Barefoot during the day

The SaintJun 24th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

The Barefoot Contessa
Humphrey Bogart (Harry Dawes) and Ava Gardner (Maria Vargas) star in a story about a woman who is picked to be the fresh new face of Hollywood. It’s not much surprise that she takes to Harry instead of the egotistical producer. However, Harry and Maria’s relationship is not a physical one. Instead the film follows Maria on her quest for true love, a true prince.
Bogart and Gardner both play their roles to a t. My only complaint is that the “this only happens in movies” lines got old. I know Harry is a writer/director and that is what he knows, but it gets over played. Maybe I’ve just watched to many movies about show business recently (they all use the same line at some point).

Belle de Jour
Séverine Serizy is a young housewife who has trouble being intimate with her husband. After hearing of another woman who worked at a brothel, Séverine becomes curious and decides to become a prostitute. She is very shy at first, but begins to open up (at work and at home). However, when a gangster becomes a regular customer, the job begins to have a more direct effect on her life.

Invasion of the Wolves

The SaintJun 16th, 2011Posted by The Saint on

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Aliens have come to Earth and are replacing humans with body doubles. People start to become suspicious as the double lack emotion and become distant from the people they were close to. Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams work to discovery the mystery of the duplicates and escape the invasion. It’s a great horror/sci-fi film as it takes it’s time to develop and provide the feeling of helplessness.

Dances with Wolves
Kevin Costner moves to an abandoned fort in the western frontier after being awarded for his actions during a Civil War battle (he was actually trying to kill himself). Living on his own, he spends time learning a life of the land. In turn, he befriends a tribe of Sioux that lived in the area. Costner, a first time director, spared no expense to make the film as real as possible. The film features thousands of buffalo and a few “trained” wolves. This movie is the reason Goodfellas did not win Best Picture.

Back Log, Part 2

The SaintMay 15th, 2011Posted by The Saint on

I’ve been lazy and pushed off more write ups.

Babette’s Feast

Two sisters live in a small Danish village continuing their father’s work as a Protestant priest with a congregation that is aging and dwindling. The sisters do their best to provide for the community and bring meager meals to the elderly. One day a Babette, a refugee from Paris, arrives at their door with a note from a former suitor saying she would be a good housekeeper. Babette learns from the sisters and quickly becomes a part of the community by taking many of the chores. After many years, Babette wins a French lottery and convinces the sisters to let her cook a traditional French dinner before she returns to Paris.

In trying to right that short summary, it emphasized how awkward I felt the plot was. There is an extended flashback that details the back story of how each sister had a suitor that was refused based on their father’s wishes. Neither seemed to have much chemistry with the respective sister, but both reemerge in the story to have an impact. The entire thing is fairly drab until Babette starts showing her true self and preparing for the meal. The ending is heartwarming, but requires you to sit through a lot before you get there.

Au Hasard Balthazar

Tow parallel stories are told of a young girl and a donkey she befriended as a child. Neither have a happy life and deal with their troubles in their own way. This movie isn’t about flash or in your face action. Everything is very minimal and going through the motions. However, this makes the scenes that are filled with emotion stand out. I felt a stronger connection with Balthazar (the donkey), but understanding his sorrows gives you more insight into Marie’s life.

The Ballad of Narayama

A remote mountain village that rich with traditions and superstitions. At the age of 70, a person is carried up into the mountain and left to die. The second born sons are not allowed to wed and must help their family grow their crops. The film focuses on one family who has a 69 year old grandmother, her two sons (the eldest had to become the head when his father ran away), and a younger generation that no longer has a mother because she died giving birth to the youngest daughter. The movie follows a year in the life of this family and the village they live in. There are hard times and tough decisions to be made. There are a few brutal scenes that are the result of this situations and cultural customs. And all of this is pieced together with clips animals in nature doing the various things they do in their life.

The Band Wagon

Fred Astaire plays a washed-up movie star who has returned to New York City to try and restart his career by doing a Broadway musical. Lots of people and egos are brought together to produce a play that ends up being an interpretation of Faust for the stage. The plot is fairly simple as personalities clash, only to find out later that everyone does like everyone. Since the plot doesn’t have a lot to it, most of the acting scenes feel like they are just there as a way to get to the next song or dance number.

Back Log

The SaintApr 10th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

A couple movies I watched a while ago, but just now getting to writing something up on them.

The Natural
Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs a man with a natural talent to play baseball. The movie tells the story of his journey to the majors and what happens to him along the way. I was expecting the beginning that dealt with his childhood to last longer. It came of as “There are there things you need to know about his childhood. Check, check and check, moving on.” After that, the movie flows well through the story it is actually trying to tell. The story isn’t that complicated, but I enjoyed going along for the ride. And surprisingly,
[spoiler title=”spoiler “]I was ok with fireworks going off when he hits the last home run.[/spoiler]

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Wow! And I thought Assassination of Jesse James was a long movie that was slowly paced. I understand the story it was telling why that means it needs a slow pace, but Assassination at least looked amazing along the way. You really don’t need 80 minutes to show that her life is uneventful and routine. Followed by 80 minutes of things slowly becoming more out of place. The last 40 minutes were not bad because I was waiting for the point when she breaks. In the end, the climax of the film was just as quiet and sedated as the film.

