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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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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #69: Rear Window, by Sarah Brinks

22 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 provided such a challenge.

It’s always fun during this challenge when I get to pull that week’s movie off my own shelf. That was what I got to do with Rear Window. I am an unabashed Alfred Hitchcock fan and Rear Window is one of favorites of his films. In Rear Window, Hitchcock takes full advantage of the human tendency to look in on and watch other people’s lives. He also plays on the question, “What does my life look like from the outside?” Certainly, social media has heightened the false outside persona we all craft but back in 1956 there weren’t that many options to see how other people live or show off how you live.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #70: Paths of Glory, by Sarah Brinks

18 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 provided such a challenge.

I knew nothing about Paths of Glory before this viewing. I like war movies and was delighted that this was a film about World War I. The trench warfare was horrific and Paths of Glory doesn’t shy away from showing that. The scene when the French army is attempting to take Ant Hill does a great job of showing what an impossible mission it was from the start. The distance they must cover over the pock-marked terrain, and in clear view of the enemy leaves no doubt in the viewers mind that it was a suicide mission. When you add to it that General Mireau is willing to shell his own men to get them to leave the trench, you know they could never win.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #71: Network, by Sarah Brinks

13 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 saw Network for the first and only time in a film studies class in college. I liked it and we discussed it academically but I didn’t really appreciate it at the time. After college, I spent a significant portion of my career working at various television affiliate stations. I have spent most of my career studying and analyzing Nielsen ratings. As you might imagine, I had a very different experience watching Network this time. I brought a lot of industry knowledge to this movie that I simply didn’t have when I was first learning about media in my early college years and I enjoyed it even more as a result.

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BP’s Top 100 Challenge #72: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Sarah Brinks

11 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 haven’t seen or read To Kill a Mockingbird since my high school English class, and it wasn’t a story I responded to at that point in my life. I’m glad that this challenge gave me a reason to return to this film because I had a much better response to it this time around.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #73: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, by Sarah Brinks

8 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 provided such a challenge.

This is the first time I have seen Aguirre, the Wrath of God and it was everything I expected from a Werner Herzog film. It was epic in scope, brutally realistic, and dramatic. I knew the basic story line of the film, a group on Spanish conquistadors search for El Dorado but I didn’t expect so much attention paid to the legality of their actions. They even had a small trial in the middle of the jungle. I also assumed from the title that Don Lope de Aguirre would play a more central role in the film but he doesn’t take center stage, if you will, until the final third of the film. By that time, he has gone completely crazy.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #74: Raging Bull, by Sarah Brinks

4 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 provided such a challenge.

Raging Bull is a film I respect but I don’t actually like it very much. I feel that way about most of Martin Scorsese’s films. He is a director I have a lot of respect for but he does not make films that appeal to me for the most part. Raging Bull is expertly made and beautifully shot in black in white and the story is dramatically compelling but it is about terrible people and a sport that I abhor.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #76: Last Year at Marienbad, by Sarah Brinks

31 Mar

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.

It took me a little time to get used to watching Last Year at Marienbad. The chateau where the film takes place seems to exist outside of normal time and space. People freeze in the middle of conversations, or seemingly change places in a room without moving. And it always seems to be the same time of day throughout the film. It is always evening. Everyone is in tuxedos, suits, and gowns. They are always drinking, dancing, and playing cards. Once I settled into the rhythm of the film, I began to enjoy it.

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BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #75: Duck Soup, by Sarah Brinks

28 Mar

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.

Duck Soup was my first Marx Brothers film and I think it will be my last. I like to try and find positive things about all the movies I watch for this challenge, so we’ll start there. I have to give the Marx Brothers credit for their ability to do physical comedy. There was a scene where Chico, Harpo, and a merchant keep swapping hats and it is quite skillful and funny. Probably the best scene in the film is when Groucho and Harpo are dressed identically and do a choreographed mirror scene. It is completely silent and a delightful several minute-long break in the film.

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