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SF Film/Cinema Thread

post #1 of 1150
Thread Starter 
This might be a failed experiment, but I thought I'd create a new thread for those of us that want to talk about movies without slogging through posts about Spider-Man 3. May end up talking to myself, but whatever.

I finally got to tear into the new Criterion transfer of The Third Man yesterday and it completely floored me and reminded me of why The Third Man is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) films of all-time. That's saying a lot as I'm not a particularly huge fan of either British cinema or noir. However, the film is just perfect in every respect, a great film about fluid identity. The performances of Alida Valli, Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles are spot-on. The cinematography of Robert Krasker is unmatched and the use of light and shadow in the film is amazing ("Holy hyperbole, Batman!"). The most overlooked aspect of the film, the zither score by Anton Karas totally propels the tension and adds a bit of dark comedy that might otherwise be lost. And I'd add that this is far and away Reed's best film, though those that don't know better might prefer The Fallen Idol.

Can't praise this film enough. When you watch something like this that's almost 60 years old, it really puts the faults of modern cinema into perspective. Such wonderful pacing and amazing, iconic shots like the centerpiece, the most heartbreaking part of the film and DVD cover, which gives us Holly Martins walking down the sewer towards the camera:

post #2 of 1150
I've never seen The Third Man. Most of my knowledge of cinema from that period is confined to European and Japanese post war cinema. I am, however, rather excited about The Bourne Ultimatum. Supremacy had a very strong neorealist element and was a hell of a lot smarter than most of its audience realized, and I do <3 Greengrass. If that isn't sufficiently film snobbish, I recently got a friend to watch The Proposition, which is incredibly beautiful.
post #3 of 1150
I think the Criterion collection is dreadfully overrated. A lot of it is boring insignificant crap. Then again, for a movie guy, I'm not much of a "cinema" guy. I frequently argue why Citizen Kane is a great movie, but I understand that by today's standards its pretty freakin boring. I'm all about movies for ENTERTAINMENT. That being said, if a movie can entertain me, and also be artistic at the same time, I'm ok with it. Oh, and Spider Man 3 pretty much sucked.
post #4 of 1150
Sure. Kevin Smith is garbage. Criterion is mostly notable for transfer quality, which is basically an objective thing (though kind of silly, now that DVD is nearing obsolescence).
post #5 of 1150
I think I am too dumb/plebian for this thread, but I watched Plein Soleil again yesterday and was again very impressed with it. The cinematography just kills, and something I hadn't noticed before, the score was also amazing.
post #6 of 1150
When it comes to cinematography, I still think Barry Lyndon has top honors in the film world. Revolutionary technology allowed for it to be shot in environments where lighting volume was three candlepower. It's such a lush movie.
post #7 of 1150
+1 on The Third Man being the greatest film ever. About as close to perfection as a work of art can get.
post #8 of 1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arethusa View Post
Sure. Kevin Smith is garbage. Criterion is mostly notable for transfer quality, which is basically an objective thing (though kind of silly, now that DVD is nearing obsolescence).

Criterion also excels at restorations (as seen with the third man) and extras on movies that are too old or too obsolete to have had them at the time. Their work on new titles isn't nearly as spectacular, although I did enjoy their Fear and Loathing transfer.
post #9 of 1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by arenaissanceman View Post
Criterion also excels at restorations (as seen with the third man) and extras on movies that are too old or too obsolete to have had them at the time. Their work on new titles isn't nearly as spectacular, although I did enjoy their Fear and Loathing transfer.
That one was pretty good. I just have two words for you though, Criterion Armageddon.
post #10 of 1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim View Post
That one was pretty good.

I just have two words for you though, Criterion Armageddon.

Everyone's got to pay the bills at some point. I can't imagine the AmJack masses lining up to pick up their very own copy of The Third Man, or any of their other fantastic restorations for that matter.

Don't forget about Spider-Man
post #11 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arenaissanceman View Post
Everyone's got to pay the bills at some point. I can't imagine the AmJack masses lining up to pick up their very own copy of The Third Man, or any of their other fantastic restorations for that matter.

Don't forget about Spider-Man

Criterion and Janus have moved away from that period of their existence. They now manage to pay the bills by releasing middling American indie like Kicking & Screaming. As a label, they're definitely the best we have in the states, though international companies like Masters of Cinema, Second Run and MK2 are definitely competitive. Most Americans aren't multi-region though, so Criterion pretty much has a stranglehold on the classic/art cinema market. I think they've done a decent job (and they do produce the best transfers in the world) so I often whore myself for them. Plus, any company in which the CEO has personally answered any and every question you've ever had regarding future releases, can't be that bad.

