Recently Seen

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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:01 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:59 am
Well if it helps...
The film operates as an allegory and conflation of Greek mythology, especially Prometheus and Sisyphus. Familiarity with those helps explain a great deal of imagery and the underlying purgatorial concepts.

It also evokes Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Bergman's bottle surrealist dramas, Persona and Hour of the Wolf.
The visual elements (aspect ratio, monochrome, filmstock, etc) were all done to evoke a bygone era. The set design and accents were also meticulously researched in order to authentically capture the time period.

In addition to that, the film is a performance showcase with both being allowed to go as crazy as possible and it's simultaneously harrowing and hilarious to watch.

Possibly my favorite of last year.
I got the Rime part, not the others, but I'm still not sure what it feeds into. I warmed up to it since yesterday, thinking back, so I'll rewatch it eventually. I'll also take a gander at The VVitch before that though. I was partially turned off initially by how difficult it was to understand what Dafoe was saying, so that may have soured my enjoyment. Looking past that should help.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:48 am

Charles wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:01 am
I got the Rime part, not the others, but I'm still not sure what it feeds into. I warmed up to it since yesterday, thinking back, so I'll rewatch it eventually. I'll also take a gander at The VVitch before that though. I was partially turned off initially by how difficult it was to understand what Dafoe was saying, so that may have soured my enjoyment. Looking past that should help.
It feeds into the banal, monotonous and purgatorial events in a life and makes them into a mythic contemplation on hubris and the illusion of autonomy. Where it be nature, insanity or the supernatural, every attempt to seize power is met with a greater loss of self and control.

It finds the commonality of all of these myths, legends and tales and puts them in an intimate context.

If you can’t understand Defoe, you may want to watch the Witch with subtitles on.
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Ergill
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:16 am

I was masturbating in abysmal conditions the other day and it really made me look at The Lighthouse in a new way.
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DaMU
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:50 am

I just found it ironic that for a film with "light" in the title, the film was actually pretty dark!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:09 am

Was finally able to see Parasite in theaters today (which was excellent, as I expected), which makes me even more grateful for the post-Oscars boost this particular film has gotten, seeing as how I'm pretty sure it's the first foreign language film to play in my city in nearly 20 years, since Crouching Tiger; although I have to be doubtful, I'm still hopeful that maybe this could be the beginning of a new popularization of international cinema in America... please? Maybe?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:45 am

I liked but did not love Night Moves (the 2013 one).

I thought that the acting was really solid and that the direction was good, but there was some connection with the characters that I was just lacking.

In the end we see (MAJOR SPOILERS)
a character who has been replacing fallen bird nests kill someone to protect himself from getting in trouble. The complications of that--someone valuing life taking a life to save himself--didn't go further than the character's tortured expression and dull acceptance. Maybe it was "real", but it comes so close to the end of the film that I felt it didn't have time to breathe.
That said, I'm not entirely sure what more I wanted from the movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:03 am

I liked it well enough too, but I feel like the material is not too well suited to Reichardt's sensibility, save for a scene where one character goes to buy fertilizer, in which she expertly mines some tension out of everyday banal conversation.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:12 am

wichares wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:03 am
I liked it well enough too, but I feel like the material is not too well suited to Reichardt's sensibility, save for a scene where one character goes to buy fertilizer, in which she expertly mines some tension out of everyday banal conversation.
That sequence, the sequence with the dead deer, and the (MILD SPOILERS)
sequence where they set up the bomb but then there's the guy on the bridge
were all pretty good and impactful.

Having reflected more on the film, the main emotional suspense comes from the tension between our stated/held values and our own sense of self-preservation. And once you get past the literal elements of the plot (ie the plan to bomb the dam), I didn't feel like I got the catharsis/message/impact of that emotional tension. It's frustrating because I feel like the actors (and Eisenberg in particular) did a good job of creating characters who felt real. It just didn't make that final leap/connection for me.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:18 pm

The reason why the Hellenic shroud over The Lighthouse feels facile to me is due to the selfish, shifty and duplicitous Winslow not being a particularly Promethean figure. The context of Prometheus' fate may have drastically different implications had it been the result of his
insouciant, indolent and spitefully impotent killing of a seagull in maximally savage manner
...none of which suggests the slightest proximity of the qualities we associate with mythical founder of human intelligence. If anything, it's anti-Promethean. The confusion of Prometheus' and Sisyphus' respective characters and resulting fates - two figures that have very little textual or symbolic relation to each other - would require ignoring substantial portions of both myths. Instead, I believe these mythcal references, along with Neptune and Triton, are more window dressing for a tale more concerned with the mental constrictions of paranoia and isolation, its mythic pretensions acting more as touchstones for fantastic obsession.
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Macrology
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:42 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:18 pm
The reason why the Hellenic shroud over The Lighthouse feels facile to me is due to the selfish, shifty and duplicitous Winslow not being a particularly Promethean figure. The context of Prometheus' fate may have drastically different implications had it been the result of his
insouciant, indolent and spitefully impotent killing of a seagull in maximally savage manner
...none of which suggests the slightest proximity of the qualities we associate with mythical founder of human intelligence. If anything, it's anti-Promethean. The confusion of Prometheus' and Sisyphus' respective characters and resulting fates - two figures that have very little textual or symbolic relation to each other - would require ignoring substantial portions of both myths. Instead, I believe these mythcal references, along with Neptune and Triton, are more window dressing for a tale more concerned with the mental constrictions of paranoia and isolation, its mythic pretensions acting more as touchstones for fantastic obsession.
Yeah, this.

