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TM2YC's 1001 Movies (Chronological up to page 25/post 481)

TM2YC

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Dersu Uzala (1975 film)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Country: Russia / Japan
Length: 144 minutes
Type: Epic, Drama, Adventure

I believe this was Akira Kurosawa's only Soviet film, only non-Japanese-language film and his only one shot in 70mm. It's a David Lean-esque Epic about the real life friendship between Russian explorer Captain Vladimir Arsenyev and Dersu Uzala his nomadic guide in the wilderness. Like some other Soviet era films I've seen, it's not the best transfer, flickery, faded and soft, which is a real shame given the vast 70mm landscapes shots. I hope somebody does a proper 4-8K restoration at some point. 'Dersu Uzala' has 'Dances with Wolves' type themes about respect for nature, respect for the knowledge of native peoples and a deep sadness at it's passing. It's also a thoroughly adsorbing "Boys' Own" adventure. Isaak Shvarts' flute score is quite lovely. I was already thinking that Maxim Munzuk's performance as the little but formidable and wise Dersu reminded me of Yoda (something about the thoughtful sighing), when I later read that George Lucas has claimed he was a key inspiration (if GL can be believed about anything).

 

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Meet the Parents (2000)
Director: Jay Roach
Country: United States
Length: 108 minutes
Type: Comedy

Films like 'Meet the Parents' aren't really my taste in humour but I still had fun with it in 2000 and enjoyed it again today. Ben Stiller makes a very endearing protagonist because it's only us the audience that share his nightmare, seeing every attempt he makes to be liked, result in him being disliked. The film-makers seem to think that the "Gaylord Focker" thing is the funniest joke ever written (because it's repeated about 600 times) but it's not funny once. It's the character moments, the awkward silences and the observations on family life that land. I thought there was a minor problem in the way the girlfriend is portrayed. In an effort to cram in more gags they have her sabotage Stiller as well, to the point where she comes off as a bit ignorant and like she's being mean on purpose. Plot wise, I felt the film dramatically needed to have her go after him at the end, apologise and even propose to Stiller... but having Robert De Niro do it instead was deployed for another chance for comedy. Also the real villain of the piece, the younger brother isn't punished, I wanted to see the smirk wiped off his lying face. I have no idea why 'Meet the Parents' is included in the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die' book/list but it's an agreeable way to spend an hour or two.

 

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Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Director: David Lynch
Country: United States
Length: 146 minutes
Type: Noir, Mystery, Surreal

I assume the stylisation of the title of 'Mulholland Dr.' is meant to recall Billy Wilder's 1950 L.A. Noir 'Sunset Blvd'. I also got an Alfred Hitchcock vibe but that might have just been down to Naomi Watts being dressed up like Tippi Hedren, with a tightly tailored suit and bleach blonde hair. David Lynch's film feels of-a-piece with 1997's 'Lost Highway' but with a touch more old Hollywood glamour. I prefer this to that movie but not a lot more. The comparison between the rehearsal of a scripted scene and then it's performance was incredible. Watts made the same words seem like empty flim-flam, then she made them sound like the greatest, most passionate words ever written. That's acting! 'Mulholland Dr.' is worth seeing just for that section. The main amnesia plot is frequently interrupted by blacky comic vignettes but I actually preferred them to the main mystery.

 

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Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Director: Elia Kazan
Country: United States
Length: 124 minutes
Type: Period, Drama

I teetered between finding 'Splendor in the Grass' boldly ahead of it's time and unflinching for 1961, or dated, obviously beholden to the censors and morally retrograde for 2021 (plus a hint of segregation racism that I'd thought was long gone in Hollywood by the 60s). Set pre/post the 1929 Wall Street crash, it's a story about a past era, told by film-makers from another past era. It tackles formerly taboo subjects like sex, mental illness, suicide, abortion and date rape but discusses them in such an old-fashioned, prudish, or sometimes offensively wrong-headed way. The tone is quite melodramatic too. Of the two leads, Warren Beatty (in his first role) seems to be doing a pale imitation of James Dean (thankfully he'd find his own voice a few years later) but Natalie Wood (who had starred with the real Dean) is excellent, displaying a huge range. Pat Hingle is the standout playing Beatty's overbearing father, with a voice like a wild dog's bark. 'Splendor in the Grass' isn't a bad film but it hasn't stood the test of time in my opinion.

