Recently Seen

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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:21 pm

LEAVES wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:08 pm
That makes sense!

Well, Margaret is the LEAST comforting film of those mentioned! By FAR! Our Little Sister is both intricately detailed and heartwarming, and the former makes the latter feel more justified and enduring and applicable to your own life. I would also recommend Goodbye, First Love in the same vein. It’s heartwarming and hopeful, but in a different context. You can almost see it as a good follow up to the first; one established an idea of family, the other and individual identity. Or perhaps they can be flipped, depending on your own personal situation and preference!
I've read two really interesting articles about Margaret, but have just not been able to work myself up to watching it.

I've added Our Little Sister to my list (though it's not streaming currently). It turns out that I had already added Holy Girl. Goodbye First Love is on Hulu, so that's very accessible.

Thanks for the recs!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:22 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:54 pm
Also, I've just unabashedly transitioned myself to more "comfort" programming (film/TV) in the last few years.
I'm currently working through Season 3 of The Partridge Family, so I can relate. Sometimes I just need to pretend the world isn't burning.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:36 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:21 pm
I've read two really interesting articles about Margaret, but have just not been able to work myself up to watching it.

I've added Our Little Sister to my list (though it's not streaming currently). It turns out that I had already added Holy Girl. Goodbye First Love is on Hulu, so that's very accessible.

Thanks for the recs!
If you use an Australian IP (I use Firefox and free IP servers on the Internet) you can stream Our Little Sister (and Beloved Sisters, and a lot of other good stuff!) for free on SBS On Demand. Gotta love the Internet!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:02 am

I guess Tombstone is suppose to be a "good" bad movie.
State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
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The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:05 am

topherH wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:02 am
I guess Tombstone is suppose to be a "good" bad movie.
Is it?

I enjoyed it when I watched it (and not as a "good" bad film). It's got a really high IMDb rating.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:19 am

Tombstone is a great, classically styled western with excellent performances. Kilmer is iconic.

George Cosmatos was an excellent stand in director for actor’s action passion projects.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:26 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:19 am
Tombstone is a great, classically styled western with excellent performances. Kilmer is iconic.

George Cosmatos was an excellent stand in director for actor’s action passion projects.
All true, but I just watched Leviathan and hated it. Only just realized that he's Panos' daddy too. All in a days work.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:37 am

Ergill wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:26 am
All true, but I just watched Leviathan and hated it. Only just realized that he's Panos' daddy too. All in a days work.
You pre-gaming for that sweet Underwater action before it gets yanked out of theaters?

It’s one of the few instances of nepotism in Hollywood in which the offspring seems to stand diametrically opposed to the parents’ style and output. I guess they share violence.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:47 am

Ergill wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:26 am
All true, but I just watched Leviathan and hated it. Only just realized that he's Panos' daddy too. All in a days work.
For a second I thought you meant the 2014 Leviathan and was WTF?

Coupled with the fact I found Tombstone kind of dopey it was possibly even a WTFF?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:48 am

double post
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topherH
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:56 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:05 am
Is it?

I enjoyed it when I watched it (and not as a "good" bad film). It's got a really high IMDb rating.
I thought so, the performances, Kilmer and Russell, seem to transcend the sp while also having fun with the dialogue. Bill Paxton was being well...Bill Paxton. Sam Elliot accented his way on cruise control. Maybe not a complete bad movie, but I couldn't help laughing at most of the dialogue.
State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
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The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 am

