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The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

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The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Old 02-15-14, 12:34 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Mao
I enjoyed the documentaries this year, too....Wasn't "The Act of Killing" just plain weird, though?...not your garden variety documentary!
It's definitely the weirdest documentary I've ever seen. I haven't really done any reading on it, but I have downloaded the episode of the Filmspotting podcast where they review it. Hoping that listening to it will help me understand it more. The film has all of these layers that examine not just the history and the people concerned, but all themes of entertainment/exploitation and the (oft times mundane and mercurial) nature of evil (sorry, but that's the only way I can put it). For example, what's up with the cross-dressing?
Old 02-15-14, 01:23 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

^I also didn't get why (For certain segments) two of the interrogators had their faces look as if they were cut up by a chainsaw. I noticed that the makeup artist was using a real photo for reference, but shouldn't that have been for a commie victim?
Old 02-15-14, 06:04 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I have continued my watching of musicals-this was totally unintentional but I managed to borrow mostly musicals when I was picking out options for the checklist. I watched "The Great Ziegfeld" this afternoon and well, I didn't really enjoy it. I thought it was way too long. Yes, the musical numbers were grand on scale but I found myself wanting to know more about Ziegfeld and his life rather than focusing solely on his shows. I read that a lot of it was toned down by his wife, Billie Burke, but still, it would have been of a lot more interest to me than just 2 hours music spectacular. (And I love stage productions!)

I also started "Oliver!" I have something embarrassing to admit. I took a look at the disc-a 2 sider- and saw that WS was one side so I just popped it in and started watching. About 20 minutes into it I was so confused! I've never watched this before or saw the stage production or anything so other than the "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" line, I had no idea about the majority of it. So I started reading a summary and realized that the disc was split in 2, half on one side, half on the other and I totally was watching part 2 first. D'oh!

In my defense, the opening number for part 2 could really have been an opening number for the movie! I was kind of thinking that they were going to flash back to the workhouse...
Old 02-15-14, 07:01 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Since we're hitting the half-way mark I decided to complete the checklist today. I watched Captain Phillips for a 2013 nominee and it was okay. The suspense wasn't entirely there owing partially to the fact that I am aware of the case and the impending lawsuit against the film's subject. Hanks was amazing at the end of the film but the rest of the film was just okay.

Gentleman's Agreement was interesting and obvious at the same time. It was one of the more interesting Kazan films I've seen.

I used Roger Ebert's Citizen Kane commentary for my in memoriam entry and now I'm going to finish the checklist with Inception which is always mind-binding fun.
Old 02-16-14, 12:50 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
BTW: It's spelled V'Ger.
"Vejur" is used in the novelization ghost written by Alan Dean Foster and in Jerry Goldsmith's score titles, until we learn the origin of the name in the finale. I started reverting back to "Vejur" after seeing Star Trek: Voyager abbreviated VGR online. "VOY" has since come to be the standard, but too late. I'm sticking with the phonetic spelling "Vejur"!

Originally Posted by lisadoris
I used Roger Ebert's Citizen Kane commentary for my in memoriam entry and now I'm going to finish the checklist with Inception which is always mind-binding fun.
Once I finish my audit of my library, one of the things I want to do is finally pick up all the movies that include a commentary by the late Mr. Ebert. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him discuss Casablanca.

Also: I didn't care for Inception in the slightest. As I've noted elsewhere (most recently in my remarks about The Prestige), I'm convinced that Christopher Nolan is a psychopath who can only try to mimic human emotions. Cobb's entire motivation (i.e., his wife) should be a very moving and affecting part of the film. Instead, the pertinent scenes feel cold and perfunctory and I know that isn't because Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard are bad actors. I can easily envision them on the set and Nolan's entire direction consisting of saying to them, "This is where you tell the audience, 'I'm distraught. Oh, woe is me!' or whatever. You know, some kind of emotional thing. Just read the lines. Yeah, that's good enough."