It's a fun, funny, absurd movie about two guys going macho-crazy, and it's got lots of arthouse bells and whistles, but its mythological and literary antecedents (not only Greek mythology, but Coleridge, Celtic and Nordic folklore, sailing lore) are so diverse and their application so haphazard that they don't feel like much more than gloss. And it's beautiful, overwrought, delightful gloss, but the film never really synthesizes all these otherwise interesting elements.
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DaMU
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:08 am

Labyrinth was my favorite film for a time as a child, and there were some very reasons for that. A boy obsessed with mythology and creature features (and more than a little into Jennifer Connelly for reasons he didn't fully understand) would get a lot out of the film. Watching it again a couple nights ago, I marveled at just how carefully conceived the art design of the film was. How, despite the fact that it's a Wonderland episodic, its "world" feels full and true.

Additionally, scenes that I didn't get at the time played better. Chiefly, the "Firey" gang and the crystal ball dance. Sarah has to ignore the allure of abandoning Toby and commit to her burgeoning maturity, and the two scenes play like polar opposite temptations. The Fireys declare "ain't got no problems, ain't got no suitcase," and encourage her to do the same-- all she has to do is have her head removed. Don't think, have a good time! When that fails, Hoggle gives her an Edenic fruit, and she dreams of Jareth as a romantic foil (which I respect-- subtext made text, Sarah's maturation taken seriously). But the surrounding humans wear goblin-esque masks, proving this idealized adulthood is equally unreal and even perverse.

The flick's still uneven, because not all of Sarah's challenges tie into this development/theming. Some of that is just the nature of this fantasy style, so it's not too valuable to bag on it (the flick even nods at this when one grizzled puppet notes that often in life we're moving forward despite a feeling of repetition). Surprisingly, this scene-by-scene storytelling style hurts the movie most during the big climax in Goblintown, which is fun kiddy wish fulfillment (those rocks smash them goblins good!) but little more and maybe, indulgently, Henson's team giving themselves a final enormous demo of their powers right when they should be digging deep into Sarah and her bond with her friends instead of rewarding it with easy violence. The scene in Sarah's fake room beforehand is much more tense and loaded with meaning.

What affected me at the end of this viewing was the final moments, where Sarah threads the needle of her lessons by recognizing that she is a grown-up person, but it's also important to retain a bit of her childhood's imagination and hope and joy. I became aware that Labyrinth itself was now operating for me in the way that Hoggle, Sir Diddimus (sic), and Ludo function for Sarah - as a small but crucial part of my youth I'm happy to still have.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:29 am

I haven't said it in such a long time....
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:58 am

DaMU wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:08 am
Labyrinth was my favorite film for a time as a child, and there were some very reasons for that. A boy obsessed with mythology and creature features (and more than a little into Jennifer Connelly for reasons he didn't fully understand) would get a lot out of the film. Watching it again a couple nights ago, I marveled at just how carefully conceived the art design of the film was. How, despite the fact that it's a Wonderland episodic, its "world" feels full and true.

Additionally, scenes that I didn't get at the time played better. Chiefly, the "Firey" gang and the crystal ball dance. Sarah has to ignore the allure of abandoning Toby and commit to her burgeoning maturity, and the two scenes play like polar opposite temptations. The Fireys declare "ain't got no problems, ain't got no suitcase," and encourage her to do the same-- all she has to do is have her head removed. Don't think, have a good time! When that fails, Hoggle gives her an Edenic fruit, and she dreams of Jareth as a romantic foil (which I respect-- subtext made text, Sarah's maturation taken seriously). But the surrounding humans wear goblin-esque masks, proving this idealized adulthood is equally unreal and even perverse.

The flick's still uneven, because not all of Sarah's challenges tie into this development/theming. Some of that is just the nature of this fantasy style, so it's not too valuable to bag on it (the flick even nods at this when one grizzled puppet notes that often in life we're moving forward despite a feeling of repetition). Surprisingly, this scene-by-scene storytelling style hurts the movie most during the big climax in Goblintown, which is fun kiddy wish fulfillment (those rocks smash them goblins good!) but little more and maybe, indulgently, Henson's team giving themselves a final enormous demo of their powers right when they should be digging deep into Sarah and her bond with her friends instead of rewarding it with easy violence. The scene in Sarah's fake room beforehand is much more tense and loaded with meaning.

