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Old 26th Apr 2014, 11:27   #11
lurgee
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Cheeky bumping of the very last thread to the very front of the forum ...

Top 10 films, eh? I used to be able to reel them off so easily. See, I used to be pretentious. I used to be able to do Top 10s of nouvelle vague directors ... and now I'm not sure if I even managed to spell nouvelle vague correctly. How times have changed. I used to be somebody ... I coulda been a contenduh ... now all I got is vintage wine and memories.

And the sad thing is, I'm so out of touch with cinema my top 10 probably looks pretty much the same as it did two decades ago. I stopped caring you see, about new Scorcese films sometime between Brining Out The Dead and The Aviator. Back then, it all seemed so important. I understood Jean Luc godard. Not his impossible movies, no-one, not even Jean Luc, understands them. But I understood the man. The urge to go and see half a dozen films in a day and argue endlessly about them with your equally intelligent and fixated friends in some cafe.

Cinema seemed vital when I was in my 20s, but now ... I can barely find the time to watch a DVD and when I do, suddenly the desire to be challenged and puzzled by it seems so indulgent.

In no particular order ...
  1. Touch of Evil. D: Orson Welles. Gargantuan film from the gargantuan Welles. Charleton Heston - cheekily blacked up as a Mexican drugs cop - investigates a murder while Janet Leigh lounges about in a bra that would make Madonna blush. Berserk, but brilliant. Or is it the other way round?
  2. Sånger från andra våningen / Songs From The Second Floor. D: Roy Andersson. Brilliantly puzzling non-;inear story (sort of) about The End Of The World. Moments of unsurpassed beauty.
  3. Simple Men. D: Hal Hartley. Wonderfully dry comedy about two brothers searching for their father and the meaning of life on Long Island. It's a terminal moraine, you know.
  4. Raging Bull. D: Martin Scorcese. A grim tale of an athlete's attempt to escape the lower class drudgery and enjoy a brief stab at success. Peerless example of what cinema can be. Absolutely perfect in every regard.
  5. Week-End. D: Jean Luc Godard. Simply because this changed my conceptions of what cinema meant. A middle class couple set off with murder in mind get caught up in the collapse of western soiety, and cannibal pig killing Maoists.
  6. Mulholland Drive. D: David Lynch. Convoluted tale of desire, murder, corruption, revenge and some guy in a big cowboy hat. Horribly, perhaps the last truly remarkable film I saw in a cinema.
  7. The Sporting Life. D: Lidsay Anderson. A grim tale of an athlete's attempt to escape the lower class drudgery and enjoy a brief stab at success. Another one.
  8. Lone Star. D: John Sayles. A clever, low key film about a intergenerational murder mystery in small town Texas, from a director who liked to keep things simple so you could appreciate how complicated they really were.
  9. Withnail & I. D: Bruce Robinson. Oh, come on. It's fantastic. I'm a trained actor, reduced to the status of a bum! An essential part of my student days, and still a fine meditation on growing up too late, unrequited love and oh, everything. My boys, my boys!
  10. The Third Man. D: Carol Reed. I used to call this my favourite film, though it is currently out of favour. An inimitable setting, fine set pieces and performances. But would the police really not looked at Harry Lime's body before he was buried?
  11. Fat City. D: John Huston. A grim tale of an athlete's attempt to ... Late, low key boxing drama from the great director. A washed up might-have-been gets a sniff of a second chance.
  12. La Chinoise / The Chinese. D: Jean luc Godard. Godard renounces radical leftism in charactertistically off beat tale of student terrorists. Characteristically baffling and defiantly unhelpful, but contains many moments of Godardian genius.
  13. Nackt Unter Wolfen / Naked Among Wolves. D: Frank Beyer. Concentration camp cat and mouse as prisoners conceal a Jewish child. A distant ancestor of the slushier Life is Beautiful, this film is stark, brilliant drama.
  14. Oldboy. D: Park Chan-wook. Sick, brutal, nasty film about long delayed revenge. Redeemed only by the fact that it is brilliant in almost every way.
  15. Darwin's Nightmare. D: Hubert Sauper. Jarring documentary about poverty, exploitation and pending ecological collapse around Lake Tanzania, where locals fish for invasive Nile Perch which are freighted to European restaurants while the fishermen subsist on rotting fish remains.
  16. The Sweet Smell of Success. D: Alexander MacKendrick. Uber-louse Tony Curtis oils and weasels his way about the screen in a stupendous film about how vile people can be to each other.
  17. A Night To Remember. D: Roy Ward Baker. The sinking of Titanic, the way it should have been told.

