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Only the Young (2012)
Remembering Aimless Saturdays
A gorgeous doc full of real-life silences and texture. The other reviewers here missed the point of this thing... It's got no story to tell, and there should be no anticipation of story (or "point") just as there should be little hope for a plot from a short poem with the name of a flower for a title.
The lack of direction, and therefore pointless nature of the conversations and situations is the focus here. Where do parties lead? Nowhere. Usually to an empty, lonely feeling once the tumult passes. Where do young romances lead? Nowhere, but usually to an empty, lonely feeling once the tumult passes.
These are real kids. I'm 41, own a house and have kids, but I recall these ambling afternoons with clarity, the days when it seems like a car might really change your life and who your friend just kissed presents possible calamity.
Hitchcock said "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." This doc set out to put those dull bits in amber for these kids, in a mostly objective manner, therefore speaking to a much wider net about these weird, quietly raging times, completely forgotten by people who are now more interested in 401Ks and their new petty issues.
My only real problem with the film is that it's too gorgeous to be immediate (I thought several times, "How'd they capture this without having staged the shot?" ...and one or two edits sniff of manipulation).
Alex in Wonderland (1970)
i saw this for the first time last night and thought it was fantastic - the best Mazursky movie i've seen (by far). i come here and find it has a 5.0 and most people hate it... strange. must have hit me at the right moment. i've been interested in seeing it for 20 years - glad i didn't until now.
yes, portions are derivative and pretentious, but Sutherland's incredibly likable and the film has a free and easy feel reminding me of a kind of urban easy rider. it's more of a long poem than a standard movie.
the sequence at Mazursky's office is amazing.
The Thief and the Cobbler (1993)
The Greatest Animated FIlm I Have Ever Seen
I am humbled by this film and the story of Richard Williams, which rivals the sad tale of Erich von Stroheim's tormented production GREED. The good news: most of his masterpiece exists and it can be seen. AVOID AT ALL COSTS the versions you may find in "legitimate" locations... these are bastardized, cut, and filled with inferior, cheaply done filler-scenes without the input of the man who had been slowly crafting the film at a low simmer for three decades! I have just witnessed, via a poor quality bootleg VHS tape, this utter masterpiece which surely stands over all the animated films I've seen, and the vast majority of live-action, too. Gone are the songs, gone are the celebrity voices, and all of the violence reinstated. This site's claim that over 1000 on-screen deaths are present is probably on the mark - whole crowds meet their doom in painstakingly animated sequences. It was also in the correct aspect ratio.
Mr. Williams: please get your version out somehow - even with some sequences supplemented by storyboard sketches or without color in spots, this is better that anything Pixar has ever even done.
Kelly's Heroes (1970)
I guess I did not see the same film as the rest of you...
Lead-footed, preposterous video-game action before there was such a thing. There is not a funny line in the whole film, though they are trying (very hard) to amuse. The disjointed nature of the film, featuring bullet-sponge Nazis and wacky comedy, but also US Army joes getting suddenly blown up with land mines. Screwed up fire missions with friendly fire falling on US troops is treated as utter wackiness; the film was made during Viet-Nam, when similar situations plagued our real army. I found this film to be incredibly insulting, which is the main reason I gave it the one-star rating. A film has to anger me to do that.
Endless noise and over-long, childish action sequences run constantly throughout the film. The film itself has no excuse being 144 minutes; I felt myself aging in its presence.
But the final word has to be about the alleged "comedic" properties of this movie. It's one of those films that thinks volume and destruction are automatically funny. Everyone yells and pounds home the dead-on-arrival jokes with loudness, as if that alone will put some life into the writing. When Sutherland annihilates a Nazi train yard (with Nazis more inept at combat than Lucas' "battle" droids), he rides off in a tank down railroad tracks to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." If you think this is clever or funny, fine. It would have amused me in elementary school, but that's it.
In short, I hated this movie.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Man Found Bludgeoned by Screwball Comedy
AP NEWS, Dallas, TX - A man was found murdered Saturday night in his home. According to police, his wife returned home at about 11.15 pm from a night out and found her spouse dead in his home theater. He had been beaten severely, suffering extreme trauma to the head.
Police and paramedics arrived and the victim was pronounced dead on the scene. Homicide detectives concluded that all evidence pointed to Frank Capra's film ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, which the man had watched on his dvd player while his wife was out. The film apparently reached out from the television and killed the victim with an astonishing array of blunt trauma instruments: loud, annoying characters, poor comic timing, tepid pacing, stagebound theatrics, clumsy physical comedy, initially [mildly] amusing bits run into the ground repeatedly, and, most lethal of all, forced farce.
"If only the film had been 30 minutes shorter, the victim might have lived," claimed the county coroner. "He just couldn't take it for 118 minutes. Frankly, I don't know anyone who could."
The district attorney will not charge anyone with the murder, being that all parties involved in making the film are deceased. The family of the victim is considering civil action versus Warner Home Video.
"It just goes to show, anyone can be a killer, regardless of reputation," said the chief investigator. "Here we have a classic, a very highly ranked movie. Who could have known it could have been so lethal. We see it all the time in this business."
