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Thread: MC's Criterion Challenge 2021 (by way of Letterboxd)

  1. #426
    Well dang, I can't pass on Kiss Me Deadly now.

  2. #427
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Well dang, I can't pass on Kiss Me Deadly now.
    Streetwise is pretty amazing - but it's not Black and White (were you thinking of the excellent Side Street?). KMD has some horror elements...
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Streetwise (1984, Martin Bell)
    Letterboxd

  3. #428
    Quote Quoting Yxklyx (view post)
    Streetwise is pretty amazing - but it's not Black and White (were you thinking of the excellent Side Street?). KMD has some horror elements...
    Oh! I assumed it was b&w based on the poster and LB banner. I'll get to it eventually.

  4. #429
    Turns out Kiss Me Deadly is not currently available to stream.

    30. Black and white -- Kuroneko. Cool movie. Stark b&w cinematography and plenty of neat special effects. Easily one of the most Noh-inspired movies I've ever seen, yet the camera is more mobile than that might suggest. It's the type of movie you silently play in the background of a party or late-night ramen bar to add some ambiance. The chilling story would kill around a campfire, but the way Shindo's Onibaba developed narratively and drew out its symbolism made that film far better suited to feature length. Three stars.

    Next up: Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Going with Monsieur Verdoux.

  5. #430
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Turns out Kiss Me Deadly is not currently available to stream...
    That's too bad! I saw it on 9/25 and marked it as being watched on Prime - assuming that's right, they must have removed it at the end of the month. You really need to see it!

    one of reviews on LB: My first impulse is to say, rather improbably, "I've never seen anything quite like that"

    I have a DVD - are you in Chicago?
    Last edited by Yxklyx; 10-12-2021 at 05:14 AM.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Streetwise (1984, Martin Bell)
    Letterboxd

  6. #431
    Quote Quoting Yxklyx (view post)
    I have a DVD - are you in Chicago?
    I visit from time to time, but no. I'm in Tennessee. I appreciate your willingness to help me out though! My gut says it'll be available to stream/rent in the near future -- on the Criterion Channel if nowhere else.

    After Monsieur Verdoux I'll be totally lost once again in choosing a film from the Godzilla box set. Gonna double check bacon's Godzilla thread, but if anyone has any tips on what to watch aside from the original...

  7. #432
    Quote Quoting Mr. McGibblets (view post)
    I'm going to keep my list in this post:

    Week 1 - 1984 - Love Streams*** - watched January 8
    Week 2 - Directed by Akira Kurosawa - Kagemusha*** - watched January 15
    Week 3 - Directed by Jean-Luc Godard - Pierrot le fou** - watched January 23
    Week 4 - Horror - The Devil's Backbone*** - watched January 31
    Week 5 - Released on Laserdisc - Three Cases of Murder** - watched February 3
    Week 6 - Made in Spain - Spirit of the Beehive*** - watched February 13
    Week 7 - Wes Anderson's Top 10 - The Earrings of Madame de...**** - watched February 20
    Week 8 - Romance - The Age of Innocence*** - watched February 28
    Week 9 - A silent film - The Phantom Carriage**** - watched March 6
    Week 10 - 1920s - Lonesome** - watched March 10
    Week 11 - 1930s - La Bźte humaine*** - watched March 15
    Week 12 - 1940s - Le Corbeau**** - watched March 23
    Week 13 - 1950s - Le Plaisir*** - watched April 1
    Week 14 - 1960s - When a Woman Ascends the Stairs*** - watched April 12
    Week 15 - 1970s - Don't Look Now** - watched April 17
    Week 16 - 1980s - Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters** - watched April 23
    Week 17 - 1990s - Safe** - watched April 30
    Week 18 - 2000s - Bamboozled** - watched May 6
    Week 19 - 2010s - Parasite*** - watched May 16
    Week 20 - Directed by a woman - The Virgin Suicides** - watched May 23
    Week 21 - A film featured in the "Pioneers of African American Cinema" series - Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.** - watched May 29
    Week 22 - Documentary - Hoop Dreams**** - watched June 5
    Week 23 - Comedy - Mon oncle*** - watched June 13
    Week 24 - Any film on The Criterion Channel - Summertime** - watched June 25
    Week 25 - Martin Scorsese's Top 10 - Ugetsu*** - watched July 2
    Week 26 - Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni - Blow-up**** - watched July 3
    Week 27 - Directed by Federico Fellini - La Strada*** - watched August 25
    Week 28 - The Merchant Ivory Collection - The Ballad of the Sad Cafe* - watched July 16
    Week 29 - Oscar Winners - Great Expectations*** - watched August 2
    Week 30 - Black and white - Au hasard Balthazar*** - watched August 7
    Week 31 - Directed by Charlie Chaplin - Limelight*** - watched August 5
    Week 32 - Watch any film featured in the Godzilla Boxset - Godzilla** - watched August 14
    Week 33 - Western - Dead Man**** - watched August 19
    Week 34 - Made in Italy - I Vitelloni*** - watched August 24

