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Films ranked 101-1000 
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Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
majoraphasia wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Flightplan stole heavily from a Premminger film called "Bunny Lake Is Missing"; the first 20 minutes of the Jodie Foster film are a virtual reshoot of the concept.


Thanks for that trivia. I guess this means that Flightplan is devoid of even a single original moment?


Not at all! It was terrible in a brand new way. Have you seen the movie? There's a great and unintentionally sidesplitting scene at the end when a persecuted Middle Eastern character hands Jodie Foster her luggage and forgives her, and by extension America, for all the silly misunderstandings. Again: the persecuted Middle Eastern man apologizes to us. The audience let out a loud, collective groan right on cue.


I did see it when it came out. Unfortunately I found it just mediocre rather than terrible. Maybe I should re-watch with this new knowledge? You know what? I think I will.

Nottttt. That was my Borat impression. Don't think it works in text.


Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:19 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
No. 229 - Le Samourai

The greatest thing about the film is its style. James Berardinelli (ever heard of him?) called the movie "a black-and-white noir film photographed in color" and he couldn't have said it better. Here's his 4 star review for those who care:http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=1536

That opening shot is something I could stare at all day long.

There's also a certain amount of depth and artistic merit I wasn't totally expecting. That bird, in that cage. That's Jef. He just needs someone to care for him, like the bird does. What he gets instead is a nightclub singer who may or may not care about him and he's willing to give his life for that. There was a certain amount of tragedy to the whole thing. Here's a guy who wants nothing more than to not be noticed. When he finally is noticed, he loses control over his carefully planned out, emotionless existence. His world is turned on its head, and he's forced to live outside of his cage with no one to care for him. He's probably the way he is so he can cope with the world he inhabits. Throwing him headfirst into that world dooms him. No one can be trusted, least of all the police who will do anything to capture him (whether or not he's guilty seems irrelevant to them, even though he is). There's a certain human element to the movie that says we need each other to survive. The movie may be a bit cold, but that's a thought I like holding on to. There's some hope in this one that I didn't think was coming.

Fantastic movie, and I'm going to have to check out more Melville.


Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:24 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
My favorite scene in Le Samourai is the second of two nearly-identical car thefts. In the first, Costello calmly works through a ring of key slugs, laying the discards in a too-neat row (for whom is he so overtly careful?) before finding the one that starts the engine.

The second theft is almost identical but, with Costello paranoid and looking to survive until nightfall, Melville trains the camera on Costello's face, centered in an uncomfortable close-up. Sweat peppers his brow, his breathing is labored... and then he forces a panicked gulp. He's the very image of cool restraint but this one shot reveals the scared parakeet in a cage: humbled, sad, desperate and longing for things to be finished. It's an understated and beautiful moment; Melville wants our affections to be properly placed and knows that the samurai at the action's center is really just a man with a self-imposed code.

What do you see in Jef Costello? I see a man that has been rendered obsolete, a relic that bleeds the same as any newborn. The film is poetry, a skid-row love letter to invisible elements. That it's exciting and thoroughly entertaining is a major bonus.


Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:06 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
That is a fantastic scene. That's a "peek behind the veil" kind of moment, where we finally see Jef as a person and not just the embodiment of cool.

I see Jef as a man who needs logic, order, and organization to survive. In the world he inhabits those are the only things that can be trusted. When the things he's relied on for so long end up betraying him, leaving him on his own, he doesn't quite know how to survive. Maybe that does make him a relic, I hadn't given that much thought. Again, like the bird in the cage he becomes rattled when someone comes in and makes changes to his world. That's why he easily senses someone has been in his apartment. He identifies with the bird on more than just a "we're alike" level. It's deeply ingrained connection. They don't necessarily need each other, but they know the other. Its empathy personified.

I think the movie advocates human relationships. Jef is in a sort of self-imposed exile, and that's because he has no one. He comes across as someone who gave up on life and turned to logic and organization to deal with whatever has happened to him. By the end of the movie, I think Jef wants some kind of relationship or wants to quit living. I just don't think he quite knows how to go about obtaining it.

We were talking about characters in the other thread, and Jef is certainly a great one. Not just because he's the coolest motherfucker on the planet (seriously, I'd pay money to be able to wear that hat and those gloves and still look cool...the hat especially), but because I can see why he's the way he is and how he came to be that way. He exists, albeit in a fictional world. Every action he takes and line he speaks I believe is true to who he is.


Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:34 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
Hmmmm... should I respond like I want to (which I'll have to do a bit later) AND start a Melville thread? Gotta go for now but, and I'm just saying, it would be cool to see some Melville lovin' and convert some greens to his badass cause!

Viva le Doulos!


Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:05 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
PeachyPete wrote:

I see Jef as a man who needs logic, order, and organization to survive. In the world he inhabits those are the only things that can be trusted. When the things he's relied on for so long end up betraying him, leaving him on his own, he doesn't quite know how to survive. Maybe that does make him a relic, I hadn't given that much thought. Again, like the bird in the cage he becomes rattled when someone comes in and makes changes to his world. That's why he easily senses someone has been in his apartment. He identifies with the bird on more than just a "we're alike" level. It's deeply ingrained connection. They don't necessarily need each other, but they know the other. Its empathy personified.


But who is Jef, really? Is he a real individual or just a collection of pathologies that define, for him, "cool, calm and collected"? I see a guy that, save for the one scene I mentioned and the decision he makes at the conclusion, is the image of forced grace. It's almost endearing: he's exactly what he thinks a hit man should look like. But the movie isn't really concerned with all of this, of course. It's first mission is to deliver some thrills in the form of knockout police procedural. Melville, here, is trying to put the character in a straightforward context and it works to the film's advantage: Costello is cool as a cucumber no matter the scenario. If we ever met anybody like that we'd be so put off that... well, he'd be living in a room alone with his parakeet. Who else would bother?


PeachyPete wrote:
I think the movie advocates human relationships. Jef is in a sort of self-imposed exile, and that's because he has no one. He comes across as someone who gave up on life and turned to logic and organization to deal with whatever has happened to him. By the end of the movie, I think Jef wants some kind of relationship or wants to quit living. I just don't think he quite knows how to go about obtaining it.


Hard to say what lead him to his current escapades as paid murderer but it seems to be a good fit. The movie gets its name, I believe, from the decision that he makes at the conclusion (which I won't bother spoiling) -- at least he plays through. It's also the kind of sacrifice that leads a viewer to think that maybe they didn't know anything about the character -- at least not until a second viewing.

PeachyPete wrote:
We were talking about characters in the other thread, and Jef is certainly a great one. Not just because he's the coolest motherfucker on the planet (seriously, I'd pay money to be able to wear that hat and those gloves and still look cool...the hat especially), but because I can see why he's the way he is and how he came to be that way. He exists, albeit in a fictional world. Every action he takes and line he speaks I believe is true to who he is.


Alain Delon, when he worked for Melville, never cracked even a hint of a smile. Somehow he was able to convey tons of emotion with his breathing and mannered speech. That's a different form of acting from what most audiences are used to, I imagine. Costello is a great character -- a quietly boiling, somewhat self-conscious man that is 1/2 worker bee and 1/2 unspoken grief. Why the grief? Dames. Guilt, maybe. He stepped out of the 1940s and found himself in 1967 Paris -- who wouldn't be a little shell shocked?

Anyhow, Melville is the cheese. His movies just rock it -- these complex character-based crime epics that would be eaten up by contemporary viewers. They're about as mainstream as it can get and still inhabit that nifty niche of 'art classic'. Sign me up!


Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:33 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
I really wanted to read that exchange but I'm a complete spoiler-phobe. I'd rather go into a movie knowing nothing at all. For instance, I now know someone keeps a bird and my life is ruined forever.

Anyway, do you ever get the feeling on these forums that you're talking into an abyss? You post something in the Last Movie you Watched thread and wonder, did anyone read that at all? I feel that way sometimes and I guess others do too. The thing is we all read (right?), but we can't reply to everything. So sometime last year a person (they know who they are) pointed out that Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (currently #257) had gotten a Criterion release. I never saw anything from the director, but the description left me quietly intrigued. I eventually came across it and tried to watch it two weeks or so ago. Best sleep I had in months. I was more lucid a couple of days ago and this time I actually managed to finish the whole thing.

