Recently Seen

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DaMU
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon May 18, 2020 4:37 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:47 am
Interesting.
I was always mixed on the film's ending. Like, I don't think it's bad enough to warrant it getting a 6.34 on RT from the critics, but I was just left indifferent to it. Like, it's a good, surprising reveal in and of itself. I just didn't think the film really needed a twist ending. Shyamalan's known for his twist endings which sometimes work really well and sometimes don't add much to the film. I suppose the ending to this film adds a bit to the film, but it's never been enough for me to get fully on board with it. Considering that most of the focus of the film wasn't on Elijah but was on Dunn's powerful arc, it just left me with sort of a shrug. Maybe if I connected to him more during the film, I would've felt the ending more. I dunno.
Do you think a rewatch would help for someone to appreciate it more?
I think a rewatch could help, for sure.
I've rewatched it a truckload of times, so I may have lost perspective, but I think rewatching the film evaluating Elijah and the arc that he's on gives the ending "twist" more value. The film being all about "finding your purpose," you realize that, throughout the entire film, Elijah is desperate to fit David Dunn into the hero role so that he can fit into a supervillain role. And when you know that he's killed hundreds to find David, you know why he's so frequently bringing up the "three major disasters" (because he caused them, and they weigh on his mind), and why he's so despairing when David rejects him (kicking over issues in a comic store). Because he's built his entire adult life (ever since he got the comic book from his mom as a kid) on the premise that superheroes exist. And that if David rejects him, if this crazy megalomaniac crusade of Elijah's doesn't work, he's just a nutcase murderer with brittle bones.
It's not as "showy" a twist as The Sixth Sense, but I think it's really the only way the story could have ended, and the ending gives the prior film added power, even if it takes more reflection than usual (for me anyway) to grasp how that power is added.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon May 18, 2020 4:39 am

Another one.

Cloud Atlas - "All Boundaries Are Conventions" (NSFW)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 18, 2020 4:52 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 4:37 am
I think a rewatch could help, for sure.
I've rewatched it a truckload of times, so I may have lost perspective, but I think rewatching the film evaluating Elijah and the arc that he's on gives the ending "twist" more value. The film being all about "finding your purpose," you realize that, throughout the entire film, Elijah is desperate to fit David Dunn into the hero role so that he can fit into a supervillain role. And when you know that he's killed hundreds to find David, you know why he's so frequently bringing up the "three major disasters" (because he caused them, and they weigh on his mind), and why he's so despairing when David rejects him (kicking over issues in a comic store). Because he's built his entire adult life (ever since he got the comic book from his mom as a kid) on the premise that superheroes exist. And that if David rejects him, if this crazy megalomaniac crusade of Elijah's doesn't work, he's just a nutcase murderer with brittle bones.
It's not as "showy" a twist as The Sixth Sense, but I think it's really the only way the story could have ended, and the ending gives the prior film added power, even if it takes more reflection than usual (for me anyway) to grasp how that power is added.
That's a fine interpretation of the ending. I'll have to revisit it with your take in mind to see how well I respond to it. You're probably right that there's more layers to it than I initially thought.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 5:21 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 4:14 am
Urgh. It's an unserious person's idea of a serious movie. It sure does look serious.

I can understand, maybe, someone who was unfortunate enough to start off their Woody excursion with a trail of films like Jade Scorpion, Anything Else, Whatever Works, To Rome With Love, Irrational Man, etc., and thinking "Man, this guy is a really shitty overrated writer". Woody has lots of poorly written films under his belt.
In my defense I did say that I found his attempts at tackling seriousness weak in general.

He is at his best when churning out the witty heavy hitters. That's the 'personal' stuff that I enjoy. Woody was a game changer in that sense, to have that unique personal voice as the source of humor instead of broad comedy. There are much better 'serious' filmmakers that can tackle issues/themes invoked in movies like Crimes and Misdemeanors or Interiors.

Like I said before, I find Allen's film to be cold when deal with serious issues/themes. It's all kept at arm's length. He's a shower, not a roll up your sleeve and get in the weeds type of filmmaker. How can you be when you don't develop backstories for your characters?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 5:27 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 4:37 am
I think a rewatch could help, for sure.
I've rewatched it a truckload of times, so I may have lost perspective, but I think rewatching the film evaluating Elijah and the arc that he's on gives the ending "twist" more value. The film being all about "finding your purpose," you realize that, throughout the entire film, Elijah is desperate to fit David Dunn into the hero role so that he can fit into a supervillain role. And when you know that he's killed hundreds to find David, you know why he's so frequently bringing up the "three major disasters" (because he caused them, and they weigh on his mind), and why he's so despairing when David rejects him (kicking over issues in a comic store). Because he's built his entire adult life (ever since he got the comic book from his mom as a kid) on the premise that superheroes exist. And that if David rejects him, if this crazy megalomaniac crusade of Elijah's doesn't work, he's just a nutcase murderer with brittle bones.
It's not as "showy" a twist as The Sixth Sense, but I think it's really the only way the story could have ended, and the ending gives the prior film added power, even if it takes more reflection than usual (for me anyway) to grasp how that power is added.
From a technical perspective that scene is a lot more showy than Sixth Sense. It's been a while since I've seen either film but my recollection of that scene in Unbreakable still stands out. It's a strong visual. There's that what feels like indelible zooming in during the revelation. With the Sixth Sense it was a series of flashbacks, not really showy in the filmmaking seense.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 5:29 am

Match Point is an exceptional drama and I struggle to think of “more serious filmmakers” being able to do it better to any discernible degree.