and MY double post
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 am

The Laundromat - B-

One of Soderbergh's multi-narratives, like Contagion, and at times a real hoot. A farce set in South Africa could've worked as its own film, especially with the way it escalates into inspired miscommunication, crisis, triumph, and then a final cruel rug-pull. But I'm getting more than a little weary of being talked at by rich Hollywood liberals about this subject. The Big Short soured for me on reconsideration, Margin Call functioned and little else, and there's a call-to-arms at the end of this film that's bewilderingly out of step with the rest of the film. I'm recommending the film on the basis of the strength of certain individual segments (what praise!) with the understanding that the best film about the financial crisis and subsequent late-stage-capitalist nightmare might be Bahrani's 99 Homes. At least he kept it low-key and more honestly stuck the hero in the foggy moral landscape of money in the new age.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:37 am
You pre-gaming for that sweet Underwater action before it gets yanked out of theaters?
As usual I didn't want to watch anything in my queue and I was curious after I missed it as an answer in an early 90s era trivia game. The game was old. I'm not ruing an answer I missed 30ish years ago. At least not this one.
crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:47 am
For a second I thought you meant the 2014 Leviathan and was WTF?

Coupled with the fact I found Tombstone kind of dopey it was possibly even a WTFF?
There are so many Leviathans.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:21 am

Image

Any love out there for this Leviathan?
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Stu
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:44 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:17 am
The Gentlemen is Ritchie returning to what he does best with perhaps his best cast he’s ever assembled.

Underwater is the best underwater Alien rip-off around. DaMU needs to see this one if he hasn’t.

Both are my kind of well made, genre films that know exactly what they are and hit their marks with panache.
Haven't seen Underwater yet, but did you catch this really nice article The AV Club wrote about it, by chance?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:21 am

DaMU wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:58 am
The Laundromat - B-

One of Soderbergh's multi-narratives, like Contagion, and at times a real hoot. A farce set in South Africa could've worked as its own film, especially with the way it escalates into inspired miscommunication, crisis, triumph, and then a final cruel rug-pull. But I'm getting more than a little weary of being talked at by rich Hollywood liberals about this subject. The Big Short soured for me on reconsideration, Margin Call functioned and little else, and there's a call-to-arms at the end of this film that's bewilderingly out of step with the rest of the film. I'm recommending the film on the basis of the strength of certain individual segments (what praise!) with the understanding that the best film about the financial crisis and subsequent late-stage-capitalist nightmare might be Bahrani's 99 Homes. At least he kept it low-key and more honestly stuck the hero in the foggy moral landscape of money in the new age.
I agree with most of this. 99 Homes is not very subtle either. Arbitrage is a lot more cynical about the nastier side of late-capitalism.

My problem with Laundromat is the hit-and-miss quality of the vignettes and the unsteady balance of its humor, which is also shared by Big Short, and Vice as well. Unlike the McKay films, you don't feel such a contempt for the audience though. I think that these films do provide a service in simplifying these subjects in an entertaining and absorbing fashion, despite frequently veering into the pedantic. I can sympathize with their anger and the failures of corporate media to so succinctly explain to the public what are essentially elementary scenarios. What's revealed aren't intricately complicated schemes but incredibly basic grifts - literal shell games - hidden behind intricately complicated jargon and postures. Films like Laundromat and Big Short principally expose the lie of the pundits' gambit that these issues are "too complicated for the American people to understand" by easily illustrating them as the actual cartoon-level antics that they really are. It's not 3D chess, it's just a greasy casino.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:38 am

Transit - 8/10

This one defied most of my expectations in perilous ways: I've seen it billed both as a "political thriller" (which, not really so much, no) and as "sci-fi" (based entirely on its near-future conceit, I assume). I have to admit that I was looking forward to these qualities and had to dispell a degree of disappointment at being denied.

The film itself, though, is a more grounded and human drama which uses its political and temporal dressing more as personal allegorical totems than plot points, themes to an end. The ace is the terrific acting, led by Franz Rogowski, who is some kind of escaped crispr experiment from the genes of Joaquin Phoenix and Vincent Gallo, inhabiting the silent archtype of witness and stranger perfectly.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:48 pm

Franz Rogowski is a dead ringer for Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks: The Return, The Witcher). They should be in...a remake of Dead Ringers.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by undinum » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:58 pm

THE WRONG BOX
Wasn't expecting much, despite or let's be real because of the stacked cast (Cook, Moore, Caine, Sellers, Richardson), so naturally I laughed through the whole thing. The opening montage of death that counts down the tontine's participants, seems like I shoulda known about that long before now. Has it been ripped off anywhere? Does Six Feet Under count? It coulda really thrown things off, so big and funny that the film proper feels like an anticlimax, but no danger there: not only do things get even more outrageous and macabre, the comedy ventures into smaller, more subtly strange areas and works there, too. Most of the credit to Nanette Newman and Wilfrid Lawson, who give two of the funniest supporting performances I think I've ever seen.

