Criterion Collection

Discussion in 'Media Central' started by Paladin, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    "hitchhiking from NYC to LA, accidentally kills a man who picks him up, and, fearing the circumstances make it look deliberate, assumes the dead man's identity, and continues west in the man's car."
    I HATE when that happens! :shakefist: Yes I have seen "Elevator To The Gallows" and like it except for some glaring plot holes/plot devices that jumped out at me. Then again many movies have plot holes that may or may not be noticed depending on the viewers perspective.

    I first heard the movie's score discussed in a short documentary about Miles Davis on the Criterion channel. But hey when you hear that delicate tone you just know it's Miles, am I right? :yes:
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Only 8 of the Criterion Blu-Ray titles (out of probably 700-800) have gone out of print, and they've become very expensive...

    The Man Who Fell to Earth (like new) = $600
    Le Cercle Rouge (new) = $190
    Leon Morin, Priest (new) = $70
    Chungking Express (new) = $260
    Howard's End (new) = $225
    The Third Man (new) = $400
    Last Year at Marienbad (new) = $150
    The Confession (new) = $90

    I have the last four, am wishing I had picked up the others before they went OOP. :cry:
  3. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Night of the Hunter (1955)
    A murderer set to be executed inadvertently reveals to his preacher/conman/serial killer cellmate Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum, deliciously, thoroughly evil) that he's hidden $10,000 in stolen money with his two small children. When Powell is released, he heads straight for the kids and marries their mother, charming the town with his charismatic preaching. Now part of the household, Powell's methods to get the money grow increasingly ruthless, and soon the two children are running for their lives. The first two thirds of the film are a masterwork in building dread and suspense, though the movie does slow down in the last third, with the children on the run and finding refuge with a kindly old woman (silent screen legend Lillian Gish) and her brood of orphans. The climax does have a few terrific scares (Powell disappears in the glare from a candle, Powell pops up VERY unexpectedly), though the resolution isn't as satisfying as I would've hoped. Still, this is an excellent film and full of wonderfully expressionist visuals (see below). The performances are excellent all around, and Shelley Winters is terrific as the mother so under Powell's thrall that she'll accept a sexless marriage (paging Dr. Freud: Powell is simultaneously attracted to women and hateful of them) and even join in his preaching. There is a chilling scene in the middle of the film that shows a murder victim, and it's not a quick glimpse; I was very surprised to see this in a film from 1955. This was actor Charles Laughton's only film as director, and, since it was not well-received at its release, he sadly never directed another nor saw it come to be regarded as a great classic film. How did I go so long without seeing this?
    8.5/10

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    And the chilling scene I referred to (spoiler!):
  4. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    Considering when it was made, that movie is one of the more disturbing ones I've seen. Between Mitchum's acting and the expressionist visual style, it wasn't an easy film to watch.
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  5. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    I was shocked that it could go the places it went for a film released in 1955.

    Reverend Powell is one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
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  6. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Ministry of Fear (1944)
    Fritz Lang's spy thriller (from a novel by Graham Greene) has Stephen Neal (Ray Millard) inadvertently getting involved with a Nazi spy ring through a "wrong man" incident involving a prize cake. The film moves briskly along, but relies on some stretches of credulity; one sinister agent, for example, exits the story by being hit by a bomb dropped from a German plane during an air raid! Still, it's fun and there's a bit of paranoia as Neal doesn't know who to trust (and, since we're given some red herrings, we don't know either). Alan Napier--Alfred from the 60s Batman TV show--appears as a psychiatrist aiding the Nazis! An enjoyable noirish thriller, but not quite a classic.
    7.0/10
  7. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    I saw this a couple of years ago - yep Mitchum really tore it up in this movie! :yes: Loved him in the original Cape Fear too.
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  8. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    A rare quadruple feature today, and it couldn't be a more different set of films...



