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DaMU wrote:

I didn't say don't write women. I said don't write shoddy women. My point was that he should just write more interesting and dimensional women. I'm not interested in McDonagh as a satirist, especially if he can only be one by intentionally committing errors so as to helpfully point out that he should know better. That doesn't strike me as good faith, that strikes me as indulgence wearing a mask of self-effacement.


That's what he did for Three Billboards. It isn't as though all the women characters in SP are "shoddy." They are given minimal screen time but that's in service for the aforementioned criticism of genre filmmaking and specifically his search for more profound meaning in the genre. The Tom Waits psychopath and his relationship with the woman is pivotal, as it's emblematic of his search for a woman that will drive the plot and dictate it's happenings the way she is the motivation to kill the serial killers. It wraps up the plot because Martin has not yet reached it but he's pushing that way.

How would he retain the genre and self criticism if he's writing strong, multi layered women in the story? Rockwell's Bickle mocks this approach with the "let's change it to 7 lesbians..." line because if he doesn't have genre convention, it's no longer in that genre.

I don't really see how the satire of himself is particularly different than the SNL sketch you posted. It's still men doing the talking even if that's the joke, unless you're saying that's a particularly bad sketch. I think both are trying to point out the same issues while not sacrificing humor in pointing them out. If the sketch were women telling their empowering stories, it would no longer be that sketch nor would it be funny. It would become didactic at best and preachy at worst.


Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:16 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I don't really see how the satire of himself is particularly different than the SNL sketch you posted. It's still men doing the talking even if that's the joke, unless you're saying that's a particularly bad sketch. I think both are trying to point out the same issues while not sacrificing humor in pointing them out. If the sketch were women telling their empowering stories, it would no longer be that sketch nor would it be funny. It would become didactic at best and preachy at worst.


The joke in the skit is both the women being horrified at having a skit written for them that includes them in a purely spectator/reactionary role and the simultaneous male obliviousness to the fact that they are silencing women while thinking they are being amazing allies to them.

Seven Psychopaths is a different joke. The joke there is genre convention and the role that different characters tend to play in such movies.

The problem that I have with the movie is two-fold. First, other characters (who also embody stereotypes) are given more depth and quirkiness. There is some subversion of stereotypes, like the Waitts character carrying around the bunny rabbit. But the second issue is that indulging in a stereotype and then pointing to that stereotype is the laziest form of genre critique. It also conveniently works toward a "have your cake and eat it too" situation. Oh, it's so wrong that women have to show their bodies and run around in underwear for no reason. So we'll just have a few of those scenes (*jiggle jiggle*) then point out how wrong it is. It isn't that the movie isn't funny--it is. But it also doesn't do anything particularly creative with its genre critique. What if, after mentioning the tendency toward sexy female nudity, there was a scene in the "real world" that included gratuitous SEXY male nudity? What if, after sarcastically mentioning the idea of a disabled, black, lesbian character, you actually added one to the narrative and she was awesome?

Instead the movie constantly talks about deep female characters with a kind of eye-rolling sarcasm. We get the far-fetched notion of a prostitute who has studied Vietnamese at Yale. We get the afore-mentioned comment about disabled lesbians "and two of them are black". Even as the movie acknowledges the lack of developed female (or disabled, or black) characters, it also seems to imply that they don't really belong in action/thriller type films--that their presence would just be politically correct pandering. It feels like a "sorry, not sorry" attitude.


Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:54 am
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Sorry, I feel like we're just talking over each other right now. You say we can't have the self-criticism without the poorly-written women. I recognize that the ultimate goal is self-criticism, but I don't see the value in someone intentionally writing women as objects so they can later step back and chastise themself. I'd rather the film be corrective or transformative in its depiction of women than cheeky and satirical. You're right, that would turn it into a somewhat different film. And I'd watch that film over this one.

EDIT: I posted that skit not because I think the skit is telling the same joke, but because I think McDonagh is like one of those men, patting himself on the back for noticing these inequalities without actually taking any steps to adjust them within the scope of his film. He seems to think noting their presence is sufficient. Yes, he made Three Billboards afterwards. That's a whole other can of worms.

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Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:10 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

The joke in the skit is both the women being horrified at having a skit written for them that includes them in a purely spectator/reactionary role and the simultaneous male obliviousness to the fact that they are silencing women while thinking they are being amazing allies to them.

Seven Psychopaths is a different joke. The joke there is genre convention and the role that different characters tend to play in such movies.

The problem that I have with the movie is two-fold. First, other characters (who also embody stereotypes) are given more depth and quirkiness. There is some subversion of stereotypes, like the Waitts character carrying around the bunny rabbit. But the second issue is that indulging in a stereotype and then pointing to that stereotype is the laziest form of genre critique. It also conveniently works toward a "have your cake and eat it too" situation. Oh, it's so wrong that women have to show their bodies and run around in underwear for no reason. So we'll just have a few of those scenes (*jiggle jiggle*) then point out how wrong it is. It isn't that the movie isn't funny--it is. But it also doesn't do anything particularly creative with its genre critique. What if, after mentioning the tendency toward sexy female nudity, there was a scene in the "real world" that included gratuitous SEXY male nudity? What if, after sarcastically mentioning the idea of a disabled, black, lesbian character, you actually added one to the narrative and she was awesome?

