Jump to content
rllmuk
kerraig UK

A movie watchers blog

Recommended Posts

But I think I'm starting to dislike classical American cinema more and more, it's just not my thing (Night of the Hunter as the exception of course).

I don't want to be displaying all the zeal of a recent convert, but I'd be interested if you can expand on this. What is it about the "Golden Age" of studio film-making that you dislike?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't want to be displaying all the zeal of a recent convert, but I'd be interested if you can expand on this. What is it about the "Golden Age" of studio film-making that you dislike?

I haven't seen a lot of films from that time (a couple of Hitchcocks and such) but they are mostly simple, entertaining movies without something that connects with me. Vertigo, for example, has a nice story structure but the plot is pure camp without any emotion. I expected something more from big classics than simply an enjoyable story.

I've found another exception though: Stanley Kubrick. But then again, Kubrick has always been a big exception from the rest of the film world. And I liked Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't seen a lot of films from that time (a couple of Hitchcocks and such) but they are mostly simple, entertaining movies without something that connects with me. Vertigo, for example, has a nice story structure but the plot is pure camp without any emotion. I expected something more from big classics than simply an enjoyable story.

I've found another exception though: Stanley Kubrick. But then again, Kubrick has always been a big exception from the rest of the film world. And I liked Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Oh, goodness gracious: Vertigo has nothing more than an enjoyable story (and one that's a high Gothic romance, not camp)?! Heavens.

I'd be more expansive about all of this, but I'm really quite flabbergasted that someone can appreciate, say, Eyes Wide Shut, but not Vertigo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't seen a lot of films from that time (a couple of Hitchcocks and such) but they are mostly simple, entertaining movies without something that connects with me. Vertigo, for example, has a nice story structure but the plot is pure camp without any emotion. I expected something more from big classics than simply an enjoyable story.

I've found another exception though: Stanley Kubrick. But then again, Kubrick has always been a big exception from the rest of the film world. And I liked Breakfast At Tiffany's.

Do you know what camp even means?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, okay, I worded it far too strongly but I was just disappointed in especially that film. The story structure was quite brilliant but the portrayal of Ferguson's psyche didn't match that. I couldn't even remotely believe some of the stuff,

putting a woman in different clothes so she would look like the woman he was crazy about? Oh please.

, so it all fell a bit flat. It's not that I actively dislike films from that era, but it just doesn't really grab me all that much.

I could always be wrong though and I'll certainly give Vertigo another viewing. If there are many films out there that could change my view on the "Golden Age of studio film-making", please name them and I'll give them a look. :P

PS: I like Eyes Wide Shut as a matter of fact, I believed most of it and thus was grabbed by the whole affair (with the exception of a couple of scenes, but this one also demands a second viewing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Threw on Unbreakable the other night.

Decent little flick with some good, believable performances.

Great score, to boot.

I remembered rather enjoying this in the cinema, but it really didn't take a second watch when it was on telly last night. It was like having a comic book read to you by the s-l-o-w-e-s-t r-e-a-d-e-r i-n t-h-e w-o-r-l-d.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I could always be wrong though and I'll certainly give Vertigo another viewing. If there are many films out there that could change my view on the "Golden Age of studio film-making", please name them and I'll give them a look. :(

It's hard to give recommendations that aren't just a paraphrase of the standard critics' lists, or are too strongly influenced by my own tastes, especially to someone who's put themselves so far beyond the pale by slaying Kim Novak, the sacred cow.

Perhaps a useful way of prompting recommendations would be if you list some modern films you like, which might suggest some interesting old-time alternatives?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched The Signal last night, but I didn't really like it. It feels like it's the result of a cinematic exquisite corpse experiment, and the fact that it isn't doesn't do it any favours - it's all over the place. There are a few funny moments, that's when it's at its most effective - but it overdoes those before too long. It'd probably be better left to a single director rather than three. i wouldn't bother watching it again.

