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Thread: 2003 Rank 'em as you see them

  1. #31
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    good call on Ophuls

    Now that you mention it, Russian Ark is a work of art not unlike an Ophuls film. (His name is Max, by the way).

    I just mentioned Trier & Sokurov in the same breath, but I know that they are two very different creatures.
    Trier & Kidman. sounds like poetic alchemy to me...

    Greenaway is uber-art house. He's so obscurely seen in North America it's a testament to his working methods that he is only known widely for The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
    He Has Other Films...

    I'm expecting to see The Moab Story and a Fellini film somewhere on the bohemian left bank....
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  2. #32
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    Are you excited about .Elephant opening next week? The teasers did tease me. I even liked Gerry.

    You finally caught Oscar in an error. Tut, tut, Oscar! But at least you began with the right letter.

    This year it's going to be a matter of paring down, to find a top ten US, rather than stretching and squeezing to find the required total.



    www.chrisknipp.com
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 10-19-2003 at 05:09 PM.

  3. #33
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    edit edit edit

    Max is Marcel's father.
    He DID mention Max's films...
    Last edited by Johann; 10-19-2003 at 05:40 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  4. #34
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  5. #35
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    OPHULS

    My rep is hopelessly soiled, guys. It's Max Ophuls who was the master of the gliding camera and died in '57. Born Max Oppenheimer in Germany, Ophuls worked in several countries including the US where he made Letter from an Unknown Woman with Joan Fontaine. A favorite.
    His son Marcel is also a director of distinction. His Hotel Terminus:The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie is riveting and informative.

  6. #36
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    Max is in Paris

    I'll be filming Max Ophuls' crypt in Pere Lachaise cemetery. He was cremated and is in the mausoleum there. He's in good company: Sarah Bernhardt, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein all reside in this HUGE cemetery.

    Others in the city I plan on "shooting": Francois Truffaut, Sacha Guitry, Jacques Demy, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir Sidney Smith, Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and I'll be taking the Gare Nord up to the the Belgian border at Charleville-Mezieres to visit Arthur Rimbaud's museum and grave.

    Sound morbid? Not at all- it's just a little pilgrimmage I've been planning for a LONG time....
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #37
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    Bon voyage, Johann. May the Force be with you on this Sentimental Journey.

    P.s. I've been disappointed to find that Elephant is only opening in LA and NYC, and its future otherwise is uncertain. Instead there's a talky, overexplanatory (and from the looks of it much more commonplace) version of the story that's already being previewed locally.


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  8. #38
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    Elephant will open wide. I couldn't find out dates though. What's becoming clear is that whereas the Cannes jury clearly liked it more than Mystic River, American crits (and audiences in NYC and LA) would rather watch Eastwood. I'd guess that River is a more comforting piece of film entertainment than the three-time Cannes winner.

  9. #39
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    Do let me know if you find out the dates. I would very much like to know if it's actually going to "open wide." How do you know? I couldn't find that. It was said earlier that it might go direct to video, because it was made for HBO. Especially since there is a more mainstream, talky version of the story about to be released, which may push Elephant out of the room, I really have my doubts. The Cannes taste is very different from the American taste. It's not only that Americans don't want their nose rubbed in Colombine, but that Van Sant in his arty phase is something Americans hate. Gerry was loathed and pretty much bombed, even though some people loved it. I liked it quite a lot and think it one of the most distinctive movies of the year, and that's one of the reasons why I am eager to see Elephant. But I'm in a small minority on that.


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  10. #40
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    IN THE CUT

    I have ambivalent thoughts about the latest from director Jane Campion (The Piano, Portrait of a Lady). In The Cut confirms (as if any proof was needed) that Ms. Campion is a visual artist of the highest caliber who has something original to say. She is masterful at creating a mood and helping actors modulate and pitch a performance. One of my favorite scenes in any of this year's films involves Meg Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh as somewhat disillusioned half-sisters frankly discussing the meanings and complications of sex for mature single women. It made me wish the film stop wasting my time with corpses and suspects.

    The problem is that these are indeed characters in a slasher mystery/thriller. If one were to evaluate the film exclusively on the basis of that popular genre, I'd agree that the film is an interesting failure. Plot contrivances and unlikely coincidences abound. Most critics have chosen to focus on the mystery aspect while neglecting In the Cut's many virtues. Thus, in general, the film is being under-rated. (Only Mick LaSalle of the S.F. Chronicle over-rates the film). To complicate matters, those likely to be receptive to the film's strengths, might be turned off by gory crime scenes.

