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Awake In The Dark
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Old June 6th, 2006, 01:52 PM   #31
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Spielberg is among the most talented and capable directors working and he has so many films to his credit there is enough for people to slag and to praise in his career. Goodness knows he has earned enough of my entertainment dollar over the years. Also, if you've ever read anything he has written or heard him speak on film, he is superbly literate about film, art and creation. He is certainly one of the best but not greatest.

That said, I can't think of one of his films that says to me 'masterpiece'. "Schindler's List" is a very good film, an important one, but never breaks through to me and made me hold my breath in wonder. I will certainly always have a place in my heart for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Jaws". I've been thinking about this for some time and I think the one thing that keeps Spielberg's films from convincing me is that he is too concerned with not failing. That is not to say that he never falls down, but that his failures are not to do with overreaching.

One mark of one of the greats is how even their failures speak to you of their yearning to break through convention. Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" is a good one. There are some elements in that film that stay with me even though as a whole that film was a failure. With Spielberg I come away usually with a sense that I got a whole ticket's worth of entertainment - done with every degree of competence - but not usually anything that stays with me in spiritually. To me it is the difference between a beautiful model with not a blemish photographed in perfect lighting conditions and an exotic someone you pass by in an instant on a street knowing she could be the love of your life.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:13 PM   #32
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Spielberg is kind of a problem for me too. I do believe that "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and "E.T." are definitely classics, but somehow I can't get too excited about the guy. There's a cool looking remastered DVD of "Duel" I'd like to check out. Maybe it'll change my mind.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:21 PM   #33
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Nothing that stays with you? I can't think of a more memorable film than Schindler's List. In fact, I am listening to the soundtrack right now.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #34
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Well, "Schindler's List" is a good, maybe great movie, but I wouldn't say it's as memorable as "The Shop on Main Street," which is my favorite movie about the holocaust.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #35
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Well, just to take things in a completely different direction, here are the ones who top my list:

1. The Lumiere Brothers: After all, there would BE no film if it weren't for these guys. And while it may be hard for some folks to call putting a camera on a tripod for two and a half minutes at a stretch "directing," they basically invented most of the vocabulary of cinema. It's really amazing to me how well their shorts, made in the 1890's, hold up over time. They make the Edison films, made several years later, look clunky and amateurish.

2. Dziga Vertov. Another early film visionary, probably the originator of abstract, conceptual editing techniques.

3. Krystof Kiezlowski. Can anyone think of three more perfectly executed films than his "Trois Couleurs" trilogy (Blue, White and Red)?

4. Oh, man... from here on , it's so hard to pick just a few! Kubrick, Kurosawa, Orson Welles, Fellini, Truffault, Errol Morris, Miyasaki.... argggh... I give up! I can't pick!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Brian Standing
3. Krystof Kiezlowski. Can anyone think of three more perfectly executed films than his "Trois Couleurs" trilogy (Blue, White and Red)
I'm glad you mentioned him. These are superb films (though I would leave off "White" and include "The Double Life of Veronika".
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:47 PM   #37
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In no particular ranking, just that I'm more likely to enjoy their films than others:

Orson Welles. I just re-watched what he considered to be his greatest work: The Trial. Very nightmarish, and currently relevant. Welles was someone not to be pidgeon-holed. That's why Hollywood exiled him. I also like him as an actor, at least in comedy. Anyone see I'll Never Forget What's'isname?

Akira Kurosawa. Great eye for composition and storytelling. A true craftsman, even if most of his stuff wasn't all that original. Don't forget Hidden Fortress upon which Star Wars was based. Ran, Dô Desu ka Den and Tengoku to Jigoku were just a few of his many great works.

Alfred Hitchcock. Another unique artist, whose understanding of storytelling and actors was phenomenal. Incredible eye for composition. I've never seen Psycho, but Rear Window, North by Northwest, The Birds, Vertigo, and, yes, The Trouble With Harry are all great.

Stanley Kubrick. The little giant. Just watched Full Metal Jacket again. Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey (one of the only true works of science-fiction ever making the big screen), A Clockwork Orange (controlling kids with drugs? that'll never happen!), Barry Lyndon, Paths of Glory and others were all fascinating looks at the human condition.

Stanley Kramer. An outspoken crusader, lots of good films. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Judgement at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind, The Caine Mutiny, High Noon and even The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T!

François Truffaut. I've enjoyed so many of his films. Vivement Dimanche!, La Femme d'à Côté, La Peau Douce and Jules et Jim, to name a few.

