Recently Seen

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Stu
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:20 am

Whoops, fixed :oops:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:48 am

Anywho, here's my general thoughts on Once Upon A Time... that I forgot to share:
I do feel Once Upon... is his best movie since Kill Bill Vol. 2, seeing as how it is the most emotional effort he's done in a while, with Dalton being the best-developed character he's made since Beatrix, and I feel like I'm in the minority when it comes to feeling that meaty, substantive character development is the thing he does the best (when he actually bothers to attempt it), like Jules's arc of redemption, Max & Jackie's rich, bittersweet romance, or the love/hate dynamic that unexpectedly develops between Bill & The Bride in Vol. 2 (Jackie Brown is my favorite from him due to that, for crying out loud), and it feels like the lack of well-developed characters (like the fairly flat Django) and an over-reliance on flashy, over-the-top caricatures (like Aldo) left those films with the Tarantino style, but not the SUBSTANCE, which is why, even though I grew up watching (and often loving) his movies, I've still grown cold to his recent works.

But, like I said, Dalton does have a pretty good personal arc in this one, one that left me feeling some undeniable, unexpected sympathy for him in a moment that wouldn't seem like a huge deal from an outside perspective, but to him at that juncture, meant everything in the world, and that compelling character work, plus the film being a generally pretty entertaining, loving tribute to the American film industry finally leaving the long Classical period behind to move into the all-too-brief era of the New Hollywood, left me actually liking it, the first Tarantino I've done so for since Vol. 2. Don't get me wrong, it was a bit self-indulgent at times (naturally) with the late 60's LA scenery/period details, it could've stood to be at least 15 minutes shorter (with a few less scenes of people just cruising around town), and Dalton's arc should've used at least a little bit more focus, seeing as how the film juggles its attention too much between him, Cliff, and Tate at times, but, while not great, it's still a good 8/10 at least, and a step back in the right direction for him, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:54 am

Tightening up Once Upon a Time In Hollywood makes about as much sense to me as tightening up Easy Rider, Means Streets or La Dolce Vita. The excess, atmosphere and emphasis on the individual moments of life is the point.

You also don’t get Django as a character, Stu. He’s got a shit ton of depth and is the best representation of the trickster figure in American slave cinema (outside of maybe Stephen in the same film).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:25 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:54 am
Tightening up Once Upon a Time In Hollywood makes about as much sense to me as tightening up Easy Rider, Means Streets or La Dolce Vita. The excess, atmosphere and emphasis on the individual moments of life is the point.
Haven't seen OUATINH yet, but yes yes yes to this point. The general criticism that films should all be hemmed snugly around the narrative reduces films into some uniform story telling machine. Blech. There are many different ways to tell a story. There are many ways to step around story. There are many ways to subvert or shun story telling tropes entirely. There are already enough films out there that are primarily interested in narrative efficiency. In fact, it's most of them. Applying the same general rules of how to reduce film to plot would make movies quickly not worth watching for me. If all music had to stick to its melody, if all paintings had to stick to figurative representation, if all books were similarly restricted to adhere to always making the story sparkle, I'd give up on those too. While it's nice to know the general ground rules of these elements of whatever artistic medium we talk about, to hunker down into them and keep expecting even the more eccentric artists to always deliver on them, would kill the joy of watching a director (or musician or author or painter) disregard, forget, subvert or disdain these supposed rules. This whole attitude is why I generally can't help snark continually that I hate storytelling. Not that I do at all (I don't, it's great), but I hate the general critical pollution it seems to have created. It generates impatience towards a movie like Mean Streets, which actually comes most to life in between the beats of the narrative. This is a crime as far as I'm concerned. While MS might not be nearly as lean or as full of as much forward propulsion as something like Goodfellas, I think it is quite possibly its equal if not better. Because it's willing to drift. Because it's willing to take its time. Because it's willing to emulate how stories actually manifest in real life, sometimes sloppy, sometimes meandering, always unexpected and lived in.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by djerdap » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:03 pm

A Fake Account wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:47 am
A temporary example would be David Cronenberg, as Videodrome contains a multitude of allusions to Pynchon, particularly the fact that it hinges on an obscure conspiracy involving punnily named characters like Brian O'Blivion and Barry Convex., though I think Cronenberg moved out of that phase.
As a big fan of Videodrome and Pynchon, has Cronenberg ever acknowledged the connection and influence? I don't recall him mentioning Pynchon in Cronenberg on Cronenberg for instance (highly recommended!), although he goes there into depth on how Marshall McLuhan had a big impact on Videodrome.

