hit the emotional heights of Hannah…, with Michael Caine’s superb performance being sorely missed.

Bed and Board and Love on the Run
Sky Indie screened the four feature length films in Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series, so I caught the final two that I had yet to see. While neither were on par with The 400 Blows, I did prefer them both to Stolen Kisses. Maybe I should revisit that one sometime. Anyway, Bed and Board finds Antoine married with a sprog, but even though he’s in love he hasn’t quite grown up enough to handle the responsibility. His reasoning is that he lost too much of his youth to a broken home and the army and didn’t have enough time to play the field, so… Love on the Run provides the perfect conclusion to the series, as it appears that Antoine has finally grown up and accepted responsibility for at least some of his past mistakes. It also features extensive flashbacks to the previous four entries in the series. The best part of these is that it seems to run through most of the hard to find short film Antoine et Colette, very thoughtful of Mr Truffaut as this film marks Colette’s return to the series.

While never as innovative as Godard when it comes to what can be achieved in film, Truffaut was a master of narrative technique and that skill is evident in both of these films. From the way he splices Antoine and Christine talking to their friends about their marriage to the silent rot setting in to his new relationship, Truffaut lets you get inside his characters’ thoughts and feelings with apparent minimal effort. The flashbacks in Love on the Run are strategically placed but refrain from turning the film into little more than a Simpsons clipshow. They highlight how Antoine has got to where he is and how he’s finally grown. These two films are well worth tracking down for fans of the first two in the series and not merely for completists sake.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:06 PM   #34
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Monkeyskin, I'm curious how you feel all WKW's 90's output compares to one another.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:11 PM   #35
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Well from his 90s work I've only seen Days of Being Wild and Chungking Express (Happy Together on the rental list).

If I can include In the Mood For Love I'd still rate that as my favourite. Days, Chungking and ITMFL shows a natural progression to me, in terms of editing, story and the way they became more dreamlike as they went along. (Without putting it too harshly, 2046 feels like the bitter aftertaste of a dream going unfufilled. Just a comment on the mood of the film.)

I have no idea when I'll get to see Fallen Angels or Ashes to Ashes as my rental service doesn;t carry them. But his films strike me as the sort you need to revisit more than once to fully grasp them so I'm sure my feelings will change in the future.

How about yourself? You started watching them not long before me so it's interesting as we're both at a similar stage with them.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:23 PM   #36
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As of now, I've seen

As Tears Go By
Days of Being Wild
Chunking Express
Fallen Angels
In the Mood for Love
2046

Happy Together I'll either watch tonight or tomorrow. Ashes of Time is going to wait until the new remastered/re-edited DVD comes out some time this year I believe.

There's definitely a noticeable progression of themes and style from one film to the next. That said, the 3 90s films I've seen all seem to be cut from the same cloth. They could all be from the same life, despite differences in era or social stratus. It also helps that the narrative structure is fairly similar in all three of those films as well. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite of them off hand, though I might go with Days of Being Wild.

ITMFL and 2046 feel like a wholly new area for him, though Happy Together might be the perfect bridge I simply haven't discovered yet. It's kind of hard for me to separate those two films though, since I feel them as one singular journey. ITMFL being the more "typical" romantic plot, though one distinctly Chinese and distinctly bitter-sweet. 2046 scores major points, for being the expose on what happens to the man who doesn't get the girl. Years down the line, what happens to a broken spirit, haunted by a past love that will never be equaled. I haven't seen anything quite like it before, and I really feel Wong putting all his creative resources on full power for this one. It sort of drifts in and out of consciousness, with no real beginning or end, and I think that has a lot to do with making it immeasurably rewatchable for me. I've probably seen it 5 times or so, and it's likely a personal favorite film by now.

