Discussion in 'Media Central' started by Paladin, Oct 20, 2020.
I've seen Brute Force - yes a great movie. Love the ending!
BTW, Criterion Collection has their own YouTube channel.
The Gunslinger (1950)
Gregory Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, a famous gunslinger trying to escape his past, who rides into the town of Cayenne to find and hopefully re-unite with his wife and son, but at every turn there are young gunfighters looking to challenge him for bravado or reputation, people wanting revenge on him for both real and false past misdeeds, and others who just want him out of town. Well-acted and entertaining (three brothers riding toward the town, bent on revenge, provide a ticking clock to the proceedings). Karl Malden plays a saloon keeper happy with all the notoriety from Ringo's visit, and Millard Mitchell is the town marshal, an old friend of Ringo's, who is sympathetic to his plight.
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)
Man, is this a timely film to watch! Katharina (Angela Winkler) spends the night with Gõtten (a young Jürgen Prochnow), an Army deserter and thief, and her life is subsequently turned upside down by the German authorities working hand in glove with a sensationalist fear-mongering media, mainly in the form of a reckless narrative-pushing reporter (Dieter Laser from The Human Centipede!). Illustrates perfectly how innocent people can have their lives destroyed by a media concerned with narratives over truth. Volker Schlöndorff's Film is from a novel by Heinrich Böll.
Bottle Rocket (1996)
Wes Anderson's first feature has most of his trademarks: Luke Wilson, a bright pastel color palette, orthographic framing, diorama-like staging, and eccentricity. Bill Murray doesn't appear, but was sought for the role James Caan plays. Luke Wilson plays Anthony, recently back from a voluntary commitment at a sanitarium, who joins up with his scheming, not-as-clever-as-he-imagines-himself friend Dignan (Luke's brother Owen Wilson) to commit armed robberies. While on the run for robbing a book store (!), their future heist plans are disrupted when Anthony falls for a motel maid from Paraguay. Somewhat charming (particularly the romance between Anthony and Inez), well-acted, and confidently directed by Anderson, I found this an enjoyable if not quite satisfying tale. A third Wilson (eldest brother Andrew) has a small supporting role. The Criterion disk has the 13 minute short Anderson made (also with the Wilson brothers), which was the basis for the feature and which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
And, on the Criterion Channel, I watched...
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
This splendid tale from spaghetti western maestro Sergio Leone is chock full of good stuff, especially the cast: Charles Bronson as an harmonic-playing gunslinger with a lightning fast draw, on a mission to kill some bad people for reasons unrevealed; Sicilian uberbabe Claudia Cardinale is a New Orleans prostitute seeking respectability, who arrives in the remote western town to find her new husband and family murdered; Jason Robards is a bandit who gets blamed for the murders, but who intends to settle accounts with the real villains; and Henry Fonda, cast terrifically against type as Frank, the sadistic gunfighter who's spilling blood freely in furtherance of a plan to get the widow's land. Ennio Morricone's musical score--complete with themes for the main characters--is instantly memorable. Complaints? It takes its time telling the tale, and I think it would be a better film with about 20-30 minutes cut.
A third Wilson (eldest brother Andrew) has a small supporting role. The Criterion disk has the 13 minute short Anderson made (also with the Wilson brothers), which was the basis for the feature and which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. - Paladin
There's a third Wilson? Wow the Wilsons are edging into Baldwin territory there. Then again I was shocked to find out there is a third Olsen twin as it were. Yes I've seen the disk version's short version of the movie - pretty interesting.
Memorable quote of Bottle Rocket was Applejack:
"I lost my touch! Oh who am I kidding, I never had a touch."
Though it wasn't my intent, all three films here involve suffering in some way...
Wild Strawberries (1957)
An old man (played by legendary Swedish film director Victor Sjöström) set to receive an award for his 50 year career as a doctor, decides to drive to the ceremony. Along the way, he confronts a lot of the pain he's suffered and caused, and begins to see that much is rooted in his emotional coldness toward others. Bibi Andersson is delightful in a dual role. Though there are plenty of art film aspects, this is one of director Ingmar Bergman's more accessible films.
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
In this first installment of Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy of films (called Blue, White, and Red, and representing, respectively, the Revolutionary French ideals of libertè, egalitè, and fraternitè), Julia (Juliet Binoche, terrific), the wife of a prominent musical composer, suffers a devastating loss, tries to sever all human contact in order to free herself, but finds that the needs of others and her own need for others are not so easily dismissed. The swimming pool she frequents is wonderfully symbolic: she immerses herself in its blue waters as if to escape the world, sometimes coiling into a fetal position underwater, but each time the outside world intrudes and she's compelled to leave it.
