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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 02-04-13, 01:47 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
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is fascinating, especially the parts about director Stanley Kramer who was puzzled that his film was perceived as outdated by many critics at the time.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.
I have that book by Mark Harris and have read it. I need to re-read the sections on GUESS now that I've finally seen the movie. Spencer Tracy was apparently on his death bed when he made the movie (he died a short time after filming ended), but you'd never guess it from watching his vigorous performance.

I appreciate your defenses of CAT and VIRGINIA WOOLF and understand that they are indeed considered to be among the "great American plays." Unlike you, though, I have little tolerance for dysfunctional family dramas. Having grown up in one myself, I don't have much patience for dramas created out of such circumstances. Also, as someone currently working in academia and having little patience with academics, I have no interest in seeing dramas about such people.

I think for the rest of this Challenge, I'll stick with the people and subjects I know and appreciate best, y'know, THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE WILD BUNCH and IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD!

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 02-04-13 at 01:54 PM.
Old 02-04-13, 04:48 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
...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've not seen either film you've cited so I can't speak to them. I can say that not being able to have children is a very legitimate and devastating issue to face and expressing frustration or sadness over that does not constitute "whining". This thread will get real damn ugly in a hurry if I'm challenged on that.
Old 02-04-13, 04:54 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Cinemark just tweeted that their next round of movies in their Classic Series will all be Best Picture winners! This could be a terrific opportunity for us. I went last week and caught Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid there. Because they show the classics in the XD auditorium at my local Cinemark, tickets are $12 for those. However, I do still have one $12 Movie Cash ticket remaining...! They haven't announced the lineup yet but I'll be sure to post it when they do.
Old 02-04-13, 06:52 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I watched Scrooged (Best Makeup Nominee) today for the first time. I found it rather enjoyable. I liked how they developed and showed us different shades of Murray's character. I also bought into the relationship between Frank and Claire. Robert Mitchum was also very funny as the ratings driven tv network boss. I almost prefer this twisted version of the story to the original. I will definitely be watching this again (probably at Christmastime).
Old 02-04-13, 07:12 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
I have that book by Mark Harris and have read it. I need to re-read the sections on GUESS now that I've finally seen the movie. Spencer Tracy was apparently on his death bed when he made the movie (he died a short time after filming ended), but you'd never guess it from watching his vigorous performance.

I appreciate your defenses of CAT and VIRGINIA WOOLF and understand that they are indeed considered to be among the "great American plays." Unlike you, though, I have little tolerance for dysfunctional family dramas. Having grown up in one myself, I don't have much patience for dramas created out of such circumstances. Also, as someone currently working in academia and having little patience with academics, I have no interest in seeing dramas about such people.

I think for the rest of this Challenge, I'll stick with the people and subjects I know and appreciate best, y'know, THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE WILD BUNCH and IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD!
I read Harris's book last year and loved it. I put a couple books about film on this year's reading list: Film After Film and The Greatest Sci-Fi Films Never Made.

Dysfunctional family dramas are definitely not for everyone! While we have our problems, my family is fairly sane and civil so those films don't generally stir personal feelings about my family. Good luck with the rest of your challenge! Hopefully you get more enjoyment out of your next viewings! (Note to Self: Watch The Dirty Dozen.)
Old 02-05-13, 01:17 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Finally finished the DVD I should have already returned to the library of the 75th Academy Awards short film nominees. It's missing one of the four Live Action noms, Johnny Flynton. Still, I feel confident saying that I feel the Academy got both SHORT FILM (Animated) and SHORT FILM (Live Action) wrong. The former should have gone to Das Rad [Rocks] and the latter to Fait d'Hiver [Gridlock]. Here are my notes on each. Titles link to my reviews in my Letterboxd diary.

SPOILER ALERTS FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS

J'Attendrai le suivant... [I'll Wait for the Next One]
Spoiler:
OMG! I've always had problems with dating and now that I'm trying to put together a life in the wake of the collapse of my marriage, I'm back to facing them again. Watching this short, I was able to identify with it at first from the perspective of the guy addressing the train, then as the woman listening to him. It's brilliant, all taking place in the brief span between train stops, and setting up for one of the cleverest Lucy-pulling-away-the-football endings to a short film I've seen in quite a while.