Instead the movie constantly talks about deep female characters with a kind of eye-rolling sarcasm. We get the far-fetched notion of a prostitute who has studied Vietnamese at Yale. We get the afore-mentioned comment about disabled lesbians "and two of them are black". Even as the movie acknowledges the lack of developed female (or disabled, or black) characters, it also seems to imply that they don't really belong in action/thriller type films--that their presence would just be politically correct pandering. It feels like a "sorry, not sorry" attitude.


But the entire point of the project IS about the frustration of wanting to indulge in convention but wanting to break away and find something compassionate and human in the ugliness. They go and watch Violent Cop in a theater for that exact reason. It'd a film that revels in abusive violence and women abuse and does nothing to subvert it.

McDonaugh is saying quite clearly that such a film is exactly what he wants to make but also the absolute last film he wants to be making. It's a paradoxical stance but an honest one on art creation and I think it necessitates a have/eat cake approach.

I don't see how the film actually implies that they don't belong in the film (perhaps disabled), when the epilogue in regards to Tom Waits' character, is that he's needing to find his lost love, whom completely drove his plot. That character cements that McDonaugh is purposely being male centric and could have just as easily identified her as the psychopath (as she clearly was) but simply hadn't found that part of himself as an artist yet.

And that isn't to mention Walken's wife, whom is sickly (does that count), more virtuous than any of the men, and once he reveals the truth of the story (in which Marty left her out, another telling choice) was just as dynamic as Walken himself.

I think Three Billboards is the response to his self-criticism here in regards to women characters and violent killers and that SP works better now with it having come out.


Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:11 am
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DaMU wrote:
Sorry, I feel like we're just talking over each other right now. You say we can't have the self-criticism without the poorly-written women. I recognize that the ultimate goal is self-criticism, but I don't see the value in someone intentionally writing women as objects so they can later step back and chastise themself. I'd rather the film be corrective or transformative in its depiction of women than cheeky and satirical. You're right, that would turn it into a somewhat different film. And I'd watch that film over this one.

EDIT: I posted that skit not because I think the skit is telling the same joke, but because I think McDonagh is like one of those men, patting himself on the back for noticing these inequalities without actually taking any steps to adjust them within the scope of his film. He seems to think noting their presence is sufficient. Yes, he made Three Billboards afterwards. That's a whole other can of worms.


I'm saying you can't make a movie criticising your inability to write women characters beyond their genre facets by skillfully writing complex, dynamic female characters because you would render your criticism of yourself fairly ungrounded.

Yes and that sketch still relies on depicting the women as silent and thankful to the men. It criticizes the men just as McDonaugh criticizes himself but still had to put women in these less savory roles for the point to be made.


Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:32 am
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Post A Quiet Place (Krasinski, '18)

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Silence is survival.

Imagine, if you will, a post-apocalyptic world, one of what is literally deathly silence, where making any kind of noise that is even just remotely loud immediately causes your quick and grisly death. Imagine that you have to live the entire rest of your life this way, while also having to care for and protect your entire family, which of course, means living with four other people (including a couple of very young children) who can potentially produce an unintentional noise, and get every single one of you killed in the blink of an eye. Now imagine that your wife will soon give birth to a squirming, screaming baby, with only a couple of weeks left for you to to find a way for her to safely (which, in this case, means silently) give birth, all while keeping everyone involved, above all things, quiet. Well, John Krasinski has imagined such a world for us in the superb A Quiet Place, a movie that expertly blends an irresistable, high-concept gimmick with a consistently tense and thrilling execution, resulting in a combination of visceral, B-movie thrills with A-movie craft that is disappointingly rare to encounter in modern film.

When it comes to the film's story, I already described pretty much everything you need to know about the film's plot, and, while there are a few important specifics that haven't been mentioned yet (the most important of which being the daughter's hearing impairment, which justifies the entire family being proficient in sign language, a skill that, of course, helps explain how they've improbably survived so long), for the most part, A Quiet Place is a very simple, straightforward film, one that's mostly distinguished by its central gimmick of mysterious, hideous monsters that hunt people exclusively by sound, both in its (literally) quieter first half, and its relentlessly escalating, unbearably intense finale. Whereas it's easy to imagine a less dedicated filmmaker merely using the idea for an occasionally cheap jump scare, and forget about it completely the rest of the time, Krasinksi goes all the way here with Place's "silence is survival" conceit, placing a refreshingly restrained and mature emphasis on almost completely non-verbal storytelling, carefully focusing every single scene and moment around a constant awareness of every potentially life-ending noise the characters are making,

