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TM2YC's 1001 Movies (Chronological up to page 48/post 480)
(01-15-2021, 01:09 PM)mnkykungfu Wrote: ^I love Dream Warriors, actually more than the original (though, come on TM2YC weren't you impressed by Depp's bed sequence?)

Yeah it was wild, I was referring to things like that "The buckets of gore... and gravity defying sets are terrific".

Another thing I remember from Dream Warriors is Freddy walking a sleepwalking guy out of 10 story hospital window like a puppet master (I think?).  It's funny how vividly you remember things at an early age.  I'm picturing it at night, shot from below.  I almost don't ever want to rewatch it because those memories would get overwritten in my brain drive Big Grin .



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Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Country: Italy
Length: 124 minutes
Type: Drama, Comedy

Writer/Director Giuseppe Tornatore's wonderful love-letter to cinema is always a pleasure to revisit.  This time I watched the 2-hour international Theatrical Cut, rather than the later 3-hour Director's Cut.  The longer version has some nice scenes but a few of them disturb the narrative, the pacing and our feelings about the characters, slightly for the worse.  Apparently it was originally exhibited in Italy at 2.5-hours but this version hasn't been released on home video (that I'm aware of), maybe it would be the best of both worlds?  Ennio Morricone's score is magical, romantic and nostalgic, a contender for his best work, out of many masterpieces.  The story is a coming-of-age tale about a famous film director Salvatore, recalling his youth spent hanging out in the Italian rural village cinema projection booth of the kindly old Alfredo.  The lives and loves of the villagers play out inside and around the theatre as young Salvatore watches the films with wide eyed delight.  The finale with the older Salvatore watching Alfredo's compilation of censored kisses is rightly celebrated and tear inducing.  The sequence says more with just visuals and music than most other films can with whole scripts full of dialogue.  Tornatore handles the romance, comedy and drama with equal skill.

This new re-release trailer really captures it:





I've just uploaded the segment from my short 'Birthday Presents' edit which combines Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom' with the final scene footage from 'Nuovo Cinema Paradiso'.





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The Right Stuff (1983)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Country: United States
Length: 192 minutes
Type: Historical, Epic, Drama

This was made by The Ladd Company soon after 'Blade Runner' and it's inexplicable financial failure doomed the company very unfairly given how brilliant this film is.  It really takes it's time, confidant that the story of the Mercury Astronauts is dramatic enough to grip an audience for 3 hours and 12 minutes. 'The Right Stuff' really captures the poetry and romance of the aviation pioneer spirit, not least through the soaring beauty of Bill Conti's synthesiser score.







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The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Country: Germany
Length: 120 minutes
Type: Drama

Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder explores post-war Germany, starting with the marriage ceremony of the title during an Allied bombing raid (symbolising what is to come for the couple). Maria (Hanna Schygulla) dedicates her life to her husband despite war, imprisonment, geographical separation and fate conspiring to keep them apart and disaster striking whenever they meet.  Schygulla is captivating in the lead role.   Fassbinder has such empathy for his damaged characters and the film looks much more visually polished than some of his other films.  Another meisterwerk from RWF.

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^Creesus! Hanna Schygulla was reincarnated as Kirsten Dunst! And she hasn't even died yet...
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Withnail and I (1987)

Director: Bruce Robinson
Country: United Kingdom
Length: 107 minutes
Type: Comedy, Drama

The arrow 2K restoration from the camera negative looks amazing, better than I'd ever imagine this could look.  You can make out every postcard, painting, booze label and mound of grotty detritus that festoons the Camden flat of unemployed actors Withnail and "I" (aka 'Marwood').  For the first time I could see that kooky Uncle Monty has a Radish on his lapel, not a flower.  Good gods the soundtrack is amazing!  By happy coincidence, just after re-watching the film I had to drive the same motorway for work, to the same area where the cottage is set, so naturally I had Jimi Hendrix blasting on the stereo.  It wasn't in a clapped-out Jaguar MKII, being driven at 100 mph, swerving all over the road and I wasn't drunk and high but it still felt damn good.  'Withnail and I' is semi-autobiographical, it's based pretty closely on Director/Writer Bruce Robinson's friendship with flat mate and fellow alcoholic actor Vivian MacKerrell ("I" and Withnail respectively), who really drank lighter fluid and had a sad life and death, while Robinson went on to some success, exactly like in the film.  That feeling of weight and melancholy is all over the movie, no matter how funny it gets, it's wistfully laughing in the shadow of death.

