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Ravi

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« Reply #165 on: October 29, 2003, 12:54:07 AM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
[The World of Apu is an even further decline. Everything in the film is highly romanticized on in a cynical level, we can actually applaud Ray for finally making a film complete in terms of tone and craftsmanship. Its just that he bleeds the honest air of Pather Panchali into the most convential of films. The premise is goofy: To save a bride from the disgrace of a failed marriage reception due to her groom being insane at the last moment, Apu volunteers to marry her. This is the ploy and the set up of it is to have a drama of an honest relationship that suffers the tradegy of the young wife dying during birth of the first child.


I can understand the premise of Apu stepping in as groom #2 seeming contrived and silly, but in many Indian cultures, if for some reason the marriage does not take place on the scheduled day, it will be hard to find another man to marry her.  I don't know the intricacies of this.

I do agree that The World of Apu is the weakest of the three films.  The death of Apu's wife is undeniably melodramatic.  We can't necessarily fault Ray for this, but the author of the original story.

Ray has definitely done better films.  Jalsaghar (The Music Room) is better than these films and one of his more interesting studies of a single character.  I'll try to rewatch the Apu Trilogy soon and write my own review.

Pather Panchali is a rambling story.  It was in some book or interview that Ray mentions the original book (the entire story is one book IIRC) was rambling, so he tried to retain that quality in the first film.  The lives of the two kids are unstructured, so it makes sense that the film has a very loose structure.

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« Reply #166 on: October 29, 2003, 09:28:08 AM »
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Quote from: Ravi
I can understand the premise of Apu stepping in as groom #2 seeming contrived and silly, but in many Indian cultures, if for some reason the marriage does not take place on the scheduled day, it will be hard to find another man to marry her.  I don't know the intricacies of this.


I, too, understand the basis of truth in that culture for marriage being looked at in that way. I'm not calling it goofy; what I am calling it goofy is that this premise has been bled of any honest observance in realism and now is acting for simple melodrama. If the film observed the situation under realism as with Panchali, the result would have been much different. To all the deaths being from the book, thats fine, but I still carry my same opinion. It is a reliance on something that loses dramatic effect after the first. I, of course, never read the book. The movies still have to stand on their own.

I prolly was more challenged with reviewing these movies than any other asked before. They are considered classic by almost every side and so if you take a disagreeing stance, you better fucking explain.

~rougerum

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« Reply #167 on: October 30, 2003, 10:06:52 PM »
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THE MAN WITH NO NAME TRILOGY



Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino have a lot in common. Tarantino simply isn’t borrowing from Leone and thus making each similiar, but both are borrowing from other things: Tarantino from Leone in filmmaking and cliches of other genres. Leone, when most at himself in the “Man with No Name” trilogy, is borrowing from Kurosawa in filmmaking and the cliches of the Western genre. Both are operating as escapists and finding personas within a genre to run with. The beginning of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly cements this idea. The titles to the film are introduced matching each character to what persona they represent in the title of the film with a scene of their own. The scenes are dramatic, but never humanely touching. The drama comes in just to keep tension who kills who and what happens next. And the humor of the scenes are very dry, but always punching at a cliche or another. With the intro of Angel Eyes, he stands in the doorway of a man’s home and his family (and we) know that a shoot out of some sort is coming. When both men actually meet, it is Angel Eyes actually sitting at dinner with the man eating alongside with him. Angel Eyes kills him from that position. Scene is taken serious, but very biting at some hallmarks of the western genre. The rest of the movie is an explosion of everything that seemed smale scale in the rest of the films. The narrative is extended and scope widened to such extremes that the movie is able to better rest on the personas and interactions of character instead of devices for a plot. It also provides more room for Leone to cover more territory in the western genre. You could say this is his “Pulp Fiction” for the genre. None of the scenes nor situations really drag and the movie makes ground from the beginning it is for narrative of these characters so the rambling is to be expected.

There are many bad moments in the film, though. Mainly the scenes of humanity draped in interfer. This happens with the two brothers, one the outlaw and the other a priest. It happens with Eastwood and the other guy (forget name) blowing up the bridge to give a moment of happiness to a dying war captain. All these scenes have the heightened emotional music Leone would exploit in future dramatic attempts. This isn’t fitting to the tone which is dramatic, but very dry humor in showing war and death as minor things or stupidity, everything against the honor of death involved in both when done with realism.