I'll definitely be posting my thoughts on Happy Together though as soon as I finish it, whenever that may be. I'm excited, especially considering how enthusiastic If You Shout seems to be about it.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:32 PM   #37
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I see what you're saying about ITMFL being the start of something new. I've got a three film gap between that and Chungking soI can't speak with any authority on when a change occured (like you said Happy Together could be a transitional work) but it happened somewhere.

Take Faye Wong in Chungking: even though she can't express her feelings to Tony Leung she still takes action by rennovating his apartment and the protagonist of the first section also gets back on the horse over the course of the film. ITMFL on the other hand is all about repressed emotions and the refusal to act on impulses ("We won't be like them"). Maybe the decrease of violence in his films mirrors this lack of action.

That's not to say it's black and white, as Tony Leung's character in Chungking attests. It'll be interesting to see what he's done with My Blueberry Nights.

Now I sleep.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:34 PM   #38
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MS: I've heard that complaint about Lean. It's a tough call for me, because Bridge, Lawrence, and Zhivago are all impressive epics (and I'm partial to the first one as well). Ryan's Daughter illustrates what happens when the material doesn't support the epic treatment, and while A Passage to India is a slight improvement, it doesn't really scale the heights of the others.

I appreciate Summertime very much as a post-epic Lean exercise in restraint, and it's one of Katharine Hepburn's greatest performances. Shows that he was still capable of something smaller, but apparently he just couldn't stick with it.

I'm surprised you didn't like Hannah as it's widely regarded as one of his best scripts. Personally I prefer Crimes & Misdemeanors; have you seen that one? Another great blend of drama and comedy with some very dark moral questions at play. Husbands and Wives is a pretty rough film to watch as it virtually mirrored Woody's own split with Mia Farrow. That an artist would put himself up on the screen like that, however much of it was intentional, is amazing. Brutal, unsettling film. Judy Davis is great.

I really need to see the rest of the Doinel films. I think I've only seen 400 Blows, and I've toyed with ordering the Criterion set. Jules and Jim is one of my all-time faves. I'd also like to see Truffaut's black and white homage to film noir, Confidentially Yours.

Lance: Were you saving Happy Together for a date night?
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:41 PM   #39
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Lance: Were you saving Happy Together for a date night?
Should I?
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:45 PM   #40
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Finished Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun is on deck.

I liked Live and Let Die a lot, I have to say. Thought Moore was good. Yaphet Kotto did a good job as the villian. Young Jane Seymour, yeah, no need to elaborate there.

And, of course, the sheriff was priceless. I'd forgotten about him. Good lord.

So, Mr. Scaramonga awaits.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:27 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by monkeyskin
Well from his 90s work I've only seen Days of Being Wild and Chungking Express (Happy Together on the rental list).

If I can include In the Mood For Love I'd still rate that as my favourite. Days, Chungking and ITMFL shows a natural progression to me, in terms of editing, story and the way they became more dreamlike as they went along. (Without putting it too harshly, 2046 feels like the bitter aftertaste of a dream going unfufilled. Just a comment on the mood of the film.)

I have no idea when I'll get to see Fallen Angels or Ashes to Ashes as my rental service doesn;t carry them. But his films strike me as the sort you need to revisit more than once to fully grasp them so I'm sure my feelings will change in the future.

How about yourself? You started watching them not long before me so it's interesting as we're both at a similar stage with them.
That all has a lot less to do with Wong than with this cat, Christopher Doyle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Doyle
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:17 PM   #42
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I probably could have been more tactful with my initial post.

It's all good.

Holla.

Fuck that. Ears and noses will be the prizes of the day. No pistols.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:18 PM   #43
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Bene.


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Old 02-10-2008, 09:19 PM   #44
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Fuck that. Ears and noses will be the prizes of the day. No pistols.
You see this knife, Dalton? I'm going to teach you to speak English with this fucking knife.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:24 PM   #45
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You see this knife, Dalton? I'm going to teach you to speak English with this fucking knife.


The mighty No spoken words. Almost fish hooked by a sprat
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