I also think Blue Jasmine is excellent and one of the best updates of a classic play that’s ever been attempted. A reimagining of Streetcar on a level that only Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood comes to mind as easily superior.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Mon May 18, 2020 5:44 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 5:29 am
I also think Blue Jasmine is excellent and one of the best updates of a classic play that’s ever been attempted. A reimagining of Streetcar on a level that only Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood comes to mind as easily superior.
Excuse me, but THIS is the only Streetcar adaptation that's worth a damn.

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 6:01 am

Fine. Only “Oh Streetcar” and Throne of Blood compare.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon May 18, 2020 6:35 am

Thief wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 3:56 pm
Definitely. I mean, I wasn't that familiar with Cromwell back in the day or his overall image, but the essence he gives from the start of the film is precisely that: "reassuring grandfatherliness", which is why...
...having him as the bad guy completely took me by surprise. That moment he turns and shoots Vincennes is brilliantly directed and it blew my mind back in the 90s.
My main issue with the film is precisely the character of Lynn. Not Basinger's performance, which is solid/good (although the fact that she won, when Pearce, Crowe, Spacey, and Cromwell weren't even nominated is offensive), but her whole character doesn't quite fit for me as anymore than a plot device.
Like you said, the whole Bud/Lynn/Ed triangle is "unnecessary and contrived" and meant only to have Bud beat her up, which on the other hand, serves as an interesting insight on him (the man that vehemently attacked abusers, ends up being an abuser).
One thing about the exposition bit that sorta bothered me, although I've become more used to, are the bits when we see the fade-in flashbacks come in from the side. At first sight it feels a bit cheap-ish, but also feels like a bit of a throwback to 50's films and TV. I'm not sure if that was the intention, which is maybe why I cut it some slack, but it's perhaps the only other *minor* slight I have against the film.
Totally; just a few years before, everyone knew him as the "That'll do, pig" guy from Babe, then all of a sudden he's
placing his black-gloved hand over Danny DeVito's mouth as he goes "Hush-hush", just before he kills him; whoa, dude! As for your point about Lynn, I actually thought her presence in the film pulled its weight otherwise (it did lead to that great, intimate scene in bed between her and Bud, where he admits to her what happened with his father, after all), it was just the abruptly created (and just as quickly dismissed) love triangle they were involved in that didn't work, as it required Ed to act fairly out of character for it to happen.

What would've made more sense to happen would be if Ed had just questioned her inside her house like he came there to do, and just left, and then DeVito takes a picture of their conversation, and then during his interrogation at the abandoned motel, he says something about how he was taking blackmail pics of a cop and a hooker screwing each other earlier, and that he has one picture of them together in his trunk, so that when Bud sees it, he has a real reason to go question Lynn about if they ended up sleeping together, which she's been instructed to lie about and say yes (which wouldn't substantially alter her characterization, since she had already conspired to betray Ed by letting DeVito take the pictures in the first place), so then Bud still has the words of two people to go on, without breaking Ed's characterization in the process (unlike in the movie, when it doesn't make as much sense for him to go to Lynn first and ask her if she screwed Ed, since not only did DeVito already say as much, but Bud's already seen a picture of them doing it). Still, it's certainly not a film-crippling issue, not by a long shot.
replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 1:47 am
Does anyone have a really cool scene that they want to talk about? Not something totally obscure as some of you are prone to do. A scene that hits home or you find exhilarating.
One overlooked scene I've always been very fond of would be the scene in The Two Towers where Aragon stumbles upon the aftermath of the slaughter of the Uruk-hai that had kidnapped Merry & Pippen, before he finds indicators that they escaped the melee, with some of the most propulsive cross-cutting I've seen in a film as we go back and forth between the two scenes in the process of discovering the truth, like a sort of high fantasy Sherlock Holmes:

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 18, 2020 6:38 am

Stu wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 6:35 am
One overlooked scene I've always been very fond of would be the scene in The Two Towers where Aragon stumbles upon the aftermath of the slaughter of the Uruk-hai that had kidnapped Merry & Pippen, before he finds indicators that they escaped the melee, with some of the most propulsive cross-cutting I've seen in a film as we go back and forth between the two scenes in the process of discovering the truth, like a sort of high fantasy Sherlock Holmes:

Also, I read that Mortensen broke two of his toes after kicking the helmet in that scene, so his screams right afterwards are actually real.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon May 18, 2020 6:41 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 6:38 am
Also, I read that Mortensen broke two of his toes after kicking the helmet in that scene, so his screams right afterwards are actually real.
And yet he stayed in character the whole shot! What a fucking trooper, eh?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 18, 2020 6:45 am

Stu wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 6:41 am
And yet he stayed in character the whole shot! What a fucking trooper, eh?
Yeah, tell me about it. That scene would fit in Thief's Happy Accidents thread. Okay, well he probably wasn't happy about breaking his toes and all, but you know what I mean.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon May 18, 2020 7:00 am

replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 5:27 am
From a technical perspective that scene is a lot more showy than Sixth Sense. It's been a while since I've seen either film but my recollection of that scene in Unbreakable still stands out. It's a strong visual. There's that what feels like indelible zooming in during the revelation. With the Sixth Sense it was a series of flashbacks, not really showy in the filmmaking seense.
True! Shyammy uses speed ramps, color-tints on Dunn's visions, and two dramatic zoom-outs (one per character) once the revelation lands for David (heightening the separation between them visually to emphasize their newfound opposition).