J'Attendrai le suivant... entered my Flickchart at #662/1475

J'Attendrai le suivant... [I'll Wait for the Next One]
75th Academy Awards (2002)
(N) SHORT FILM (Live Action) -- Philippe Orreindy, Thomas Gaudin

Fait d'Hiver [Gridlock]
Spoiler:
I wish Letterboxd had a laughing emoticon of some kind, because I would simply use that as my "review". This short film is just dark, man. I mean, we're talking O. Henry by way of Poe here.

One of my favorite comedies of the 90s remains Nothing to Lose. There's a brief moment early in Fait d'Hiver that suggests that's where we're headed but instead the short takes off on an entirely different direction, culminating in a series of mouth-covering, eye-popping reactions alternately horrified and on the verge of busting a gut. By the time it's over, there's a sense of relief that yields to laughter...and a sense of guilt at laughing at all. Brilliant. Just...brilliant.

Fait d'Hiver entered my Flickchart at #230/1476

Fait d'Hiver [Gridlock]
75th Academy Awards (2002)
(N) SHORT FILM (Live Action) -- Dirk BeliŽn, Anja Daelemans

Inja [Dog]
Spoiler:
Okay, look, I get the allegorical weight of this one. The dog is raised to engender the farmer's racist views which ultimately threaten the lives of the farmer and the dog. I get all that, and it's admittedly poignant.

But here's the thing: I was very nearly brought to tears by the abuse of the puppy and even being mindful of the philosophical point being made by the film wasn't a satisfactory enough payoff to offset that experience. This is an instance where I readily acknowledge my emotions override my intellectual perception of a work. It may not be fair, but I'm not the one who decided to kick a puppy in a bag to prove a point.

Inja entered my Flickchart at #1274/1477

Inja [Dog]
75th Academy Awards (2002)
(N) SHORT FILM (Live Action) -- Steven Pasvolsky, Joe Weatherstone
Old 02-05-13, 03:52 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
I've not seen either film you've cited so I can't speak to them. I can say that not being able to have children is a very legitimate and devastating issue to face and expressing frustration or sadness over that does not constitute "whining". This thread will get real damn ugly in a hurry if I'm challenged on that.
Point well taken.

Thanks.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 02-05-13 at 09:29 AM.
Old 02-05-13, 12:48 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I took a break from watching movies for the Challenge to check out a documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I actually watched it twice, the second time with my family. Worth a look on Netflix after Oscar season.

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
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.
And thank you, MinLShaw. She won't sign anything but she said she was afraid to watch it before now.
Old 02-05-13, 02:00 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

I'm very excited! This is the first year ever that watching all the films nominated for Academy Awards has been a possibility for me. Not sure if I have the stamina to accomplish this task, but I'm going to give it the ol' college try! This evening I'm going to a screening of all the documentary shorts. After looking at the lineup, I am in for one heck of a depressing time.
Old 02-05-13, 03:05 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by popcorn
And thank you, MinLShaw. She won't sign anything but she said she was afraid to watch it before now.
I'll bite: Why was she afraid to watch E.T.? I'm not asking to be sardonic or anything. I'm genuinely intrigued.
Old 02-05-13, 07:25 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Early this morning, I finally re-watched Bambi on Blu-ray. Here are my observations, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS AND WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF "BAMBI"

Spoiler:
Like most people, I first saw Bambi in my youth and it made a strong impression on me emotionally. I remember going to see it when it played theaters during its 25th anniversary re-release in 1987. I'm almost certain I had seen it at home prior to that screening on VHS, and I may have watched it again afterwards, but I can say with complete certainty that I have no recollection of having seen the film at all in the last 20 years.

I elected to watch Bambi early this morning with the Disney View, an option that frames the sides of the 4:3 film with illustrations that fill a 16:9 screen. The artwork is complementary to the film, consistent with the dominant color scheme on screen. The lovely artwork here was created by Lisa Keene. It makes an impact from the very beginning, as the camera pans throughout the forest. There's something about Keene's framing artwork that imbues the photography with an even greater kinetic quality, almost like the edges of a window in an airplane flying over the forest.