One should acknowledge that the eccentric names were there even before Videodrome in Cronenberg's early Canadian period (like Adrian Tripod in Crimes of the Future, which came out before Gravity's Rainbow, albeit after V.).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:17 am
Re-posting this for the peeps here who don't peep the Y, but, at the risk of nit-picking a movie I otherewise enjoyed for the most part,
the details about Cliff's wife also bothered me some, seeing as how the film had all-but-confirmed that he did kill her (it certainly never implied his innocence at any point), so, during the climax, we're basically supposed to root for some real-life murderers to get completely brutalized... by a fellow murderer, which muddies the waters for what's an unnecessary character detail (as the film firmly established Cliff's capability/propensity for violence multiple other times anyway), feels like another example of Tarantino not being aware of the occasional obnoxiousness of his more sadistic tendencies, and somewhat undermines the whole point of the scene. He's a fictional murderer, yes, but obviously, he's just as "real" within the reality of the film as the Manson Family are, so it just doesn't work, unless Tarantino was trying to go for some additional meta-commentary that the fictional characters/elements in the film don't matter in the sobering light of what really happened, but in that case, then the extreme historical revisionism doesn't matter either, and then there's no real catharsis during that scene and it's all completely pointless, which is not something I can imagine he intended. It's like that part in DP when we're supposed to (very abruptly) start rooting for the girls to get revenge after they just abandoned their friend to be sexually assaulted by "Tom Joad", and laughed about it as they drove away; Tarantino, stop being such a socio, would ya?
I don't want to go out of my way to get my knickers in a twist over things-deemed-problematic ('cause it's just a movie, okay?) but I'm just confused. unless we're not supposed to think Brad Pitt is all that cool?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by A Fake Account » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:36 pm

djerdap wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:03 pm
As a big fan of Videodrome and Pynchon, has Cronenberg ever acknowledged the connection and influence? I don't recall him mentioning Pynchon in Cronenberg on Cronenberg for instance (highly recommended!), although he goes there into depth on how Marshall McLuhan had a big impact on Videodrome.
The way I've heard or read him mention Pynchon is in interviews about his own early attempts at becoming a novelist (here's one example). I don't know that's he's acknowledged a direct influence on one particular film, but I think the general influence noticeably carried over in his writing for the screen early on. Videodrome just strikes me as the most Pynchonesque of those movies, not just because of the names, but because the way its story of a character stumbling across a conspiracy based on symbols/signals seemingly left out in the open for anyone to find (or are they?) reminds me most specifically of The Crying of Lot 49.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:57 pm

I haven’t read enough Pynchon to compare him to Cronenberg (just excerpts though I have a copy of Inherent Vice waiting for my lazy ass to get to it) but I got strong Cronenberg vibes while reading Don Delillo, in particular White Noise. It’s no shock that he adapted Delillo’s Cosmopolis.

I believe it was Cronenberg who said that “most directors are just literary critics putting their thoughts on screen” (a paraphrase for sure, as I’m quite lazy.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:03 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:25 pm
Haven't seen OUATINH yet, but yes yes yes to this point. The general criticism that films should all be hemmed snugly around the narrative reduces films into some uniform story telling machine. Blech. There are many different ways to tell a story. There are many ways to step around story. There are many ways to subvert or shun story telling tropes entirely. There are already enough films out there that are primarily interested in narrative efficiency. In fact, it's most of them. Applying the same general rules of how to reduce film to plot would make movies quickly not worth watching for me. If all music had to stick to its melody, if all paintings had to stick to figurative representation, if all books were similarly restricted to adhere to always making the story sparkle, I'd give up on those too. While it's nice to know the general ground rules of these elements of whatever artistic medium we talk about, to hunker down into them and keep expecting even the more eccentric artists to always deliver on them, would kill the joy of watching a director (or musician or author or painter) disregard, forget, subvert or disdain these supposed rules. This whole attitude is why I generally can't help snark continually that I hate storytelling. Not that I do at all (I don't, it's great), but I hate the general critical pollution it seems to have created. It generates impatience towards a movie like Mean Streets, which actually comes most to life in between the beats of the narrative. This is a crime as far as I'm concerned. While MS might not be nearly as lean or as full of as much forward propulsion as something like Goodfellas, I think it is quite possibly its equal if not better. Because it's willing to drift. Because it's willing to take its time. Because it's willing to emulate how stories actually manifest in real life, sometimes sloppy, sometimes meandering, always unexpected and lived in.
We’re of almost the same mind but I think Goodfellas is superior. I think GF is such a baffling film in that it FEELS as though it’s lean or narrative driven but is actually as haphazardly assembled (look at the continuity nightmare it is) and excessive as any of the aforementioned masterpieces, but finds a sublime sense of energy through the camerawork, music and editing that it feels propulsive and lean. Mean Streets perfected.