I adore Ellen Page and thought she was great in it, but otherwise there was just too much of Nolan showing off how clever he is. Dude, I saw the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Frame of Mind" and it was far more affecting. I kinda dug the snow fortress battle as a flash of what a Nolan-helmed Bond movie would be like, but that late in the movie I had already checked out and was just waiting for it to finally be over.
Old 02-16-14, 12:54 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

This morning, I revisited Walk the Line. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
I have a complicated relationship with Walk the Line. For one thing, I'm a fan of Johnny Cash. I'm familiar enough with his life story to know how many things the movie either mishandled or flat got wrong. Some things are little (Cash's brother Jack actually survived for an entire god-awful week after sustaining his fatal injuries; Columbia lured Cash away from Sam Phillips at Sun by offering to let him record and release a gospel album), but others are more important (such as the film's reductive portrayal of the very complex relationship Cash had with his father). Even when the movie presents dramatizations of known events, sometimes the tone feels "off" to me based on my own research - especially scenes depicting Johnny's relationship with his first wife, Vivian.

The Blu-ray Disc presents several deleted scenes. Most of the relevant cuts pertain to Cash's relationship with his first wife, Vivian. It's only in this footage that we get a sense that director/co-writer James Mangold saw Vivian as anything more than an inconvenient obstacle for Johnny and June to overcome. John Carter Cash did use his influence as producer to get two scenes excised because they so upset his sister Rosanne Cash when she saw a pre-release screening of it. I'm unclear which scenes she wanted removed, so I don't know if they're among the ones presented on the Blu-ray Disc. (There's a commentary track from James Mangold for them, but I tapped out before I got that far.)

These cut scenes don't necessarily create a completely fair or accurate sense of that marriage or their family dynamics, but they do at least show some happiness and indicate that there's more there than is in the film. I can understand the storytelling apprehension that if we like or care "too much" about Johnny & Vivian that we'll turn on Johnny & June. That's conventional film making wisdom, and I get that. I'd be interested to hear whether Mangold considered a love triangle approach, with Vivian losing in the end. As it stands, she's more or less the antagonist of the story as she's the main barrier between Johnny and June, the couple we're supposed to want to see get together (and, of course, who did).

Having said all that, if I consider it strictly as a film independent of its fealty to fact, there are several things that work very well. There's a pronounced feeling of verisimilitude in the look and behavior of everyone in the movie. Mangold wisely resisted indulging in any 2005-era film-making gimmickry, resulting in a classic looking movie that should hold up well for years to come.

I also think structuring the film primarily around the Johnny & June relationship was a wise decision. As I've already mentioned, I do think there were some other choices that could have been made relating to how the film includes Johnny and Vivian's marriage. Still, there is a clear focus to the picture that keeps us from getting sidetracked in recreating the myriad anecdotes that have been recounted elsewhere in song and memoirs.

For instance, I've always felt kind of disappointed that the film reduces to one very unclear scene the time that Cash spent rooming in a Nashville apartment with Waylon Jennings (played by his son, Shooter). From my understanding of things, their time together could be mined for an entire ongoing sitcom. Rich as that material is, though, I do agree that the film is best serviced by omitting it.

The cast is terrific. Joaquin Phoenix gives us a Johnny Cash who is at times naive and wondrous, pensive and brooding, and hopelessly romantic. He also did a great job conjuring Cash's wit and sense of humor. I think my favorite moment might be when the warden at Folsom Prison tells him not to play any songs that would remind the inmates of their circumstances. "You think they forgot?" Cash asks. Phoenix's reading of the line is flat enough to keep it out of the realm of outright mockery. Instead, it's more dismissal of how this warden doesn't fit into Cash's relationship with the inmates. The warden might be there day in, day out, but it's Cash who understands his audience.

I confess, I was among those who questioned the casting of Reese Witherspoon as June. If the same screenplay was being shot today, I'd think Jennifer Lawrence would be a great choice, but in 2005, even when I balked at the casting of Witherspoon, I couldn't think of a single alternative that felt right. About half an hour into the movie when I first saw it, though, I turned to my wife and said, "I take it back. She's great!" Witherspoon is a delight to watch in the on-stage scenes, and it's really through her that the film makes what effort it does to comment on their relationship dynamics.

The extent to which the film downplays and apologizes for June's role in the collapse of Johnny & Vivian's marriage is a matter for pinning on Mangold rather than Witherspoon. I can't imagine the film without her. She won, of course, the film's lone Academy Award for her performance. Of the other four nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role, I've only seen one: Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents. That's a wonderful performance, but I'd pick Witherspoon over Dame Judi.