The Ascent (1977)
Director Larisa Shepitko's final film before her untimely death, this story follows two Russian partisans fighting the Germans in World War II Belorussia as they try to locate food for their comrades during a brutal winter retreat. When they--and several innocents whom they've implicated by association--are captured by the Germans and their collaborators, one of the partisans is brutally tortured nearly to death, but stays resolute in not revealing information to his captors. This young, bearded man takes on a near angelic appearance as he suffers, and tries to sacrifice himself for the others. The other partisan (named Rybak, meaning "fisherman" hint, hint) denies being an active partisan and attempts to save his own skin. Brutal in places, and the end is unsparing for all concerned.
I mentioned The Ascent earlier in this thread. One of my favorite movies in any genre. I don't get the "fisherman" hint though. I did like the ending though.
The character of Sotnikov is a Christ metaphor. Rybak is a mashup of Peter (the fisherman) and Judas.
Another sort-of common theme, the seedy underside of society, runs through these three films...
Night and the City (1950)
Fast-talking American conman Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) tries to move into the professional wrestling business in London, but he doesn't realize he's being set up for destruction by the club owner who's investing in his venture. Harry juggles a number of calamities, but when things ultimately fall apart, he's forced to run for his life. Gene Tierney plays a kind, beautiful woman who loves Harry, but really shouldn't. Interestingly, there is an alternate British version included on the Criterion Blu-Ray that has a (slightly) more upbeat ending and a different musical score. Another good film from Jules Dassin (Brute Force, Rififi, Topkapi) and a significant early film noir, though Dassin says in an interview on the disk the concept of film noir was a later invention and imposed on films of that time, not something he was consciously trying to make. Although the film was based on the book, Dassin admits he never read it, and so the screenplay is only very loosely tied to the source material, which, as you might imagine, was rather upsetting to the book's author. This one took a while to engage me, but I got hooked. Widmark is underappreciated as an actor.
A taciturn small town policeman (Donald Sutherland) comes to New York City to investigate the disappearance of his best friend, a businessman. His only lead is a call girl and aspiring actress (Jane Fonda) who may have information that can break the case. After surveilling and recording her, he induces her cooperation by threatening her with the tapes, so she helps him seek an abusive client she had years before who may--or may not--have been the missing man. Of course, he 's attracted to her and she begins to find him appealing as well. Roy Scheider (pre-Jaws) shows up as her former pimp. There's some suspense, but we find out most of the truth too early and the resolution isn't particularly thrilling. Good performances by Sutherland and Fonda, and an interesting look at how films of the early 70s--free of the production code--could explicitly deal with more adult themes.
Naked Kiss (1964)
Samuel Fuller's noirish melodrama (or melodramatic noir?) has Kelly (Constance Towers), a prostitute, coming to a small town to bury her past and lead a normal life. It all goes splendidly--she becomes well-loved and respected by the townspeople--and she even manages to attract the very wealthy scion of the town founder who, despite knowing her past, wants to marry her. But it all goes terribly wrong (the inciting incident could only be hinted at in a film made in the early 60s, but it's very clear what it was) and she finds herself charged with murder. When her past is brought to light, will the townfolk spurn her? Entertaining, if a bit implausible in spots; the difficulty in locating a crime victim--one person in a small town--who could exonerate Kelly is a stretch. And in places there's some weird editing; I was jarred by one glaring jump cut. Still, entertaining enough. I have another film of Fuller's--Shock Corridor--in the queue for a viewing soon.
agree Night And The City is very good - the main character is well cast & engaging. I never saw the other two, but I've heard of Klute.
I finally watched Yojimbo the other day (turns out I have HBO Max for free because of my cell phone contract).
I was very suitably impressed. Made me want to finally watch The Seven Samurai, and I was very glad I did. I am not considering The Magnificent Seven to be the cheap knockoff, and I love The Magnificent Seven.
Which Mag 7? The sixties version (with Yul Brenner) or the one from a few years ago with Denzel Washington?
Seven Samurai is much better than The Magnificent Seven (1960) (which is still very good) which is better than The Magnificent Seven (2016) which I actually also liked.
Fun fact: The criterion collection version of seven samurai takes up 2 discs.
My son has the Criterion version but I don't remember it taking up two discs - I do remember it was pretty long though.
here's a pic of 2 of the 3 discs (Special features on disc 3)
Separate names with a comma.