Top Films of Sergio Leone by LMdC

Often regarded as one of the most succesful Western director, the ambassador of Spaghetti Westerns Sergio Leone made his mark with a unique storytelling approach and superb color cinematography. His revisionists films characterized by some critics, read here Pauline Kael, as violent even fascists, did not made the majority at the time. Great Western figures like John Wayne, John Ford, and Howard Hawks rejected them with loath and disdain. However, as of today if you ask someone on the street to name a Western he'll more often than not cite one of those titles:

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
2. Once Upon A Time In the West (1968)
3. Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
4. For A Few Dollars More (1965)
5. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
6. Fistful of Dynamite (1971)

I still need to see: The Colossus of Rhodes (1960)


The Sight And Sound Top Ten Poll

Since I’m not really a paid Film critic by any associations or whatever organization, I wouldn’t refuse any offer by the way, I haven’t been asked to submit a list of ten films that are categorized as the greatest films of all time. However, just like any other film buff out there, well most of us, I love making lists of any kind.

The first time I ever made a list of the ten best films of all time it was back in 2005 for Kevyn Knox’s Top 10 project at his now almost defunct website The Cinematheque (now replaced by his cinephile niche The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World). This list included; 1. Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick) 2. Taxi Driver (Scorsese) 3. Apocalypse Now (Coppola) 4. Pulp Fiction (Tarantino) 5. Modern Time (Chaplin) 6. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa) 7. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Leone) 8. Blade Runner (Scott) 9. Sunset Blvd. (Wilder) 10. Mystic River (Eastwood). 
This list reflected my knowledge of movies at the time, which was more classics of the fresh cinephile that I was. It was a time when I was discovering, as I am still, classics and the big directors’ names and their greatest films. Remember the first time you were impressed by a movie that left an indelible mark in your appreciation of films. To me there were many that changed the way I saw films forever. Since my first list I’ve made some changes like crowning Taxi Driver, adding and changing a film by a director for another one because at the time I thought that Ran was better than Seven Samurai. Thinking about the task of narrowing only one film has been a real head scratcher. Then one must induce some basic rules to trim the cream from the milk first then we have to face some difficult choices. Read the excellent article written by Kevin B. Lee, David Jenkins, Radim Rizov, Bill Georgaris for IndieWire


Shame (1968)

Shame aka Skammen (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

Through the 1950’s and 1960’s, Ingmar Bergman kept a pace of a film per year almost like a Woody Allen of its time. Nowadays, Allen is more of a hit or miss case with his more recent films. In the case of Bergman, it was more of a hit than a miss. The year of 1968 had a universal resonance in the cultural and social spheres. In France, it marked the events of May 68 with the firing of Henri Langlois co-creator of the institution of the Cinémathèque Française. Many socialist/communist/Maoist protestations blew everywhere and the world was at the edge of change and hope. It was also a great burst into conservatism and the fall of the established order of the world. Moreover, one must not forget that it was the year that the Vietnam War was at its worst. Bergman, used in his 1966 masterpiece Persona, the image of the protesting burning monk stating that war was horrible no matter what you are on. Well, with Shame it is quite clear that he wanted to develop this idea furthermore.

Ingmar Bergman’s film, Shame, depicts the life of a couple, the Rosenbergs, (Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann) during an unknown civil war in a place called Gotland. The couple of artists, musicians, are apolitical and they retreat to their rural island farm but when the rebels are countered they are captured as collaborators and the army bullies them. Later they get released and the rebel came back and it leads to its denouement.

This dividing film, some love it and some take it as a lesser Bergman, must be seized as a study on many levels and an even more complex analysis than the Vietnam critic many observers judged it to be.
First, it’s the tests that a loving couple must endure to face the civil war going on and how a couple gets to survive in its common obstacles. The woman who wants to have children and the man who doesn’t want to. The insecurities, the sacrifice one must do to get its liberty and stay alive. It is a work that a contemporary couple can relate with the more common concerns and the war-involving concerns tend to shake us from our distant peaceful world.
On another level, Shame works as a representation of the balance of power involved with war, authorities, civilians, man vs. woman, prisoner vs. warden, etc. In every situation humanity must face those balance of power and no matter the time, location, language, country, or race the sad pattern of war is relevant.

