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September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

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September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Old 08-27-10, 12:56 AM
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September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread



LIST THREAD - 30 Days of Criterion
September 1st - September 30th, 2010

This thread is for LISTS ONLY. Discussion of films, questions about the challenge, etc., should be directed to the Discussion Thread. You are; however, encouraged to provide reviews and comments within your list.

Challenge Rules: Watch current or past media from the Criterion Collection.

There is no number goal, no prizes, no winners, no losers. Counting is not necessary, but feel free to format your lists any way you want, including counting titles or even minutes if you are so inclined.

Many people put their checklists in spoiler tags, to allow easier browsing of the list thread by others.

Also, if you are planning to reveal key plots points/endings in your mini reviews, you should put them in spoiler tags. To apply spoiler tags, you can click the spoiler button on the toolbar or use the text below:

[ spoiler] Remove the spaces to really hide something, like this
Spoiler:
The Criterion Collection is a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films on home video.
[ /spoiler]

The challenge officially begins Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at midnight of whatever time zone you are in at the time, and ends on Thursday, September 30th, 2009 at 23:59:59 in whatever time zone you're in at that moment.

Last edited by CardiffGiant; 08-27-10 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 12:56 AM
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Optional Checklist

The checklist is completely optional. It is just a "fun" inclusion to give one a sense of accomplishment, to help one diversify viewing, or to use as a guide on what to watch next.

Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 -
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
--- 1990 -
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
--- First language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Second language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Third language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
--- 051-100 -
--- 101-150 -
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 -
--- 451-500 -
--- 500-550 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
--- Comedy
--- Drama
--- Horror
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical
--- Mystery / Thriller
--- War / Western
--- Documentary

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award -
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

(One film could fill multiple items. Example: Silence of the Lambs would qualify for a decade, language, spine number range, genre, Academy Award, and possibly more.)

(Change "---" to "-X-" or some similar mark when you have completed that line item.)

Last edited by CardiffGiant; 08-27-10 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 12:56 AM
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1. Slacker (1991): "But movies are photography...at 24 frames a second." I haven't watched this in around 15 years. I think you have to be of a certain age and mindset to appreciate this film. The first time I saw this (on VHS), I hated it, but I was much younger and (presumably) didn't get it. This time around, I'm much more appreciative of what the film has to say. You can see how a film like this paves the way for Short Cuts and even Paris Je t'aime. While the former deals with the connectedness of people and our influences on one another, the latter has a similar feel (in much smaller vignettes). This film easily has the greatest character names of all time. Despite it's obvious early 1990's feel, there remains a sort of timelessness to the experience. Overall, I was impressed with my much later second viewing. 4/5

2. Revanche (2008): First Time Viewing. Blu-ray. I read very little about this film before watching it and I'm glad I avoided reading about it. For that same reason, I'll keep this analysis intentionally vague. Beautifully shot. The audience is left asking questions throughout the film and long after it's over. Highly recommended. 5/5

3. Monterey Pop (1968): First Time Viewing. Blu-ray. "Like, you kind of have to wait for a new wave to come and then a whole new set of rock and roll bands comes along with it which creates all the other...bullshit." If you're even a passing fan of classic rock, then you've heard of the Monterey Pop Festival and you know about Jimi's guitar on fire. Although I have already seen many clips (from YouTube and the like) from Monterey, this was my first time watching the entire film. The success of the film cannot be overstated. About halfway through, I found myself saying, "well, The Last Waltz is better than this," but by the end, I realized that it's really apples and oranges. The Last Waltz is a polished piece of music history, while Pennebaker reflects the emotional, frenetic pace of the Festival itself with his verite style. Watching the shear emotion and power behind Otis Redding (while steam pours forth from his mouth), followed by Hendrix whose guitar on fire is perhaps the slowest moment of his playing of Wild Thing, and finally followed by a calming and mesmerizing rendition from Ravi Shankar (whom I had never seen before). The pacing towards the end of the film is absolutely amazing. 5/5

3b. I also checked out the Festival Ephemera section of the supplements. This included photos from all three days of the festival by Elaine Mayes and a full color copy of the festival program. There are many great photos and I could wallpaper my house in the festival program.

4. Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis at Monterey (1986): First Time Viewing. Blu-ray. "All I'm asking is for a little respect when I come home." Absolutely amazing. The two most powerful performances of Monterey Pop expanded in full. I consider myself above-average when it comes to music knowledge and I had no idea that Otis Redding originally sang and performed "Respect." His performance is great; nighttime with rain pouring down and dancing all over the stage. Likewise, Hendrix provides some of the most raw emotion ever produced on stage. There's nothing I can say about the Hendrix performance that isn't already known. Highly Recommended. 5/5

4b. I also watched the interviews for each short(er) film. The Pete Townshend interview for the Hendrix section is only 3-4 minutes, but it is very informative regarding the battle between Hendrix and The Who prior to going on stage at Monterey. Very touching and worth a watch. The much longer Phil Warden interview on the Otis Redding section of the disc is informative and interesting (especially the story about tuition money). Both interviews are certainly worth the time.

5. La Jetee (1962): First Time Viewing. I've seen 12 Monkeys, this is obviously the inspiration for that film. The background noise and the darkness and sharpness of the still images are powerful. I didn't follow everything the first time through, so I had to go back and watch the opening sequence a second time. A good, short (28 minutes) film. 4/5

6. Dazed and Confused (1993): I've seen this film many times and despite any flaws, it still gives one of the best representations of being a kid in high school that I've seen. The soundtrack is iconic and always fits a scene perfectly (even if it doesn't make sense lyrically). The music moves the images. Always great to revisit this one. 5/5

7. Chasing Amy (1997): Commentary: I've seen this film many, many times. I think I may be one of the few people that saw Mallrats in the movie theater (no regrets), so it's safe to say I like this film. As a person who listens to few commentaries, I liked this one. It's casual and sometimes scene specific. The best part is that this commentary is a time capsule of sorts as Ben Affleck was "taking time out of his schedule while filming Armageddon" and he promotes the upcoming film Good Will Hunting. In addition, Smith makes constant references to "yeah, Laserdisc," and "boo, DVD." This commentary was made for the Chasing Amy LD. Interesting stuff. Overall score for the commentary: 4/5

8. Contempt (Le Mepris) (1963): First Time Viewing. Blu-ray (Studio Canal). "In today's world, we have to accept what others want. Why does money matter so much in what we do..." While I like Godard and would consider him one of my favorite filmmakers (especially within the Criterion Collection), this films drags a bit and doesn't seem to have the same energy infused in his other films that I've seen. My least favorite Godard (so far) to be sure, but still a film that will leave you thinking long after you're finished watching it. I also found this essay on Criterion's website, and while I don't agree with everything written here, there's certainly a wealth of information within. Also, very cool to see Fritz Lang in a film; makes me want to break out my copy of M. 3.5/5

9. Citizen Kane (1941): Warner 2-Disc DVD. "It's no trick to make a lot of money...if what you want to do is make a lot of money." I think that the older one gets, the greater this film becomes. As we get older, we are able to look back on our lives and see what is/has been important. The line above (that I quoted) is one of my favorites in film. We could work all day every day and care about nothing else and make a lot of money, but what are we left with. It's a film that seems to assert so many things, but the questions that are asked (What does Rosebud mean?) don't provide straightforward answers. Always great to watch this classic. 5/5

10. Carnival of Souls (1962): First Time Viewing. I wanted to like this film much more than I did. When you have a self-proclamation that aims for the "look of Bergman," then chances are, that I'm going to like it. I liked the elements of the film, but it was just missing something...and maybe that missing element was better acting. Aside from Candace Hilligoss, the acting was bad (although, not as unforgivable as The Blob). Also, regarding the ending:
Spoiler:
I was not at all surprised that she was dead and saw that coming from the first few minutes in the film. Maybe it has to do with other films since then that have used similar techniques. I'm sure that audiences at Drive-ins were shocked at the ending back in the 1960s.
The organ music is powerful and Hilligoss is able to put on a great performance, but there is just an uneven feeling that is difficult to get over for a portion of the film. Those problems aside, and the consideration that I'm not big on the genre, this was still an effective film and I was able to gain some enjoyment and interest from it. 2.5/5

11. The Rock (1996): I needed an action/adventure check. There isn't really much to say about this film: if you like stuff that blows up, cheesy dialogue and a silly plot, then this is your film. It's interesting that Ebert gave the film this review and both he and his readers have given it a 3.5/4 stars. I wonder if he still feels that way about the film. When I saw this upon its release, I loved it; I don't feel the same way anymore. Despite the flaws, it's still can be a good, mindless, enjoyable film. 2.5/5

12. High Noon (1952): Lionsgate 2-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition. "Will, I think you better go while there's still time." This is only my second time watching this film, but I liked it so much more this time around. The mise-en-scene in most shots could be a great photograph or poster on the wall. The acting can, at times, be a little weak, but some are very good performances. I couldn't help but notice the complete thefts that Red Dead Redemption (obviously) has made from this film. Some of the landscape sequences and shots of the town look very much like those in High Noon. Glad to have revisited this one. 4.5/5
Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
-X- 1940 - Citizen Kane (1941)
-X- 1950 - High Noon (1952)
-X- 1960 - Monterey Pop (1968)
--- 1970 -
-X- 1980 - Jimi Plays Monterey & Shake! Otis at Monterey (1986)
-X- 1990 - Slacker (1991)
-X- 2000 - Revanche (2008)

Watch films in at least five languages.
-X- First language, English, Slacker.
-X- Second language, German, Revanche.
-X- Third language, French, Contempt.
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
-X- 051-100 - Chasing Amy (#75)
-X- 101-150 - The Rock (#108)
-X- 151-200 - Monterey Pop (#168)
-X- 201-250 - Slacker (#247)
--- 251-300 -
-X- 301-350 - Dazed and Confused (#336)
-X- 351-400 - La Jetee (#387)
--- 401-450 -
--- 451-500 -
-X- 500-550 - Revanche (#502)
--- an Eclipse title -
-X- a laser disc only Criterion from this list - Citizen Kane (1941)

Watch a film from the following genres:
-X- Comedy: Dazed and Confused (1993)
-X- Drama: Slacker (1991)
-X- Horror: Carnival of Souls (1962)
-X- Science Fiction: La Jetee (1962)
-X- Action / Adventure: The Rock (1996)
-X- Musical: Monterey Pop (1968)
-X- Epic / Historical: Citizen Kane (1941)...maybe
-X- Mystery / Thriller: Revanche (2008)
-X- War / Western: High Noon (1952)
--- Documentary

-X- Watch a film which won an Academy Award - Citizen Kane (1941)
-X- Watch a film with commentary - Chasing Amy
-X- Watch a short - La Jetee (1962)
-X- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. - Chasing Amy
-X- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -The Complete Monterey Pop Festival

Last edited by CardiffGiant; 09-28-10 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 01:18 AM
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread



Harakiri (1962)
A masterpiece. It's amazing that the screenwriter simply intended to write about a day in the life of a samurai. What we get is a fascinating, multi-layered film that explores themes of honor, family, power and hypocrisy. The non-linear storytelling style is seamless, and Tatsuya Nakadai gives a superb performance.


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
One of my favorite films. Wes Anderson certainly isn't for everyone, but I love the mix of whimsy, humor and pathos. The color scheme and sets are wonderful, and the cast is perfectly attuned to Anderson's offbeat wavelength. The soundtrack - especially Seu Jorge's David Bowie covers - is also fantastic.


In the Mood for Love (2000)
A sensuous, mesmerizing film. The cinematography, costumes, performances, music, story - everything is superb. A romance movie with a unique twist.

