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An epic for the small screen?
My short comment here might fly in the face of others; at least from what I've read on F'book. First I liked Hans Zimmer's soundtrack, and felt its volume (and drone power) were excellent. Also in (contrarian) hindsight, I would say wait and watch this on your small screen. Of course, with headphones that is.
So many scenes herein stressed a sense of claustrophobia. Shot in dogfight cockpit battles, or caught up in the hell of water-bound hulls....even aboard the mighty Minnow, er I mean, Moonstone...that's tight quarters. Big faces don't necessarily mean the big screen for me.
That being said, Mark Rylance was excellent by the way, and that's not just my AARP card talking. More of his level of noble honor in the most savage of situations would be welcome in fact and fiction.
Took my boys and some friends to the film, one of whom is quite the WWII "enthusiast" (well there may be a better word than that, but I remember kids like that when I was young and there is a degree of enthusiasm that strikes me in hearing them discuss authenticity and strategies.) For folks like that of any age, well you've already seen this film. For others, perhaps wait on renting after this film gets its Oscar nomination but before it fails to win Best Picture?? Also a fun fact, apparently the Germans were the enemy. (Yes I'm sure it was Nolan's intent, but I haven't read yet why, and honestly I'm not all that interested in the rationale behind his choice.)
The Comedy (2012)
Well I think I boosted it up a point since I did not recognize Neil Hamburger without his KISS make-up.
Time will tell if this is a pivotal film, an antidote for comedy or at least a gag-suppressant for Charles Douglass Disease. If George Costanza was a form of "cringe humor" and Louis CK multiplied that while adding an element of verite, then Heidecker's unprincipled principles take 'em both to a quantum apotheosis.
Or maybe, it was just too much time and videotape on the hands of some guys? At one point, the idea that this was a film version of why domesticated animals cannot be released into the wild. Or some fun-house mirror of class politics. But then somebody threw up. I don't think it was me.
Also, I tried listening to the director/star commentary but bailed. So maybe a missed an epiphany there.
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
watching with teens : a clean well-lighted dirt nap
Recommended by a friend with kids, I'd actually never seen this Hitchcock film and had been thinking maybe we should check some of his stuff out.
As others indicate, this is not a typical Hitchcock film, more in tune with his TV show if you've ever seen that. Anyways my kids (14 years old) enjoyed this film, they do have a sense of humor somewhere between mordant and morbid so bear that in mind. They enjoyed the comedy here and the cleverness to the story.
The film has a strong stagey feel, and some of the concocted dialog that I connect with older films, and I think my boys liked just fine. As a product of the 50's the film although fatal in some ways, never feels dangerous. So the odd humor is not really all that jarring (Shirley MacLaine's hyper-quirky character was the most jarring, and yet in an endearing manner.) Edmund Gwenn as the captain feels very much like a cartoon character composite, though he predates almost all that my boys have seen.
Sex and death have long been constants in the universe, in this film they are handled rather tidily. As for teens, and maybe many viewers, there's something about being in on a secret with the characters on screen that in particular really resonates with some (one of my boys in particular.) I'd extend the recommendation made to me to you, based upon the above. As a bonus, it is the first time that Hitchcock worked with Bernard Herrmann.
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
teen rewatch : wheels of revolution, sounds of devolution
Been looking for films to watch with my teen boys, and this was on my list and then a lot of friends agreed it would be a winner. Definitely was, even though my kids are not at all into skateboarding by any stretch.
The film is well set-up (who knew that Venice was indeed meant to echo the canals of Italy, not me) and thanks to Craig Stecyk's instincts to document so much of the history as it was happening, really has a time-travel you-are-there flair.
The scene at the '75 Del Mar skateboarding contest where Z-Boys make their debut and lead by the youngest, and arguably wildest, skater is just a triumphant moment for teens in general. It's that shattering of the boring archetype that should be encourage even by those of us sitting on our archetypes.
And the detailed character studies are also quite engrossing in and of themselves, that classic "sell-out" mentality versus needing to make a living and might as well as be you profiting from the revolution that quickly becomes packaged. Usually I think of this in musical notes, but skateboarding nailed it here.
