Staff A-Z of Film: G is for… (pt.3)

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WILLIAM SAYS G IS FOR: Germany Year Zero (Roberto Rossellini, 1948)

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‘I see this film as a prayer from Rossellini to the postwar world, a prayer for compassion’ – Martin Scorsese. More last gasp than prayer, Martin. Inadvertent last rites? Perhaps. Bazin said “not a movie but a sketch, a rough draft of a work Rossellini hasn’t given us.” Rossellini gestures; man is the bastard. Quiet, confident desperation here.

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Film of the Day: THE HUSTLER (1961)

HOW CAN I LOSE?

 

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Starring Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott. Directed and written by Robert Rossen, who also wrote the screenplay for James Cagney’s Roaring Twenties (1939) and the Technicolor epic, Alexander the Great, starring Richard Burton (1956). Nominated for 7 Oscars (including Best Actor and Actress and Best Supporting Actor x2, Best Picture and Best Director).

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Fast Eddie Felson is a sharp customer; a pool shark hungry to take on anyone foolish enough to fall for his disingenuous, booze-soaked shruggery: the old ‘I don’t know much about pool, but what the hell, I’ll give it a whirl’ trick (‘and whilst we’re at it, throw in your car and you’ve got yourself a game’). Fast Eddie sure is sharp. But he’s cocky and hungry to prove he’s the greatest player around, and to this end has travelled across the country to challenge the great Minnesota Fats. Eddie plays well against Fats, in fact, he pretty much wipes the table with him. But then, with booze and bragging, he throws it all away…

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MINNESOTA FATS: DO YOU LIKE TO GAMBLE, EDDIE? GAMBLE MONEY ON POOL GAMES?

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FAST EDDIE: I’M THE BEST YOU’VE EVER SEEN, FATS. I’M THE BEST THERE IS. AND EVEN IF YOU BEAT ME, I’M STILL THE BEST.

Eddie meets Sarah, a melancholy soul with a twisted foot and a thirst for booze…

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SARAH: HOW DID YOU KNOW MY NAME WAS SARAH?

FAST EDDIE: YOU TOLD ME.

SARAH: I LIE. WHEN I’M DRUNK, I LIE.

FAST EDDIE: OKAY, SO WHAT’S YOUR NAME TODAY?

SARAH: SARAH.

Then Eddie meets Bert Gordon. Or, rather, Bert sniffs Eddie out, determined to get in on his action as agent and manager. But he has to stick the knife in and twist; stick it into Eddie; stick it into Sarah: Eddie’s no good, Bert says. Eddie’s a born loser, Bert says. And Sarah is perverted, twisted and crippled…

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GORDON: EDDIE, YOU’RE A BORN LOSER.
EDDIE: WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?
GORDON: FIRST TIME IN TEN YEARS I EVER SAW MINNESOTA FATS HOOKED, REALLY HOOKED. BUT YOU LET HIM OFF.
EDDIE: I TOLD YOU, I GOT DRUNK.
GORDON: SURE YOU GOT DRUNK, THE BEST EXCUSE IN THE WORLD FOR LOSIN’. NO TROUBLE LOSIN’ WHEN YOU GOT A GOOD EXCUSE. AND WINNING – THAT CAN BE HEAVY ON YOUR BACK TOO, LIKE A MONKEY. DROP THAT LOAD TOO WHEN YOU GOT AN EXCUSE. ALL YOU GOTTA DO IS LEARN TO FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF. THAT’S ONE OF THE BEST INDOOR SPORTS, FEELIN’ SORRY FOR YOURSELF. A SPORT ENJOYED BY ALL – ESPECIALLY THE BORN LOSER.

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SARAH: DOESN’T ALL OF THIS COME THROUGH TO YOU, EDDIE? DOESN’T ANY OF THIS MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU? THAT MAN, THIS PLACE, THE PEOPLE. THEY WEAR MASKS, EDDIE AND UNDERNEATH THE MASKED THEY’RE PERVERTED, TWISTED, CRIPPLED…

EDDIE: SHUT UP!

SARAH: DON’T WEAR A MASK, EDDIE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO.

Bert, the creep, breaks bones and breaks hearts and with twisted and crippled Sarah gone, Eddie plays Minnesota Fats one last time for her…

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FAST EDDIE:

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TRIVIA: Boxing champ, Jake LaMotta – subject of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) – has a cameo performance as a bartender.

And catch Paul Newman reprising the role of Fast Eddie in Scorsese’s The Colour of Money (1986), starring Tom Cruise.

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posted by Dixie Turner

 

Scorsese’s Top 12 Favourite Films of All Time

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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968)

H.A.L.: “JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, DAVE?”

A couple of astronauts with a weird and worrying smart computer go on a mission to explore signs of intelligent life buried beneath the surface of the moon. That music. That space. that computer.

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large_8_5_blu-ray1x8 1/2 – dir. Federico Fellini (1963)

GUIDO: “ACCEPT ME AS I AM. ONLY THEN CAN WE DISCOVER ONE ANOTHER.”

