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Found 6 results

  1. Why hadn't I seen "No Country for Old Men" before ?! As entertainment, this was pretty darned intense, and very, very well-done. As art, I need to think about it some more, but I think there's a lot to extract from this film. I don't like the sudden, undramatic loss of the anti-protagonist, but there must be a reason for this.
  2. And so I did, tonight for the third time. When I saw "Barton Fink" in the theater, I swore it was one of the greatest films I'd ever seen, but I didn't have the first idea *why* it was. Tonight, I still think it is, and only now do I fully realize just how much of this film I don't understand. As I type this, I'm partially finished with this piece, an important analysis of "Barton Fink" - "'Writers Come and Go': The Greatness of Barton Fink" by Eric S. Piotrowski on medium.com
  3. *** MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW *** As a "companion pre-piece" to "No Country for Old Men" (2004) I watched (for the very first time) "Blood Simple" (1987), and I can sure see how one influenced the other. The difference being that "Blood Simple" is almost - perhaps is - a very, *very* dark comedy, in the tradition of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors," although "Comedy of Errors" is a farce, and "Blood Simple" is a carefully crafted, methodically worked, mistaken-assumption story that is so subtle that the audience, at times, also makes mistaken assumptions. I don't much care for the term "Neo-Noir," but in both of these Coen films, it's a very fitting description (I think I groused about the term's overuse in "The Usual Suspects," which just doesn't meet the requirements in my eyes). "Blood Simple" is so improbable that it *could have* fallen into farce, but it didn't, and the fact that it didn't shows you're being led along by two master filmmakers. The Coen brothers are positively brilliant, and I've always had "Barton Fink" on my all-time greatest films list - I need to watch that again. The ending of "Blood Simple" was as riveting, engrossing, and shocking as any ending I can think of that I've seen, and to say anything more about it (at least without a spoiler alert) would do the reader a great disservice. It is a monumentally great ending. And I have never seen a Coen film that I haven't liked - I've only seen perhaps half of them, so they're not off the hook in terms of batting 1.000, but they just may be my favorite living filmmakers when you consider their entire body of work. "Blood Simple," if you haven't seen it, is a *great* movie, and it's unbelievable that it was a "low-budget" film - it doesn't come across that way at all. If you loved "No Country for Old Men," you owe it to yourself to watch the Coen film that started it all. Superb!
  4. Well, "The Big Lebowski" is another picture that nobody can believe I'd never seen before, but I hadn't (this, and "This Is Spinal Tap" were the two I'd really been wanting to watch for a long, long time). I was really getting into this film - a great comedy to be sure - when the terrorist attacks hit Nice, and pretty much ruined it for me. Still, that doesn't lessen the movie - Jeff Bridges is brilliant, and so is just about everybody else. I don't think I've ever seen a Coen Brothers film that I don't like - they are geniuses in the mold of Matt Groening. I'm not up for a big, long write-up, but I'd love to discuss the movie with anyone who wants to. This Nice attack has pretty much wiped out any comedic effects the film had on me tonight; tomorrow I'll be better - I'm not going to let those assholes compromise anything about my life.
  5. If you're offended by any discussion about religion - even when it's being discussed as a tangential issue - then please click out of this post now because this may offend you, and that is not my intent. Minor **SPOILERS** will follow: --- Last week, I finished reading the biography of the amazing Louis Zamperini, "Unbroken," written by Laura Hillenbrand - one of the best and most thoroughly researched biographies I've ever read. No, it's not perfect, and if you click on the title, you'll see we have the beginnings of a meaningful discussion about the book. This thread, and this post, is about the movie. In the "Unbroken" book thread, I mention a recent discussion I had with a member about "In Cold Blood" (just click and read the first paragraph in Post #11). In essence, she was unable to enjoy the movie because she had read the book first. I'm afraid that with "Unbroken," that may be the case with me: I was recently told that there was no mention of Billy Graham in the film. To my eyes, the book is structured as follows: 1) A medium-sized beginning (childhood, upbringing, college, Olympics) 2) A huge middle (the war) 3) A short ending (PTSD, recovery) For there to be no mention of Zamperini's post-war biography is to essentially clip short his life in his mid-20s. Think about this for a moment: If Billy Graham did not exist, there would be no "Unbroken" because there would have been no Louis Zamperini to write about. Zamperini's recovery (I'm purposefully not calling it a redemption) is such a major factor in his biography that its omission is a literary and journalistic sin. What I can say here is very limited because I haven't seen the film, but based on what I heard, I would urge anyone who has seen the film, and who doesn't want to invest the substantial time involved in reading the entire 406-page book, to borrow a copy, and read only the 18-page Epilogue. At this point, the only reason I want to watch the film is so I can voice this opinion more forcefully, and with some credibility and authority; right now, I cannot. --- For those interested in the enormous power that Billy Graham was able to convey, I encourage them to go to his website, and watch one or more of his "televised classics" (the old, black-and-white ones are directly relevant to the full biography of Zamperini, but even for those completely uninterested in Graham, there is still historical importance in the beautiful alto gospel of Ethel Waters at the 8:30 point in this video). I should also disclose that Graham was a major influence on, and source of enormous comfort to, my beloved mother - his occasional televised crusades were part of my childhood, as I watched my mother watch him, completely mesmerized by the unselfish sovereignty of his oration. I am hardly an evangelist, but have no problem in voicing my opinion that Billy Graham is one of the greatest and most important people ever to live, wielding immense power on a global scale, but never once abusing it for his own personal gain - his rightful place in history is side-by-side with Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Mahatma Gandhi, and David Ben-Gurion.
  6. In my ongoing quest to watch some of the 2015 Best Picture Nominees, I watched "Bridge of Spies," Steven Spielberg's historical drama about Rudolf Abel, Francis Gary Powers, Frederick Pryor, and James B. Donovan and the role he played in negotiating the prisoner exchange. Out of the four nominees I've seen, this would be the one most likely to get my vote, although not by much - they've all been quite good; none of them are what I would classify as great - in my mind, this has shaped out to be a pretty weak year for nominees. Still, I really enjoyed "Bridge of Spies," and Tom Hanks was terrific in his role as Donovan, as was Mark Rylance in his role as Abel - Rylance's was the type of screen presence that stays with you for years, and from what I can tell so far, he was fully justified in winning his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It's interesting that three of the four nominees I've seen so far have been historical dramas (the other being "The Martian"), and with so many historical dramas on the nominee list, it's somewhat surprising that one of them won, as one might figure the vote would be split between them, and that something completely different (like "The Martian") could walk in and steal the award. I also had no idea this was a Spielberg film until the end. We have several "Spotlight" fans here, and the reason I personally preferred "Bridge of Spies" (although on another day, I could change my mind the other way), was because, not only was it not overplayed, but it also had a tiny bit of that Hollywood "oomph" that I enjoy as escapism - it wasn't at "The Martian" level of escapism; here, it was just a seasoning.
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