Visually, Bambi is amazing, perhaps even more impressive than Dumbo or Pinocchio. The landscapes are rich, and most of the animals move consistent with their real life counterparts. I couldn't have named a single song from Bambi, but re-watching it now I was struck by how dominant the score is. In a lot of ways, Bambi plays more like a silent film occasionally interrupted by dialog. It feels very much like a throwback film in ways that I could not have understood or appreciated when I first saw it.

Unfortunately, I also found a glaring problem with Bambi that did not exist in my untouched memory of the film: There's almost no story. There are really only four important events in the entire film: Bambi's birth, the killing of his mother, the hunt and forest fire, and the finale of the birth of Bambi's twins. Those account for maybe 1/3 of the film. The other 2/3 consist of the equivalent of home movies of Bambi's infancy and adolescence. There's almost a stream-of-consciousness fluidity to those passages that can be charming and endearing, but also leaves one wondering if the film is ever actually going anywhere.

We learn nothing of why Bambi's father is absent from his life, or where any of the fathers are. Thumper's father admonishes him daily with life lessons, but we never see the guy or find out where he is while his family is out and about. Bambi's father seems like a bit of a jerk, frankly. He's absent until Bambi's mother is killed, yells at Bambi to get up after he's been shot (?) and apparently his idea of male bonding is sharing a cliff with Bambi at the end of the film so they can look down on Bambi's twins having been born.

Bambi was nominated for three Academy Awards, including its score, the song "Love Is a Song" and its sound recording. It lost all three; there were something like a dozen nominees in those categories in those days, versus the three to five we get today. I can't comment on how "deserving" any of the others were, but I can say that Bambi, for all its visual appeal, is also a terrific sounding film. It's a remarkable audio/visual experience all around. It's just way lighter on story than I'd remembered.

Bambi was re-ranked on my Flickchart from #86 to #77/1477
This really surprised me, as I expected it to fall in the rankings having been somewhat let down by it.

Bambi
15th Academy Awards (1942)
(N) MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) -- Frank Churchill, Edward Plumb
(N) MUSIC (Song) -- "Love Is a Song," Music by Frank Churchill; Lyrics by Larry Morey
(N) SOUND RECORDING -- Walt Disney Studio Sound Department, Sam Slyfield, Sound Director
Old 02-06-13, 01:45 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Never mind on the Cinemark Classic Series spotlighting Best Picture winners; that won't begin until 6 March! :'(

Spoiler:
Tucked into the bonus features on the Platinum and Diamond Editions of Bambi is a 1937 Silly Symphony short, The Old Mill. I don't recall having seen it before, though maybe in my childhood I did. Regardless, here are my remarks as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

This short film is included as a bonus feature with Bambi, which I didn't know until yesterday. I also didn't know that it won an Academy Award but sure enough, it did. In this, we spend a day and night with the animals who have taken up refuge in an abandoned mill. Among the critters is a pair of bluebirds awaiting the hatching of their offspring, some mice/rats (I can't be sure) and an owl that looks a whole lot like Bambi's Owl. Night falls and brings with it a fierce storm.

The big draw here is the animation of the storm. It's still impressive 75+ years later, but when you mentally place it beside any live action depiction of a storm in a film of its era, it becomes apparent almost immediately just why this would have wowed the Academy. For decades, live action storms consisted of some off-set gimmicks of lighting, fans blowing and fake rain. Very rarely were they remotely convincing. The Old Mill isn't photo-realistic; we know the entire time that we're watching animation. Yet there's a certain identifiable realness to what's on the screen that it rings true to us as a storm.

There's not much in the way of a plot or character development, but that's okay. Sometimes a short story can be merely an idea or a setting and if it's handled correctly, it's still satisfying. Such is the case with The Old Mill.

The Old Mill entered my Flickchart at #981/1478

The Old Mill
10th Academy Awards (1937)
(W) SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) -- Walt Disney, Producer
Old 02-06-13, 05:00 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Decided instead of failing to fall asleep and then watching a movie, I'd just go ahead and stay up and watch one. I went with L.A. Confidential. My Letterboxd diary remarks:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS
Spoiler:
This was my second viewing of L.A. Confidential, and I bet it's been about eight or even nine years since the last. I found that was enough time for me to forget enough of the nuances that made this second viewing feel fresh despite still being able to recall the overall plot.

