Monday, March 22, 2010

#858. Philadelphia (1993)

 In detail: IMDB Wikipedia
Watched: 7
Remained: 994 to go
Days: 10
Watched on: 2009.
Place: on TV.

One of the first instances about AIDS and homosexuality from Hollywood.

The story revolves around a homosexual lawyer, Andrew Bequett, who is fired when he contracts AIDS. He decides to sue the company and seeks the help of a fellow lawyer.

Tom Hanks makes a tremendous interpretation in the role of Andrew Bequett and it is the main attraction of the film. The scene explaining the opera is absolutely brilliant. I wish someone explained Opera to me this way. Maybe, I liked it!

Denzel Washinton also makes a good role as a homophobic lawyer that, nonetheless, decides to help Andrew out of his sense of Justice. He learns to respect Andrew, although his opinions regarding homosexuality change very little throughout the picture.

Additionally, Antonio Banderas makes here his first appearance in a Hollywood movie as Miguel, Andrew's love interest. Most of his scenes were cut in a last minute editing because they were considered "too much explicit" for the first Hollywood film about homosexuality.

The film is an honest effort to depict an age when AIDS were still heavily associated with homosexuality. Many of the script lines reflect the most common misconceptions at the time. I think the picture made a lot to dismiss some of those mistakes. I found it very interesting and entertaining.

Finally, I would like to remark that this is the first courtroom drama in this blog. I have a special fondness for this kind of cinema. Some people criticize this aspect of the movie due to its lack of a great dramatic climax. From my point of view, the focus of the movie is the discrimination and the illness of the main character and the scenes in the courthouse are used to show some that discrimination. Incidentally, it is one of the most believable depiction of an American trial ever come out from Hollywood with long periods of time between each state of the process. As Denzel Washington's character explains to the jury:

"Forget everything you've seen on television and in the movies. There's not going to be any last-minute surprise witnesses, nobody is going to break down on the stand with a tearful confession.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

#929. [PRE-BLOG] Run, Lola, run / Lola rennt (1998)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia
Watched: 6
Remained: 995 to go
Days: 7
Watched on: 2009.
Place: at home.

"I wish I were a heartbeat that never come to rest"

Looking at the posts I've written so far, you could think that this is a Silent Films-only blog. Well today I am going to write about a more recent movie for a change: Run, Lola, run.

I have to say that I was born in the eighties so I am part of that so-called MTV generation. I grew up watching music video and playing videogames. This movie is mix of them. It could be regards as 90-minute music video because the music of the soundtrack never stops. Also, it could be regard as a videogame where you have to try things several times to make them work.

The story is about a young woman, Lola, who needs to collect 100.000 Marks in 20 minute to save her boyfriend's life. To do so, Lola has to run, and Lola runs, and everything runs also: the music, the editing, the script, even the viewer feels like running. All the technical aspect of the films are in perfect synchronization with the fast pace music.

The film made a impact and many aspect of the film were taken in posterior works -- like the real time concept in series like 24.

A very original movie that, sadly, we don't see very often in the mainstream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

#24. [PRE-BLOG] The last laugh / The letzte Mann (1924)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia
Watched: 5
Remained: 996 to go
Days: 5
Watched on: 2006.
Place: at home.
Today we continue talking about Murnau with another of his masterpieces: The last laugh.

The story revolves around a man who is respected and admired in his community due to his work as a doorman in a luxury hotel. As he gets old, they transfer him to a post in the toilets. Moreover, they strip him off the uniform. This uniform represented, more than any other thing, his position in the community. Shamed by his new position, he steals the uniform every night to make believe to his neighbours that he is still a doorman.

The style is that of an expressionist film: the distorted scenario, the exaggerated gestures, etc.; but its social theme and the playing with the camera make it a somewhat unclassifiable film. Some author labels it as a Kammerspiel film, a short life movement.

I find very interesting the depiction of a German society fascinated by authority and social status; moreover when this same society was just about to be devoured by its fears.