Proportional to his catalog, I have only seen a few Woody Allen movies, but of those, none of them have done it for me. The ones I have seen all seem to be telling the same story of him being an awkward jewish man and dealing with a sexual relationship. And it makes me uncomfortable to have to think about Woody Allen and sex at the same time. All that being said, I think I enjoyed this the most of the movies of his I’ve seen. I like how he used the black and white in various scenes, especially the one in the planetarium.
[spoiler title=”spoiler “]I also thought that fact that Yale didn’t tell Emily the full story about the affair was a nice touch. Issac was shocked when he realized it, like the audience, but decides that it is not worth going into.[/spoiler]

Still Life

The SaintMar 13th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

La Jetée
Does a movie need to have moving pictures to be a movie? La Jetée is a 28 minutes montage of still photographs. A narrator speaks throughout the duration of the film and presents that story that is being depicted. Paris has been destroyed by after a world war. Prisoners of the war are now being experimented on in the hope that time travel can be used “to call past and future to the rescue of the present”.

You would think that not showing actual movement would make it feel like there is no action. However, the pictures shift within the scene just as the camera would if it were a motion picture. The transitions between shots are now even more important than a cut in a normal movie because it is one of the biggest tools available to the director. The story being told is great piece of science fiction fits perfectly into the short story format. La Jetée was the inspiration for another good science fiction movie from the 1990s that I will not mention by name to prevent spoiling this movie for others.

intercourse, non-truths, and magnetic storage

The SaintMar 4th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

This review has been pushed back almost a week after viewing the film. Partially because I was busy with work, but more importantly because I did not know what to say. The film did not stand out in either direction. While I would not say I didn’t like the movie, I’m also not really sure I enjoyed it either. It just was. After almost a week of thinking, that is all I’ve come up with.

The film has historical significance because it had a major influence on the wave of independent films that were released in the 90s.

Yeah, I just don’t have much to say about the film. It just was.

Who Are Those Guys?

The SaintFeb 4th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Paul Newman and Robert Redford team up to play the classic western outlaws. As is true with many of the movies I watch, I knew very little about this movie going in. In fact, the first sentence sums up the total information I had about the movie when starting. I was expecting a serious western and the opening scene delivered that. However, it became immediately clear that this movie was going to be something much different. I can’t classify what the movie actually is. Butch and Sundance are continually making jokes between one another. But at the same time there is lots of serious exposition that develops the characters. There is also a three minute scene where Newman and Katharine Ross ride around a farm on a bicycle as Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head plays. If I hadn’t spent the first half of the movie trying to figure out what it was trying to accomplish, I think I would have enjoyed it more than I did. The standout part for me was photo montage that works as an intermission of sorts between the two halves of the film. You could have had an entire movie based only off what was presented by the montage.

Don’t Touch the Suit

The SaintJan 27th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

Atlantic City

The city is dieing. Prohibition has been over for decades and the mobsters that gave life have left. What they left behind was a number of deteriorating hotels, boardwalks and society. There is also Lou. He used to work withe the guys that ran the town. But now he is just an old man living in a building that is waiting to be torn down, looking out his window. Through that window is Sally. Sally came to Atlantic City to get her life together by becoming a dealer at one of the new casinos that just opened up. What will the future hold in a city that looks so grim?

Atlantic City has the honor of being one of the few films to be nominated for the big five (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay), but not win any of them. Burt Lancaster plays the role of Lou well. He seems to genuinely enjoy the excitement that has come into his life and remember the days of old. Susan Sarandon seemed a little awkward at time. However, this could be attributed to the fact that Sally did not belong in Atlantic City. Sally saw this place has her gateway to the future, but it was not the place for her.

Have you ever been to Paris?

The SaintJan 24th, 2011Posted by The Saint on
1001 Movies

Paris, Texas
Wandering through the deserts of Texas, a man has lost his way. Will being reunited with his brother after 4 years help him on his way? Harry Dean Stanton plays Travis in his long slow journey of rediscovery.

Clocking in at almost 2 and a half hours, the slow paces seems intimidating at first. But as Travis begins to open up and you learn more about his past, you are pulled in. You need to see what the resolution will be. I’m not go into details about the end of the film, but I think the climax is done very well. It does exactly what it needs to do and I don’t think there could be a better way to handle it.

Crosses, Stakes and Puns

The SaintJan 17th, 2011Posted by The Saint on

Last night I finished watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. To put it bluntly, this show is in my top 5 list of TV shows.

This show completely deserves the praise and recognition is has. Some people still brush off this show. Twilight isn’t helping the situation either. I know the concept of a teenage girl that world’s best hope for saving the world from evil seems cheesy. Joss Whedon is able to produce a show that can pull in a wide audience by not being a serious drama and having a “monster of the week” formula in the onset. But, then it does things that catch you off guard and surprise you. I say this both as plot points and cinematic presentation. Buffy is able to have episodes that are musicals, dream sequences and have no talking for 30 minutes without feeling out of place. Before starting Buffy, I was already sold on Whedon, but this is his master piece.

I haven’t talked about it much, but the reason I started watching Buffy was because of Evan. Through the course of that year we had been watching The Wire and Dollhouse and talking intently about both. At one point he said I would be better off if I started watching Buffy instead of Dollhouse, as it was better. The week after I tried to watch another episode of The Wire, it was too much. I needed to do something that was lighter, but still meant something. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was that thing. It is another thing to add to the list of things he introduced me to and I am grateful of.

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