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What I'm Watching This Weekend

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OddOne: In college, I heard nothing but lavish praise for "The Conformist," but after graduating, it somehow seeped into my system that the film was a Marxist apologetic! I suppose that means ... well, next to nothing. But do let us know if it's strictly political allegory (I doubt it), or in other ways seems dated.

Looks like there's no thread for The Conformist. I don't really think the film was pro-Fascism. It was more a character-study about a Fascist ... but the film implies that he's only a Fascist for reasons one could glean from the film's title. I've read commentary on it saying it was Bertolucci's best *and* Trintignant's best. I don't know enough about either artist to say, really, and the film mostly just confused me. There are some epic scenes that I'm sure are great moments in the history of cinema, though, so I'm glad I've finally seen it after all this time.

There's another reason to praise this film, though... Vittorio Storaro. Cinematographers don't get a lot of credit, it seems, but cinematography is the first discipline that really got me interested in film, so I take an interest in the works of highly regarded cinematographers like Nykvist and Storaro. There's a reason that multiple scenes from Il Conformista are in every cinematography text... because the entire movie is filled with visual brilliance. Storaro won Oscars for his work on Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor and Reds, but this may very well be his best work.

So yeah, it's a film that doesn't really leave you... it reminded me of The Godfather a bit in that respect. But it's not something I think I'll ever fully understand. All in all, a great piece of cinematic history, and well worth seeing.

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There's another reason to praise this film, though... Vittorio Storaro. Cinematographers don't get a lot of credit, it seems, but cinematography is the first discipline that really got me interested in film, so I take an interest in the works of highly regarded cinematographers like Nykvist and Storaro. There's a reason that multiple scenes from Il Conformista are in every cinematography text... because the entire movie is filled with visual brilliance. Storaro won Oscars for his work on Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor and Reds, but this may very well be his best work.

NOW you've got me interested! :) I never did see this film in the 1990s, when it was one of the frequently requested titles for release on laserdisc, IIRC. There was no letterboxed version of the film on VHS, and we letterbox aficionados were instructed no to watch the film panned-and-scanned, because the cinematography was so integral to the film.

Now that you mention it though, what was the aspect ratio? Was it the European 1.66:1? If so, that's not much more picture info than the standard NTSC aspect ration of 1.33:1. Still, I'm sure it's essential to see the film as it was intended to be seen. I'll see if the library has a copy on file.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Now that you mention it though, what was the aspect ratio? Was it the European 1.66:1? If so, that's not much more picture info than the standard NTSC aspect ration of 1.33:1. Still, I'm sure it's essential to see the film as it was intended to be seen. I'll see if the library has a copy on file.

IMDB says 1.66:1. The DVD I got from Amazon was anamorphic widescreen, so I'm sure it was the correct ratio.

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theoddone33 wrote:

: IMDB says 1.66:1. The DVD I got from Amazon was anamorphic widescreen, so I'm sure it was the correct ratio.

The anamorphic format on DVDs etc. is 1.78:1, so a 1.66:1 movie in the anamorphic format would have vertical black bars on the sides. (The first example that comes to mind of a DVD in my collection that does this is the "collector's edition" of Disney's Tarzan.) If the film was originally 1.66:1 but the picture fills the entire anamorphic frame, then either the sides have been "opened up" to reveal more picture than people saw in theatres, or the top and bottom of the image have been shaved off to fit the DVD format.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I regret my cool reaction (maybe "non-reaction" is a better term) many months ago to Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. I watched it again last night, finishing it this morning, and it's one of the best horror movies of recent years.

I realize I'm late to the party, but I wanted to correct the record.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Darrell: I'd love to hear your thoughts on "Thieves." I own a copy, but have watched it just once, after determining there was too much "Bonnie and Clyde," and not enough Altman in it.

I'll just respond here, since it's not really worth its own thread. I didn't think it was too much Bonnie and Clyde. As to it's place in the Altman corpus, I'd say it has more kinship with M*A*S*H than with things like Nashville, Gosford Park or PHC in that it is more of a linear story than various intersecting stories. Pleasurable enough. Interesting to see everyone so young.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Help me decide;

Black Book

Jindabyne

The Page Turner

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Everything's Gone Green

Reign Over Me

Grindhouse

Hot Fuzz

And, if you've got a minute, why?

Ron

P.S. I love this thread!


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Help me decide;

Black Book

Jindabyne

The Page Turner

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Everything's Gone Green

Reign Over Me

Grindhouse

Hot Fuzz

And, if you've got a minute, why?

Ron

P.S. I love this thread!

I've seen only "Reign Over Me" from your list, and thought highly of it. Right now I have "Shaun of the Dead" in my DVD stack, hoping to get some relief after having just seen "28 Weeks Later," but also a way to prime the pump for "Hot Fuzz," about which I hear great things.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Help me decide;

Black Book

Jindabyne

The Page Turner

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Everything's Gone Green

Reign Over Me

Grindhouse

Hot Fuzz

I've only seen 3 of these, but recommend:

Jindabyne if you want some great performances within a fairly compelling story.

