As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Archive for the ‘70s’ Category

Apocalypse. Now.

Posted by Hedwig on December 31, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola: it’s hard to deny he’s a great director. But between a movie-watcher (or critic, if you want to use fancy words), as important as admiration is a factor I’ll call “chemistry”. Me and Francis, well…. I just don’t know if we click. Not that I don’t admire the Godfather, or the Conversation. Of course I do. I used to really like The Rainmaker in my Matt Damon-crush days (aka. when I was 17). In drunken honesty, I’ll admit that I kind of loved Youth without Youth. But there’s a reason I still haven’t watched all of The Godfather, pt. II. There’s a reason I avoid getting dragged into conversations about The Godfather altogether, to be honest. There’s a reason why, until today, I’d seen only the first 2/3rds of Apocalypse Now, and hadn’t taken the time to watch the mythical Kurtz part.

I’m still not entirely sure what the reason is, but finally seeing Apocalypse Now in its entirety (the original version, not the redux) did crystallize my feelings a bit. I was really impressed with the film, and I imagine that I would have been absolutely in awe, had I seen it in the cinema instead of on a snowy TV, interrupted by commercials.

Still…

Maybe it’s just my aversion to war films. What’s the quote again? “It’s impossible to make a movie about war that doesn’t glorify it” or something like that? I beg to differ. War movies sicken me, and I have a hard time seeing glory in any war – even justified ones. But it’s not just that. It also… well, it’s not exactly subtle, is it? Not that I require subtlety (I heart Baz Luhrman, after all), but after a dozen shots of faces half in shadows, half lit, am I the only one who feels like shouting “ok, ok, I GET IT” at the screen?

The movie is full of absolutely amazing shots, that I’d love to see in better quality some day. It’s majestic, yes, and there are a number of unforgettable sequences… But the line between majestic and just plain bombastic is very thin indeed. Marlon Brando is brilliantly cast, but having him quote T.S.Eliot? A little over the top, perhaps?

Of course, the movie wouldn’t work at all if it were subtle. It’s truly the work of a madman, and it thrives on the grand symbol, the swelling Wagner, the blood and madness. War IS excessive brutality, and a brutal assault on the senses is, thus, the only honest way to portray it. The over-the-top-ness is necessary to illustrate the absurdity of war. Again, I admire the film, I’m even planning on seeing the redux version (in, hopefully, better quality) soon.

But the click? Still missing.

Readers: help me out. Should I wattch Tetro?

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Le Cercle Rouge

Posted by Hedwig on September 8, 2008

Inspired by the guys over at filmspotting, and after my favorable experience with The Killing, I didn’t hesitate a second when, returning the latter, I saw the DVD-rental place also had Le Cercle Rouge (I didn’t see Rififi, however). After all, Adam and Matty loved it. Alexander recommended it. And well, I never mind gawking at Alain Delon for an hour or two, especially not after a hellish day at work (which it was). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 70s, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Watching Movies with my dad pt. 4

Posted by Hedwig on June 27, 2008

The movie: Vanishing Point (Richard C. Serafian, 1971) (UK version)

The pitchable element: my dad liked Death Proof quite a bit. Death Proof references this movie twice.

The length: 105 minutes (though it felt like more)

The verdict: well, they can’t all be winners, can they? Granted, it got slightly more interesting after we looked at each other one hour in and said “this is bad, huh?”, but not by that much. I knew this movie was about one guy driving a long way in a white Dodge Challenger. What I didn’t know was that there would be so little else, and that any possible subtext you might be able to find is voiced aloud, in the most corny way possible, several times.

I mean, the dialogue is just bad. Bad bad. And the acting? Charlotte Rampling shows up for about five minutes, and I know she can act, but she’s saddled with such terrible dialogue that you can hardly blame her for not sounding convinced, herself. The other actors don’t even seem to try. And the movie commits the worst sin a bad movie can commit: it’s boring. And just in case that doesn’t make an impression: know that I’m not easily bored. I was fascinated, mesmerized by Gerry, in which far less happened. But the movie’s too scattershot to be hypnotic, and rarely bad in an entertaining way.

Was there nothing at all I liked? Well… some of the chase scenes were, admittedly, pretty cool, and felt marvelously grounded and real compared to today’s CGI-riddled action. Though he’s kind of a poor man’s Elliott Gould, Barry Newman’s face is all kinds of fascinating. And while it’s incredibly dated by now, there’s no doubt that Vanishing Point influenced quite a few (better) movies: Death Proof is the obvious example, but the DJ-conceit from Reservoir Dogs seems cribbed from the diegetic use of radio here as well, and Thelma and Louise has clear echoes of it.

Luckily, my mom’s coming over tomorrow, and because I’ve been introducing her to Tarantino, Death Proof is on the menu. The chase involving that particular Dodge Challenger is one I could watch over and over again.

Posted in 70s, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Watching Movies with My Dad pt. 3

Posted by Hedwig on June 26, 2008

The movie: Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

The pitchable element: no need for one. My dad saw this in the cinema when it came out, loved it, and hadn’t seen it since.

The length: 93 minutes including credits

The verdict: comedies should not be watched alone. As to any rule, there are of course exceptions, but my -purely anecdotal- evidence is this: I liked Annie Hall the first time I watched it, by myself. I liked it a lot, in fact, enough to buy it, and I thought it was very, very funny. But I don’t remember laughing out loud.

With my dad, however, I laughed out loud several times, even at the most predictable jokes (like Alvy sneezing the coke away, for instance). Somehow, by myself, I could appreciate the humor but I wasn’t really able to ENJOY it. But now, watching it again, this time in good company, I enjoyed it immensely. The one-liners are funny, the tricks that break the fourth wall work, and Diane Keaton is glorious (why is she stuck in all these crappy rom-coms nowadays?)

That, and of course the following quote is probably one of the truest things anyone has ever said about relationships:

I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs. Alvy Singer

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Watching movies with my dad

Posted by Hedwig on June 24, 2008

As you might know, I’m currently on something of a break in the south of France with my father. And well, the thing with my dad is: he likes movies, but he never feels like watching them. He’s rarely sorry when he does, but he often just doesn’t have the motivation. Especially not if their over an hour and a half. So for this trip, I assembled some movies that a) had a clear, pitchable element and b) weren’t too long. So far? 2 down. 5 to go.

First up: The Hunger (Tony Scott, 1983)

The pitchable element: a lesbian sex scene featuring one of his favorite actresses, Catherine Deneuve.

The length: 93 minutes

The verdict: What a strange film this is! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 70s, 80s, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »