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The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

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The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Old 02-01-13, 07:45 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I just found out that my daughter has never seen E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. So I know what we're watching tonight.
Old 02-01-13, 11:34 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Watched Four Weddings and a Funeral today. It's funny I never even bothered to watch this film until 2001. But now I watch it like once or twice a year. I still get a kick out of most of the scenes, I laughed like hell during the second wedding and the Rowan Atkinson scenes.

I think this film poses an interesting question/debate: Do people actually need to get married if they are in love? Or isn't it more interesting to stay perpetually an unmarried couple. I really wished that they explored the Fiona/Charles relationship a bit more. There's the one really dramatic scene during the third marriage where I wished they followed up on a bit more.

I think this a better film than it's given credit for and I think it's held up better than Forrest Gump, which I haven't seen since the late 90s. Pulp Fiction is better than either of these films though and I have no idea why it didn't win in retrospect.
Old 02-01-13, 11:51 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by popcorn
I just found out that my daughter has never seen E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. So I know what we're watching tonight.
Good parenting for finally showing it to her, but bad parenting for not having already done so. I'll refrain from reporting you to child services only if you get a signed statement from your daughter that you did, indeed, finally watch the movie with her.

Originally Posted by sleepyhead55
I think [Four Weddings and a Funeral] a better film than it's given credit for and I think it's held up better than Forrest Gump, which I haven't seen since the late 90s. Pulp Fiction is better than either of these films though and I have no idea why it didn't win in retrospect.
The answer simply is that at the time, the Academy was never going to actually pick something like Pulp Fiction. It was just unthinkable, and even its nomination was surprising. It's easy to forget now, but there was a time when the industry scoffed at the kind of film that Tarantino has built a career making. Really, it's far more surprising that the culture now allows Django Unchained to be a legitimate contender at the Oscars than that there was once a time when Pulp Fiction was not. The times, they are a-changin'.
Old 02-01-13, 11:56 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

A little while ago, I re-watched Up in the Air. Here are my observations, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

MILD SPOILERS FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS
Spoiler:
Between seeing Up in the Air during its original theatrical run and tonight's viewing at home on Blu-ray, I read Walter Kirn's novel. I went into his novel from the perspective of having seen Jason Reitman's film version and now I've come back to Reitman's film having seen it already and read Kirn's source material.

The upshot of all this is that I'm very impressed by Jason Reitman's sensibilities as a screen adapter. Kirn's novel is intriguing, but more from the perspective of getting a rare glimpse into Mormons than for anything else. Reitman has a keen sense of the importance of the universal and how to make stories accessible to us on an intimate level.

Here, for instance, his film invents the character of Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), who serves partly as a point-of-view character but also as a barometer by which we measure the evolution of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney). Ryan's arc itself is changed in Reitman's hands. Kirn's Ryan is a guy who more or less proves to himself that his thesis about insulation being the key to happiness is right. Reitman's Ryan learns instead something that Ian Fleming had a character say to James Bond in Casino Royale:

"Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles."

Much was made at the time of Up in the Air's release of its timeliness given the collapse of the economy and the need for the average person to feel that someone recognized the brutality of a system where some people profit and prosper at the expense of everyone else. It's still a valid theme, but what struck me more this time through was the emphasis on loyalty.

Every plot point that runs through the film comes back to the issue of loyalty, whether it's the betrayal of the loyalty of employees fired by proxy through Bingham or his own faithful allegiance to rewards programs.

Perhaps the most poignant commentary of the film is actually through Natalie, who learns firsthand that even in the horrific "business" of firing people, there are limitations on how distant the process can be made. Ryan himself is quick to nail her on her own ironic/hypocritical indignation at being dumped by her boyfriend via text, given that she's the one who introduced the "glocal" tele-firing concept. Later, we learn she quit her job via text before returning to San Francisco to pursue the life she originally wanted. It's hard to believe that she didn't fully learn the value of breaking up/firing/quitting in person, so we're left to interpret that as her way of telling the company just how despicable she finds what they represent.

There's also the limited relationship between Alex (Vera Farmiga) and Natalie, which gives us that terrifically awkward and frank discussion of what a woman in her early 20s seeks in a man and what a woman in her 30s will accept in one. Again Reitman uses Natalie to remind us how our values evolve with not just age, but with experience. Though Ryan condescends her, Reitman never does. She's naive about how hurtful people can be, but she's also the one who sees the value of strong relationships.