Aside from that, we’re of the same mind and I really want you to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood now.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by A Fake Account » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:36 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:57 pm
I haven’t read enough Pynchon to compare him to Cronenberg (just excerpts though I have a copy of Inherent Vice waiting for my lazy ass to get to it)
I'd definitely recommend The Crying of Lot 49 as a starting point. Not just because of the similarity with Videodrome's plot but because it's long enough to give you a sense of Pynchon's work when he gets a full head of steam going but without getting overwhelmed in the labyrinthine plotting, allusions and self-reflexivity of his longer stuff (for instance, I don't think you need to be familiar with characters from his earlier books to follow this one, but a character introduced in Crying does pop up in his later novel Vineland).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by A Fake Account » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:20 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:03 pm
We’re of almost the same mind but I think Goodfellas is superior. I think GF is such a baffling film in that it FEELS as though it’s lean or narrative driven but is actually as haphazardly assembled (look at the continuity nightmare it is) and excessive as any of the aforementioned masterpieces, but finds a sublime sense of energy through the camerawork, music and editing that it feels propulsive and lean. Mean Streets perfected.
I think I'd only push back on that last sentence because I think the two movies are doing fundamentally two different things with regard to storytelling. Crumbs points out the difference between Goodfellas being more economical as a story that's told while Mean Streets is looser as a story as it's lived, and I like that point.

Goodfellas is fundamentally a story that's being told to us by its characters. It's a movie shaped by what Henry Hill wants to tell us and occasionally informed by voiceovers from the likes of Karen. Some scenes may start out seeming looser but they all fit into the way Henry is serving his own agenda. The two card games that end with Spider's death may seem like they're just a hang, a moment to observe the characters when the pressure of a heist isn't on, but they end up becoming a story about Tommy's volatility, showing that his "how am I funny" threat wasn't an empty routine, that one wrong word really would get you killed because the pressure was never off when Tommy was around. Henry is showing us the camaraderie and the terror of this lifestyle because it suits him to do so. He needs us to understand the allure of criminal life so we can later excuse him as a petty thrill seeker next to the real monsters like Tommy and Jimmy. Even at the end, he's not really embarrassed by his crimes but by his loss in status, at being reduced to noodles with ketchup.

In Mean Streets, on the other hand, we get a voiceover from Scorsese himself right at the beginning ("You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it."). He's telling you right from the start that this is going to be his story, not about himself but about the people he observed growing up around him. And his observations would have all been in those baggier, looser moments at the margins of the actual criminal life he knew was going on around the neighborhood. Whether or not those looser moments end up moving the story forward is less of a concern in this movie because those moments ARE the point. Charlie is also a more internally conflicted character than Henry Hill. His connection to criminal life is through his uncle, not something he sought out, and his religiosity gives him moral doubts Henry never has. Even if he were to narrate the story as extensively as Henry does, I don't think it would have anywhere near the propulsion of Henry's narration because it wouldn't be a con man's patter.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:26 pm

A Fake Account wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:36 pm
I'd definitely recommend The Crying of Lot 49 as a starting point. Not just because of the similarity with Videodrome's plot but because it's long enough to give you a sense of Pynchon's work when he gets a full head of steam going but without getting overwhelmed in the labyrinthine plotting, allusions and self-reflexivity of his longer stuff (for instance, I don't think you need to be familiar with characters from his earlier books to follow this one, but a character introduced in Crying does pop up in his later novel Vineland).
I’ll keep an eye out for it when I got to the bookstore later this week.

Do you also see the correlation between Delillo and Cronenberg?

Also, thoughts on Paul Auster? I view his work as something between Kaufman and Tarantino for his closest film analogs.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:37 pm

A Fake Account wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:20 pm
I think I'd only push back on that last sentence because I think the two movies are doing fundamentally two different things with regard to storytelling. Crumbs points out the difference between Goodfellas being more economical as a story that's told while Mean Streets is looser as a story as it's lived, and I like that point.