I didn't mean "showy" in the visual sense. It's more that The Sixth Sense has a more vivid and easy-to-grasp twist conceptually (IMHO) - the kid can see ghosts and the guy was a ghost, whammo!; the Unbreakable twist is a bit more wonky in concept. You have to sit with it and consider it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon May 18, 2020 7:32 am

It's been a long time since I last watched Unbreakable, but I wasn't a big fan of the final scene, not because the story turn was too complex in a conceptual sense, or because it tried to have too much stylistic flair (as the aesthetics are the film's biggest strength, IMO), but because it felt like an unnecessary twist, one that invoked a particularly glaring, unnecessary contradiction of the film's previously established internal logic, as
earlier, we saw that Mr. Glass couldn't attempt to chase another man down without breaking his entire body in the process, but somehow we're supposed to accept that not only he was also the criminal mastermind behind all these accidents, but that he somehow also did them all single-handedly... and then the movie just yada-yada-yada its way out with some nonsense onscreen text, as if M. Knight couldn't wait to just get it all over with.
Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a good movie with an intriguing premise, an incredibly haunting tone, and a unique overall sense of style, I just don't think the ending lived up to the standard that the previous portions of the film had established.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 7:43 am

One is a physical action. The others are not.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon May 18, 2020 8:35 am

replican wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:33 pm
I'm going to try and rewatch Manhattan.

Do you not have a hard time relating to the characters? They seem to be fairly well off in NYC with glorious jobs and first world problems. Like no shit anyone would suffer from neurosis under those conditions. That can get unwatchable.
I didn't get that sense at all. I mean, look at the apartments they live in, none of them are living affluently, and that's back in the 70s and 80s when you didn't have to be a millionaire just to have a flat.
And if we have to be able to relate in that particular way to characters, how do we ever watch films about almost anything. I mean, we live in the First World, what percentage of moviegoers don't have First World problems? If you live in a developed nation, you're supposed to really only have First World problems. Do we just throw out all art that comes from that situation. Do we just boot Georgia O'Keefe and say, "well, she made good art but she was a white woman with privilege compared to the people in Mumbai, so let's just reject that". And everything so many filmmakers ever did in our First World country or Europe, I mean, shit, A Clockwork Orange is all about what happens when the ennui of living in the First World draws out the primal. So let's throw out Woody Allen and certainly, I mean, fuck, all of Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall and all that would have to go...
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon May 18, 2020 8:43 am

replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 1:47 am
Does anyone have a really cool scene that they want to talk about? Not something totally obscure as some of you are prone to do. A scene that hits home or you find exhilarating.
Sure, here's one of my favorites...

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by MrCarmady » Mon May 18, 2020 10:19 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:36 pm
It’s true. I’ve seen 25 (and his mini series) of his films and still know I’ve missed some of his best work. I think when dealing with Allen, the expanse and prolific nature of his output has to be taken into account when discussing his talent.

Given how personal many of his films are, either emotionally or intellectually, I haven’t seen a single one that didn’t have merit in that it was at worst an interesting failure or a stepping stone to a more polished work. For instance, Crimes and Misdemeanors is great in its own right but they way he used ideas and themes from it to craft the arguably superior Match Point highlights this interconnectivity in his works.
They say that there is an infinite number of universes that co-exist simultaneously. That could be the case and there still wouldn't be a universe where Match Point is better than Crimes and Misdemeanors.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon May 18, 2020 2:08 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:35 am
I didn't get that sense at all. I mean, look at the apartments they live in, none of them are living affluently, and that's back in the 70s and 80s when you didn't have to be a millionaire just to have a flat.
And if we have to be able to relate in that particular way to characters, how do we ever watch films about almost anything. I mean, we live in the First World, what percentage of moviegoers don't have First World problems? If you live in a developed nation, you're supposed to really only have First World problems. Do we just throw out all art that comes from that situation. Do we just boot Georgia O'Keefe and say, "well, she made good art but she was a white woman with privilege compared to the people in Mumbai, so let's just reject that". And everything so many filmmakers ever did in our First World country or Europe, I mean, shit, A Clockwork Orange is all about what happens when the ennui of living in the First World draws out the primal. So let's throw out Woody Allen and certainly, I mean, fuck, all of Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall and all that would have to go...
Yes, this.

Art is primarily about perspective, if nothing else. And that perspective is not actively meant to mirror our own. It frequently is better if it doesn't. It's what helps generate what Ebert called the movies function as an 'empathy machine'. We are given an opportunity to sympathize with those that are not 'us'.

Allen's films address real problems. These are problems that may become obscured by more pressing issues if one can't afford a home, or find food to eat, or are struggling with a terminal illness. But the struggle to understand our place in the world, what we can achieve, who we can be, what we are, are we all inescapably alone, are legitimate issues to tackle. Brushing them under the tag of first world problem is much too convenient an excuse not to listen to all of these "middle class know it alls".

And even if a film addresses a problem that is ultimately entirely irrelevant to most of the population (let's say not getting a date to the prom), in the context of that partiuclar film, that problem can still very much be a world ender. To dismiss this as being beneath an audiences concern is to admit that one has simply neglected to turn on their empathy machine before turning on the movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon May 18, 2020 2:13 pm

replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 5:21 am

Like I said before, I find Allen's film to be cold when deal with serious issues/themes. It's all kept at arm's length. He's a shower, not a roll up your sleeve and get in the weeds type of filmmaker. How can you be when you don't develop backstories for your characters?
The way these characters talk about their moral choices or their existential dilemmas is Woody Allen rolling up his sleeves. He doesn't have to crawl into the salt mines to prove he has something to say.