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    Eyes Without a Face (1955)
    Effective horror film has a scientist who kidnaps young women to surgically transplant their faces onto his badly scarred daughter. A graphic face removal surgery sequence is quite convincing. The Criterion edition also includes, weirdly, an unflinching documentary about a Paris slaughterhouse, which I found fascinating but a bit unsettling (animals are shown being slaughtered; the throatcutting of lambs is the most squirm-inducing).
    7.0/10


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    Enter the Dragon (1973)
    This mashup between a James Bond film and a kung-fu movie has martial artists--including one played by legendary Bruce Lee--summoned to an island near Hong Kong to compete in a tournament held by the mysterious Mr. Han, a great Bond villain type. Lee is accompanied by Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly). When Han's secret industry--opium--comes to light, the combat turns deadly. Despite the B-movie feel, the cinematography is quite good, there's a nice score from Lalo Schifrin, and the martial arts action that ensues is entertaining. A climactic sequence where Lee and Han face off in a room full of mirrors is splendidly executed. I'm amused that, although this film is rated R, it could be shown on broadcast television unedited today. Sad that Bruce Lee died before the release of this film, his most successful.
    8.0/10


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    Persona (1965)
    Ingmar Bergman's psychological drama has an actress (Liv Ullmann) suffering some breakdown that makes her stop talking sent to a remote summer home accompanied by a nurse (Bibi Andersson) who seeks to discover what's troubling the actress and to draw her out of her silence. As their time together progresses, the line between the two women's identities starts to blur. A monologue early in the film that recounts an erotic episode is surprisingly explicit. The acting here is superb, though different interpretations of the ending are possible.
    7.5/10


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    Rushmore (1999)
    Wes Anderson's comedy about a precociously extra-curricular prep school student (Jason Schwartzman) who competes against a wealthy businessman (Bill Murray, in fine melancholy form) for the affections of a pretty, young teacher (Olivia Williams) is a delight.
    8.0/10
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  9. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    I think I saw Enter The Dragon at a theater when I was a kid with my step-dad , but it could have been some other Bruce Lee film. My son has Persona and I watched a bit of it with him, but I guess it's an acquired taste because I wasn't feeling it. I saw Rushmore and agree it was classic quirky Wes Anderson, and Bill Murray was his typically awesome self.
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  10. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but you have to get into it by watching the whole thing for the resolution to have any impact. If you drop into it halfway through, it will seem a bit, uh, random in the end. It isn't, though. I will say this without being spoiler-y: there's more to it than two women at a summer house.
    Murray is at his best when he's playing melancholy, wearied characters. My favorite of his dramatic turns is in Lost in Translation.


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    The Hit (1984)
    Steven Frears' drama about two hitmen (John Hurt and an impossibly young Tim Roth) who abduct a former gangster (Terrence Stamp) from witness protection in Spain with the intent to drive him to Paris to meet his demise at the hands of a gang leader he ratted on ten years earlier. Complications ensue as they drive across country, especially after they're forced to take a sexy young Spanish woman (Lara Del Sol) along on the long car ride. Good performances all around and the characters are all well defined. The movie entertains well enough, but I found the ending unsatisfying, though I suppose it completes an arc of sorts for one of the hitmen.
    6.0/10
  11. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    I loved Murray in Lost In Translation! It really hit close to home for me (no comment just trust me). I wonder what Bill whispered to Scarlett? I bet it was "Rosebud....." :calli:
    I need to see The Hit - I've heard nothing but good things about it.
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  12. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Scanners (1981)
    David Cronenberg's classic(?) sci-fi/horror film about people ("scanners") who have telepathic abilities is an entertaining but somewhat uninvolving flick. I've seen this twice before: on VHS not long after it was in theaters; and then on DVD maybe 15 years ago. Beyond the wonderfully gruesome "head blowing up" bit (you probably know which scene I mean; I've spoiler-tagged it below), it didn't make much impression on me, and I'd largely forgotten the plot. Stephen Lack plays Cameron, a homeless man plagued with schizophrenia-like symptoms who is abducted by a defense company, ConSec, and trained by scanner expert Dr. Ruth (not that one, this one's played by Patrick McGoohan) to be an agent against Revok (Michael Ironside, wonderfully malevolent), a very powerful telepath planning a scanner uprising against normal humanity. Cameron attempts to infiltrate Revok's organization and, with the help of fellow scanner Kim (Jennifer O'Neill), uncovers some dark truths about scanner origins, which all leads up to a fairly gruesome final showdown. It's watchable, many of the practical/makeup effects are pretty good/horrific, and the concept is interesting, but, I dunno, somehow this picture doesn't engage me the way it should, probably because there's very little in the way of character development. I didn't realize there were multiple sequels to this film, though none seem as well-regarded as this original.
    6.5/10