Goodfellas is fundamentally a story that's being told to us by its characters. It's a movie shaped by what Henry Hill wants to tell us and occasionally informed by voiceovers from the likes of Karen. Some scenes may start out seeming looser but they all fit into the way Henry is serving his own agenda. The two card games that end with Spider's death may seem like they're just a hang, a moment to observe the characters when the pressure of a heist isn't on, but they end up becoming a story about Tommy's volatility, showing that his "how am I funny" threat wasn't an empty routine, that one wrong word really would get you killed because the pressure was never off when Tommy was around. Henry is showing us the camaraderie and the terror of this lifestyle because it suits him to do so. He needs us to understand the allure of criminal life so we can later excuse him as a petty thrill seeker next to the real monsters like Tommy and Jimmy. Even at the end, he's not really embarrassed by his crimes but by his loss in status, at being reduced to noodles with ketchup.

In Mean Streets, on the other hand, we get a voiceover from Scorsese himself right at the beginning ("You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it."). He's telling you right from the start that this is going to be his story, not about himself but about the people he observed growing up around him. And his observations would have all been in those baggier, looser moments at the margins of the actual criminal life he knew was going on around the neighborhood. Whether or not those looser moments end up moving the story forward is less of a concern in this movie because those moments ARE the point. Charlie is also a more internally conflicted character than Henry Hill. His connection to criminal life is through his uncle, not something he sought out, and his religiosity gives him moral doubts Henry never has. Even if he were to narrate the story as extensively as Henry does, I don't think it would have anywhere near the propulsion of Henry's narration because it wouldn't be a con man's patter.
Oh yeah. I don’t disagree at all. I was inarticulately referring to the cinematic language and style of Mean Streets being done to perfection with Goodfellas. That said, there is something wonderful about how raw and real MS plays out that the more polished Goodfellas can’t have due to the nature of Scorsese’s increasing deftness.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:27 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:03 pm
(look at the continuity nightmare it is)
I never noticed.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:31 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:27 pm
I never noticed.
It’s done to a Godard degree and it’s clearly intentional, but hand positions, drink levels, cigarette lengths, etc. It shifts constantly between mismatched footage. Wonderfully orchestrated chaos and it’s extremely easy to miss because of the effect it all creates.

One of the special edition Blu rays has a pretty great special where filmmakers discuss that element.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:34 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:31 pm
It’s done to a Godard degree and it’s clearly intentional, but hand positions, drink levels, cigarette lengths, etc. It shifts constantly between mismatched footage. Wonderfully orchestrated chaos and it’s extremely easy to miss because of the effect it all creates.

One of the special edition Blu rays has a pretty great special where filmmakers discuss that element.
I mean, it starts with somebody pointing a gun at the camera with no setup or anything. What's the deal with that?
I still have the flipper. :D
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:38 pm

Rock wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:34 pm
I mean, it starts with somebody pointing a gun at the camera with no setup or anything. What's the deal with that?
I still have the flipper. :D
The horror. The horror.

Then again, I seemingly habitually buy the thing. Each DVD and BluRay release has been mine at some point and I’ll likely be snagging the 4K.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:42 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:25 pm
The general criticism that films should all be hemmed snugly around the narrative reduces films into some uniform story telling machine. Blech. There are many different ways to tell a story. There are many ways to step around story. There are many ways to subvert or shun story telling tropes entirely.
I think that there are plenty of examples of legitimate criticisms about bloat, and some directors are just as guilty of not "killing their darlings" as a number of writers. It's a case-by-case basis, and, generally, I guess I do agree with being annoyed when this criticism is employed broadly as dogma. Hollywood, and Tarantino overall, is not a good example of the kind of unfocused meandering that people tend to accuse of films that are +2 hours. I can easily find bloat and gratuitous digressions in even some 90 minute films. I think some people, perhaps the sensitive bladder types, have always had a grudge for longer films regardless of their efficacy. (One bastard behind me starting tapping his foot, on the floor and the seat, in restless anxiety after Hollywood crossed the 100 minute mark.)