 

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^I want to "like" what you've written above, but have never seen the film so have no idea if I'd agree. But I really appreciate the balanced and nuanced way you wrote about how you approached a film from another era.
 

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Pink Flamingos (1972)
Director: John Waters
Country: United States
Length: 92 minutes
Type: Exploitation, Comedy

Part of the enjoyment of 'Pink Flamingos' is laughing at what the characters are doing and saying but another part is laughing because you're watching actors actually perform it. The tag-line went "An exercise in poor taste" and a lot of it is pushing boundaries in all kinds of directions to see what personally freaks you out. I found 99% of it to be outrageous but inoffensive fun (I could have done without the chicken cruelty though), which might be down to 5-decades of desensitising content since 'Pink Flamingos'. The bit that had me hiding my head in my hands was where we look right down the barrel (so to speak!) of a contortionist with a prolapsed anus. The plot is pretty straight forward (even if the actions of the characters are not), two families battle for the title "the filthiest people alive". They exist in a strange counter-cultural 1950s alternate reality, where a brilliant Surf-Rock track is never far from the turntable. Edith Massey as Edie the egg-obsessed mother of Divine was my highlight.

Did this trailer originate the "audience reaction" marketing angle? Probably not but it's an early example.


 
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The Usual Suspects (1995)
Director: Bryan Singer
Country: United States
Length: 106 minutes
Type: Thriller, Noir, Mystery

‘The Usual Suspects’ is one of those movies built around a big twist ending but it remains rewatch-able beyond knowledge of the reveal because it’s bursting with noir directorial style in every shot, well mounted action, memorably larger-than-life performances from all involved, gallows humour and an enjoyably convoluted mystery plot. The “unreliable narrator” aspect also keeps the film fascinating to ponder. Back in the 90s, for teenagers like me, ‘The Usual Suspects’ was just the coolest film and everybody knew what you meant by saying “Keyser Söze!” in a dodgy Hungarian accent. It’s easily Bryan Singer’s best film (on his 2nd try) and probably always will be now his Hollywood career is over.

 

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Casino (1995)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Country: United States
Length: 178 minutes
Type: Crime, Epic, Drama

I was in my mid-teens in 1995 and I think ‘Casino’ might have been the first Martin Scorsese film I ever saw. The power of the film-making, storytelling and acting blew me away then and it continues to shine today after numerous rewatches. The complex characters remain fascinating. Ace is such a cold monster, he appears to be controlled and controlling but his irrational inability to simply ignore the incompetence of an employee with powerful friends, betrays the uncontrollable anger he harbours beneath his calm, cultured surface. Whereas the outwardly violent and unruly Nicky, is capable of applying only the amount of pressure (literally!) needed to achieve his aims. His problem is that he doesn't see why cultural rules should be observed. It makes them very different to Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci’s characters in the earlier ‘Goodfellas’, despite the initial impression that they are similar. This time I also got the feeling that Ace deliberately (if unconsciously) sets out to destroy Ginger because she won’t love him and because he sees himself as worthy of her love and respect, compared to the wretched Lester, who is unworthy but she loves him regardless. I felt sympathy for Ginger and Lester because as faithless as they are, they can’t be anything else and don’t pretend to be. Ace and Nicky have choices and always make the wrong ones. The luxurious colour and dazzling glamour of Robert Richardson’s cinematography obscures the ugliness of this business and the people who run it… it’s more Vegas, than Vegas.

 

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The Terminator (1984)
Director: James Cameron
Country: United States
Length: 107 minutes
Type: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama

I've said it before but I kinda wish there had never been any sequels to 'The Terminator'. Even the glorious T2 has to mildly tarnish the original's meticulously constructed, utterly fascinating, time-loop mythos in order to make a continuation of the story work. For this rewatch I ordered the old 2006 Region-A blu-ray which doesn't have the awful teal grade of the 2012 remaster and synced it to the original mono mix, with all the old super punchy gun sounds that some of us still remember. It seemed to me that Brad Fiedel's iconic score is mixed higher in this old version. The bass hum of his synthesisers often blend almost indistinguishably with the howl of the wind, or the buzz of electrics, much like Vangelis' score did in 'Blade Runner'. I think Michael Biehn's portrayal of the haunted Reese is one of the greatest acting jobs ever. The pain on his face makes the brief moment of forgetful happiness we see on his last morning so tragic. It's incredible what James Cameron achieved on such a modest budget. A perfect movie.