Also, it's irrelevant if Allen develops backstories for his characters or not. We can glean who these characters are outside of the frame from the dialogue he gives them to speak and the actions they take through the course of the movie. Not all artists use the same tools to create what they create, and explicitly developing a backstory is simply a tool, not a mandate. If he doesn't do that, meh, okay with me.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon May 18, 2020 2:14 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 10:19 am
They say that there is an infinite number of universes that co-exist simultaneously. That could be the case and there still wouldn't be a universe where Match Point is better than Crimes and Misdemeanors.
:up:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon May 18, 2020 2:16 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 7:32 am
It's been a long time since I last watched Unbreakable, but I wasn't a big fan of the final scene, not because the story turn was too complex in a conceptual sense, or because it tried to have too much stylistic flair (as the aesthetics are the film's biggest strength, IMO), but because it felt like an unnecessary twist, one that invoked a particularly glaring, unnecessary contradiction of the film's previously established internal logic, as
earlier, we saw that Mr. Glass couldn't attempt to chase another man down without breaking his entire body in the process, but somehow we're supposed to accept that not only he was also the criminal mastermind behind all these accidents, but that he somehow also did them all single-handedly... and then the movie just yada-yada-yada its way out with some nonsense onscreen text, as if M. Knight couldn't wait to just get it all over with.
Don't get me wrong, I still think it's a good movie with an intriguing premise, an incredibly haunting tone, and a unique overall sense of style, I just don't think the ending lived up to the standard that the previous portions of the film had established.
Those were all long-fuse accidents. None of them required significant physical exertion, just planning and some sense of engineering, and we know that this character has nothing but time on his hands. (He makes a bomb, lights a fire, and fucks with a train engine; he's not Danny Ocean, and the mundanity of his villainy is highlighted when he steps out of the train and the only resistance is an engineer limply saying "You shouldn't be in there.") I don't see how this breaks internal logic at all.

The on-screen text at the end is not a "way out" of the information of the prior reveal, it's there to close the story as efficiently as possible after its final emotional hit. The cards tell us that David leads cops to the location, and that Elijah was taken to an asylum. The former doesn't give David interesting dramatic choices (as we know at this point he wouldn't keep the information to himself), and the latter doesn't give Elijah interesting drama (because any satisfaction he would feel at the poetry of an asylum stay is already being tangibly felt and visible in this final scene). They're cleanup. I'd agree they're not the most graceful presentation of information, but I think they're preferable to the alternative, which would've almost certainly been anticlimactic and redundant.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Mon May 18, 2020 2:44 pm

While I really like Manhattan, one thing about it I can't wrap my head around is how the parts that celebrate the city (the opening, the many scenes take place in and celebrate iconic locations such as Central Park, the Guggenheim, the Hayden Planetarium, etc.) are supposed to mesh with the relationship drama. My theory is that we're supposed to ask how such a marvelous place could exist when it is populated by people who are confused and grappling with their emotions like Isaac, Mary, etc., but I'm not sure if that's right.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 3:16 pm

Just saying that Woody considers Match Point his best film and both are great, you alternate universe monsters.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by MrCarmady » Mon May 18, 2020 3:23 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:16 pm
Just saying that Woody considers Match Point his best film and both are great, you alternate universe monsters.
These were Woody's thoughts on Manhattan, so we can't trust his taste in his own movies:
After finishing the film, Allen was very unhappy with it and asked United Artists not to release it. He offered to make a film for no fee instead. He later said, "I just thought to myself, 'At this point in my life, if this is the best I can do, they shouldn't give me money to make movies.'"
Match Point has no sense of place, is overly serious and over-long, it isn't fit to lick Crimes and Misdemeanors' boots.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 3:33 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:23 pm
These were Woody's thoughts on Manhattan, so we can't trust his taste in his own movies:


Match Point has no sense of place, is overly serious and over-long, it isn't fit to lick Crimes and Misdemeanors' boots.
Just view it this way: he’s that hard on Manhattan and holds Match Point to the same level of scrutiny.

Match Point certainly has a sense of place, tonal consistency with a claustrophobic sense of dread, great lead performances (especially Scarjo) and makes the ruminations of morality much more intimate and personal than the intentionally detached C&M. They’re both great and excellent companion pieces but I’m inclined to agree Allen that MP is probably the best example of him firing on all cylinders as a full fledged filmmaker.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by MrCarmady » Mon May 18, 2020 3:44 pm

Rhys Meyers certainly doesn't deliver a great performance. I do like ScarJo in it and most other things, but the whole thing doesn't feel personal at all to me, it just feels like Allen trying to do Dostoevsky instead of what he does best, and coming up short. And I have to re-iterate that it doesn't have a sense of place, having lived in London for years. It has a lead ear for dialogue ("shall we go to your place or mine?" / "I had a very interesting conversation the other day about Dostoyevsky") and doesn't seem to take place in the city that I know. I think that brings down a lot of Woody's later work - with the exception of Midnight in Paris and Everyone Says I Love You, which manage to dust movie magic on Paris and so don't seem like the take of a clueless tourist but rather a hopeless romantic, he consistently gets Barcelona, Rome, etc. wrong. Like a fish out of water, he needs the New York milieu to truly shine, unless we're talking total silliness like Bananas.

PS. Also, what is up with those cops?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by MrCarmady » Mon May 18, 2020 3:50 pm

I think it's no concidence that Match Point was better received by American critics than Brits, from memory.