A Fistful of Dollars is different in that it is more of a dramatic attempt in the convential sense. Eastwood’s character is still similiar angst toward old westerns, but the story in the movie is more old guard in the western revenge film. It isn’t for narrative. It is for a genre story more so. The movie is also a remake of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and considering both are near duplicates, we must compare. Kurosawa’s story doesn’t drive as typically as Leone’s, it also implements many boundry breakers as cowardice finally being observed when actually coming down to a classic (sword) fight while also breaking the barriers of what a good guy look likes. Leone mainly just goes for destryoying the image of a good guy. Also better in Yojimbo is who is playing the protaganist. I like Eastwood and all, but his acting was based just from his look when staring and smoking a cigar. His acting in between is very sloppy and little commanding of the stare he has when about to kill someone. With Toshiro Mifune, his background is that of an actor and he bleeds dominance of his character in every scene. It is also a welcome role considering his most famous is of a talented goof ball in Seven Samuari. He is bad ass to perfection here. And finally, technically, I felt Kurosawa more in command of the camera. Leone showed his style, but didn’t define space the way he would later in his career.

For A Few Dollars More is a step forward in narrative for the characters and set up more true for what they represent, but a small step forward. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is an explosion forward.

I'll get to the rest Shaftr requested this weekend.

~rougerum

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« Reply #168 on: October 30, 2003, 10:25:08 PM »
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For a Few Dollars more is probably my favorite.  Maybe because it is genre at it's core...and I love that particular genre.  

Interesting Pulp Fiction / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly comparison.  Isn't TGTBTU often listed as one of Tarantino's favorite films and what he calls one of the best films of all time.  I thought the brother sequence was genuine (especially the aftermath with Ugly talking to Good about how much his brother loves him, but I wasn't a fan of the bridge scene (the civil war plotline seemed force and out of place in the created reality of the film).

I have yet to see Yojimbo, but I will get to it soon.  I think the opening Title Sequence in Fistfull of Dollars is one of the best ever.

I am thinking of buying the trilogy...does anyone know if there is a planned SE of the films coming out?
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« Reply #169 on: October 30, 2003, 10:28:40 PM »
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Tarantino cites The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as his favorite film of all time, usually.

And the only one of the trilogy certain to get SE treatment soon is the Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It is making rounds in theatres now in a brand new print. There is also a good chance Criterion will be releasing it when it comes out because it is through Criterion's buddy company, Rialto.

~rougerum

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« Reply #170 on: October 31, 2003, 05:58:19 PM »
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THRONE OF BLOOD

Throne of Blood is a highly accomplished film, there's no doubt about that. The question to ask is whether or not it ranks as one of Kurosawa's very best. I say it doesn't. A beginning basis to why I think this is in order. The majesty of Kurosawa for me always has been his ability to grip an audience and carry them for so long on a story thread that may seem as very minor to other filmmakers. For me, Kurosawa's finest films of accomplishment in this sense and mastery of story come in High and Low and a later work, Ran.

The chief problem with Throne of Blood in living up to these films is the degree it generalizes on its story as compared to the others. Throne of Blood is under two hours; while Ran and High and Low are near two and half hours at minimal both. The last two films told their stories similiarily, but existed for the scene and the moment of tension more. They never sped up for unneccessary reasons or made any new information crucial to the story something to come along quickly. The movies were encompassed by the environment. I only felt this specific mastery a few times in Throne of Blood: once is when Mifune kills His Lord and is dealing with the shock of it and his wife is trying to clean up the mess. During this scene, the sound is off and every detail is gathered on screen. Every movement of Mifune's body is captured and his shock and desperation all the more felt. This scene truly gripped in only the way a master like Kurosawa could do so. The end scene of Mifune fighting to keep moral strength in his army and himself and his eventual killing had a similiar effect. With these scenes, the movie wasn't talking about its drama or showing easy scenes to demonstrate it, but living it.

Yes, Throne of Blood is accomplished and a masterpiece prolly to any other director, but it does not stand on top of the moutain for me as High and Low and Ran. And I must note, I have yet to see Ikiru

FINDING NEMO

Before, I said this was one of the best movies of the year and one of the most accomplished movies Hollywood has done in years. Let me adjust my position, I now believe it is one of the best movies Hollywood has ever done for the comedy genre. I can not think of a movie more thought out, more increasingly innovative and continuously ambitious in Hollywood comedy ever. Every scene is such an instant joy, a new joke and situation always introduced. The movie never tires for a moment on riding one storyline. It is moving as if it has most difficult of jobs of trying to fit every single fish it ever heard of tasting ocean water into one film. And even better, each fish represents its own avenue of personas so the jokes keep coming in from new places. The only movie in my mind to compare this to is Richard Lester's How I Won the War, a movie in my mind on a more artistic level and one of the very best ever, but sharing same land with Finding Nemo in level of creativity put forth. I'm glad this movie is making most people's "best of" lists so far. It'll be on my final one at the end of the year for sure.