The war vehicle that Bergman conducts in Shame is how humanity must be humiliated and that every civilian must “feel” and understand in its comfortable home and movie theatre how horrible those conflicts are inflicting thousands, if not, millions of shameful acts and even more importantly individual upon itself.


Notes on the Cinématographe - Theories of Robert Bresson - Part I

The Cinématographe is the name that Robert Bresson gave to his work, by opposition to the Cinema, a photographed theater. It was his way in explaining the dependence of film to theater, first with the use of actors, then by their replacement with models from A Man Escaped until his final film L'Argent in 1983.


Top Films of David Lynch by LMdC

One of the most interesting filmmakers of Cinema. His Films are amongst the most bizarre and profoundly meaningful around. Entering a Lynch movie is like going to the asylum where nothing and everything makes sense.

"Lynch uses the cinema to express non-rational energy in tangible form (visually and aurally). This energy is familiar to us all, but has been repressed in us by language, rationality, and education. This is one reason why Lynch's films seem to be nonsensical, but nonetheless evoke powerful feelings. It is easy to make nonsensical films that don't evoke any feelings at all, because they don't engage with the non-rational energy that Lynch evokes." - Thomas Elsaesser & Warren Buckland, Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis


Hopes and Expectations for Django Unchained

Ever since the new Quentin Tarantino film have been announced, movie buffs from around the world started to get pumped up mainly because every new Tarantino is worth the wait and also because of the subject of the story. Borrowing the cult character of the violent spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Corbucci with Franco Nero as the title role of Django, Tarantino once again digs into his knowledge of obscure films. For those who are interested about Quentin Tarantino they know his visceral knowledge about movies and especially sub genres, B and Z movies, obscure films, etc. It is no surprise that Tarantino decided to direct a Western. The only surprise is the fact that he never directed one before.

Tarantino and the Western genre
The auteur’s love story with the gunslinger genre is deeply anchored in his visual style, see the first scene of Inglourious Basterds, but also in his storytelling. In his list submitted to Sight and Sound in 2002 of the ten greatest films of all time, Tarantino crowned Sergio Leone’s masterpiece The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The Leone influence is so palpable that QT seemed to have borrowed every trick that made him love the master’s films. The reference to Spaghetti Westerns is bold and mostly explored in the epicness of Kill Bill’s two volumes and the cinematic grandeur of Inglourious Basterds. Many fighting scenes and even the mise en scène of Kill Bill with the tension and climaxes might be the film that most transcended the Leone complex.
Nevertheless, a thing that most people tend to forget about Tarantino is his constant admiration for legendary multi-talented producer/director Howard Hawks who made his mark into genre films more than any other filmmaker. With his superb mastery of Film Noir, Comedy, Slap Stick, Adventure, Period, and most importantly Westerns. In 1959, Howard Hawks was almost considered as a worned out director who gave everything he ever had to give. Except, the young future filmmakers of the French New Wave at Les Cahiers du Cinema gave him the recognition he deserved naming him the perfect auteur. Well, in 1959 Hawks with long time collaborator and friend John Wayne responded to Fred Zinneman’s High Noon starring Gary Cooper with a virulent action packed and Hawksian dialogues-filled Western that will raise the bar of the genre effecting the way we make and see films forever. This film is Rio Bravo. A funny fact is that every time Quentin Tarantino meets a potential girlfriend he shows her Rio Bravo and if she doesn’t like the film she won’t be a future girlfriend. When a man has such a selecting criteria in his search for a life partner we understand that Cinema is central in his life but also that he vows a cult to the Western and Howard Hawks. Tarantino’s writing is quite unique, however bits and turns, especially jokes and funny moments have something Hawksian in their keen manners and how we easily accept that it is a film we are watching and how the characters have a sense of knowing they are in a film and how they react to the realism of their fiction. Let’s not get lost but it is also interesting to observe that the Tarantino style has been hugely influenced by the many characters story of Rio Bravo where a sheriff and professionals unite to get rid of bandits in their village.