On the other hand, one of my biggest gripes with Nolan films is their slavish devotion to plot-pushing, edited solely to these beats, and never allowing a scene to breathe or trusting the atmosphere or actors to do the heavy lifting. An interesting contrast to Tarantino, considering how both are preoccupied with the integrity of their dialogue. "Many different ways". Formulas are only attractive tools for the creatively insecure.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by A Fake Account » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:43 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:26 pm
Do you also see the correlation between Delillo and Cronenberg?
I do. I think Cronenberg, DeLillo and Pynchon have often evinced an interest in the way contemporary life bombards people with information and the difficulty presented in connecting symbol with meaning. DeLillo's work tends to be icier and more clinical, where Pynchon's tends more often to pursue the frisson of discovery in the process (though he can be plenty chilling at times). I'd say Cronenberg's work has tended to shift more to that icier DeLillo tenor as his career has gone on, and not just because his adaptation of Cosmopolis is one of his later works. Though I have to admit I haven't yet seen the Bruce Wagner-penned Maps to the Star, and Wagner's novels and scripts tend to run toward the hysterical, so that might turn the dial the other way (Wagner's Wild Palms already lifted heavily from Videodrome).
Also, thoughts on Paul Auster? I view his work as something between Kaufman and Tarantino for his closest film analogs.
I've only read the New York trilogy, but the themes there of shifting identities and realities and its preoccupation with detective work and mysteries reminded me a bit of Lynch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:56 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:42 pm
I think that there are plenty of examples of legitimate criticisms about bloat
Of course there is. But bloat shouldn't be considered inherently bad either. I know you already agree with this, but just clarifying I'm not in the business of justifying that artist should not learn to 'kill their darlings' as you say. All I'm advocating is that trimming a film down to just the 'essentials' shouldn't become a reflexive necessity, even though many seem to believe this is what a film is required to do under the assumption that the medium is essentially just a delivery service for plot. It isn't. And it drives me crazy when I see it repeated ad nauseum.

Currently I'm trying to decide whether or not Midsommer had some bloat in its runtime. While I was watching it I was suspecting that it did, but once I got to the end of it, I was leaning the other way. I think it's a film that requires its leisurely and somewhat repetitive pace. I'm not entirely settled on my feelings yet though.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:59 am

Pretty surprised to have enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
Not only did I not give one fuck about the original film, I also had almost a contempt for this film as it seemed like the most formulaic possible cash-grab, with the combination of retreading an old title, wall-to-wall CGI, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson/Jack Black/Kevin Hart. And I really don't care for Kevin Hart and only slightly more for Black.
Yet the film is a lot of fun, the script plays pretty well, and all the actors are game. The villain is a one-dimensional mustache-twirler, but that actually is totally appropriate within the narrative.
So, yeah, color me surprised.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by djerdap » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:48 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:43 pm
I do. I think Cronenberg, DeLillo and Pynchon have often evinced an interest in the way contemporary life bombards people with information and the difficulty presented in connecting symbol with meaning. DeLillo's work tends to be icier and more clinical, where Pynchon's tends more often to pursue the frisson of discovery in the process (though he can be plenty chilling at times). I'd say Cronenberg's work has tended to shift more to that icier DeLillo tenor as his career has gone on, and not just because his adaptation of Cosmopolis is one of his later works. Though I have to admit I haven't yet seen the Bruce Wagner-penned Maps to the Star, and Wagner's novels and scripts tend to run toward the hysterical, so that might turn the dial the other way (Wagner's Wild Palms already lifted heavily from Videodrome).
Cronenberg's literary influences are clearly mirrored in the adaptations he has made. The icy detachment and alienation of DeLillo, combined with the experimentalism and obscenity of Burroughs, along with the bleak dystopia of Ballard permeate throughout his work, plus I'd add the absurdity and deconstructionism of Nabokov and Beckett as important components. I guess I should read Consumed at some point.

Thanks for that interview excerpt; it's interesting he mentions Martin Amis, since an adaptation of London Fields was allegedly in the works with Cronenberg at the helm.

I've recently watched most of his filmography again and his work seems to get better with age for me - with Videodrome and Dead Ringers being personal highlights in a mostly very consistent body of work.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:23 pm

Black Christmas - 9/10

Quite possibly the greatest anti-abortion message ever committed to celluloid.

I'm assuming A Christmas Story was an apology for this gem.
State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
The Revenant |Inarritu, 2015| +
The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

+ Recommended
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless One » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:59 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:59 am
Pretty surprised to have enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
Finally this thread discusses some REAL cinema
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:57 pm

The Nameless One wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:59 pm
Finally this thread discusses some REAL cinema
Yeah, it's about time, right?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:21 pm

I watched Adaptation for the for the first time in a long time and it still holds up very well. When I first watched it, Charlie's bout of writer's block, the ending that Donald may or may not have written and everything else likely inspired by Barton Fink appealed to me the most. Whether it's being older or recently reading Donald's oft-quoted line about you are what you love, what made my second viewing so enjoyable is the movie's study of why Charlie struggled to adapt The Orchid Thief, what Susan Orlean found appealing about Laroche, etc.: what it means to love, whether it be someone else, something or yourself. The movie's hilarious comedy and incredible acting have also stood the test of time. While Nicolas Cage may be at his career-best here, it's Brian Cox who wins the gold star in his pivotal turn as the screenwriting guru. Is anyone better at dramatic speechifying than him? I doubt it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:38 pm

Rewatched Navajo Joe my appreciation for it increased. It may still be my least favorite of the Corbucci’s I’ve seen but it’s still very solid and of course, that Morricone score alone makes it worth the price of admission.