    Warning: gruesome
  13. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    oh great! Now he'll never get that suit clean!
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  14. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    That effect was very practical. They had a dummy of the actor with a head full of fake brains and blood, and they blasted it from behind with a rigged-up 12 gauge shotgun.

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    In one of the interviews on the disk, Michael Ironside says the filmmakers wanted him present in the shot and he told them that he would...but only for a certain amount of money and a certain level of insurance. The filmmakers backed off of that ask.
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  15. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    Yeah that's a Darwin award/Murphy's Law waiting to happen right there!
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  16. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    There was another moment Ironside recounted in the interview...when he was working on Terminator: Salvation almost 25 years later, one of the (very young) production assistants asked him if he was related to the actor with the same name from Scanners. He told her yes, he was. She smiled and told him talent runs in the family. He said he wasn't at all offended but very flattered by that.
  17. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Here are 3 very different films...

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    His Girl Friday (1939)
    Classic comedy has newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant, in fine form) trying to reconcile with his ex-wife and ex-ace reporter Hildy (Rosalind Russell), who's stopping by on her way to marrying an insurance salesman and leaving journalism behind. Burns uses a pending execution and subsequent prison break to awaken her reporter's passion, and a number of tricks to keep her fiancee out of the picture. One nice bit has Burns sending a woman to distract the fiancee and when she asks what the man looks like he replies "like that guy in the movies, Ralph Bellamy" (the fiancee is played by Ralph Bellamy). The film seems timely, as the reporters seem more intent on catching readers' attentions and telling dramatic stories than they do about delivering facts. Also, there's an horrendous tonal discontinuity when one character attempts (succeeds at?) suicide and the comedy resumes immediately thereafter. Still, this is a very funny and entertaining film.
    8.0/10


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    Kagemusha (1980)
    It's 16th Century Japan, and the Takeda clan is at war with rival clans for control of Japan. When the Takeda warlord Shingen is mortally wounded, it's feared the opponents will seize the opportunity to wipe out the Takeda. Fortunately, Shingen has a double who, supported by Shingen's top lieutenants, can step in and pretend to be the warlord. How long can this ruse be maintained? Is it important that the people all believe in something, even if that something is a lie? This epic film--whose production and distribution were supported by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola--is another grand film from Akira Kurosawa, complete with all the martial pageantry and beautiful cinematography you'd expect. A little overlong and not quite the classic that The Seven Samurai and Rashomon are, but still a fine film.
    7.5/10


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    Jules and Jim (1962)
    The two titular friends, Jules an Austrian, Jim a Frenchmen, living a Bohemian lifestyle in pre-WWI Paris, meet a free-spirited woman (Jeanne Moreau) and the three have a complex relationship which eventually has her married to Jules, but taking Jim as her lover, and the three of them living together. It's all very civilized, you see. Another highlight of the French New Wave from Francois Truffaut, it's well-acted and engaging, though I find it hard to identify with the male characters who would accept this situation.
    7.0/10
  18. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Another wildly different set of films...