Last edited by Fist of Doom; 09-12-10 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 06:22 AM
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Numes' 2010 Criterion Challenge List

September 1st
Brazil supplements [1985] imdb Criterion DVD
"Yes, I always used to wonder if she wore falsies. False ears... "
# "What is Brazil" - No fluff in this original featurette
# Trailer

September 2nd
The Third Man Soderberg/Gilroy commentary [1949] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
"There isn't enough for two laughs."
- Fantastic commentary. Both participants did their research and even mentioned they watched the movie the night before (what you are supposed to do before doing a commentary. A unique look by two present-day filmmakers.

September 3rd
The Third Man Palan commentary [1949] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
- The commentary was done by a film scholar Dana Polan. I bit too "researchy" for me. It was as if he wrote a paper on this movie and was discussion the topics of his paper.

September 4th
Notorious [1946] imdb Criterion DVD
"I am married to an American agent."
- What can I say? One of my absolutely favorite movies of all time. I would have to say that it's my favorite Hitchcock picture.

September 5th
The Third Man supplements [1949] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# The Third Man treatment - An abridged version of the Graham Greene treatment. It was interesting to hear some of the things that were changed in the movie.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail [1975] imdb DVD
"A shrubbery?!?"
- A classic. I have only seen this twice before and it is really quite hilarious. I'm not necessarily a die hard Python by any stretch, but this movie is a must own.

North by Northwest [1959] new! imdb Blu-Ray
"Seven parking tickets."
- Somehow I have never seen this Hitchcock classic. Cary Grant is just great in everything I've seen him in (which isn't many movies.) I've seen the plane fly-by sequence so many times it's finally nice to see the context!

September 6th
The Third Man supplements [1949] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# 1951 Lux Radio Theatre Adaptation - These radio theater adaptations are novel, but lose so much from the movie and are overly simplified. Good nostalgia, but nothing more.
# Booklet

The Seventh Seal [1957] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
"Nothing escapes me. No one escapes me."
- I'm not quite sure what I missed in this movie. I mean it was good, but not quite as great as I was expecting. I think my brain was missing a layer of meaning or something. This was my first Bergman movie, so maybe I just need to get a little more exposure to his work.

September 7th
The Third Man supplements [1949] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# "A Ticket To Tangiers" original radio broadcast - One of Orson Wells' post-The Third Man radio shows based on the character of Harry Lime. Kind of a weird story when you look back at it… it also has a bit of a cheeseball ending.

The Seventh Seal supplements [1957] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# Booklet

Brazil supplements [1985] imdb Criterion DVD
# The Battle of Brazil: A video history - Wonderful documentary about the release of Brazil and the battles that ensued between Gilliam and the studio. This documentary is worth the viewing alone for the audio recording of someone leaving a message on Gilliam's phone after they won Best Picture by the L.A. Film Critics Association.

September 8th
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Gilliam/Jones commentary [1975] new! imdb DVD
- Two separate commentary tracks combined. Considering how great Gilliam is with commentaries, I kind of wish they hadn't combined them, but it was a fantastic commentary nonetheless by the director's of the film.

September 12th
Hidden Fortress [1958] new! imdb Criterion DVD
- My first Kirosawa movie. Pretty entertaining, but a few technical issues with the movie that seemed odd.

September 13th
Dazed and Confused [1993] imdb Criterion DVD
"All right, all right, all right."
- I hate to admit this, but after watching this movie one night in high school, my friends and I went out and smashed someone's mailbox with a garbage can just like in the movie.

September 14th
Spellbound [1945] new! imdb Criterion DVD
"to run off… with a pair of initials"
- The acting was fantastic, but the story was just 'meh' for me. This is the weakest title in the "Wrong Men and Notorious Women" box set. The skiing scene was so unrealistic, I found it very silly. Don't get me wrong, a good movie, but not on par with other Hitchcock movies.

September 16th
Dazed and Confused commentary [1993] new! imdb DVD
- An excellent commentary. I can't believe that almost everything in this movie is based on what he actually went through in high school.

September 17th
The Seventh Seal commentary [1957] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
- This commentary gave me a little more insight into the religious allusions into the movie that I am usually oblivious to.

September 18th
The Seventh Seal supplements [1957] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# Introduction by Ingmar Bergman
# Interview with Max Von Sydow

Brazil supplements [1985] new! imdb Criterion DVD
# Script Development

Life of Brian [1979] imdb Blu-Ray
"How shall we fuck off, O Lord? "
- Not as funny as Holy Grail, but a great commentary on organized religion.

September 19th
Bottle Rocket [1996] imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
"You have really good posture"
- Not my favorite Wes Anderson movie, but an excellent first picture for Anderson, Owen Wilson, and Luke Wilson.

September 20th
Bottle Rocket supplements [1996] imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
# Deleted Scenes
# Anamorphic Test - I wish they would have filmed it in 2.35:1, it looked amazing!
# "Bottle Rocket" Short
# "Bottle Rocket" Short photos
# Making of - James Caan: "Listen, it was 3 days. It was like being, you know, in the left hand corner of Hollywood Squares.
# Photos
# Murata Files

September 21st
Bottle Rocket commentary [1996] new! imdb Criterion Blu-Ray
- It's hit and miss with Anderson and Owen Wilson, however when they do get a conversation going it does tend to end up in a silly spot sometimes. Entertaining.

September 22nd
Life of Brian Gilliam/Jones/Idle commentary [1979] new! imdb Criterion DVD
- Three of the Pythons in a wonderful commentary as usual

Life of Brian supplements [1979] imdb Blu-Ray
# Deleted Scenes
# Radio Ads

September 23rd
Life of Brian Palin/Cleese commentary [1979] new! imdb Criterion DVD
- Another solid commentary by 2 of the Pythons.

September 24th
Charade [1963] new! imdb Criterion DVD
- My first Hepburn movie. The chemistry between Hepburn and Grant really worked in a tongue-in-cheek, screwball way.

September 25th
Seven Samurai [1954] new! imdb Criterion DVD
- My thoughts posted in the discussion thread.

September 28th
Seven Samurai Jeck commentary [1954] new! imdb Criterion DVD

September 30th
Seven Samurai roundtable commentary [1954] new! imdb Criterion DVD

Checklist:
Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion:
--- 1920 -
--- 1930 -
-X- 1940 - Notorious
-X- 1950 - The Seventh Seal
-X- 1960 - Charade
-X- 1970 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
--- 1980 -
-X- 1990 - Dazed and Confused
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages:
-X- First language - English, Notorious
-X- Second language - English, The Seventh Seal
-X- Third language - Japanese, Seven Samurai
--- Fourth language -
--- Fifth language -

Watch something from spine number range:
-X- 001-050 - Seven Samurai
-X- 051-100 - Charade
-X- 101-150 - Notorious
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
-X- 301-350 - Dazed and Confused
--- 351-400 -
-X- 401-450 - Bottle Rocket
--- 451-500 -
--- 500-550 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
--- Watch a film from the following genres:
-X- Comedy - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
-X- Drama - The Seventh Seal
--- Horror -
--- Science Fiction -
--- Action / Adventure -
--- Musical -
-X- Epic / Historical - Seven Samurai
-X- Mystery / Thriller - Notorious
--- War / Western -
--- Documentary -

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award -
-X- Watch a film with commentary - The Seventh Seal
--- Watch a short -
-X- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. - The Hidden Fortress
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -
Total Time Watched: 51 Hours and 8 Minutes
Average Time Watched Per Day: 1 Hours and 42 Minutes

Last edited by Numes; 10-02-10 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 07:01 AM
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

First Time Viewing.

Sep. 1
1. Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954, Jacques Becker) Toward the end of the film, the suave gangster Max, a devil with the ladies and a badass who just slaughtered some villains, puts on a pair of reading glasses in order to see a telephone dial. The film's themes of aging and loss really resonated with me, since I turn 50 next year, and can identify with Jean Gabin as Max.

Sep. 6
2. Salo (1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini) Somehow, over the years I've stopped being shocked by this film.

Sep. 8.
3. Blood Wedding (1983, Carlos Saura). Just an amazingly beautiful film that depicts both Lorca's story through dance aand the dedication of working dancers to their craft.

Sep. 15
4. Lord of the Flies (1963, Peter Brook). A sad commentary on the persistent depravity of human nature. Also a good analogy for today's politics--the boys are the Tea Party and poor Piggy is Obama.

Sep. 18
5. Rome: Open City (1949, Roberto Rossellini). What an amazing film! Rosellini creates an atmosphere of dread in this depiction of life under Nazi occupation that it seems like a documentary in places. The War Trilogy is definitely on my shopping list for the next sale.

Sep. 24
6. Pearls of the Crown (Sacha Guitry, 1937). This is supposed to be a comedy?
7. Hunger (2008, Steve McQueen). Phenomenal treatment of the Bobby Sands story and the Maze Prison hunger strike in 1981. The director, Steve McQueen, has a painter's eye and his use of lighting and camera movement inform the story as much as the on-screen action does. On the To Buy list.

Spoiler:

Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 -
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
--- 1990 -
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
--- First language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Second language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Third language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
--- 051-100 -
--- 101-150 -
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
-X- 251-300 -Touchez Pas au Grisbi
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 -
--- 451-500 -
--- 500-550 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
--- Comedy
--- Drama
--- Horror
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical
--- Mystery / Thriller
--- War / Western
--- Documentary

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award -
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

Last edited by Gobear; 08-09-12 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 09:21 AM
  #7  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Wednesday, September 1st

The Story of a Cheat (1936)

Thursday, September 30th

The Blob (1958)

Last edited by Trevor; 10-01-10 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 09:35 AM
  #8  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

9/4:
Night Train to Munich *
Black Narcissus
9/5:
Red Desert
9/6:
Stagecoach
9/8:
Tokyo Chorus
That Hamilton Woman
*
9/10:
The Red Shoes
9/11:
I Was Born, But....
Our Man Godfrey
(w/commentary)
9/12:
Everlasting Moments *
9/13:
Mystery Train
9/15:
I, Vidanzati *
9/17:
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold
9/18:
Revanche *
9/22:
Empire of Passion *
9/23:
Shanghai Express (Theater) *
9/28:
Make Way for Tomorrow
9/29:
Citizen Kane
Il Posto
*
9/30:
Vampyr
Close-Up

* First Viewing
Blu-ray

Last edited by NoirFan; 09-29-10 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 09:37 AM
  #9  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Not planning for a lot and not even going to go out of my way to watch any Criterions but I know I'll be watching at least a handful.

September 2
1. Do The Right Thing
September 3
2. A Woman Under the Influence
September 4
3. Yi Yi
September 8
4. The Rules of the Game
September 8
5. In The Mood For Love
September 9
6. Wild Strawberries
7. Days of Heaven
September 10
8. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
9. Monty Python's Life of Brian
September 11
10. Children of Paradise
11. Breathless
September 12
12. Playtime
September 13
13. The Lady Vanishes
September 18
14. Viridiana
15. Nights of Cabiria
September 22
16. Ace in the Hole

Last edited by The Man with the Golden Doujinshi; 09-22-10 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 10:22 AM
  #10  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

September 4
The Killer
Hadn't watched The Killer in probably ten years. It's a bit dated, but it mostly holds up. This was the Dragon Dynasty Blu-Ray.

September 5
Three Resurrected Drunkards
Absurdist comedy by Nagisa Oshima with overt political overtones. I've read comparisons to Godard, but it actually reminded me a lot of Bunuel. Part of the Eclipse box set.

September 6
Repulsion
Watched this for the first time during last year's challenge. Enjoyed it even more the second time. The sense of dread is relentless. Now I need to revisit The Tenant. Maybe during next month's horror challenge.

September 7
2001: A Space Odyssey
My third time seeing it on the big screen. The first two times were old, scratched up prints, so I was seriously amped when the movie started and the image was remarkably clean. Then I realized -- it was a projected Blu-Ray disc. Still one of the greatest movies ever made though. Just a little disappointed in the presentation.
Violence at Noon
Finishing off the Oshima box, which I started during the Make-Your-Own Challenge a few months back. Not sure what to think of this one. I'll have to re-visit this set at some point.