I also caught the original Stepford Wives on late night TV, and that's still awesome. The malfunction in the kitchen gets funnier every time, but elsewhere the film does retain a good sense of menace and - well, intrigue's not the word but it'll have to do as it's nearly lunchtime. Of course when it means to be funny it succeeds, too. It's a great bundle of satire, social commentary and horror.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I watched The Signal last night, but I didn't really like it. It feels like it's the result of a cinematic exquisite corpse experiment, and the fact that it isn't doesn't do it any favours - it's all over the place. There are a few funny moments, that's when it's at its most effective - but it overdoes those before too long. It'd probably be better left to a single director rather than three. i wouldn't bother watching it again.

I agree. I didn't like the 3 distinguished parts. The first one was by far the best, imo, eerily atmospheric and a nice buildup....then comes act two and all of a sudden it's a black comedy. While some of the scenes were funny as fuck, this shift in genre ruined the movie as a whole for me...the less said about the final part the better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Conversation

This was on one of the Sky Channels last night but I was fairly tired so I stuck in a tape and recorded it and watched it earlier on.

Gene Hackman plays Harry Caul a surveillance expert hired to record a conversation between a couple in a public square one afternoon. He tapes their conversation from a few different sources then splices the various recordings together to give him a complete recording of what’s being said. After he puts the tape together he starts to get paranoid about what’s going to happen to the couple. He hears one phrase on the tape and interprets it to mean something but his interpretation turns out to be horribly wrong. I really enjoyed it.

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and co-starring Harrison Ford. There’s also a sweet jazz soundtrack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PS: I like Eyes Wide Shut as a matter of fact, I believed most of it and thus was grabbed by the whole affair (with the exception of a couple of scenes, but this one also demands a second viewing).

You misunderstand me: I feel that Vertigo and Eyes Wide Shut are kissing cousins in certain respects (narratively in particular; aesthetically, there may be a few coincidental similarities between the two as well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You misunderstand me: I feel that Vertigo and Eyes Wide Shut are kissing cousins in certain respects (narratively in particular; aesthetically, there may be a few coincidental similarities between the two as well).

What Hulot is spectacularly failing to confess to is so: He's into dead-body popping and volcano ghost-aliens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Accusing me of being a necrophiliac is one thing (it's a lifestyle choice, ok?), orooth, but being a Scientologist? Strewth, you're one sick fuck, man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's hard to give recommendations that aren't just a paraphrase of the standard critics' lists, or are too strongly influenced by my own tastes, especially to someone who's put themselves so far beyond the pale by slaying Kim Novak, the sacred cow.

Perhaps a useful way of prompting recommendations would be if you list some modern films you like, which might suggest some interesting old-time alternatives?

Well, let's see. The most recent film I absolutely loved was No Country for Old Men and I'm a big fan of the works of Kim Ki-Duk, David Lynch and Charlie Kaufman. I hope you can do something with this list, the must be enough hidden gems to be found.

You misunderstand me: I feel that Vertigo and Eyes Wide Shut are kissing cousins in certain respects (narratively in particular; aesthetically, there may be a few coincidental similarities between the two as well).

And I wanted to point out that I could like Eyes Wide Shut and not like Vertigo, because it are the events themselves that 'ruined' (it's not that I think it's shit, it's just a bit of a disappointment) Vertigo for me, not the narrative. Eyes Wide Shut and Vertigo are similar in some ways, but the one I believe to a certain extent and the other I don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are lots of 'classic' films that through the passage of time and the march of storytelling dont seem so classic nowadays. Citizen Kane is the prime example of this. Without a history lesson to accompany the movie you just wouldn't realise how it completely revolutionised EVERYTHING about cinema. Because what it did that was so brilliant is widely accepted as the norm nowadays. likewise the controversy surrounding the plot is lost on todays audience who know nothing about the Hearst empire.

Birth of a Nation looks ridiculously hammy by todays standards.

I'd like to recommend you some classics which i think still stand up completely today, from a sheer entertainment perspective. Even if you only watch one or two hopefully they can help you see the awesomeness of some cinema out there. i've tried to stay in the sort of No Country for Old men area:

Sweet Smell of Success (absolutely my number 1 favourite noir and a massive influence on the Coens)

Double Indemnity

North by Northwest

The Sting

Rear Window

In the Heat of the Night

Bonnie & Clyde

A matter of Life & death

Les Diaboliques

La belle a le bete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, let's see. The most recent film I absolutely loved was No Country for Old Men and I'm a big fan of the works of Kim Ki-Duk, David Lynch and Charlie Kaufman. I hope you can do something with this list, the must be enough hidden gems to be found.

