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BP’s Top 100 Challenge #61: La Dolce Vita, by Sarah Brinks

19 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.

The life styles of the rich and famous can seem exotic and glamour to the rest of us. La Dolce Vita certainly shows that side of life, but it also shows the darker, less appealing side. I found the lead character Marcello fascinating to watch as he balanced his job with his dream of becoming a real writer and his relationship with his hysterical fiancée and his many affairs.

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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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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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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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