Here's Philip French's (RIP) take:
Instead, everyone talks in clumsy, lumbering dialogue that draws unintentional laughter: 'I've got to meet my wife at Tate Modern. There's a new painter she wants to show me'; 'I think we should go for a ride tomorrow morning. We've got some wonderful new horses'; 'You could have been a poet with the racket the way Laver was.'

There's a lot of talk about business and finance, but Allen hasn't bothered to listen to City people and reproduce their jargon. Cops speak in a way that would get a tyro scriptwriter on The Bill fired.
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2006/j ... .features7
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon May 18, 2020 3:53 pm

I'm not done with it yet, but I'm going to strongly advise that you all check out The Hitman Agency on Amazon Prime.

1) All the male leads look like they were pulled from their main jobs as valets. This is especially striking when one man shows up to an assassination in a purple shirt and loose black windbreaker.

2) The score is . . . insistent. Take this sample dialogue:

WOMAN (resting on a man's chest after they've had sex): Do you (CYMBAL CRASH) remember anything else?

3) The dialogue is *mwah*. "Regrettable, yet . . . acceptable".

4) The following things happen to the elite hitman who is the main character:
a) A woman sleeping with him (and on top of him) is killed. He does not wake up for any of it.
b) A woman walks about 30 feet across a room toward him at a moderate pace. She is able to slap him in the face and point a gun at him, somehow with the impression that he was trying to defend himself the whole time.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Mon May 18, 2020 4:00 pm

I just find Match Point interesting to see Allen pretty far out of his comfort zone and not fall on his face. It's a modestly enjoyable movie, but I don't even think about it when weighing his filmography. When ranking I would only put it above his more Allenesque failures. And I probably even prefer some of those to it (Shadows and Fog, September).

I do like it more than Midnight in Paris though, which I found more irritating than romantic.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 4:30 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:44 pm
Rhys Meyers certainly doesn't deliver a great performance. I do like ScarJo in it and most other things, but the whole thing doesn't feel personal at all to me, it just feels like Allen trying to do Dostoevsky instead of what he does best, and coming up short. And I have to re-iterate that it doesn't have a sense of place, having lived in London for years. It has a lead ear for dialogue ("shall we go to your place or mine?" / "I had a very interesting conversation the other day about Dostoyevsky") and doesn't seem to take place in the city that I know. I think that brings down a lot of Woody's later work - with the exception of Midnight in Paris and Everyone Says I Love You, which manage to dust movie magic on Paris and so don't seem like the take of a clueless tourist but rather a hopeless romantic, he consistently gets Barcelona, Rome, etc. wrong. Like a fish out of water, he needs the New York milieu to truly shine, unless we're talking total silliness like Bananas.

PS. Also, what is up with those cops?
I have no qualms with Meyers performance and felt he brought the internalized torment of his situation with authenticity and nuance. I’d also rank it among Scarjo’s best performances.

It’s Dostoyevsky by way of Hitchcock. I don’t think it’s as concerned with its city as Topaz is with Cuba or the Torn Curtain is with Moscow. They’re a setting for the plot to unfold without the emphasis as his romanticized love letters give. With that Allen is stepping outside his traditional style of dialogue and plotting and is dealing with genre and kitsch in a way to probe and prod their limitations and question their inability to capture the complexities of morality in crime.

Also, I view authenticity of place as something to appreciate when it’s there but hardly punish when it’s absent. The amount of shitty or stereotypical representations I’ve seen of Texas or the South, with praise and proclamations of authenticity from outsiders, has left me numb to criticism of a film not fitting a viewers conception of authenticity.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 4:57 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 2:08 pm
Yes, this.

Art is primarily about perspective, if nothing else. And that perspective is not actively meant to mirror our own. It frequently is better if it doesn't. It's what helps generate what Ebert called the movies function as an 'empathy machine'. We are given an opportunity to sympathize with those that are not 'us'.

Allen's films address real problems. These are problems that may become obscured by more pressing issues if one can't afford a home, or find food to eat, or are struggling with a terminal illness. But the struggle to understand our place in the world, what we can achieve, who we can be, what we are, are we all inescapably alone, are legitimate issues to tackle. Brushing them under the tag of first world problem is much too convenient an excuse not to listen to all of these "middle class know it alls".

And even if a film addresses a problem that is ultimately entirely irrelevant to most of the population (let's say not getting a date to the prom), in the context of that partiuclar film, that problem can still very much be a world ender. To dismiss this as being beneath an audiences concern is to admit that one has simply neglected to turn on their empathy machine before turning on the movie.
For me it's a question of stakes. I am thoroughly entertained by the neurosis of Woody in the context of comedy. But when he starts to wade into deeper, darker themes he loses me. The lighthearted stuff of Manahattan and Annie Hall is where shines. But when I read about how they somehow illuminate relationship dynamics...it's all over my head. The stakes aren't high enough for me to care in the dramatic sense. In another one of your posts you disagree with me about just how deep Woody successfully mines for the deeper material. I don't even think he tries. To quote you : He doesn't have to crawl into the salt mines to prove he has something to say. I would argue that he doesn't even want to say anything. I have never taken away anything from his films other than being very impressed by the humor and whip smart dialogue.