Also, I've seen Hiroshima, Mon Amour once. A year ago and with a terrible vhs in a bad film class. I couldn't make out the subtitles nor the imagery. I fell asleep after 40 minutes. I survived the longest of anyone in my class. Maybe I'll see the dvd some time.

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« Reply #171 on: November 01, 2003, 12:02:57 PM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
As the most objective (at least vocally so) film buff on this site:

Do you ever -- or have you ever -- ignored a film's defaults simply because it effects you on a personal level? Can you even do this, when you're so stridently on point about your objections? And if you can't, do you sometimes wish you could?


Actually, I think I finally understood what you meant. I guess you could say I hardly ever find movies that really come near speaking about my world at all. I'd say Beautiful Girls is personal to me. Diner is also a good one. I forgot about these movie, but I was watching one recently and realized it is very close to being about my environment and I love the film for very personal reasons. The world it shows is my world. You could also say because of this very sparing identification with movies, I don't really believe many movies at all vocally speak to my world in any mature way to get me to identify with them at all. My small town snowy locale type is most famously shown in Fargo and even if its famous and all, it just mocks us in every single cliche there is. There is even a movie named after my small town starring Jeff Daniels that was filmed here like 3 years back and its the worst of the worst in just mocking us. We are idiots in this film. Most movies are like this in just really mocking us in bad ways. So, yes, I usually am just objective with films because I see little personal in them. I'd love more honest films of these kinds of films, but I hardly ever see them.

~rougerum

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« Reply #172 on: November 01, 2003, 12:04:22 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet


FINDING NEMO

Before, I said this was one of the best movies of the year and one of the most accomplished movies Hollywood has done in years. Let me adjust my position, I now believe it is one of the best movies Hollywood has ever done for the comedy genre. I can not think of a movie more thought out, more increasingly innovative and continuously ambitious in Hollywood comedy ever. Every scene is such an instant joy, a new joke and situation always introduced. The movie never tires for a moment on riding one storyline. It is moving as if it has most difficult of jobs of trying to fit every single fish it ever heard of tasting ocean water into one film. And even better, each fish represents its own avenue of personas so the jokes keep coming in from new places. The only movie in my mind to compare this to is Richard Lester's How I Won the War, a movie in my mind on a more artistic level and one of the very best ever, but sharing same land with Finding Nemo in level of creativity put forth. I'm glad this movie is making most people's "best of" lists so far. It'll be on my final one at the end of the year for sure.

Also, I've seen Hiroshima, Mon Amour once. A year ago and with a terrible vhs in a bad film class. I couldn't make out the subtitles nor the imagery. I fell asleep after 40 minutes. I survived the longest of anyone in my class. Maybe I'll see the dvd some time.

~rougerum


Finding Nemo surprised me.  I went with my g/f just because I knew she wanted to watch it.  I laughed all the way through it, was compelled in the entire way through, and I think I almost shed tears in a few parts.

I need to see more Kurosawa films, I have only seen ToB, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon.  ToB was my least favorite, but still great.  It has similiarities to a 'noh drama", with the blank impressions of Mifune's wife as if she has a noh mask on.
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Gold Trumpet

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« Reply #173 on: November 01, 2003, 12:44:34 PM »
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I must admit I've seen Finding Nemo 4 times in theatres..more than any other movie. Just that damn enjoyable for me.

On those Kurosawa films, I'd actually say I liked Throne of Blood the best. Rashomon is right behind and overall, the better film but something about it nearly killed all my liking for the film. In one of the first scenes, with the men outside the destroyed building talking about the murder and how "gruesome" and "terrible" they are, I felt robbed of the build up Kurosawa is so famous for. Kurosawa usually with films has a very fine mind in how to dramaticize things out and knows not to give large expectations early on, but did so very blatantely in this scene. And this scene was very long so the slap in the face more visible to me. With Kurosawa, its all about the build up and how encompassed you end up becoming in his world and storytelling.

