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About Feego

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    You might not believe this, but I'm interested in classic films.

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  1. Feego

    NickAndNora34's Disney Movie Journey

    So true. When I re-watched Cinderella a couple of years ago, I was really struck by how modern she seemed as a character, complete with her own streak of sarcasm. I love the relationship she has with the rodents, as they are not just companions, but in a way confidants with whom she can share her frustrations. There's a fun little moment, during the aforementioned "Sing Sweet Nightingale" in which she tells her friends she'll have to interrupt the "music," saying it with a clearly mocking tone. While she's not a mean or vengeful person, she's also not going out of her way to love or get along with her step family. She just does what she has to do to survive. It's also interesting that so many accuse the Disney princesses of lying around waiting to be rescued by a prince, when in fact Cinderella doesn't do that at all (neither does Aurora, but I'll let NickAndNora34 get to that one first). In fact, the prince couldn't seem to care less about her. It's the king who pursues the owner of the glass slipper rather than the prince (a change from older versions of the tale) because his biological grandfather clock is ticking, and the only reason she is able to try the thing on is because her animal friends help her. As EricJ says, it's a case of being kind to others and others being kind in return. Not a bad lesson for children. The prince is basically her reward in the end, a nice piece of man candy for all she's been through!
  2. Feego

    Funny Games

    Nope, I was too bored by that point. 😄 For anyone interested, here's a pretty good YouTube video highlighting the visual similarities between the German- and English-language versions. Haneke apparently used the same house, and while the films had different cinematographers, the original's shots were followed very closely. (Warning again: Graphic violence is shown)
  3. Feego

    Funny Games

    More so than Funny Games.
  4. Feego

    Funny Games

    The same can be said for empty dismissals.
  5. Feego

    Funny Games

    The reason for my sarcasm is that your comment had nothing to do with my assessment except to just dismiss it. "Gripping" and "boring" are entirely subjective and frankly irrelevant to what I was saying. What is gripping to one may be boring to another and vice versa. I never claimed that Scream 2 was a more gripping film than Funny Games, nor did I claim that Funny Games was not gripping. My point in the comparison was to discuss the effectiveness of their approaches. With Funny Games, Haneke has a very single-minded view of how audiences should react to and process screen violence. They should only be repelled by it and not view it. If they stay for the entire film and enjoy it, they are sadists. If they stay for the entire film and are disgusted, they are hypocrites. He believes he is clever in the way that he manipulates the audience and ruptures the illusion of cinema, but he is by no means the first director to do so. Scream 2 does something quite similar, toying with audience expectations about violence and in its opening scene very explicitly showing the viewer's complicity. But it also presents a self-critical perspective, looking back at the way Hollywood promotes and exploits violence, something that indicts the filmmakers themselves. Haneke is not bothered to look inwardly because he sees himself on a higher moral ground than the viewer. I don't believe either film is a masterpiece of cinema, but one of them actively encourages audience engagement while the other actively mutes it (because Haneke would rather you not watch it). And I'm not just pulling this interpretation out of my ascot. Haneke has discussed all of this in interviews and written essays about his reason for making the film. Here is a snippet of one such interview (Warning: There are some graphic shots from the film): Look, if you enjoy the film, I'm not here to say that you shouldn't (although, ironically, those who do enjoy it would only be dismissed by Haneke himself). CaveGirl asked for thoughts on the film, and I gave mine. I would not call the film boring, or stupid, or any other such dismissive adjective because I genuinely don't think it is any of those. The film was expertly made by an obviously intelligent man. I just fundamentally disagree with his contempt for the audience. I absolutely would be happy to read a spirited defense of the film that goes beyond just saying it's "gripping" while other movies are "boring."
  6. Feego