Another influence in Quentin Tarantino’s movies is the films of John Ford. Every time I watch the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds I can’t get out of my head the opening scene of Ford’s The Searchers. Here the master has a more subtle influence and his simple but so efficient mise en scène of wonderful Westerns set in Monument Valley staring John Wayne. One can respond to this declaration that Ford is one of the forefathers of Cinema and Tarantino may have been influenced by his followers like Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, etc. It is quite clear that Tarantino highlights the filmmakers he wants and that even if he never cited Ford as an influence it is more than sure that he have seen some of his films.
Well, Tarantino’s relationship with Westerns is more than obvious and it was about time that he directed one himself. Since, he can do anything he wants he is one of the few directors working today to do it his way.

Musical mastery - as always 
With Quentin Tarantino one of the most central aspects of his filmmaking is the almost perfect use of music and most of the time song selection. He used some Ennio Morriconne in Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds and we should expect some 1960's and 1970's music. But I would love to hear an Original Score maybe from Morriconne or a contemporary composer that could fit with him and his style for Django Unchained.
A revenge story - again
With the updates of the shooting and plot infos coming out since the announcement of Django Unchained, one of the major plot issues was the quest for vengeance of the main character. A black man who delivers himself from his chains from a white slave master seeks for revenge on the killing of his black wife. Does it ring a bell to anyone? Think of Shoshanna Dreyfus' motivation to revenge the lost of her family by the hands of the Nazis and especially against Hans Landa. The culmination of Inglourious Basterds is the final act of the beautiful blond woman against the people who took her family from her. Well, it is almost ditto to Kill Bill's main character portrayed by Uma Thurman who has made a triptych to one by one kill the people who came on her wedding day and try to kill her, her husband, and her unborn child. It is almost, with Death Proof aside, Tarantino's third time in a row that the central story of his film invoking vengeance of the main character. 
It is almost too obvious to cite as a direct influence Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time in the West that Tarantino takes the vengeance of Harmonica as one of the major hook and issue of his scripts. It is, indeed, a great motivation for his characters but also a great hook for the viewer. However, it is quite clear that he'll have made the point that it is a very good sandbox or if you prefer terrain to exploit. It also lets the director include more gory violences that he loves to spread in all his films. We are more inclined to watch difficult scenes when the character who does it has a good reason like revenging his family. 

Let's all hope that with Django Unchained Tarantino won't repeat himself and crank himself with his unique style. Well, even if it's another story of vengeance, we should expect something entertaining and worth the wait since it's from QT. Let's have a countdown until Christmas...


La Dolce Vita

La dolce vita (Federico Fellini, 1960)

Of the many monoliths of Cinema one can count Citizen Kane, Vertigo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, La règle du jeu, Tokyo Story, Seven Samurai, The Godfather (see Sight and Sound’s 2002 Top 10 http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/polls/topten/) one can easily add Federico Fellini’s masterpiece La dolce vita. 1960 was such a great year that I just can’t pass over mentioning Psycho, The Apartment, Spartacus, Les yeux sans visage,  À bout de souffle, Peeping Tom, L’Avventura. The later film, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni was his big break and I read somewhere that La dolce vita was the film that Fellini made after he encountered the Italian Neo-Realist Antonioni. That it was his attempt to make a film like his Italian peer and that it restrained the best of him. This is partially right because Fellini’s films changed a bit in the 1960’s to get a new layer of reading and become more concentrated on contemporary issues.

La dolce vita is the story of Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) who’s empty life is punctuated by his encounters as a journalist “paparazzo”. The term of paparazzi actually became famous with the movie itself. Marcello suffers from not knowing his purpose in life and like many Fellini characters he will have to face his destiny and make a choice. This is a breaking point in the director’s career with the self-consciousness of the characters and the more grounded emotions and less caricatural presences. It is also a far example of free narrative and moment centered scenes with the long party sequence, the almost allegorical depiction of women, and the wandering of Marcello. His presence as a man who is looking for sense in his life and his personal search for himself translates the sickness of the contemporary world. He is a man who has everything, women, car, money, even if he isn’t that much wealthy the material fulfilment of his universe makes him emptier. The drama of Marcello is a satyr on how society has brought us everything we want but not what we really need. It is why the quest of this journalist or paparazzo who wants to live the life of the stars he encounters and try to “suck” their joy and happiness by reflection brings him in front of a dead sea monster who represents how dead of feelings and happiness Marcello really is.