Maurizio Nichetti. Volere Volare and Ladri di Saponette are terribly funny and different.

Juzo Itami. The Funeral, Tampopo, A Taxing Woman, A Taxing Woman's Return all made me laugh.

Woody Allen. 'Nuff said!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #38
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But 2001 was written for the screen, then made into a book, but based upon a short story, right? Amazing to think it was made in the 60s with it's high level of polished special effects. I like Clockwork Orange also, and find it very watchable, plot-wise, even with all the violence. It's a great book adaption by Kubrick.

Inherit the Wind is a favourite of mine also. Great movie and yes, very well directed.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #39
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Ah, so, Grasshopper! Yes, you are right, The Sentinel was the basis for the screenplay. Yes, the FX were as nothing the human race had ever seen before. Fact: Kubrick understood that space is a vacuum, thus no sound. So he used sound as if we were there, in the suit. A very honest film, science-wise.

I said this was one of the few films based on true science-fiction. Fritz Lang's Metropolis is another. I haven't seen but a glimpse of "The Maid in the Moon", which apparently gave us the concept of the countdown. Man, I'd love to see that!

Speaking of Arthur C. Clarke, I wonder that nobody has made Glide Path into a film or TV miniseries. Crimony, it's about the British RADAR folks, for Pete's sake. Clarke was there, too. Amazing stuff.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:39 AM   #40
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Edited incomplete Post

Last edited by Dick Mays; June 7th, 2006 at 10:44 AM. Reason: Duplicate Post
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Loh
Spielberg is among the most talented... He is certainly one of the best but not greatest.

That said, I can't think of one of his films that says to me 'masterpiece'. " ... not usually anything that stays with me in spiritually.
Spielberg is easily my favorite director of all time. The fact that he makes commercially successful films should not detract from his genius.

I once made a list of my favorite images, and scenes from movies, and Speilberg was responsible for over a third of them. A can't remember the list, but I started with...

Jack Nicolson getting his nose cut in Chinatown. -- Polanski

But some of my other favorite images..

Solider looking for lost arm --Saving Private Ryan.
Dinosaur tapping toe while looking for kids -- Jurassic Park
harrison Ford running from Boulder -- Raiders of the Lost Arc

As well as some of the most memorable scenes:
The German solider killing the American solider with a knife - Private Ryan
John Qunicy Adams speech before the Supreme Court -- Amistad
The shark attack on the boat - Jaws

Were vintage Speilberg.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Doug Boze
Speaking of Arthur C. Clarke, I wonder that nobody has made Glide Path into a film or TV miniseries. Crimony, it's about the British RADAR folks, for Pete's sake. Clarke was there, too. Amazing stuff.
I would like to see the award-winning novel (actually a series of novels) starting with "Rendezvous with Rama" made into a full-blown hi-budget serious movie.
Would need some pretty serious sets and undoubtedly a lot of CGI, but the story is captivating and also technically Clarke followed very plausible lines and theories and never deviated too much into the realms of the fantastic IMO.
It's also got the human-angle with the interaction / power-plays of the astronauts' dynamics.

That - if done in a *serious* way and not 'Buck Rogers-esque' would be something magical. Easy to screw it up i'd imagine and have it turning out like some low-budget space disaster. Let Cameron do it how he wants and it'd be a blockbuster IMO.

It should be done, with Arthur C. Clarke, as principal consultant, before his death.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 11:58 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Mays
The German solider killing the American solider with a knife - Private Ryan
Interesting you bring that up. Somehow that scene has stuck with me over the years as being one of the most disturbing killing scenes ever.
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Old June 9th, 2006, 01:36 AM   #44
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I'm with you Stu - after the success of 2001:a Space Oddyssey I'd have thought producers would have been clamouring for Arthur Clarke's books. One of my favourites is Childhood's End.

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Old June 10th, 2006, 01:09 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
Interesting you bring that up. Somehow that scene has stuck with me over the years as being one of the most disturbing killing scenes ever.
Me too. Normally, killing is portrayed as a detacted action. In this fight scene, the German solider and the American solider develop mutal respect during the fight. There is a moment of intense intimacy before the killing takes place. I didn't understand what the solider was saying, but I understood the intent. It was an acknowledgement, "you fought well, but now I have won and I have to kill you." If anyone knows German, I'd love to know what he said during the final moments of this scene.
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