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In which I write reviews of stuff until my attention span runs out.


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1. Mirror Mirror


Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:02 pm
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The arrival of a new Tarsem film is as much a cause for celebration as peturbation. (Occasionally, masturbation.) The signature aesthetic he's developed over the course of his career, a style marked by its symmetrical shot compositions, theatrical set designs and Eiko Ishioka's exotic costuming, exhibits the director's strongest suit: an attention to visual craftsmanship that's singularly Singh's and simply breathtaking to behold. However, I often find it difficult to reckon the beauty of Tarsem's imagery with the the actual films themselves, whose narratives come so very close to attaining a complimentary elegance but never quite manage to strike that balance. There is always something there to clip his films' wings, be it a peppering of jarringly lowbrow humor, plodding pacing or undercooked thematic development. In the case of Mirror Mirror, it's Julia Roberts.

I initially found myself in a bit of a pickle as to whether or not it's fair to condemn the casting of a grotesquely obnoxious actress to play the part of a, well, grotesquely obnoxious character. The Queen is after all the kind of role that demands a certan level of scenery chewing (and Mr. Singh is certainly up to the task of providing some delicious scenery for her to chew). The problem, however, is that Roberts doesn't just chew said scenery, she swallows it, digests it, shits it out all over the place, and makes you watch the whole horrible process. In the theater I attended, her antics were generally met with gales of gaiety from the assorted knots of fortysomething and tweenage women and girls respectively present, and while I'm apparently not a member of the demographic her shtick seems to have been intended for, here we arrive at the other problem I have with Roberts: Although it's my opinion that I've seen funnier chalkboards scratched than this particular performance, clearly the Queen was intended as less of a villain and more of a source of comic relief. This strikes me as odd, as Mirror Mirror is a light-hearted affair that doesn't ever seem to be in any particular need of someone to remind the audience to laugh. It's a revisionist fairy tale, not a parody, and (Roberts' contributions aside) I'd draw favorable comparisons to films such as The Princess Bride and Time Bandits. Yet in making a crass mockery out of the film's sole antagonist, Tarsem has shaved away that little bit of darkness, that gnarled root of uneasyness that I believe these sort of fantastic tales require to sustain some level of dramatic tension. Without it, our desire to see Snow White and her band of miniature misfits overcome all odds and overthrow the evil stepmother, find true love and discover all of that other stuff that happy endings are made out of is replaced simply by our desire to see that abhorrent abortion of a casting decision get off the screen as quickly as possible so we can get back to the good bits (unless of course you happen to be among those entertained by Roberts, in which case I don't know what to do with you. Go away.)

If ranting about Roberts is enough to make me see red, then ultimately what allows me to see Mirror Mirror through rose-tinted glasses is its saving grace: Lily Collins. Immediately reminiscent of the enchanting screen presence of Audrey Hepburn, she brings an old-fashioned sincerity to the part of Snow White, furnishing her naively idealistic personality with a genuine heart and soul, without ever slipping into self parody or Disney cartoonishness. It's a lovely performance.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:03 pm
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trip will be excite

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:06 pm
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Can't comment (yet), but heysoyouwrite and also mmbanner.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:11 pm
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That's the quickest banner-to-first-post transition I've ever seen from you, Birdie.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:45 pm
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That was hilariously entertaining. The Fall is still one of my favorite films, The Cell isn't too far behind, so I'll always love Tarsem. I'll see this in theaters eventually.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:09 pm
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I really liked The Fall, but that's all I've seen from Tarsem so far.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:13 pm
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Derninan wrote:
That was hilariously entertaining. The Fall is still one of my favorite films, The Cell isn't too far behind, so I'll always love Tarsem. I'll see this in theaters eventually.

Huh, I'd be curious to hear why you like The Fall so much.

Because I personally found the film to be an aesthetically uninteresting heap (For a film with so many colors and elaborate sets, its visual composition feels positively worksmanlike, boring.) without a heart.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:15 pm
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The heart of the film is what I love so much about it! It's positively brimming with heart. I understand that I'm in the minority, but Catinca Untaru drives that film to remarkable emotional heights, for me.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:37 pm
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I like The Fall because I like shiny things and Lee Pace is a beautiful man. I think there are other reasons but they aren't as important, obviously.

I want to see Mirror Mirror even more now.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:44 pm
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:heart:

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:01 pm
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Derninan wrote:
That was hilariously entertaining. The Fall is still one of my favorite films, The Cell isn't too far behind, so I'll always love Tarsem. I'll see this in theaters eventually.

Have you seen Immortals? That might be my favorite of his so far, for reasons I will attempt to elaborate on in the near future.


Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:27 pm
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Orfano wrote:
Lily Collins. Immediately reminiscent of the enchanting screen presence of Audrey Hepburn, she brings an old-fashioned sincerity to the part of Snow White, furnishing her naively idealistic personality with a genuine heart and soul, without ever slipping into self parody or Disney cartoonishness. It's a lovely performance.


Now I have to watch this movie.

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Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:22 am
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Orfano wrote:
Have you seen Immortals? That might be my favorite of his so far, for reasons I will attempt to elaborate on in the near future.

I have, and I didn't really enjoy it. :P But I'd love to hear your thoughts, as I plan to revisit it at some point.


Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:45 am
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Das wrote:
Because I personally found the film to be an aesthetically uninteresting heap (For a film with so many colors and elaborate sets, its visual composition feels positively worksmanlike, boring.) without a heart.
I'm with Dern on this one. The visuals made sense to me as that little girl's limited imagination. I didn't need them to be anything else.

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Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:50 pm
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I only like The Cell because.