Aside from Phoenix losing Best Actor in a Leading Role to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Walk the Line also netted the following nominations:

Costume Design (Arianne Philips) - Lost to Memoirs of a Geisha, which I still haven't seen. Of the other nominees, I've seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Gabriella Pescucci) and the aforementioned Mrs. Henderson Presents (Sandy Powell). I'd have awarded Pescucci's work, just because I tend to be less impressed when costuming recreates an era seen frequently in films. Philips's costumes for Walk the Line are terrific, though, and have exactly the right feel.

Film Editing (Michael McCusker) - Lost to Crash (Hughes Winborne). I've seen that, and two of the remaining three nominees: The Constant Gardener (Claire Simpson) and Munich (Michael Kahn). It's hard for me to recall anything special about the editing of the others offhand, but I do think that cutting a film that has this many stage performances is under-appreciated.

Sound Mixing (Paul Massey, D.M. Hemphill and Peter F. Kurland) - Lost to King Kong (Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek), which I haven't seen. I have, however, seen War of the Worlds (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer and Ronald Judkins) and I'd have happily awarded that work instead.

Walk the Line was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #209/1612

2005 Academy Awards (78th)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- Joaquin Phoenix {"John R. Cash"}
(W) ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE -- Reese Witherspoon {"June Carter"}
(N) COSTUME DESIGN -- Arianne Phillips
(N) FILM EDITING -- Michael McCusker
(N) SOUND MIXING -- Paul Massey, D.M. Hemphill and Peter F. Kurland
Old 02-16-14, 04:38 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I will concede that Christopher Nolan may be a psychopath. For me, Inception is pretty to look at but I don't try too hard to figure out what the hell the film is about. I love the hallway fight scene with the rotating set and the snow fortress battle was cool as well. I didn't feel any emotional connection either to or between the characters. It's kinda like Titanic in that way but at least Inception has better dialogue and a few more attractive actors.

Based on the discussion in this thread I watched Lilo and Stitch this morning. Oh my goodness what an adorable film! How had I not seen this movie until now? I got so invested in the film that I was almost late to an appointment I had this afternoon: I just didn't want to pause it. Now I have to go buy the blu-ray so I can watch it again. This challenge is costing me money!
Old 02-16-14, 05:23 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by lisadoris
I will concede that Christopher Nolan may be a psychopath. For me, Inception is pretty to look at but I don't try too hard to figure out what the hell the film is about.
It's ultimately a pretentious heist film. And if there's one thing a heist film should never be, it's pretentious.

I love the hallway fight scene with the rotating set and the snow fortress battle was cool as well.
That hallway scene, if I'm being honest, is where I checked out completely. I think I even yelled at the TV, "Get on with it already!" Bored the hell out of me.

I didn't feel any emotional connection either to or between the characters. It's kinda like Titanic in that way but at least Inception has better dialogue and a few more attractive actors.
Nonsense! Titanic rules if only because, as the highest-grossing film of all-time (at the time, anyway), it ensured that the largest audience possible saw David Warner in something.

Based on the discussion in this thread I watched Lilo and Stitch this morning. Oh my goodness what an adorable film! How had I not seen this movie until now? I got so invested in the film that I was almost late to an appointment I had this afternoon: I just didn't want to pause it. Now I have to go buy the blu-ray so I can watch it again. This challenge is costing me money!
Yay!*

*To the part about finally seeing and loving Lilo & Stitch, not to the part about this challenge costing you money.
Old 02-16-14, 07:26 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I'm pondering revisiting The Lion King some time this challenge, but I have a hard time getting in the mood,
Spoiler:
as while it is happy for the first part of it, what happens later is so depressing to me. And the movie doesn't let up until the end.
Old 02-17-14, 01:14 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by lisadoris
Based on the discussion in this thread I watched Lilo and Stitch this morning. Oh my goodness what an adorable film! How had I not seen this movie until now? I got so invested in the film that I was almost late to an appointment I had this afternoon: I just didn't want to pause it. Now I have to go buy the blu-ray so I can watch it again. This challenge is costing me money!
Yay! I have a small list of movies that if I have time to watch once I've finished with my first time watches and checklist and that is at the top of it! It's been way too long since I've viewed it.