September 13
Cat People (1942)

September 17
Solaris (1972)

September 19
The Fallen Idol
Vivre Sa Vie

September 21
Paris, Texas

September 22
The Lady Vanishes

September 24
Night Train to Munich

September 25
Night of the Hunter
The 39 Steps

September 26
Boyz N the Hood
Stagecoach

September 27
Walkabout

September 30
Stolen Kisses
The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Spoiler:
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
XXX 1930 - The Lady Vanishes
XXX 1940 - Cat People (1942)
XXX 1950 - Night of the Hunter
XXX 1960 - Three Resurrected Drunkards
XXX 1970 - Solaris (1972)
XXX 1980 - The Killer
XXX 1990 - Boyz N the Hood
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
XXX First language, Mandarin, The Killer
XXX Second language, Japanese, Three Resurrected Drunkards
XXX Third language, English, Repulsion
XXX Fourth language, Russian, Solaris (1972)
XXX Fifth language, French, Vivre Sa Vie

Watch something from spine number range:
XXX 001-050 - The Killer
XXX 051-100 - The 39 Steps
--- 101-150 -
XXX 151-200 - Solaris (1972)
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
XXX 351-400 - The Fallen Idol
--- 401-450 -
XXX 451-500 - Repulsion
XXX 500-550 - Vivre Sa Vie
XXX an Eclipse title - Three Resurrected Drunkards
XXX a laser disc only Criterion from this list - 2001: A Space Odyssey

Watch a film from the following genres:
XXX Comedy Three Resurrected Drunkards
XXX Drama Repulsion
XXX Horror Cat People (1942)
XXX Science Fiction 2001: A Space Odyssey
XXX Action / Adventure The Killer
XXX Musical The Wizard of Oz
--- Epic / Historical
XXX Mystery / Thriller The Fallen Idol
XXX War / Western Night Train to Munich
--- Documentary

XXX Watch a film which won an Academy Award - 2001: A Space Odyssey
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

Last edited by Greg MacGuffin; 08-23-11 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 11:17 AM
  #11  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Undeadcow's 2010 Criterion Challenge List

September 1
1. Rome Open City* 7.5/10
Found the first part to be a bit slow but it quickly picked up. Really enjoyed the cynical outlook and religious subtext, good melodrama with historical appeal. Looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.

September 3
2. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou 6.5/10
I remember not being drawn to LAwSZ in theatrical release promos but when I first saw it last year really enjoyed it. A lot of the whimsey and artistic detail is turned up but the humor a bit more tongue in cheek. I liked this movie more than Rushmore ...but I still think Owen Wilson's acting is wooden.

September 7
3. Mamma Roma* 6/10
I appreciated the theme of poor people lusting for a better life and appreciated that a lot of the plot was more subtle. However, the ending seemed too sudden and maybe not enough was spelled out for it to have the intended punch with me. Excellent performance from Anna Magnani.

September 9
4. Yojimbo* 8/10
When I was younger I saw Last Man Standing (Yojimbo remake) several times so couldn't help but be reminded of the later film. Yojimbo exceeded my expectations and lived up to it's reputation as a "mindless fun" popcorn flick. The film is effective and building a sense of conflict between the two rivals. I especially thought the soundtrack was well integrated.

September 9
5. Night and Fog 6/10*
Great concept. I enjoyed the more recent bits of the abandoned concentration camps and appreciated that the film emphasized genocide cannot be replicated on film or understood by the viewer. However, I think I've been overexposed to Holocaust material so it didn't have as powerful of an impact with me as it obviously hoped to convey. Interesting footage of the gruesome aftermath. As an aside I got this one on Ebay for less than $3 shipped.

September 10
6. 2 or 3 Things I know About Her* 8.5/10
Someone on imdb.com commented that this was one of Godard's most challenging films and I'm sure I missed parts of it. However, I really enjoyed it and found the chopped up style of vignettes followed by characters talking to the audience disjointed but interesting. Godard's point about the inadequacy of language and it's replacement with materialism is well presented. I watched Pierrot Le Fou last month and could see a lot of thematic similarities between these two films.

September 11
7. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul* 6.5/10
Good melodrama and themes but parts of the plot seemed forced. At times the characters seem so fickle they lack definition changing unexpectedly mid-movie.

September 12
8. Robocop 7/10
Good action film but starting to seem a bit dated. I understand the over the top characters are suppose to be satire but at times it comes across so crass that it's ackward. I really like the Robocop theme song, simple but effective. It's odd seeing Kurtwood Smith (Red Forman, That 70s Show) playing a bad guy since I'm use to him from the sitcom. When I watched The Bad Sleep Well last month I remember thinking that plot needed more cyborgs, wish granted.

September 17
9. 8 1/2* 6.5/10
I enjoyed some of the themes but felt they ended up being half formed (which perhaps was the point that Fellini felt lost and without resolution). I enjoyed the cartoonish imagery but at times felt the pacing was too frantic and disjointed. It seemed like a more complex film that I might appreciate with further viewings. The imagery such as the floating introduction, the rumba dance, and the ending was excellent. However, some of the compositions seemed a little tight and Fellini seems to favor facial close-ups which might have added to the frantic pacing. This was my introduction to Fellini so I'm curious to see more of his work. I don't think there's any way 8 1/2 could have lived up to it's hype.

September 18
10. Death of a Cyclist* 7.5/10
I'm not sure why this doesn't get more attention but if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. The theme of selfishness versus redemption seems rich with a lot of thought provoking twists. Reading the insert book it didn't immediately stand out but in retrospect I can see the director switches between hollywood style close-ups and neorealism panoramic shots as part of his visual essay on culture. The cinematography is good with clever editing tricks. Watching the film it reminded me a lot of Hitchcock with good subtle tension. The soundtrack was minimal and slow which contributed effectively to the suspense. Some of the antiwar commentary seems a bit forced since none of this occurs during the spanish civil war and no events from that war factor into the plot (aside from thematic use as social commentary).

11. Pickup on South Street* 7/10
A refreshing pulp tale that carries a good sense of location and time but there are some charming relics (i.e. red fear). There is a controversal scene with violence towards women but I didn't find that too strong. This is the second Fuller movie I've watched (after Naked Kiss, which I prefered) and in both he seems to focus on marginalized characters striving for more.

September 20
12. Robinson Crusoe on Mars* 3/10
A nice chunk of brain dead escapism but my least favorite film of the challenge. A lot of problems are eventually solved with convoluted non-sense easy answers to the point of eroding away any plot. The scenery is good and the effects, cheesy by today's standards, seem like a fun throwback. It's interesting how the main character comes across more as a generic everyman than a full-bodied anchor with emotional worth. A lot of the movie seems to pivot on exploring the set along with the main character in what amounts to more of a visual tour of fictional Mars than a narrative in itself. I know a lot of this is adapted from Robinson Crusoe and on the face of it the Mars setting seemed brilliant but the execution is a bit off.

September 22
13. Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator* 6/10
I enjoyed the frantic energy with this movie and it's wild tangents. Some segments seems to make sense only on an abstract thematic level (i.e. a cook making strussel emphasizing growing romance). Though this film at times seemed choppy. I'm looking forward to checking out WR: Mysteries of an Organism though maybe not in time for this challenge. (from Eclipse Series 18 - Dusan Makavejev Free Radical)

September 23
14. Mr Freedom* 6.5/10
Surprisingly hilarious satire, it's not subtle and very hammy but I guess that's where part of the humor comes in, sort of a 70s live action South Park. You can't beat the scene with a football gear wearing "Mr Freedom" in bandaged up stigmata crying about being bullied by a kid while being force fed corn flakes. It's absurd a movie like this was ever made with a straight face. (from Eclipse Series 9 - The Delirious Fiction of William Klein)


September 25
16. Torment* 7.5/10
There's a lot of slow tension with an incendiary sense of injustice building up. Many of the characters seem to be desperately clinging to anything meaningful creating a really bittersweet and meaningful tale. It seems like Bergman makes play at social status throughout the film which is an interesting spin. (from Eclipse Series 1 - The Early Films of Ingmar Bergman

17. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her* (Commentary with Adrian Martin)
Commentary track was insightful. Godard spells out his ideas of shape and form in Pierrot Le Fou which the commentary does a god job of highlighting. Discusses Godard's goals with this film of subjective experience and objective description uniting to create shape, a series of which he hopes builds to presenting life itself. Track presents interesting criticism that Godard is often said to emphasize the subjective to greatly. The commentary does a good job of linking this movie to Godard's earlier and later films. Speaker has a cool accent and good energy.

September 26
18. Se7en 8/10 (from Laserdisc Criterion Collection)
I remember seeing this movie in the theather when it first came out as a 14 year old and being on top of the world. Now I really like the gritty and dark atmosphere which contributes to making this film a classic but found some of the plot points a bit weak


September 30
19. Häxan* 6/10
A funny & whimsical "documentary" about witchcraft, exceeded my expectations with its mockery of inquisition/witchcraft. It benefits from good attention to detail and excellent special effects especially considering the age (bite me CGI). The sensationalism is cheap fun but either lacks depth or has become cliché until the last chapter (1/7th) switches suddenly to dismissive (overly simplistic) explanation. I'm curious about the commentary. The film starts out tongue in cheek then ends up beating you over the head with it's agenda but I'd recommend it.

October 1 (Overtime derby)
xx. Sisters* 7.5/10 - Reading the inset booklet cued me in to a lot of fun homages in this film. The plot structure is unique in that this is a mystery where from the beginning it's shown who the murderer is. The narrative is told from a reporter who enters and exits the main action or is told in flashbacks both suggesting voyeurism (maybe a comment on popular news media). Right from the start there's effective music and suspense. I enjoyed the surrealism as the move progressed with thick stylization getting more deliciously complex.

* = First time viewings

Spoiler:

Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
-X- 1920 - Häxan
--- 1930 -
-X- 1940 - Rome Open City (1945); Torment (1944)
-X- 1950 - Night and Fog (1955); Death of a Cyclist (1955)
-X- 1960 - Mamma Roma (1962); Yojimbo (1961), Simon of the Desert (1965); 8 1/2 (1963)
-X- 1970 - Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
-X- 1980 - Robocop (1987)
-X- 1990 - Se7en (1994)
-X- 2000 - Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

Watch films in at least five languages.
-X- First language, Italian, Rome Open City, Mamma Roma.
-X- Second language, English, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; Robocop.
-X- Third language, Japanese, Yojimbo.
-X- Fourth language, French, Night and Fog; 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her.
-X- Fifth language, Spanish, Death of a Cyclist.
-X- Sixth language, German, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul.

Watch something from spine number range:
-X- 001-050 - Robocop (23)
-X- 051-100 - Yojimbo (52)
-X- 101-150 - 8 1/2 (140)
-X- 151-200 - Night and Fog (197); Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (198)
-X- 201-250 - Mamma Roma (236)
-X- 251-300 - Life Aquatic With Steven Zissou (300)
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
-X- 401-450 - Death of a Cyclist (427); Robinson Crusoe on Mars (404)
-X- 451-500 - Rome Open City (497), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (482)
--- 500-550 -
-X- an Eclipse title - Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (from Eclipse 18); Mr Freedom (from Eclipse 9); Torment (from Eclipse 1)
-X- a laser disc only Criterion from this list - Se7en

Watch a film from the following genres:
-X- Comedy - Life Aquatic with Steven Zissou
-X- Drama - Mamma Roma; Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
-X- Horror - Häxan
-X- Science Fiction - Robinson Crusoe on Mars; Robocop
-X- Action / Adventure - Yojimbo; Robocop
--- Musical -
-X- Epic / Historical - Rome Open City
-X- Mystery / Thriller - Se7en
--- War / Western -
-X- Documentary - Night and Fog, Haxan

-X- Watch a film which won an Academy Award - 8 1/2 (1963: Best Foreign Language Film; Best Costume Design)
-X- Watch a film with commentary - 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
-X- Watch a short - Night and Fog
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set - [Planning Rosselini's War Trilogy]

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-01-10 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 12:56 PM
  #12  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

What the hell. I'm in.