At first sight, this 180 minutes movie can certainly seem difficult to get into, especially when someone is not acquainted to Federico Fellini’s films. But the film enthusiast will get over this little bump and live the experience of many great moments of cinematic History. The famous fountain scene where Sylvia (Anita Ekberg) baths herself in her voluptuous black dress representing the birth of Venus from the water. There is also the superb cinematography of the streets of Roma where Marcello drives his convertible car. Don’t forget the party and the music. A haunted house visit and the final and unavoidable scene at the beach. If those moments aren’t enough reasons to check out this film then this cinephile will lost his faith his films.


Inglourious Basterds

Note: this review is a translation of my original review of the movie I've seen in 2009. Since it was one of my first long reviews I've decided to translate it for everyone's benefit. I will do series of re-edits for the films that actually were reviewed in French in the first moments of this blog.
Plus: It is my contribution to the LAMB Movie of the Month.
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)

The latest film directed by Quentin Tarantino that matured a long way in his scripts and in his mind clearly can be defined as a true Tarantino. You will find everything he is known for: long monologues, violence, quirky directing, an incredible use of music, and many references to his precedent films. With a mitigated reception at Cannes, Tarantino delivered a Historically questionable Second World War picture that is a whole lot of fun and cinematic giddiness.

The fan base of the American auteur was probably conquered already, just like the writer of this review, however the naysayers of Tarantino’s films have been conquered or levelled by its overall and a more cohesive narrative. The critics towards his films listed the too many references and borrowings to other films he admire. On that subject, a certain Brian De Palma has build a career on recycling Alfred Hitchcock’s tricks and Martin Scorsese deliberately uses the narratives of his influences to enrich and reinterpret the lessons he learned from its great predecessors. Why? Because if we don’t look at what has been done before we always forget the evolutions of the Art and the techniques that made an impression. Cinema like painting, always cite sometimes more obviously in some cases the genres and styles that preceded them. This is one of the reasons why Quentin Tarantino is such a talented filmmaker. He blends his stories and his trademark within the references of his masters. With Inglourious Basterds, he once again cites Sergio Leone with the superb opening scene that reminds of Once Upon A Time In the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and John Ford’s The Searchers. The climatic tension of the dialogue between M. Lapadite and Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) might be one of the most interesting scene of American contemporary Cinema. Then the form of the story centered on Shoshannah’s (Mélanie Laurent) Cinema and the diversion in the face of the Nazis obviously reminds of the Ernst Lubitsch farce/satire of To Be or Not to Be. Knowing that an Italian exploitation film has been made before with the same title but spelled like this Inglorious Bastards and with about the same story is a sure shot as one of the direct references here. A last one that should be mentioned is Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen starring Lee Marvin. Aldrich’s films are made for men and Tarantino is a man of men films so are his. It is easy to discard someone who uses bits and parts of other oeuvres but you should discard almost every director out there since Griffith, Eisenstein, and Murnau. Walt Disney was one of the first to copy-paste films like Murnau’s Faust for his Fantasia. Disney even copy-paste his own films.

The setup of Inglourious Basterds is very Tarantinesque: a multi layered story that culminate in one superb batshitcrazy ending. It might be the most movie centered film of Tarantino’s oeuvre. The constant references to movies of Germany, G.W. Pabst, the 1930’s, the Cinema of the time, and setting the ending of his film into a Film theatre isn’t subtle at all. Well, who doesn’t want Tarantino to be bold and arrogant? After the first scene we know Shoshannah, her enemy Hans Landa. Then we move to the Basterds commanded by Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and twelve other mercenaries chose to kill and take no prisoners amongst the Nazi troops. Along the way we meet Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers, Diane Krueger, and many other characters that are linked together.

It is indeed a very enjoyable moment that goes along all the picture and the cohesion of the narrative, a more linear approach for Tarantino here serves well his director. It helps to create the final climax that only him could have thought and achieve. Of all QT’s oeuvre this one might be my favourite replacing Pulp Fiction.


Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

Famously released in the same year that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Michael Powell’s first film without Emeric Pressburger since the 1940’s divided critics and audiences for his subject matter and the treatment of it all. After Peeping Tom, Powell never been able to work again in England. He shocked audiences and his reputation got tarnished. However, with the help of many respected directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, for whom Powell worked at his Gulf+Western company, Powell regained his reputation and he is considered as one of the greatest filmmaker to have ever worked in Cinema.

Peeping Tom is the name of voyeurs taken from the legend of Lady Godiva where a man named Tom watched the lady during her nude ride and he was struck blind or dead. The voyeur in the movie here is Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) a low voiced shy photograph and cameraman who never goes out of his home without his crosshair handheld movie camera. The film opens with the cameraman’s point of view of the encounter with a prostitute that quickly turns to the final moments of her life in front of the camera. We easily understand that Mark gets a kick out at filming the final moments of those poor women that he kills with the leg of his camera’s tripod obviously representing a phallic symbol in full erection. From Mark’s relationship with the downstairs neighbour Helen (Anna Massey), the only woman he cares for, we understand that Mark isn’t really experienced with women and that the murders are psychosexual symbols of the transfer of his sexual needs.

Powell’s filmmaking here isn’t the fact that he established the pattern of the serial killer films to come, it is the fact that, like Hitchcock, he puts the audience in the killer’s seat and he makes us “feel” or react to the horror of the crude images and the terror of the murdered women. In some way, the viewer or the voyeur enters in Mark’s mind and is represented in the idea that as the audience we always want to see more and be the witnesses of the most sensational images and Powell proves it right here. He analyzes our envy for the most realistic emotions captured on the big screen and to actually watch people live and die, in this case, in front of our eyes. The popularity of reality television proved Powell’s theory to be right. What probably shocked the most with Peeping Tom is the way the audience is involved and how the reactions of the women are presented. In the theatre with all are in the dark just like Mark and observing the screen with our complete attention to every detail and action displayed.

With Peeping Tom, Michael Powell forces us to reconsider our and undertake the implication of the images we encounter in our films. It translates our voyeuristic needs into a mass appeal of the visual medias. An essential film that might divide cinephiles but that will create reactions for sure.


Top Films of Sam Raimi by LMdC

1. The Evil Dead (1982)

2. Evil Dead II (1987)
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
4. Spider-Man (2002)
5. Darkman (1990)
6. Drag Me To Hell (2009)

7. Army of Darkness (1992)
8. The Quick and the Dead (1995)
9. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

I still need to see: Crimewave (1985) A Simple Plan (1998) For the Love of the Game (1999) The Gift (2000) Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)


Saturday Morning Music Post

John K. Samson - Provincial New Release!
Being a fan of Propagandhi, then The Weakerthans it is needless to point out that the solo career of singer/writer/guitarist John K. Samson would interest me very much. The quirky cheesyness of the aforementioned The Weakerthans isn't really prominent on Samson's Provincial, it is a richly textured album that transcends folk/indie/accoustic genres and sang poetry. Samson has this sensibility that helps him carry the little things in all our lives that makes sense without being at the forefront of our preoccupations.
If The Weakerthans don't return from their break of late 2009, Provincial can at least be a savory piece of music that delivers and lets us forgive the fact that since Reunion Tour we haven't had any other new record to put our teeth in. But it is all Samson's creation and I enjoy it very much. The musical year of 2012 has started very strong with the release of Provincial let's hope the rest of the year will keep the pace.
Rating: ****/*****

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming 2011 release
For those who are fans of The Art of FLIGHT and That's it, That's All you probably already know this artist. Mixing electro and ambient music without being far from pop rock synths M83 made a niche for itself outside from the 1980's revival scene. However, M83 has the spirit of the decade but manages to produce in their latest double-disc release a very unique sound. The textures and intermissions of beautiful and evocative music transports the listener in a massive variety of feelings and moods that only M83 is capable of. It is not a nostalgic music either, it sounds modern and also timeless in its approach and sonorities. A great soundtrack to ride some powder on a big mountain and also a personal favorite of 2011.
Rating: ****1/2/*****