Just finished "The Godfather: Part II." I think I liked this one just a bit more than the first-but only because of the flashback scenes. I just wish it wasn't so long! I used to be pretty good at focusing on a movie or anything for several hours, but not anymore...ugh. Also, am I alone in thinking that the intermission comes at a weird time? It's about 2 hrs 10 min into the movie rather than half way through which makes a bit more sense to me. I suppose they picked a subject change to place it near, but I didn't really notice.

I'm very tempted to skip Part III until a different challenge, but then I'd have to re-rent the set and I'd kind of feel like this was unfinished. At the same time, I'm feeling a little Godfathered out. It doesn't seem to be quite as long as the first two, but still comes in at a healthly 2 hours 40+ mins.

Also, can anyone rec a good foreign film winner? I looked at titles last night but I honestly didn't recognize that many and those that I did, didn't really interest me. Something not too depressing would be ok, too! Thanks!
Old 02-17-14, 01:26 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by LJG765
Also, can anyone rec a good foreign film winner? I looked at titles last night but I honestly didn't recognize that many and those that I did, didn't really interest me. Something not too depressing would be ok, too! Thanks!
Looking at the 48 winners I've seen, I'd say Cinema Paradiso is the least depressing.

I'm also with you on getting a little burnt out on movies that surpass 2 hours. As far as my queue goes, Becket looks like the next big LONG movie I've got lined up. After that, I'm only gonna be on the lookout for shorter flicks.

Last edited by Mondo Kane; 02-17-14 at 03:57 AM.
Old 02-17-14, 04:01 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Just finished Shakespeare in Love, a first-time viewing. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
Last year, I happened upon a Best Picture collection on Blu-ray at Best Buy containing five movies: Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Chicago, No Country for Old Men, and Crash. I'd seen the final three, but never the first two. What's particularly interesting is that this group includes three of the more controversial Best Picture winners - including this one, which bested Saving Private Ryan.

I don't care to delve into a Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan debate here, but I can easily say that I'm A-OK with the way the Academy voted. The visceral power of its D-Day opening aside, I found Saving Private Ryan a surprisingly generic commando team movie. Shakespeare in Love, however, brilliantly spins a tongue-in-cheek romcom into a truly delightful homage to the grandest theme there is: Romantic love. Its aspirations are noble as they are lofty, but the film lives up to them.

If I were to point to just one thing to appreciate, it would be how predictable it is. That's almost always a bad thing for a movie, but director John Madden and writers Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard wisely conceded from the outset that all the plot twists would be obvious. Rather than angling for "ironic" self-awareness, as so many recent horror movies have made the mistake of doing, they instead trusted the earnestness of the narrative and the charisma of the cast to not just keep us engaged, but to win us over.

There's not a single surprise to be found anywhere...except for how easy it is to fall in love with the movie. It's not quite on the same level as Amélie or Casablanca (I was entirely in love with both instantly), but it's awfully close.

For me, the most obvious comparison to make is with Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, which I only just saw for the first time three days ago. Shakespeare in Love is a triumph; I was far more taken in by story-within-the-story on-stage recitations of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare in Love than I was in the actual performance of the play in Luhrmann's film.

Specifically, I would point to the scene in which Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow, who won Best Actress in a Leading Role) auditions incognito for the production. After a parade of flat recitations from Marlowe's Faustus, she presents the thesis for the entire film: That the classical Romantic themes are still as powerful as ever, and that we want to believe in them. That's what this film celebrates, and that's why it's so delightful.

Shakespeare in Love entered my Flickchart at #80/1613

1998 Academy Awards (71st)
(N) ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Geoffrey Rush {"Philip Henslowe"}
(W) ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE -- Gwyneth Paltrow {"Viola De Lesseps"}
(W) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Judi Dench {"Queen Elizabeth I"}
(W) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Martin Childs; Set Decoration: Jill Quertier
(N) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Richard Greatrex
(W) COSTUME DESIGN -- Sandy Powell
(N) DIRECTING -- John Madden
(N) FILM EDITING -- David Gamble
(N) MAKEUP -- Lisa Westcott, Veronica Brebner
(W) MUSIC (Original Musical or Comedy Score) -- Stephen Warbeck
(W) BEST PICTURE -- David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Harvey Weinstein, Edward Zwick and Marc Norman, Producers
(N) SOUND -- Robin O'Donoghue, Dominic Lester, Peter Glossop
(W) WRITING (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) -- Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Old 02-17-14, 04:47 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by LJG765