I'm a sucker for a good yarn, and I've enjoyed enough adaptations of Elmore Leonard's works that I really have no excuse for not having read any of them for myself to date. The "it all connects" structure has become a bit too commonplace for my taste, chiefly because too often it feels like stories are trying to be too cute by half just to have as many connected dots as they can. Here, though, it all plays out organically. Each revelation makes sense, and astute viewers know what's happening before Exley does.

My one complaint is that I just don't buy Mr. Goody Two-Shoes Exley spontaneously having sex with Lynn. Yes, she's a pro and knows how to play men and all that, but that scene just doesn't work for me. Exley flips on the switch too abruptly and it's entirely out of character for what we know of the guy. It only happens because the story needs it to happen, and this time through I found that took me out of the movie and it was so glaring that I docked the film an entire star on the Letterboxd 5-star rating scale. That was way too important a plot point to be so poorly developed in an otherwise meticulous film.

L.A. Confidential was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #215/1478

L.A. Confidential
70th Academy Awards (1997)
(W) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Kim Basinger {"Lynn Bracken"}
(N) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Jeannine Oppewall; Set Decoration: Jay R. Hart
(N) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Dante Spinotti
(N) DIRECTING -- Curtis Hanson
(N) FILM EDITING -- Peter Honess
(N) MUSIC (Original Dramatic Score) -- Jerry Goldsmith
(N) BEST PICTURE -- Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson and Michael Nathanson, Producers
(N) SOUND -- Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Kirk Francis
(W) WRITING (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) -- Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson
Old 02-06-13, 06:17 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
Early this morning, I finally re-watched Bambi on Blu-ray. Here are my observations, as shared in my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS AND WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF "BAMBI"

Spoiler:
Like most people, I first saw Bambi in my youth and it made a strong impression on me emotionally. I remember going to see it when it played theaters during its 25th anniversary re-release in 1987. I'm almost certain I had seen it at home prior to that screening on VHS, and I may have watched it again afterwards, but I can say with complete certainty that I have no recollection of having seen the film at all in the last 20 years.

I elected to watch Bambi early this morning with the Disney View, an option that frames the sides of the 4:3 film with illustrations that fill a 16:9 screen. The artwork is complementary to the film, consistent with the dominant color scheme on screen. The lovely artwork here was created by Lisa Keene. It makes an impact from the very beginning, as the camera pans throughout the forest. There's something about Keene's framing artwork that imbues the photography with an even greater kinetic quality, almost like the edges of a window in an airplane flying over the forest.

Visually, Bambi is amazing, perhaps even more impressive than Dumbo or Pinocchio. The landscapes are rich, and most of the animals move consistent with their real life counterparts. I couldn't have named a single song from Bambi, but re-watching it now I was struck by how dominant the score is. In a lot of ways, Bambi plays more like a silent film occasionally interrupted by dialog. It feels very much like a throwback film in ways that I could not have understood or appreciated when I first saw it.

Unfortunately, I also found a glaring problem with Bambi that did not exist in my untouched memory of the film: There's almost no story. There are really only four important events in the entire film: Bambi's birth, the killing of his mother, the hunt and forest fire, and the finale of the birth of Bambi's twins. Those account for maybe 1/3 of the film. The other 2/3 consist of the equivalent of home movies of Bambi's infancy and adolescence. There's almost a stream-of-consciousness fluidity to those passages that can be charming and endearing, but also leaves one wondering if the film is ever actually going anywhere.

We learn nothing of why Bambi's father is absent from his life, or where any of the fathers are. Thumper's father admonishes him daily with life lessons, but we never see the guy or find out where he is while his family is out and about. Bambi's father seems like a bit of a jerk, frankly. He's absent until Bambi's mother is killed, yells at Bambi to get up after he's been shot (?) and apparently his idea of male bonding is sharing a cliff with Bambi at the end of the film so they can look down on Bambi's twins having been born.