Meshuggah - Koloss New Release!
This technical outfit of Thrash-Death Metal always has a great reception amongst its established fan base. However, their music always let me on my appetite and the chance of multiple listenings is very thin because of my personal tastes. But I would recommend to any musician to give it a listen every now and then because of the mastery of these Swedish musicians and the structure of the songs. Something like Primus made with Thrash and Technical Death Metal elements.
Rating: ****/*****

Next week: Psycroptic - Inherited Repression, Primordial - Redemption at the Puritan's Hand, Foster the People - Torches


NHL Playoffs time or the post about the good’old Hockey game movies

When spring comes in Québec it doesn’t signify Baseball, Soccer, or Basketball. It means the NHL playoffs! With the Montréal Canadiens out of the playoffs (frankly my dear I hate the Habs) many people don’t know who to cheer for in the French Canadian area. Since I am waiting for the Québec Nordiques to come back this hopefully this fall I will be behind the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. However, Hockey is one of the least appreciated sports in North America. In the US, it passes behind Wrestling and Big Foot competition in popularity.

Goon (Michael Dowse, 2011)
Lately, a direct to DVD (in the US) film starring Seann William Scott and Marc-André Grondin titled Goon had something like a good impact on Hockey fans around here. The story about a “goon” aka the type of player who is asked to specifically fight as his major role in the team seemed pretty bad. However, the critics and the public responded quite positively and I must admit not having seen the film but the whole thing has a good vibe around it.

Maurice Richard aka The Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard (Charles Binamé, 2005)
Since Hockey is our “National” sport many films have been theme and/or are targeted on it. One the of the best films about Hockey is the Maurice Richard biopic starring Roy Dupuis. The legend of Richard still lives and he was a symbol for every Québécois in the 1950’s. An intense Hockey player and a passionate life story of the player nicknamed “The Rocket”. One of the most interesting Sports movie.

Les Boys (Louis Saia, 1997)
This sport/comedy film about a team of amateur Hockey players sponsored by the tavern of the corner, Stanley's (Rémi Girard) is a cult film in Québec. A Sports/Comedy that portrays our love of Hockey and the stereotype of Québec’s society.

Slap Shot (George Roy Hill, 1977)
Easily one of the raciest movie on this list, this feature starring Paul Newman has a cult status around here. Every boy who’s been to a tournament in a chartered passenger bus has seen this movie a dozen times. You can recite any line of this film to any Hockey player and he will be able to cite you the rest of the scene. The Major League of Hockey.

The Mighty Ducks trilogy (1992-1996)
Emilio Estevez, a young Joshua Jackson and a bunch of kids go on and play something like Hockey without rules in these Disney classics of the Québécois kids of my generation. A family entertainment that brought the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the NHL owned by Disney. Even if those are promotional movies for the professional team they can be considered as Hockey classics with less than 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes...

That’s it! What are your favourite Hockey/Sports movies?  


The 7x7 Link Award Meme

I've been nominated twice for this award lately Bonjour Tristesse and John from The Droid You're Looking For were very kind to list me. Here it goes:
The Rules:
1.    Tell everyone something that no one else knows about you.
2.    Link to a post I think fits the following categories: The Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, Most Pride-worthy Piece.
3.    Pass this on to 7 fellow bloggers

Tell everyone something that no one else knows about you:
As my day job I work as an Archivist, and my master was about History. One way or another I tried to include my primary interest, read here films, into my studies and nowadays job. Back in University I did an essay about Soviet Silent films and their direct correlation with History. I also analyzed many films about the ideology of Nazism in films in another course. My secret wish is to someday become a film Historian and Archivist. 

Most Beautiful Piece:
Many of my reviews are like my children so I think many can be beautiful and I also think that they all have a flaw here and there, but my Tree of Life, Citizen Kane, The Gold Rush, and À bout de souffle are some of my personal favourite posts.

Most Helpful Piece:
It might be my piece on how to discern Erich von Stroheim from Josef von Sternberg but since it is partly on Silent films and the post is pretty fresh I haven’t sensed the effects of it yet.

Most Popular Piece:
According to Blogger’s stats my second most popular post and my most popular review is my piece for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The most popular post is listed later in this piece.