GRETA
I can well appreciate getting so quickly to the reveal that's so obvious it isn't a reveal at all, but not when it just means more time for stalker-thriller genre-spinning, unimpeachable Huppert be damned. While clearly not intended to be taken straight, it's also oddly witless in its reliance on numerous narrative idiocies. Pretty puzzled by claims that it "has fun with the audience". It can't even come up with a joke for why these two young women have a landline
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:09 am

Ivan's Childhood

Absolutely lovely and absolutely heartbreaking.

I've enjoyed all of the Tarkovsky's that I've seen, with Solaris still being my favorite. But I think that this might have just taken the place immediately underneath it. It was such an engrossing mix of "real" story and visually striking, at times borderline surreal, presentation.

The film follows a boy named Ivan who, having lost his family, now insists of fighting on the front. Because of his youth and size, he works as a scout for the Russian army as they fend of the invading German army. At a small outpost, Ivan gets to know the soldiers and officers, and they become reluctant to continue to use him in their war efforts. When he proves incredibly determined, they concede and make him a part of their plans.

I know that this film predates Come and See by many, many years, but that film was strong in my mind as I watched this one. It definitely added a layer of emotion.

But what really made the magic in this film is the way that it is filmed. Many shots made me think of the German expressionist look of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. There are many shots that do incredible things with lines and perspective and scale. A woman walks through a forest of impossibly white and straight trees. Soldiers cautiously paddle a boat around an enormous-looking downed airplane. An objective camera shot suddenly lurches into first-person as someone runs through the woods. Characters are shot at extremely high or low angles. But then, in the next scene, there will be a heartfelt conversation between two of the characters. Something about the mix of the high, in-your-face artistic style of the filming and the very grounded human emotion really drew me in.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:39 am

It's been a while since I've seen a Tarkovsky film which I haven't seen. I should probably do it soon.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:50 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:39 am
It's been a while since I've seen a Tarkovsky film which I haven't seen. I should probably do it soon.
Which ones have you not yet seen?

I've seen Stalker, Andrei Rublev, Solaris and now Ivan's Childhood. I've got The Mirror queued up. I don't feel like I have much of an impression of his other films (as in, I don't have a great sense of how his other films compare to the ones I've seen, the plots, etc).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:10 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:50 am
Which ones have you not yet seen?

I've seen Stalker, Andrei Rublev, Solaris and now Ivan's Childhood. I've got The Mirror queued up. I don't feel like I have much of an impression of his other films (as in, I don't have a great sense of how his other films compare to the ones I've seen, the plots, etc).
Nostalgia, Sacrifice, Ivan's Childhood, and most of his short films (apparently, he's done quite a lot of them). Stalker is definitely my favorite and Andrei Rublev is a close second. I'm due for a rewatch of Solaris and Mirror.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:46 am

Torgo wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:48 pm
Franz Rogowski is a dead ringer for Eamon Farren (Twin Peaks: The Return, The Witcher). They should be in...a remake of Dead Ringers.
David Patrick Kelly can play their father.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:48 am

Gretel & Hansel was about everything you’d expect from an Oz Perkins fairy tale except someone decided to add a wet fart of a narration to it that severely hampered my enjoyment of the thing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:14 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:48 am
Gretel & Hansel was about everything you’d expect from an Oz Perkins fairy tale except someone decided to add a wet fart of a narration to it that severely hampered my enjoyment of the thing.
Fuck. Why do they do this? Narration, outside of some film noir, is almost always a bad idea. Totally ruined The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford for me. The movie needed no narration whatsoever, Deakins fucking destroyed as usual, and Affleck gave a masterful performance, so why couldn't they just let the movie be? I don't even care if it was written that way, it was wrong, and it is almost always wrong. Tell the fucking story on the screen.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:29 pm