And I agree, Tokyo, Citizen Kane is a great film but it has aged poorly. I think this is a problem with much of classic American cinema, however. If you look at canonical foreign films from the same era such as Bicycle Thieves, Grand Illusion, anything Powell & Pressburger, The Third Man, late Ozu, etc., you'll see that they've aged to perfection. I can't offer up a reasonable explanation of why this is but, it's there. I'd still put Citizen Kane in my constantly-rotating "Top 10" tough.

Glad people replied to this topic, even if there wasn't much discussion on The Third Man.
post #12 of 1150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim View Post
I'm all about movies for ENTERTAINMENT. That being said, if a movie can entertain me, and also be artistic at the same time, I'm ok with it.
I bet you dig Brazil?
post #13 of 1150
I've recycled this top 100 countless times and it's not up to date but there are still some nice suggestions. As for Criterion, many of their releases are actually inferior to equivalent French or English releases, although I must say they really stepped up their game in the last 2 yrs or so.

Fuuma's "top 100" movies
How it works:
"¢\tI'll make a post for every decade, starting with the 1910s, for a total of 100 movies
"¢\tI didn't include more than two movies by the same director for variety's sake
"¢\tThe list is, of course, heavily slanted towards my own taste; for example you'll find a proportionally large numbers of French films
"¢\tI tried to give the list a modern slant by including a lot of recent films (80s and up)
"¢\t Those are only small blurbs, if you're interested in one of those movies, feel free to ask, I like watching "˜em and I like talking about "˜em!

10s
Vampires, les/France/Feuillade/1916: Engrossing crime serial with a macabre edge, the main character is boring but you'll be cheering for the amoral members of "les vampires" gang

20s
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the/Germany/Wiene/1920: Made in the aftermath of WW1. Not so subtle critique of the powers that be, the nightmarish landscapes of this expressionistic movie are a sight to behold
Nosferatu/Germany/Murnau/1922: Another fine example of German expressionism, this one is truly creepy thanks to Max Schreck eerily performance who owes as much to the elaborate gestures of theatre actors as to the much more restrained style that would soon emerge in the cinematic world.
Metropolis/Germany/Lang/1926: Probably the first dystopian sci-fi movie, certainly the best
An andalusian dog/Un chien andalou/France/Bunuel/1929: A dreamlike journey through the subconscious mind of Bunuel (and Dali). The Surrealists were among the first to understand that cinema could be a viable artistic pursuit, worthy of other visual arts