I'm not sure exactly when I first watched 'The Terminator' but I'm sure it was sometime after 10:40pm on the 24th of June, 1990 because our well-worn VHS copy had this wonderful intro from film Director Alex Cox, part of BBC2's Moviedrome "late night film club" strand. I'm pretty sure my older brother must have taped it:


"So sit back. Slam a few shells into the chamber of your pump-action. Load up the 30-06 and slip the safety of your 357, as Arnold does his bit for truth justice and the almighty box office" :cool: :LOL:
 
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The Usual Suspects (1995)
It’s easily Bryan Singer’s best film

Um, have you seen Valkyrie?! Because I totally love Valkyrie. :D And I tried to watch The Usual Suspects once, long ago, but the notion of a criminal preemptively killing his own family was so dumb, and the story already so annoyingly convoluted, that I pretty much gave up right then. I similarly bailed on Fight Club about halfway through, and both flicks got dismissively panned by the great Ebert.
 

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have you seen Valkyrie?! Because I totally love Valkyrie.

No not yet, I seem to recall you extolling the virtues of that one before. I will have to give it a go one time.



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Shoah (1985)
Director: Claude Lanzmann
Country: France
Length: 566 minutes (9.5 hours)
Type: Documentary

I've had the Masters of Cinema blu-ray boxset of 'Shoah' for a couple of years but it can be difficult to find the right evening to begin a 9.5 hour film, Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January 2022, seemed like the right time to start. Director Claude Lanzmann chooses to use almost no voice-over, historical footage, on-screen text, photos, or visual aides (and no music whatsoever), he just shows interview testimony from the survivors (and very few cuts to shape or truncate those), sometimes blended with new footage he shot of the same death camp locations being discussed, as they appear now (in the 70s/80s). This technique prompts you to fill in the mental pictures between the horrors they describe in words and the cold empty shots of forests, memorials and train yards. However, sometimes I found this restriction of visual information to be confusing and lacking in context. Even with me having some small first-hand knowledge of a concentration camp and a holocaust survivor. The pause button and Wikipedia helped fill in a lot of that. I also found the choice to subtitle the French translators and Lanzmann himself but never the actual people talking to be off putting. Sometimes they can talk for up to a minute in another language with no immediate subtitles, so you can struggle to connect their emotions, with their words.

The most powerful moments for me included; barber Abraham Bomba struggling through his emotions to describe Treblinka; historian Raul Hilberg giving a chilling and meticulous review of train timetables and the petty budgeting of the "final solution"; Szymon Srebrnik bravely going back to Chelmno to listen to the unvarnished opinions of villagers who lived around the camp; Auschwitz Sonderkommando Filip Müller crying as he tells of Czech victims singing their national anthem in the gas chamber and him wanting to join them in death but being persuaded to live; and free-Polish diplomat Jan Karski describing what he saw on a fact-finding visit inside the Warsaw ghetto. Karski's description is like hell on earth, despite him talking some 35-40 years later, it feels like you're there with him seeing it now. Lanzmann also conducts a few hidden-camera interviews with SS officers, skilfully and subtly implying their half-truths and self-deceptions in a way that is clear to the viewer but keeps the interviewees giving unguarded answers. The main takeaway from 'Shoah', beyond just information, is a new understanding of the vast scale of the holocaust, of the all encompassing, sprawling, never ceasing machinery of death, in a way that giant numbers alone can't convey. It's well worth seeing but you know a film is long when your smart-TV pops up a message that's it's going to automatically turn off unless you tell it not to.


 
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No not yet, I seem to recall you extolling the virtues of that one before. I will have to give it a go one time.