It's some movie. Someone called it a "flawed masterpiece" and that sounds about right. There's an angel (Bruno Ganz) who decides to become human for love (actually, it's mostly to experience life). Of course, that only happens in the last half hour or so. Before that it doesn't have the most traditional narrative. It's mostly angels moving around and observing life. They mostly just record people's thoughts, but occasionally they also get involved. Those first 90 minutes aren't "entertaining", but thought-provoking. You have to be in the mood for it though (otherwise you'll just find it boring). The narrative does becomes more traditional towards the end (the shift is clearly marked by changing the visuals).

There's also a sequel! I would never have thought. Anyone see it?

I gave it a 8/10, purely for my own record keeping. In truth, rating movies like this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You just have to experience it for yourself.


Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:43 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
ed_metal_head wrote:
I really wanted to read that exchange but I'm a complete spoiler-phobe. I'd rather go into a movie knowing nothing at all. For instance, I now know someone keeps a bird and my life is ruined forever.

Anyway, do you ever get the feeling on these forums that you're talking into an abyss? You post something in the Last Movie you Watched thread and wonder, did anyone read that at all? I feel that way sometimes and I guess others do too. The thing is we all read (right?), but we can't reply to everything. So sometime last year a person (they know who they are) pointed out that Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (currently #257) had gotten a Criterion release. I never saw anything from the director, but the description left me quietly intrigued. I eventually came across it and tried to watch it two weeks or so ago. Best sleep I had in months. I was more lucid a couple of days ago and this time I actually managed to finish the whole thing.

It's some movie. Someone called it a "flawed masterpiece" and that sounds about right. There's an angel (Bruno Ganz) who decides to become human for love (actually, it's mostly to experience life). Of course, that only happens in the last half hour or so. Before that it doesn't have the most traditional narrative. It's mostly angels moving around and observing life. They mostly just record people's thoughts, but occasionally they also get involved. Those first 90 minutes aren't "entertaining", but thought-provoking. You have to be in the mood for it though (otherwise you'll just find it boring). The narrative does becomes more traditional towards the end (the shift is clearly marked by changing the visuals).

There's also a sequel! I would never have thought. Anyone see it?

I gave it a 8/10, purely for my own record keeping. In truth, rating movies like this one doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You just have to experience it for yourself.


Ah yes, that Speaking Into A Bottomless Well feeling. I get it with most of my posts and suspect I'm in the majority.

As for Wenders's sequel: I've read nothing but bad about it and believe that the worst decision in the movie is including the words "To be continued" at the end; It zaps a lot of energy from that look the remaining angel gives Peter Talk. Ignoring that wasteful moment, it's a fine film that I've written about a few times (yes, yes) and continue to enjoy while (probably wisely) ignoring the promise of a "finished" story.

Wenders has a lot of terrible ideas that sometimes, miraculously, work. For the past two decades he's given voice to many of these bad ideas and cut himself out a niche as a third-rate David Lynch... too bad.


Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:24 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
majoraphasia wrote:
Ah yes, that Speaking Into A Bottomless Well feeling. I get it with most of my posts and suspect I'm in the majority.

As for Wenders's sequel: I've read nothing but bad about it and believe that the worst decision in the movie is including the words "To be continued" at the end; It zaps a lot of energy from that look the remaining angel gives Peter Talk. Ignoring that wasteful moment, it's a fine film that I've written about a few times (yes, yes) and continue to enjoy while (probably wisely) ignoring the promise of a "finished" story.

Wenders has a lot of terrible ideas that sometimes, miraculously, work. For the past two decades he's given voice to many of these bad ideas and cut himself out a niche as a third-rate David Lynch... too bad.


Yeah, most of us get that feeling. Maybe I should've posted that in a thread people actually read.

Where would you place Wings of Desire in Wenders' output? At the top? Near it? This and Paris, Texas seem to be the two that get mentioned the most.


Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:29 am
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
ed_metal_head wrote:
Anyway, do you ever get the feeling on these forums that you're talking into an abyss?


Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you talk into the abyss, the abyss talks back to you. ;)


Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:32 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
majoraphasia wrote:
But who is Jef, really? Is he a real individual or just a collection of pathologies that define, for him, "cool, calm and collected"? I see a guy that, save for the one scene I mentioned and the decision he makes at the conclusion, is the image of forced grace. It's almost endearing: he's exactly what he thinks a hit man should look like. But the movie isn't really concerned with all of this, of course. It's first mission is to deliver some thrills in the form of knockout police procedural. Melville, here, is trying to put the character in a straightforward context and it works to the film's advantage: Costello is cool as a cucumber no matter the scenario. If we ever met anybody like that we'd be so put off that... well, he'd be living in a room alone with his parakeet. Who else would bother?