What affected me at the end of this viewing was the final moments, where Sarah threads the needle of her lessons by recognizing that she is a grown-up person, but it's also important to retain a bit of her childhood's imagination and hope and joy. I became aware that Labyrinth itself was now operating for me in the way that Hoggle, Sir Diddimus (sic), and Ludo function for Sarah - as a small but crucial part of my youth I'm happy to still have.
Wow. I would not have gone back and watched this, due to my almost reflexive almost revulsion at things from the 80s that have too much of a "kiddie" feel as all these artists from the 70s started making movies for their children, and I have some pretty clear memories of the film being too "kiddie" for me even at the time, but your review makes it seem a lot more palatable and interesting.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:11 am

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - 7.5/10

One of the two trilogies (the other is The Godfather) where I’ve yet to finish the third films because I take too much time off after their second installments (not from disliking them, just lengthy running time’s exhaustion) to remember and continue. It seems like a good time to finally go on Verbinski completism (aka one of the best big budget directors around) now that these are leaving Netflix for Disney+. Still fun, but curious to find out if I still prefer Dead Man’s Chest over this, from my memory that the sequel has better set-pieces and finishes on a high than this one’s just decent swordfights.

Verbinski’s sense for intricate spectacle and casual fun keep the potentially lumbering plot here light and brisk enough. But for me he’s one of the rare blockbuster directors who, given bigger budget, manage to use the money for more elaborate and imaginative ideas, so this one has no truly transporting delights yet. Well, except for Depp’s Sparrow, still singular even after the performance has been through overexposure hell and back. A rare blockbuster lead whose temperament seems to be that of trying to sneak into any given scene’s background, and wishing that would someone, anyone, leave him alone with his rum and ship in peace please.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:36 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:58 am
Wow. I would not have gone back and watched this, due to my almost reflexive almost revulsion at things from the 80s that have too much of a "kiddie" feel as all these artists from the 70s started making movies for their children, and I have some pretty clear memories of the film being too "kiddie" for me even at the time, but your review makes it seem a lot more palatable and interesting.
This was pretty much my experience at the time. I think I actually went to see this at the theater, despite being 16 or whatever. So yeah, I didn't hate it but it wasn't for me. I've since watched it again as an adult and I can appreciate it for what it is now. I've got younger relatives that simply adore the movie, so I guess I'll never have that connection with it, but I'm definitely more fond of it now than I was then.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:48 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:58 am
Wow. I would not have gone back and watched this, due to my almost reflexive almost revulsion at things from the 80s that have too much of a "kiddie" feel as all these artists from the 70s started making movies for their children, and I have some pretty clear memories of the film being too "kiddie" for me even at the time, but your review makes it seem a lot more palatable and interesting.
It was not a childhood favorite of mine, but several years ago I saw it on the big screen as a double feature with The Dark Crystal. I was there for The Dark Crystal, but clearly most of the crowd was there for Labyrinth.

I really enjoyed it. And yes, a chunk of that was probably the sheer delight of the people sitting around me. But the craft on display is pretty cool and the visuals easily compensated for what sometimes felt like uneven pacing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:48 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:58 am
Wow. I would not have gone back and watched this, due to my almost reflexive almost revulsion at things from the 80s that have too much of a "kiddie" feel as all these artists from the 70s started making movies for their children, and I have some pretty clear memories of the film being too "kiddie" for me even at the time, but your review makes it seem a lot more palatable and interesting.
It being a childhood favorite of mine is clearly part of it, but with the combination of the Henson company's art design and Terry Jones' writing contributions, it's a lot more interesting than it would be otherwise. It's "kiddie," for sure, in that I think it probably means the most to young women who grew up with the film, but it's also idiosyncratic and genuine (even for all its shagginess, which... I mean, it is a shaggy and uneven movie).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:50 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:48 am
It was not a childhood favorite of mine, but several years ago I saw it on the big screen as a double feature with The Dark Crystal. I was there for The Dark Crystal, but clearly most of the crowd was there for Labyrinth.

I really enjoyed it. And yes, a chunk of that was probably the sheer delight of the people sitting around me. But the craft on display is pretty cool and the visuals easily compensated for what sometimes felt like uneven pacing.
Interestingly, I didn't watch The Dark Crystal until I was an adult, and while I think it's a worthy film and aesthetically delightful, I just can't... stand... those hero puppets' faces. It's such a weird specific issue, but it reminds me of how cold I felt watching that old CGI Final Fantasy movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:00 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:48 am
It was not a childhood favorite of mine, but several years ago I saw it on the big screen as a double feature with The Dark Crystal. I was there for The Dark Crystal, but clearly most of the crowd was there for Labyrinth.
I also would have been there for The Dark Crystal.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:20 am

Re-posting my original review of The Two Towers here:
Image

There's good in this world, Mister Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.
I've never really considered The Two Towers to be a "sequel" in the traditional Hollywood sense, rather, the middle part of the story that Fellowship began, but however you label it, I feel that TTT is one of the best examples of it around... whatever it may be. Ahem. Anyway, part of the film's success is due to its aforementioned middle chapter status, leaving it freer to explore its part of the saga's story without having to worry about the heavy weight of world-introduction that weighed its predecessor down some, or the sometimes redundant post-victory wrapup of Return Of The King. Granted, Towers does drag ever so slightly during its midsection, but considering its three hour length, necessary in order for Peter Jackson to adapt a sufficient amount of the rich, epic mythology that Tolkien created (with enough left over for a fourty-five minute longer Extended Edition), I can easily overlook that in light of all the epic fantasy entertainment we get in return here, and even viewed on a ten inch tablet screen, it's still one of the most epic things I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

