Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. THE definitive spaghetti western. A Sergio Leone masterpiece.

Again, not on the official list, but on my list. And I recently borrowed a stack of dvd's from a friend, so am going through some films such as this and Full Metal Jacket.
So I agree it's a "masterpiece"? No. Not in my book, but I am indeed swayed by a general dislike of the western genre.
Highlights for me in watching this?
-the score. love love love that music.
-the cinematography and direction, which are great even by today's standards.
-seeing the direct links to Quentin Tarantino's films, and just how heavily influenced Tarantino is by Leone's spaghetti western style.
-Clint Eastwood, yummy yummy yummy, as a young attractive cowboy. ssslp.

I hate to admit it, but I am definitely with the oodles of fans who agree that this film, at 2 hrs 41 min, is seriously too long. I'm an impatient viewer, even with such a great epic western as this.

The dragging out the plot seemed to be a way for Leone to keep on with such spectacular landscape shots - however, that isn't quite enough for this viewer.

All said and done, I am Not a Western fan. At all. But the stylised spaghetti western, with its humour, wasn't too too bad.

I suppose if I were in a more relaxed mindframe to take in such a slow, laborious journey as this, I might agree more with Rotten Tomatoes' 98% rating. Por moi, it gets a stern

3 out 5 monkeys.


Full Metal Jacket (1987)

I'm back!

And without further ado (nor excuses) I will immediately dive into blogging my review...

Full Metal Jacket!
A Stanley Kubrick classic & highly regarded film, and one in which I had never seen until now. Alas, it is not on The List, but it has always been on my personal list of Great Films I Should See.

It's funny - I never would have thought of myself as a lover of "war films". But, as it turns out, I realise I really do love me a good war film. With such a huge, catastrophic subject matter as 'war', a film that is done well on this subject is beyond riveting.

And so was the case in this, my first viewing of Full Metal Jacket.

The first half of the film built such a sense of the life of a recruit, the dehumanizing effects of boot camp & war in general. I wasn't surprised that the brilliant Drill Sergeant, played by R.Lee Ermey, was a real-life Drill Sergeant who originally was only meant to consult with Kubrick on the film, but ended up in the role due to his persistence. Jack-assed and overbearing with insults, Ermey was no-holds barred. making the murder-suicide by 'Gomer Pyle' (so strange to see a young Vincent D'Onofrio, whom I only associate with Law & Order, hee hee)seem wholly inevitable.

Apparently, this was the first film to depict the severity of boot camp training, and I can only imagine how in-your-face this must have been in '87 with its release.

But the second half of the film, depicting a slice of war life in Vietnam, was even more gripping. I felt the same tense captive-ness I felt while watching 'The Hurt Locker'.
But Kubrick also manages to create moments of humour, and uses music in a quite ironic way. Brilliant stuff.

I also am amazed that the film was shot in England! - flying in both fake & real palm trees, recreating a replica of the destroyed city of Hue - all to avoid flying, as we all know Kubrick's immense fear of flying & refusal to do so.

Righty. Well, I am definitely not rested enough to intelligently discuss this masterpiece of a film as well as one should. But for the sake of my blog & project in watching Classics As Yet Unseen, I will sihn off here with my rating...

5/5 Monkeys!