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    The Awful Truth (1937)
    Delightful rom-com has a divorcing couple interfering with each others' romances because--wouldn't you know it?--they want each other back. The director helped Cary Grant develop his onscreen persona, which arrives fully-formed here. Irene Dunne is terrific as the wife. Quote a few laughs out loud in this one.
    8.0/10


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    Rome Open City (1945)
    Landmark Italian neorealist film made while the war was still happening (!) in Italy has the Gestapo trying very methodically to find a resistance operative in Rome. Several people act heroically, but don't expect a happy ending in Italian neorealism.
    7.5/10


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    Ugetsu (1953)
    A ghost story in medieval Japan! A potter trying to enrich his family during a war is seduced by a female spirit into abandoning them. A second plot thread concerns his imbecile assistant who dreams of becoming a samurai, and, for a short while, hilariously succeeds. The ultimate message here? Men going off on adventures in war destroy their families and communities; they should forget martial rewards and get about doing their work. Pretty timely message for post-WWII Japan, huh?
    7.5/10


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    Odd Man Out (1947)
    Though the words "I.R.A." and "Belfast" are never used, this noirish thriller finds James Mason as Johnny, the head of a group of agents in that organization and operating in the Irish city. When a robbery to fund the group goes wrong, Johnny is wounded and goes on the run, trying to avoid the tightening net put out by police, while his allies try to bring him in. Mainly effective, but suffers a bit from a mostly passive main character and some sluggishness in the middle third.
    7.0/10


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    Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)
    Comedy film has the oblivious and accident-prone Monsieur Hulot (played by director Jacques Tati) go on holiday in a seaside resort and proceed to hilariously wreak havoc at every turn. Physical comedy that reminds me of Charlie Chaplin, and that prefigures Inspector Clouseau, Benny Hill, and Mr. Bean. No real plot beyond a series of humorous episodes, but I was highly amused.
    8.0/10


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    Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
    An astronaut is forced to land on Mars and must live off the land to survive. Some huge misconceptions about the Martian environment and some fantastic elements propel the story, but it works. The visual effects are reasonably good; I think Star Trek might have stolen the opening shots for its intro. A pre-Batman Adam West has a small role.
    6.5/10
  19. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Another disparate set of films...

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    Le Samourai (1967)
    Melville's neonoir about an impassive but extraordinarily disciplined hitman named Jef who meticulously arranges his alibi before the hit, and dresses like he's Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. When he's picked up by the cops, a witness unaccountably clears him...and then an attempted double cross by his employer sets him on a quest to settle the score. A sequence where detectives attempt to track Jef through the Paris metro system is fun. I'm not sure the ending is justified by what came before it, but found the picture solid otherwise.
    7.5/10



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    Cries and Whispers (1972)
    Two sisters and a servant care for a third sister dying of cancer. Each woman has undergone suffering and responded to it in her own way. There's probably a bigger point here--and it connects to Christian faith--but it's a little hard to fathom. Still, very well acted and beautifully shot.
    7.0/10



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    Charade (1963)
    Stanley Donan's thriller/comedy/romance is "the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock didn't make." Audrey Hepburn plays Regina, a recently widowed woman whose husband was involved in some criminal activity concerning a missing $250,000. Pursued by her dead husband's partners (James Coburn and George Kennedy among them) she is aided by a man (Cary Grant, still got it even pushing 60) whose identity is...unclear. Walther Matthau is a CIA official who tries to keep Regina ahead of her pursuers. This is a well-executed thriller, the two leads have good chemistry, and the witty dialogue produces a lot of laughs.
    8.0/10



