Film 09

Jan. 11th, 2010 04:24 pm
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Films Seen

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Film 09

Jan. 11th, 2010 04:24 pm
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Films Seen

January )
February )
March )
April )
May )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
I'm having a bit of fun listing all the films and series I've watched and rewatched in 2009. So far I must say that autumn has been more relaxed than spring (wherein April and May were a bit absurd).

The only downside is that I set an adjacent goal of writing a bit of a blurb about most of the films, but so far I'm not even half way. So I'd thought I do some mini write-ups about some of the films, and at least make some progress.


Any excuse to put up a picture of Cary Grant. Here from Only Angels have Wings


Paris is Burning

The film adapts a documentary style when narrating the last few days before the Allied liberation of Paris in 1944. Problem is that the film has followed in the footsteps of The Longest Day and other luminaries, and so all the parts are played by famous actors. You're left with the impression that Alain Delon, Jean Paul Belmondo and Leslie Caron all worked for the French Resistance - or more precisely you stop caring about the story and start actor-spotting instead.+++ )

Home of the Brave

The only times I truly dislike my work is when I have to watch bad films. And by bad I mean "films' that aren't even entertainingly bad, just plain awful." Home of the Brave is one of those. +++ )

Red River

John Wayne and Montgomery Clift drive cattle, while being manly men who quarrel over manly things - like, apparently, cattle. To be honest the film is very good, its just that it is a Howard Hawkes' action picture and I've never managed to engage with those (as opposed to his comedies such as His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby). +++ )

Only Angels Have Wings
+++ )

Hotel Rwanda

This was a rewatch, and considering the film's material not a very pleasant one. But one thing struck med then, and even more so now and that is the bitter irony inherent in the film's message.+++ )

-----
Films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (GK Cranky doc)
Three Kings

There were two things I kept pondering while watching this film:
a.)Why isn’t anyone wearing helmets?
b.)Why is it called Three Kings?

So far I have no satisfactory answer to any of the questions, but will welcome any wild speculations.
+++ )

Behind Enemy Lines )

Jarhead )
baleanoptera: (Sita Shadowpuppets knows best)
With some films the sheer beauty of the cinematography is the main reason why I love the films. of course the story and the acting helps, but I've always been a sucker for images and love it when I can indulge in gorgeous visuals. So I figured that instead of writing about the film, I'd screen cap parts of them instead. That makes this post rather image heavy, but it is also the only way to do the beautiful cinematography justice.



Blade Runner - with a tiny spoiler for BSG )
------


The German director F. W. Murnau consistently made films that were highly visual, and that often had a supernatural theme. This resulted in some stunning cinematography - like in Faust. It is a retelling of the tale of Faust who sells his soul, and Murnau uses the tale for all it is worth to include alchemy, heavy religious symbolism and some of the more stunning special effects of its time. ++++ )
------


The great combo of the supernatural and early cinema also produced the wonderful and weird Swedish silent film Häxan or Witchcraft through the Ages. The film proposes to tell in a lecture like manner the story of witchcraft and analyse it via the science of psychoanalysis. Complete with numerous images of naked women worshipping devils or course.++++ )
-----

Films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Film Louise Brooks)
Sword of Doom

I wanted to see this film for three reasons:


1. It starred Tatsuya Nakadai.

++++ )

Let the Right One In

A vampire film set in a small town in rural Northern Sweden that offered a fresh and psychological approach to the vampire myth sounds excellent. Which means I'm a bit baffled that I didn't like it. spoiler )

Angels and Demons

Imagine Tom Hanks running frantically around Rome while talking about Bernini and angels, and you could have any number of scenes from Angels and Demons. Yet somehow I'm fine with that. Unlike Let the Right One In this is a film I didn't expect to like, and where I'm a bit surprised I actually did. It isn't the movie that will change your life, but it does manage to avoid the tediousness that was The Da Vinci Code. In fact it reminded me of the National Treasure films. The plot is improbable, impossible even, and any form of historical correctness is achieved only by accident - yet I was never bored. With these type of films I think that counts for quite a bit. spoilers )
baleanoptera: (BoB Lewis)

From Ken Burns' The War


The Battle of Midway

During World War II director John Ford to a break from directing epic westerns starring John Wayne and devoted himself to making propaganda documentaries. The most famous of these was the twenty minutes long colour film The Battle of Midway:
video under cut )

The film is famous for its actual combat footage, particularly the way the camera shakes with the impacts of the blasts and how shots of the soldiers are predominantly close-ups due to the need to stick together during the bombardment. Both the shaky camera and the close-ups were later employed by Steven Spielberg in the Omaha beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, and later in Band of Brothers, particularly in the episodes Day of Days and crossroads. ++++ )

Ken Burn's The War

In Ford's The Battle of Midway the images tell the main story, but they are effectively complemented by the rhetoric of various voiceovers. A repeated phrase is how the soldiers are from this town, or that town or "any other American town". At one point the narrators says: "men and women of American. Here comes your neighbor's son", combined with mentions of the name of the various soldiers we see close-ups of. It all helps create a personal, intimate feeling that seems to confirm the film's claim that "this is our front yard". The reason I find this interesting is that Ken Burns in his documentary The War does exactly the same thing. ++++ )
baleanoptera: (Art Valhal Gunlød)


Sita Sings the Blues

You know what I love? When something that has been hyped lives up to its expectations. The animated film Sita Sings the Blues has been mentioned more and more frequent in the blog-o-sphere and I was worried that the film wasn't as wonderful as everybody claimed. After all that has happened before with other films - for instance Dark Knight, which is okay, but not a masterpiece by a longshot. But Sita Sings the Blues was everything I was promised. Therefore I'm continuing the hype and urging you to see it, and adding to the chorus of: You must see this movie! It is wonderful, funny and the animation is just gorgeous.
+++++ )

The official sight for the film is here and you can watch it at Reel 13. If you have an hour and half available I suggest you do so. It will be worth it. I promise.