I'm reminded of one of the passages I still recall most vividly from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, which I read in a single setting and actually caused me to have an anxiety attack. There's a scene where Guy Montag's neighbors are discussing with him their views on how society devolved, and one thing they cite was that home builders stopped making front porches. There were stoops, but they were so small that they discouraged or outright made impossible the habit of sitting outside facing your neighbors. Consequently, people went inside their homes or at best, sat in their backyards facing away from everyone else, often enclosed by a fence of some kind. It insulated people to the point that they stopped even thinking of their own neighbors as people but as abstract background for their lives - or worse, as potential threats. The net effect of all this was the collapse of meaningful personal relationships.

Reitman's film isn't actually about the decline of front porches, but it speaks to the same theme as Bradbury's famed novel. It was the prevalence of mass layoffs that made audiences see Up in the Air as timely in late 2009, but as I consider the present dominant debate in the United States about gun violence, I feel that it's even timelier today because it taps into that theme of the importance of cultivating strong relationships.

Up in the Air was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #52/1472


Up in the Air
82nd Academy Awards (2010)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- George Clooney {"Ryan Bingham"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Vera Farmiga {"Alex Goran"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Anna Kendrick {"Natalie Keener"}
(N) DIRECTING -- Jason Reitman
(N) BEST PICTURE -- Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers
(N) WRITING (Adapted Screenplay) -- Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Old 02-02-13, 08:27 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I couldn't sleep (again) so I finally watched Venus. My remarks, as posted in my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS

Spoiler:
I dig Peter O'Toole so this was on my radar back when it was originally released but I missed it. A friend has it on DVD and I borrowed that from him - admittedly, some time back at the end of 2011 - and I finally got around to it in the wee hours this morning.

The cast is terrific, particularly O'Toole and Jodie Whittaker. The story itself feels predictable and familiar but there are enough little touches and attention to detail that ring true to keep it engaging. In the DVD bonus featurette, "Venus: A Work of Beauty", O'Toole describes the film thus:

"It's about a dirty old man and a sluttish young woman. That's what it's about, really."

I was made very uncomfortable with the extent of Maurice's forwardness, which clearly constitutes sexual assault. Pepe Le Pew is on the borderline of my threshold for that kind of behavior and Maurice is well beyond that charitable level. The film doesn't treat him as being a harmless flirt who doesn't know any better, so at least he's not portrayed as a romantic hero per se, but he's ultimately rewarded for his relentless leering and groping which does validate the behavior. The only reason it works at all is that we learn quickly enough that "Venus" is shrewd enough to exploit his infatuation with her. In the aforementioned featurette, someone remarks that "The only thing that keeps it from being perverse" is that the exploitation is mutual.

I wanted to like Venus more than I did, but the predictability and the extent of the boundary-crossing soured me somewhat, though there are enough charming moments to rescue it from being a film I disliked.

Venus entered my Flickchart at #586/1473


Venus
79th Academy Awards (2006)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- Peter O'Toole {"Maurice"}
Old 02-02-13, 01:25 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

It was quite a chore to sit through, but I finally finished my first film for this challenge: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958). (Tennessee Williams' original play is now being revived on Broadway, but I don't imagine I'll go see it.) Burl Ives as Big Daddy was the best thing about this film, but he wasn't even nominated! And in order to get to him, you have to plow your way through Paul Newman's portrayal of a miserable, sniveling, self-pitying, ungrateful wretch that I simply had no sympathy for. Liz Taylor is pretty hot as Maggie and this is one of her iconic roles (and the reason I wanted to see it, even though it's taken me decades to finally sit through it), but I couldn't see why she kept throwing herself at the worthless, impotent Brick. I wonder if the unlikely happy ending was in the original play.

Whaddaya say, Liz? Should I give WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? a chance?


Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 02-04-13 at 04:16 AM.
Old 02-03-13, 02:13 AM
  #132  
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Around 9 last night, I decided to finally revisit Dances with Wolves. Here's my review, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS
Spoiler:
I can still vividly recall the first time I saw Dances with Wolves. My uncle, who rarely came out our way in those days, for some reason spent the afternoon at my mom's house with just me. I have no idea where my brother was or why my uncle had nothing else to do that day, but we rented it and watched it in the living room. It wasn't until after we'd watched and returned it that we learned we'd checked out the expanded edition and that there was a theatrical cut an hour shorter than the cut we'd watched.