Memories and dreams interweave with reality in the mind of a director suffering from a creative block whilst working on his new film. It’s interesting to note that the actors worked on the film without any set dialogue, often delivering random sentences, the sound being recorded after and dubbed over. The film’s title is a reference to the number of films Fellini had made up to that point.

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ashesanddiamondsASHES AND DIAMONDS – dir. Andrzej Wajda (1958)

On the first day that Germany officially surrender in WWII, diverse factions who had lived in peace with one another during the occupation of a small Polish town now begin to fight one another.

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93456-050-5BB33DA5CITIZEN KANE – dir. Orson Welles (1941)

“ROSEBUD…”

Generally considered to be the greatest film ever made, until recently knocked off that position by Sight & Sound controversially nominating Vertigo for that spot. Made by Orson Welles when he was just 20 years old, the film’s central character is allegedly based on William Randolph Hearst – in fact, similarities between the two created a feud between the Hearst family and Welles that lasted 71 years. Innovative cinematography and lighting are just a couple of the reasons why this film is so lauded. Watch it again.

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leopardTHE LEOPARD – dir. Luchino Visconti (1963)

“IF WE WANT THINGS TO STAY AS THEY ARE, THINGS WILL HAVE TO CHANGE.”

Based on the novel by Lampedusa. An epic telling the story of the social upheavals which took place in Sicily in the mid 19th century and starring an international cast, including Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.Winner of the 1963 Palme d’Or.

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293183.1020.APAISA – dir. Roberto Rosellini (1946)

Made up of six vignettes that follow the Allied invasion during WWII and cover the length of Italy.

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THE RED SHOESTHE RED SHOES – dir. Powell&Pressburger (1948)

“… A GREAT IMPRESSION OF SIMPLICITY CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH GREAT AGONY OF BODY AND SPIRIT.”

A dancer torn between her passion for dancing and the man she loves. Innovative, beautiful, magical, startling. See it now.

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the-river-ritualTHE RIVER – dir. Jean Renoir (1951)

Three women, growing up in Bengal, fall for the same American soldier. A beautifully shot, Technicolor wonder, this film has been important for directors as diverse as Satyajit Ray who met his future cinematographer, Subrata Mitra, on set, to Wes Anderson whom it inspired to make The Darjeeling Ltd.

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Editors-Pick-Salvatore-GiulianoSALVATORE GIULIANO – dir. Francesco Rosi (1962)

A young outlaw becomes entangled in the political – and corrupt – forces that shape modern-day Sicily.

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searchers_19THE SEARCHERS – dir. John Ford (1956)

Two men go in search of a girl abducted during a Comanche raid. One of the most beautifully shot westerns of all time, all rolling expanse and dramatic colour. John Wayne’s staggering/lurching walk has never been framed so well.

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05UGETSU MONOGATARI – dir. Mizoguchi Kinji (1953)

Set in 16th century Japan, Ugetsu is one of the great masterpieces of Japanese cinema and is often credited, along with Roshomon, as being one of the films that brought Japanese cinema to the attention of the rest of the world. Based on a couple of Japanese ghost stories, Ugetsu is a tale of personal ambition, love and war and is famed for Mizoguchi’s use of long, poetic takes and its meticulous attention to period detail.

Roger Ebert’s review.

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vertigo-2VERTIGO – dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

Recently rated by Sight & Sound as the greatest film of all time – highly debatable, but still a fantastically tense (and occasionally trippy) watch, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.

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(List first published in Sight & Sound magazine)

posted by Dixie Turner

Michel Gondry’s Sweded Taxi Driver

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De Niro vs. Gondry.

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Remember when you were a child and you had just watched an episode of the A-Team where they’re all locked in a baddie’s garage and then manage to break out by building a monster-truck seemingly out of nothing more than a couple of old cogs, a wheel, a few manly grunts and some spit? You know what I’m talking about. Remember how you would try, in your bedroom, alone, to re-create the spectacular glory of this achievement with an old mouldering piece of broken-off plywood, some plastic bags, a few nails and a magic wand you ‘borrowed’ from a friend? Even when you added the elastic band it still didn’t quite make the right engine sound and shifting from 3rd to 4th gear wasn’t quite as smooth as you would’ve liked and frankly this was because you’d really just constructed a bizarre shelving system. Remember that sense of abject failure? Well this is the revenge of all of those crushed moments…

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Ghostbusters sweded – better than the original?

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Robocop sweded – better than the original.

If you’re not sure what ‘sweding’ is, either check out its origin’s in Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind or watch the following. Or I can stop being obnoxious and just tell you.

It’s basically a home-made re-make of a film, made on a non-existent budget with whatever toilet rolls and duct tape you happen to have lying around. The glory depicted should be captured unedited, with only a single take per scene.