1. #504 - Hunger

Last edited by Shagrath; 09-02-10 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 02:06 PM
  #13  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Challenge #1 results


1st:
1.#85-Pygmalion__Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard__1938
(First-time viewing) Even though this is one of the most ripped-off romcoms ever, I was honestly expecting to nod off plenty of times. But to my great surprise, that never happened. Then again, I can't say I've ever been bored by a movie that features Leslie Howard.
------------------------------------
2nd:
2.#102-The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie__Luis Buñuel__1972
I tried giving this a look a couple of years ago, but quickly lost interest after 25 minutes. But just for this challenge, I was willing to try to give it another look....And I'm pleased to say that it paid off nicely. Even though I still can't say that I'm big lover of what Buñuel brings to the table, I'll still take his surreallism over Tarkovsky's anyday.
-
3. #386-Sansho the Bailiff__Kenji Mizoguchi__1954
+
"Performance"

(First-time viewing) I went into this one expecting another politically-motivated shogunate film with the title character being the righteous protector (Not even close!) Instead I got a harrowing tale of survival ala Ugetsu (Also directed by Mizoguchi) and I have to say that I much perferred this film over the latter.
------------------------------------
3rd:
4. #314-Pickpocket__Robert Bresson__1959
(First-time viewing) If you've ever wanted to see a quintessential B&W French crime flick with Montgomery Clift and Natalie Portman, look no further!
------------------------------------
4th:
5. #450-Bottle Rocket__Wes Anderson__1996
(First-time viewing) Even though this might be my least favorite film from what I've seen from Anderson (Haven't seen his last 2), this still beats anything else that Owen Wilson has done in recent years. Interestingly, this is the 2nd film that I've seen in this challenge that features a maid/servant with the name of "Inez".
------------------------------------
6th:
6. #112-Playtime__Jacques Tati__1967
(First-time viewing) *Sigh* Each one of these Hulot movies got progessively aggrivating to me. I certainly have no desire to see the following, Traffic.
------------------------------------
7th:
7. #90-Kwaidan__Masaki Kobayashi__1965
(First-time viewing)
Favorite stories in order:
Hoichi, the Earless (Outstanding visuals)
The Black Hair
The Woman of the Snow (I don't know if it's been acknowledged, but one of the segments on Tales from the Darkside:The Movie ripped this one off)
In a Cup of Tea
-
8. #78-The Bank Dick__Edward Cline__1940
(First-time viewing) Even though I would have liked to have seen more scenes consisting of Sousé as film-director, this still might be the best W.C. flick I've seen yet (Haven't watched Chickadee or Copperfield yet)
------------------------------------
8th:
9. #433-Patriotism__Yukio Mishima and Domoto Masaki__1966
(First-time viewing) Why this isn't included in "Brief Encounters" at icheckmovies is beyond me.
-
10. #132-The Ruling Class__Peter Medak__1972
(First-time viewing) I taped this from TCM last month. Bob Osbourne mentioned in the intro that this film wasn't for everyone and he wasn't whistlin' Dixie there. After five hours (Or what sure felt like 5 hours) I wasn't sure what the heck I just watched.
------------------------------------
9th:
11. #369-The Emperor Jones__Dudley Murphy__1933
(First-time viewing) It's still too bad that a fully, uncut version isn't available at the moment, but I thought this was a nice rebound after last night's puzzling viewing. I'm eager to see more of Robeson's films.
------------------------------------
10th:
12. #92-Fiend Without a Face__Arthur Crabtree__1958
+
"Exploitation"
"Vintage Ads"

(First-time viewing) Though I much perferred Haunted Strangler or Man/Space as CC's Monsters & Madmen-line goes, this was certainly a nice change of pace for things. Nice stop motion effects at the end.
------------------------------------
11th:
13. (Essential Art House) Kapò__Gillo Pontecorvo__1959
(First-time viewing) I wasn't much of a fan of the love story that occured in the 2nd half, but that's forgivable since the first half was almost picture-perfect. I'm still pleased with this blind-buy regardless. Now why isn't this included at ichekmovies?
------------------------------------
12th:
14. #265-Short Cuts__Robert Altman__1993
(First-time viewing) Only the 5th Altman film I've seen, but certainly the best I've viewed so far (Despite the ending coming off a bit flat)
------------------------------------
14th:
15. #152-George Washington__David Gordon Green__2000
+
"Physical Pinball"
"Charlie Rose Interview"
"Cast Reunion"

(First-time viewing) I liked where the movie was heading after the death of one of it's characters. But it left me waiting and waiting for something significant to eventually happen. Hard to believe the director would later give us Pineapple Express.
------------------------------------
15th:
16. #305-Boudu Saved from Drowning__Jean Renoir__1932
(First-time viewing) I watched this on Netflix-Instant and I'm pretty sure this wasn't the Criterion version (A very primitive-looking print along with burnt-in subtitles) I was still able to appreciate the movie, nonetheless. This was far more engaging to me than Rules/Game.
-
17. #376-49th Parallel__Michael Powell__1941
(First-time viewing) My biggest surprise of the challenge so far. I went in expecting a standard, WWII espionage film. And after the first 5 minutes, that's what I thought I was getting. Instead, I ended up being entertained by a very involving and fast-paced thriller. Add this one to another of the Powell/Pressburger projects that have left me satisfied.
------------------------------------
16th:
18. #77-And God Created Woman__Roger Vadim__1956
(First-time viewing) It took quite a while, but I eventually got into this towards the very end. Overall, I perferred Vadim's 80's remake (Go ahead. Shoot me)
-
19. #407-Mala Noche__Gus Van Sant__1985
(First-time viewing) Thought this would have made for a better short film than an extended feature (Even though it's still not that long) I'm not used to seeing so many fast cuts & edits in a Van Sant film.
-
20. #83-Hamlet__Laurence Olivier__1948
(First-time viewing) Not much to say here other than I much perferred Olivier as Henry V.
------------------------------------
17th:
21. #397-Sans Soleil__Chris Marker__1983
(First-time viewing) Check discussion thread
-
22. #223-Maîtresse__Barbet Schroeder__1973
+
Barbet Schroeder interview

(First-time viewing) Check discussion thread
------------------------------------
18th:
23. #307-Naked__Mike Leigh__1993
(First-time viewing) Nothing else much to say other than Fucking Hell! Too bad to hear about Katrin Cartlidge's unexpected loss.
------------------------------------
19th:
24. #263-Fanny and Alexander (The Theatrical Version)__Ingmar Bergman__1982
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
20th:
25. #251-Shadows__John Cassavetes__1959
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
21st:
26. #415-The Naked Prey__Cornel Wilde__1966
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
22nd:
27. #333-Fists in the Pocket__Marco Bellocchio__1965
+
Cast/Crew interviews

(First-time viewing)
-
28. #435-The Furies__Anthony Mann__1950
+
“Action Speaks Louder than Words”
Nina Mann Interview

(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
23rd:
29. #73-Cléo from 5 to 7__Agnès Varda__ 1962
(First-time viewing) Not only was it nice to finally run into a film in The Criterion Collection that had a Real-Time narrative, but I also loved the interludes that this film had (Moments of color, Musical segments, Silent Short-film timeout) The combination of all this (Along with the subject matter) left no doubt that I was watching a winner.
-
30. #349-Kicking and Screaming__Noah Baumbach__1995
(First-time viewing)
-
31. #351-The Spirt of the Beehive__Víctor Erice__1973
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
24th:
32. #410-Under the Volcano__John Huston__1984
(First-time viewing)
-
33. #303-Bad Timing__Nicolas Roeg__1980
(First-time viewing)
-
34. #288-F for Fake__Orson Welles__1975
(First-time viewing)
-
35. #129-Le trou__Jacques Becker__1960
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
25th:
36. #76-Brief Encounter__David Lean__1945
(First-time viewing)
-
37. #196-Hiroshima mon amour__Alain Resnais__1959
(First-time viewing)
-
38. #354-Clean, Shaven__Lodge Kerrigan__1994
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
26th:
39. #506-Dillinger Is Dead__Marco Ferreri__1969
+
Le Circle De Minuit
Adriano Apra interview
Michel Piccoli interview

(First-time viewing)
-
40. #39-Tokyo Drifter__Seijun Suzuki__1966
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
27th:
41. #98-L’avventura__Michelangelo Antonioni__1960
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
28th:
42. #458-El Norte__Gregory Nava__1983
(First-time viewing)
------------------------------------
29th:
43. #130-The Shop on Main Street__Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos__1965
(First-time viewing)

Last edited by Mondo Kane; 09-30-10 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 02:16 PM
  #14  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

My list from last year

9/29/10

Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal) (1957) - This was one of a few classics that I realized while checking off films on iCheckMovies.com that I either hadn't seen completely, or hadn't watched completely in one sitting. I watched a copy I recorded off TCM a few years ago. There was supposed to be a commentary track on SAP, but I guess it didn't record on the DVD-R because I couldn't get it to play - so no extras.

9/30/10

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) (1928) - Another TCM recording, so no extras (other than Robert Osborne's intro and outro) this time either.

Erogotoshi-tachi yori: Jinruigaku nyûmon (The Pornographers) (1966) - Spine #207 - Since it's the end of the month and I wanted to watch at least one actual Criterion disc, I picked my unwatched DVD with the fewest extras. Watched the feature and the trailer. Read the 1987 Village Voice article on the film reprinted in the insert.

Hausu (House) (1977) - Criterion disc hasn't been released yet, so no extras, just the film.

Last edited by Dimension X; 10-01-10 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 02:44 PM
  #15  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

9/1
1. Straw Dogs
9/2
2. Band of Outsiders
9/3
3. Rushmore
9/4
4. Blood for Dracula
5. Flesh for Frankenstein
9/5
6. Grand Illusion

Last edited by William Fuld; 09-05-10 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 08-27-10, 03:02 PM
  #16  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

CRITERION CHALLENGE


WR: Mysteries of the Organism / [DVD] (9/1)
-----viewed with commentary track

Europa / [DVD] (9/2)
-----'Making Of'
-----Trailer

Smiles on a Summer Night / [DVD] (9/3)
-----Trailer
-----Bergman Video Introduction
-----Interview

Armageddon / Bluray (9/7)
-----Film viewing

Akira / Bluray(192kHz sound) (9/8)
-----Film viewing

Lola Montes / Bluray
-----viewed with commentary track

The Magician / DVD (9/13)
-----Film viewing

Bottle Rocket / Bluray (9/13)
-----viewed with commentary track

The Secret of the Grain / Bluray (9/27)
-----Film viewing

Last edited by Giles; 09-27-10 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 04:35 PM
  #17  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Citizen Kane* - (Criterion laserdisc, viewed Warner DVD) This is my fifth or sixth viewing of the film. There's not much to say about it that hasn't already been said. It is, of course, incredibly well made - though I do have some problems with some of the performance (including that of Welles.) It also has a lot more heart than it is generally given credit for. The ending shots
Spoiler:
as the camera pulls away from the journalists and we see all of the stuff Kane has accumulated over the years (to express a banality: so much stuff and yet such an emptiness) with the pan over to the furnace
actually made me tear up a little this time around. This is a masterpiece.

Sabotage - (Criterion laserdisc, viewed Fox DVD) Besides one very suspenseful sequence, it's not one of Hitchcock's most exciting films. Instead, it chooses to focus on the morality of the characters and the decisions they make - which is of course fine, except that the characters never seem particularly complex and the choices being made are pretty straightforward. It's worth watching, but it's not among Hitchcock's best. One thing that bugged me:
Spoiler:
I'm not sure whether it was intentional or not, but I was bothered by the coldness of the relationship of the married couple at the center of the film. If there had been any warmth in their relationship at all, or any signs of reluctance or regret from the husband, I think it would have been a much more interesting villain and film. Instead he is given one line to the extent of "I don't want to do anything that will harm people" and then he almost immediately capitulates anyways. I realize that Britain had a tense relationship with Germany at the time and that it was probably easier to create a German character who seems to show no signs of human emotion (as opposed to, say, the German character in "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp") - but it seems like a bit of a cop out.