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    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
    In remembrance of author John Le Carre who passed away yesterday, I re-spun this terrific adaptation of his early smash novel. Leamas (Richard Burton, very solid) is a down-and-out former spy who gets sought out by East German intelligence agents to sell what he knows. The clever plot has a number of revelations that change the audience understanding of what's going on several times. Just beware this isn't a James Bond film; it's a cynical look at the ruthless world of espionage, written by a man (Le Carre) who experienced it firsthand. Superb.
    8.0/10
  20. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    The Killers (1964)
    A late model noir very loosely based on an Ernest Hemingway novel has a duo of hitmen (Lee Marvin, Clu Gulagher) trying to recover a million dollars in stolen cash. John Cassavetes is the racer hired as a driver for the theft, Angie Dickinson is the beautiful moll who schemes with the racer, and Ronald Reagan(!) is the ringleader of the criminal gang. Nicely told with great performances all around, this was originally intended as a made-for-TV movie...but was much too violent and so was released and had a successful theatrical run. The story is effectively told through a series of flashbacks that reveal a few nice twists. Marvin's final scene--shot while he was literally falling-down drunk--is one of the best of its kind.
    7.5/10


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    House of Games (1987)
    David Mamet's clever film has a psychiatrist (Lindsay Crouse) getting involved in the world of conmen, and with one charming conman (Joe Mantegna) in particular. A movie about conmen must perforce engage in a con of the audience and this one does effectively. I saw this many years ago and really liked it...I still do.
    8.0/10
  21. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    I need to re-watch The Killers. It's been a long time and I vaguely remember it.
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  22. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    The Criterion set has both the 1964 version which I reviewed, and a 1946 version with Burt Lancaster that I'm going to watch soon.
  23. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    If... (1968)
    An impossibly young Malcolm McDowell plays a rebellious student at an oppressively regimented boarding school. Notable for being the first film to show full-frontal female nudity (and getting an X rating in the process) and taps into the upwelling of revolutionary spirit in young people at the time. The ending is a little...much...and ends a cynical film on a downright nihilistic note.
    6.5/10



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    The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
    Charming tale centered on M. Gustave (a terrific Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of a grand old hotel in a (fictitional) Central European country who gets embroiled in danger when he figures into the will of a wealthy aristocratic lady. A great cast, witty dialogue, and director Wes Anderson's distinct visual style (diorama-like sets, orthographic framing, saturated colors, deliberate artifice, etc.) all contribute to an excellent film.
    8.0/10



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    The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent classic about the trial and execution of the young woman who led French armies against the English in the Hundred Years War. A large part of the film consists of close-ups of the actors--important in silent films where expression has to communicate what dialog can't--and lead actress Falconetti's performance is a triumph. Interestingly, there's no clear consensus on whether 20 or 24 frames per second is the proper frame rate and the Criterion Blu-Ray provides both. Much of the dialog is taken from the actual trial, and shows both the un-Christian tactics of the religious authorities and Joan's cleverness in avoiding their traps.
    8.5/10



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    Au Revoir, Les Enfants (1987)
    French director Louis Malle's autobiographical story of a boarding school in Vichy France, 1944. Young Julien befriends a new student--ostensibly a Protestant--at his Catholic school and gradually discovers his secret...and the school's. A sometimes surprisingly non-steteotypical look at French society collaborating with the Nazis: even some of the Germans come across as decent. The ending is as it must be: heartbreaking.
    8.0/10



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    Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
    In this very different noir, Mickey Spillane's hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) is on the case to discover why a woman--an escapee from a mental institution!--he picked up in the middle of the night was tortured and killed. No, he doesn't care that much about her; he figures that whatever she was involved in is something big...and an opportunity for him to score. There's a complex plot that I couldn't begin to repeat, but it's all about finding the MacGuffin: a box containing... something... that's been hidden away. You really shouldn't look in the box. One cool tidbit: Hammer's apartment has an answering machine (in 1955!)...they'd get a lot smaller before they disappeared altogether.
    7.5/10

    I mean it. You really shouldn't look in that box...



