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BP’s Top 100 Challenge #62: In the Mood for Love, by Sarah Brinks

16 May

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.

My first exposure to In the Mood For Love actually came from a 2016 documentary called, The First Monday in May about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition, “China: Through The Looking Glass”. Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood For Love was a major inspiration for that exhibit and Wong provided input on the exhibit. The colorful costumes and 1960’s Chinese style that is essential to the visual style of In the Mood For Love were an excellent choice for a fashion exhibit.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #63: La Grande Illusion, by Sarah Brinks

13 May

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.

I think Bob Marley perfectly summed up La Grande Illusion when he said, “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” I admit I was a little confused by Grand Illusion for about the first half of the film. A group of French soldiers are held at a POW camp and they are digging a tunnel to escape. But the POW camp looked a lot more like a strict summer camp than a prison to escape from. They are allowed extravagant packages from home to be sent filled with food and drink, they have very little interaction with their guards, and they are even allowed to put on elaborate cabarets. I kept wondering why they felt so inclined to escape especially when all that waited for them was a return to the horrors of trench warfare.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #64: Rashomon, by Sarah Brinks

9 May

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.

I have a unique relationship with Rashomon. I used to be on an improv team that performed in the format of the film. We would perform a scene from a bunch of unique perspectives, then perform the “real” scene. I spent over a year analyzing this type of storytelling. As a result of that time I feel very close to this film.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by Sarah Brinks

8 May

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.

This was my second viewing ever of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The performances in the film are really its standout element. Humphrey Bogart’s decent into madness, Walter Houston’s cool-under-pressure old prospector, and Tim Holt as the trusting Curtain were played to different heights but work together to make compelling story. Dobbs (Bogart) and Curtain meet on a bogus job before making enough money to join Walter on a prospecting trip into the Mexican wilderness. Dobbs seals his fate by making the statement that he would never get greedy if he found gold. Of course, he ends up being the most greedy of them all.

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Chuck: Gonna Fly Now, by Sarah Brinks

4 May

You know subject of the film Chuck, Chuck Wepner, even if you have never heard of him. He’s the real-life inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Wepner went fifteen rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975 and is a local legend in Bayonne, New Jersey. I am on the record for not liking boxing movies… but I think I should be more accurate and simply say I don’t like boxing. The few boxing scenes in the film were certainly my least favorite but more interestingly, Chuck is the story of the rise and fall of a local sports celebrity.

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Independent Film Festival of Boston 2017: Chuck, by Sarah Brinks

2 May

You know subject of the film Chuck, Chuck Wepner, even if you have never heard of him. He’s the real-life inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Wepner went fifteen rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975 and is a local legend in Bayonne, New Jersey. I am on the record for not liking boxing movies… but I think I should be more accurate and simply say I don’t like boxing. The few boxing scenes in the film were certainly my least favorite but more interestingly, Chuck is the story of the rise and fall of a local sports celebrity.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #66: City Lights, by Sarah Brinks

2 May

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.

I have always enjoyed Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character – what struck me the most watching City Lights was how genuinely kind and sweet the he is. His kindness often works in his favor, but he doesn’t seem to do it for personal gain, he is just a kind-hearted man. He saves a suicidal millionaire from killing himself and he gets to live like the upper crust for short bursts of time and he is able to help the woman he loves.

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Independent Film Festival of Boston 2017: Street Fighting Men, by Sarah Brinks

1 May

Street Fighting Men is a documentary that takes a close-up look at three men’s lives in modern Detroit. Detroit is a city with a troubled past and a troubled present. It is a city that is struggling with poverty, drugs, and gang crime. Street Fighting Men takes a close look at how three men in modern Detroit are making it through day to day life over about a three-year period of time.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #67: Taxi Driver, by Sarah Brinks

27 Apr

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.

As I said in my review of Raging Bull, I have a lot of respect for Martin Scorsese, but he does not make films that appeal to me. I was halfway through Taxi Driver when I realized I had seen it before and forgotten almost everything about it. It is just a film I didn’t respond to.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie List Challenge #68: Brazil, by Sarah Brinks

25 Apr

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.

I have a real soft spot in my heart for daydreamers, and Sam Lowry is certainly a daydreamer. I wasn’t sure how I would respond to Brazil, but I really enjoyed the strange world building and the story of man chasing down a dream in a world that only seems surface deep. Jonathan Pryce’s portrayal of Sam made him a bright spot to grasp onto in the bleak, grey world that writer/director Terry Gilliam sets the film in. The world is cold, industrial, and full of hard angles. In the middle of all that is a man who just wants to be a hero and find love. He dreams of flying free and fighting oppression. In contrast, his real day job is as just another suit working for the government. As much I enjoyed Pryce’s performance, I do have to say anytime he was in a fight scene it really stood out that he is not an actor who seems naturally suited to action.

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