Rome, Open City* - (Criterion DVD) A mostly effective film that benefits enormously from its location shooting immediately after the war and from its mostly non-professional cast. At times it does get a little bit heavy-handed and contrived, as when an evil Nazi commander randomly goes on a monologue about how "if these Italians can withstand torture then that means that they're just as good as us and they're not the slave race and we're not the master race" and so on - it's not particularly subtle and it's probably not something a Nazi commander would really say. However, its still a very good film that conveys a sense of realism and immediacy which could not be replicated today.

Simon of the Desert - (Criterion DVD) I was a bit baffled by this initially, but the more I think about it the more I like it. I'm still not sure what to make of the ending, but the suddenness of it and the contrast between it and the rest of the film does make it very memorable.

Underworld - (Criterion DVD)

The 400 Blows* - (Criterion Blu-ray) I've always had a very personal reaction to this film - without gushing too much, I'll just say that I love pretty much everything about it. I love how compassionate Truffaut is towards all of his characters, and I love all of the little moments with the characters, and I love the honesty with which Antoine is portrayed, and I love the ending (and everything that comes before it.) And the main theme (also used to great effect in another of my favorite films, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") is one of my favorite pieces of film music ever. And, well, I guess I am gushing.

Casablanca* - (Criterion laserdisc, viewed Warner DVD)

Gimme Shelter - (Criterion Blu-ray)

The Last Command - (Criterion DVD)

Stolen Kisses - (Criterion DVD)

Naked* - (Criterion DVD) An absolutely brutal film from one of my favorite living directors. It depicts a world without hope or compassion, falling apart - it seems more like a nightmare the more I think about it. Thewlis is absolutely brilliance.

Docks of New York - (Criterion DVD)

Mouchette - (Criterion DVD)

* - Repeat viewing

CHECKLIST
Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
-X- 1920 - Underworld (1927)
-X- 1930 - Sabotage (1936)
-X- 1940 - Citizen Kane (1941)
-X- 1950 - The 400 Blows (1959)
-X- 1960 - Stolen Kisses (1968)
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
-X- 1990 - Naked (1993)
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
-X- First language, English, Citizen Kane.
-X- Second language, Italian, Rome, Open City.
-X- Third language, French, The 400 Blows.
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
-X- 001-050 - The 400 Blows
-X- 051-100 - Gimme Shelter
--- 101-150 -
-X- 151-200 - Stolen Kisses
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
-X- 301-350 - Naked
-X- 351-400 - Mouchette
--- 401-450 -
-X- 451-500 - Rome, Open City
-X- 500-550 - Underworld
--- an Eclipse title -
-X- a laser disc only Criterion from this list - Citizen Kane

Watch a film from the following genres:
-X- Comedy - Stolen Kisses
-X- Drama - Citizen Kane
--- Horror
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical
-X- Mystery / Thriller - Sabotage
--- War / Western
-X- Documentary - Gimme Shelter

-X- Watch a film which won an Academy Award - Citizen Kane (won Best Original Screenplay)
--- Watch a film with commentary -
-X- Watch a short - Simon of the Desert
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
-X- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set - 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

Last edited by Sondheim; 09-26-10 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 08-27-10, 04:57 PM
  #18  
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Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,165
Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

September 1st: The Red Shoes (BD)

I will give the checklist a try.

Spoiler:

Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 -
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 -
--- 1990 -
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
--- First language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Second language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Third language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fourth language, (insert language), (insert title).
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
--- 051-100 -
--- 101-150 -
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 -
--- 451-500 -
--- 500-550 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
--- Comedy
--- Drama
--- Horror
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical
--- Mystery / Thriller
--- War / Western
--- Documentary

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award -
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

Last edited by Sparrow; 09-01-10 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Let the challenge begin
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Old 08-27-10, 07:44 PM
  #19  
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Western Hemisphere
Posts: 7,292
Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread


My List
  1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    Spoiler:

    My second-ever viewing of the film; I'd forgotten much of the second half over the last few years. Tonight I was reminded of The Wrath of Khan with regards to the Steve's mid-life crisis and his relationship with Ned, as well as having the lurking nemesis out there. It resonated with me a lot more this time; perhaps because I've been pretty down of late myself, wondering if perhaps my chances at accomplishment aren't dwindling--if not outright over.

    Bill Murray's nuanced performance keeps it from ever tipping into outright comedy, while humanizing the drama of the story. I couldn't help but wonder what the film might have been like had he and Jeff Goldblum been cast in each other's role.
    My thoughts in the DVD Talk Review sub-forum
  2. The Royal Tenenbaums
    Spoiler:

    A friend of mine has revered this since its release, so I finally broke down and streamed it via Netflix. I enjoyed the story and performances, but wasn't entirely in love with it. It seemed to me that the first section, establishing the precocious, genius status of the three children was made superfluous by their rather ho-hum behavior as adults; it would have sufficed to know that they were rich and dabbled in things blue collar folk rarely do.

    The film also lacked a sense of momentum; it just sort of kept going, even after a series of scenes, any one of which might have been a climax for other stories. The music didn't help; I found nearly every selection added virtually nothing to the moment, save for the use of The Rolling Stones's "Ruby Tuesday." Some further editing and a different use of music would have sharpened this greatly, though I would be perfectly happy to explore the Criterion DVD and see if there are reasons given for these things.
  3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Disc Two: The Supplements
    Spoiler:
    In one of the most embarrassing interviews I've ever seen--and surprisingly, it's included on this release--director and co-writer Wes Anderson flounders when asked for what, exactly, is his film a metaphor? He contents himself that his film is a metaphor at all; that it lacks an intended correlation appears to have escaped his attention at all until the publicity tour. The "Mondo Monda" interview segment paints Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach as clueless guys in way over their heads in the world of storytelling.

    The trailer suggests a quirky ensemble comedy, and as others have remarked, Life Aquatic functions much more convincingly as a drama. I don't know how much of this marketing campaign stemmed from the public perception of Bill Murray as a funny man, or any unease at suggesting to take the film seriously in the first place or what, but it's incongruous with the actual film.

    I liked the novelty of the inclusion of Seu Jorge's 10 performances of David Bowie songs in Portuguese, but I found the solo acoustic aesthetics hypnotic (read: they began to put me to sleep after 10 minutes).

    I found Mark Mothersbaugh's segment interesting, but I wasn't bowled over by it. It was less thorough, I thought, than a comparable segment with Hans Zimmer on The Dark Knight Two-Disc Special Edition and Blu-ray Disc releases. Still, it wasn't a bad glimpse into the score of the film, and I appreciated his honest declaration that composers hate the inclusion of recorded songs in a film for hogging all the key moments in the movie, and I was amused/distracted by just how fat his dog was.

    The "This Is an Adventure" documentary is a solid making-of feature, but I found the "Intern Video Journal" to be entertaining and more approachable than the stuffy, reverent nature of most DVD supplements.
  4. La Grande Illusion [The Grand Illusion]
    Spoiler:

    This is a film co-written and directed by Jean Renoir about a trio of P.O.W.s who conspire to escape from their German captors during World War I. Two of the three are Frenchmen; the third, Rosenthal, they encounter at their first camp. The structure of the film follows the prison escape plot, but the themes explored and touched on include the futility of war, as well as class issues (there is even a morbidly funny discussion about how cancer and gout will soon become blue collar concerns). Think The Bridge on the River Kwai plus The Shawshank Redemption, with a castle in the middle of it.

    It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around the German characters speaking in French, but that didn't throw me for a loop nearly as much as a handful of lines spoken in English; I'd love to know why Renoir and/or his co-writer Charles Spaak felt the need for those few lines throughout the film not to be in French. The defiant performance of "La Marseillaise" was obviously appropriated for Casablanca (where I feel it was more effective, but that's just me). I also couldn't help but wonder if George Lucas hadn't drawn on Captain von Ruffenstein when he conjured up Darth Vader. All in all, I really enjoyed this film.
  5. Divorzio all'italiana [Divorce - Italian Style]
    Spoiler:

    37 year old Sicilian Baron Ferdinando has tired of his wife Rosalia and has turned his eye instead on his 16 year old cousin Angela. Divorce isn't a legal option, so he concocts the next best thing: he'll conspire to push his wife into an affair of her own, justifying her murder.

    The film is rather dark; sometimes humorous, sometimes outright creepy and almost certainly incongruous with the values most of the Western world hold in 2010. None of this bothered me, of course. What did bother me was that the film was rather predictable, although I give credit for at least this: many of the subtexts were established with lingering looks and gestures, rather than the kind of extraneous exposition that characterizes plot advancement in a lot of contemporary film. I'm inclined to put this in my "Average" list, all things considered, because I feel like I've seen this story before and didn't find anything new with this version.
  6. Sullivan's Travels
    Spoiler:

    I heard about this film years ago, but this was my first viewing. It's about a director who tires of making comedies and wishes to make a "serious" film about human misery. When confronted by the fact he's never endured any, he goes off in search of it only to come to appreciate the importance of making others laugh.

    This actually rivals La Grande Illusion as my favorite film so far in the challenge. Joel McCrea's performance is great; he conveys quite a lot of inner thinking with his expressions, and Preston Sturges's screenplay has no fat to be trimmed. The final act is a bit of a stretch, but by then I was way too invested in Sullivan's story to be bothered by a couple of contrivances.
  7. The Rock
    Spoiler:

    I remember seeing this in the theaters when it opened and enjoying every minute of it. I've only seen it once on DVD, some time early last year, I think. It was just as fun then as it was tonight. Ed Harris as General Hummel is a sympathetic character; too often, rogue military characters lack the humanity that this guy has. And I've never not enjoyed watching Sean Connery in an action movie.

    It's a cliche, but I defer to Roger Ebert's comments in the Criterion Collection DVD booklet to defend why the movie ought to be seen. In a nutshell, it's because sometimes you just really want an enjoyable spectacle and The Rock delivers. The movie is clearly from the 90s; today, General Hummel would just send documents to Wikileaks and pressure the government through the media to meet his demands.
  8. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Commentary Track with Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
    Spoiler:
    The normal track is kind of dull with reminisces about weather problems on a location shoot, or how fortunate they were to get this actor or that kind of thing. Not here. You'd think the story would get the lion's share, then--especially since these two guys co-wrote it. No, not really. They even admit that they themselves don't know what the shark is actually a metaphor for; they're contented that it can be a metaphor at all.

    No, this is two hours of Noah Baumbach goading Wes Anderson into talking about what an artiste he is. It becomes self-aggrandizing and pretentious, which leads to the only really enjoyable portion at all: the end credits, when they apologize for coming off that way and remark that if they'd just been up front and said, "We made this stuff up because we thought it would be fun" they'd have nothing to talk about for two hours. I can appreciate that, but it seems like they failed to find an engaging alternative.
  9. Monty Python's Life of Brian
    Spoiler:

    This reminded me of a current phone commercial in which two girls are shown going through life in split-screen. One girl's reception is great and she goes on to become a world-class ballerina; the other girl's reception is shoddy and causes her to miss her opportunity and she winds up in the audience watching the other girl perform on stage. This movie is like that, only without the split-screen and it's about a guy born on the same day as, but who isn't, Jesus.

    I've never really been a Python fan, but my wife is so when we came across this Criterion disc at the library we decided to check it out. She'd seen it before, but I hadn't. It's more cohesive than Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and it has some moments that amused me, but it didn't win me over as a fan of theirs.
  10. Silverado
    Spoiler:
    I actually owned the soundtrack album to this movie on cassette before I ever saw the film. It's still a favorite score. Anyway, I found this on 2-disc DVD several years back in a gift set that includes a deck of cards, but still hadn't actually played the disc until last night. It holds up fairly well, I think.