    Caught up again as of 8/25.
    Mr. M still killing it on page three, including a ruthless streak where he gave two stars to Don't Look Now, Mishima, Safe, and Bamboozled. I'm catching up though!

  8. #433
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    I visit from time to time, but no. I'm in Tennessee.
    You too??


  9. #434
    31. Directed by Charlie Chaplin -- Monsieur Verdoux. It starts quite dark and frantic, like Uncut Gems by way of Ealing Studios -- but the end feels as though Chaplin is ensuring the audience not mistake him for the character he plays, and that sudden moralistic tone shift doesn't really work. Nevertheless, Chaplin is one of cinema's great icons, and the way he counts money or flips through a phone book is evidence enough of why. Three stars.

    32. Watch any film featured in the Godzilla Boxset -- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Went with this in honor of MF Doom. Don't think this franchise is for me. Two stars.

    Next up: Western. Choosing between My Darling Clementine, Red River, and Heaven's Gate. I would lean Heaven's Gate except the length makes it tough to cram into this time-sensitive challenge.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 10-15-2021 at 02:12 AM.

  10. #435
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Next up: Western. Choosing between My Darling Clementine, Red River, and Heaven's Gate. I would lean Heaven's Gate except the length makes it tough to cram into this time-sensitive challenge.
    My Darling Clementine is great. Red River has some great scenes but it's never been one of my favourite Hawks films. After three viewings, Heaven's Gate is a film I find easier to admire than to love: it's so portentous and solemn and sepia-toned that I can't really get involved in the story. It's eminently worth seeing but far from the misunderstood masterpiece some folks have made it out to be.
    Just because...
    Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960) mild
    The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (Wes Anderson, 2021) warm
    High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941) mild

    The last book I read was...
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontė


    The (New) World

  11. #436
    In that case I think I'll go Clementine.

    Seems odd Criterion has released only seventeen westerns. I would've expected the number to be double or even triple that.

  12. #437
    Cinematographer Mal's Avatar
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    25. Ugetsu - men, amirite? Its beautifully shot and acted well, though unfortunately its a very familiar story of the failings of priorities that we’ve seen in cinema a number of times before. 7.5/10 … I get why Scorsese is a fan.

  13. #438
    33. Western -- My Darling Clementine. Maybe I would be more into a version with better audio (rented via Amazon and the dialogue was super quiet, the gunshots hurt my ears, and the galloping horses sounded like distorted digital nonsense). Visually, however, it was frequently awesome. I can't remember the last time I was so taken with clouds. Some nice interiors as well, such as a starkly backlit hallway, or the not-quite-deep-focus shots right down the bar that add some juicy dimension to the saloon. People who love the story use the word "mythic" -- I, who did not love the story, will use the word "simplistic" (though I think we're trying to describe the same thing). Doc Holliday and Chihuahua had the best moments (especially the surgery). Earp was fine. Clementine was a total nothing character, with the actress sucking the life out of every scene she was in. A mild yay from me for the visuals and a spattering of strong scenes, but maybe my least favorite John Ford movie I've seen. Three stars.

    Next up: a nice run of movies that has me excited.

    34. Made in Italy -- Theorem
    35. Made in the Soviet Union -- Ivan's Childhood
    36. Made in India -- The Big City

  14. #439
    Verrrrry nice run. All of these were exceedingly well-directed.