The dialogue is endlessly quotable, "Monty you terrible c**t!", "Scrubbers!", "I've only had a few ales", "I demand to have some booze!", "My thumbs have gone weird" etc.  All the cast are outstanding but it's Richard E. Grant's maniacally bladdered performance as Withnail that dominates, this despite the actor being allergic to alcohol.   Richard Griffiths is also rather wonderful as Monty, Withnail's loopy, lonely, lovelorn gay uncle.  He's a sorrowful product of a point in British history, just before (or slightly after) homosexuality had been decriminalised.  The script is full of wistful poetry and tragic romance about the end of an era, the tail end of the swinging-sixties party, when everybody else had gone home.  The final scene where Withnail is left alone performing lines from Hamlet, with his tears drowned by the applause of the rain, is so heart-rending.  What makes it worse and what I hadn't fully appreciated before was that despite all the abuse he throws at "I" and all his cowardice, selfishness and monstrous behaviour, when it really counts he's a true friend.  The couple of times when "I" gets good news, opportunities that will change his life for the better, you can see Withnail making a real effort to smile and be happy for him, even as he internally contemplates his own ruin.  I always enjoyed 'Withnail and I' but now I think it might be one of the finest films ever made.





Do not attempt the drinking game like these 90s students Big Grin :



Director Bruce Robinson did an terrific watch-along commentary during lockdown.  Full of real anecdotes and escapades which inspired the film, somehow more outlandish than in the script.  I've heard him talk before about fellow Director Franco Zeffirelli being the loose inspiration for Uncle Monty but in a light-hearted way.  Robinson played Benvolio in Zeffirelli's 1968 'Romeo and Juliet' and had to fight of Zeffirelli's advances, much like "I" with Monty.  Perhaps because Zeffirelli died in 2019 and following other #me2 revelations, here Robinson speaks more frankly and painfully about the experience and it being the impetuous for him getting into writing and directing, so he wouldn't have to put up with that kind of behaviour.  The first drafts of 'Withnail and I' were written soon after 'Romeo and Juliet'.





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Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Director: Louis Malle
Country: France
Length: 104 minutes
Type: Drama

This is the first Louis Malle film I've watched and is now one of my favourites.  Malle based it on his own experiences of attending a Catholic boarding school in Nazi occupied France that secretly hid a few Jewish children. The film and the superb young cast perfectly capture the way boys behave at an age teetering between childhood and manhood. The camera never takes us away from their world of tedious lessons and playground rough-housing, so we experience some of their blissful ignorance of the dangers we know are closing in. The scene showing the school kids enjoying a Charlie Chaplin silent short was designed to make me love this movie.





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Alice (1988)
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Country: Czechoslovakia
Length: 86 minutes
Type: Animation, Fantasy

Jan Svankmajer's astonishing Stop-Motion/Live-Action hybrid adaptation of Lewis Carroll walks an eccentric line between enchanting and disturbing. Although faithful to the structure of the story, it plays as a dream Alice is having, asleep in an old house, the derelict surroundings and strewn objects reflected, refracted and repeated back to her in increasingly unusual ways. This goes straight on to my favourite films list.

(btw I watched with the English language dub because there were only a few words in Czech anyway)

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Ah, you got around to watching Alice! Good for a kids' Halloween film, I reckon.