    Danny Glover has some of the best lines (like "I don't want to kill you, and you don't want to be dead") and Kevin Costner is a scene-stealer. It feels like a Hollywood production, but in a fun, celebratory way. I'd forgotten Jeff Goldblum was even in the film! Fun stuff, and I enjoyed returning to Silverado.
  11. M
    Spoiler:

    It's hard to have even a cursory appreciation for film and not hear about Fritz Lang's 1931 classic. I finally streamed it via Netflix for my first-ever viewing just now and...wow. The police and crime syndicate conduct a manhunt for a serial child killer, and while I'm in opposition to the death penalty and believe in the rule of law--even when that law doesn't necessarily meet my definition of justice--I really wanted to see the mob get hold of this guy and just tear him limb from limb.

    What really surprised me was the final act, when the killer is actually put on trial...by the mob. After enduring the tension leading up to his apprehension, I just wasn't prepared for an examination of the morality of executing him. There's a lot going on in this film, and I now appreciate why it's held in such high regard.
  12. Sommarnattens leende [Smiles of a Summer Night]
    Spoiler:

    My first Ingmar Bergman film! Talk about eye candy...Ulla Jacobson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Anderson and Margit Carlquist were all smokin' hot. It's about a group of love triangles and it's a bit hectic, but I thought it played more enjoyably than Divorzio all'italiana, which explored similar themes. There was some lesbian subtext between Anne and Petra the Maid that I rather appreciated. Fans of Sex and the City should be able to appreciate this film, and its frank celebration of feminine sexuality.

    One little note: I had to interrupt the movie for about 20 minutes dealing with Crohn's and when I resumed, I forgot to read the subtitles. I'd gotten so into the movie, I had become oblivious to the fact it wasn't in my native tongue.
  13. The Rock - Commentary Track with Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris and Harry Humphries
    Spoiler:
    I'm not generally fond of cut & paste commentary tracks like this; there's a lack of rhythm to them when one voice is replaced by another without any natural segue.

    Mostly, this is a Bay & Cage commentary; Cage mostly talks about the lines of dialog he wrote for the movie and ideas he came up with for his character. Bay mostly talks about fights with the studio over money, camera work and his side of some publicized rows he had while making the film. The other three guys have a handful of cherry-picked remarks peppered in throughout.

    I would absolutely love to have heard a Sean Connery commentary track, because anecdotes about him dominate the track when the participants aren't indulging in narcissism. In any event, I'd actually recommend this track if for nothing else than the way it really makes the case for how film is a collaborative medium and not the execution of a singular vision the way the auteurs insist.
  14. Carrie
    Spoiler:

    Originally released in the Criterion Collection on Laser Disc, spine #141.
    I had heard so much about the movie and seen it parodied over the years that I knew what to expect. Fortunately, it was one of those horror movies where it's much easier to sympathize with the killer than the victims so I just went with it. Spacek really brought a believable vulnerability to her performance.

    Am I wrong in reading a lesbian subtext to Betty Buckley's performance as the gym coach?
  15. Andy Warhol's Frankenstein [a.k.a. Flesh for Frankenstein]
    Spoiler:

    Aside from Warhol's name being attached, I have absolutely no idea how this ever warranted inclusion in the Criterion Collection. About the only good thing I can say about it is that it seems to bask in how awful it really is.

    The premise actually is fairly interesting; in this incarnation, Frankenstein (known mostly as "Baron") conceives of constructing a male and female, to spawn a new race of beings subordinate to him. Rather than explore this in its entirety, though, the whole thing is buried under early 70s sexploitation cheese and while I'm not abject to gratuitous nudity or eroticism...this is just...bad.

    Addendum: I wanted to follow up on my remarks about Flesh for Frankenstein, having read Maurice Yacowar's 1998 essay. He argues that the film is a satire of gratuitous violence and shallow sexuality devoid of humanity not just in film, but across society itself. That got me thinking about what James Whale did with Bride of Frankenstein, and I have to say I prefer Whale's "inside joke" perspective. Maybe because it was subtle, whereas Paul Morrisey's version is an exercise in excess.

    It's also noted that the film was originally filmed in derision of the 3D fad. I can recall some shots that I imagine were intended to be presented in 3D, but my Netflix stream was in 2D. I therefore can't speak at all about that layer of satire. Having read up on it and slept on it, I still feel like it's an over-reaching work of camp horror/gratuitous sex masquerading as art...but maybe a subsequent viewing or the commentary track (not available via Netflix streaming) would persuade me otherwise.
  16. For All Mankind
    Spoiler:

    This is a 1989 documentary compiled from various footage shot between 1968 and 1972 by astronauts who visited the moon. A lot of footage was originally shot on 16mm and had to be blown up to 35mm for this cut; for someone who has sat in an IMAX theater and seen that kind of orbital footage, it was surprising to see just how thrilling it still was to see Earth from outer space and know it's not a model against a velvet backdrop.

    I loved that the various voyages were intercut; if you're not paying attention, or if (like me) you're really just unfamiliar with each particular moon landing, it can be confusing because the film plays out as though it's a singular trip to the moon. Not only would subtitles have been helpful for some of the more garbled recorded lines, but some on-screen attributions of who is actually speaking and when he went would really have helped make clear the scope of the documentary.

    That said, I really enjoyed seeing this footage. It will never cease to thrill me.
  17. La Jetée [The Pier]
    Spoiler:

    A post-apocalyptic survivor is sent into the past and future in search of aid in this 28 minute long short film. The premise is interesting, as is the execution--the whole thing is told using still photography and a third-person omniscient narrator. A shade predictable, but oozing with innovation nonetheless.
  18. Sans Soleil [Sunless]
    Spoiler:


    A "free form travelogue" and "non-linear essay" are but two phrases I've read to describe this film. Predominantly, it explores aspects of Japanese traditions and folkways; but there are random jaunts across Africa, to Iceland and a genuinely odd segment in which scenes from Hitchcock's Vertigo are re-traced on location in San Francisco.

    It appears that Chris Marker wants to explore the nature of time, but got hung up on places. People are largely incidental to this exploration; yes, he covers various rites and rituals, but they are dispassionate, the way a documentarian might comment on the mannerisms of observed elk. It put me in the mood to re-watch Lost in Translation, but I can't say that I feel I even know what questions were being asked by the film to know what I took away from it.
  19. Die Büchse der Pandora [Pandora's Box]
    Spoiler:

    A middle-aged guy with a jealous bone is killed after confronting his young nymph bride (Lulu, played by American Louise Brooks) on their wedding night. She is found guilty, but manages to go on the lam with what would have been her stepson, who is in love with her. The film reminded me in a lot of ways of both Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Divorzio all'italiana. Being a silent film doesn't impede the urgency or longing in any of the performances, and the story is clear and easy to follow without being simplistic.

    I was also quite impressed by the camera work and the editing; a lot of shots are cut very quickly and the images are dynamic, rather than the static look of many of its contemporaries. And while I may or may not be off-base about the lesbian subtext in Carrie, there is absolutely no denying that Countess Anna Geschwitz (Alice Roberts) is clearly in love with Lulu.
  20. Det sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal]
    Spoiler:

    The premise (a returning Crusader playing chess with Death) kept calling back to me so I broke down and watched it just now via Netflix. At times it feels deeply spiritual; other times, it mocks religious faith. I can tell there's quite a lot going on here that I'm not grasping simply because I'm not particularly versed in theology.

    On the historical side, though, it was fascinating to see the self-flagellating sect depicted on screen; Pat Robertson is clearly descended from these people, resolved that every crisis is a punishment from God.

    The performances were great, the cinematography fairly dynamic and the music really added to the film--in the few places where it was used. Excellent film, and one I'm glad this challenge nudged me into watching.
  21. The Rock - Disc Two: The Vault
    Spoiler:
    Good God, was that really the trailer that got me excited 14 years ago?! Jerry Bruckheimer's few remarks included in the audio commentary track were clearly excised from his standalone video interview, and I think they should have remained there. That cut & paste commentary track was cluttered enough, and his insights really work better in the context of this video segment.

    I loved the excerpts from Secrets of Alcatraz, which explores the history of the island and the various incarnations of the facility itself, as well as the 1969 American Indian takeover (of which I was previously ignorant). I'd be quite interested in seeing the rest of this documentary.

    That aside, the most interesting portions (for my money) were the two segments filmed with Harry Humphries's consultant business about the use of guns in movies. I'm not a gun person at all (not anti-gun; they just don't do anything for me, like football or tomatoes), so I found this two segments both informative and devoid of the kind of over-the-top machismo that you normally find in gun instructors. These guys are SEAL veterans, but they don't appear to have that chip on their shoulder that a lot of gun enthusiasts have.

    Also, I enjoyed Roger Ebert's remarks in the booklet where he eventually concludes, "You may feel silly later for having been sucked in, but that's part of the ride."
  22. Smultronstället [Wild Strawberries]
    Spoiler:

    78 year old Professor Borg is to be honored today, and his drive to the ceremony is rife with reminisces and introspection. He is accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Marianne. Along the way, they stop to visit his childhood home, his 96 year old mother and pick up some hitchhiking youth, all of whom serve to examine the Professor's life.

    This is my third Ingmar Bergman-directed film, and possibly my favorite; it's got more substance than Smiles of a Summer Night, and more tenderness than The Seventh Seal. It reminded me of both Up and A Christmas Carol; that is, if either Carl Fredrickson or Ebenezer Scrooge had bothered to cultivate a likable public persona to mask their inner cold-heartedness. There's a lot going on here, but it never becomes confusing.
  23. The Thief of Bagdad
    Spoiler:

    The special effects haven't all aged well, especially the stuff where images were superimposed on other negatives, but the sheer grandeur and scale of the production is nothing short of astounding. Miklós Rózsa's music brings a classic sense of adventure to every scene; I can definitely trace Indiana Jones back to this film.

    I streamed the movie, but I see on Criterion's website that the DVD includes a commentary track featuring Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese! I bet that's really special. One last thought: I kept thinking June Duprez looked like Katy Perry in the long shots, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the close-ups. Never combined those two before.
  24. Orfeu Negro [Black Orpheus]
    Spoiler:

    A then-contemporary re-telling of the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. The film is visually stunning (and how could it not be, with those gorgeous locations and wonderful costumes?), and the music is infectious. I had a bit of a problem with my viewing, because my wife was on the couch with me, working on a paper for class and only partially paying attention. Her interruptions and distractions really dampened my emotional investment in the film at times.

    There is a moment when the film becomes all but silent, and it is genuinely chilling--especially in light of what is happening on-screen during this portion of the story. My wife had questioned how this met the standard for being counted as a musical, and I tried to explain to her just how important music was between the characters--especially between Orpheus and Eurydice. It wasn't until that scene with no sound at all that I realized just how dependent upon music the film really is, and if that's not the definition of a musical, then I don't know what is.
  25. Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring]
    Spoiler:

    I knew going into it that the premise was dark--a young girl is raped and killed in the woods--which is why I'd kept putting off this viewing. The starkness of the production, the explicit nature of the violence and the fact that the trio of brothers included a young boy made for a very visceral film. I tip my hat to any work of art that provokes such strong emotional response, but I cannot fathom viewing this a second time.

    The examination of spirituality and religion found in The Seventh Seal is actually more compelling here. There, faith is more of an academic discussion; here it is subjected to an unrelenting crucible. I teared up a few times throughout the film, and that's extremely rare for me.

    In retrospect, I really should have made this the third and not fourth selection I watched from the Bergman box set; Wild Strawberries would have been a very welcome final act, so to speak. I believe Criterion lists it third on the box package, and I would suspect it's because they suggest you don't end with this.