A few year later, my U.S. History teacher in high school showed us the theatrical cut in class. Because our classes were 50 minute blocks, it took an entire school week to watch and finish. Those are the only two times I've ever seen the film, so it's been a good 15 years.

Tonight, I was amazed how vividly I could recall the film while watching it. There was only one scene that felt unfamiliar to me; where Dunbar (Kevin Costner) cleans up the abandoned outpost. I don't recall previously watching him round up deer carcasses. Otherwise, the film was exactly as I remembered it, as though it was one that I re-watched often rather than one I'd only seen twice and not at all since the Clinton administration.

The biggest knock on Dances with Wolves has always been that it's ham-fisted about manipulating our emotions. It's a fair criticism to level against the film, because very clearly, white people are evil. They're wasteful, selfish gluttons whose obsession with mindless violence makes them not only appalling, but dangerous.

The funny thing is, we're so used to various minority groups being stereotyped that we forget what that there is a stereotype of white Americans...and that stereotype is exactly what's shown in this film. It is reductive and simplistic, especially the outpost officers at the end of the film, but sometimes we need to be reminded of how reputations are acquired. The truth is, white Americans have historically been selfish, wasteful and prone to senseless violence.

I don't know what it says about me as a viewer, but by far the most emotional scenes in the entire film are killings of Cisco and later Two Socks. Those scenes are heartbreaking to witness, which of course is the point. They're downright Spielbergian, really, and especially hard to stomach once we find out that the diary Dunbar so foolishly left behind in the first place and that drew him back to the outpost wasn't even important to anyone.

The cast is solid, though for some reason once Costner shaves his mustache halfway through the film, I find it distracted me and took me out of the movie. At that point, I just saw Kevin Costner as he appeared in the early 90s with that big hair mullet thing he had going on. Because of that one thing, the first half is a film set in the late 19th Century; the second half is a film made in the early 90s. Mary McDonnell's uncertain articulation of English is still a bit distracting and borders on being unintentionally funny, but there's an earnestness to her performance that buys my patience.

I do wish Fox had released the Blu-ray with a branching option to show either of the two cuts because 236 minutes is a tremendous investment of time to be asked to make. The theatrical cut's 181 minutes are demanding enough as it is.

Dances with Wolves was re-ranked to #66/1473 on my Flickchart


Dances with Wolves
63rd Academy Awards (1990)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- Kevin Costner {"Lieutenant Dunbar"}
(N) ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Graham Greene {"Kicking Bird"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Mary McDonnell {"Stands With A Fist"}
(N) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Jeffrey Beecroft; Set Decoration: Lisa Dean
(W) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Dean Semler
(N) COSTUME DESIGN -- Elsa Zamparelli
(W) DIRECTING -- Kevin Costner
(W) FILM EDITING -- Neil Travis
(W) MUSIC (Original Score) -- John Barry
(W) BEST PICTURE -- Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner, Producers
(W) SOUND -- Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Greg Watkins, Russell Williams II
(W) WRITING (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) -- Michael Blake
Old 02-03-13, 08:08 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Around 9 last night, I decided to finally revisit Dances with Wolves. Here's my review, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS


Dances with Wolves
63rd Academy Awards (1990)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- Kevin Costner {"Lieutenant Dunbar"}
(N) ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Graham Greene {"Kicking Bird"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Mary McDonnell {"Stands With A Fist"}
(N) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Jeffrey Beecroft; Set Decoration: Lisa Dean
(W) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Dean Semler
(N) COSTUME DESIGN -- Elsa Zamparelli
(W) DIRECTING -- Kevin Costner
(W) FILM EDITING -- Neil Travis
(W) MUSIC (Original Score) -- John Barry
(W) BEST PICTURE -- Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner, Producers
(W) SOUND -- Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Greg Watkins, Russell Williams II
(W) WRITING (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) -- Michael Blake
I own Dances With Wolves. Thinking of revisiting it sometime during the Challenge myself. So far I am up to 5 items watched. 3 movies, and 2 short subject cartoons.
Old 02-03-13, 10:17 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

It's Super Bowl Sunday which means it's time for me to watch The Godfather trilogy.
Old 02-03-13, 10:17 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
A little while ago, I re-watched Up in the Air. Here are my observations, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

MILD SPOILERS FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS


Up in the Air
82nd Academy Awards (2010)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- George Clooney {"Ryan Bingham"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Vera Farmiga {"Alex Goran"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Anna Kendrick {"Natalie Keener"}
(N) DIRECTING -- Jason Reitman
(N) BEST PICTURE -- Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers
(N) WRITING (Adapted Screenplay) -- Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Well done on your review!

