Thursday, September 09, 2010

SLIFR quiz

Here's the post that should have appeared last night. Fingers crossed that T-Mobile get the content lock removed straightaway when I talk to them after work.

Assuming that normal service is resumed, I’ll be rounding out the week on The Agitation of the Mind with at least one David Cronenberg review to tie in with Cinema Viewfinder’s Cronenberg Blog-a-thon. After a little something for the weekend (no names mentioned but we’ll be in classic English rose territory), there’ll be another Operation 101010 choice (no titles mentioned but we’ll be heading into dark and nasty territory).

In the meantime, Dennis at Sergio Leone And The Infield Fly Rule has a talent for setting quizzes that separate the cineastes from the sinners. Head over here to check it out.

These, for better or for worse, are my answers:

1) Classic film you most want to experience that has so far eluded you.
Sergei Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’. Ideally, I’d like to see it on the big screen with live musical accompaniment. I’ve seen a handful of silents like this and it’s really the only way to see them. Everything is in the visuals and I find they just don’t transition that well to the small screen. This said, I’ll probably have to bite the bullet and watch ‘Potemkin’ on DVD sooner rather than later since I feel like a cine-illiterate for not having seen it.

2) Greatest Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release ever
Am I right in thinking these are Region 1 releases only? Would account for the absence of any in my collection.

3) The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon?
‘The Maltese Falcon’ – it’s the, ah, stuff that dreams are made of.

4) Jason Bateman or Paul Rudd?
Paul Rudd’s done a ‘Robot Chicken’ episode, so that pretty much swings it.

5) Best mother/child (male or female) movie star combo
I’m taking combo to mean starred in a movie together, so I’m going for either Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis in ‘The Fog’ or Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Sylvia’.

6) Who are the Robert Mitchums and Ida Lupinos among working movie actors? Do modern parallels to such masculine and no-nonsense feminine stars even exist? If not, why not?
The heavy-lidded world-weary pragmatism of Robert Mitchum can be seen in Chow Yun Fat’s work for John Woo. But a contemporary Ida Lupino? There is none.

7) Favorite Preston Sturges movie
‘The Palm Beach Story’ – imagine a P.G. Wodehouse comedy high on champagne and proscribed substances. Great stuff!

8) Odette Yustman or Mary Elizabeth Winstead?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, if only for that cheerleader’s outfit in ‘Death Proof’. (Yup, I am that shallow!)

9) Is there a movie that if you found out a partner or love interest loved (or didn't love) would qualify as a Relationship Deal Breaker?
As much as I love movies, I don’t think I’d leave my wife over one. Having said that, me and Mrs Agitation owe the biggest row of our relationship over POS Nic Cage-starrer ‘Next’; she quite enjoyed it, while I was provoked to new heights of vehemence and profanity at how shockingly bad it was on every level and how egregiously the scriptwriter had cheated at the end. We weathered it, though.

10) Favorite DVD commentary
John Carpenter and Kurt Russell on ‘The Thing’.

11) Movies most recently seen on DVD, Blu-ray and theatrically
DVD: ‘Heart of Glass’. Theatrically: ‘Toy Story 3’.

12) Dirk Bogarde or Alan Bates?
Dirk Bogarde – he hasn’t chalked up 27 posts on The Agitation of the Mind for nothing.

13) Favorite DVD extra
‘Great Bolshie Yarblockos’, a documentary about the making of ‘A Clockwork Orange’, available on the Warner Directors Edition Stanley Kubrick box set. Full disclosure: I’m one of the talking heads on the documentary. (Non-egomaniacal choice: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost doing their ‘Man Who Would Be King’ homages on ‘Shaun of the Dead’ or ‘Hot Fuzz’.)

14) Brian De Palma’s Scarface— yes or no?
Yes, for its energy and iconography – although it’s starting to look pretty dated.

15) Best comic moment from a horror film that is not a horror comedy (Young Frankenstein, Love At First Bite, et al.)
“Step away from the bike!” Nic Cage in the execrable (but somehow unintentially hilarious) ‘Wicker Man’ remake.