With Seven Samuari, I did become involved in the film, but its so convential to what Kurosawa later became. Most notably, the editing is much faster and loses that Kurosawa touch of prolonged scenes. Also, the dramatic points at the end carry symbolism a little too casual to what Kurosawa later developed into. With Mifune's character giving the revelation that he came from the same exact environment as the farmer's who are being tortured and robbed. This loses some touch because Mifune's performance is so over the top and so comedic that tonally it doesn't fit with the rest of the actors and yet, he is given the most truthful scene of observation in the entire movie. It feels tacked on instead of his character being given a more trufthful drive to such a point. Also, the very famous final scene of the samuari's realizing they lost a large number of men to what seems a minor accomplish, it too feels tacked on. So much of the movie is an action film that it is losing of emotional truth that drives so many Kurosawa's films. The film is too long because too many scenes revel in large and thought out action scenes and situations. The movie starts out out from a good dramatic idea, but focuses on so many things cliche like a large process scene of finding samuari's good enough for such a mission. The movie isn't driven by the strands of hurt in this village to weed through all the scenes, so it includes all of them. By the last scene, after all the action and emotion in the movie and the tonal nightmare I saw in it, the final point is lost because the drama feels spoken instead of felt. A tonally more complete film for the hurt of the villagers would have been felt.

~rougerum

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« Reply #174 on: November 01, 2003, 04:49:43 PM »
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Wait...Kurosawa didn't direct Finding Nemo??
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« Reply #175 on: November 01, 2003, 04:54:00 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
The movie starts out out from a good dramatic idea, but focuses on so many things cliche like a large process scene of finding samuari's good enough for such a mission.


Perhaps you think the samurai finding scene is cliche because the film has been so influential and action films that came after this often included such scenes.  How many times have we seen team-based action films that depict each team member doing what he does best, then being recruited to the team?

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« Reply #176 on: November 01, 2003, 04:54:53 PM »
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Quote from: Ravi
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
The movie starts out out from a good dramatic idea, but focuses on so many things cliche like a large process scene of finding samuari's good enough for such a mission.


Perhaps you think the samurai finding scene is cliche because the film has been so influential and action films that came after this often included such scenes.  How many times have we seen team-based action films that depict each team member doing what he does best, then being recruited to the team?


I was thinking the same thing.  It's hard to watch these films by putting yourself in the context of what came before and what came after.
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« Reply #177 on: November 01, 2003, 07:25:42 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
The movie starts out out from a good dramatic idea, but focuses on so many things cliche like a large process scene of finding samuari's good enough for such a mission.


Perhaps you think the samurai finding scene is cliche because the film has been so influential and action films that came after this often included such scenes.  How many times have we seen team-based action films that depict each team member doing what he does best, then being recruited to the team?


If I got it right, you aren't arguing much for the validity of the scenes I said were bad. You are just making a point that it may not be cliche because Seven Samuari began a lot things for action films, which I accept. The question you ask of how team action based films have continued this? Well, I'm not sure percentage wise how many have. Other types of films have made it quite general, mainly sports films in trying to rebuild a sports team and having a long scene finding people who excel at different areas and getting them for the team. That's an avenue where the practice has become cliche. My point is that Seven Samuari has so much emotionally to offer, but has so many scenes of action all around that tonally, it is a mess. My best offer for this scene and problem of finding the samuaris to do the job was just make it a minimal scene only and bring the focus of following them into battle so we could care about them more. The entire process just points to each own's specific expertice in fighting. Any battle scene could have shown they are talented in that department. Its a disposable scene, imo.

~rougerum

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« Reply #178 on: November 02, 2003, 07:33:45 PM »
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But in a battle scene we would be concentrating more on the body count than the skill of the fighter.  We would see one of the guys get slashed, but we wouldn't necessarily get a sense of the samurai's talent.  It is hard for me to articulate this thought, but the fight with the two samurais and the sticks (then real swords) is a punchy way of showing how damn skilled the samurai is.  I haven't seen all of Kurosawa's films, but from what I've seen Seven Samurai seems to be one of his more commercially concious efforts, so this is possibly why he tries to spell out some things for the audience.  I like the scenes of finding the samurai because they are some of the few moments that I can remember in which each one is individually highlighted.

GT, what did you think of Those Who Tread on Tiger's Tail?

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« Reply #179 on: November 02, 2003, 08:01:57 PM »
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Well, maybe weighing out the invididual merits of each samuari for fighting really isn't that important. You are right that this is one of his more commercial films. Its just along with commercial aspects such as an intense focus on each samurai fighting and all that, you get a very large human drama in there as well. I'd like to have seen the movie decide which movie it was trying to be: action or drama? It seems to throw everything in the movie and when I start complaining about it failing as a drama, I start pinpointing out these kinds of scenes and saying how they aren't necessary for a drama. I wouldn't mind the movie being an action film, either. High and Low, which I consider one of Kurosawa's best, is a pure commercial film. Its just I wish Seven Samuari would have chosen to be one thing tonally.

And I haven't seen the film you mentioned. I never even heard of it, actually.

~rougerum

 

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