I re-watched yesterday and loved it even more than I had before. This seemed to be the forgotten film at the Oscars that year, unfortunately so.
Old 02-03-13, 12:18 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Time for a sticky on the list thread!

(And, yes, I have notified the moderator by clicking on that little exclamation-point-in-triangle icon.
Old 02-03-13, 06:08 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by shadokitty
I own Dances With Wolves. Thinking of revisiting it sometime during the Challenge myself. So far I am up to 5 items watched. 3 movies, and 2 short subject cartoons.
How long has it been since you last saw it?

Originally Posted by lisadoris
It's Super Bowl Sunday which means it's time for me to watch The Godfather trilogy.
Is that a tradition for you? I'd be curious to know how that got started!

Originally Posted by MrTerrific
Well done on your review!

I re-watched yesterday and loved it even more than I had before. This seemed to be the forgotten film at the Oscars that year, unfortunately so.
Thanks! I was kind of surprised that it didn't win anything, given how many nominations it received. I still haven't seen enough of its competitors to comment on how I feel about it in any of its nominated categories, and it wouldn't really matter anyway. I just know I highly enjoyed it.

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
Time for a sticky on the list thread!

(And, yes, I have notified the moderator by clicking on that little exclamation-point-in-triangle icon.
Now we've got ourselves a challenge!
Old 02-03-13, 06:53 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I watched Life of Pi today, and it was so beautiful and compelling. I had read the novel years ago and enjoyed it immensely, so I was a bit trepidatious when the trailers started showing up. However, Ang Lee is one of my favorite directors (Sense and Sensibility and Brokeback Mountain are two of my all-time favorite films) and it had so many nominations that I was excited to see it.

The film has so many amazing shots and presented the story so well. I loved the introductory sequences as well as the framing story with the writer (reminded me of Amadeus). There is a wonderful balance between style and story, and the thematic issues of the film are integrated very well and never became preachy.

Yesterday, I went to the theater to see Silver Linings Playbook with a few friends. I must confess that I do not quite get what the hype is about. It was a better than average dysfunctional family dramedy, and I liked it, but I don't see why it is so acclaimed. Perhaps the numerous nominations inflated my expectations. Also, was Bradley Cooper's character suppose to be autistic? I know that he is bipolar and at times on medication, but I've been around a few people diagnosed as bipolar (and probably have some tendencies myself) and this wasn't quite how I would characterize them.

So that's five best picture nominees and four to go. So far, Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild are my favorites. Both are so visually compelling and build such interesting worlds. Silver Linings Playbook is my least favorite - good but nothing special. (Perhaps it's Jennifer Lawrence... everyone seems to be gaga over her.)
Old 02-03-13, 06:54 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
How long has it been since you last saw it?


Can't remember if I watched it for last year's Academy Award or Action/Adevnture challenge or not, so at least a year, maybe 2?
Old 02-03-13, 07:58 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Is that a tradition for you? I'd be curious to know how that got started!
I've done this the last couple Oscar Challenges and I just figure The Godfather films make for a good Super Bowl alternative. It also helps me keep what little street cred I have with the students in my sports class when I try to explain how a person teaching a class on blacks in sports doesn't watch the Super Bowl.

The first two Godfather films are two of the best Hollywood films ever. I think 3 gets a bad rap. No, it's not nearly as good as the first 2 but it holds its own despite some flaws. I don't think the film would have been that much better had Ryder not dropped out (I think the entire romance storyline was ill conceived and unnecessary) though I think the studio made a huge mistake by not giving Coppola the time he needed to to work on the script and by not throwing bags of money at Duvall to get him to return.