It's really good! Reviews at the time were a bit rough, calling Cruise's performance wooden - but he was playing a German career military officer who is on duty (whether officially, or as part of the conspiracy) for all but one or two scenes, so what did they expect, Tom Hanks' folksiness? Also, this was when the press/public still had it out for him over the Katie Holmes/Scientology stuff, before he gradually won people back with Missions: Impossible. And I think you particularly will enjoy the movie's genuine location shooting, historical vehicles, and the like.
 

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Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4PM (2001)
Claude Lanzmann
presents 1.5-hrs of footage not used in the already 9.5-hr 'Shoah', about the uprising, escape and resulting closure of the Sobibor concentration camp. The most striking testimony comes from camp barber and prisoner Yehuda Lerner describing carefully planning the revolt, all exactly synchronised to the film's title of "October 14, 1943, 4PM". It's startling to hear him describe dispatching his target camp guard with an axe to the head in such a smiling, enthusiastic way, with excitement and pride (I think he uses words like "privilege" and "satisfaction" himself) but it's difficult to truly fathom being in a hell like Sobibor, or how you'd feel about the people slowly killing you.




The Karski Report (2010)
Claude Lanzmann
put out the unused second day of his 1978 interview with Polish diplomat Jan Karski, as a separate short film to the 9.5-hr 'Shoah', to act as a rebuttal to a 2009 fanciful novel about Karski. The footage is nowhere near as powerful as Karski's testimony in 'Shoah' but it's no less historically interesting and Karski is a terrific talker. He recounts two meetings he had in July 1943 with President Roosevelt and then with one of the President's chief advisors Felix Frankfurter, a Supreme Court judge of Jewish descent. Sadly it seems that Roosevelt didn't devote much time to listening to Karski's warnings about the urgency of addressing the unfolding holocaust, where as Frankfurter listened to everything but didn't believe it could be as bad as Karski described. The impression is that politicians just weren't mentally prepared to accept that such unprecedented horrors could exist in the world, two years before the liberation of Auschwitz and other places showed that they did.

 

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A Visitor from the Living (1997)
In a 'A Visitor from the Living', Claude Lanzmann interviews Maurice Rossel, a Swiss Red Cross official who visited the Theresienstadt concentration camp and then wrote a glowing report about it. The Nazi's made a huge effort to deceive him, "thinning out" the population, painting walls, cleaning streets, building fake cafes and theatres, hiding the sick, rehearsing scenes and having SS officers pretend to be prisoners, so they could monitor the real prisoners should they try to give anything away. Even so, the extracts from Rossel's unnecessarily positive report (which Lanzmann reads back to him) seem to go beyond naivety, into gross negligence of his duties and even endemic 1940s anti-Semitism leading him to just not bother to look deeper. Lanzmann maintains his usual outward calm demeanour throughout the interview but you can still feel a level of anger and incredulity in his questions, when faced with Rossel's casual refusal to accept any responsibility for his failures.




The Last of the Unjust (2013)
As it was released 16-years later, I naturally watched Claude Lanzmann's 'The Last of the Unjust' after his 'A Visitor from the Living' but I recommend seeing them in reverse order. 'The Last of the Unjust' documents the grim realities of life inside the Theresienstadt death camp, so would add a lot of context and opposition to Maurice Rossel's report discussed in 'A Visitor from the Living' which portrayed it as more like a holiday camp. Lanzmann's films usually stick strictly to the pattern established by 'Shoah', testimony to camera and modern location footage but the style of 'The Last of the Unjust' is comparatively relaxed. He delivers some narration to camera, meets one or two contemporary people and makes limited use of historical photographs, documents and films. He shows a disturbing section of the Nazi propaganda film "Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt". You look into the eyes of the people at Theresienstadt and they just can't fake being happy for the camera, even though their lives probably depended on it. The only genuine seeming smiles are from the children in scenes of them gulping down buttered bread, no doubt provided only for the benefit of the sham film, not them. I don't know which is sadder. Lanzmann also shows some of the drawings and paintings secretly done by the prisoners to record the truth. Some of this haunting art reminded me of the style of Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' (which has been in the news recently). I wonder if that was intentional by Spielgelman?