Krasinski retains a certain, strong discipline around his practical executions of the idea, showing us how the family gets around their farmland in silence by walking barefoot ontop of paths of freshly laid sand, or a moment when the son lets out a long pent-in yell of joy when he's led to a cacophonous, noise-masking waterfall in the woods, or when the mother and father (portrayed by Krasinski and his real-life spouse Emily Blunt) use a pair of shared earbuds to enjoy a romantic dance while listening to Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", a lovely moment of sound in world that's turned into one big silent Hell. Of course, that isn't to suggest that such pathos are one of A Quiet Place's main strengths on the whole, as a few of the more personal, emotional moments among the family here either feel a bit like shoehorned afterthoughts, or are simply just not developed at all (the ending in particular finishes on a rather sudden, "cutesy" little audience-pleaser note, rather than with a more thoughtful, reverent direction I feel would've suited the film better).

That being said, the film still finishes strong with its 2nd half, which is basically a non-stop domino effect of narrow escapes and unabashed creature feature scares, delivering the kind of guttural, horrifically tense thrills that were mostly (and smartly) denied to us during the film's almost completely silent opening act, as we marvel in fear at just how the family can possibly escape whatever latest, horrible situation they find themselves trapped in. One horrific turn just leads to another which inevitably leads to another, with the final 45 minutes of a Place containing FAR more sheer terror and excitement than the vast majority of other Horrors can deliver in 2 hours and some change. Some occasionally sloppy details aside (so how and when did that water main get busted, anyway?), A Quiet Place was a great time at the theater, and already a strong contender for best Horror movie in a year that isn't even halfway over yet; unlike the characters here, don't be afraid to spread the word.
Favorite Moment: the bathtub birth
Final Score: 8.5

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Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:23 am
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I saw A Quiet Place earlier today, and I loved it. It's one of the most suspenseful horror films I've seen in a while. I liked the first act for a few reasons such as how it explained the state of the world in a non-clunky way and how it developed the relationship between the characters. I also agree with you on the second act. Every time a character managed to get out of one dangerous situation, I never felt a sense of relief, because this would lead to a door being opened to another dangerous situation. This made for non-stop suspense. I'm going to try and watch this when it comes out on DVD, because while the theater I was in wasn't too noisy, a few people around me coughed quite a bit during the movie and I found that a little distracting.

8/10

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Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:39 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
But the entire point of the project IS about the frustration of wanting to indulge in convention but wanting to break away and find something compassionate and human in the ugliness. They go and watch Violent Cop in a theater for that exact reason. It'd a film that revels in abusive violence and women abuse and does nothing to subvert it.

McDonaugh is saying quite clearly that such a film is exactly what he wants to make but also the absolute last film he wants to be making. It's a paradoxical stance but an honest one on art creation and I think it necessitates a have/eat cake approach.

I don't see how the film actually implies that they don't belong in the film (perhaps disabled), when the epilogue in regards to Tom Waits' character, is that he's needing to find his lost love, whom completely drove his plot. That character cements that McDonaugh is purposely being male centric and could have just as easily identified her as the psychopath (as she clearly was) but simply hadn't found that part of himself as an artist yet.


I understand the tension between loving and wanting to create art that has a certain set of genre expectations and yet struggling with the problematic elements of such art. I totally get the struggle.

But if you come in to a movie knowing that you want to examine a struggle, I would expect more than just pointing to the problematic parts and going "Yeah, so that's the problem." To me, that is a very low level of self-examination. It even feels a little whiney at times, especially as, given his talents as a writer, it doesn't seem to me that he can't write better female characters, it's that he won't.

In having a movie where someone is writing a screenplay, you already have a structure where there are two "universes"--the real one and the one of the screenplay. So why not use one of those universes to actually really subvert the problematic elements? And why not do so in a genuine way (ie not with a Vietnamese-speaking, Yale-graduate prostitute)? And why not examine WHY those problematic elements (like gratuitously nude women) are so necessary and why it's so hard to get away from them?

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Yes and that sketch still relies on depicting the women as silent and thankful to the men. It criticizes the men just as McDonaugh criticizes himself but still had to put women in these less savory roles for the point to be made.


The difference is that the point of view in the sketch is actually a female point of view. It's the knowing looks they exchange as they realize they've been given no dialogue (there's a reason they are positioned in the center and facing the camera). It's Lorde's annoyance when she is cut off mid-song. It's the annoyed parade of women leaving "their" sketch after being denied the chance to speak. The women don't say much, but there is plenty of commentary in their facial expressions. Their emotions and thoughts are the key to the success of the skit. Seven Psychopaths never allows any female characters to engage with the critical discussions of structure and plot; it never shows their disappointment in the roles that have been created for them. I know the movie is about the writer and the writer is male, but there's something about a man being like "Writing women is hard! *sigh*" that feels hollow to me.


Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:39 am
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Monty Python And The Holy Grail - 10/10 in its... idiom.