I'm very tempted to skip Part III until a different challenge, but then I'd have to re-rent the set and I'd kind of feel like this was unfinished. At the same time, I'm feeling a little Godfathered out. It doesn't seem to be quite as long as the first two, but still comes in at a healthly 2 hours 40+ mins.
It's probably best to skip Part III entirely. I certainly wish Coppola, Pacino and Paramount Pictures had done so!
Old 02-17-14, 05:56 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by LJG765
I'm very tempted to skip Part III until a different challenge, but then I'd have to re-rent the set and I'd kind of feel like this was unfinished. At the same time, I'm feeling a little Godfathered out. It doesn't seem to be quite as long as the first two, but still comes in at a healthly 2 hours 40+ mins.

Also, can anyone rec a good foreign film winner? I looked at titles last night but I honestly didn't recognize that many and those that I did, didn't really interest me. Something not too depressing would be ok, too! Thanks!
Everyone will tell you to skip Part II but I actually like it. It's not as good as the first two by any stretch but the whole trilogy is a family saga so you gotta see how it ends. Plus Andy Garcia and Talia Shire are amazing in it.

Non-depressing foreign-language winners, that's actually kinda difficult. I just watched Z which was a good crime drama and I'll always tell folks to watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Old 02-17-14, 01:49 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Mondo Kane
Looking at the 48 winners I've seen, I'd say Cinema Paradiso is the least depressing.

I'm also with you on getting a little burnt out on movies that surpass 2 hours. As far as my queue goes, Becket looks like the next big LONG movie I've got lined up. After that, I'm only gonna be on the lookout for shorter flicks.
Sold! Well, more like borrowed from the library if it gets here through the multiple, never ending snowstorms we are having!

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Just finished Shakespeare in Love, a first-time viewing. From my Letterboxd diary:
[SPOILER]Last year, I happened upon a Best Picture collection on Blu-ray at Best Buy containing five movies: Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Chicago, No Country for Old Men, and Crash. I'd seen the final three, but never the first two. What's particularly interesting is that this group includes three of the more controversial Best Picture winners - including this one, which bested Saving Private Ryan.
I just watched this for the first time a few days ago (we should have sync'd up, though I only had the vhs copy from the library!) and have totally different views on it. I'd give it a 2, maybe 2.5 stars at best. The ending got better, but I was not dragged into this movie at all. One of my main peeves was how were we expected to really believe that Viola really fit all her hair under that small wig? Hmm? Bugged me the entire movie.

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
It's probably best to skip Part III entirely. I certainly wish Coppola, Pacino and Paramount Pictures had done so!
This is very tempting...

Originally Posted by lisadoris
Everyone will tell you to skip Part II but I actually like it. It's not as good as the first two by any stretch but the whole trilogy is a family saga so you gotta see how it ends. Plus Andy Garcia and Talia Shire are amazing in it.

Non-depressing foreign-language winners, that's actually kinda difficult. I just watched Z which was a good crime drama and I'll always tell folks to watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
I'll probably end up watching it just because I'm a completest. And since I'm snowed in, not much else to do! But I think The King's Speech will be first as I need it for the checklist. This one of my exceptions to the never watched list, though I have only seen it once and have not viewed my copy of it, so that sort of counts, imo.

I've been trying to only watch (or mostly watch) first time views, so that left out Crouching Tiger. I have gone back and forth about "Z" but will be leaving that one for the next Criterion challenge, I think. I almost watched it in Sept., actually.
Old 02-17-14, 05:32 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I just finished "The King's Speech" which I still enjoyed. I think that Colin Firth earned his best actor award. The pace is perfect, never dwells on anything overlong but doesn't feel like you're missing something either. The only thing that kind of bugs me is Timothy Spall as Churchill. I just picture him as Wormtail from Harry Potter and it's a bit odd seeing him without those teeth!
Old 02-17-14, 09:18 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Got done with Mask (1985) just now. It's been a looong time since I've watched it from beginning to end. Only now do I find out that a Director's Cut has existed for some time. Too bad Encore didn't air it. Would have been even more rewarding experience to re-visit this movie in a new way.