Narration is usually used badly and lazily. But so is every tool in an artists arsenal. I don't have any problem with it in theory and don't really get the bad rap it gets. Narrative is usually a lifeless crutch for most filmmakers as well, and it generally gets a pass.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:53 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:14 pm
Fuck. Why do they do this? Narration, outside of some film noir, is almost always a bad idea. Totally ruined The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford for me. The movie needed no narration whatsoever, Deakins fucking destroyed as usual, and Affleck gave a masterful performance, so why couldn't they just let the movie be? I don't even care if it was written that way, it was wrong, and it is almost always wrong. Tell the fucking story on the screen.
The narration shoots that movie into the stratosphere.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:53 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:29 pm
Narration is usually used badly and lazily. But so is every tool in an artists arsenal. I don't have any problem with it in theory and don't really get the bad rap it gets. Narrative is usually a lifeless crutch for most filmmakers as well, and it generally gets a pass.
I think that a voice-over is much more viscerally intrusive than other lazy cinematic elements. Voice-overs are also sometimes home to worse-than-typical writing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:11 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:53 pm
I think that a voice-over is much more viscerally intrusive than other lazy cinematic elements. Voice-overs are also sometimes home to worse-than-typical writing.
I suppose I can see that to a degree. I think what buffers me to finding it intrusive is that I generally look at most art as artifice anyways, so adding another layer of artifice for me is just a big shrug.

Now don't get me wrong, bad narration can be horrifying, and maybe it encourages some lousier writing reflexes. But it doesn't bother me if suddenly a movie includes it. Unless it comes in the voice of Quentin Tarantino.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:22 am

Ergill wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:53 pm
The narration shoots that movie into the stratosphere.
Yeah, the stratosphere of how it might have been a great movie.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:19 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:11 am
I suppose I can see that to a degree. I think what buffers me to finding it intrusive is that I generally look at most art as artifice anyways, so adding another layer of artifice for me is just a big shrug.
Obviously this is very subjective, but I often find voice-over narration to be almost fourth wall breaking in how jarring it is.

Art is artifice, yes, but we also engage in a suspension of disbelief. Voice-over narration makes it harder for me to go into that mode.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:48 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:19 am

Art is artifice, yes, but we also engage in a suspension of disbelief. Voice-over narration makes it harder for me to go into that mode.
My point about that is that I basically can take or leave suspension of disbelief. I'm entirely fine accepting looking at a film as an object, not something to become lost in. If a sudden voice over breaks some spell I have fallen into, I adjust and accept that and keep rolling. I'm often completely okay with a film breaking whatever bargain with me I thought it had. Often encourage it. Not that there aren't some films that I am happy didn't zig or zag away from what I appreciated about it, and just allowed me to view them as something 'real'. Moonlight or Florida Project or Il Posto probably couldn't have affected me as much if there was any kind of voice over clarifying the inner worlds of the characters. But those are the exception to the rule. I hope to never go into any film with an expectation of what it should or shouldn't do for me. I try to be as passive a viewer as possible. It is the boss.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:12 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:48 am
I try to be as passive a viewer as possible. It is the boss.
I'm not sure how many filmmakers who add voice-over intend to increase the feeling of artifice. I think that, ironically, they intend the voice over to help us get more into the head of the main character. Often I see the voice over as being at odds with what seems to be the intent.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:41 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:12 am
I'm not sure how many filmmakers who add voice-over intend to increase the feeling of artifice. I think that, ironically, they intend the voice over to help us get more into the head of the main character. Often I see the voice over as being at odds with what seems to be the intent.
I wasn't saying it was their intent to increase that sense of artificiality. Their use of it can be entirely earnest, and if it so happens to get in the way of a more naturalistic viewing of the film, I don't necessarily care. Because the intent of the film is also not my business. I only care about how I am engaging with what is on screen. I don't put any particular thought into anything else when I'm watching a film beyond the act of watching a film. If it sweeps me away, wonderful. If it doesn't, okay, what else does it have to offer me?