Also, first watched Black Narcissus. P&P seem really adept at making films that feel at least 20 years younger than they are. Great stuff.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:22 pm

A Fake Account wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:36 pm
I'd definitely recommend The Crying of Lot 49 as a starting point. Not just because of the similarity with Videodrome's plot but because it's long enough to give you a sense of Pynchon's work when he gets a full head of steam going but without getting overwhelmed in the labyrinthine plotting, allusions and self-reflexivity of his longer stuff (for instance, I don't think you need to be familiar with characters from his earlier books to follow this one, but a character introduced in Crying does pop up in his later novel Vineland).
No! The Crying of Lot 49 is a minor retread of V! Read V instead, for crying out loud! The labyrinth is the point, and it’s a point made far better with a far better labyrinth.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:51 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:56 am
Currently I'm trying to decide whether or not Midsommer had some bloat in its runtime.
My druthers: I would seriously consider excising the entire intro section, prior to the actual opening titles, and telling that part solely in backstory, relying on Aster's confident uneasy sense of pallor to express the trauma. I don't know if that's an improvement, but I'd like to test that cut.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:11 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:51 pm
My druthers: I would seriously consider excising the entire intro section, prior to the actual opening titles, and telling that part solely in backstory, relying on Aster's confident uneasy sense of pallor to express the trauma. I don't know if that's an improvement, but I'd like to test that cut.
I can see your point. It technically could probably be done without but I think the portrayal of Pugh's familial and relationship anxiety was handled really well and brought me immediately into her state of mind.

It was the rinse and repeat nature of eccentric rituals over and over again that I found a little tiring during the watching. But growing somewhat numb to them to me almost seems the point so I think the overall efffect of the movie would be severely diluted without that.

Still thinking as I now am with OUATIH.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:41 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:51 pm
My druthers: I would seriously consider excising the entire intro section, prior to the actual opening titles, and telling that part solely in backstory, relying on Aster's confident uneasy sense of pallor to express the trauma. I don't know if that's an improvement, but I'd like to test that cut.
I like you JJ... but that’s a terrible idea.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:01 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:59 am
Pretty surprised to have enjoyed Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
Not only did I not give one fuck about the original film, I also had almost a contempt for this film as it seemed like the most formulaic possible cash-grab, with the combination of retreading an old title, wall-to-wall CGI, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson/Jack Black/Kevin Hart. And I really don't care for Kevin Hart and only slightly more for Black.
Yet the film is a lot of fun, the script plays pretty well, and all the actors are game. The villain is a one-dimensional mustache-twirler, but that actually is totally appropriate within the narrative.
So, yeah, color me surprised.
It honestly is surprisingly good given that everything about it would normally indicate that it's terrible. Just a decent, reasonably well made and well acted action comedy.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:51 pm

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978 (B)

The setup to the invasion was absolutely great, but I feel like the movie squandered a good thing by jumping forward too fast from plot point to plot point. For 2 hours, this could have been a more effective, slower burn type of movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:49 am

Charles wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:51 pm
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978 (B)

The setup to the invasion was absolutely great, but I feel like the movie squandered a good thing by jumping forward too fast from plot point to plot point. For 2 hours, this could have been a more effective, slower burn type of movie.
:shock:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:17 am

topherH wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:23 pm
Black Christmas - 9/10

Quite possibly the greatest anti-abortion message ever committed to celluloid.

I'm assuming A Christmas Story was an apology for this gem.
Do you think the flick is actually anti-abortion, even incidentally or is it a joke and I'm dense? Or any combination?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:11 am

Charles wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:51 pm
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978 (B)

The setup to the invasion was absolutely great, but I feel like the movie squandered a good thing by jumping forward too fast from plot point to plot point. For 2 hours, this could have been a more effective, slower burn type of movie.
My main memory of seeing this film is that it was the first time I saw a naked (or was she just topless?) woman on screen. Up to this point my film diet had been very heavy on The My Little Pony Movie and various Hitchcock films. I believe we were meant to be shown the 50s version.