I went to see John Cleese at the Saenger Theater here in New Orleans. I did not know that the show consisted of a screening of the movie followed by John Cleese sitting around doing a (obviously largely scripted) Q&A with his daughter for an hour after.
Overall the experience was merely diverting and horribly overpriced (with service charges I paid about $190/ticket for a friend and I), but the movie is just damned good. Really every time I see it I think it's more genius than the previous time.
Amusingly, Cleese thinks it's a weak film because of the ending.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:30 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I understand the tension between loving and wanting to create art that has a certain set of genre expectations and yet struggling with the problematic elements of such art. I totally get the struggle.

But if you come in to a movie knowing that you want to examine a struggle, I would expect more than just pointing to the problematic parts and going "Yeah, so that's the problem." To me, that is a very low level of self-examination. It even feels a little whiney at times, especially as, given his talents as a writer, it doesn't seem to me that he can't write better female characters, it's that he won't.

In having a movie where someone is writing a screenplay, you already have a structure where there are two "universes"--the real one and the one of the screenplay. So why not use one of those universes to actually really subvert the problematic elements? And why not do so in a genuine way (ie not with a Vietnamese-speaking, Yale-graduate prostitute)? And why not examine WHY those problematic elements (like gratuitously nude women) are so necessary and why it's so hard to get away from them?



The difference is that the point of view in the sketch is actually a female point of view. It's the knowing looks they exchange as they realize they've been given no dialogue (there's a reason they are positioned in the center and facing the camera). It's Lorde's annoyance when she is cut off mid-song. It's the annoyed parade of women leaving "their" sketch after being denied the chance to speak. The women don't say much, but there is plenty of commentary in their facial expressions. Their emotions and thoughts are the key to the success of the skit. Seven Psychopaths never allows any female characters to engage with the critical discussions of structure and plot; it never shows their disappointment in the roles that have been created for them. I know the movie is about the writer and the writer is male, but there's something about a man being like "Writing women is hard! *sigh*" that feels hollow to me.


Is the sketch worse off for not showing a man ceding creative power to a woman? I don't think showing the positive is inherently necessary to making the point.

I think the needed point is made clear and it is intentionally done in that way because the "real" universe is also not "real," but functions as a construct of Marty's own film. He is absent minded about how he presents women, including his girlfriend, except in that vague sense of guilt. It's telling that it's only through Hans, who is not a good writer himself (hence how shoddy his fixes are) and operates as the foil to Billy, is the one who illuminates this aspect for him, as his own "real" sacrifice and characterization is the story that McDonaugh and Marty are wanting to tell. I think the women component is important to supporting the general thesis but is not the thesis itself.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:25 am
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Wooley wrote:
Amusingly, Cleese thinks it's a weak film because of the ending.

Well, he could have put up more of a fight, I guess.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:10 am
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Wooley wrote:
Monty Python And The Holy Grail - 10/10 in its... idiom.

I went to see John Cleese at the Saenger Theater here in New Orleans. I did not know that the show consisted of a screening of the movie followed by John Cleese sitting around doing a (obviously largely scripted) Q&A with his daughter for an hour after.
Overall the experience was merely diverting and horribly overpriced (with service charges I paid about $190/ticket for a friend and I), but the movie is just damned good. Really every time I see it I think it's more genius than the previous time.
Amusingly, Cleese thinks it's a weak film because of the ending.


The end is such a cop out.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:05 am
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Yeah, he's right about the ending.

Fortunately for Life of Brian that ending was pretty much baked in, they just needed a good take on it.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:15 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Well, he could have put up more of a fight, I guess.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
The end is such a cop out.


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Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:17 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Is the sketch worse off for not showing a man ceding creative power to a woman? I don't think showing the positive is inherently necessary to making the point.

I think the needed point is made clear and it is intentionally done in that way because the "real" universe is also not "real," but functions as a construct of Marty's own film. He is absent minded about how he presents women, including his girlfriend, except in that vague sense of guilt. It's telling that it's only through Hans, who is not a good writer himself (hence how shoddy his fixes are) and operates as the foil to Billy, is the one who illuminates this aspect for him, as his own "real" sacrifice and characterization is the story that McDonaugh and Marty are wanting to tell. I think the women component is important to supporting the general thesis but is not the thesis itself.


The sketch doesn't show the problem being fixed, but it does show women taking action in response to the bogus power dynamic and the real tension of the sketch is the gap between what the men think they are doing (advocating for women) and what they are actually doing (silencing women to hear themselves speak).

I agree that the treatment of women isn't the main point of Seven Psychopaths. But it is an element of the conversation about genre convention and I think that the movie itself is lazy in how it approaches that subtopic. Other genre tropes are subverted, but the treatment of women is just done according to genre trappings and then gestured at. Again--I don't think that meaningful subversion is somehow beyond McDonaugh (who is a very talented writer) and I also don't care for the lines I pointed out earlier that seem to suggest that women or other minorities don't really belong in such films.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:20 am
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Shameless cross-posting from Thief's thread because I'd love to discuss this one with someone who has seen it.