Originally Posted by LJG765
Sold! Well, more like borrowed from the library if it gets here through the multiple, never ending snowstorms we are having!
Speaking of Director's cuts, I hope it's the shorter theatrical version you end up getting. That's the superior version, IMO.
Old 02-17-14, 11:20 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Mondo Kane
I'm also with you on getting a little burnt out on movies that surpass 2 hours. As far as my queue goes, Becket looks like the next big LONG movie I've got lined up. After that, I'm only gonna be on the lookout for shorter flicks.
Go for "Marty"...the shortest Best Picture winner!
Old 02-17-14, 11:38 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Well, I'm still not sure what the "challenge" was... I did this because I thought it might be fun and induce me to see some films I had ignored. It certainly did, and I have seen several new films and rediscovered old favorites, but the checklist is done. I did not use any film to fulfill more than one checklist item. I'm not sure what more I can do. I guess I'm done.
Old 02-18-14, 12:06 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Mondo Kane
Speaking of Director's cuts, I hope it's the shorter theatrical version you end up getting. That's the superior version, IMO.
I have no idea, actually. That's the one thing that the library is bad at..the details. Half the time I swear I picked DVD and I get VHS. Sometimes they'll have the edition, but not always.

Originally Posted by Easy
Well, I'm still not sure what the "challenge" was... I did this because I thought it might be fun and induce me to see some films I had ignored. It certainly did, and I have seen several new films and rediscovered old favorites, but the checklist is done. I did not use any film to fulfill more than one checklist item. I'm not sure what more I can do. I guess I'm done.
Well, you could challenge yourself to watch a certain number (a lot of people aim for 100) during the challenge. Or maybe a certain number of first time watches compared to re-watches. Or you could watch ALL the best picture winners in a decade. Or all the winners AND nominations in a year. The challenge is what you make of it.

This is my first time participating in the Academy Award challenge. My main goals are to complete the checklist (one away, just waiting for the DVD to come in) and to get as many first time views in as I can. So far I've only had 4 re-watches and two of those I've only watched once.

So, pick something that's challenging for you to accomplish. Or you could expand the checklist. There are more complicated ones for different challenges, but this covers quite a bit, I think.
Old 02-18-14, 01:20 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Easy
Well, I'm still not sure what the "challenge" was... I did this because I thought it might be fun and induce me to see some films I had ignored. It certainly did, and I have seen several new films and rediscovered old favorites, but the checklist is done. I did not use any film to fulfill more than one checklist item. I'm not sure what more I can do. I guess I'm done.
I gather this is your first challenge of any kind on this forum. The tone of your remarks suggests you've just handed in your test and put away your pencil with half the class time left on the clock, and you want to know what the big deal was. You've completed the checklist? Great. But that isn't the challenge.

The challenge is what you make of it. The original one was October's Horror Challenge, where the goal was to watch 100 horror movies in that month. Because the average forum member has work and family obligations that get in the way, 100 movies has more or less faded away as being too lofty. You might consider working toward that threshold since you've got two weeks remaining.

Your challenge is not against any of us, but with yourself and your circumstances. You can set your own personal goals. Some participants don't even use the checklist. A few years ago, I set out to watch as many 2001 nominees as I could. This year, I'm just trying to finish watching all the eligible movies I already own but haven't logged since I started tracking at-home viewings in 2009. Others have set themselves to watching only first-time viewings, or only winners. Repeat participants sometimes just try to watch more this year than last.

The real satisfaction comes from the discussion thread, commiserating about films with your fellow DVD Talkers. That's the real purpose of these challenges, anyway: to foster discourse and promote a sense of community here. We always have some lurkers, and that's perfectly fine. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up. But I have a hard time believing that any challenge participant gets anything out of them without discussing what they view. Just watching in isolation is an awfully passive experience. Discussion is the actual activity part.
Old 02-18-14, 06:01 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Completing the checklist is only one of my goals. This year I'm aiming for 40 first-time viewings and watching 100 total titles. The challenge is as challenging as you make it. It is all about the discussion..