In Towers, as the now-fractured Fellowship journeys ever so closer towards the dark land of Mordor, their battle for Middle Earth officially becomes an all-caps WAR, with an even larger scope and action setpieces to match it, introducing us to new realms as they are drawn against their will into the War of the Ring. However, PJ refuses to allow the scope of the film to swallow up its personal element, or resort to relying on stock fantasy archetypes, as all the new characters here are fully fleshed-out individuals with their own unique problems and desires, and as the new characters come into the story, Jackson also doesn't neglect to continue the arcs for the old players in natural, compelling manners. The devil's in the details here, and all the fantasy BS in the world wouldn't be worth a damn if we didn't care about the characters caught in the middle of it, but we do, and though there's way too many of them to write about in detail here, it's the multitude of small character moments included that ultimately keeps us engaged and invested in the larger struggle at hand.

But, as far as the epic fantasy aspects of TTT go, the movie certainly doesn't skimp on that part either, expanding on the world & mythology of Middle Earth brilliantly, hinting at a tragic, deeper history for a certain former Hobbit, bringing an undiscovered army of walking, talking fucking TREES into the fray, and resurrecting a previously thought-to-be deceased mentor from the dead in an unexpected twist. It's certainly a ton to unpack, but Jackson & Co. deliver everything superbly, and tonally, Towers keeps things fresh by taking on a surprisingly violent, war movie-ish tint, as the armies of men and others struggle to beat back the hideous forces of Sauron that are devastating the land, climaxing in a stormy, chaotic, absolutely grueling marathon of a battle at the fortress Helm's Deep, as well as two whole other battles occuring elsewhere simultaneously. The main battle at Helm's is hella long, but never feels pointless or repetitive, rather, extremely well-structured, as the overall progress of the clash is signified by easily identifiable turning points, which never get delayed amongst all the chaos, and in all the epic battles in cinematic history, it's one of the biggest and certainly one of the best of them as well, only outdone (possibly) by one in the next installment of Rings.

In all of this, Towers is definitely a darker film than its predecessor, often quite literally so, with many scenes set at night, as cinematographer Andrew Lesnie providing some of the bluest, most striking nighttime footage I've witnessed since T2, which serve as a great contrast to the sweeping, daytime landscape shots, which make perfect use of the beautiful New Zealand scenery as Middle Earth, as Howard Shore's soaring, triumphant themes boom at us. Along with these literal rays of light, the thematic glimmers of hope in TTT are what help keep our heads up amongst all the crushing darkness, and give us that special rush of magic that only grand fantasy can provide. Installment, sequel, whatever you want to call this, bottom line, the battle for Middle-Earth begins right fucking here, baby; join or die.
Final Score: 9
[/quote]
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:28 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:29 am
I haven't said it in such a long time....
Well, okay-- but don't expect a big reaction!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:50 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 4:50 am
Interestingly, I didn't watch The Dark Crystal until I was an adult, and while I think it's a worthy film and aesthetically delightful, I just can't... stand... those hero puppets' faces. It's such a weird specific issue, but it reminds me of how cold I felt watching that old CGI Final Fantasy movie.
It was a landmark movie for me as a kid, simply for the diversity of characters/creatures, its emphasis on balance, and the range of kindness and cruelty and unfairness all contained in one narrative. And while I did not understand the exact analogy of the elite literally draining the life from/enslaving those weaker than them, I think it's the kind of theme that I always resonated with as a kid.
Wooley wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:00 am
I also would have been there for The Dark Crystal.
*high five*
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:47 pm

The gelfling puppets are the weak link in the Dark Crystal film, but it should be an urgent necessity for all to discard that problem. Everything that surrounds them is magic.

Also Labyrinth is great. Not Dark Crystal great, but still fairly special.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:02 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:47 pm
The gelfling puppets are the weak link in the Dark Crystal film, but it should be an urgent necessity for all to discard that problem. Everything that surrounds them is magic.

Also Labyrinth is great. Not Dark Crystal great, but still fairly special.
Agreed.

I also have to highly endorse the Dark Crystal making-of documentary.

I mean, watch the first thirty seconds and tell me it isn't captivating. I've watched it multiple times.

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:36 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:47 pm
The gelfling puppets are the weak link in the Dark Crystal film, but it should be an urgent necessity for all to discard that problem. Everything that surrounds them is magic.

Also Labyrinth is great. Not Dark Crystal great, but still fairly special.
Definitely agree about the gelflings and the need to overlook that flaw. Aside from them, astounding puppeteering and one of the most imaginative fantasy worlds ever put on screen.

I will say, I prefer Labyrinth. I think the writing and the overall vibe is more interesting, and more up my alley. But this opinion may easily be weighted by the fact that I saw Labyrinth as a child and The Dark Crystal as an adult.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:29 am

With both of those flicks, I love how weird / grotesque / baroque the design is allowed to be. There's the tactility of the puppet creations, but there's also that wonderful refusal to make them too toyetic. They look grubby and dirty, exaggerated in ways you might not expect. Hoggle is a very strange choice for a co-star, with his old-man wrinkles and croaking frog voice. The Skeksis aren't just vultures, they're gnarled and rash-ridden and done up in parodic opulence. They look like actual old-time Grimms creations, like the type of thing you could almost plausibly expect to run into when hurrying through a ruined forest at golden hour. The Neverending Story had a bit of that too.