Bambi was nominated for three Academy Awards, including its score, the song "Love Is a Song" and its sound recording. It lost all three; there were something like a dozen nominees in those categories in those days, versus the three to five we get today. I can't comment on how "deserving" any of the others were, but I can say that Bambi, for all its visual appeal, is also a terrific sounding film. It's a remarkable audio/visual experience all around. It's just way lighter on story than I'd remembered.

Bambi was re-ranked on my Flickchart from #86 to #77/1477
This really surprised me, as I expected it to fall in the rankings having been somewhat let down by it.

Bambi
15th Academy Awards (1942)
(N) MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) -- Frank Churchill, Edward Plumb
(N) MUSIC (Song) -- "Love Is a Song," Music by Frank Churchill; Lyrics by Larry Morey
(N) SOUND RECORDING -- Walt Disney Studio Sound Department, Sam Slyfield, Sound Director
BAMBI is my favorite Disney feature, chiefly because it's about animals in their natural habitat who don't have to deal with and do drudge work for pesky, intrusive humans like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. And none of them sing. It was also hugely influential on Japanese animation. Osamu ("Astro Boy") Tezuka saw it, like, 80 times in theaters when it was released in Japan after the war. Also, check out Miyazaki's MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO after watching BAMBI and THE OLD MILL and you'll see what I mean.

I didn't see BAMBI for the first time until I was an adult. It's been quite a few years so I really ought to see it again for this challenge.
Old 02-06-13, 06:40 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
BAMBI is my favorite Disney feature, chiefly because it's about animals in their natural habitat who don't have to deal with and do drudge work for pesky, intrusive humans like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. And none of them sing.

I didn't see BAMBI for the first time until I was an adult. It's been quite a few years so I really ought to see it again for this challenge.
Uh, yeah, you probably should since there actually are some singing critters in it! It's not as conspicuous as in, say, The Lion King but it's definitely there. Owl explains the birds and the bees to Bambi, Thumper and Flower in song. It's true that none of the other principle characters sing, but there are parts of other songs performed by background animals.

Still, I definitely take your point and I certainly agree with you that it's a lot less cartoon-y than some of the other Disney animated features. I thought a lot about The Lion King while watching Bambi this time, and one thing I recalled was how the animators for The Lion King actually went on safari to get ideas for the Kenyan landscape and they studied all the real live animals that they would later animate. I haven't watched any of the making-of content about Bambi, but it seems likely that those animators did similar homework. There's a pronounced attention to realism that becomes especially noticeable if you contrast it with, say, Dreamworks's Madagascar series.
Old 02-06-13, 12:05 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
Point well taken.

Thanks.
I actually completely agree with you on those films. It's the exact same way I felt when I watched them.
Old 02-06-13, 12:13 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
I'll bite: Why was she afraid to watch E.T.? I'm not asking to be sardonic or anything. I'm genuinely intrigued.
False
Events
Appearing
Real

Trying to break her out of that mindset.
Old 02-06-13, 03:27 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by popcorn
False
Events
Appearing
Real

Trying to break her out of that mindset.
Maybe she has a fear of a world government.

http://ufosearchonline.com/ufo/2010/...ernment-e-t-s/
Old 02-06-13, 06:24 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

mrcellophane,

I expect a full report of your screening of the documentary shorts yesterday!



I think I'm gonna do the Short Films through On Demand next week....just can't seem to drag myself to the theater again after last week's screening of "Amour"...
Old 02-06-13, 06:31 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Mao
mrcellophane,

I expect a full report of your screening on the documentary shorts!



I think I'm gonna do the Short Films through On Demand next week....just can't seem to drag myself to the theater again after last week's screening of "Amour"...
Generally, I love short films. I love the economy of storytelling and the clarity of ideas. However, with my reviewing/rating system including iCheckMovies, Letterboxd, Flickchart and DVD Talk, it's really tedious to spend so much more time on all that than I spent on the shorts themselves. I've got that Warner Bros. DVD of 15 Oscar-winning animated shorts and I was excited to get to it until I started actually having to check, review, rank and share. I ought to streamline all that, but the surest way of doing it is to stop commenting on each Flickchart match during the adding process, and I feel like that undermines my position as an outspoken champion of the short film format.