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    It Happened One Night (1934)
    Delightful screwball comedy has a hard drinkin', fast talkin' reporter (Clark Gable) bringing a runaway rich girl (Claudette Colbert) back to New York while keeping her away from everyone searching for her. Does romance blossom? Of course, but the course of true love does not run smoothly. This film won the big five Oscars (film, director, actor, actress, writing). Gable is terrific, and Colbert earns her Oscar midway through in a scene where she shows vulnerability.
    8.0/10
  24. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    Yes I love Kiss Me Deadly but I forgot that it was a Criterion movie. Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer is AWESOME!
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  25. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Yojimbo (1961)
    A samurai (Toshiro Mifune, badassery turned up to 11) rolls into a town divided into two warring criminal factions in this classic Akira Kurosawa film. With both sides desperate to obtain his fighting skill, he plays them off against each other, escalating the tensions, and drawing them into a war that will destroy them both. The action is excellent--Mifune's character wading through six armed men guarding a captive woman is a highlight--and the violence is often graphic (there were a couple of arterial blood sprays I noted). Excellent.
    8.5/10


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    Badlands (1973)
    Terrence Malick's story of a 25-year-old n'er-do-well with a James Dean vibe (Martin Sheen) who takes his teenage girlfriend (Sissy Spacek) on a road trip across South Dakota and Montana...and murders several people along the way. The story is loosely based on the 1959 Charlie Starkweather murder spree. The two young leads both have excellent, career highlight performances here. I first saw this a dozen or more years ago and I liked it better this time.
    8.0/10


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    Barry Lyndon (1975)
    A rare treat for me: a Stanley Kubrick film I haven't previously seen. This one chronicles a young Irishman's (Ryan O'Neal) misadventures through life in 18th Century Europe, culminating in marriage to a wealthy English lady. The cinematography is wonderful, with many scenes looking like paintings. Several indoor scenes are lit only by candlelight, a feat Kubrick accomplished through the use of a special camera lens originally made for the Apollo program. Barry's quest is strongly driven by events often outside his control, and so his destiny seems more s product of chance than of character. As with many of Kubrick's films, there seems to be emotional distance between the audience and the characters, which make the proceedings seem a bit sterile. Still, a masterpiece.
    8.0/10
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  26. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    Yojimbo is great, and another great Toshiro centered film is Sanjuro. The super intense 30 second long stare-down scene is epic.
    Barry Lyndon is great but not for mass consumption by casual movie fans. At one point Kubrick was going to make a an epic period film about Napoleon but it fell through - it would have been awesome!
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  27. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    The-Leopard.jpg
    The Leopard (1963)
    A mid-19th Century Sicilian prince (Burt Lancaster) tries to hold onto his aristocratic way of life as Italy becomes a unified state. Good performances (marred somewhat by English dubbing) all around. Superfine Claudia Cardinale shines as the woman the prince sees married to his socially climbing nephew (Alain Delon) to strengthen the family's prospects. 3+ hour runtime is a bit challenging.
    7.5/10


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    Last Year in Marienbad (1961)
    I'm not sure if this film is about what did happen, what could happen, what people remember happening, or what people wish happened, but whatever it is it involves a man trying to entice a woman whom he may have met before or not to leave the opulent spa hotel they're both staying at with him. Confused? You will be. This beautifully shot noirish film seems to dispense with a definite narrative altogether, leaving the audience to put together their own concept of a story. I'm not a fan of the technique. Also, the characters have that sterile impassiveness like many in Kubrick's films. Also not a fan.
    6.5/10


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    The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    After Marienbad, I needed something more conventional, so I re-spun this, one of my favorite films of all time. You probably already know all about it. It's awesome.
    9.0/10


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    Eraserhead (1977)
    David Lynch's debut film is an experimental exercise in annoyance, repugnance, and nonsense. It is astonishingly effective at creating moments of extreme awkwardness and excels in sound design that has the viewer constantly ill at ease. But the story(?) of a man saddled with a weirdly deformed child just doesn't go anywhere, and dream sequences or imaginary diversions don't add up to anything. File this one under "too f**king weird." Critics call this a masterpiece; I don't see it.
    6.0/10
  28. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    The Leopard sounds like a hard sell no matter what. Italy's unification is not exactly a well known or exciting historical subject. Cool though how Italy is in theory "unified" and is an actual unified nation now, but every province retains it's own unique customs, traditions, language dialects to some extent, etc. Then again a lot of Europe is like that.