Nostalgia's probably part of it, but there's something refreshingly specific about those creatures that it's hard for me to see with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson bestiaries (although those flicks definitely have their moments, and this isn't intended as a sideways slap at CGI).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:56 pm

I've got two episodes remaining of The Dark Crystal series, and I'd encourage all fans of the film to check it out. Episode 8 kicked my ass last night.
I approached this thing with much skepticism but am completely won over. Besides the stunning technical achievement, it's a rare prequel that manages to enhance the original. I agree that the Gelflings were the least interesting part of the film, but they have been redeemed (for me) by this series. I rewatched the film before starting the series, and I can't wait to watch it again immediately afterwards. Granted, I've still got two eps left so there's a chance they'll completely screw the pooch at the end, but I'm very impressed right now.

I remember some of you talking about it back when it was released months ago, but I feel like this should be a much bigger deal than it has been. Like, this is really great.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:04 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:29 am
With both of those flicks, I love how weird / grotesque / baroque the design is allowed to be. There's the tactility of the puppet creations, but there's also that wonderful refusal to make them too toyetic. They look grubby and dirty, exaggerated in ways you might not expect. Hoggle is a very strange choice for a co-star, with his old-man wrinkles and croaking frog voice. The Skeksis aren't just vultures, they're gnarled and rash-ridden and done up in parodic opulence. They look like actual old-time Grimms creations, like the type of thing you could almost plausibly expect to run into when hurrying through a ruined forest at golden hour. The Neverending Story had a bit of that too.

Nostalgia's probably part of it, but there's something refreshingly specific about those creatures that it's hard for me to see with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson bestiaries (although those flicks definitely have their moments, and this isn't intended as a sideways slap at CGI).
The design is a major part of their appeal, although that seems to have been part of a trend at the time - at the pinnacle of practical effects in movies, which have such a visceral presence. You see a similar quality in The Princess Bride, a lot of Joe Dante's stuff, Return to Oz, Time Bandits, and in horror and sci-fi of the time, like Alien, The Thing, The Fly, and werewolf flicks (although those obviously up the ante on the grotesque and sacrifice some of the fantastical wonder). The decay of the Skeksis at the beginning of The Dark Crystal is not a far cry from Brundlefly at the end of The Fly. But the level of detail and, as you said, the baroque stylings are particularly appealing in the Henson productions.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:42 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:47 pm
The gelfling puppets are the weak link in the Dark Crystal film, but it should be an urgent necessity for all to discard that problem. Everything that surrounds them is magic.
Couldn't agree more.
It's also true in the borderline-excellent new Netflix show. Once you accept the Gelfling puppets, the show kinda starts to soar. And the actors are so good, it's really not that hard to let it go, I found myself just forgetting about it and then finally kinda marveling at how they stuck with these puppets and made it work through excellent craft all around.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:16 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:29 am
With both of those flicks, I love how weird / grotesque / baroque the design is allowed to be. There's the tactility of the puppet creations, but there's also that wonderful refusal to make them too toyetic. They look grubby and dirty, exaggerated in ways you might not expect. Hoggle is a very strange choice for a co-star, with his old-man wrinkles and croaking frog voice. The Skeksis aren't just vultures, they're gnarled and rash-ridden and done up in parodic opulence. They look like actual old-time Grimms creations, like the type of thing you could almost plausibly expect to run into when hurrying through a ruined forest at golden hour. The Neverending Story had a bit of that too.

Nostalgia's probably part of it, but there's something refreshingly specific about those creatures that it's hard for me to see with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson bestiaries (although those flicks definitely have their moments, and this isn't intended as a sideways slap at CGI).
Hell yes. Really, the imagination that goes into the creature-design in those films just doesn't seem to be nearly on par with what we grew up with.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:48 pm

Macrology wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:36 am
I will say, I prefer Labyrinth. I think the writing and the overall vibe is more interesting, and more up my alley. But this opinion may easily be weighted by the fact that I saw Labyrinth as a child and The Dark Crystal as an adult.
While I was the opposite (Dark Crystal as a child, Labyrinth as an adult), I still prefer the world and creature-relationship of Dark Crystal.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:09 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:16 pm
Hell yes. Really, the imagination that goes into the creature-design in those films just doesn't seem to be nearly on par with what we grew up with.
Agreed. Guillermo Del Toro's team of designers is one of the few reliable ones in modern day. Those monsters have actual personality.
NOTE:
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 Thief » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:28 am

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:33 am

Classic ol' racist Trump. Ya gotta love him.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:50 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:33 am
Classic ol' racist Trump. Ya gotta love him.
I desperately wish for a world that never spoke of the American president again.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:57 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:50 am
I desperately wish for a world that never spoke of the American president again.
Sadly, it'll be a long time before we get there.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:33 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:57 am
Sadly, it'll be a long time before we get there.
At least 5 years.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:16 am

Two disappointing films in a row!

Listen Up Philip!