I tracked down Hallelujah and it's an interesting film. McKinney and Haynes are amazing (McKinney barely aged a day between Hallelujah and Pinky) but films like this are complicated. I appreciate the actor's performances but it's difficult to get past the stereotypes. I did love the fact that a parental advisory for the stereotypes flashed on the screen before the film began. That made me chuckle - it's certainly a film of its time.
Old 02-03-13, 10:39 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I'm a purist at heart, so I only own the 181 minute cut of "Dances With Wolves" as a Blu-ray UK import. It's region-free, so if you're a fan, I'd recommend it.

I've upgraded my Best Picture collection to Blu-ray (well, those that are out on Blu...). I always get a little twitchy watching extended versions of Oscar films since those are not the versions that won the Oscar....

I still have the original DVD of "Crash" since the Blu is only the extended cut!

I know, I know!
Old 02-04-13, 12:57 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Anyone know where I can watch/buy/rent/get a copy of TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927)...? I can't find any indication of it ever being released on DVD - which is odd in itself - but I can find some people who (allege they) have seen it. There's a page about it branded under 'Netflix', but when I asked a friend with that service to look it up, I was told it wasn't available...

Any ideas/leads, please?
Old 02-04-13, 01:12 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I'm working my way - thanks to YouTube, although somewhere I have most on DVD... - through all the Disney-produced animated short nominees and winners. I've been trying to go in order, under some vague impression that I'd get to see them improve as time wore on. Interestingly, aside perhaps from the subject matter being a bit more classic-y and worthy to begin with (and I'm only a couple of years in so far), what's struck me is quite how technically adept and good-looking they were right from the get go!

Most recently as I type this, I watched Ferdinand the Bull and Mickey Mouse in The Brave Little Tailor (1938). With Ferdinand, I was amused by the almost-celebrated pacifism being juxtaposed by the narrator's contention that all the other bulls yearned to be in the bullfighting ring... Hm! The Brave Little Tailor is a familiar fairy tale, founded on a simple misunderstanding. And I remember thinking the first time I heard the story quite how daft a misunderstanding it is! "Seven with one blow." Even if the townspeople are gullible enough get confused over the what, you'd think someone would pause long enough to just think: "one blow? That sounds unlikely." (Also: Pluto - in armo(u)r - talks! And the giant, picking up a haystack to smoke is effectively literally 'smoking grass'...)
Old 02-04-13, 03:14 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by shadokitty
Can't remember if I watched it for last year's Academy Award or Action/Adevnture challenge or not, so at least a year, maybe 2?
Ah, so much more recently than my sophomore year of high school!

Originally Posted by lisadoris
I've done this the last couple Oscar Challenges and I just figure The Godfather films make for a good Super Bowl alternative. It also helps me keep what little street cred I have with the students in my sports class when I try to explain how a person teaching a class on blacks in sports doesn't watch the Super Bowl.


The first two Godfather films are two of the best Hollywood films ever. I think 3 gets a bad rap. No, it's not nearly as good as the first 2 but it holds its own despite some flaws. I don't think the film would have been that much better had Ryder not dropped out (I think the entire romance storyline was ill conceived and unnecessary) though I think the studio made a huge mistake by not giving Coppola the time he needed to to work on the script and by not throwing bags of money at Duvall to get him to return.
Whenever a discussion turns to the difference between what one likes and what is good, I always cite The Godfather. I respect it, but I just never felt anything for it. I think highly of it, but I'm emotionally indifferent to it. I did like The Godfather, Part II a bit more, I think because I enjoyed the parallel stories of Vito and Michael. I still haven't seen The Godfather, Part III. It's on my To See list.

Originally Posted by Mao
I'm a purist at heart, so I only own the 181 minute cut of "Dances With Wolves" as a Blu-ray UK import. It's region-free, so if you're a fan, I'd recommend it.
Despite my admiration and fondness for it, I'm not sure I'll make it a priority but it's something I'll keep in mind. I never actually owned it on VHS or DVD, believe it or not, and the fact I've only seen it thrice says something about my low compulsion to be able to revisit it at will.

Originally Posted by ntnon
Anyone know where I can watch/buy/rent/get a copy of TWO ARABIAN KNIGHTS (1927)...? I can't find any indication of it ever being released on DVD - which is odd in itself - but I can find some people who (allege they) have seen it. There's a page about it branded under 'Netflix', but when I asked a friend with that service to look it up, I was told it wasn't available...

