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42 of my films made the AFI Top 100 23 of my films were nominated but did not make the top 100 35 of my films were not on the list or nominated
Gycklarnas afton (1953)
I wanted to like the film more
The owner and ringmaster of a bankrupt, downtrodden circus visits his ex-wife when it stops in his home town. While away, his girlfriend, who rides a horse in the traveling show, has a sexual encounter with an actor in a local theater troupe. He gets a tearful confession after threatening her later the same day in their caravan, then contemplates suicide. Instead, he takes it out on the sickly circus bear and the show goes on as planned. When the actor shows up for the performance that night it leads to a brawl. There is not a happy character or relationship to be found anywhere in this bleak, disturbing circus show. It starts with a surreal flashback that threatens to overshadow everything that follows. The gun play is unsettling as is the violence shown towards circus animals, although the worst occurs off screen. I wanted to like the film more, and the cinematography by Sven Nykvist is peerless, his first work with Bergman, but my tolerance for violence towards animals is rather low and impeded my enjoyment.
Les perles de la couronne (1937)
Unexceptional telling of the history behind the pearls on the crown of England. Most of the film is narrated from the present day in flashback, as three heads of state, form England, France and Italy, manipulate family marriages, have numerous affairs and resort to murder to advance their own selfish desires. The pearls frequently exchange hands during all of this, eventually some end up on the crown but three are stolen. Back in the present day, three men are determined to track down those three pearls, leading to more flashbacks. Characters come and go at a lightning pace throughout, we hardly get to know one of them before another group is introduced. As a result, it's hard to care about any of them. Only the present day characters have any kind of continuity, and they are a wealthy, shallow group, obsessed with finding the pearls for no reason other than to make a movie about it.
Sacha Guitry writes himself another juicy role
Sacha Guitry writes himself another juicy role, this time as a butler that all of the women in the house find irresistible. He is hired by the beautiful Jacqueline Delubac, or rather talks himself into being hired, after a questionable reference from his former employer who implicated him in a love affair (of course!). He has to promise to keep his hands off her, but is overheard speaking her name in the night while having "erotic dreams". This leads to many problems, especially when she starts having the same dreams. He finally professes his love for her in a long-winded speech and promptly quits. There is one funny scene, mostly unrelated to the rest of the film, with an old deaf woman at dinner, but otherwise this is just another insufferable vanity piece for Guitry.
Guitry is once again the center of attention
Guitry is once again the center of attention of all the young, beautiful ladies of Paris. A visiting American matinée idol seduces his girlfriend, causing him to consider leaving her. After an attempted suicide, her best friend suggests that they get married instead. He agrees, but only if she becomes his lover on the wedding day. Guitry's double standard is appalling to watch: he berates his girlfriend for her affair, barely keeping himself from hitting her, all the while plotting his next conquest. As with all of Guitry's films, it's dialog driven and tedious to sit through, only the presence of Jacqueline Delubac makes it bearable, but when you realize she is Guitry's wife in real life, even that loses its appeal.
Batoru rowaiaru (2000)
manipulative and juvenile film
Easily the worst film I've seen this year, possibly the worst film of all time. A Japanese twist on American reality shows, only with lots of blood. It has a high school mentality that just drags the film down to a juvenile level. One dying teenager says to another, "you look cool", the other dying teenager replies, "you are the coolest girl in the world." And so it continues...teens admitting hidden crushes and unrequited loves, then dying violently. I found myself laughing hysterically at times that were probably intended to be profound and moving. I thought maybe the director was being satirical and the whole thing was a spoof...but I think not. The ending with Kitano was ridiculous. Finally, the multiple "requiems" at the end was just melodrama at its absolute worst. I'm sure easily manipulated teens will be crying, but savvy viewers will be laughing at the ludicrousness of it all.
Excellent Mood Piece
I like this forgotten little gem. The opening 'commercial' is reminiscent of a similar technique in Futureworld. Of course the computer-run-amok theme is not new, but a nice electronic soundtrack combined with an overall soundscape of computer voices and radio transmissions create a soothing mood piece of sci-fi escapism. Everything here is in a futuristic font with names like Arcturus, Cycloid, and two computers named FLX (Felix) and the Master Cerebral. Whole film is done very seriously with no attempts at comic relief. I did wonder how that rolling robot ('mechanical') got through the doorways though, since it would have to step up and over the portal-type entrances. I recommend closing your eyes, turning the volume way up, and floating away with this one.
Ape has killed ape
I gave this film a slightly higher rating than Escape From or Conquest Of based only on the "ape has killed ape" subplot. I am still fascinated by the power struggle between Caesar and the gorillas, and made this film stand out for me. Beneath is still "the best of the rest."
Hitchcock IT isn't
The film is too talky, Roddy McDowall is too precocious, and things just seem to move along slow as molasses. I think the director is trying too hard to emulate Hitchcock, as there are many not too subtle references to Psycho. But, there is only one Hitch and the plot twists and turns in what is essentially a crime drama are about as straight as a desert highway.
Almost a classic
Yes, it is a vampire movie, but the fascinating thing for me was the "blood farm". The dairy analogy is played to the hilt, complete with milk cartons distributed to "members" filled with human blood rather than milk. Attention to detail is good, and reminds me of the descent into the science labs in The Andromeda Strain. Lengthy hallucinogenic sequence has its good moments. Overall, Thirst is one step shy of attaining classic status, marred only by the rather unbelievable "dairy" farm in what is essentially a realist movie, that is if you believe in vampires.
The Last Run (1971)
Good George C Scott vehicle
I was drawn to this film for two reasons: actor George C. Scott, and cinematographer Sven Nykvist. I was disappointed by neither. There is a story in here if you stick with it, particularly in the relationship between Scott's character and the girl. A tribute to Scott's great ability is my empathetic reaction to everything his character goes through, I cared about this man, and was truly let down by how it all ended for him. Old men should not have to die alone.