Most Controversial Piece:
My list of The Greatest Alter Egos in Cinema History made some purists lift their eyebrows and might not be as specific as the title stated. But still, it got reactions.

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece:
This would be my Top Films of François Truffaut by LMdC. The date of Truffaut’s 80th anniversary I had nearly 15 000 visitors only for this piece in one day. It was not expected that a little post about this great director would have dragged so much traffic here.

Most Underrated Piece:
There are so many of my reviews I would have love to receive more reactions. For example, my piece for the
LAMb about the Best Picture Nominee The Artist was something I was really proud and it didn’t really provoked much. This is one of the many effects that happens when I review new releases, there are too many reviews out there and it doesn’t drag that much traffic and/or reactions.

Most Pride-worthy Piece:
The whole idea of my Je me souviens series about the films from my part of the world; the Province of Québec. Makes me proud and I’m happy to share the films from where I come from!

Pass this on to 7 fellow bloggers:
It's going to be hard to find 7 of you who haven't already received this but I'll try, and don't feel obligated to participate if selected.

Virginie at Virginie's Cinema

A Québec City based filmmaker that teams up with her husband to make films and live her dreams. A funny, casual, light hearted, fashionista's blog.

Kevyn Knox at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World
One of my inspirations, this Harrisburg, PA based film critic sure has interesting opinions on current and classic films. Kevyn is one of the reasons I write about films. A truly passionate writer.

Ed Howard at Only the Cinema
The almost-erudit prose of Howard's interventions is a must for every cinephile out there that wants to dig much deeper than anyone else.

Thomas Pollock at Film Master Journal
Thomas has the gift of time and he watches many many classic films each months. I love to read his reviews since he discovers films I've seen many years ago and it gives me second thoughts about them.

Barry P. at Cinematic Cartharsis
Since Barry nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award it is my chance to give back an Award to this fellow blogger. Don't forget to visit his very interesting Blog.

Thomas Duke at Cinema Gonzo
Mr. Duke has a series about the Rare Westerns on Netflix and constantly reviews obscure films that gets under the radar.

Squish at Filmsquish
Being the host of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club is something. Being my virtual friend as another one and Squish Lessard is both. Please visit and join the Club!


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)

The beautiful pairing of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell with Producer/Director Howard Hawks couldn’t be more enjoyable than that. Opening with a Cabaret-like number the two stars present themselves as two little girls from little rock and the wrong side of the tracks. From the first lines they pronounce we clearly understand their motivations Lorelei (Marylin Monroe) loves diamonds and wealthy men while Dorothy (Jane Russell) likes to have her fun, well you know what they mean here. Lorelei gets engaged with the naive son of a rich man and they choose to get married in Paris. The girls are very different but also very close friends, Dorothy is the brunette always ready to party and to say a deadpan line and to crack up a joke at Lorelei’s naive but not stupid reactions. As the title says: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes isn’t really that important in the meaning except for one hilarious scene. However, one could easily find himself more interested in the brunette than in the blonde. The personality of Monroe isn’t to be discussed here since it is one of her most famous roles. But Russell’s performance really deserves a good praise. Her character has more depth than Monroe’s and is more closer to this reviewer’s tastes.

As I read on Ed Howard’s review of this movie, Hawks pretty much let the two girls do the talking, which they do very well and only their beautiful presence on film could have been enough for any gentlemen out there. However, the delivery of the lines and their reactions to each other is genuinely theirs and the chemistry between them is pure bliss. The Hawksian touch is palpable in the choreographed musical sections of the film. Those sections are well dosed and they don’t seem to break the action or the flow of the story. Like fellow critic Kevyn Knox stated before we kind of feel like there are some homo-erotic elements in the dancing scenes, see the US Olympic team training to understand. This scene doesn’t look like it is completely deliberate but like biographer Todd McCarthy writes Hawks has subconsciously sprinkled his films with lots of close male-male relationships.

Nevertheless, the conclusion when someone looks back at this refreshing musical/comedy one cannot forget the beautiful palette of Russell’s and Monroe’s dresses, the bright colors of the sets, the legendary musical numbers, the priceless one-liners, and the sexual subtext of Howard Hawks’ film. Since it stars one of the most iconic figures of Cinema this is a must see.
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