Excellent point. Or points. You're right, someone like that in real life would be beyond creepy, and certainly wouldn't come off as cool. He is a guy who is just a collection of cool pathologies. In that way, he's almost identity-less. Lawrence of Arabia uses shots of looking at the character through a clouded or muddled lens. Many shots show Lawrence through a cloudy windshield or window to do this same thing. Melville uses a similar tactic in this movie by showing Jef through rainy windows while he's in cars a few times. In both movies, the shots are subtle, but I think that's what they're going for. In any event, Jef's lack of identity, and the natural decision made by the audience to assign some identity to him (which is going to be cool, suave, and calm given what we see), is the reason for the surprise and shock at his decision in the movie's final moments.


majoraphasia wrote:
Anyhow, Melville is the cheese. His movies just rock it -- these complex character-based crime epics that would be eaten up by contemporary viewers. They're about as mainstream as it can get and still inhabit that nifty niche of 'art classic'. Sign me up!


This is the only Melville film I have under my belt. I know you're a huge fan of Le Cercle Rouge which is something I'm going to check out. What else is essential viewing from the man? If this is standard operating procedure for the guy, I have to jump on the bandwagon.


Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:26 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
Dearest Duardo,

I have a slight preference, no raging fire
For Paris, Texas over Wings of Desire
While both films are good, some would say great
The one in Texas is a nine, the other an eight

Wim's films are, on a good day, a taste best acquired
But look at Kings of the road before getting mired
For Wenders makes movies with a hand truly leaden
And after Wings of Desire his instincts did deaden

But for a good run in the seventies (the eighties as well)
He was hard to beat for symbolism clear as a bell
His films had a purpose, mostly existential woe
He was brilliant for a time and then became his own foe

So seek out Kings of the Road before retiring to bed
To dreams of Nick Cage in a sweet metal_head

With love and squalor,
The Abyss


Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:36 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
eachyPete wrote:
[

majoraphasia wrote:
Anyhow, Melville is the cheese. His movies just rock it -- these complex character-based crime epics that would be eaten up by contemporary viewers. They're about as mainstream as it can get and still inhabit that nifty niche of 'art classic'. Sign me up!


This is the only Melville film I have under my belt. I know you're a huge fan of Le Cercle Rouge which is something I'm going to check out. What else is e
ssential viewing from the man? If this is standard operating procedure for the guy, I have to jump on the bandwagon.


That's all the motivation I need; unless someone beats me to it, I'll start a thread dedicated to Melville in the next couple of days. His movies relate to one another and it might be fun to see what kind of convergences turn up.

For now I recommend everything he did past 1959 save for his massively disappointing final film, 'A Cop'. I still have some of his early output to see.


Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:48 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
Guess I'll have to keep talking to this abyss. Can anyone else provide such a witty and informative reply in verse form? I think not. Yeah, so I'm gonna keep in contact with it. Just until it brings up teenage detective fiction starring Alfred Hitchcock. That's when you have to cut the cord.


Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:12 am
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
ed_metal_head wrote:
Guess I'll have to keep talking to this abyss. Can anyone else provide such a witty and informative reply in verse form? I think not. Yeah, so I'm gonna keep in contact with it. Just until it brings up teenage detective fiction starring Alfred Hitchcock. That's when you have to cut the cord.


I knew a reference to that was coming -- it was like waiting for the next thunderstorm; it'll rain... but when?


Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:23 am
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
majoraphasia wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
Guess I'll have to keep talking to this abyss. Can anyone else provide such a witty and informative reply in verse form? I think not. Yeah, so I'm gonna keep in contact with it. Just until it brings up teenage detective fiction starring Alfred Hitchcock. That's when you have to cut the cord.


I knew a reference to that was coming -- it was like waiting for the next thunderstorm; it'll rain... but when?


I had to squeeze it in a bit. There was no major Hitchcock discussion recently and I didn't want to disappoint.


Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:28 am
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
majoraphasia wrote:
That's all the motivation I need; unless someone beats me to it, I'll start a thread dedicated to Melville in the next couple of days. His movies relate to one another and it might be fun to see what kind of convergences turn up.


Do it mang. Le Cercle Rouge was the sweet sweetness. I'll have to continue with Melville.


Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:30 am
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
ram1312 wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
That's all the motivation I need; unless someone beats me to it, I'll start a thread dedicated to Melville in the next couple of days. His movies relate to one another and it might be fun to see what kind of convergences turn up.


Do it mang. Le Cercle Rouge was the sweet sweetness. I'll have to continue with Melville.


Yeah. Do it motherfucker. I don't have anything else to add. I just wanted to let it be known that I'm interested in Melville and that I had an inclination to throw a curse word in your general direction. This post was a success.

EDIT: I see that it was already done at the time of this post. Good job motherfucker.


Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:06 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
According to Wikipedia, expressionism is "to present the world under an utterly subjective perspective, violently distorting it to obtain an emotional effect and vividly transmit personal moods and ideas." According to a huge number of film critics, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (a very expressionistic film) is about the 144th greatest movie ever made. According to Eugene T. Zeppelin, one of the above two statements is incorrect. I'll give you a hint: it's the second one. Let me tell you why!

Film is a complicated medium. There are about 100 different things that go into the success/failure of a movie. However, while I don't mean to marginalize the achievements of, let's say, the set designer, I will firmly stand by the opinion that one person makes by far the biggest difference toward that success: the director. Now, again, this doesn't always hold true, I'd say that nine out of ten times where a film falls on the good/bad scale (although in a much broader sense; good directors may direct good movies, but not always do they direct great ones. This is where I feel the screenwriter and friends come in) is directly proportionate to the quality of whose behind the helm.

The director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a Mr. Robert Wiene, is not a good director. Not even close in fact. One of the complaints often brought against oldie movies is that they're stagey, make no good use of the camera, it's movement, cinematography, and all other elements exclusive to film. While I disagree with this statement often, one film where it absolutely applies is Caligari. If I've ever seen a film that was so completely weighted down by the disadvantages of silent film making, it's this one. The camera never moves, the cinematography is boring-looking, shots are often repeated, the entire action feels flat, exteriors and interiors are always shown from one angle per place (plus close-ups), and the camera is never used in a way that emphasizes the emotional pull/atmosphere/themes/whatever of a scene. So on and so forth onto infinity.

But Ah!, the film's eager defender would proclaim, What about the sets! The angles! The distortion! The reflection on the main character's mental state!

And that's not a bad defense either, because the set design is pretty spectacular, but not nearly spectacular enough to make up for the big gaping maw that is the film's horrendous direction. Maybe it could have been, if Wiene had bothered to do anything with those sets. Instead they just kind of sit there, a vaguely interesting backround distraction that screams: "LOOK WHAT THIS MOVIE SHOULD BE LIKE." Again, if Wiene had somehow emphasized the distortion in anyway, the sets could have the power that most people seem to think they do. Instead he allows the lumbering, stilted, and obvious plot and characters to consume those deliciously perverted sets in a giant orgasm of boredom. Needless, to say I was not impressed, not with Wiene, his film, or with all the film critics who were apparently asleep when they watched it. I'm glad I saw it, yet even more glad that I will never have to see it again. 3/10.

(SPOILERIFIC SIDE NOTE: I will give one film-related point in Calgari's favor: the first scene, in which the story is introduced by having the main character talking to another inmate and then having him segue into telling the main story is filmed without those manic sets, so when they do show up in correspondence with the inmate's story, it makes it pretty obvious that the narrator is crazy. Unfortunately, this also reveals the "plot twist" in the first five minutes, serving to make the story even more boring because it's obscenely obvious where it's going, canceling out the effect. Alas).


Sat May 01, 2010 2:54 pm
Post Re: Films ranked 101-1000
Holy crap. This is one I've been meaning to check out since forever because everyone, and I really mean everyone, seems to love it. I don't get it...I mean what about the sets? The angles? Oh...I see you've covered that. How was Conrad Veidt? I've always been curious because of Casablanca. Small role in that one, but still.


Sun May 02, 2010 12:04 pm
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