Tropical Malady

I really, really liked this movie. It was weird and sexy (but mostly weird-sexy), and haunting and otherworldly.

The film's structure is very strange--it is two movies in one, but with overlapping actors and themes.

The first half follows a soldier who has been assigned with his troop to figure out who/what is killing cattle in a rural community. While out on patrol, he meets a local man. The two become friends, but their friendship quickly morphs into a romance. The romance itself is incredibly innocent (at one point the soldier slips a note into the other man's pocket that reads "I like you"), but at the same time there is a building tension between the men and a kind of casual sensuality between them that is really interesting. For a movie with no explicit sex, there are sequences that are incredibly erotic, partly because so much is conveyed through casual physical contact. By the time the love interest playfully licked the soldier's hand and fingers, it felt almost shocking to see the sexual nature of their relationship emerge form what had been sidelong looks, bodies leaning into each other, and knowing smiles.

Then, abruptly, a new movie begins (complete with title card and short credits). A prologue tells the story of a shapeshifting shaman who is killed while in the form of the tiger. The shaman's spirit haunts the woods. The story then begins with a soldier (played by the same actor who played the soldier in the first half, but not, I think, meant to be the exact same character) who is sent to solve the disappearance of some missing cattle and also a villager who has gone missing. While in the woods, the soldier encounters the tiger spirit (played in human form by the same actor who played the young man in the first half). The relationship/encounter between the tiger spirit and the soldier plays like a dark parallel to the romance from the first half: the tiger spirit is always naked. There is a scene where the soldier and the spirit fight/wrestle in a field and while of course you can impose some erotic charge to it, it is also violent and dangerous. In another scene a monkey tells the soldier "You are his prey and his companion". Pursuing the tiger leaves the soldier more and more isolated and vulnerable. The first half of the story basically has no anti-gay elements. No one is homophobic or tries to shut down the romance. But the second half has something much more sinister to say about romance (and possibly gay romance).

I also liked the inversion of how you think of characters in these stories. Usually the soldier character is the more worldly/predatory, but it's interesting that it is the illiterate village boy who becomes the predator in the second half. The soldier is constantly seen picking off leeches, and there's an idea there about the way that the jungle can dominate a man.

Also, about a third of the way into the movie, the young man says "Remember my uncle who can recall his past lives?" and my brain went "WHOA!!!!". A few years ago I quite enjoyed Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, but Tropical Malady came out a full six years earlier. And yet! It IS the same director. So that was a fun little jolt.

In any event: I would highly recommend this movie. It is strange and different and does visually really cool stuff with its jungle setting. I read that when it premiered at Cannes people walked out and booed it. I say those people are nuts. This one is definitely worth seeing. I liked it even better than Uncle Boonmee.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:51 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

The sketch doesn't show the problem being fixed, but it does show women taking action in response to the bogus power dynamic and the real tension of the sketch is the gap between what the men think they are doing (advocating for women) and what they are actually doing (silencing women to hear themselves speak).

I agree that the treatment of women isn't the main point of Seven Psychopaths. But it is an element of the conversation about genre convention and I think that the movie itself is lazy in how it approaches that subtopic. Other genre tropes are subverted, but the treatment of women is just done according to genre trappings and then gestured at. Again--I don't think that meaningful subversion is somehow beyond McDonaugh (who is a very talented writer) and I also don't care for the lines I pointed out earlier that seem to suggest that women or other minorities don't really belong in such films.


I can see saying he didn't take the criticism far enough (though I'm arguing it isn't necessary to take it further given the overall aim of the film) but I don't see how he's arguing that they don't belong in such films if the driving force psychopath with Waits is a black woman, Hans' wife is a sickly, elderly black woman given multiple scenes and layers despite still becoming a victim, and casting Sidebe as the dog walker. He also tends to populate his films with dwarves, if we want to toss some other underrepresented demographics into the mix. It's not as though every female character was Olga Kurylenko or the prostitute.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:27 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

I can see saying he didn't take the criticism far enough (though I'm arguing it isn't necessary to take it further given the overall aim of the film) but I don't see how he's arguing that they don't belong in such films if the driving force psychopath with Waits is a black woman, Hans' wife is a sickly, elderly black woman given multiple scenes and layers despite still becoming a victim, and casting Sidebe as the dog walker. He also tends to populate his films with dwarves, if we want to toss some other underrepresented demographics into the mix. It's not as though every female character was Olga Kurylenko or the prostitute.


I haven't watched the movie recently enough to really firmly back up what I'm about to say--but here goes anyway: my lingering impression of the movie was not of one with particularly good female representation. The women who were given depth were mainly there as drivers to the action of the male characters. We follow Waitts, not his wife. We follow Walken, not his wife. I don't remember any of the female characters' names, which is never a good sign for me. I do think that the character of Waitts' wife is jarring and unusual, but she isn't a very developed character. She's an anecdote.