The whole point of my comment is how often viewers will comment about tuning out of a film because of the whole nature of what narration can do to their experience. From what you said in your initial response, I get the gist of why it can be a problem for some. But this issue you, and many others have, is of little concern for me, even if it happens to snap me out of it. I recallibrate. Accept. Continue with the film and see what else happens. I'm not looking for any film to do any particular thing for me. It can be all sorts of different things at different moments for me, all of them adding up to a whole lot of nothing, and I can potentially be entirely content with what I'm watching.

I mentioned those three particular films (out of the convenience that they were the first that came to mind as examples where I was entirely immersed in them from beginning to end) to show the instances where I find what I am watching so nearly perfect that some crummy voice over would have potentially ruined those experiences. But so few films offer me anything in the way of perfection, I'm okay if others have their director (intentionally or otherwise) mar the experience with some unwelcome voice over.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:11 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:41 am
The whole point of my comment is how often viewers will comment about tuning out of a film because of the whole nature of what narration can do to their experience. From what you said in your initial response, I get the gist of why it can be a problem for some. But this issue you, and many others have, is of little concern for me, even if it happens to snap me out of it. I recallibrate. Accept. Continue with the film and see what else happens.
I get it.

And I think that you and I do have very different viewing styles. Most of the time, I'm looking to be immersed in a narrative, to go on a journey with the characters, etc. "Story" is the heart of how I enjoy film. When it's clear from the start that some other dynamic is going to be the main point of a film, I can adapt.

But when I'm really hoping to get a certain experience out of a film and there's an element that gets in the way of that, I find it frustrating. Even more so when it feels like the change/removal of that single element would have made the film much more enjoyable. And of course I can concede that my subjective reception of a film is not a reason for it to do anything different. But, by the same token, it's obviously nice to enjoy what I'm watching. (And I do differentiate between films that are challenging or uncomfortable in a productive way versus films that I feel just fell short of the mark of being good).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:45 am

Maybe I'm just an aural boy (I certainly listen to a lot of podcasts now), but I find good narration really immersive. It deepens the experience for me. In Jesse James, part of it lulls me into the same rhythm of the movie, seemingly just complementing the narrative with character or historical details, all lovingly rendered by Ron Hansen's prose. But then it also veers into a mythic register sometimes or outright contradicts what we see, and suddenly the movie spreads out into something bigger.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:59 am

I think all narration should be as raspy and distracting as Al Pacino's in Revolution. Supposedly he was coached on doing a period-appropriate accent, but the actual end result is like hearing Elaine Benes' Scent of a Woman impression on repeat while trying to watch something like Barry Lyndon.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:16 am

I agree that narration usually isn't necessary for a film's plot to make sense and, most of the time, whatever it's trying to say can be conveyed through the visuals or the story, but I don't think narration is inherently flawed. Provided that it's handled properly in the way that it's acted and written well enough, I feel like it can match what the characters onscreen are feeling, and as a result, I often get further engaged into the film. It's sort of like listening to your parents or grandparents as they tell you various stories from their past. You can visualize what they're saying, but listening to their voices and the jovial, mournful, etc. ways they describe the stories can get you even more on their wavelength. As for Assassination of Jesse James, it's been a while since I've seen it, but I've watched the ending on youtube a number of times since my first viewing, and the combinations of the themes, visuals, the culmination of Robert Ford's arc, and the narration work really phenomenally for me as it moves me every time I see it. Just a great blend in my eyes.
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Ergill
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:22 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:16 am
I agree that narration usually isn't necessary for a film's plot to make sense and, most of the time, whatever it's trying to say can be conveyed through the visuals or the story, but I don't think narration is inherently flawed. Provided that it's handled properly in the way that it's acted and written well enough, I feel like it can match what the characters onscreen are feeling, and as a result, I often get further engaged into the film. It's sort of like listening to your parents or grandparents as they tell you various stories from their past. You can visualize what they're saying, but listening to their voices and the jovial, mournful, etc. ways they describe the stories can get you even more on their wavelength. As for Assassination of Jesse James, it's been a while since I've seen it, but I've watched the ending on youtube a number of times since my first viewing, and the combinations of the themes, visuals, the culmination of Robert Ford's arc, and the narration work really phenomenally for me as it moves me every time I see it. Just a great blend in my eyes.
That ending is really something else. I had some qualms about the movie after I first saw it, but they've melted away. Love it, top to toe.
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:41 pm