    34. Made in Italy -- Theorem. Pasolini sure was an interesting fellow. Wild movies. Horrifying death. Theorem would be a good movie to write an essay on, and if I were still in school I might've taken the time to unlock a greater appreciation for its heady symbolism. But at this point my interests were primarily formalistic -- such a fantastic looking movie, from the vivid colors to the varied camera techniques to the mid-century modern decor and architecture. The sepia-toned prologue with muddied music and dialogue was a very odd way to open the movie... I was on board straight away. Like Antonioni, however, Pasolini requires more intellectual effort than I am willing to afford right now -- in the end, I'm concerned a deep-dive into its themes and symbolism may yield less-than-acceptable returns. Three stars.

    35. Made in the Soviet Union -- Ivan's Childhood. Ah, Tarkovsky. It's been too long my friend. I promise to never again go so long without you. The "war through the eyes of a child" thing is super played out, but this is one of the best and earliest examples (and it thankfully doesn't linger too long on Ivan's tragic innocence like so many others -- this kid is truly out for revenge). Tarkovsky directs the dogshit out of this movie, so much it hardly even matters a majority of the runtime is dudes talking in a bunker. The cinematography and framing, the way the camera moves during perspective shots, the way dreams and reality are trickily edited together, the performances (particularly from the child), the tactile and emotionally evocative sound design -- just all-around, ceaselessly incredible filmmaking. An embarrassment of auteur riches. Tarkovsky is one of the greatest to ever do it. Four stars.

    36. Made in India -- The Big City. Despite gushing over Ivan's Childhood, this is my favorite of the three. Through such a simple plot (mom gets a job), Ray and his actors manage to hone in on the complexities of marriage, of gender roles, of pride and shame in a way that feels as provocative as punk but as good-natured as a bedtime story. Empathy is this movie's highest priority, and it is generously doled out to every character. Madhabi Mukherjee blossoms as a woman simultaneously proud of and distraught by her non-traditional role as breadwinner, while her husband must balance his fear of emasculation against the harsh realities of modern life. Sixty years and several feminist waves later, this movie still feels like a viable tool for marriage counselors to start tough conversations with their clients about assumed gender roles. Elegant, probing, and prescient. I'd even choose it over what I've seen from the Apu Trilogy. Four stars.

    Next up:
    37. A film from the Eclipse series -- Chafed Elbows
    38. Kelly Reichardt's Top 10 -- A Poem Is a Naked Person

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    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 10-28-2021 at 04:11 PM.

  15. #440
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Yeah, the Ray film is also my favorite of those three.

    I like Kelly's list - I see that she has A Taste of Honey at #7.
    Last edited by Yxklyx; 10-27-2021 at 07:44 PM.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Streetwise (1984, Martin Bell)
    Letterboxd

  16. #441
    37. A film from the Eclipse series -- Chafed Elbows. Robert Downey Sr. was a trickster savant. A man so cultured he was unafraid to be tasteless. Chafed Elbows is like John Waters riffing on La Jetée. The missing link between Luis Buńuel and Adult Swim. The Tim & Eric to Putney Swope's Mad Men. It's the easiest film to recommend to a very specific type of person -- and impossible to recommend to anyone else. Three stars.

    38. Kelly Reichardt's Top 10 -- A Poem Is a Naked Person. Are all Les Blank docs like this? His editing style is curious to say the least. If it worked I would describe it with a positive spin, such as "free-associative" or "elliptical." But I have to agree with Leon Russell himself -- who thought a standard tour doc was being made over a two-year span but instead got this, and succeeded in keeping it locked up for forty years -- and describe it has "mostly nonsense" (so this is where Thierry Guetta/Mr. Brainwash gets his inspiration!). No matter how many wtf editing choices Blank makes, however, the footage is still the footage, and there's plenty to appreciate here, at least musically. Russell is an excellent pianist and a passionate singer who consistently misses the high note -- funnily enough, my favorite moment was "I'm So Lonely I Could Cry," which plays out in full over impressionistic sunset images and features what is easily, shall we say, his "least technically proficient" vocal performance of the entire film, yet it alchemizes into something so beautiful you want to forgive Blank all his other transgressions. Alas, a few fleeting moments of righteousness can't excuse a feature length of sin. Two stars.

    Edit to add: A Poem Is a Naked Person is a brilliant title and the reason it came on my radar in the first place.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 11-05-2021 at 02:01 AM.