The sole person interviewed in this 3.5-hr film is Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein, who was the last Jewish "council elder" of Theresienstadt. He was evidently a deeply controversial figure, accused of collaboration by some, so 'The Last of the Unjust' is framed as a reappraisal of his life and work. The problem is Lanzmann assumes you already know all the accusations about Murmelstein, having presumably lived through the global news coverage of the trial of the infamous Adolf Eichmann but that was 20-years before I was born, so I know little of what Lanzmann is refuting with his film. Therefore I'm left only with this film's impression that Murmelstein was a likeable, impressive and even admirable person, although this might be wrong? History tumbles out of Murmelstein almost faster than his mouth can move and Lanzmann can assimilate, occasionally he stops and gets Murmelstein to repeat observations for clarity and perhaps to slow him down a little. The bleak cold exteriors of 1985's 'Shoah' are sometimes replaced here with sunny vistas, with birds singing and tourists walking about. In this, I think Lanzmann was reflecting that in 1985, the holocaust was an open wound, a deep sadness still in the recent living memory of the people of Eastern Europe but by 2013 it's become history, even while his film seeks to open this history back up and re-approach it.

 

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The Piano (1993)
Director: Jane Campion
Country: New Zealand
Length: 117 minutes
Type: Erotic, Period, Drama

'The Piano' looks beautiful and the characters are fascinating and deeply felt. For the most part, the story treads a delicate line between sympathising for Sam Neill's patient, lonely, physically reserved and emotionally contained frontiersman and his neighbour, the more rugged, demanding, sexually charged and emotionally perceptive Harvey Keitel. It would've been far easier but more cliched for Jane Campion to have made Neill cold, thoughtless and controlling and Keitel a caring, faultless romantic. The narrative and the actions of the characters unfolded in ways I was not expecting. Holly Hunter does a superb job of conveying her mute character's every internal feeling without uttering a word (on camera. There are a few lines of voice-over). Michael Nyman's (who I've been lucky enough to see in concert) sensual piano score ebbs and flows with the feelings of the characters. I loved the central metaphor of the piano itself. The only nitpick I had was with the accents, you've got the four main actors, a Canadian-New Zealander, an Irish-New Zealander, a Deep Southerner and a New Yorker (directed by a Kiwi), all attempting some sort of vague, wobbly gesture towards Scottish accents. Australian actor Kerry Walker is the only one that sounds like an authentic Scot.


An incredible score from Nyman, that I think I'd heard a thousand times without realising where it was from:




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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Director: Robert Aldrich
Country: United States
Length: 134 minutes
Type: Psychological, Horror, Drama

'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?', 'Sunset Boulevard', 'Misery' and 'Psycho' would make a great quadruple-bill. I'd have preferred if this movie hadn't been about 30-minutes longer than the other three tightly constructed thrillers. Bette Davis' performance is wonderfully grotesque, camp and monstrous, Joan Crawford is adequate by comparison. The film was somewhat marred because Blanche and the maid Elvira (plus the neighbours) are too stupid to live, constantly being outfoxed by a delusional, alcoholic, shambolic, maniac, for reasons of plot.

 

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Sleeper (1973)
Director: Woody Allen
Country: United States
Length: 87 minutes
Type: Sci-Fi, Comedy

'Sleeper' starts strongly, focusing squarely on the fish-out-of-water experience of a Greenwich Village health-food shop owner who is cryogenically frozen and wakes up 200-years later in an absurd police-state vision of the future, that has arose following a nuclear disaster. That scientists have now determined that steak, cream and hot-fudge are healthy "super foods" is one of the best gags. The futuristic designs and gadgets have aged better than I remembered. I reckon George Lucas took a bit of inspiration from Allen's prissy robot butler design for Threepio 4-years later and I hadn't realised before that Diane Keaton does an impression of her 'The Godfather' co-star Marlon Brando. 'Sleeper' reminded me most of Jacques Tati's 'Playtime' (1967) but there are Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Marx Bros influences too. Unfortunately after the mid-point it stops being a Sci-Fi driven narrative and becomes a series of loosely connected sketches, vaguely on the theme of the future, they are funny though. Douglas Rain reprises his HAL 9000 computer voice which was neat.


^ The trailer is very funny.
 

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I've got a few things to say about 'Braveheart' and not all of them good...