And surely music was involved, my wife I think was drawn to join us based upon the mix-tape soundtrack. (And it pleased one of my boys who has bumped into Bowie sadly posthumously, to spot so many slices of said Thin White Duke.). I do have to say that it was Devo's "Gut Feeling" that was used to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the DVD packaging, so there with Hendrix, Led Zep, Bowie, and Iggy are the Spud boys?!?! It is a helluva riff! E-G-C-A! The lone female skater doesn't get too much focus, but perhaps preferably for her is just tossed in with the boys. Even though I think she was the only one who won at that contest that is a key moment in the film. The swimming pool scenario, and this notion of the rich dying kid wanting to share his love of skateboarding with the ne'er-do-well stars of the burgeoning sport, again just a small but significant piece of the story. Really that sets up the almost astronaut-launch that is just delivered in the film as good as any car chase in a boilerplate action film.
The tone of the filmmakers is reverential, and moments like that are mythic, but then the interviewees are largely such "dudes" (in the best possible sense...and yes even Peggy Oki) that it makes for a fascinating watch.
RIP several of them since the original release. It was interesting how the film created a dark aura around Jay Adams. Was he the most pure and the most corrupt character? Well they focus on the former but hint at trouble beyond the weed (later I read something about a bar fight not sure about all the details on that).
For me it was great that my boys enjoyed the film, and got an appreciation for all of the skaters, but especially Adams who would have been a kid they might have ignored (or not gotten along well with) in school, but to see his side of the story, not just the flamboyant burst at that contest....but even later his commitment to just the excitement of skateboarding just for that excitement's sake. That got their wheels spinning I think.
My wheels are spinning on whether this film is taught in modern-day film courses on documentaries? Or is it too much of a labor of love from an outsider. But wait, is that the point of the film?
Knight of Cups (2015)
eau de toilette sans travaile
Did I just watch a two hour perfume commercial from Malick? For a perfume that I cannot afford...and perhaps no man can, lest he loseth his soul?
A completely improvised film where the main character never speaks is going to require a lot on your the viewer. So check your mood before watching this perhaps, I'd recommend a long and peaceful day of sensory overloading at the beach perhaps.
The film often has characters born of water. Either at private beaches or at the swimming pools of exclusive mansions. As per the title, there are tarot cards and a reading (in Russian, or something Slavic-ally chic?)
Lots of music through-out as emotional inducer, and the main theme was it a riff on Ravel? Is this film a "Ten" for the art-house set? And instead of one Bo Derek, you get a full set of gorgeous muses. Collect 'em all.
Actually the full main theme has some pretty amazing vocal parts 19+ min that I don't recall hearing in the film.
Nice to see Brian Dennehy, and was there some Oedipus aire mixed in the concoction? Was the tragedy in the family spurred by Daddy Dennehy's indiscretions, and does our hero the Knight then have that same wanderlust, granted cut by a mysterious ennui. Mom was only scene walking away I think?
Bale is fine in what might have been a challenging role. Although playing tag with leading ladies leaning over ledges is that much of a challenge? IS this a primer for young men before diving into Tinder. Say less, act disinterested and be insanely wealthy. Even then, no love lasts.
Wish I'd seen it on a big screen, especially in sensurround for that earthquake (what was that about?) Angry gods in helicopters attacking?
When the perfume evaporates, what is left?
For most of us, it's the alarm clock the next day and off to work. For the fortunate few, apparently philandering and the life of a philosopher king.
teen rewatch : gene genie
Watched this with one of the boys, and I hope the point stressed here is not moot by the time he has a child, but designer genes are cropping up more and more, and not just in Monsanto crops.
So far, within our own walls we've been very fortunate to have little sibling rivalry, so the way this film employs that was an interesting tangent but primarily the point here is that there is an undefinable element of being human that should never be underestimated. As a watcher of the original Star Trek series, you like myself may be well familiar with said theme. My boys tried a few passes at those old Star Trek episodes, but didn't grab them too much.
Anyways, Hawke's performance here, and being in on the secret with your kid allows you to root for a pretty driven underdog. (Not sure I want to watch "Rocky" with the kids for this...) Besides the contemplation of eugenics, which led to a nice discussion in days afterwards, the notion of doing something wrong for the right reason was something that my son in particular needs to consider. Maybe I do too, as my status quo addiction grows stronger.