30s
-All Quiet on the Western Front/USA/Milestone/1930: Dramatic anti-war film and a strong indictment of ultra-nationalism, as seen from the German side.
-M/Germany/Lang/1931: A serial killer is on the loose and the town is in a climate of panic and hysteria after eight children have been found dead. The denunciations, name calling and paranoia present in the film take on an interesting subtext when you consider what was going on in Germany at that time. In the highly unlikely case you aren't aware of what I'm referring to, please stop surfing the net and pick up a history book.
-Atalante, l'/France/Vigo/1934: A story that is at times both humorous and deeply poetic. The collaboration between Vigo, who would die a year after completing his masterpiece (and only feature length film), and cameramen Boris Kaufman, Dziga Vertov's half-brother, yields results of tremendous evocative power
-39 steps/UK/Hitchcock/1935: This is one hell of a charming movie. Hitchcock invented the guy&girl (both glamorous of course) who're in trouble with the law/bad guys/etc and must join force to succeed while their mutual contempt tinted attraction fluctuate according to exterior circumstances. Basically a romantic comedy where the typical obstacles to the protagonists love are replaced by elements taken from thrillers.
-Grand illusion, the/Grande Illusion, la/France/Renoir/1937: Renoir once again sets his penetrating gaze on the change of class dynamics after WWI, just looming in the horizon in this case, with this tale of French POW planning their escape from German camps
-Alexander Nevski/URSS/Eisenstein/1938: Made at a time when Russo-Germanic relations weren't at their all time high to say the least, this movie delivers its pro-Russian message with maestria. Observe how clothing, equipment and battle formations, by the judicious use of geometric shapes, contributes to the overall feeling you get from each army.
post #14 of 1150
Return, I will, to old Brazil. I wish Gilliam would...although Tideland wasn't terrible, it's been almost 10 years since he gave us something to talk about.
post #15 of 1150
40s
-Maltese falcon, the/USA/Huston/1941: Quintessential noir movie, the shadows in this one owe a lot to the German impressionist films I listed earlier (see 20s)
-This gun for hire/USA/Tuttle/1942: Veronica Lake and one of the first "hitman who finds redemption in the love he has for a woman" type of movie that I'm a sucker for
-Corbeau, le/France/Clouzot/1943: Can be seen as a metaphor for occupied France (made and released during said occupation) oh and Clouzot is the French Hitchcock
-Laura/USA/Preminger/1944: NYC socialite Laura is murdered at her posh Manhattan apartment, typical hard-boiled cop handles the investigation but who's responsible for the murder and more importantly is the cop falling for the dead girl? Supporting roles are great with a young Vincent Price playing a kind of high society playboy/gigolo and Clifton Webb in a memorable turn as bitchy dandy star journalist Waldo Lydecker.
-Beauty and the beast\\Belle et la bête, la/France/Cocteau/1946: I first saw it was a kid, it is so poetic and aesthetically pleasing that it left a really strong impression on me at the time. As far as dreamlike movies goes, I favour this one over the critic's favourite (still an incredible movie) Ugetsu. My occidental cultural background probably makes it easier to wrap my mind around the decidedly Freudian undercurrents (young maiden's perception of the danger and thrills of manhood) of this fairytale than the more alien mindset required to approach Mizoguchi's movie.
-Out of the past/USA/Tourneur/1947: Another noir with a femme fatale so wicked you can't help but love her. Featuring Kirk Douglas in a career defining first(?) role
-Bicycle thief, the/Italie/DeSica/1948: Moving, humane, essential
-Lady from Shanghai, the/USA/Welles/1947: This instead of citizen Kane you say; well check it out. This one also includes the amazing angles, impressive sets (including the much discussed glass maze shootout), dry wit and superb performance that have made Welles famous but without bringing as much attention to themselves as they do in Citizen kane.
-Third man, the/UK/Reed/1949: Just a great thriller, a famous cuckoo speech and one of the best, again German impressionism inspired, use of shadows ever (see the last scene).

50s
-D.O.A./USA/Maté/1950: A man stumbles into a police station to report a murder; his own. If that's not enough to pique your interest then I wonder what would work. Don't read additional reviews, this one is enough and leaves you in the dark on crucial plot points
-Rashomon/Japan/Kurosawa/1950: Well known for its use of contradicting flashbacks. The long take where the woodsman is walking through the forest is the perfect example of music, camerawork and previous narrative drive coming together in a magical moment (even though it's just a dude walking through the woods)
-Tokyo story/Japan/Ozu/1953: Very cliché choice but this is so moving and affecting I had to include it
-Touchez pas au grisbi/France/Becker/1954: Another great heist/crime flick with Jean Gabin. The title can be translated as "Don't touch the loot!"
-Seven samurai, the/Japan/Kurosawa/1954: Kurosawa shows such a mastery of movement; the quintessential "action" film
-Diabolique/Diaboliques, les/France/Clouzot/1955: Another gripping Clouzot thriller, it has lost none of its punch. Hitchcock was so taken with it he asked the authors (Boileau/Narcejac) of the original story to write something for him which resulted in Vertigo.
-Rififi/Rififi chez les hommes, du/France/Dassin/1955: Classic long heist sequence, uninterrupted by music or speech, which would inspire countless directors (and real life criminals) in years to come
-Bob le flambeur/France/Melville/1955: Great morality tale about gangster honour, luck and getting older. The street sequences are exquisite and definitely inspired the new wave directors who started shooting on location, with natural light and portable cameras.
-Night and fog/Nuit et brouillard/France/Resnais/1955: 30 Min documentary about the Holocaust (among the first ones made), might be less graphic than some but the quality of the direction and narration makes it all the more affecting. The shots of a gas chamber ceiling, its solid concrete surface profoundly scratched by a thousand frantic fingernails, will haunt you for days
-A man escaped/Un condamné à mort s'est échappé/France/Bresson/1956: Bresson's minimalist, almost ascetic vision of cinema shines through in this tale of quiet perseverance.
-Paths of Glory/USA/Kubrick/1957: This, and all quiet on the western front, are my favourite (anti) war movies. Oh and it's the only Kubrick film on the list.
Vertigo/USA/Hitchcock/1958: The most personal of Hitchcock's movies, the tale of a man who obsessively tries to transform a woman into something else (a physical projection of his own fantasies) to the point of obliterating her own identity. Everything is twisted and spiralling in this film, from staircases and roads to the heroine's hairdo.
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