All I can say is that I frequently thought Assassination was banging up against being a great film, and every time I thought that, either Brad Pitt would get brutally out-acted by Casey Affleck in an important scene or the goddman narration would break any tension I was feeling and take me out of the film. I left the movie feeling like they had wasted Roger Deakins, Casey Affleck, and a pretty good idea (in that order).
It is what it is, that is how I responded to it. I also hate exposition dumps and I consider movies that are supposed to be serious films (like not a comic-book movie or something) that rely on them to be fatally flawed and usually failures for me, like Minority Report.
Quit fucking talking and use the visual medium of filmmaking to show me. Or go make fucking books-on-tape instead.
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:56 pm

Cats, 2019 (B-)

Not nearly as horrible as I thought it'd be. The only eminently jarring CGI came during the opening, Derulo's performances and Rebel Wilson's horrible, horrible parts.

Jennifer Hudson, the burglar cats and the main actress were good. Most of the movie is passable, not quite horrible. It feels very light and fleeting and movies very suddenly from set to set with no connecting thread or tone aside from, I assume, getting all the parts of the play in. Overall, it's fine, I guess. No very strong opinion one way or the other.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:44 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:56 pm
Cats, 2019 (B-)

Not nearly as horrible as I thought it'd be. The only eminently jarring CGI came during the opening, Derulo's performances and Rebel Wilson's horrible, horrible parts.

Jennifer Hudson, the burglar cats and the main actress were good. Most of the movie is passable, not quite horrible. It feels very light and fleeting and movies very suddenly from set to set with no connecting thread or tone aside from, I assume, getting all the parts of the play in. Overall, it's fine, I guess. No very strong opinion one way or the other.
When I read opinions like this, I have to assume they actually managed to fix that nightmare of a disaster that had not a single frame unmarked by CG incompetence and disaster.
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Ergill
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:36 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:41 pm
All I can say is that I frequently thought Assassination was banging up against being a great film, and every time I thought that, either Brad Pitt would get brutally out-acted by Casey Affleck in an important scene or the goddman narration would break any tension I was feeling and take me out of the film. I left the movie feeling like they had wasted Roger Deakins, Casey Affleck, and a pretty good idea (in that order).
It is what it is, that is how I responded to it. I also hate exposition dumps and I consider movies that are supposed to be serious films (like not a comic-book movie or something) that rely on them to be fatally flawed and usually failures for me, like Minority Report.
Quit fucking talking and use the visual medium of filmmaking to show me. Or go make fucking books-on-tape instead.
I don't follow how Affleck or Deakins were wasted. There's still a ton of them present, one through most of the movie and the other through all of it. The narration, by contrast, opens the film, pops up briefly at a few interstitial moments throughout, and then plays a heavier role in the coda. There really isn't a whole lot of it. I can understand you disliking it if it's a matter of cutting the tension for you, but I just don't experience the movie overall as a tense thing. There are some tense moments, usually pretty small and intimate, but most of the movie is elegiac to the extreme. The assassination itself, which doesn't have any narration, is played out like a piece of theater or some sad, resigned ritual. Things feel past and fated. One guy's living out the regrets of his youth and the other's setting up his own, each caught up in the folly of trying to live out the romantic stories they grew up on.