16) Jane Birkin or Edwige Fenech?
Notwithstanding that Jane Birkin is an incredibly accomplished actress, I gotta go for Edwige Fenech. The evidence is as follows (yup, I am that shallow!):

17) Favorite Wong Kar-wai movie
‘Chungking Express’ for its colour and vibrancy, underlined by an understated sense of loneliness.

18) Best horrific moment from a comedy that is not a horror comedy
There’s at least half a dozen in ‘Four Lions’, but I don’t want to hove into spoiler territory.

19) From 2010, a specific example of what movies are doing right…
I’ll hold my hands up and say that this year I’ve seen the lowest number of movies theatrically since I was 18. This isn’t a comment on the quality of new releases, but a conflation of cinema tickets being stupidly expensive and me and Mrs Agitation’s household budget being constrictively tight. Of the meagre 12 features I’ve seen on the big screen, I’d pick ‘Four Lions’ as an example of satirical comedy having the balls to be out and out funny in its treatment of an utterly serious theme, as well as the humanity to make the audience connect with its characters and possibly challenge their own preconceptions.
20) Ryan Reynolds or Chris Evans
Ryan Reynolds doesn’t share his name with an obnoxious and self-congratulatory British DJ. Also he’s married to Scarlett Johansson, so the dude must be doing something right.
21) Speculate about the future of online film writing. What’s next?
The internet has democratized film criticism. Troll down Agitation’s link list and you’ll find plenty of intelligent, informed, literate and perceptive writers on film, all of whom, unlike salaried writers in the mainstream press, are free of editorial interference and the concerns of kowtowing to advertisers and money men. I’d like to think that what is next is more of the same: that the percentage of the blogosphere given over to film writers remains at a constant. Here’s the risk: if there’s an exponential rise in the amount of film bloggers that’s unmatched by a similar growth in readers, good writers could become disaffected by a drop-off in readers and either blog less or abandon their efforts entirely. (Bryce at Things That Don’t Suck raises this point in his set of answers.) Another worry is that a tweeting mentality will insinuate itself into film reviews leading to a reductive standard of writing across the internet.

22) Roger Livesey or David Farrar?
Let’s call this one a draw. Both did awesome work for Powell and Pressburger. Livesey rules in ‘The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp’, ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ and ‘A Matter of Life and Death’. Farrar is intense and brooding in ‘Black Narcissus’ and ‘The Small Back Room’.

Applying the same definition from question 5, Ryan O’Neal and Tatum O’Neal in ‘Paper Moon’.

24) Favorite Freddie Francis movie (as Director)
‘The Creeping Flesh’.

25) Bringing Up Baby or The Awful Truth?
‘Bringing Up Baby’.

26) Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig?
By a narrow margin, Tina Fey: smart, funny and oh my God yes I would!

27) Name a stylistically important director and the best film that would have never been made without his/her influence.
Without Scorsese, would John Woo’s ‘The Killer’ or Danny Boyle’s ‘Trainspotting’ exist?
28) Movie you’d most enjoy seeing remade and transplanted to a different culture (i.e. Yimou Zhang’s A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.)
‘Finding Nemo’ transposed to Russia. (“In former Soviet Republic, Nemo finds you.”)

29) Link to a picture/frame grab of a movie image that for you best illustrates bliss. Elaborate.
‘Whisky Galore’. The old guy in the cap is up to his neck in bottles of Scotch. How can this not equate to bliss?

30) With a tip of that hat to Glenn Kenny, think of a just-slightly-inadequate alternate title for a famous movie. (Examples from GK: Fan Fiction; Boudu Relieved From Cramping; The Mild Imprecation of the Cat People)
‘Bring Me a Letter of Apology From Alfredo Garcia’.


Aaron said...

Great answers, Neil! Looks like a fun quiz. If I wasn't so deprived of sleep at the moment, I'd take the quiz and post it as my 30oth (!!!) post. Perhaps later. Oh, and I'd totally take Odette Yustman over Mary Elizabeth Winstead, btw.

Bryce Wilson said...

Great answers Neil.

But I can't lie, the fact that Criterion isn't available to cinephiles everywhere, makes me want to cry a little.