Here, Michel Gondry directs himself in a sweded version of Martin Scorsese’s classic Taxi Driver – love the coloured-pencil bullets! Regard:

Other great swedes:

Terminator 2 Sweded

The Dark Knight Sweded

P.S. For those of you with A-Team envy who can’t get it together to build yourself a helicopter out of two old toothbrushes and some tinfoil, now you too can save yourself years of therapy with a couple of ideas for how to rebuild a) your car b) your self-esteem and c) your dreams:

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and for the more economically disadvantaged:

*PEACE AT LAST*

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P.P.S. FOR THOSE OF YOU THINKING OF JOINING THE CELEBRATION OF 2013 AS ‘THE YEAR OF THE MOHAWK’, HERE IS A TOUCH OF (THEMATICALLY JUSTIFIED) MOHAWK MAYHEM:

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*PITY THE FOOL*

by Dixie Turner

Favourite Scenes: Johnny Boy’s Entrance in Mean Streets (1973)

Written by Rob Munday

Take yourself back to a time when De Niro and Scorsese were fresh and dangerous in this classic moment from Mean Streets.
De Niro is Johnny Boy, no gangster but a Little Italy live-wire, a chancer with the mod-style later aped by the similarly swaggering Liam Gallagher.
Johnny Boy enters the bar… He’s joking about accompanied by two young ladies “from the village” – then things go up a gear. A concerned Charlie (Keitel) clocks him, the Stones kick in with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Johnny Boy approaches in slow motion bathed in Michael Powell red from the bar lights.

“I was born on a crossfire hurricane”

Johnny’s in trouble but he doesn’t know it – he’s lost in his own world, excited by the prospect of things to come.

New Releases: 02/04/12

HUGO:

Martin Scorsese, director of Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Goodfellas, etc,  directs this  cute, cuddly kids film. An adventure epic, full of mystery and magic and much-nominated in the way that films that cost so much often are, Hugo is  set in 1930’s Paris and stars more British actors than most British films. It’s a fun family film that all can enjoy. Or that the kids can enjoy, whilst the rest of us re-watch Taxi Driver just to re-assure ourselves that a nostalgia for past greatness is rarely misplaced. Starring Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Christopher Lee (Wicker Man) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat). Cert. U

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR-kP-olcpM

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS – CHIPWRECKED:

More squeaky rodents in hats and shades. We were worried the franchise had come to an end. But, no. Phew. Cert. U

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeqYxxD3tF4

THOSE WHO KILL SEASON 1:

Another serial killer is on the loose, but where is Sarah Lund? More importantly, where are her jumpers? With season 3 of The Killing on the way, the Danes have suddenly become synonymous with good  TV. Will this live up to the Killing and Borgen? Cert.15 Danish with English subs.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhOc1PrpBnk

ANOTHER EARTH:

A sci-fi fantasy drama. The Life of Rhoda, a brilliant 17-year-old, collides with that of John and his family with devastating consequences. Meanwhile, it is discovered that there is a duplicate Earth in the solar system with people identical to ourselves living there. Rhoda wonders if her extra-terrestrial twin has made the same mistakes with her life as she has… Starring Brit Marling (Community) and William Mapother (In the Bedroom). Cert. 12

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlPfAYpnpuw

DEEP BLUE SEA:

Not to be confused with the 1999 shark-thriller of the same name, this Deep Blue Sea is based on the 1952 play by Terrence Rattigan, and is directed by Terence Davies (House of Mirth, Of Time and the City). Set in 1950s Britain, it tells the story of the young wife of a high court judge who is caught in a dilemma between her stable yet sterile marriage and her passionate yet reckless affair with a young RAF pilot. Perhaps a few killer fish would liven things up? Starring Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener) and Tom Hiddleston (Archipelago). Cert. 15

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmphOgeyk70

BLANK CITY:

Documentary detailing the DIY culture of the late 1970s punk rock scene of New York, with particular reference to the independent filmmakers that were emerging from it and revelling in it. Featuring Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, Jim Jarmusch etc. Cert. E

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjzRPRBQngo

ID : A :

A Danish thriller (see? they’re everywhere; who knew there were so many Danes before The Killing?) about a woman struggling with amnesia whilst also being pursued by mysterious individuals… Cert. 15.  Danish with English subs.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Rp6fkCgDQ

SWINGING WITH THE FINKELS:

Suburban couple Mandy Moore (Saved!) and Martin Freeman (soon to be seen as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) decide to spice up their marriage with a bit of ‘1940s-style dancing’… Also starring Melissa George (A Lonely Place to Die). Cert. 15

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tKycPLM0po

THE ADOPTED:

Actress Melanie (The Concert, Beginners) Laurent’s directorial debut. Two sisters, one of whom was adopted, have an inseparable bond until one falls in love, unbalancing their relationship. When tragedy strikes they must find a new way to live and love.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k_qftN0-fs

WE HAVE A POPE:

Nanni (The Caiman, Aprile, Dear Diary) Moretti’s latest farce tackles the idea of a reluctant Pope who suffers from anxiety in the face of his responsibilities. Cert. PG

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0GUU4JEXxA