And also there was that
guy whose head ends up on his dog's body.
Plus the jarring
"sad" ending.
All in all a big day!
ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:17 am
Do you think the flick is actually anti-abortion, even incidentally or is it a joke and I'm dense? Or any combination?
I assumed he was being snarky and that the joke is that a woman thinks about getting an abortion and she and all her friends are terrorized.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:03 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:17 am
Do you think the flick is actually anti-abortion, even incidentally or is it a joke and I'm dense? Or any combination?
Snark I guess, I just found it funny given the context and time that she doesn't want the baby and some lunatic shows up and starts offing women and the father.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:22 am

topherH wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:03 am
Snark I guess, I just found it funny given the context and time that she doesn't want the baby and some lunatic shows up and starts offing women and the father.
I've been arguing on Reddit too much lately and it's eroding my sense of sarcasm.

Not to suck the fun out of the joke (maybe a little?) part of why I love BC is because it refuses to allow such simple moralizing as many far more Puritan slashers tend to go and in essence becomes a pro-choice film by taking such a deeply sympathetic and empathetic perspective on her character and forcing the villain to be very real, very masculine and perverted in nature. Damn I love that flick.

From the director of Karate Dog and Baby Geniuses.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:33 am

Anyway, to continue an older debate I didn't have the time to respond to on my workdays...
ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:46 pm
Technically “memorable” is still memorable. Certain films don’t need a particular degree of humanity and depth for this characters to be outstanding (not that I’m saying they all lack either). Blondie isn’t a less than memorable character because he doesn’t have the haunted past and monologues of Munny. He’s exactly the type of character the Good the Bad and the Ugly calls for.

You’re also flat out wrong about Django’s arc but whatevs. Look up “trickster figure” and ponder the significant of the third act. If you legitimately think it ended in the beginning then you aren’t paying attention.

You’re being disingenuously reductive when you toss around “brain dead” and “OMG irony” which makes your posts not seem the effort of debunking because they’re coming from a place of bad faith. Your critique stinks of every hack review I’ve read that says “it didn’t occur to me while watching it, therefore it must be shallow!”
...the "OMG" remark was a bit of exaggerated, admittedly hyperbolic (although still technically accurate) nit-picking on top of all the rest of the points I made, so don't take that too seriously. Anyway, in response to the points you did make here...
...a character being memorable does not automatically make them compelling, and is not a substitute for a film otherwise lacking well-developed figures; I could say that the characters in Hobgoblins were technically "memorable" because I remember hating them so much, that doesn't mean that they're well-written. And as for your point comparing Blondie to Munny, I think you're talking to the wrong person, as, even though The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly has always been one of my favorite films, I never found him to be particularly memorable, as he's basically just another taciturn Eastwood badass in a long, long line of them, and he's certainly nowhere near as compelling as Munny was, seeing as how the latter was basically a reaction to the relative one-dimensionality of the former (and hell, Tuco adds a lot more to that film than Blondie did), but, like you said, it doesn't matter much, not just because he suits his particular film, but because I find the actual film to be entertaining as hell (due to the incredible style of Leone's direction, not because of Blondie), while I often have certain fundamental complaints with a lot of the Tarantino films that I actually like, the ones with well-developed characters, so I definitely don't enjoy his stuff when it lacks that certain core of character, which is the thing he's best at when he tries, IMO.

As for Django's (lack of a) compelling arc, I would respond that you're mistaken about the ultimate effect of the film's 3rd act; now, if you were making the point that Django's growing mastery of the art of trickery in his fooling of the LeQuint Dickey men is an appropriate reinforcement of the film's theme of African-American empowerment, with its referencing of the historical trend of similar figures within black literature, then I would agree with you whole-heartedly, as I had little complaint with that particular aspect (however, any discussion of racial empowerment in Django will inevitably get into how Tarantino somewhat underminded it by including the white savior figure of Dr. Schultz, but that's a whole other can of worms). And, if you were making the case that Stephen is a better-developed character than Django, I would also agree with you, but not automatically just because certain aspects of his characterization also engage with the trickster motif, but because that motif is specifically utilized in his case to reveal certain intriguing dynamics within his character (ones that that I bothered to compliment earlier, in fact), such as him privately showing himself to be craftier and more perceptive than his own slavemaster, even though society at the time automatically viewed and treated him as the "inferior" one.