It is claimed that American audiences didn't understand the film because a cleaner earned more money than a doorman.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#31. [PRE-BLOG] Sunrise (1927)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia 
Watched: 4
Remained: 997 to go
Days: 4
Watched on: 2009
Place: You don't want to know.

At this point I have a confession to make: I had seen already around 80 movies from the list before starting with this blog. From now on, if I don't have anything new to blog, I will write about one of those films. The objective is 1001 movies in 1001 posts. These movies will have the label [PRE-BLOG] in the title. Yesterday I couldn't see anything; so today I write about one those pictures: Murnau's Sunrise.
I love this film. The plot may not be terribly original but the direction and interpretation are captivating. Murnau has the ability to transport the viewers from one state to another without losing us in the process. He plays with our feelings like a child plays with clay. During the viewing, the real world doesn't exist, only that subjective universe of huge cities, eerie moors and dark swamps exists. A universe transfigured by the characters’ emotions, because they are the only thing that matters during 90 minutes. These emotions are perfectly transpired by the characters; thanks to the brilliant interpretation from George O'Brian and Janet Gaynor (she received the Academy Award for this film together with Seventh Heaven, another very recommendable picture). The movie is a magic enchantment from the start to that end with the sunrise illuminating our newly refreshed lives.

It won the very first Best Feature Film Academy Award in 1929.

Films like these make this whole crazy project worth it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

#32. The General (1927)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia 
Watched: 3
Remained: 998 to go
Days: 3
Watched on: Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Place: At home

They don't make them like this anymore!

The movie is absolutely hilarious from the start to the end. I heard that Keaton and other comedians studied the public's reaction in the previews to make each scene to last the exact time. After seeing how timely each joke is in this movie, that doesn't seem an exaggeration. The story is apparently based on a military raid during the American Civil War. Some volunteers from the Union Army steal a Southern train and the locomotive engineer, Buster, goes on a crazy chase to recover it. The pursuit is brilliantly constructed with Buster showing all his acrobatics all over the train. In a beautiful symmetry, the chase is repeated, joke after joke, with the roles reversed, when Buster is trying to reach the Southern lines.

The movie contains a lot of memorable scenes. For instance, to pick just one, the whole sequence with the cannon is unforgettable.

The film is definitely a "must-see".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

#39. The docks of New York (1928)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia 
Watched: 2
Remained: 999 to go
Days: 2
Watched on: Saturday, March 13th, 2010
Place: You don't want to know

I have added a link to a list where you can follow my progress. It is in the right side.

Can a romantic movie be set in dark bar in the docks? This lovely film has the answer. At first sight, you could think that this is going to be your average story about swearing sailors and easy women; but nothing could be further from the true. This movie has very deep characters, supported by tremendous interpretations. The lack of exaggerated gestures -- it seems like a muted "talkie" -- makes the film terrible subtle. In fact, you are never sure of the intentions of each character. The movie goes from one unlikely situation to another until the climax at one of the most improbable places for a romantic film's ending.

The photography and dark ambience are superb and I think that they have influenced many other waterfront films.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

#38. The crowd (1928)

In detail: IMDB Wikipedia 
Watched: 1
Remained: 1000 to go
Days: 1
Watched on: Monday, March 8th, 2010
Place: You don't want to know

If you think that I'm going to start with the first movie and move straight forward from there to the last one, you have another think coming. Basically, it would be terribly boring (an entire month of 60's experimental films, anyone?). Besides that, it is difficult to watch a movie if you are not in the "right mood". Who wants to watch a tragedy when you are happy and at peace with the world? I not only aspire to watch the 1001 films, I also want to have some fun in the process. That being said, let's start with our first movie, the number 38 on the list: The Crowd by King Vidor.

Now that we are living in a world where a lot of movies about the everyday life are being made every year, it is a little hard to imagine the ruckus that this movie caused at the time. Its own director labeled it as "experimental cinema". My general impression is very good. It's almost a documentary about the daily routine and the stress of modern life. People praise the expressionist scene of James Murray after the accident but I prefer the little scenes at home (like the one with the cupboard). I think that they more than anything show the worn out of a relationship due to routine.

Not a bad a way to start...