This wasn't a movie that sent me scrambling to compose the latest edition of Angry Feminist Newsletter. To go back to a word I've used repeatedly: the way it dealt with the question of women in the genre felt lazy. I thought McDonaugh, given his talents, could have done more with that element of the film, especially in the final third (in which the main visible female character is an imaginary prostitute). But, going back to something we agree on, female representation isn't the main point (or even a main point) of the film. But the way that attention is drawn to it by the movie itself casts it in a slightly unflattering light.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:00 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I haven't watched the movie recently enough to really firmly back up what I'm about to say--but here goes anyway: my lingering impression of the movie was not of one with particularly good female representation. The women who were given depth were mainly there as drivers to the action of the male characters. We follow Waitts, not his wife. We follow Walken, not his wife. I don't remember any of the female characters' names, which is never a good sign for me. I do think that the character of Waitts' wife is jarring and unusual, but she isn't a very developed character. She's an anecdote.

This wasn't a movie that sent me scrambling to compose the latest edition of Angry Feminist Newsletter. To go back to a word I've used repeatedly: the way it dealt with the question of women in the genre felt lazy. I thought McDonaugh, given his talents, could have done more with that element of the film, especially in the final third (in which the main visible female character is an imaginary prostitute). But, going back to something we agree on, female representation isn't the main point (or even a main point) of the film. But the way that attention is drawn to it by the movie itself casts it in a slightly unflattering light.


Do you think the film is better off for having mentioned that short coming, which blind-sides Marty at the end, or to have not mentioned it at all? I don't want to contend that the film has strong female characters (I will contend that about Three Billboards though perhaps in the singular) but that they aren't as flimsy as accused and that pointing it out is enough for the criticism given the bigger picture. After that, I think we'll just truly be repeating ourselves.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:05 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

Do you think the film is better off for having mentioned that short coming, which blind-sides Marty at the end, or to have not mentioned it at all? I don't want to contend that the film has strong female characters (I will contend that about Three Billboards though perhaps in the singular) but that they aren't as flimsy as accused and that pointing it out is enough for the criticism given the bigger picture. After that, I think we'll just truly be repeating ourselves.


Honestly, I think that I'd have to rewatch the movie to give you a good answer here. The main part of the movie that was impressed on my brain was like the last 30 minutes. As hard as this may be to believe given that female representation is something I go on and on about, it really wasn't something I was considering while watching the movie until the movie itself brought it up. And from the point that it was brought up forward, it was something I was paying attention to, and everything thereafter felt pretty lazy and slightly sarcastic in terms of female characters. Maybe I'll put it on this weekend and see what I think of it as a whole.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:11 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

Honestly, I think that I'd have to rewatch the movie to give you a good answer here. The main part of the movie that was impressed on my brain was like the last 30 minutes. As hard as this may be to believe given that female representation is something I go on and on about, it really wasn't something I was considering while watching the movie until the movie itself brought it up. And from the point that it was brought up forward, it was something I was paying attention to, and everything thereafter felt pretty lazy and slightly sarcastic in terms of female characters. Maybe I'll put it on this weekend and see what I think of it as a whole.

I think that's why I liked it so much. I was so engrossed in how it toyed with the male-centric tropes, that I wasn't even thinking about the gender dynamics on display until Hans mocked them to Marty. I think part of why it works is that the women that McDonaugh writes aren't quite as shallow or simplistic as the ones Marty writes. They can definitely "string a sentence together," as Hans puts it. It's just also clearly in the same vein as what Marty writes.

I recently rewatched it and In Bruges while grading. IB is certainly the superior film but SP was a much more enjoyable to watch while grading. It's bombast and style were much more passively gripping than the somber tone of In Bruges. I want to rewatch his body of work, given how much trouble I've gone through defending it around these parts.


Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:48 am
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Boy - 8/10. Can Taika Waititi do no wrong? With Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnorok and this movie, he's in the running with Denis Villeneuve as my favorite active filmmaker. Like those movies, it tells an engrossing story about the dark side of colonialism. Set in the ‘80s in a small town populated by Maori, it follows brothers Boy and Rocky, whose mother died during Boy's birth and whose father is in prison. Not unlike some Native American reservations, their hometown is a neglected place with few legal ways to make money. The brothers cope through fantasy, Boy by idolizing Michael Jackson and the more introverted Rocky by drawing comic books with him as a superhero. Their father, played by Waititi, unexpectedly returns home from prison, but unfortunately for the brothers, he's more interested in pursuing his own fantasy - one of buried treasure - than being a dad. Like Waititi did with Wilderpeople, Boy proves how adept he is at blending moments of pain and tragedy with funny and joyful ones. It deftly proves that flights of fancy can bring joy to any situation and are probably necessary to make life bearable, but there are consequences when they're taken too far. After all, no matter how long the flight, we all have to come back to Earth. With the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson proved that New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country. Boy and Wilderpeople also prove this, and thankfully, we have them so we can see what life is like in New Zealand outside the Middle Earth frame.