However, when it comes to the embodiment of the "trickster" within Django himself, that theme doesn't inherently make him a more compelling figure, as there's little of a comparable dynamic being developed with him, as he merely tricks some minor characters, immediately does the same thing to them he was already doing for most of the movie anyway (shoot them), and then goes back to Candyland to do it yet some more, and the film fitting in an allusion to Br'er Rabbit with his actions doesn't inherently do more to make Django a compelling character than the montage of him learning how to shoot a gun did (because it didn't). And that's just me talking about Django on his own terms, let alone when you compare him to Tarantino's actual interesting characters! Jules, Jackie, The Bride, etc., take your pick, and the same goes for the superiority of the films they're in when compared to Django as a whole, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:42 am

I'm watching The Duel and it's so frustrating!

Liam Hemsworth plays a Texas Ranger, David, who is assigned to go to a town that's under the thrall of a charismatic and deadly leader, Abraham (Woody Harrelson). The bodies of murdered Mexicans have been turning up and Hemsworth is tasked with getting to the bottom of it.

This could have been a decent thriller/western, but two elements reduce it to mediocrity.

The first is the explanation of what's really happening, which I will not spoil.

But the second is the use of David's wife, Marisol, (played gamely by the awesome Alice Braga) as a trophy for the two main characters to fight over. At the beginning of the film, she insists on accompanying David on his mission. Of course, the minute they step foot in town, Marisol falls under Abraham's spell. During the course of the first act, we learn that Marisol was given to David, as a thank you gift by her father, and that David never asked her if she actually wanted to be his wife. And yet when she brings this up to him as something she's kind of angry about, he's like "Psshh. You're feverish. Go lay down."

This movie has 24 minutes left to do something with her character that's deeper than bitches be crazy *shrug*.

The acting is pretty good across the board, but gosh is it all dragged down by the shallow characterization and writing. I feel like it's building to some sort of twist (is Marisol going to help save David somehow?), but even if that's the case, it just means that this is another film that kept its characters at arms length in order to spring a surprise on the audience at the end.

Son, I am disappoint.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:02 am

Oof. What an ending.

At least Jose Zuniga popped up for a few minutes to add a little interest to the final minutes.

I guess this film was rescued from the "blacklist" (that unofficial list of great scripts that no one wants), but I don't quite see why. It's kind of shallow.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:05 am

I thought Hobbs & Shaw wasn't going to be a borderline right wing, brain-dead melodrama that made the rest of the F&F movies seem like quality entertainment.

I was wrong.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by A Fake Account » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:10 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:05 am
I thought Hobbs & Shaw wasn't going to be a borderline right wing, brain-dead melodrama that made the rest of the F&F movies seem like quality entertainment.

I was wrong.
That series is so lunatic in its continuity (Hey, remember who killed Han? Clue: It's one of the stars of this spinoff.) that I have to ask: Do you think this is a shift that will in any way stick with the series or is it something that it will shrug off like every other bit of nonsense that it's dismissed when easily convenient?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:11 am

Is it worse than F&F8?

Because F&F8 is fucking terrible.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:17 am

It makes F8 look like F5.

I think this film is them throwing spaghetti at the wall.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:24 am

Ok, how bad is this movie exactly? On a scale of 1 to The Predator?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:35 am

Rock wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:24 am
Ok, how bad is this movie exactly? On a scale of 1 to The Predator?
It's the worst wide release since the Predator and it needlessly spoils the finale of Game of Thrones (like, the spoiler IS the joke as there's nothing remotely clever about it) but...

I don't really give a shit about the F&F franchise so there wasn't any of this squandering of the promise of the franchise and disdain for fans. This one is clearly going to the lowest common denominator and hits that target in the most boring and hackish fashion imaginable.

75% on the tomatomerer and I'm currently getting downvoted to oblivion for saying I didn't like it. The kinda thing that makes someone get real resentful of a bad movie really fast.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:37 am

I found myself entertained with FF 5 and the first hour of FF 6. Then It returned to being poo again.

Did anyone get Nolan's new teaser trailer?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:07 pm

Eh, what the heck. I'm one of those that didn't really like the original Fast and the Furious, but have found myself more and more entertained by the sheer absurdity of each sequel. The Fate of the Furious might be my second favorite of the franchise.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:20 pm

I've seen all the FF movies (not a brag, just a shameful admission) and after feeling pummeled just by sitting through the first trailer for H&S I knew I'd be taking a hard pass on it.
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