    On a lighter note, every time I looked at Gunnel Lindblom, I thought of Fairuza Balk.
  26. Hunger
    Spoiler:

    This 2008 dramatization of Bobby Sands's 1981 hunger strike is not for the squeamish. The conditions of the Irish prisoners, the savagery of their British guards; it's all here in documentary-style reality. I understood the nature of "The Troubles" as a child, but it existed elsewhere for me. This was a brutal depiction of a microcosm of the entire ordeal, and it simultaneously makes one sympathetic to both sides, really, while also reaching a point where one has to ask whether any cause would be worth such extremes.

    Most of the cinematography consists of static long shots that linger on the scene. It creates a distant, observatory feel, but when we're not seeing a group of armed guards beat the hell out of a single naked inmate, the film lacks energy. Much of the early parts of the film feel like a documentary that hasn't gone to post-production for the obligatory narration and music. It walks a very thin line between making an artistic point by making you uncomfortable and becoming simply tedious to endure. Also, I felt that too much attention of the first half is paid to peripheral people, who do not really figure into the specific narrative of Sands. For a 96 minute long film with such a narrow scope, it feels like there's at least 15 minutes of material that could easily be excised and actually make the film more compelling.
  27. Bram Stoker's Dracula
    Spoiler:
    Originally released in the Criterion Collection on Laser Disc, spine #183.
    On the whole, I liked it. It feels like an early 90s movie, right down to the ballad over the end credits. The first half hewed pretty closely to the source material and other adaptations I've seen; then it became a bit adventuresome. Kudos for playing up the eroticism, always a significant element of the "Dracula" mythology. I could have done without some of the jerky, first-person cinematography, though.

    Also, Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins seemed to each affect different accents at various times; I can only assume that those sequences were shot together, and their voice work changed over the course of the production subtly enough no one really caught it. There are a couple times where Oldman sounds like his villain from The Fifth Element, which was really distracting.

Looking Back
Spoiler:
Going into this challenge, I was one of those who were somewhat intimidated by the elitist reputation of the Criterion Collection. I suffer from a particularly pronounced Impostor Syndrome, so for someone with my rather pedestrian taste in film I felt very tenuous about wading into these waters.

My thoughts on the auteur theory are well established, but what I haven't mentioned often is how I feel about cinephiles who casually insert trivia from a favorite director's filmography in their often-insightful, sometimes-pretentious glowing praise of films. I can do this on subjects about which I, too, am passionate...which is one more reason I felt completely out of my depth entering this challenge.

I came in only actually owning two official Criterion Collection DVD releases; I have a handful of qualifying titles in non-Criterion releases. I figured I could use this challenge as an excuse to finally go through all the bonus content on the two CC releases I owned, and if I felt like watching any of the other eligible titles, so be it. And I figured this could be a good time to finally get around to watching David Lean's pre-Bridge on the River Kwai directorial efforts.

I started, then, with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou which I'd only seen once before, five years ago. At the time, I felt deceived into being lured by marketing promises of "a comedy starring Bill Murray!" into something far less familiar to my understanding of what that meant.

I followed that up with The Royal Tenenbaums, another Wes Anderson project that is one of my friend's absolute favorite films; he's glowed about it for years now and I decided to stream it from Netflix once I saw it was available. That kicked off a run of Netflix streaming for the month, though I did check out a couple of titles from my local library, including The Wages of Fear, which I checked out because another challenge participant mentioned it as one he was going to watch; unfortunately I did not get to viewing before having to return it. I definitely got my money's worth out of my Netflix subscription fee for September!

Some of the titles I got to fell short of my expectations; I realize that crossing time and geography require some contextual research to bolster one's understanding and appreciation of the film in question. Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce - Italian Style) I found sleazy more than anything else, for instance. La Jetee was interesting, though I suspect I won't remember it well; Sans Soleil made Chris Marker's photo-documentarian style a little more tedious to endure due to its length.

I failed to get to any of the Lean films (though I did watch the first eight minutes of Brief Encounter four different times; Netflix's upload stops there). On the other hand, I did finally begin exploring the works of Ingmar Bergman and I fell completely in love with them. It's out of my budget right now, but I have placed the Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks box set on my wish list. Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring] was disturbingly visceral; I'm glad I saw it, but if I ever scrounge up the money for the box set I suspect this disc will get much less play.

My thoughts on each title I watched have been posted throughout this thread, and also appear in my list thread post; they're spoiler'd for size, not content, so feel free to peruse. (And most of them have pictures, too!)

One last thought: I really came to appreciate the Criterion website. I hit it up for those aforementioned pictures I inserted into my list thread post, and I love that they have archived all the essays they've ever published--including those dating back to the Laser Disc era. If you haven't made use of this feature, I highly advise it. Some of the essays I read were no more insightful than a Wikipedia entry, some were of that pretentious nature I mentioned earlier; but others were approachable and informative, and offered some great insight. Maurice Yacowar's Flesh for Frankenstein essay really helped me make sense of that film being selected for inclusion in the hallowed Criterion Collection.

At the end of the month, I really feel like I've become far more comfortable with Criterion. I made a deliberate point not to explore Asian cinema this year, not because it doesn't interest me but because I wanted to have a sort of regional focus. I may change my mind a year from now, but I'm tentatively planning to concentrate on Asian features in 2011.


Checklist
Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
-X- 1920 - Die Büchse der Pandora [Pandora's Box] (1929)
-X- 1930 - La Grande Illusion [Grand Illusion] (1937)
-X- 1940 - Sullivan's Travels (1942)
-X- 1950 - Sommarnattens leende [Smiles of a Summer Night] (1955)
-X- 1960 - Divorzio all'italiana [Divorce - Italian Style] (1962)
-X- 1970 - Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
-X- 1980 - Silverado (1985)
-X- 1990 - The Rock (1996)
-X- 2000 - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

Watch films in at least five languages.
-X- First language - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (English)
-X- Second language - La Grande Illusion [The Grand Illusion] (French)
-X- Third language - Divorzio all'italiana [Divorce - Italian Style] (Italian)
-X- Fourth language - M (German)
-X- Fifth language - Sommarnattens leende [Smiles of a Summer Night] (Swedish)
-X- Sixth language - Orfeu Negro [Black Orpheus] (Portuguese)

Watch something from spine number range:
-X- 001-050 - La Grande Illusion [The Grand Illusion] (#1)
-X- 051-100 - Monty Python's Life of Brian (#61)
-X- 101-150 - Sullivan's Travels (#118)
-X- 151-200 - The Royal Tenenbaums (#157)
-X- 201-250 - Sommarnattens leende [Smiles of a Summer Night] (#237)
-X- 251-300 - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (#300)
-X- 301-350 - Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring] (#321)
-X- 351-400 - La Jetée/Sans Soleil (#387)
-X- 401-450 - The Thief of Bagdad (#431)
--- 451-500 -
-X- 500-550 - Hunger (#504)
--- an Eclipse title -
-X- a laser disc only Criterion from this list - Silverado (Laser Disc #118)

Watch a film from the following genres:
-X- Comedy - Divorzio all'italiana [Divorce - Italian Style]
-X- Drama - The Royal Tenenbaums
-X- Horror - Carrie
-X- Science Fiction - Andy Warhol's Frankenstein [a.k.a. Flesh for Frankenstein]
-X- Action / Adventure - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
-X- Musical - Orfeu Negro [Black Orpheus]
-X- Epic / Historical - Det sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal]
-X- Mystery / Thriller - M
-X- War / Western - La Grande Illusion [The Grand Illusion]
-X- Documentary - For All Mankind

-X- Watch a film which won an Academy Award - Divorzio all'italiana [Divorce - Italian Style] (Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen: Ennio DiConcini, Alfredo Giannetti, Pietro Germi)
-X- Watch a film with commentary - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Commentary Track with Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach
-X- Watch a short - La Jetée [The Pier]
-X- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Special Edition Two-Disc Set
-X- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -Ingmar Bergman - Four Masterworks

Last edited by Travis McClain; 11-21-10 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 08-30-10, 11:29 AM
  #20  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Thanks to the recent sale I have a big Criterion pile next to my TV

1. 9/8 - Black Narcissus

I am really failing this challenge

Last edited by sauce07; 09-21-10 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 08-31-10, 07:23 AM
  #21  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

DVD Talk Challenge - 2010 THE CRITERION COLLECTION

September 2nd:
Green for Danger (dir. Sidney Gilliat), #375:
A tremendous, twisty whodunnit with a tight script. The movie uses the Thin Man model of revealing the culprit by forcing all of the suspects into one room, but instead of letting Nick Charles work his charm on the motley crew, Alastair Sim's Inspector Cockrill takes the opposite approach. Cockrill annoys and irritates in his tough-love brand of detecting and conjures up a finale that substitutes honest tension for Charles' lyrical whimsy. There's just more at stake. The outcome is surprising -- a testament to Gilliat's misdirection as well as the screenplay which keeps the pace moving fast enough that you're focused on the action and not uncovering the guilty party.

September 4th:
Hopscotch (dir. Ronald Neame), #163:
It almost goes without saying that there never was and never will be another actor quite like Walter Matthau. This film is just a joy from beginning to end -- there really isn't much more to say than that. Hopscotch is old-fashioned light entertainment in the vein of classic capers like Charade. Matthau plays the main character as an enthusiastic but disillusioned man-child. Perhaps the only criticism I have about it is that the film tries to portray the CIA adversaries as serious threats his pseudo-revenge plot, but you never really get the impression that they're up to the challenge. Small quibble. Top notch screenwriting and pacing.

September 8th:
Mon Oncle (dir. Jacques Tati), #111:
Love Tati, but I still hadn't seen Mon Oncle, a film many consider Tati's finest. Sad I needed the Criterion Challenge to finally sit down to watch it. It may have supplanted Playtime as my favorite Tati. I don't know if this film is as outwardly funny as some of the others (though the fish fountain earned a laugh just about every time), but that's not really the point of Tati's humor is it? Really, it is about being continuously being humored and engaged by repeated sight gags commenting on human folly. Tati skewers the displacement of history by soulless modernity. Though what is considered "modern" has changed, society's conspiracy to let it happen is just as disturbing and funny and engaging as it must have been in 1958.

September 11th:
Monsoon Wedding (dir. Mira Nair), #489:
Probably my third or fourth time watching Monsoon Wedding. First time in Blu. I'm just taken aback by how underappreciated Mira Nair seems to be as a filmmaker by the larger film-going community. Maybe it's the cultural boundaries or small sample size, but watching Monsoon Wedding it's hard not to be blown away by her orchestration of the spectacle. Rich, memorable characters and set pieces. Criterion's Blu-ray treatment makes the colors pop but doesn't over-enhance the soft edges of the 2001 film.

September 14th:
M (dir. Fritz Lang), #30:
Clearly the finest transfer available. I'm basing this on my memory of the LD version I viewed in my film classes. More entertaining that I remember. Some of the sly humor didn't register on my first viewing (maybe two? I don't really recall). The interview with done with Lang (conducted by William Friedkin) is particularly entertaining considering the introduction to the bit explicitly tells you that Lang is a narrator that can't really be trusted.

September 17th:
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (dir. Volkor Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta), #177:
An engrossing little picture that packs a political punch -- and can be readily applied to our modern witch hunt on terror. The film itself wanders a bit too far over into the realm of propaganda for my taste. Another viewing might change my mind, but I felt that Katharina becomes a pawn of for movie's endgame rather than a fully realized character. We're supposed to side with the oppressed Katharina Blum, but much of the time I was kind of left thinking... "well that is actually kind of a fishy. I can see why that guy thinks you're lying and he probably should be such an asshole." Maybe I'm a bad man, but I couldn't easily side with the good guys here. And the bad guys were just kind of political monsters. I might change my mind about this one but then again I might not. It's an entertaining film, but perhaps I'd expected too much.