Since Blue Jasmine is fresh in my memory I will use it as an example. Cate is amazing in the movie. Jasmine is a fascinating character and a joy to watch. But Woody doesn't give us anything beyond that. There's plenty of material there. We never understand what makes her tick or get inside her head. There are films that successfully pull that off, but those are completely different in tone. Those films provide slower, quieter scenes that let the actor explain more, without words. Jasmine is just a tornado of action. And it's a beautiful one at that. But beyond that there's not much substance that Woody provides, and my point being that he doesn't care to either. And if he does, at some point that's on him to actually say something.

But putting aside all that, do you think that Woody, on average, provides insight into many of the deeper themes in his films? More so than another director that you hold in high regard in terms of tackling those types of themes? My original assertion was that Woody is a comic genius but doesn't have dramatic chops. I'm not sure if the people disagreeing with me are doing so in relative terms (he is a better than average dramatic auteur) or in absolute terms (he gives Whit Stillman a run for his money).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon May 18, 2020 5:12 pm

replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 4:57 pm
For me it's a question of stakes. I am thoroughly entertained by the neurosis of Woody in the context of comedy. But when he starts to wade into deeper, darker themes he loses me. The lighthearted stuff of Manahattan and Annie Hall is where shines. But when I read about how they somehow illuminate relationship dynamics...it's all over my head. The stakes aren't high enough for me to care in the dramatic sense. In another one of your posts you disagree with me about just how deep Woody successfully mines for the deeper material. I don't even think he tries. To quote you : He doesn't have to crawl into the salt mines to prove he has something to say. I would argue that he doesn't even want to say anything. I have never taken away anything from his films other than being very impressed by the humor and whip smart dialogue.

Since Blue Jasmine is fresh in my memory I will use it as an example. Cate is amazing in the movie. Jasmine is a fascinating character and a joy to watch. But Woody doesn't give us anything beyond that. There's plenty of material there. We never understand what makes her tick or get inside her head. There are films that successfully pull that off, but those are completely different in tone. Those films provide slower, quieter scenes that let the actor explain more, without words. Jasmine is just a tornado of action. And it's a beautiful one at that. But beyond that there's not much substance that Woody provides, and my point being that he doesn't care to either. And if he does, at some point that's on him to actually say something.

But putting aside all that, do you think that Woody, on average, provides insight into many of the deeper themes in his films? More so than another director that you hold in high regard in terms of tackling those types of themes? My original assertion was that Woody is a comic genius but doesn't have dramatic chops. I'm not sure if the people disagreeing with me are doing so in relative terms (he is a better than average dramatic auteur) or in absolute terms (he gives Whit Stillman a run for his money).
No offense intended, but I read this and wonder what movie you're watching. I don't think of Manhattan as lighthearted at all, I don't think of it as a comedy just because there is humor in it, it is entirely about relationships and about how a selfish, self-centered person can be so shitty in them and how other people have to deal with that. That's why it is especially powerful that, by the end, he is actually turned down by a 17 year-old girl who has outgrown him because he is so emotionally stunted by his self-centeredness. She's 17 and she has more emotional maturity than he does. The movie is really about emotional maturity in relationships and that's why it's necessary to have a teenage girl as a love-interest, to reflect just how immature the main character is emotionally. That movie is so goddamn real about relationships and people, I don't even know where to start. Was it kinda funny, too? Sure.
As for Blue Jasmine, we never understand her or get inside her head? That's all the movie is about. This character and all the damage she does trying to protect her little world from coming down all around her. She lives with insane levels of entitlement and denial (about how they got so rich, about her husband's affairs, about her value in the world, about her prospects in life now) that is absolutely essential to her getting through the days and when she is brought to the point that she has to give up that denial in order to make it, you expect that she will, but instead Woody gives us real life and not the movie ending. She simply can't face the harsh reality and retreats into her denial, destroying the last relationship she has intact and condemning that person to a shabbier life via the rug-pull she does on her.
So yes, I think Woody's films are often all about the deeper "themes" of interpersonal relationships, the subtleties of relationships, the failures of relationships between real people who say and do the wrong things out of self-interest and self-preservation, of emotional retardation, and especially of people, as they do in real life, NOT getting better, not growing up, not doing the right thing, but instead retreating inside the person they've always been, doubling-down on their own failures and shortcomings, which is what most people really do outside of the movies. And then sometimes he makes lighter fare like Midnight In Paris or A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon May 18, 2020 5:25 pm

Well said, Wools
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 5:39 pm

I'll re-watch Manahattan keeping in mind your analysis.

That early restaurant scene is a hurdle I gotta get through though. It highlights a lot of my complaints: self-absorbed well to dos sitting around an NYC bar, Woody Allen and his relationship troubles with a HS student.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 18, 2020 6:54 pm

replican wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 5:21 am
In my defense I did say that I found his attempts at tackling seriousness weak in general.
Well, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that Interiors is a weak and premature example of Woody's seriousness - insecure and self-consciously emulative of obvious Bergman tropes to its detriment. This "seriousness" is superficial. The film is well below the par of contemporaries like 3 Women or his later Hannah and Her Sisters, much less Cries and Whispers or Autumn Sonata. To find a qualitative kinship here with Crimes & Misdemeanors is beyond my comprehension.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Mon May 18, 2020 7:14 pm

It's The Old Army Game -

This is a silent WC Fields film that I hadn't seen before. Fields is much funnier when you can hear his voice of course, but this one includes a lot of gags that he would recreate in The Pharmacist and It's A Gift, so my familiarity with those helped me fill in some of the blanks. Not an ideal starting point for a Fields novice, but fans should definitely seek it out.

