365 Film Challenge - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
- gotta say i pretty much got what i was expecting: a middle film. it seems they’re all suckers to kind of the same formula - total turmoil with an open ending to get you there for the 3rd film. thank you Empire Strikes Back for setting the precedent. either way though, the film flew by - it was really entertaining and the acting was swell. Philip Seymour Hoffman was fantastic, as always - but he’s pretty much playing himself. Jennifer Lawrence is stunning. the only real big complaint i have is the assumption the film makes about the viewer’s knowledge - i haven’t read the Hunger Games books and haven’t seen the first film since i first saw it but this one jumps right in like i remember everything perfect - which i didn’t. so it took about 20 mins for me to refresh my brain and get all caught up, since there was just no exposition for me to grab onto. after that though, i was set - just wish i would have been right there from the start. worth catching in theaters though, the effects and cinematography are pretty stunning.
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365 Film Challenge - She’s All That
- would not have guessed this would end up being part of this project, but well here we are. it was admittedly tough to watch this without thinking of Not Another Teen Movie the ENTIRE TIME - that as a parody in my brain made this play out almost just as ridiculously. there’s tons of familiar 90’s faces and all the equally disgusting over-saturated colors on EVERYTHING - makes me glad i was just in elementary school through the 90’s without having to worry so much about high school problems. it’s a pretty silly film, but would be worth kicking back with friends to watch.
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365 Film Challenge - The World’s End
- i just did not see the twist in this one coming at all, and i think that unpredictability is what pushes it up to the level of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz - but without that it definitely would have been a significantly weaker entry to the trilogy. the scale of this one far surpassed the other two films though, and that made me really love it. it’s sad to see the Cornetto Trilogy end, but it sure did go out with a bang. it was also nice to see a little more of an ensemble cast without relying too heavily on just Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, there’s lots of laughs from everyone else as well. Edgar Wright continues to up his ante as a director as well, he just gets stronger and stronger in every film i see and i just CAN’T WAIT for Ant-Man. you’d do well to see this, wish i would have caught it in theaters though.
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365 Film Challenge - The Sting
- i don’t really know how it took me this long through the project or even why this film made me think of it… but it’s really refreshing to see a well-directed film that just isn’t incredibly stylized or particularly flashy or anything like that. don’t get me wrong - i love Tarantino, Abrams, and other extremely signature directors, but sometimes the simpler and less intrusive art direction really just keeps things grounded and realistic. the twists are authentic and the acting stellar - not quite as fun as Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, but fun play between Redford and Newman all the same. a really solid film, have yourself a treat and watch.
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365 Film Challenge - The Flight Of The Phoenix
- so the merit of the film is the casting and the acting; Jimmy Stewart and Richard Attenborough lead the cast exceptionally well. the beginning and the ending are the exciting part, while the whole middle is mostly just small group suspicion and survival politics - much like Lord Of The Flies or even 12 Angry Men. the set pieces were pretty cool as well though and the plane assemblage during the last third provide some pretty cool scenery. if you’re a Jimmy Stewart fan, this is pretty solid - lots of old man grumblies to dig on.
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365 Film Challenge - Rebecca
- for being a pretty old film (1940… yeah.) and one of Hitchcock’s first big flicks, it’s pretty incredible to see the dynamic style he had even at the beginning of his career. it’s nothing like his later stuff that are absolute masterpieces, but this is still pretty great. a widower takes a new wife and their marriage is haunted by his deceased wife… with accompanying twists and turns. Hitch is an absolute master of suspense, but it’s incredibly evident in black and white fare; something about the omission of color, maybe just the shadow play and contrast, really brings to light (PUN) the two-facedness of characters with something to hide. Laurence Olivier is billed as the bigger star, but Joan Fontaine is the real dramatic player here - uncovering everything as the film goes on ala Cary Grant in North By Northwest. definitely a classic worth watching especially for Hitchcock buffs.
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365 Film Challenge - Marty
- this was a really refreshing film that i found out about through it being a film the studios kind of tried to ruin. the premise is that Ernest Borgnine is more or less an unmarry-able 34 year old who’s lost the energy to keep dating and trying to settle down. and he’s got all this peer pressure from his friends and family to get married, but he’s had enough. so he meets this admittedly unattractive girl but they hit it off and he spends the rest of the film trying to rationalize his great night he had and justify it to EVERYONE IN TOWN. the pain and frustration in Marty’s character is just made so evident by his being stuck in the same routine every Saturday night and contrasted so well with his elation after his good first date - i think it’s something most people could probably relate to. the film itself is a little slow, just since there’s not so much dynamic action and it’s pretty dialogue-based. but it’s short, so it’s worth tracking down and giving a watch.
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365 Film Challenge - Brazil
- i had a feeling i just didn’t know what i was gonna end up with coming into this film and i was pretty much right - Terry Gilliam is in a class of his own when it comes to filmmaking; there’s really nothing like his work anywhere else. take into account the fight he had with the studio over trying to get this film released in theaters and the continued problems with productions he runs into (case in point: The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassuss) and it’s a wonderful story about how it’s become a cult classic. the film itself is grandiose and amazingly well-crafted (much like all Gilliam films); he definitely brings a unique visualization and style to the table and it’s absolutely represented here. his set pieces and wide angle lens use and the quirky British humor script, set into the 1984-esque story but with extremely stylized use of miniatures and dream sequences. it’s pretty breathtaking, would love to see it on a big screen. the casting is great too, lots of familiar faces in fun roles. definitely worth tracking down.