The protagonist of the film is obviously meant to be insufferable. Well done. But was the film itself also meant to be kind of insufferable? The portrayals of the main characters are really solid, and Schwartzman in particular nails a character who seems himself as being "emotionally honest", but with a tremendously fragile ego and little care for the impact of his "honesty". Spending time with him (and also extended sequences with his mentor/friend Ike, an ageing writer who has burned all of his professional and personal bridges) is just unpleasant. Krysten Ritter is a breath of fresh air as Ike's daughter, Melanie, who is actually willing to call out both Philip and her father on their isolating, off-putting behavior. Setting the characters aside, I just did not care for many of the choices in the film. The voice-over--why? The extreme close-ups--why?

I would be genuinely interested to hear if someone actually liked this film. I thought that the characters--and specifically the two main male characters--were beyond relatable and at the same time not all that interesting to watch. A scene of a drunk Ike trying to get Philip to help him seduce a pair of slightly younger women at least had some interesting dynamics, but almost everything else failed to raise much of a response from me. And I cannot overstate, again, how much I disliked the voice-over.

Goya's Ghosts

The real main character of this film is not Goya, but rather a man named Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a priest who pushes the church to reinstate more intense methods of cracking down on immoral behavior. One of Goya's models, Inez, is imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition. We loosely follow Goya's perspective as he watches Inez's family try to get her back, the French invasion of Spain, and the fallout when Inez is finally freed from captivity.

While Goya is shown to be a man of empathy, his character doesn't really register that much until parts of the final act. Lorenzo is an intriguing villain, but even with a committed performance from Bardem there's still something lacking in the story. Portman does intense work as Inez, but her character's suffering becomes borderline parody as one thing after another happens to her: arrested on suspicion of being Jewish because she declined a pork dish at a tavern, she is arrested, questioned, brutally tortured, raped, imprisoned, etc. By the time she's being
thrown into an asylum after 15 years of imprisonment because Lorenzo wants to conceal that he raped her while she was a prisoner
, it started to feel like, "C'mon!".

I also had mixed feelings about the portrayals of sexual violence and some clearly unsafe/inhumane sequences involving animals being harmed. The film constantly connects Goya's art to the real evil (and beauty) that he witnesses, and yet the whole film lacks empathy.

Despite Bardem's best efforts as the tortured, sociopathic Lorenzo, this one was a real disappointment. Also, this is the kind of film where there are like ten different Spanish "accents" on display from its very international cast. Probably should have jumped ship around half an hour in.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:16 pm

2012, 2009 (D-)

Possibly the largest scale disaster movie I've seen, yet the one where everything felt the least important. I've seen police thrillers with a greater sense of magnitude. Hell, even Day After Tomorrow felt much more important and most of it takes place around a library. And I don't mean in the sense that things get exhausting after a while, I mean that nothing at all feels important. No tension is felt, no matter how many planes grazing whatever they're flying over there are or how fast a car rolls away from stuff. The human drama is drivel too. You could cut 90 minutes of this and lose nothing, but you could also cut everything and lose nothing. Except for the setup in the beginning. That was a good, strong 5 minutes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:47 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:16 pm
2012, 2009 (D-)

Possibly the largest scale disaster movie I've seen, yet the one where everything felt the least important. I've seen police thrillers with a greater sense of magnitude. Hell, even Day After Tomorrow felt much more important and most of it takes place around a library. And I don't mean in the sense that things get exhausting after a while, I mean that nothing at all feels important. No tension is felt, no matter how many planes grazing whatever they're flying over there are or how fast a car rolls away from stuff. The human drama is drivel too. You could cut 90 minutes of this and lose nothing, but you could also cut everything and lose nothing. Except for the setup in the beginning. That was a good, strong 5 minutes.
Haven't seen it, but go to 1 hour 36 minutes in ("The neutrinos . . . have mutated!", he might as well have said "The electrons, are angry!"):

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:51 pm

Charles wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:16 pm
2012, 2009 (D-)

Possibly the largest scale disaster movie I've seen, yet the one where everything felt the least important. I've seen police thrillers with a greater sense of magnitude. Hell, even Day After Tomorrow felt much more important and most of it takes place around a library. And I don't mean in the sense that things get exhausting after a while, I mean that nothing at all feels important. No tension is felt, no matter how many planes grazing whatever they're flying over there are or how fast a car rolls away from stuff. The human drama is drivel too. You could cut 90 minutes of this and lose nothing, but you could also cut everything and lose nothing. Except for the setup in the beginning. That was a good, strong 5 minutes.
I think I was a bit more lenient with the grade (I think I gave it a C-ish?), but overall I agree with the sentiment. Dumb, mediocre, and forgettable.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:51 am

Mr. Right felt like a film that was just straining too hard to win me over with Sam Rockwell doing his thing and Anna Kendrick adorably tilting her head to the side and crinkling her nose.

But darn if by the end it didn't . . . kind of win me over.

Ultimately it works because of the work it does to keep Kendrick from being a bemused victim. It walks that fine line to keep her likable because these days there's that cliche of "the nice girl is actually secretly crazy!!!" and I think it's super played out.