Black Book if you want some tension/release/tension/release fun.

(links to my reviews of both of these can be found on my viewing list.)

As for me, I have Freedom Writers at home. Want to rewatch Pirates2 soon before seeing 3 in a few weeks, so maybe I'll actually hit Blockbusters (unless it's been turned back in at the library). We've been wanting to get to Fracture, so maybe we'll fit that in.

Edited by Darrel Manson

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is the most unassuming film on your list. Give it a chance. Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

Twitter     Letterboxd

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This weekend, me and some friends are doing a marathon of the Die Hard thrillogy...I haven't seen parts two and three, but I've heard negative things. Still, there are some things that you just have to see at least once.


-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

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Today I expect we'll be seeing either Waitress or Away from Her (and likely may see the other before the weekend is out). Monday I see Pirates otC 3.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I'll list my DVDs by order of interest (I've already seen "Freedom Writers," but Sarah hasn't). Do I need to re-prioritize these?

1. Half Nelson

2. Fast Food Nation

3. Shaun of the Dead

4. Out of the Past

5. Freedom Writers


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Not "this weekend", exactly, but yesterday I watched Hustle & Flow during one of the kids' naps (I had booked it at the library a few months ago after seeing Black Snake Moan and deciding that I needed to familiarize myself with the director's work), and then in the evening D and I watched the Videomatica.ca copy of Music and Lyrics that had arrived in the mail the previous day. And then I realized that BOTH of these films were about song-writing and -recording -- the kind of films where dialogue informs lyrics and lyrics inform dialogue, which must be a big challenge both artistically (e.g. when do you change the script to match a good song? if you already have the song, how do you capture the spontaneity of creativity in a way that informs the characters of the song-writers themselves?) and legally (e.g. who gets the royalties for what?).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I'll list my DVDs by order of interest (I've already seen "Freedom Writers," but Sarah hasn't). Do I need to re-prioritize these?

1. Half Nelson

2. Fast Food Nation

3. Shaun of the Dead

4. Out of the Past

5. Freedom Writers

Um, yes. Out of the Past should be at the very top!

Remember that old Sesame Street tune?

One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn't belong,

Can you tell which thing is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

Twitter     Letterboxd

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Hmm, something called Black Book is playing nearby and sounds interesting. I'm sure there's already a thread on it. I may go see that. Otherwise I have a host of DVDs to pick from... just thinking through ones I may want to watch, I'm coming up with this list:

Sunrise(Murnau)

The Battleship Potemkin

Wild Strawberries (or one of about 29 other Bergman films I haven't seen)

All Quiet on the Western Front

One or two of those will probably happen, any priorities?

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Two DVDs on tap for the long holiday weekend:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Mrs. Henderson Presents

--I still have watched only one of the VHS tapes I ordered from New York/Facets, so maybe I'll dig into one of those films.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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If we don't get to it tonight, we watch Old Joy over the weekend. Probably get to either The Valet or Angel-A on Sat. And may get to either Shrek or Spidey sometime over the long weekend.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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If we don't get to it tonight, we watch Old Joy over the weekend. Probably get to either The Valet or Angel-A on Sat. And may get to either Shrek or Spidey sometime over the long weekend.

Darrel, which of Veber's other films have you seen? I was reading Jon Podhoretz, who called Veber's "The Dinner Game" a "perfect" movie. I saw that movie years ago, during its theatrical run, with my then-fiance (now wife), and neither of us remembered thinking it was *all that* funny. Cute, but not uproarious. Which makes me think French farce just isn't my cuppa.

Would another Veber film convince me otherwise?


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I'm planning a double feature of The Searchers and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for Friday night. (30th anniversary of the latter's release, and 100th birthday of John Wayne.)

EDIT - Actually his birthday is Saturday, but close enough. :)

Edited by MrZoom

Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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This weekend I intend to watch "Laura" (Otto Preminger), "The Woodsman" and "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada". The last film I watched was "Little Miss Sunshine" which was dreadful.


We are part of the generation in which the image has triumphed over the word, when the visual is dominant over the verbal and where entertainment drowns out exposition. We may go so far as to claim that we live in an age of the image which is also the age of anti-word and potentially is the age of the lie. ~ Os Guiness

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

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Last 1/2 hour of "Ran" (again, because the wife skipped out on it last week), and maybe "Howard's End." Netflix is making a killing off us this year.

Mr. Zoom, have you already seen "The Searchers?"

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I hope to see Waitress, which is finally opening in our little backwater of America. May also watch American Desi (for Kal Penn pre-Namesake) and some episodes of Keen Eddie on DVD. Hey--it's summer--my brain is tired.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Mr. Zoom, have you already seen "The Searchers?"

It was one of the films that was screened in my film appreciation class during my freshman year in college.

That was 18 years ago, and the only time I've seen it.


Edward Curtis

Morgantown, WV

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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