The narration is all a part of that, underlining its status as events recounted well after the fact, distorted by the accidents of history and folklore. I mean, you could add in a whole other scene after Jesse's death showing his bother Frank briefly mourning the loss (pretty typical), or right at the beginning of the film in Frank's last cameo (and his last time seeing Jesse), you can lean into the dramatic irony and describe it over a seemingly unrelated scene, giving it a whole other feeling and meaning. Maybe that gives a feel to the film you don't like, but that's a totally legitimate artistic choice. Showing and telling aren't such clear-cut things.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:08 pm

Ergill wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:45 am
Maybe I'm just an aural boy (I certainly listen to a lot of podcasts now), but I find good narration really immersive. It deepens the experience for me. In Jesse James, part of it lulls me into the same rhythm of the movie, seemingly just complementing the narrative with character or historical details, all lovingly rendered by Ron Hansen's prose. But then it also veers into a mythic register sometimes or outright contradicts what we see, and suddenly the movie spreads out into something bigger.
I don't mind the narration in Assassination of Jesse James. I love Hansen's writing, and I think it's a well-written and well-acted narration. (Also I would HIGHLY recommend Hansen's book Mariette in Ecstasy about a novice nun and her complicated relationship with her religion and her fellow nuns). There is artistry to his writing and it feels like it belongs within another piece of art, just the same way that a good song feels like it belongs in a film.

I was talking more about voice-over that is either (1) just an exposition dump or (2) a writer/director trying to add an extra dose of snark to their film. Those types of narration feel like something is being shoehorned into the narrative that could have been conveyed on screen. To use the song comparison again, there are times that music just doesn't feel like it was put in a certain scene for the right reasons and it tends to cheapen the whole thing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:33 am

It's been a while since I've watched Assassination. . . but I'd join the chorus that says the voice-over is pretty intrinsic to the film's purpose, insofar as it reflects the themes of mythologizing and historicity that are built into the narrative. It's among a handful of films where the voice-over is a central formal strategy, like Sunset Boulevard, The Informant!, Adaptation, The Royal Tenenbaums, etc.

But it's been about a decade so I'd have to give it another viewing to offer a more substantial discussion.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:46 am

I watched Homicide last night (the David Mamet, 1990s one).

I liked it, but I wish I had more to say about it. I really appreciated its exploration of belonging, multiple identities, and the notion of "family". Immediately after watching it I wanted to read another opinion, and I ended up reading this essay about how the film uses language as a proxy for belonging. It really hit on a lot of what I'd taken from the film.

I did feel like there was something missing, and I just can't put my finger on what. The crime element resolves in a satisfying way. The acting is good. The dialogue is precise but not over-written. It's frustrating to not be able to pinpoint why it didn't totally click with me.

I do have to say that there are a lot of films that try to combine crime procedural plots with personal drama, and often end up being unsatisfying on both fronts. I think that this was a good example of balancing both.

Anyone in here a fan?
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:17 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:44 pm
When I read opinions like this, I have to assume they actually managed to fix that nightmare of a disaster that had not a single frame unmarked by CG incompetence and disaster.
Well, I have a bit of an obsolete eye prescription and I wasn't on the hate train when the trailer came out, so take that for what you will. The mice and the roaches are beyond fucked up though. I'm glad I didn't get the full hd experience. Aside from some somewhat sliding faces in the opening, the CGI was cartooney in the streets, but there's plenty good, natural looking interior shots.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:23 am

As a fan of Terrence Malick, I obviously have no de facto issues with voice-over. Sure, it can be a crutch, like any narrative cliche, but it doesn't seem to be difficult to find great examples of classic voice-over films (Goodfellas, Apocalypse Now, Pickpocket, Raising Arizona). I would easily add Jesse James to this class.

I sometimes get irritated by an overreliance on score, those films which never seem to have a quiet, natural moment without some piano tinkling (for sensitivity) or horn soaring (for austerity) rather than letting a scene breathe. That's a far cry from condemning films with scores, ala Dogme. Some films just use their components more poorly than others.
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