So, yeah. A top Seventeen. How stupid is that?

Last edited by lurgee; 26th Apr 2014 at 11:40.
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 1:23   #12
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Happy Birthday, thread - it will be 11 in a few days time.

re: Withnail and I - a film I walked out of when I was a callow youth but have come to love dearly. To hell with being too old to play Hamlet; I realised I was past it when it dawned on me I was too old to play Frank N Furter. (Not that I had ever had the legs for the part - or Hamlet for that matter.)

And I know what you mean about Godard. Can't stand his films but find him endlessly quotable. My current favourite (which I pull out every time I have the suspicion an idea I'm having isn't as original as it could be) is, “It's not where you take things from — it's where you take them to.”

That coupled with something I heard Spike Lee say once about pilfering idea from other movies. I can't remember the exact words but it's something along the lines of: "If I write it down and use it - it's stealing. If I remember it then use it - it's 'homage'."
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 2:18   #13
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A thread I've not read...'til now.

Last year at the BDA in Durham, I told ono and, maybe, amner that I think The Third Man finer than Citizen Kane. It has everything, doesn't it? The mishandling of Lime's death I attribute to the staff surrounding the astute policeman who is tracking him, not the top brass. Am I wrong? Sign me up for another viewing, and I've watched it twice just in the past year...
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 5:35   #14
lurgee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
And I know what you mean about Godard. Can't stand his films but find him endlessly quotable. My current favourite (which I pull out every time I have the suspicion an idea I'm having isn't as original as it could be) is, “It's not where you take things from — it's where you take them to.”
I was being a bit cheeky including two films by Godard, but I really, really wanted to annoy the shade of Francois Truffaut.

Also, I genuinely couldn't choose between Week-End, which is frustrating, baffling, repugnant and just plain juvenile in places, but still did, absolutely and genuinely change my perception of cinema - before that I thought great cinema had to be brooding blondes talking mysteriously about something that happened at the duckpond twelve years ago (damn you, Ingmar Bergman!) - and Les Mepris, which is gorgeous and almost makes sense, and La Chinoise.

He's got a new film coming out, though it is based on the rather unpromising premise of a couple whose pet dog acts as interpreter when they stop talking. Could this be Godard's Beethoven?

I love this comment on his wikipedia entry: "He has been consistently critical of television and appeared on that medium to denounce it regularly."
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Old 28th Apr 2014, 5:39   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth View Post
A thread I've not read...'til now.

Last year at the BDA in Durham, I told ono and, maybe, amner that I think The Third Man finer than Citizen Kane. It has everything, doesn't it? The mishandling of Lime's death I attribute to the staff surrounding the astute policeman who is tracking him, not the top brass. Am I wrong? Sign me up for another viewing, and I've watched it twice just in the past year...
Oh, it could be explained away ... All Trevor Howard needed to do was say, "I've only just got back to Vienna, and I find the man I've been hunting for a year is not only dead, but buried as well. Doesn't that make you feel like a fool?"

Still, Harry's fingers reach through the grating of the sewer, the tiny nod to Holly to finish him off, yes, it is gorgeous in so many ways, it doesn't actually need to account for its flaws.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 15:02   #16
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test (bear with me!)
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