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Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:53 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I'm with Dern on this one. The visuals made sense to me as that little girl's limited imagination. I didn't need them to be anything else.

Being (somewhat arguably) intentional in its limited range doesn't actually do the film any favors. - films like Spirit of the Beehive, Landscape in the Mist for example approached their aesthetic with a kind of innocent, and interestingly limited (Blocked by the inability to fully understand) perspective in their visual language and have done so with a significant amount more grace and fascination. It seems more an excuse than anything else when talking about The Fall.


Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:58 pm
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Das wrote:
Being (somewhat arguably) intentional in its limited range doesn't actually do the film any favors. - films like Spirit of the Beehive, Landscape in the Mist for example approached their aesthetic with a kind of innocent, and interestingly limited (Blocked by the inability to fully understand) perspective in their visual language and done so with a significant amount more grace and fascination. It seems more an excuse than anything else when talking about The Fall.
Yeah, but asking it to be Spirit of the Beehive doesn't seem fair. I found the story enjoyable and moving. (The actual story, I mean, not the fairy tale). I'm not arguing that it's a visual masterpiece.

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Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:02 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Yeah, but asking it to be Spirit of the Beehive doesn't seem fair. I found the story enjoyable and moving. (The actual story, I mean, not the fairy tale). I'm not arguing that it's a visual masterpiece.

What's unfair about it? The film certainly expresses that kind of ambition, it's a film that attempts to jam in every meticulous detail it can even where it's not needed.. that's my biggest issue with Tarsem, he can't seem to reign himself into a reasonable goal, and instead pours every ambition into his film-making, and inevitably I almost always end up disappointed with his work. There's a desire to be a great filmmaker, but not nearly the talent or restraint to do so. He'd do well to reel himself in for his film-making. And lay off slow motion, there's a bit too much of that regardless.


Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:09 pm
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Das wrote:
What's unfair about it? The film certainly expresses that kind of ambition, it's a film that attempts to jam in every meticulous detail it can even where it's not needed.. that's my biggest issue with Tarsem, he can't seem to reign himself into a reasonable goal, and instead pours every ambition into his film-making, and inevitably I almost always end up disappointed with his work. There's a desire to be a great filmmaker, but not nearly the talent or restraint to do so. He'd do well to reel himself in for his film-making. And lay off slow motion, there's a bit too much of that regardless.
Maybe he is too ambitious; but I didn't know that, so I wasn't disappointed. But you said it had no heart. I thought it did.

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Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:18 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Maybe he is too ambitious; but I didn't know that, so I wasn't disappointed. But you said it had no heart. I thought it did.

I don't think it does, whatever heart there is feels lost in Tarsem's visual vanity, so to speak, to me.


Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:19 pm
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Sorry but nobody over the age of 10 should enjoy MM.


Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:34 pm
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http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/m ... eke-305463

Interesting interview with Tarsem where he talks about his overall career and where he wants to take it.

I am a big fan of The Fall. I think it's visually beautiful. Yes, the script isn't particularly groundbreaking but I think it's the best one that Tarsem has ever made into a film. Its consistent emotionally and uses such an incredibly diverse amount of color schemes and designs that my analyzing brain ends up drowned away by the joy of just experiencing the film. A must own on blu ray.


Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:01 am
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LadyStranger wrote:
Sorry but nobody over the age of 10 should enjoy MM.


Can I still watch Snow White and the Huntsman, though?

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:05 am
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dreiser wrote:

Can I still watch Snow White and the Huntsman, though?


No. Although I'm sure I can't be the only one around here who thinks it looks better than it should based on the premise. Even if it's good the only way that movie gets love around these parts is if Tony Scott directed it.


Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:52 am
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pwiedenheft wrote:

No. Although I'm sure I can't be the only one around here who thinks it looks better than it should based on the premise. Even if it's good the only way that movie gets love around these parts is if Tony Scott directed it.


Ha, ha. So true. :up:

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"I hate the dark, the sharks liars. And the stems of cherry..."

Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:59 am
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I suspect where Mirror Mirror went too far with the goofy stuff, Snow White and the Huntsman will go overboard with the dark and gritty stuff. It's got some neat looking special effects and Charlize Theron though.

Would love to jump into The Fall discussion but it's been years since I saw it so I'll hold my horses until a second viewing. I do recall being enamored with the whole look of the movie, devastated by the little girl's emotional meltdown, and bothered by some of the pacing but that's about it so I can't really elaborate.


Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:08 pm
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ribbon wrote:
I only like The Cell because.

:fresh:


Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:15 pm
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dreiser wrote:

Ha, ha. So true. :up:

Was that funny? You used to be more reasonable.
He could have said thirty (at least) different directors and your reaction would've been exactly the same (you know the forum idiosyncrasies). It's because the man has a dedicated thread?
Here's a promise, even though I find From Hell and the rest of their oeuvre appalling, a Hughes Brothers thread will be my next project.

ps: Please don't take my words too serious, this was a sexless weekend... :P

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Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:28 pm
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Vasco is so pretentious.

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Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:04 pm
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I like sexless Vasco.


Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:11 pm
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ribbon wrote:
I only like The Cell because.

The film is a running joke in my uni film society, relatively contextless. We just say stuff like "The Cell transcends time - it is the best film of the 00s, the 70s, and the 40s simultaneously" :!:


Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:52 pm
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I apologize to Vasco for my insensitive joke regarding Tony Scott. I did have sex this weekend and I must have been feeling a little frisky. And since I like Dead Presidents and Menace II Society, I'll be very interested to hear what he has to say about the Hughes Brothers. :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:


Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:10 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I'm with Dern on this one.

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Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:57 am
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