Speaking of discussion, it was World War II night in my household yesterday. The Caine Mutiny was interesting. I love Bogart films and I was racking my brain trying to remember the last time I watched him in an antagonist role. The romance sub plot was completely unnecessary IMHO and took away from the tension of what was happening on the ship. Jose Ferrer was awesome as the lawyer and Fred MacMurray was a slimy hoot. I don't think this is a spoiler but just to be on the safe side
Spoiler:

It seemed to me watching this several decades after the fact that Queeg is suffering from a mental illness and I wonder whether it was brought on by PTSD (the trial brings up that Queeg had been in the Navy for quite some time). Though I'm sure the Navy would not allow it considering how difficult it was to get the film made the first time, I think it would be interesting to remake this film in a contemporary setting.

Next up was Stalag 17 which really seemed like two different films slammed together. The first half of the film was really annoying with the Hogan Heroes levity associated with being in a POW camp. I can see why William Holden walked out of the play when he initially watched it. The second half of the film had a much darker tone and was way more interesting than the first half as they try to figure out who the snitch is. I must say their method of dealing with the informant was surprising and ingenious. Holden was amazing and I love it when the protagonists aren't squeaky clean perfect.

I was going to watch [b]The great Dictator[/c] last night too but I was done with WWII. Becket is on my watch list too as is Reds but I'll save the super long films for the weekend.
Old 02-18-14, 07:20 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Finally watched The English Patient this morning. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
I'm not a big fan of the star-rating system, though I continue to use it anyway, because of how broad and unclear it can be. In some respects, The English Patient is very much a five-star picture. The cast is terrific, John Seale's cinematography is beautiful (shooting on such magnificent locations didn't hurt any), and the pace of the film is steady and even enough that it doesn't feel as long as it is. It's as close to a modern era David Lean movie as I've seen, obviously evoking Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, but also calling back to Brief Encounter and In Which We Serve. Being such a fan of Lean's works, this is considerably high praise that The English Patient has earned from me.

And yet, I'm left awarding it an arbitrary three and a half stars.

There are two chief problems I have that cost it. Gabriel Yared's score may have won Best Music (Original Dramatic Score) at the 1996 Academy Awards, and I suspect if I heard it on its own, I might appreciate it, but I found it far too intrusive. Several key scenes never had the chance to tug at my heartstrings because Yared's strings were already shouting at me, "FEEL EMOTION! FEEL IT RIGHT NOW!"

The other problem is that somehow, despite managing to create such genuinely interesting characters, there's not much in the way of personality. Juliette Binoche earned Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Hana, and I wonder whether she got the nod where Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas both lost in the Leading Role categories simply because she got to have the most unexpected but charming scene in the film, swinging by rope to look at murals in a church. I fell in love with Binoche all over again just watching her there.

I don't know. I can see where this might be one of those films that failed to really dazzle me at first, but germinates and wins me over in the long run. We'll see how it sets with me.

The English Patient Entered My Flickchart at #434/1614

69th Academy Awards (1996)
(N) ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE -- Ralph Fiennes {"Almasy"}
(N) ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE -- Kristin Scott Thomas {"Katharine Clifton"}
(W) ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- Juliette Binoche {"Hana"}
(W) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
(W) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- John Seale
(W) COSTUME DESIGN -- Ann Roth
(W) DIRECTING -- Anthony Minghella
(W) FILM EDITING -- Walter Murch
(W) MUSIC (Original Dramatic Score) -- Gabriel Yared
(W) BEST PICTURE -- Saul Zaentz, Producer
(W) SOUND -- Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker, Chris Newman
(N) WRITING (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) -- Anthony Minghella
Old 02-18-14, 08:04 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I participate in the challenges because I like to take part in the discussions more than anything. I may not watch much, and sometimes I may not pipe up as much, but that is only because I may not be watching what as much as others are watching. Speaking of which, finally watched the last of the eligible Alien moves last night. While it was decent, I didn't think Alien 3 was quite up to the par of the first two movies in the series. Maybe that is just me though.
Old 02-18-14, 10:56 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by shadokitty
I participate in the challenges because I like to take part in the discussions more than anything. I may not watch much, and sometimes I may not pipe up as much, but that is only because I may not be watching what as much as others are watching. Speaking of which, finally watched the last of the eligible Alien moves last night. While it was decent, I didn't think Alien 3 was quite up to the par of the first two movies in the series. Maybe that is just me though.
Which cut did you watch? I know some like to be purist and watch the theatrical cut for this challenge, but the so-called director's cut is FAR FAR superior. If you are an Alien fan, you really should watch that cut at some point.

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