  17. #442
    Next up:

    39. Directed by John Cassavetes. Been planning to watch Killing of a Chinese Bookie for a while with a friend. Gonna try to make that happen in the next few weeks, but will skip week 39 for now. If that doesn't work out in a timely manner then I will abandon Chinese Bookie and go with Husbands, the only other Cassavetes with a Criterion release I haven't seen.

    40. Watch a film between spine #100-200. Choosing between:

    Double Suicide
    Loves of a Blonde
    The Cranes are Flying

    Leaning Loves of a Blonde.

  18. #443
    Loves of a Blonde is pretty great, albeit depressing. The Cranes Are Flying is more exciting for its expressive style than its story, which I can barely remember. I haven't seen Double Suicide but I'm a big fan of Shinoda's Dry Lake and Pale Flower.

    Cassavetes ranked: Love Streams, A Woman Under the Influence, Shadows, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, Faces, Gloria, Husbands, Minnie and Moskovitz.
    Just because...
    Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960) mild
    The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (Wes Anderson, 2021) warm
    High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941) mild

    The last book I read was...
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontė


    The (New) World

  19. #444
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    Can't go wrong with either Loves of a Blonde or The Cranes Are Flying, although I love the latter more.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  20. #445
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Loves of a Blonde! Forman at his best.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Streetwise (1984, Martin Bell)
    Letterboxd

  21. #446
    40. Watch a film between spine #100-200 -- Loves of a Blonde. Sorry y'all, but this did very little for me. It was the same with The Firemen's Ball. The humor/satire must be what I'm missing in both. I can imagine this working if I were to find it funny, but instead I get two painfully long scenes that are at best mildly amusing, with little-to-no character development, and a general air of unpleasantness. On a narrative level it is practically formless. Imagine the restaurant scene in Playtime but without the gags or intricate staging. Visually it does have its moments. Forman's American films may not be as subversive, but they're better in every other conceivable way. Two stars.

    Next up:

    41. Film Noir -- The Naked Kiss
    42. Samurai -- Choosing between The Sword of Doom, Samurai Rebellion, and The Tale of Zatoichi. I'm leaning Samurai Rebellion because Masaki Kobayashi is the real deal. Other two seem cool though.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 11-09-2021 at 10:40 PM.

  22. #447
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Samurai Rebellion or The Tale of Zatoichi - I wouldn't think it's necessary to watch the succeeding *25* sequels though, pretty sure they're all standalone/episodic.
    Last edited by Yxklyx; 11-09-2021 at 11:01 PM.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Streetwise (1984, Martin Bell)
    Letterboxd

  23. #448
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    40. Watch a film between spine #100-200 -- Loves of a Blonde. Sorry y'all, but this did very little for me. It was the same with The Firemen's Ball. The humor/satire must be what I'm missing in both. I can imagine this working if I were to find it funny, but instead I get two painfully long scenes that are at best mildly amusing, with little-to-no character development, and a general air of unpleasantness. On a narrative level it is practically formless. Imagine the restaurant scene in Playtime but without the gags or intricate staging. Visually it does have its moments. Forman's American films may not be as subversive, but they're better in every other conceivable way. Two stars.
    This sounds like a case of having the wrong expectations for a film. I don't think this was intended as a riotous comedy, or a subversive political statement, but is an essentially realistic film about a not very sophisticated young woman from a bleak industrial town who gets cruelly jilted, and the longeurs in which nothing much is happening and informal, quasi-documentary style add to the film's realism. In short, it's a Czech New Wave film.
    Just because...
    Devi (Satyajit Ray, 1960) mild
    The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (Wes Anderson, 2021) warm
    High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941) mild

    The last book I read was...
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontė


    The (New) World

  24. #449
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    In short, it's a Czech New Wave film.
    Maybe this is my problem. Having seen a small handful, it's possible this movement just isn't for me. The Cremator is still on my watchlist... if I like that then I'll give Closely Watched Trains a chance. If neither really connects, I'll move on.

  25. #450
    Quote Quoting Yxklyx (view post)
    Samurai Rebellion or The Tale of Zatoichi - I wouldn't think it's necessary to watch the succeeding *25* sequels though, pretty sure they're all standalone/episodic.
    That's an outrageous number. These two were my two real considerations. The Sword of Doom gets a shoutout because the title is cool.

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