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Braveheart (1995)
Director: Mel Gibson
Country: United States
Length: 178 minutes
Type: Epic, War, Drama, "Historical"

I really enjoyed 'Braveheart' when it first came out, when I was a child but as I've grown older it's looked increasingly silly, perhaps offensively stupid and certainly straight-up offensive. The English are portrayed as diseased, degenerate, sadistic, "sodomite", impotent, rapists. The portrayal of Prince Edward and his implied male lover is deeply homophobic. Edward is shown having trouble conceiving with his new wife, probably because he was about 12 during the events of the movie and not in his early 30s. In fact Edward II fathered five children, including at least one "bastard" from his many affairs with women. In the film, the resolutely heterosexual Wallace is shown to bed a French princess who was 3-years old at the time and he is said to have fathered her son (the future King of England), even though he was born 7-years after Wallace died... so that was quite the labour! 'Braveheart' was basically Hollywood's attempt to see if the techniques of D. W. Griffith's notorious 'The Birth of a Nation' would still work for a 90s audience.

I remember one family trip over to Scotland some time in the late 90s when we went to a small museum, where they had the sword and armour from the film (presumably replicas) displayed right next to genuine historical weapons as if they were comparable artefacts. A jaw-droppingly awful sandstone statue of Mel Gibson as Wallace (not of the historical figure) with the name of the film on his shield was erected near Stirling. Gibson's Wallace is a humble but educated peasant, who desires nothing but peace, when he was actually a minor nobleman, landowner and possible mercenary fighter for England. 'Braveheart' can't even keep up with it's own bullsh*t. The opening monologue describes "Longshanks" as a "Pagan King" (by which they mean satanic) and Wallace and Co. as good Christians, then immediately contradicts that by showing "Longshanks" in a Christian wedding ceremony. Writer Randall Wallace's (no relation) spoken introduction begins with the audacious get-out clause "Historians from England will say I am a liar". It's been quipped that 'Braveheart' couldn't be more historically accurate if it was called "William Wallace and Gromit".

'Braveheart' is so laughably a-historical, that it's basically a fantasy movie, like others of the genre which have no pretence of fact, like 'Conan the Barbarian', 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves', or 'The Lord of the Rings'. Viewed in that context, it's a rollicking good adventure, full of heroic battles, romance and a voluminously overacting Patrick McGoohan as the villain, channelling Ming the Merciless, Emperor Palpatine and the voice of Davros from Doctor Who. The way Wallace and Robert the Bruce are setup as the mirror of each other is dramatically interesting. One is too politically cynical, one is too politically naive, so each have something to learn from the other. David O'Hara's loopy and fearless Irish character is a lot of fun and provides much comic relief along with Brendan Gleeson's Obelix-like 'Hamish'. Director Mel Gibson throws Christ imagery around in every direction, like he's only playing to the cheap seats. He highlights the piercing blue of his eyes to the point that he sometimes looks like he was born on Arrakis. "Subtlety" is not in Gibson's lexicon. The shot of Wallace's awesome looking, historically inaccurate, cruciform sword arcing through the air in slow-motion to James Horner's incredible score never fails to give me goosebumps... maybe even a tear in the eye. So if you can switch off your troublesome brain for 3-hours, 'Braveheart' remains a terrifically entertaining fantasy epic.


History Buffs did a good video about 'Braveheart', he sounds fairly angry :LOL: :

 

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Manhattan (1979)
Director: Woody Allen
Country: United States
Length: 96 minutes
Type: Romantic, Comedy

Since the plot of Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' involves him playing a 42-year-old writer, who is dating a 17-year-old girl, plus pursuing various other confused and/or confrontational relationships with ex-wives and female acquittances, it's difficult to not bring all the real-life Allen baggage into the film. If you can overlook that, 'Manhattan' is a lovely romcom and a self-deprecating witty skewering of middle-class pessimism, cynicism and pretension. The opening monologue is really funny and clever, where we hear Allen's writer character trying to begin a book about loving New York but the re-written descriptions become increasingly disparaging. Gordon Willis' shadowy black & white, scope cinematography makes NY look stunning and combines beautifully with the romance of the George Gershwin-based score.


^ I noticed that the latest youtube comment (from a month ago) under that 2017 4K cinema restoration trailer is rather sad to read.
 