Services are set to be held Tuesday at Burkshire Memorial Park. There will be no viewing as the casket will be closed.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
BILL is a surprisingly lame and mostly useless film that should have either been cut to about 88 minutes or left at 180. whoever thought of chopping it in half (harvey, i'm pretty sure) should be punished for two reasons: 1) this thing is probably ten times better when seen in one piece, and 2) charging us twice for one film is borderline immoral. it's bad enough that i get force fed advertisements and promos for tv shows now at every theater i go to, now the actual films are conning me?
it seems that in order to keep [the pompously titled] Vol. 1 at a decent running time, it has been generously padded. i assume that one day, after ripping off all the dorks with separate dvd sales for 1 & 2, QT will re-edit the thing into one tight little movie, which would be shorter than the combined run times of what we got in theaters. this would of course be known as the super-ultimate-golden-premier-special-deluxe edition that will hit stores about 10 months after sales of the split version taper off.
this is the version i will hold my breath for.
finally, i'd like to complain about one last thing. i hate pointless format changes in films - going to b&w when there is no reason, for instance. the best fight scene in this film goes b&w for a good 5 minutes. my guess is it was to obtain an r-rating, by turning the blood black (includes the opening shot of bloody uma -- none of the other wedding shots were in b&w).
so, here's to the house of blue leaves going back to color when this gets to home video (at least when the definitive KILL BILL comes out - i probably won't see it again until it does).
sadly, for now this film not only lags behind QT's other films, but it lags far behind TRUE ROMANCE as well.
bo svenson is great in his one scene!
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko is a pretty good film. My inspiration to come here and put my comments down comes from something that mars the film, though.
Drew Barrymore was terrible. It's her film, so I guess she caught some executive producr variation of the syndrome that M. Night Shyamalan has, where you feel you must insert yourself into your film regardless of logic, talent, good casting, etc. Drew, while good/appropriate in other things, sticks out sorely in this well-acted film, and her few scenes are played like an amateur. It's too bad she had to give herself a part. Delegate, Drew. You can walk through the Charlie's Angels routine, but this is different.
Graduating Peter (2001)
Not as good as the first film
I also enjoyed the first film more than this one. While it certainly does have its moments, the film feels extremely rushed (and it's 3 times longer than the original).
It seems as if HBO had imposed length requirements, or the filmmaker just didn't shoot enough. The film rushes through things way too quickly - there is nothing of Peter's 7th grade year and his entire junior year is summarized by a field trip to Busch Gardens.
Gangs of New York (2002)
A gigantic waste
I finally got past the bad vibes I've had about this movie and went to see it today. I cleared my head and watched it in an empty theater.
Not since I forced myself through the full version of Heaven's Gate have I struggled harder just to get through a film without committing the full trifecta of falling asleep, laughing at things not intended to be funny and fighting to stay afloat on a sea of suffocating boredom.
Finally, the third act collapses under the weight of too many half-baked ideas and a simple plot resolution that should have come an hour earlier - all concerning characters I cared for about the same as I care about my neighbor's monthly water bill.
What a gigantic waste. Ugly, unappealing, unoriginal, predictable to the nth degree and a beautiful spring day down the drain. A few months ago I thought The Two Towers was flawed. Compared to this catastrophe it's The Godfather, Part II.
Cameron Diaz has been the mark of disaster for me in 2002. Until now, I thought The Sweetest Thing was the worst film of the year. Now I'm not so sure. At least The Sweetest Thing isn't nauseatingly full of itself and knows fairly well what a dungheap it is.
As for Day-Lewis, he was ok but not remarkable. Over the top and two-dimensional. About five times he seemed to be trying his best wacky-DeNiro.
Well, allow me to put another notch on MY club: Scorsese hasn't made a decent film since 1990. He is apparently washed up (a 13 year slump? that's someone else's whole career!).
Maybe there is hope: I thought Polanski was washed up, too.
The Vanishing Line (1998)
An absolute disgrace to the memories of the people in the film
This is a film made by a doctor and it is about patients near death. It is about sad, beaten down little people who have to make the decisions to stop life support on loved ones. It has moments of terrible sadness, and without the incessant narration of the self-obsessed filmmaker, plays at times like the great Frederick Wiseman's NEAR DEATH. Then, it is ruined.
This film is the worst of its kind. Once Roger Ebert said that BLUE VELVET was despicable because it presents raw emotion, then follows it with wackiness. One is not permitted to take the powerful moments seriously, because the filmmaker keeps expecting the audience to stand back and find the whole thing funny. I disagree with that, but this is the film those words apply to - in a relative sense.
The filmmaker treats us to many shots of herself, and I guess so that we believe the "MD" after her name in the opening titles, we see poorly staged shots of her ordering a team of nurses in a resuscitation in the ER. The she waxes on and on about The Fates of mythology, and we are confronted with three community theater actresses in costume playing with yarns and scissors on a concrete bandstand, in slow motion.
These three show up after each visit the "filmmaker" makes with a hospice worker to terminally ill people. They linger on superimposed billboards, snip clotheslines, and parade around construction sites wearing hard hats. This is absurd and so out of place it has nearly enraged me.
The father who cares for his severely brain damaged little son fights back his emotions in the glare of her camera, but you can tell he has pride in his little boy. His son is small and useless, like a doll, but his father tends to him daily in a ritual of love he can not cut away. It is so beautiful a moment, but only exists long enough to be shattered by the filmmaker's ridiculous "artistic" trope.
How this utter piece of trash ever got on PBS's P.O.V. series is TOTALLY beyond me. I have seen 45% of the films in that series, and this is by far the worst. Without regard, I give this film a 1/10.
If anyone who was associated with this film as a subject or with someone who was a subject of it reads this review, this does not reflect on you or yours. If only a real filmmaker had come knocking asking you to sign a release to be in their film. The greatest sin is that this "filmmaker" is more wrapped up in herself and what she can produce with the help of a bunch of crappy filmmakers than in the stories which are devalued by what surrounds them. A total shame!