One warning, Jude Law while also outstanding in this, has a very rough backstory and an even rougher epilogue, that might give some parents pause. Certainly had both my son and I in tears, so that was something we discussed afterwards as well. (Truth is I was also crying for the Xander Berkeley side-story...) Kids get thrown so much flashy sci-fi, but I really like this film for the reflection it triggers. Characters were sharply drawn (well the male ones at least, I agree that Uma Thurman's role was fairly flat) and a theme that was on-point even then (Korea/Chinese sex selection) and it seems will be more so going forward.
Hey all this and Ernest Borgnine (who helps reinforce a Horatio Algiers touch!)
teen rewatch : a just mortality play
Disclaimer: My boys are almost in high school, so I'm watching certain films with them as some sort of cross between the Criterion Collection and the old ABC Afterschool Specials. My tastes may not apply with your superior parenting skills, so check the advisory....especially if language, sex, violence or puns disturb you.
The notion of a code of honor drew me to this film, even though neither I nor my boys have watched any Samurai cinema. I just thought Forrest Whitaker was great in this, and so many other films. I forgot about the mob fixation on cartoons (maybe softens the violence, or in my mind at least lampoons America's love of goons).
The modes of communication here are excellent, carrier pigeons *and* a friendship between Ghost Dog and the ice cream man on the same wavelength but only meeting in subtitles. The little readings from the booklet Ghost Dog carries helped to reinforce the Afterschool vibe. But as I recall some were a bit more obscure, so maybe a sideways portal into zen? Perhaps the morality play is here is just about mortality. Or better yet about a just mortality. Boys dug it, so success on that front.
Who is the Bad Dad
Took my 8th grade boys and their buddies to this, and I'm glad they seemed to enjoy it. Saw the first film with just my kids and the mesh of music and intergalactic goofiness was, well, stellar.
For me, this was not supernova, and more of a reheated dwarf. But it could be I'm just jaded, at least one of the boys loved the whole "Tazerface" gag. And a planet called "Ego", ugh-o. Unspoken love that gets spoken? And did Stallone's agent pay for him to be inserted? Sorry to say this just felt phoned in from the opening dancing mini-Groot all the way to the bonus Teenage Grootland. I mean I'll cry at some commercials, but even the Cats Steven's "Father and Son" missed its mark by a Hallmark card. Left me high and dry and alienated.
I see the high rating for this at present, but let's check back in when GotG-3 comes out in what, four months, and see if my five was not overly fair. I don't think I'm taking subconscious umbrage with the Dad gone bad nature of the film. I'm not the Bad Dad, am I?
Borom sarret (1963)
Can't get there from here
The clash of the transportation and classes is sharply mapped out in this short. I watched this some time ago but just tonight viewing "Mandabi" by the same director reminded me of this film, which was literally driven by the main "actor" (he never appeared in anything else it seems, so maybe he really was a charioteer in un-reel life??).
His emotions on screen at the cemetery gate and in being soul serenaded, seem so authentic. His persistence in hitting the tracks and motivations to make the right move over making money, cannot help the viewer to root for him, when he finally gets what appears to be a big break. A rich powerful person offers him to help him out with an immense reward (i.e. similarities to Mandabi), the juxtaposition of their status, their clothing and even the physical forbidden aspect of the charioteer's home and the destination zone where he was to take his cart (I forget what the area was called, but it had that "gated community" without the visible gate feel).
Short and powerful.
Hustle and no cash flow
Could see how watching this in a film studies class, or in conjunction with reading about Sembene (or even his story that spawned this) would make for a completely different experience.
Of the three films by him I've seen so far, "Borom Sarret" was the one that resonated the most. This film I think takes a similar tack, but the main character here is so hapless, that it feels his doomed fate like his domed pate, are inherent in his character. The wagon master in that short just seemed noble and just, and ends up just royally screwed.
Here good fortune on paper turns to bad luck in person, and everyone seems to be on the scam. The imam and his posse, the double-dipping beggar lady on the street, the wives, the photographer. And as in "Borom" ultimately the wealthy just screw over the impoverished while making a grand false gesture on par with grand larceny. I could see it as satire (as the poster indicates), but the situation came across so dire it just made me think of people on ever continent caught in debt spirals.
The relationship of the wives (count 'em two) to the agonizing protagonist is not really explored but fascinating to me, never mind the seven children. It almost begs its own very different film, but this film is more about the tiers of people on the take. And the crazy within bureaucracy. An idea that is not so foreign as the setting for this film. Sadly...