September 27th:
The Fireman's Ball (dir. Milos Forman), #145:

September 29th:
Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (dir. Jean Painlevé), #468:



Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
-x- 1920 - Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (I say it counts for the 20s)
-x- 1930 - M
-x- 1940 - Green for Danger
-x- 1950 - Mon Oncle
-x- 1960 - The Fireman's Ball
-x- 1970 - The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
-x- 1980 - Hopscotch
--- 1990 -
-x- 2000 - Monsoon Wedding

Watch films in at least five languages.
xx- First language, English, Green for Danger, Hopscotch
-x- Second language, French, Mon Oncle, Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé
-x- Third language, Hindi, Monsoon Wedding
xx- Fourth language, German, M, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
-x- Fifth language, Czech, The Fireman's Ball

Watch something from spine number range:
-x- 001-050 - M (30)
--- 051-100 -
xx- 101-150 - Mon Oncle (111), The Fireman's Ball (145)
xx- 151-200 - Hopscotch (163), The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (177)
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
-x- 351-400 - Green for Danger (375)
--- 401-450 -
-x- 451-500 - Monsoon Wedding (489), Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (468)
--- 500-550 -
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
-x- Comedy [Hopscotch], [Mon Oncle]. [The Fireman's Ball]
-x- Drama [Monsoon Wedding], [The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum]
--- Horror
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical
xx- Mystery / Thriller [Green for Danger], [M]
--- War / Western
-x- Documentary [Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé]

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award -
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short - pretty much all of Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. - Mon Oncle
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -



Well... I'm not doing the Horror challenge so I might as well make this a two month exercise!

My 2009 Criterion Challenge List

Last edited by jdpatri; 10-01-10 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 08-31-10, 02:12 PM
  #22  
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Posts: 532
Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread



September 1
1. Chasing Amy

September 2
2. Solaris*

September 3
3. Silence of the Lambs
4. Kicking and Screaming*

September 4
Dragon*Con

September 5
Dragon*Con

September 6
Dragon*Con

September 7
5. Sid and Nancy
6. This is Spinal Tap (w/commentary)
7. Chungking Express*

September 8
Nothing

September 9
Nothing

September 10
Nothing

September 11
Nothing

September 12
Nothing

September 13
8. The Last Metro*

September 14
9. Mystery Train*

September 15
Nothing

September 16
Nothing

September 17
Nothing

September 18
10. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence*

September 19
Nothing

September 20
Nothing

September 21
Nothing

September 22
11. Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto*

Checklist:
Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 -
X - 1950 - Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
--- 1960 -
X - 1970 - Solaris
X - 1980 - Sid and Nancy
X - 1990 - Chasing Amy
--- 2000 -

Watch films in at least five languages.
X - First language, (English), (Chasing Amy).
X - Second language, (Russian), (Solaris).
X - Third language, (Cantonese), (Chungking Express).
X - Fourth language, (French), (The Last Metro).
X - Fifth language, (Japanese), (Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto).

Watch something from spine number range:
X - 001-050 - The Silence of the Lambs (13)
X - 051-100 - Chasing Amy (75)
--- 101-150 -
X - 151-200 - Solaris (164)
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
X - 301-350 - Kicking and Screaming (349)
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 -
X - 451-500 - Chungking Express (453)
X - 500-550 - Mystery Train (521)
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -

Watch a film from the following genres:
X - Comedy - Chasing Amy
X - Drama - Kicking and Screaming
--- Horror
X - Science Fiction - Solaris
--- Action / Adventure
--- Musical
X - Epic / Historical - Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
X - Mystery / Thriller - The Silence of the Lambs
X - War / Western - Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
--- Documentary

X - Watch a film which won an Academy Award - The Silence of the Lambs
X - Watch a film with commentary - This is Spinal Tap
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

Last edited by MrTerrific; 09-22-10 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 08-31-10, 03:27 PM
  #23  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

Criterion Challenge

Movies I Have
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / The Adventures Of Robin Hood / Annie Hall / The Big Chill / Blade Runner / Carrie / Casablanca / Chasing Amy / Chungking Express / Close Encounters Of The Third Kind / Crash / Crimes And Misdemeanors / Darling / Dr. No / Dr. Strangelove / Easy Rider / From Russia With Love / Ghostbusters / Goldfinger / The Graduate / The Great Escape / Halloween / A Hard Day's Night / Head / Help! / Invasion Of The Body Snatchers / It's A Wonderful Life / King Kong / Monty Python And The Holy Grail / Monty Python’s Life Of Brian / The Princess Bride / The Producers / Pulp Fiction / Ride With The Devil / RoboCop / Shampoo / Silverado / Straw Dogs / Switchblade Sisters / This Is Spinal Tap / Walkabout / The Wizard Of Oz

2010/09/01
01. Dr. No (1962)
02. From Russia With Love (1963)

2010/09/02
03. Goldfinger (1964)

2010/09/04
04. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

2010/09/05
05. Casablanca (1942)
06. Casablanca (1942) with commetary by film critic Roger Ebert
07. Casablanca (1942) with commetary by film historian Rudy Behlmer

2010/09/08
08. Walkabout (1971)
09. Walkabout (1971) with commentary by director Nicolas Roeg and Jenny Agutter

2010/09/09
10. A Hard Day's Night (1964)
11. Help! (1965)

2010/09/10
12. Annie Hall (1977)
13. Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989)

2010/09/13
14. Monterey Pop (1968)

2010/09/14
15. King Kong (1933)
16. King Kong (1933) with commentary by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with excerpts of Merian C. Cooper and Fay Wray

2010/09/23
17. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (1979)

2010/09/24
18. The Big Chill (1983)



18 Total
15 on DVD
2 on cable
1 on Free Movies On Demand
14 different movies
4 with commentary
1 actual Criterion
0 first timers

Last edited by KaBluie; 09-29-10 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 08-31-10, 04:23 PM
  #24  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

I'm primarily going to focus on the horror titles of The Criterion Collection as it fits into my own personal challenge.

This color = First time viewing

September 2:

1. The Blob- Even though it's light on actual Blob action until the last 20 minutes or so, it's never boring thanks to the fun every character is having with even the most hackneyed dialog. 4/5
-BLOB-abilia!- Collection of collectible posters and production stills.

September 8:

2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou- This was my second time viewing and I wanted to see how it holds up. I didn't enjoy it as much as last time but I still found it very funny. The Royal Tenenbaums stills stands as my favorite Anderson film. 4/5

September 20:

3. Carnival of Souls- There's some flaws in the quality of the filmmaking, such as abrupt edits and the like, but it doesn't hinder the film's ability to lull you into its dreamy atmosphere with an ending that still leaves me haunted. 4.5/5

4. Sisters- Uh, wow. I get what De Palma was going for, and why it's in the Collection, but I ended up laughing at most of it, which I'm not sure was the point. The final scene was too ludicrously funny to me to take the rest of the movie seriously. However, I will say I was never bored. 2.5/5

September 21:

5. Haxan- I watched the longer, original version without Burroughs which was a trip. Most of the movie was a pretty fascinating documentary on the history of witchcraft, and would then go into an LSD inspired depiction of what their rituals entailed, creeping me the hell out. 4/5

September 27:

6. Repulsion- A trippy excursion as a sexually repressed woman loses her shit bit by bit. It's a familiar story at this point, but after a slow beginning it handles her breakdown better than most. 4/5

Last edited by dcrw6; 09-30-10 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 09-01-10, 11:33 AM
  #25  
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Re: September Criterion Challenge 2010 - List Thread

September 1st
Nothing
September 2nd
1. The Last Emperor: First time I've watched this one, though I've been meaning to for quite a while. Long but involving drama and just tremendously well-made on a technical level. Some have suggested that the film pushes a particular agenda but I found it impressively even-handed in the way it dealt with some controversial historical material. Loved Peter O'Toole in his supporting role, too.
September 3rd
2. Revanche: Well-crafted, nuanced film which contemplates themes of revenge and forgiveness. The film certainly moves at a languid pace but I found it quite compelling. Reminded me a bit of films like A Simple Plan and Fargo.
September 4th
Nothing
September 5th
Nothing
September 6th
Nothing
September 7th
Nothing
September 8th
Nothing
September 9th
Nothing
September 10th
3. Paris, Texas: A slow-moving but deeply satisfying film from Wim Wenders - one of his best films next to Wings of Desire. One of Harry Dean Stanton's best performances, too.
4. North by Northwest: Quite possibly Alfred Hitchcock's most purely entertaining movie. Everything you could want in a popcorn flick is here - comedy, action, romance, suspense - and it all works tremendously. I love this film and never get tired of it.
September 11th
5. Se7en: Still creepy and unnerving fifteen years later; one of David Fincher's best films.
September 12th
6. The Third Man: What a superb thriller this is - one of the most influential films of its era and a terrific thriller. Orson Welles' entrance may be the best that any cinematic figure ever received.
7. Casablanca: What needs to be said? It's one of the greats.
8. Dr. No: While I'm not quite as fond of the very first Bond installment as some (basically, I don't think it's one of the top five Bond flicks), it's still a good spy flick overall. Fun to see the franchise in its infancy.
September 13
9. Chungking Express: Lovely film. The second half is better than the first, but the whole thing was quite compelling. Love the use of California Dreamin'.
10. Che: It's a looooong haul, but ultimately a rewarding one and a fascinating film to contemplate. I admire Soderbergh's objectivity towards his subject and Del Toro's strong performance.
September 14
Nothing
September 15
Nothing
September 16
Nothing
September 17
Nothing
September 18
11. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence: Vastly differently from the last Oshima flick I watched, "In the Realm of the Senses", but a very good film with one of David Bowie's best cinematic performances.
September 19
Nothing
September 20
12. Charade: Still an immensely fun flick, with Hepburn and Grant at the top of their game.
13. From Russia With Love: I really dig this one, a Bond movie that hews considerably closer to Ian Fleming than most of the other films. Always fun to revisit.
September 21
14. Hunger: Man, this was a tough movie to watch. Superbly directed and a great performance from Michael Fassbender, but a brutal experience. I'm glad to have seen it and I admire the film, but I don't know whether I can sit through this one again.
15. Goldfinger: My all-time favorite Bond flick. I've seen it more than any other and I never grow weary of it.
September 22
Nothing
September 23rd
16. Mystery Train
September 24th
Nothing
September 25th
Nothing
September 26th
Nothing
September 27th
17. Dr. Strangelove
September 28th
Nothing
September 29th
Nothing
September 30th
Nothing

Spoiler:
Watch one film from every decade covered by Criterion.
--- 1920 - (insert film title here)
--- 1930 -
--- 1940 - The Third Man
--- 1950 -
--- 1960 - Dr. No
--- 1970 -
--- 1980 - The Last Emperor
--- 1990 - Se7en
--- 2000 - Revanche

Watch films in at least five languages.
--- First language, English, The Last Emperor.
--- Second language, German, Revanche
--- Third language, Spanish, Che.
--- Fourth language, Chinese, Chungking Express.
--- Fifth language, (insert language), (insert title).

Watch something from spine number range:
--- 001-050 -
--- 051-100 - The Third Man
--- 101-150 -
--- 151-200 -
--- 201-250 -
--- 251-300 -
--- 301-350 -
--- 351-400 -
--- 401-450 - The Last Emperor
--- 451-500 - Che
--- 500-550 - Revanche
--- an Eclipse title -
--- a laser disc only Criterion from this list -Se7en

Watch a film from the following genres:
--- Comedy - Charade
--- Drama - Casablanca
--- Horror - Se7en
--- Science Fiction
--- Action / Adventure - North by Northwest
--- Musical
--- Epic / Historical: The Last Emperor
--- Mystery / Thriller: Revanche
--- War / Western - Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
--- Documentary

--- Watch a film which won an Academy Award - The Last Emperor
--- Watch a film with commentary -
--- Watch a short -
--- Watch a Criterion disc completely. Every part of it. -
--- Watch an entire Criterion Collector's Set/Eclipse Box Set -

Last edited by indy2003; 09-30-10 at 03:43 PM.
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