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like 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves', ....Viewed in that context, it's a rollicking good adventure
Since these are both based off very old pieces of entertainment (ballads and an epic poem, respectively), I have no idea why anyone would watch them expecting true historical documentation. We know very little for sure about either person, and neither film is really about that. The films are about broader themes, though I imagine it must really rile up an Englishman to see his ancestors portrayed so villainously. The British were, broadly speaking, some of the biggest bastards in the world for a good Empirical stretch there though, so you can hardly think it's not warranted. I reckon I'll be eating crow for many a year as the great American Empire makes us the villains for many future movies ourselves... ;)
 

TM2YC

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Since these are both based off very old pieces of entertainment (ballads and an epic poem, respectively), I have no idea why anyone would watch them expecting true historical documentation. We know very little for sure about either person, and neither film is really about that.

I don't think anybody was confused about Prince of Thieves' authenticity, it's pure fantasy, that's the point I was making. The writer and Director of 'Braveheart' on the other hand have reached for the "Tommy Wiseau defence", e.g. when people start making fun of your seriously intended movie, claim it was never supposed to be taken seriously.

One way they could've made it clearer was if they started the film like in '300' with a guy telling the story round a campfire (IIRC), so we know it's just fantasy, instead they open with a monologue saying that any historian who dares point out that this film is lies, is a liar. Then later have Wallace telling his troops he is not the 7ft tall Wallace of legend, he's the real dude.

The satirical animation show 'Monkey Dust' did a "Jerry Bruckheimer's The Crusades' in the early 2000s that reminds me a lot of 'Braveheart's sensibility:


I also remembered this hilarious 2-min youtube sketch from comedian Eleanor Morton about a bored Stiring tour guide talking to tourists about the movie :LOL: :


The British were, broadly speaking, some of the biggest bastards in the world for a good Empirical stretch there though, so you can hardly think it's not warranted.

Hang on, that sounds like you are trying to use real historical fact to defend a movie that I thought you were claiming nobody could think was not a work of fiction? Plus I assume you are referring to events that occurred hundreds of years after the time 'Braveheart' is set?

With all that said, it's an entertaining movie, well directed but it could've been both fun and more accurate (within the usual bounds of historical drama). As historians have pointed out "the battle of Stirling Bridge could have done with a bridge.". I see know reason why accurately depicting a clever tactical bridge-based manoeuvre by Wallace to defeat numerically-superior forces, would've been less cinematic, dramatic, or action packed, than some random stuff they made up for no reason.



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The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Director: Woody Allen
Country: United States
Length: 82 minutes
Type: Romantic, Comedy, Fantasy

If you don't like Woody Allen films because 1. You don't like his presence in a movie, 2. You don't like his nebbish shtick and style of humour and 3. All his stuff seems to be the same damn movie about the New York middle classes... then 'The Purple Rose of Cairo' might be the one for you because it's none of those things. Aside from an adoration and understanding of Hollywood of the 1930s and a Jazz score, you'd hardly tell it was a Woody Allen picture.

Mia Farrow plays a sweet, mousy, day-dreaming waitress, who escapes from the bleak 'Great Depression' and her boorish, abusive husband (the always brilliant Danny Aiello) by going to the cinema. One day a character from the film-within-a-film "The Purple Rose of Cairo" steps down out of the screen and falls in love with her. It's not because of a magic ticket like 'The Last Action Hero', a portal down a well like in 'Enchanted', mutated developing fluid like in one episode of Red Dwarf, or any number of holodeck malfunctions in Star Trek... it just is. Characters don't react to the impossibility of the situation, they just accept that it's happened and then deal with the amusing problems it creates. Farrow gently and beautifully underplays the humour, romance and yearning for escape, with lines such as "I just met a wonderful new man. He's fictional but you can't have everything". Jeff Daniels gets to play Tom the charming celluloid escapee and Gil the insecure real world actor who played him. Tom gets a lovely scene where he has ended up at a seedy brothel by mistake but quickly has all the women there falling for him because of his PG-rated innocence and optimism. The finale is a total heartbreaker because although the script keeps reminding you that real life isn't like the magic of golden-age Hollywood, the viewer and the characters get swept up in the romance and have forgotten those warnings by the end.

 
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