    Funny Games

    Riveting defense.
  7. Feego

    Funny Games

    I also enjoy the Psycho remake, but for rather different reasons. It plays more like a weird experiment than an actual remake, especially since it's not truly shot-for-shot, although it often feels like it. There are some shots that are subtly different, some that capture what Hitchcock apparently originally envisioned (like the opening helicopter shot through the hotel room window), and some that are just wildly different and new (like William H. Macy's hallucinations during his trip down the stairs!). The film actively dares us to make comparisons to the original, challenging our memory (wait, did it actually happen like that?), and perhaps even critiquing the remake trend that kicked off in the 90s. Van Sant states on his DVD commentary that he made the film so that people who don't like black-and-white movies could watch it, and I think that's total BS. He's too intelligent a filmmaker to do something so puerile, and I do believe he had something else up his sleeve with it. The performances are probably my least favorite aspects, although I do enjoy Viggo Mortensen's laid-back and somewhat flamboyant take on Sam Loomis, quite a contrast to the sturdy John Gavin. As for Funny Games, I absolutely hated it (I only watched the original). As LawrenceA notes above, Haneke has nothing but contempt for the viewer, and I have no patience for that. The film itself is his game in which he wins no matter how you respond. If you are turned off by the movie and walk out, then you are reacting exactly the way he wants you to, i.e. the correct response. If you enjoy the film, then you are exactly the type of person he is indicting with it, you are complicit in the heinous crimes perpetrated by the two young men. To be clear, I was not offended by the violence in the film because it's so blatantly false and academic. There's nothing wrong with critiquing the prevalence of violence in the media and the pleasure audiences take in consuming it, but I don't think Haneke understands either one. It doesn't look anything like the typical violent Hollywood films that he is attacking (which truly backfired on him as I think he expected the English-language version to be a hit--and thus successful attack--with the torture porn crowd yet it failed to attract that audience). And his attitude toward the viewer is one of a finger-wagging schoolmarm who is only interested in his own point of view and has no desire to engage or communicate with his audience about why violence might be so fascinating and perhaps even attractive in the first place. I'm being quite honest when I say that Scream 2, released the same year as the original Funny Games, does a much better job with this topic, exploring the way movie violence and real-world violence are intertwined, the role that audience consumption plays in this, and even indicting the filmmakers themselves (director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson) for exploiting violence for personal gain. Plus it's got Jerry O'Connell singing "I Think I Love You" (badly) on a cafeteria table, which I'll take any day over some murderous twerp winking at me.
  8. Feego

    "Obscure" reference?

    This is a weird one, but in Jackass: The Movie, Johnny Knoxville appears as his trademark grandpa character, who later got his own spinoff in the ACADEMY AWARD-NOMINATED (!) Bad Grandpa. At one point, he is thrown out of a liquor store and yells out, "I was Lon Chaney's lover!" I seriously doubt more than 1% of that film's target audience had any idea who Chaney was, and as it turns out neither did Knoxville. He happened to see Chaney's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as they were filming and just ad libbed.
  9. Natalie Portman, with Jean Reno, in Leon: The Professional:
  10. Another great Gish moment, here in The Wind:
  11. This is such a fantastic publicity shot of Gloria Grahame in The Big Heat, but it's a real shame we don't see her from this angle in the movie (she's shown from the front with the gun just out of frame).
  12. Ah yes, perhaps the best of the dubious rape-revenge cycle of the late 70s/early 80s.
  13. I'll add to the list Gigi Perreau in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952). When I saw this movie for the first time last year, I immediately thought this child was the greatest child star I've never heard of. She has great chemistry with Charles Coburn and strikes the perfect balance between cute and preternaturally mature.
  14. Those of you who have praised the work of Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce in The Night of the Hunter would do well to watch the extensive outtakes that are included on the Criterion edition. They go a long way in showing how their performances were shaped, and the struggle Laughton sometimes had to get little Sally to focus. I myself will have to respectfully disagree with either performance being called naturalistic. Pretty much all of the performances in that movie were intentionally artificial, with Gish probably coming closest to being natural. I've always found Chapin wooden in the part and the one weak link among the actors. Sally Jane Bruce, on the other hand, is absolutely perfect as an archetypal innocent. She looks like a porcelain doll come to life and possessed a delightful sing-song way of speaking -- "John made a SIN! John told a LIE!"
  15. Feego

    NickAndNora34's Disney Movie Journey

    I have that Blu-ray release, and the two films are definitely on separate discs. It's a four-disc set, with each film contained on its own Blu-ray disc and DVD. But yes, the physical discs were missing many of the bonus features that were originally released in the Fantasia Anthology DVD set years before, and I'm not too optimistic that they will ever resurface in physical form. One thing that surprised me about the new commentary recorded for the Blu-ray was that it actually discussed the history of Sunflower, the controversial centaur character who has since been erased completely from the movie. There was a point in Disney's history when the studio denied she ever existed, and no mention was made of her in the commentary on the original DVD.

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