And I wanted to point out that I could like Eyes Wide Shut and not like Vertigo, because it are the events themselves that 'ruined' (it's not that I think it's shit, it's just a bit of a disappointment) Vertigo for me, not the narrative. Eyes Wide Shut and Vertigo are similar in some ways, but the one I believe to a certain extent and the other I don't.

No Country For Old Men suggests to me

The Seventh Seal

Night of The Hunter

Touch of Evil

The Killers

and there must be a whole bunch of westerns that I'm afraid I can't comment on: Tommy Lee Jones character alone must have had many interesting forerunners in the genre.

Unpicking some interesting influences and connections with David Lynch's work needs a better man than me, especially now Vertigo is out of the equation. A swift peak at wikipedia suggests the names Jacques Tati, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, Werner Herzog, Roman Polanski, Billy Wilder, John Ford, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, Ernst Lubitsch and Mario Bava but that's such an enormous list it's hard to know where to start. Lynch Himself says

If I have to choose films that represent, for me, examples of perfect

film making, I think I could narrow it down to four.

The first would be 8 1/2, for the way Fedrico Fellini manages to accomplish with

film what mostly abstract painters do - namely, to communicate an emotion

without ever saying or showing anything in a direct manner, without ever

explaining anything, just by a sort of sheer magic. For similar reasons, I would

also show Sunset Boulevard. Even though Billy Wilder's style is very different

from Fellini's, he manages to accomplish pretty much the same abstract

atmosphere, less by magic than through all sorts of stylistic and technical

tricks. The Hollywood he describes in the film probably never existed, but he

makes us believe it did, and he immerses us in it, like a dream. After that, I

would show Monsieur Hulot's Holiday for the amazing point of view that Jacques

Tati casts at society through it. When you watch his films, you realise how much

he know about - and loved - human nature, and it can only be an inspiration to

do the same. And finally, I would show Rear Window, for the brilliant way in

which Alfred Hitchcock manages to create - or rather, re-create - a whole world

with in confined parameters. James Steward never leaves his wheelchair during the

film, and yet, through his point of view, we follow a very complex murder

scheme. In the film , Hitchcock manages to take something huge and condense it

into something really small. And he achieves that through a complete control of

film making technique.

I don't really have much of a clue what Charlie Kaufman's cinematic forebears are: his influences seem more like writers to me. But after watching Eternal Sunshine I would maybe watch Seconds and Sunrise.

I'm not sure how many of the films I've listed count as Golden Age Hollywood though: I guess that all grinds to a halt in the early fifties.

As for the other bloke you mention, I had his Spring, Summer... film around the house for ages, and I never got round to watching it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, the films Graham posted are closer to what I like than kerraig's from what I can see, but that isn't all Golden Age Hollywood indeed. My interest is raised in Rear Window and Sweet Smell of Success, and I was already interested in Touch of Evil and Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (even though Play Time looks even more interesting). I loved the Lynch quote, it seems that he has the same view on films as I do, and 8 1/2 is brilliant. :) I've seen both Seventh Seal as Night of the Hunter and the latter one is one of my all time favourites. I was expecting more films of that type, but I don't think that Hollywood is exactly the place for that stuff.

Thanks for the recommendations, it is always nice to be remembered how much awesome stuff I have still yet to see, even if not all of it is exactly what I'm looking for.

By the way, kerraig, you mentioning La Belle a Le Bete makes me curious, could you tell me what's so great about that film?

And Graham, Spring, Summer... is a great film, but Bin-Jip is my favourite of his. Minimal, but never boring or simplistic. :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cocteau is one of the great cinematic magicians - he can turn a low-budget hacked-together effect into a filmed miracle. La Belle is the closest cinema has come to capturing the essence of the fairy tale, it's a stone cold work of art. I was fortunate enough to see it on the big screen at our local fleapit years ago and it was spellbinding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cocteau is one of the great cinematic magicians - he can turn a low-budget hacked-together effect into a filmed miracle. La Belle is the closest cinema has come to capturing the essence of the fairy tale, it's a stone cold work of art. I was fortunate enough to see it on the big screen at our local fleapit years ago and it was spellbinding.