  11. #41
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    I have to admit that I approached "In the Cut" with suspicion, Nonetheless I truly wanted to like it, and I tried to. It's certainly not just a cop flick. It creates a very unusual atmosphere in some ways, and the look, though too self-conscious, does succeed in being different. Mark Ruffalo is usually interesting, and he doesn't disappoint. He is exactly what's called for: a homicide detective, but with a dangerous sexy edge. Meg Ryan does disappoint: she's just drab, and we can't see the intelligence the story seems to want her to have. There is no real interest in the character she creates. And Jennifer Jason Leigh is frumpy to the point of being downright repulsive. She's usually over the top and this is no exception. The ending is tacked on and unbelievable. There's too much cop stuff for a psychological study and too much psychological study for a suspenseful slasher murder story. (You make this clear, Oscar, when you say you like their conversation but wish it were in something other than a slasher mystery: well, it is what it is.) The result is an interesting failure, but still a failure: one can understand why the word "mess" has been used a lot in describing the movie by critics. Mike Lasalle's adulatory review is unconvincing. He talks himself into his high praise with a lot of unfounded and off-the-wall generalizations about life that have little to do with this movie, or any movie. I''m not ambivalent about "In the Cut." I don't like it. I'd only advise people to watch it for Mark Ruffalo's performance and one or two tiny moments that are fresh, like when the bouncer comes on to Ryan's hunky student.

    "Elephant," however, is poetic and magical--and its finale is terrifying, shocking and indigestible, just like the real event. I admit that I expected to like it, just as I feared I wouldn't like "In the Cut." But I didn't know how complex and unique "Elephant" would seem in retrospect. I hope there will be some discussion of it. I started a thread on it, but I guess it's not "open wide" yet though it came to Berkeley last Friday and I pounced.


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    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-12-2003 at 01:45 AM.

  12. #42
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    Meg's Good in A Boring Movie

    This boring movie with its traditional crime-thriller ending isn't let down by Meg Ryan. She seems to be the one brilliant gem with her acting performance that is let down by the plodding direction and the sub-par script. I enjoyed her out of character performance and gritty manner of out of make-up acting that helped this movie from being a complete disaster.

  13. #43
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    I really enjoyed looking at this film. Too many film reviews could pass for book reviews because there is no attempt to describe and analize images. Cinema is a visual medium and Ms. Campion has complete command. I'm talking about framing, depth of focus, shooting angles, the rhythm of the editing cuts, the use of color, the use of different film stocks, camera movement, etc. The way Ms. Campion and her DP direct one's attention and conjure up moods by focusing sharply on an object and leaving equidistant objects out of focus is brilliant. Not that any of this would interest Mr. Tabuno. As a lover of cinema, not mere storytelling, I cannot dismiss In The Cut.

    Content-wise, the film succeeds as character study but fails (and wastes time) as slasher thriller/mystery. Having seen every Campion film (including Two Women and her student short), I think she agreed to direct to get a movie made about a single woman near-40 dealing frankly with her affective and sexual needs. The ordinary slasher plot is "the price you pay" to get it financed.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-12-2003 at 09:37 PM.

  14. #44
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    "Content-wise, the film succeeds as character study but fails (and wastes time) as slasher thriller/mystery. Having seen every Campion film (including Two Women and her student short), I think she agreed to direct to get a movie made about a single woman near-40 dealing frankly with her affective and sexual needs. The ordinary slasher plot is "the price you pay" to get it financed." -- Oscar Jubis.
    These conclusons are ridiculous. Nobody would make a slasher movie in order to raise the dough to present a sensitive character study of the sexual and emotional needs of women. This was not conceived as a slasher thriller/mystery at all and was not an artistic compromise but simply an unsuccessful adaptation. Jane Campion took up the Susannah Moore novel because it was edgy, smart, and original -- not a slasher movie, but a new twist on a murder mystery genre that is, in fact, a sensitive study of a women with rather bizarre risk-taking tendencies aggravated by her sexual neediness.

    The film doesn't "content-wise" succeed in one way and fail in another. It just fails. The book adaptation was ill conceived, despite the author's collaboration. Some fiction that may seem cinematic is cheapened by turning it into a movie. The fact that it has attention-getting visuals doesn't save In the Cut from failing but if anything underlines the failure. Turned into a movie, the Susannah Moore novel has lost the smartness and edge and just seems a conventional slasher piece. It doesn't succeed on any level, visual, character study, or slasher mystery. It's arse-backwards to say the slasher stuff "wastes time" from the character study. It's all the sex and character study stuff that is allowed to spoil the pacing of the murder plot--but that's the ill conceived nature of the screenplay adaptation. This failure of the elements to cohere or of the whole movie to have good pacing is why the word "mess" is used frequently in discussions of this movie. All you can say is that it's an interesting mess, with a couple of interesting moments and a fine performance by Mark Ruffalo. He succeeds as an actor; the movie doesn't succeed as anything. No matter how much one admires Jane Campion, she has messed up before. Everyone realizes this, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to make In the Cut important at awards time.

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  15. #45
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    Even a cursory review of Ms. Campion's career would indicate it was the central character and her dilemmas that attracted her to this project. There are several incisive scenes that constitute a "portrait of a lady". I wish there were more of them.
    I have no opinion regarding Moore's book or its adaptation. Unlike Mr. Knipp, I have not read it.

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