There are also game turns by Tim Roth and RZA to keep the tone light-but-weird. The whole idea that you could just *notice* the universe and suddenly be basically a superhero is SO DUMB that it kind of circles back around on itself to become fun.

After two disappointing films it was nice to have something that I at least smiled through.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:35 am

Was there ever a conversation about The Counselor ? Because, I'd be very interested to hear those opinions.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:44 am

There was a conversation a while back. What's on your mind?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:46 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:47 pm
Haven't seen it, but go to 1 hour 36 minutes in ("The neutrinos . . . have mutated!", he might as well have said "The electrons, are angry!"):

Man, I liked that line! That type of crazy, impossible stuff is my whole shit in disaster movies.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 3:22 am

Charles wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:46 am
Man, I liked that line! That type of crazy, impossible stuff is my whole shit in disaster movies.
Did you watch the clip I linked? Jimi Mistry clearly had a blast delivering it.


Hot on the heels of watching Dolemite, I just checked out Dolemite is My Name and thought it was a blast. Having so many of the original film's scenes still fresh in my mind made the on-set anecdotes all the funnier. I thought that the cast was excellent and that the film itself managed to match some of the vibe of the original film. Also, oh man, Kodi Smit-McFee is all grown up and I feel old.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:10 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:16 am
Two disappointing films in a row!

Listen Up Philip!

The protagonist of the film is obviously meant to be insufferable. Well done. But was the film itself also meant to be kind of insufferable? The portrayals of the main characters are really solid, and Schwartzman in particular nails a character who seems himself as being "emotionally honest", but with a tremendously fragile ego and little care for the impact of his "honesty". Spending time with him (and also extended sequences with his mentor/friend Ike, an ageing writer who has burned all of his professional and personal bridges) is just unpleasant. Krysten Ritter is a breath of fresh air as Ike's daughter, Melanie, who is actually willing to call out both Philip and her father on their isolating, off-putting behavior. Setting the characters aside, I just did not care for many of the choices in the film. The voice-over--why? The extreme close-ups--why?

I would be genuinely interested to hear if someone actually liked this film. I thought that the characters--and specifically the two main male characters--were beyond relatable and at the same time not all that interesting to watch. A scene of a drunk Ike trying to get Philip to help him seduce a pair of slightly younger women at least had some interesting dynamics, but almost everything else failed to raise much of a response from me. And I cannot overstate, again, how much I disliked the voice-over.
Let me just frame the film in "What Can (A)ARP Do For You?"s career:

a.) Low budget adaptation of Gravity's Rainbow
b.) Low budget dark comedy about, essentially, the director himself (played by the director himself)
c.) Medium budget darker comedy/blistering drama about, essentially, the director himself, but the director is more of an asshole and his life collapses - and he gives an essential segment of the film to the director-stand-in's ex-girlfriend while they are apart and she deals with the consequences of his relationship - and the film ends with a voiceover damning him to a life of personal failures due to his failings as a human
d.) Psychodrama surrounding a group of women (I haven't seen it)
e.) Essentially a film about a woman being treated subtly like shit by all-too-normal men, be it because of dismissiveness due to her age/gender/attractiveness or outright disregard for her humanity by the men sexually harassing her or treating her as a powerless object
f.) A fictional biopic of the female lead singer of an all-girl group, except the lead singer is an asshole this time and her life collapses... and while some people interpret the ending as triumphant, it is certainly ambiguous enough to where I see it as damning her to a life of personal failures due to her failings as a human

That is to say: ARP went from the typical writer-writing-about-himself-who-is-also-a-writer to a filmmaker deeply invested in telling stories not only not about himself but about women, and about the terrible ways that men behave toward women, and finally to where the women can be as fully shitty as he once wrote solely about himself. In Listen Up Philip, he is clearly making the transition that many wildly famous male filmmakers never do: see women as human beings that are worth telling stories about, and as human beings that can be equally shitty as the men, not merely damsels in distress or underdeveloped "bitches".

To say that the characters are merely unlikable, then, to me sells the film short a bit. It's essentially a self-exorcism, the film's author shitting on the tropes of navel-gazing New York movies and self-important authors that he dreads becoming. He continues this trend of dreading-becoming-the-assholes-he-sees-around-him in his subsequent films (especially in Golden Exits, a film which is essentially a step-by-step display of the kind of sexual harassment and dehumanization that is the core issue of the #metoo movement but was written, shot, and released before the first Weinstein expose. That is to say - I don't think that ARP came to these sorts of thoughts about men's behavior, about the depiction of women, about the impact of shitty men on women because it was the-thing-to-do, but because he finds it to be a major problem that he will devote this film and Golden Exits to, at the very least, before it became the hot topic of the day. In that sense, when you say that the film is insufferable with unlikable characters... I mean, that's the appropriate tone for the kind of toxic masculinity the director is trying to display. I love that sort of stuff, which is why I loved the equally insufferable and even abrasively overbearing elements in Her Smell while the two other people in the theater left early never to return... So, yeah, I love it, and I love this style in general, and everything about it is made for me, but I also think he's a great and interesting filmmaker with a great amount of self-awareness and empathy and a keen sense of diagnosing social ills. He certainly doesn't present these social ills in an ejoyable, palatable way like a comedian might, but that is an effective mode for some viewers (like me).