    Eraserhead is very much a "love it or hate it" movie no doubt about it. I'm in the "love it" camp myself.
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  29. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    Just a reminder, that Zatoichi meets Yojimbo is a movie they made, and it's brilliant.
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  30. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    PIERROT-THUMB.jpg
    Pierrot le Fou
    (1969)
    A disconsolate husband (Jean-Paul Belmondo) runs off with a babysitter (Anna Carina) involved with gunrunners in Jean-Luc Godard's enjoyable road trip. New Wave rule breaking abounds--I especially liked the reference to the audience during a drive--but some conventions should not be flouted: several important moments occur in very wide shots that make it difficult to understand precisely what's happening or what emotions are being expressed.
    8.0/10


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    8-1/2 (1963)
    Fellini's classic about movie director Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) whose latest film is falling apart as his marriage teeters on the brink due to his infidelities. Full of iconic imagery (Guido flying through a traffic jam, Guido hovering above the beach, etc.). Radiant Claudia Cardinale plays Guido's vision of the ideal woman.
    8.0/10


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    Kes (1969)
    In an industrial town in Yorkshire, a working class boy (David Bradley, a real local boy and splendid first-time actor), constantly beaten down spiritually by a disinterested and humiliating school system and physically by his older brother, captures and trains a kestrel, demonstrating that he can be more than what the world expects of him. A fairly damning critique of the English school system of the time, this is a terrific, moving film. There's a soccer game around the midpoint of the film that I found very amusing.
    8.5/10


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    The Lodger (1927)
    Alfred Hitchcock's terrific silent thriller has London on edge because a serial killer--who leaves a calling card signed "The Avenger"--is killing young blonde women every Tuesday night. A family (with young blonde daughter, naturally) rents out a room to a mysterious young man who, they gradually realize, has some connection to the recent murders. While far from the slick features that Hitchcock would make in coming decades, this film still has some wonderful innovations; my favorite is when the family hears the lodger pacing upstairs and they look up, the floor turns momentarily transparent, and we see the lodger's feet. Terrific thriller marred somewhat by an ending where a significant event occurs off screen, disconnected from the main plot.
    7.5/10


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    Brute Force (1947)
    In a prison where a weak warden has ceded power to a sadistic captain of the guards (Hume Cronyn as a really bad guy!!!), a con (Burt Lancaster, excellent) and his crew plot to break out. Jules Dassin's film is a critique of the prison system of the time and holds up today, even though the film does stack the deck by making the prison authorities weak, incompetent, or sadistic and by either downplaying the cons' crimes, making them wrongly convicted, or making their crimes the result of difficult personal situations. The climactic battle for control of a guard tower is pretty exciting, and Lancaster is absolutely stellar in this early role.
    7.0/10


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    In the Mood for Love (2001)
    On the same day in Hong Kong, 1962, two couples--the Chows and the Chans--move in next door to each other. The film never really shows us Mrs. Chow or Mr. Chan except from behind or very obliquely, but we get to know their spouses well. Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan are both nice, attractive people, and they each gradually become aware that their respective spouses are having an affair. Drawn together by their common misery, they form a friendship which turns into a sublimated longing. Will they give in to their desires? If this were a Hollywood film, it would have a happier ending. Well-acted and the two leads are engaging, though goes a little long toward the end.
    7.5/10


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    Veronika Voss (1982)
    In 1950s Munich, a reporter offers an attractive lady shelter under his umbrella while they wait for a streetcar in the rain, and he gradually becomes aware that she's Veronika Voss, an actress whose heyday was in during the Third Reich, and whose career has now all but dissipated. She comes across as a German Norma Desmond, still holding to the illusion that she's as important as ever. But the reporter begins to see that the actress is under the thrall of a psychiatrist who's keeping her fed with a steady supply of opiates in pursuit of a darker agenda. I didn't think this was going to be a thriller, but it steadily evolves into one.
    7.5/10
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021