Any ideas/leads, please?
Per Wikipedia:

The film was long thought lost before being located in Howard Hughes' film collection after his death.[1] A print was shepherded by Dr. Hart Wegner of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for restoration by Jeffrey Masino, along with two other "lost" Hughes-produced films, The Racket (1928) and The Mating Call (1928), both originally released by Paramount Pictures.

In 2004 and 2006, Turner Classic Movies broadcast all three films, their first showings in decades.
My advice is to build a time machine and go back to 2004 and set your DVR. Or, I suppose, just go back to 1927 and find a theater screening it.
Old 02-04-13, 03:19 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I'm woefully behind on it, but I finally started the nominees for the 75th Academy Awards SHORT FILM (Live Action) that are collected on that DVD I checked out from the library. I started with that year's winner, Der Er En Yndig Mand [This Charming Man], which I'd watched previously for the 2010 Academy Award Challenge. I didn't have time to get to the other nominees then, and I decided I may as well re-watch the winner since I've got the disc on hand. Here's my review, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

Spoiler:
I first saw this short film in 2010 when I checked out a compilation DVD of the shorts nominated in the 75th Academy Awards in the Animated and Live Action categories, and I've come back to it now because I checked out that DVD again since I didn't get to anything other than this short three years ago.

We don't really talk about how racist/nationalistic other societies are, but of course it's an ugliness found wherever there are people. Still, it's surprising to me to think of the Danes as being as xenophobic as, frankly, my neighbors. (I'm a Kentuckian so I mean that in the literal sense.)

Der Er En Yndig Mand (This Charming Man) plays almost like an episode of Seinfeld. The premise is simple enough: A guy who just wants to get back to work finds himself the victim of a clerical error that mixes him up with a Pakistani immigrant. This in turn leads to the mounting frustration at the maddening nature of bureaucracy. Danish, American, whatever; the runaround game is as unavoidable as it is infuriating.

What Lars discovers is that without the attendance of the Pakistani man with whom he's been conflated, the class will be considered a waste and canceled. Besides, Lars needs to atone for carelessly erupting in frustration at a receptionist by slandering her as a "peasant", an ugliness witnessed by Ida.

What makes this work so well is that we don't see Lars debate his scheme with anyone. He learns that Ida's class will be scrapped if the immigrant doesn't show up, and in the next scene, he's dyed his hair and is applying a fake mustache. We don't need to watch the light bulb go off over his head. We simply need to know that it did, and we're able to get on with the story. Whether this is a storytelling choice dictated by the short film format or a reflection of Danish storytelling sensibilities or even just a decision on the part of this short's writer/director Martin Strange-Hansen or his co-writer, Flemming Klem, I don't know. I just know that the economy of storytelling makes this short work when it could easily have tripped over itself.

Der Er En Yndig Mand is a Danish short film but unfortunately its thematic content is universal. There are xenophobic bigots in every society. What makes this short and its commentary on the matter so compelling is that it distills it to the immediate without being reductive. That is, you don't have to get into matters of changing the views of an entire country. You simply need to be mindful that you don't participate yourself (such as when Lars is caught by Ida belittling the receptionist), do not encourage others to be bigoted (not laughing at Niels's horrific jokes) and to be a positive participant (Lars helping Omid). This is how each of us in our daily lives encounter bigotry.

Der Er En Yndig Mand entered my Flickchart at #665/1474


Der Er En Yndig Mand [This Charming Man]
75th Academy Awards (2002)
(W) SHORT FILM (Live Action) -- Martin Strange-Hansen, Mie Andreasen
Old 02-04-13, 04:15 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I'm a glutton for punishment, so I went ahead and watched WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Four childish adults prattling on in a drunken stupor for two hours and nine minutes. Would you want to spend time with these people? (I remember reading the Mad Magazine satire as a kid, which gave away the big "reveal" at the end.) Between this and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, I have to conclude that Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee perfected whining as an American art form. ("Wah, wah, wah, you didn't love us, Big Daddy" "Wah, wah, wah, we can't have any children").