England is a weird little country. Ostensibly, having spread much of their language and culture around the world, there should be little-to-no barrier to appreciating English films (unlike with Italian or French or Indian or Thai, etc.) And yet, there are a great many that just seem so very ...English...that it's almost as if they're some litmus test of cultural membership. My experience with Withnail and I was like this, where in a rare moment of creature comforts, a British couple invited us to watch their favorite movie with them on a system they had jury-rigged for the occasion. I was traveling with a caravan in the Gobi desert, and with us were a few Mongolians, a North Londoner, a Swissman, and myself, an American.

The couple from England where trying to make a documentary about climate change as they traveled through developing countries and interviewed farmers and people who had firsthand experience with The Land. They had Withnail and I on a tape they could put in their backup camera and run through a screen for previewing footage. After sundown, we huddled together under blankets in our ger and watched what they assured us was sure to be a laugh riot. And we proceeded to mostly chuckle good-naturedly once or twice as they nearly split their seams. Even the other Brit's spirits were dimmed, and he was forced to admit that it was a lot funnier with other people who had grown up with it. Chock one up to a cultural barrier.
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^ Great story thanks Smile .

There is probably an element of post-student, squallid, charity shop, on the dole, semi-bohemian existance, where you've no money for food but always enough money for drink, art and music, that is parculilalry British and even that is a vanished world, when you practically have to a millionaire to afford to live in London.  It's always described as a "cult film", which it is, even on it's home turf.  That being said, it does have some American fans, celebs anyway.  Roger Ebert has it on his "great films" list and said Withnail was "one of the iconic figures in modern films".  Vin Diesel can quote the movie.  Johnny Depp is such a fan he coaxed Bruce Robinson out of his 19-year retirement to write/direct 'The Rum Diary' for him.  David Fincher is also a fan.  He wanted to reunite the cast for 'Alien 3' but Richard E. Grant turned down the role of the doctor, which went to Charles Dance.  Ralph Brown and Paul McGann do appear.

What if Threepio is saying Withnail's lines, it's funny then right?  Big Grin (NSFW):



As with all comedy, one either finds it funny, or one doesn't.  Too underline that point, personally I thought this supposed comedy classic was a wasteland of unfunny...

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The Ladies Man (1961)
Director: Jerry Lewis
Country: United States
Length: 106 minutes
Type: "Comedy"

The couple of other Jerry Lewis movies I've watched, I've hated and this was no different.  Lewis wrote, directed, starred and produced, so it's all his fault.  He endlessly mugs for the camera, pulls faces, overplays every moment beyond the point that you'd think humanely possible and generally screeches and shouts in an irritating nasal howl.  Christ, the poster even declares it's Lewis' "broadest" comedy yet, as if that was a good thing!  This time he's playing an accident prone handyman in a nutty women-only boarding house.  The tall, wide and deep 3-level, multi-layer set is very impressive, able to be shot in close and from a distance like a gigantic dolls house.





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Easy Rider (1969)
Director: Dennis Hopper
Country: United States
Length: 96 minutes
Type: Road Movie

I first watched 'Easy Rider' a very long time ago, so this was basically like seeing it new. The iconic jukebox Pop/Rock soundtrack is terrific, a choice that was apparently groundbreaking in 1969. The plot is minimal, two bikers (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) score big on a drug deal (with recently deceased musical genius and homicidal maniac Phil Spector) and set off on a road-trip from L.A. to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras. It's more about their experiences along the way, 1969 America seen through new counter-cultural eyes. They befriend a delightfully shambolic lawyer (played by Jack Nicholson) but their long hair, wild clothes and free spirits attract anger from rednecks. The shots of Monument Valley as they ride through have rarely looked more beautiful. The editing is bold and unusual and the tight 95-minute run time makes what could be a meandering experience sail by.





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The Deer Hunter (1978)
Director: Michael Cimino
Country: United States
Length: 184 minutes
Type: War, Drama, Epic

I watched this when I was much younger and thought it was unnecessarily long and slow but his time I was blown away.  The first hour spent entirely setting up the characters was perfectly edited and timed. The other two hours are gruelling and powerful and needed that setup, to feel what is lost.

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