Besides, I gave you a recommendation for films full of enjoyable and nuanced people (Goodbye, First Love, or Our Little Sister) and you chose an abrasive ARP dark comedy instead - maybe you should just make better life decisions!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:47 am

Charles wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:44 am
There was a conversation a while back. What's on your mind?
Still letting it digest, but it feels like a middle of the road Ridley Scott but it's too much for just that. If someone told me it ultimately is nothing more than trash I would agree or maybe the opposite. It intrigues as it moves along although it doesn't really do much. Then Cameron Diaz has sex with a windshield in a move where I can't help but wonder if Scott was asking the audience "you aren't asleep are you?". It borders on boring and intriguing at the same time. This was the extended cut.
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Scarface (De Palma, '83)

Post by Stu » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:05 am

Image

The World Is Yours.
At the dawn of that relentlessly loud, excessive decade known as the 80's, Fidel Castro opened up the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, with the stated intention of letting some of his people rejoin their relatives in America; however, it soon became evident that he was also forcing the sailors to venture off with the dregs of his jails as well, as, of the 125,000 refugees that came off of those rusty, rickety, overflowing boats in Miami, an estimated 25,000 of them had criminal records. One of those refugees was Tony Montana, a petty scumbag whose larger-than-life dreams of breaking free from those desperate, unwashed masses in order to become a big shot has become immortalized in Brian De Palma's Scarface, a film that stands tall as the foremost cinematic artifact of that particular time and place, helping to commemorate Miami and the modern "gold rush" of cocaine trafficking it experienced in the 80's, and, in the process, becoming immortal itself as a blood-soaked crime opera as loud and over-the-top as the decade that birthed it, but one that's ultimately proven itself to be an enduring icon despite of that (although it's probably more because of that, now that I think about it).

Of course, this Scarface retains the same basic rise-and-fall gangster narrative of Howard Hawks' original film, even though it exchanges the Prohibition/Capone-era Chicago setting of that film for Miami during its "cocaine cowboys" era, with the aforementioned Mariel boatlift serving as the inciting incident, which adds an undeniable political element to the film that original director Sidney Lumet wished to emphasize, which is further reflected in the film's constant use of news footage (both real and otherwise) to ground it in its particular social context, to the point that it's impossible to imagine it taking place any where, or when else (which is ironic, considering that most of it was actually filmed in LA, due to a strong backlash from the local Cuban community in Miami). However, despite those lingering creative fingerprints, this Scarface is ultimately all De Palma's (but more on that later), and, despite the strong supporting cast of characters, the film is also undeniably Tony Montana's, as it's now impossible to imagine the film without the walking, talking ball of hair trigger-tempered, barely-contained testosterone anchoring it, just like it's impossible to imagine the character being anywhere near as memorable without Al Pacino at his shoutiest portraying him, reasonable concerns about his spotty "Cuban" accent aside, although I would argue even that still adds to the camp/entertainment value of the film regardless ("Look at those pelicans fly, mang!", anyone?).

At any rate, I would argue that Tony's external arc of going from petty criminal to cocaine kingpin is one of the more compelling point-A-to-Z character journeys I've had the pleasure of witnessing, as his quest through the film's flashy underworld is relentlessly propulsive throughout, and his development feels like it's always constantly moving forward, never spinning its wheels, and, while he never really changes internally, the particular character flaws that he exhibits from the outset nonetheless become more and more exaggerated (and fatal) with accumulated time and power, due to his unrealistic ambitions and relentlessly self-destructive tendencies, which traps him a veritable blizzard-sized haze of coke towards the end, without a single friend in the world, but, while inevitable, his downfall is still never predictable, as he blazes a bloody path across the fallen paradise that is Miami in this ludicrously melodramatic, larger-than-life-itself tragedy.

Finally, Scarface ultimately succeeds just for the basic fact that it's an imminently rewatchable, outrageously entertaining film, whether you're talking about the dialogue that is as needlessy overwrought as it is relentlessly quotable (courtesy of the scripting of a young, trying-kick-the-habit Oliver Stone), which has earned the film a hallowed place in the Hip Hop sampling/quoting hall of fame (if it existed), or De Palma's unmistakable cinematic sensibilities, which is reflected in the film's dark, unexpected moments of comic relief, its shamelessly lurid, downright trashy (but somehow also appropriate) treatment of its subject matter, which repeatedly earned the film the dreaded X-rating for its sheer levels of gore, drug use, and record-breaking amount of F-bombs, or the overall shamelessly flashy, showy style, as Giorgio Moroder's synth-heavy pop provides a perfectly tacky soundtrack, Edward Richardson's art direction creates a tropical dreamland drenched in the incredibly vibrant neons and lush pastels that have become visual shorthands to the decade's overall aesthetic, and the way that John A. Alonzo's cinematography lovingly tracks and roams all over the unspeakably opulent locations, with the perpetual sunsets often appearing as red as the blood that constantly bathes the characters themselves, as the city seems to exist in one long, eternal magic hour here. Like Elvira herself says at one point, nothing exceeds like excess, and Scarface proves that in spades, and then some (and then some even more, to boot).
Final Score: 8.5
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