I went next with GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. I expected it to be an insipid white liberal fantasy--and it is--but it has moments of emotional honesty thanks to old pros Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, two of the greatest actors in the history of American movies. The actors who play Sidney Poitier's parents, Roy Glenn and Beah Richards, are also very good and bring some honesty to their characters. (Poitier's defiant scene with Glenn is one of the highlights of the film because it's the only time Poitier loses his cool in the entire film.) The interracial couple at the heart of it, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton, are living in a perennial dreamland. We're constantly asking, "What can he possibly see in her?" The big joke of this movie has always been the notion that he's seeking her parents' approval when they should be grateful as hell that their ninny of a daughter is marrying so far out of her intellectual class.
Old 02-04-13, 06:32 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
The big joke of this movie has always been the notion that he's seeking her parents' approval when they should be grateful as hell that their ninny of a daughter is marrying so far out of her intellectual class.
That is the best summation of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner I've ever read!
Old 02-04-13, 09:01 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Yay, Ash got us stickied
Old 02-04-13, 09:20 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by ntnon
I'm working my way - thanks to YouTube, although somewhere I have most on DVD... - through all the Disney-produced animated short nominees and winners. I've been trying to go in order, under some vague impression that I'd get to see them improve as time wore on. Interestingly, aside perhaps from the subject matter being a bit more classic-y and worthy to begin with (and I'm only a couple of years in so far), what's struck me is quite how technically adept and good-looking they were right from the get go!

Most recently as I type this, I watched Ferdinand the Bull and Mickey Mouse in The Brave Little Tailor (1938). With Ferdinand, I was amused by the almost-celebrated pacifism being juxtaposed by the narrator's contention that all the other bulls yearned to be in the bullfighting ring... Hm! The Brave Little Tailor is a familiar fairy tale, founded on a simple misunderstanding. And I remember thinking the first time I heard the story quite how daft a misunderstanding it is! "Seven with one blow." Even if the townspeople are gullible enough get confused over the what, you'd think someone would pause long enough to just think: "one blow? That sounds unlikely." (Also: Pluto - in armo(u)r - talks! And the giant, picking up a haystack to smoke is effectively literally 'smoking grass'...)
Thanks for pointing out Ferdinand the Bull and Brave Little Tailor, as I have been watching quite a few shorts so far. I want to keep an active list, but a lot of times, I don't have time to sit through a 2+ hour movie it seems, except at night. Not sure what I'll watch tonight, May look for an Oscar nominated movie on tv, or I could look through my dvd collection, and there is always Netflix and Youtube as well, as I know I found Pinochio on youtube this morning. And I have been meaning to rewatch the Jurassic Park movies and the Star trek movies as well, as I just recently bought the Star Trek collection of movies.

Last edited by shadokitty; 02-04-13 at 09:27 AM.
Old 02-04-13, 09:36 AM
  #150  
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
I went next with GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. I expected it to be an insipid white liberal fantasy--and it is--but it has moments of emotional honesty thanks to old pros Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, two of the greatest actors in the history of American movies. The actors who play Sidney Poitier's parents, Roy Glenn and Beah Richards, are also very good and bring some honesty to their characters. (Poitier's defiant scene with Glenn is one of the highlights of the film because it's the only time Poitier loses his cool in the entire film.) The interracial couple at the heart of it, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton, are living in a perennial dreamland. We're constantly asking, "What can he possibly see in her?" The big joke of this movie has always been the notion that he's seeking her parents' approval when they should be grateful as hell that their ninny of a daughter is marrying so far out of her intellectual class.
You might want to read Mark Harris's book Pictures at a Revolution which details the making of the five Best Picture contenders for the 1968 Academy Awards. The commentary on Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is fascinating, especially the parts about director Stanley Kramer who was puzzled that his film was perceived as outdated by many critics at the time. One of the major problems with the film is that Sidney Poitier is so perfect and Katharine Houghton is such a nonentity (both apparently choices made to the screenwriter and Kramer) that they are completely uninteresting bores.

However, I cannot agree with you about either Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. I love both films, especially the performances and Who's Afraid's brilliantly jarring cinematography. I love a good dysfunctional family yarn, and both deliver in spades with Cat's underlining homosexual dilemma and Who's Afraid's startling look at the anxieties brought about by not being able to carry on the family line and the extremes to which people will go when that to at least enact the American family. These are the types of people academia can so often create, caught up in their own world and worried that they are becoming superfluous.

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