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Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:54 pm
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Torgo wrote:
Boy - 8/10. Can Taika Waititi do no wrong? With Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnorok and this movie, he's in the running with Denis Villeneuve as my favorite active filmmaker. Like those movies, it tells an engrossing story about the dark side of colonialism. Set in the ‘80s in a small town populated by Maori, it follows brothers Boy and Rocky, whose mother died during Boy's birth and whose father is in prison. Not unlike some Native American reservations, their hometown is a neglected place with few legal ways to make money. The brothers cope through fantasy, Boy by idolizing Michael Jackson and the more introverted Rocky by drawing comic books with him as a superhero. Their father, played by Waititi, unexpectedly returns home from prison, but unfortunately for the brothers, he's more interested in pursuing his own fantasy - one of buried treasure - than being a dad. Like Waititi did with Wilderpeople, Boy proves how adept he is at blending moments of pain and tragedy with funny and joyful ones. It deftly proves that flights of fancy can bring joy to any situation and are probably necessary to make life bearable, but there are consequences when they're taken too far. After all, no matter how long the flight, we all have to come back to Earth. With the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson proved that New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country. Boy and Wilderpeople also prove this, and thankfully, we have them so we can see what life is like in New Zealand outside the Middle Earth frame.

Eagle vs. Shark.


Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:48 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Eagle vs. Shark.
The preview makes it seem like a Napoleon Dynamite ripoff, so I avoided it. I guess I made the right choice.

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Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:51 am
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Torgo wrote:
The preview makes it seem like a Napoleon Dynamite ripoff, so I avoided it. I guess I made the right choice.

It certainly is that. I like it more than Napoleon Dynamite due to Clement but it's Waititi trying to be Hess. I'm glad he realized he's a 1000x the talent of Hess and mixed it up.


Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:15 am
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T-Men was less a noir and more a procedural than I'd anticipated, complete with the docu-drama style narration that I sort of hate. Alton's cinematography is the highlight here and Anthony Mann still knows how to film a shoot out, but the plot was fairly plodding and reminded me of other noir-era procedurals like Port of New York that I also find middling beyond a few key moments and roles. This one is better than that and while it's more stylish than the similarly titled G-Men, I can't help but feel like G-Men is fhs far superior early government agent taking on the mob film.

That said, the aforementioned cinematography and some key moments make this something worth seeking out. I got it in a John Alton 3 pack Blu-ray along with Raw Deal and He Walked By Night, which look more pure noir than this one.


Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:49 am
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Terminator: Genisys (2015)

Goofy and more entertaining than I was expecting.

7/10

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Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:23 pm
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topherH wrote:
Terminator: Genisys (2015)

Goofy and more entertaining than I was expecting.

7/10

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Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:03 am
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Red Sun may be my favorite East meets Western flick. Bronson has more personality in the role than I think I've ever seen, Mifune plays the stoic samurai as only he can and Alain Delon plays a smooth, backstabbing criminal as only he can. All are playing to their type, including Ursula Andress, and carrying the film, which has a solid script and more than solid direction from Terrence Young. The only thing that could have elevated it would be that it found itself in the hands of Leone, Corbucci or Castellari, as their Spaghetti sensibilities would better match the film than Young, who films it more in line with a John Sturges joint. Not that Sturges is poor, just less in line with my preferences.

The Japanese Blu-ray I got has a great transfer and is probably the best way to see it. However, the audio leaves a lot to be desired.


Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:08 am
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Five Came back steadily builds to that last episode. And wow. Such images captured by the directors. I think I want to seek out these director's past works now.


Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:49 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Red Sun may be my favorite East meets Western flick. Bronson has more personality in the role than I think I've ever seen, Mifune plays the stoic samurai as only he can and Alain Delon plays a smooth, backstabbing criminal as only he can. All are playing to their type, including Ursula Andress, and carrying the film, which has a solid script and more than solid direction from Terrence Young. The only thing that could have elevated it would be that it found itself in the hands of Leone, Corbucci or Castellari, as their Spaghetti sensibilities would better match the film than Young, who films it more in line with a John Sturges joint. Not that Sturges is poor, just less in line with my preferences.

The Japanese Blu-ray I got has a great transfer and is probably the best way to see it. However, the audio leaves a lot to be desired.


Speaking of East meets West, have you seen Fuller's House of Bamboo? Cuz it's real good.

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Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:46 pm
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Macrology wrote:

Speaking of East meets West, have you seen Fuller's House of Bamboo? Cuz it's real good.


I have not but it sounds like my bag so I've got my eyes on the Twilight Time Blu.

Though, to clarify, I was referring to the very specific genre of martial arts/western cross over: Shanghai Noon, Once Upon a Time in China and America, the Stranger and the Gunfighter, and Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die. I am a sucker for Kung Fu, chanbara and Westerns so anytime they mix, I seen them out. Same for Kung Fu/chanbara cross overs like Heroes of the East and Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman.

I've got a copy of Shanghai Express sitting around and may dive into it soon.


Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:29 pm
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topherH wrote:
Terminator: Genisys (2015)

Goofy and more entertaining than I was expecting.

7/10


Terrible 2//10


Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:09 am
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ski petrol wrote:

Terrible 2//10


Oh, come on.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:47 am
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topherH wrote:

Oh, come on.


Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but I sure didn't remember liking it too much.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:49 am
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I don't think I've hated any of the Terminator films (I even love Terminator 3 despite some tonal misfires), but nonetheless, this endless relay of production companies and directors has done nothing but harm to the franchise. The only sensible solution is to nuke it all and, if you have to (and you know they will), start from scratch.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:36 am
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Thief wrote:
I don't think I've hated any of the Terminator films (I even love Terminator 3 despite some tonal misfires), but nonetheless, this endless relay of production companies and directors has done nothing but harm to the franchise. The only sensible solution is to nuke it all and, if you have to (and you know they will), start from scratch.


I hear they plan to reboot it and do another trilogy so you'll be in for some new movies in the not so near future. Good old Hollywood and their originality.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:44 am
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ski petrol wrote:
I hear they plan to reboot it and do another trilogy so you'll be in for some new movies in the not so near future. Good old Hollywood and their originality.


Which brings me to my next question: after 5 films, a TV show, and endless time travel paradoxes, is there anything new this franchise can offer? :roll:

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:50 am
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Thief wrote:

Which brings me to my next question: after 5 films, a TV show, and endless time travel paradoxes, is there anything new this franchise can offer? :roll:


Apparently someone in Hollywood thinks so. I think they should just do a straight to Netflix/Amazon flick or reboot of the series next. No more theatrical offerings.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:52 am
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I think Cameron is coming back to oversee a new Trilogy but I'm sure he isn't directing.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:41 am
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topherH wrote:
I think Cameron is coming back to oversee a new Trilogy but I'm sure he isn't directing.


Of course not. Unless he can have a blue Terminator in it :roll:

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:43 am
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topherH wrote:
I think Cameron is coming back to oversee a new Trilogy but I'm sure he isn't directing.


Cameron is working on Avatar 2, 3 and 4. I guess he thinks we really want more of those movies. The first one isn't due until 2021


Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:44 am
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Ace wrote:
Five Came back steadily builds to that last episode. And wow. Such images captured by the directors. I think I want to seek out these director's past works now.


Agreed. A really powerful documentary and, like you said, it gives you a great foundation with which to watch the directors' films. It completely changed the way I looked at It's a Wonderful Life.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:46 am
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Nice to see House of Bamboo getting a shout out in this thread. I remember years ago telling a video store employee that it was one of my favorite Fuller's and he gave me a look that I clearly didn't deserve. Because House of Bamboo is awesome.

Also, with all of this Terminator talk, I only mention in passing that I don't think I'm a huge fan of any of them. The first is clearly the best, and one that I like a good deal, but I couldn't care less if I ever see any of the rest ever again. And those I haven't seen, okay, sounds good, let's keep it that way.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:59 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
Nice to see House of Bamboo getting a shout out in this thread. I remember years ago telling a video store employee that it was one of my favorite Fuller's and he gave me a look that I clearly didn't deserve. Because House of Bamboo is awesome.

Also, with all of this Terminator talk, I only mention in passing that I don't think I'm a huge fan of any of them. The first is clearly the best, and one that I like a good deal, but I couldn't care less if I ever see any of the rest ever again. And those I haven't seen, okay, sounds good, let's keep it that way.

You deserved the look he gave you for what you just said about T2.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:07 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
You deserved the look he gave you for what you just said about T2.


I lose no sleep over my complete disinterest in T2.

Is it well made? Sure. Do I get why other people are fans. I guess. But do I care to watch it yet another time to be completely apathetic towards everything that is on screen? Nah. I've long buried this one and my grieving is over.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:15 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

I lose no sleep over my complete disinterest in T2.

Is it well made? Sure. Do I get why other people are fans. I guess. But do I care to watch it yet another time to be completely apathetic towards everything that is on screen? Nah. I've long buried this one and my grieving is over.

I got your back on this one. First one is great, T2 bugged me.
To be fair, it was well into the 2000s before I watched either of them and I haven't gone any further than that. But yeah, I acknowledge T2's impact especially in the VFX field, but I didn't enjoy it. I'm not invested enough to argue about it, just wanted to offer some support.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:24 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
just wanted to offer some support.


I have a feeling I probably will eventually need this. It's going to be in short supply.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:42 pm
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crumbsroom wrote:

I lose no sleep over my complete disinterest in T2.

Is it well made? Sure. Do I get why other people are fans. I guess. But do I care to watch it yet another time to be completely apathetic towards everything that is on screen? Nah. I've long buried this one and my grieving is over.

If a cybernetic organism can learn why we cry, you can learn why you're wrong about T2.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:57 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
If a cybernetic organism can learn why we cry, you can learn why you're wrong about T2.

What if it's something he can never do?

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