But the big news here is that this is the first Louise Brooks film I've seen, and wow I'm completely smitten. This is a supporting role in a minor film but she's just got "IT" in spades. I should definitely check out her more substantial work.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Mon May 18, 2020 7:39 pm

Maybe it merits a re-watch, but I remember being thoroughly nonplussed by Crimes & Misdemeanors when I watched it many years ago. But my enthusiasm for Allen has always been a bit restrained. Even when I like his films, I can't say that I'm very passionate about them.

And speaking of re-watches, I spent a couple days visiting my sister and her boyfriend, and I finally forced my sister to watch Mysterious Skin. It's been a running joke between us for years that I'd show her this film and it would break her. But she took it pretty well.
Watching it again myself for the first time in over a decade, I was struck by how the film is absolutely brimming with an uncanny romanticism. Not that it romanticizes the characters' trauma, but the score and the general tone hit a decidedly wistful note, one that falls somewhere between elegiac and nostalgic. I don't think that I noticed it during my initial viewing - I just took it in stride - but seeing it again, it's a really off-putting yet fascinating tactic. It's particularly effective in the flashbacks, where the score swells and cuts off abruptly when we return to the present. It reminds me of how Angelo Badalamenti's score operates in Twin Peaks - another story about sexual trauma in rural America. Both scores provide an ironic counterpoint to the action, at once indulging and laying bare the illusion of innocence.
I was also struck by one other detail:
How candid it is about the details and mechanics of child molestation: the grooming, the play-acting, using one child to lure in others, the frank discussion of the sexual acts they're coerced into performing. I can't think of any other film that looks at the subject matter with such unwavering attention, without caving to the histrionics most films do.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Mon May 18, 2020 7:56 pm

Macrology wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 7:39 pm
Maybe it merits a re-watch, but I remember being thoroughly nonplussed by Crimes & Misdemeanors when I watched it many years ago. But my enthusiasm for Allen has always been a bit restrained. Even when I like his films, I can't say that I'm very passionate about them.
I'm fascinated by the affinity that the supremely talented actresses have for Allen's work. There is no denying the magnetic attraction Allen's films have for them. Like I said before, I get the impression there's something in the way he writes his female characters that speaks to women. So while I'm not enamored with his films, I still find myself trying to crack that code. Wooley's breakdown of relationship dynamics is a good start. I love stuff like that when it comes to film discussion. I'm too dense when it comes to certain themes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon May 18, 2020 8:06 pm

Macrology wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 7:39 pm
And speaking of re-watches, I spent a couple days visiting my sister and her boyfriend, and I finally forced my sister to watch Mysterious Skin. It's been a running joke between us for years that I'd show her this film and it would break her. But she took it pretty well.
Watching it again myself for the first time in over a decade, I was struck by how the film is absolutely brimming with an uncanny romanticism. Not that it romanticizes the characters' trauma, but the score and the general tone hit a decidedly wistful note, one that falls somewhere between elegiac and nostalgic. I don't think that I noticed it during my initial viewing - I just took it in stride - but seeing it again, it's a really off-putting yet fascinating tactic. It's particularly effective in the flashbacks, where the score swells and cuts off abruptly when we return to the present. It reminds me of how Angelo Badalamenti's score operates in Twin Peaks - another story about sexual trauma in rural America. Both scores provide an ironic counterpoint to the action, at once indulging and laying bare the illusion of innocence.
I was also struck by one other detail:
How candid it is about the details and mechanics of child molestation: the grooming, the play-acting, using one child to lure in others, the frank discussion of the sexual acts they're coerced into performing. I can't think of any other film that looks at the subject matter with such unwavering attention, without caving to the histrionics most films do.
I think that it's a pretty brilliant film and one that walks that really fine line between being candid about child trauma and exploiting it.

In regards to the romanticism, I think that it actually reflects how a lot of people process childhood trauma. For most people, childhood wasn't some unrelenting nightmare, even kids with some pretty horrific stuff in their histories. It is very possible to feel nostalgia for a time when awful things were happening to you. For all that happened
to the main character, he did feel paid attention to and loved. Even as an adult looking back at what was really happening, it doesn't necessarily negate those emotions.
If you can get your hands on the director's commentary I highly, highly recommend it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Mon May 18, 2020 8:18 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:06 pm
I think that it's a pretty brilliant film and one that walks that really fine line between being candid about child trauma and exploiting it.

In regards to the romanticism, I think that it actually reflects how a lot of people process childhood trauma. For most people, childhood wasn't some unrelenting nightmare, even kids with some pretty horrific stuff in their histories. It is very possible to feel nostalgia for a time when awful things were happening to you. For all that happened
to the main character, he did feel paid attention to and loved. Even as an adult looking back at what was really happening, it doesn't necessarily negate those emotions.
If you can get your hands on the director's commentary I highly, highly recommend it.
Agreed. That's a great take on it.

I have the blu-ray, so I imagine the commentary is on there. I'll check. It's been a while since I've listened to a commentary track.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue May 19, 2020 2:07 am

Macrology wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 8:18 pm
Agreed. That's a great take on it.

I have the blu-ray, so I imagine the commentary is on there. I'll check. It's been a while since I've listened to a commentary track.
The commentary is both a good look at how the characters were developed through the film and a pretty neat glimpse into some of the nitty gritty of actually making the film.

For example,
because of the content they obviously had to take a lot of care of the child actors. Anything sexual they really tried to work around actually having the child actors there. So there's one scene where the coach rests his head on the kid's chest and the director is like "Yeah, that's a mannequin"
.

Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that the person who made Mysterious Skin then immediately went on to make Smiley Face.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Tue May 19, 2020 3:31 am

I've seen Mysterious Skin at least twice, and both times I intensely disliked it. I don't know if this was a built in response to how much I generally hated Greg Araki films up to that point. Or if maybe there was something about that romantic/nostalgic tone that put me off. But I actively speak negatively of the movie.

I've always loved hearing people's reactions to it though. On paper it is a brilliant idea for a film, and one that is clearly going to rub much of its audience the wrong way. It always is a disappointment to me how negative my reactions are to it because of this. It should be right up my alley.

It's been a long time though and I am more than keen for another rewatch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue May 19, 2020 3:56 am

I loved it unabashedly after my first watch. After my second watch, my enthusiasm wasn't as intense - some flaws were more evident, like JGL's frequently overwritten narration - but I still found a lot to admire or muse over. I've also heard great things about the novel, which I still intend to read someday (I saw it once in a used bookstore and I'm still hitting myself for failing to pick it up).

The only other Araki film I've seen is The Doom Generation, which was so unmemorable I could barely tell you anything about it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue May 19, 2020 4:13 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 3:31 am
I've seen Mysterious Skin at least twice, and both times I intensely disliked it. I don't know if this was a built in response to how much I generally hated Greg Araki films up to that point. Or if maybe there was something about that romantic/nostalgic tone that put me off. But I actively speak negatively of the movie.

I've always loved hearing people's reactions to it though. On paper it is a brilliant idea for a film, and one that is clearly going to rub much of its audience the wrong way. It always is a disappointment to me how negative my reactions are to it because of this. It should be right up my alley.

It's been a long time though and I am more than keen for another rewatch.
I think that it's an empathetic film, and one that manages to hit on some really touchy issues without feeling exploitative.

And the way that it portrays the paths of the two main characters (one
retreating into fantasy, one retreating into self-destruction
is interesting to me.

I also find the ending to be very powerful.
There's no redemption. No real final confrontation. But there is truth-telling and maybe the hope of these two young men being able to move forward in their lives. It's both heartbreaking and also possibly a first step for both of them.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue May 19, 2020 6:09 am

Mysterious Skin used Sigur Ros powerfully. That deserves mention.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Tue May 19, 2020 3:56 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 4:13 am
I think that it's an empathetic film, and one that manages to hit on some really touchy issues without feeling exploitative.

And the way that it portrays the paths of the two main characters (one
retreating into fantasy, one retreating into self-destruction
is interesting to me.

I also find the ending to be very powerful.
There's no redemption. No real final confrontation. But there is truth-telling and maybe the hope of these two young men being able to move forward in their lives. It's both heartbreaking and also possibly a first step for both of them.
Everything about what the story involves, along with their competing narratives of what is their truth, is great. It was all about Araki's style that put me off. As I mentioned above, I already deeply disliked his films, and this was mostly due to his reliance on outrage and childish nihilism to make a name for himself. His movies try to score cheap points with their edginess, and I went into MS with the bias of this is what this guy does. He had to win me over because I was against him going in.

What I remember of the film is that it was considerably more sensitive than his previous work. It also showed skill that I didn't think he had. But there was still this sheen of the provacateur there, I believe due to dialogue and narration, that would pull me back to the fact this was that talentless brat that made Doom Generation and Nowhere. It tainted the experience, and I left the film, both times, feeling he was using this sensitive work to have his cake and still eat it too. He can play somewhat legitimate, but he still has the scandalous subject matter where he is able to still hide behind his paper thin bad boy persona.

I was obviously prejudicial going in. Considering I know nothing of his later work, has not allowed me to dispell my prejudicial feelings that MS was just a convenient storyline for him to use for his own ends. Its been prob 10 years since I last watched it though, so I'm more than willing to see it again and see how wrong I was.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Tue May 19, 2020 6:32 pm

The Invisible Man, 2020 (C+)

Absolutely not my type of movie, but I do have appreciation for it. Hopefully, this leads to more unorthodox adaptations of classic stories instead of endless remakes or action quote unquote reimaginings. Maybe something about Frankenstein next.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue May 19, 2020 6:38 pm

Charles wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 6:32 pm
The Invisible Man, 2020 (C+)

Absolutely not my type of movie, but I do have appreciation for it. Hopefully, this leads to more unorthodox adaptations of classic stories instead of endless remakes or action quote unquote reimaginings. Maybe something about Frankenstein next.
Well, I'm sorry that didn't work out so great for you. I probably give the movie an A, myself, on the scale of Did It Succeed At What It Was Attempting, which is usually (though admittedly not always) the scale I use.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Tue May 19, 2020 7:07 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Tue May 19, 2020 3:56 pm
What I remember of the film is that it was considerably more sensitive than his previous work. It also showed skill that I didn't think he had. But there was still this sheen of the provacateur there, I believe due to dialogue and narration, that would pull me back to the fact this was that talentless brat that made Doom Generation and Nowhere. It tainted the experience, and I left the film, both times, feeling he was using this sensitive work to have his cake and still eat it too. He can play somewhat legitimate, but he still has the scandalous subject matter where he is able to still hide behind his paper thin bad boy persona.
I understand what you mean by this (in terms of seeing it in other films).

On my two watches of the film I didn't feel like it was trying to be provocative in the sense of exploiting the subject matter. If I rewatched it with this in mind, maybe I'd see something different. Maybe you can chalk it up to the strength of the novel from which it was adapted, but I felt like the characters (as both children and young men) were treated with respect and empathy and were not objectified.
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