(I also have dastardly hopes that some of you icon-savvy people will watch it, and then there will be icons. Which I would love.)

-----

Films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Lion in Winter Doing the Lady thing)


Michael Clayton

One on hand there is nothing new, shocking and shiny about Michael Clayton. On the other hand there is nothing bad about it either. Which I guess goes to show that with a good script, great actors and some nice cinematography you can dispense with that damn obsession with "plot-twists-the-audience-didn't-see-coming (but they actually did)", and just focus on telling a very good story. *sigh* I wish more filmmakers would do just that. spoilers )

Out of the Past

I feel there are two staples to a proper film noir. The first is Raymond Chandler’s legendary advice "If in doubt have a guy come in the door with a gun", the other is the importance of the quick reply. The latter is evident in full force in Out of the Past where the battle between scruffy detective Markham/Bailey (Robert Mitchum) and gambler Whit (Kirk Douglas) is a battle of words more than brawn.+++ )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)


The Virgin Spring

Based on my experiences I would say the wise thing to do would not be to watch Ingmar Bergman’s "The Virgin Spring" right before going to bed. The film is sure to leave you with dreams of a gloomy, barbarous medieval Sweden, all in black and white with scary religious symbolism. That said the films is brilliant, in large parts because of all that scare and gloom, but it is far from comfortable viewing.
++++ )

Il Gattopardo/The Leopard

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Tomaso di Lampedusa, and tells the story of Don Frederico,++++ )

One of the reasons I loved this film might have been that I just finished a great book called The Force of Destiny – the history of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan, which deals with just this period. The book is wonderful and utterly fascinating ([livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns? Have you read this? It made me think of you, with your love of history and Italy). A central point in Duggan’s book is the conflict between North and South Italy, a conflict still apparent to this day. This conflict is also a central point in Il Gattopardo, but more than that it is the story of changes and the reality of these changes.

-----


List of films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)


The Virgin Spring

Based on my experiences I would say the wise thing to do would not be to watch Ingmar Bergman’s "The Virgin Spring" right before going to bed. The film is sure to leave you with dreams of a gloomy, barbarous medieval Sweden, all in black and white with scary religious symbolism. That said the films is brilliant, in large parts because of all that scare and gloom, but it is far from comfortable viewing.
++++ )

Il Gattopardo/The Leopard

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Tomaso di Lampedusa, and tells the story of Don Frederico,++++ )

One of the reasons I loved this film might have been that I just finished a great book called The Force of Destiny – the history of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan, which deals with just this period. The book is wonderful and utterly fascinating ([livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns? Have you read this? It made me think of you, with your love of history and Italy). A central point in Duggan’s book is the conflict between North and South Italy, a conflict still apparent to this day. This conflict is also a central point in Il Gattopardo, but more than that it is the story of changes and the reality of these changes.

-----


List of films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (church light Art: Andrey)
As part of my job is watching a lot of movies (oh the hardship...)I figured I might as well make a list of what I have seen, and write a snippet or two about them. For some strange reason I decided to begin with a film about hermit-monks.



In some sense continuing the monastic trend from a precious post, though this time instead of adorable dancing Franciscans there are silent, meditative Carthusians.

The Carthusian order are followers of the rules of St. Bruno, and are considered one of the most ascetic orders in western monasticism. The goal with their monastic existence is to live a life of constant prayer, and to do so solitary and in a strange sense a hermit-like community. Documentary filmmaker Philip Gröning released Into Great Silence in 2005, claiming the film was "an intimate portrayal of life in Grand Chartreuse". The film uses no non-diegetic sound, it has no voiceover or any form of explanation and this has caused many to laud the films near meditative qualities.

pictures and such )
The official web-page is here. ETA: The trailer is on YouTube, which gives you an idea about the use of sound and perspective in this film.

+++++


The great blog Self-Styled Siren has an absolutely wonderful post about George Sanders, described by one of his wives as possessing "caddishness of Homeric Proportions, here. I quote:

Then there's Sanders, determined to rid himself of second wife Zsa Zsa Gabor, arranging to break into her bedroom on Christmas Eve with a detective and a photographer in hopes of catching the Hungarian beauty in flagrante. Sanders climbed through the window. Flashbulbs popped and Zsa Zsa's lover sprang, too late, for the bathroom. Sanders held out a gift and boomed, "Merry Christmas, my dear!"

Since Sanders was and remains my favorite part in All About Eve I read this with glee. If you know who Sanders is then run and read, and if you haven't yet had the pleasure (?) then please do the same.

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