(If this was Twitter, I'd have ended all that with #MovieNerdProbs.)
Old 02-06-13, 10:24 PM
  #171  
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by MinLShaw
...with my reviewing/rating system including iCheckMovies, Letterboxd, Flickchart and DVD Talk, it's really tedious to spend so much more time on all that than I spent on the shorts themselves.
I almost clicked and joined iCheck....but my anal retentive nature told me not to...I'd spend more time listing that watching movies!
Old 02-06-13, 11:10 PM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by Mao
I almost clicked and joined iCheck....but my anal retentive nature told me not to...I'd spend more time listing that watching movies!
iCheckMovies is actually the lightest part of my obsessive routine. Check the movie once and it's marked off on every list on which it appears. It takes a little time to get started checking off everything you've seen but once you get through that, updating requires almost no time at all.
Old 02-07-13, 01:27 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

TCM played Imitation of Life last night. I'd heard the title bandied about periodically because my mom and grandmother debate whether that was one of my great-grandmother's favorite movies but they could never agree whether it was. Recognizing that in 1934 it was progressive, I like to think so but having actually seen it and winced throughout the film I think I'd rather it wasn't. My remarks from my Letterboxd diary:

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE READING EMAILS
Spoiler:
Racism! Sexism! White privilege! Melodrama!

As someone trained in the discipline of history, I can recognize that Imitation of Life would have been progressive in its time, but it made me cringe all the same. Just look at Bea deciding all on her own to commit Delilah to going into business, without so much as consulting her. Why bother? Bea must know best. After all, she's white.

So it goes, culminating in the most are-you-kidding-me screen deaths I've ever seen. I could mentally hear the medical droid from Revenge of the Sith announcing, "She's lost the will to live." I couldn't even feel sad, I found it so ridiculous.

Claudette Colbert's easy charm is instantly likable, though, and carries the film. I was also very impressed by Fredi Washington as 19 year old Peola. Also of note is Sebie Hendricks's performance as young Peola. The scene where she first reacts in outrage at being told by Jessie that she's black is startling and Hendricks is so adamant about her emotions that it's one of the most effective scenes in the film.

It's frustrating that the commentary here was that Peola should make peace with not being white, rather than that she should find dignity and pride in her African-American heritage. Of course, ideally, I'd have liked to have seen a greater effort to discuss the absurdity of racism but I also recognize that even going as far as the film did was bold and potentially inflammatory for its audiences.

Then there's also the love triangle. I thought for sure that Stephen was going to be the pursuer; he surely seemed to be angling for young Jessie in their first scene together. Shifting the attraction to Jessie's part almost felt like a cop-out, as though the story was afraid to show us a guy going after his girlfriend's teenage daughter even though that seemed to be what it teased.

Imitation of Life entered my Flickchart at #1244/1479

Imitation of Life
7th Academy Awards (1934)
(N) ASSISTANT DIRECTOR -- Scott Beal [came in 3rd]
(N) OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION -- Universal
(N) SOUND RECORDING -- Universal Studio Sound Department, Theodore Soderberg, Sound Director
Old 02-07-13, 05:29 AM
  #174  
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Yeah I watched Imitation of Life for the first time a few days ago. I was saving my comments until I watched the 1959 version. I had the same reaction to this film that I had to Pinky: it seemed to be written by someone who had no freaking clue abut how black people thought and acted at the time. Would Delilah have been disappointed that Peola wanted to pass, absolutely. Would she have "outed" her in public on multiple occasions? Absolutely not. Even in New York, in the 1930s, that would have been dangerous and Delilah was wise enough to know that. I'm sure this was a progressive film when it was released but it's an eyeball rolling mess today (though the performances were still quite solid).
Old 02-07-13, 09:29 AM
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Re: The 7th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1/24 - 2/24)

Originally Posted by davidh777
Had a window of opportunity to watch something with the kid, and I saw The Usual Suspects on my watchlist with only five days left in Amazon Prime.
...where do you see notes like that, please?

(Actually, do you mean you only have five days left, or the movie only had five days left?)

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