This.

Look past the bad acting (and the film is full of it) and it is one of the most incredible films ever made. As good as the Disney adaptation is it doesn't come close to capturing the magic of the fairytale like Cocteau's vision did.

Been on a bit of a film kick this week.

Altered States - I can understand why many people don't like this film and it is all a bit silly but I just can't help loving it. The soundtrack is like an avant-garde version of the Terminator score and visually the film is amazing. Sure the effects look pretty naff now but few films really push psychedelic hallucinations like this film does.

Eastern Promises - It is a bit depressing to think that Cronenberg is seemingly getting more praise for his new films than he did when he was making classic after classic. Much like A History of Violence this is a very average movie and has little-to-no character development and very little dramatic tension. The naked bath house fight is very good but the rest of the picture rarely holds together.

Unbreakable - I decided to give it another go this week after a few people on this forum were singing its praises recently. Unfortunately it still suffers from all the problems that annoyed me when I saw it at the cinema: nothing really happens, none of the characters are interesting and it is way too slow. I still think there is potential in the idea of a real life superhero and maybe if he made the film into a trilogy it would work but as a standalone film this is all origin filler and nothing more.

Sweeney Todd - Dull in the extreme. Poor songs and a languid pace made me lose interest in half an hour and the film never pulled me in after. I wonder if Burton will ever make a good film again.

Hitman - LOL.

Rushmore - Probably my second favourite Wes Anderson movie (just behind the unfairly criticised Life Aquatic). It's more focussed than many of his films and has more heart. I'd love to see the full length version of the play they put on at the end of the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This.

Look past the bad acting (and the film is full of it) and it is one of the most incredible films ever made. As good as the Disney adaptation is it doesn't come close to capturing the magic of the fairytale like Cocteau's vision did.

Seems to go straight to the top of my 'must see' list. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sweeney Todd - Dull in the extreme. Poor songs and a languid pace made me lose interest in half an hour and the film never pulled me in after. I wonder if Burton will ever make a good film again.

Rushmore - Probably my second favourite Wes Anderson movie (just behind the unfairly criticised Life Aquatic). It's more focussed than many of his films and has more heart. I'd love to see the full length version of the play they put on at the end of the film.

Yup, Todd was dreadful. Thank Christ for torrents.

Wes Anderson is like a slightly more consistent version of the Coen Brothers, only with a slightly dryer sense of humor. Rushmore is one of my all-time favorite movies, and Bottle Rocket was superb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And I wanted to point out that I could like Eyes Wide Shut and not like Vertigo, because it are the events themselves that 'ruined' (it's not that I think it's shit, it's just a bit of a disappointment) Vertigo for me, not the narrative. Eyes Wide Shut and Vertigo are similar in some ways, but the one I believe to a certain extent and the other I don't.

Fair enough. I myself find the sequestered and theatrical millionaires' bordello of EWS far more outlandish and psychologically questionable in a psycho-thriller than the (albeit convoluted) murderous intrigue of Vertigo.

That said, I'm not all that bothered about defending Vertigo's verisimilitude, for the film itself, from the

revelation of maddy and Judy's duality

onwards, deliberately attempts to strain its audience's credulity, or at the very least instill confusion or a sense of apprehension. Indeed, the film's first act treats the entirely improbable

possession of maddy

with enough credibility that one's initial scepticism over the matter gives way (if Hitchcock's laid his spell, that is) to something verging on belief; in contrast, I for one cannot place complete faith in Judy's recollection of

maddy's actual death

because, in spite of it having the appearance of being factually correct, it comes into conflict with the earlier and much more seductive 'truth' about maddy that is taken from Scottie's earlier perspective (besides which, I've apparently already been duped once by the film - who's to say that Judy's any more credible a surrogate for the audience than Scottie?). Still, I can't place complete faith in Scottie's view of things from the first section of the film because it

goes against my faith in reality being a consistent thing which doesn't permit supernatural intrusions such as spiritual atavism or the dematerialization of matter