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365 Film Challenge - Saturday Night Fever
- so i came into this expecting some fun Travolta quote madness and groovy tunes and dancing… what i got out of it was a general rape-y vibe and groovy tunes and dancing. the focus of the film seemed to be shining a light on the disco scene of the late 1970’s and if most of what disco was actually about was blowjobs, then the film did its job. sure, John Travolta has his fair share of complaining about his hair and his job at the paint store for the first 1/3 of the film, but after that it pretty quickly turns into a women hate-fest. just saying you should know what you’re bargaining for before sitting down to watch.
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365 Film Challenge - Lawrence Of Arabia
- had to make sure i could make time to sit down and watch this one - which i did - and still got interrupted a couple times. everything about it is on this incredibly epic scale, especially for the freaking 60’s. if i had a chance to see this on the big screen i would absolutely take it - my little TV just didn’t even do it justice, even though it kept me in it for the whole time. it’s really interesting and exciting when a film just goes by and you don’t realize how long it’s been as you’re watching it - before i knew it i was two hours in and wasn’t tired of watching it yet. the story was structured and directed so well so it didn’t feel like a marathon, just a good film that happened to be long. The Two Towers got this right as well, and I’m sure this film influenced the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in some way, even if it’s just the length - but the huge landscapes and location shoots have to lend it to this film. sure sure, we’ve got Alec Guinness playing an Arab (not super great) and a slew of other white-washed Middle Easterns but in general it didn’t detract from the film much. the other thing i was glad to see was not Germans as the main antagonists in a World War film (albeit WWI, but still). glad i set aside the time for this one, EVERYONE SHOULD!
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365 Film Challenge - V/H/S
- i think the premise of the film really lent itself to the real focus - which was essentially to feature short found footage-style horror films. the problem it did suffer from then was that i was trying to find some kind of through-line that made the VHS tape the killer for the main story but since the shorts were unrelated enough you just kind of keep waiting for something to stick, but it never does. that’s not to say the film wasn’t good, it just seemed scattered. the shorts (particularly the one in the woods) really used the medium specificity of VHS tape playback, and its related lousiness, to their advantage in making things creepy and jittery and awesome. the editing was really great, it jumps around quite a lot which kept me on edge throughout. definitely a horror film in a class by itself, check it out it’s on Netflix.
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365 Film Challenge - The Spectacular Now
- oh man, so many feels. it’s a snapshot of late high school adolescence with some twists and turns that keeps it from feeling like every other film about young love and adolescence. i think the really interesting thing about the storytelling and direction was that every scene felt like it’s own little play - so it stuck really well to Sutter’s (main character) philosophy of living in the now and not worrying about the past. i think the casting was the real strength of the film; every character played their part really well and the emotions flowed so well and then there’s surprising twists… BUT THEN some characters make questionable decisions and, in my opinion, the characterization kind of falls apart and the film’s resolution just wasn’t as strong as the first 3/4. also: there is a BUTT LOAD of unregulated minors consuming alcohol action with zero consequence. despite these things though, it is worth checking out so HUNT THAT BIZ DOWN. oh hey also there’s this part where Amy (Shailene Woodley) says ‘Okay’ and Sutter (Miles Teller) asks if it was a question or a statement and HOLY BUTTS it seemed too much like The Fault In Our Stars foreshadowing for me to handle. there that’s it.
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365 Film Challenge - Double Indemnity
- so this here is one of the progenitors of the film noir genre and it was actually really hard to watch just since the dialogue is so characteristically noir that it comes off as actually really funny. the story is a little predictable for those familiar with noir - but that’s not to say i didn’t enjoy it! i had a good time seeing how it all started: it had the male lead, the femme fatale, inner monologue, all the good stuff. the big thing that i think could have helped the film go down a little smoother would have been a more intrusive soundtrack; there wasn’t much to patch up the awkward silly banter. it invented a genre, so you’d be fool not to see it at some point!
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365 Film Challenge - Rear Window
- whoa baby, this clicks right up close to the top of my Hitchcock list - i would say this is (next to North By Northwest) the most uptight and excited i was about a plot unraveling in quite a long time. the build-up is so satisfying and the discipline of the direction to stay from Jeff’s POV throughout the film really puts you in the seat with Jimmy Stewart the whole time. there was ONE break from that POV that i counted and it’s a medium shot of some bimbo who comes out onto her porch after the 2nd murder (if you’ve seen it you know what i mean) and the shot is out of place and i don’t really know what it’s doing in that sequence. other than that the film is solid (minus the sped up shots near the end of the film) and the characterization was fantastic - lots of juicy Stewart dialogue to mimic along with. the other plot-intensive device that really shown was the lighting, just really solid and beautiful while still holding a lot of power in terms of the story. definitely glad to continue to fill out my Hitchcock knowledge.
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365 Film Challenge - Warrior
- this was a pretty incredible film, it’s no wonder Tom Hardy was tapped for playing Bane - he’s such a freaking monster in this and Bronson Nolan would have been crazy to seriously consider other actors. the story itself is pretty predictable but interesting nonetheless. it’s interesting to note that i would totally believe Nick Nolte to be the father of both Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton; i found myself seeing their likeness in his face a few times throughout the film. it’s on Netflix, so give it a watch, it’s pretty solid.
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