, nor am I willing to give credence to Judy's account because

I cannot bring myself to accept that I didn't witness something at least a touch otherworldly about the first maddy

. These two antithetical truths wrestle with one another until the film's conclusion, in which they meet to form one of the very cruellest of ironic denouements, and one which feels, deliciously, as much of an act of some supernal force as it does a blind and banal accident. Vertigo most definitely takes place in our world, but I always feel, when watching it, that it is being pulled under by the weight of some other place, a somewhere which isn't scrutable or ordered like our own - almost absurdist, in fact, but in a more delicate way than any other of Hitch's films. One of the most admirable aspects of Vertigo is that it can alternate so readily and assuredly between the ordinary and the impossible.

I appreciate that the paradox that I perceive to be a deliberate part of Vertigo's structure probably isn't enough to dispel your doubts about the rather convenient and artificial way in which the film's plot proceeds, so I'll concede that the qualities of Hitchcock's narrative - that is to say the manner in which the plot of Vertigo is told - doesn't include a strict respect for the natural viability of its story; I only differ from you in that I don't perceive that as a problem, but as a virtue. Still, each to their own; I'd advise you, though, to give a wide berth to Marnie if you're unwilling to forgive Hitchcock for trespassing into altered states of consciousness and the border between sanity and madness!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus face, is that word filter still with us?

Cocteau's work is astounding. There are slightly Lynchian aspects to be found too in certain films by Rossellini, Nicholas Ray and Rivette (or, rather, aspects of Rossellini, Ray and Rivette in certain films by Lynch).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post M. Hulot, something I'll keep in mind for the second viewing of Vertigo. Same goes for Eyes Wide Shut, I've only seen it once and it's by far not enough to make my mind about it. I'll post again about those films when they're a bit fresher in my mind. :)

Ray sounds interesting and so do Rossellini and Rivette, any films of them that are especially worthwhile? Still, it seems that I have enough to see the following weeks.

But first I am delving a bit deeper in some Italian classics. I rented Once Upon A Time In The West and La Dolce Vita today. Will post about them soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ray sounds interesting and so do Rossellini and Rivette, any films of them that are especially worthwhile?

I'm sure M. Hulot will be able to provide a far more comprehensive list for these directors but I'd recommend the following:

Ray

Bigger than Life

Johnny Guitar

Rebel Without a Cause

In a Lonely Place

On Dangerous Ground

Rossellini

Rome, Open City

Voyage to Italy

Rivette

Celine and Julie Go Boating (it is the only film of his that I have seen and I hated it but I would still recommend seeing it as it is a unique experience that seems to elicit a love/hate relationship with its audience).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd go with all of lordcookie's list, but add They Live by Night to the Ray count and Europa '51 to Rossellini's.

Every film by Rivette is absolutely essential viewing, but the availability of his films is patchy to say the least, so far as English versions are concerned; I have no idea what the situation's like for Dutch speakers, but he is comparatively popular in Germany, so, who knows, there may be a little overlap there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eastern Promises - It is a bit depressing to think that Cronenberg is seemingly getting more praise for his new films than he did when he was making classic after classic. Much like A History of Violence this is a very average movie and has little-to-no character development and very little dramatic tension. The naked bath house fight is very good but the rest of the picture rarely holds together.

Wow, disappointed with your critique there. I absolutely loved it and thought it stood way up there with shivers and videodrome. Sure its simpler and less ambitious but I loved the way it hinted at a world I knew nothing about with its mysterious hand gestures, tattoos and untranslated spoken russian. I thought Naomi watts was brilliant as the righteous but dowdy heroine and I was fully committed to the emotional journey that Viggo's character went on. I really loved it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd go with all of lordcookie's list, but add They Live by Night to the Ray count and Europa '51 to Rossellini's.

Every film by Rivette is absolutely essential viewing, but the availability of his films is patchy to say the least, so far as English versions are concerned; I have no idea what the situation's like for Dutch speakers, but he is comparatively popular in Germany, so, who knows, there may be a little overlap there.

Oh man, i totally forgot I live by night. What an exceptional movie. In a thread where I recommended bonnie & Clyde too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.