Recently Seen

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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:18 pm

Shyamalan has his own unique, recognizable style and that alone puts him above almost all other stock, uninspired, calendar-filling directors. The Happening is also much better than its reputation and most of the quote unquote unintentional comedy is very much intentional. Fucking love that guy. The only movie of his I don't quite jive with is Lady In The Water, but it's still not bad.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:51 pm

Charles wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:18 pm
and most of the quote unquote unintentional comedy is very much intentional.
But... is it?

It's such a weird one for me because while I would typically agree, it's, er, sense of humor kinda falls flat for me :shifty:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:06 pm

I agree with Nameless. I saw The Happening about a year or two ago and, although I get hints that its "comedy" was somewhat intentional, that still doesn't mean it *works*. Also, everything sorta fizzles in the last act. There's really no build-up to anything. It just... ends.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:07 pm

The Nameless Two wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:51 pm
But... is it?

It's such a weird one for me because while I would typically agree, it's, er, sense of humor kinda falls flat for me :shifty:
Of course it is. The scene about the old lady asking if they're planning to murder her in her sleep or the scene with the plant are very clearly intentional. Comedy is one of the most subjetive genre, so it might not work for everyone, but, especially after seeing The Visit, it's hard to miss the way Mr. Night mixes comedy with more serious tones. It definitely clashes with the way comedy is incorporated in Hollywood movies, usually all the way in a comedy and none for the climax or none at all in those heavy, self-serious dramas.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:10 pm

Thief wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:06 pm
Also, everything sorta fizzles in the last act. There's really no build-up to anything. It just... ends.
I like the way it (doesn't) end. It leaves a bigger impression by doing this than by tying up every loose end, though I know it leaves a bad impression on most people.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 pm

Charles wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:07 pm
Of course it is. The scene about the old lady asking if they're planning to murder her in her sleep or the scene with the plant are very clearly intentional. Comedy is one of the most subjetive genre, so it might not work for everyone, but, especially after seeing The Visit, it's hard to miss the way Mr. Night mixes comedy with more serious tones. It definitely clashes with the way comedy is incorporated in Hollywood movies, usually all the way in a comedy and none for the climax or none at all in those heavy, self-serious dramas.
I think what turns me off about The Happening is it's mixture between comedy and it's serious tone. Like, one second it's biting on cheese and then you enter the scene with everyone hanging (the most memorable moment of the film for me, very well executed). This provides me with ammo regarding what exactly it's intent is... I can't say it is some divine mixture but one where the two ends operate separate from one another... like curdled milk, or whatever that science word is. Science is hard

Comedy, in being as subjective as it is, makes me treat it the most severely in my critique. I have a pretty strict lining when it comes to making me laugh, I'm kinda stoic in reality (capable of making people laugh through my dryness, at least). Here I'm far more flamboyant in my presentation, and that is kinda where I'd tack Shyamalan's mentality. He gets a touch eager in his comedic mixture, it's a turn off. He's so good at the serious side of the equation that a touch of dryness might help his equation, again, the most impressive moments of The Happening are when he lets it be quiet and directs the hell out of it
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:25 pm

The Happening to me is basically a Larry Cohen thriller/comedy/social satire that doesn't have the ragged technique to contribute to the off-balance nature. He's too much a formalist. He can't help trying to elevate the thriller moments, which ultimately plays too hard against the comedy (I also think he needed a better or more knowing cast). But I like that he tried, and I don't think it's a boring movie to watch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:30 pm

Yes, there is some intentional comedy in The Happening, but even that is tonally demented and off key. They are jokes told by a guy who doesn't seem to know what a joke is, and so while still often worth great amounts of laughter, it is not for any of the reasons the director might like to take credit for.

But who can blame the poor sod. Shyamalan has clearly never interacted with these things called organic life forms before, and so something is always destined to get lost in translation when he tries to engage with them through his films. Clearly making movies is his only portal to the outside world and the SOS signal he is sending out through The Happening is a particularly hilarious one.

The scene of the construction workers falling of the building is legit good though.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:31 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:25 pm
The Happening to me is basically a Larry Cohen thriller/comedy/social satire that doesn't have the ragged technique to contribute to the off-balance nature. He's too much a formalist. He can't help trying to elevate the thriller moments, which ultimately plays too hard against the comedy (I also think he needed a better or more knowing cast). But I like that he tried, and I don't think it's a boring movie to watch.
Yes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:42 pm

Sounds like I need to watch The Happening.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:20 pm

Rock wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:42 pm
Sounds like I need to watch The Happening.
It’s spectacularly ill advised and poorly conceived. I quote it often.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:35 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:20 pm
It’s spectacularly ill advised and poorly conceived. I quote it often.
This is your happening and it freaks you out!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:36 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:20 pm
It’s spectacularly ill advised and poorly conceived. I quote it often.
What? No!...
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:43 pm

Hello. My name is Elliot Moore. I'm just going to talk in a very positive manner, giving off good vibes. We're just here to use the bathroom, and we're just going to leave. I hope that's okay.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:44 pm

I can't believe the shit-talking on The Happening here. It's by far Shyamalan's best movie from the 2007-2008-2009 period.

DaMU, what's your picture from?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:13 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:36 pm
What? No!...
Best delivery of all time to make two monosyllabic words more memorable than the greatest of soliloquies.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:18 pm

Charles wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:44 pm
I can't believe the shit-talking on The Happening here. It's by far Shyamalan's best movie from the 2007-2008-2009 period.

DaMU, what's your picture from?
Carnivale, Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown) in a dream sequence.

It's my favorite TV show.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:22 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:18 pm
Carnivale, Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown) in a dream sequence.

It's my favorite TV show.
The last 5 mins really hurt in that “if this had been saved for s3, this would’ve been a satisfying finale for a cancelled show” way.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:23 pm

Charles wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:44 pm
It's by far Shyamalan's best movie from the 2007-2008-2009 period.
This is true. As long as we extend it to present day. And stretch it back to include everything after 2000. Plus include an addendum that it's even better than Sixth Sense. By lots.

Now, let the shit talking commence.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:26 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:05 am
FWIW I'd give it to Keaton because of how his Batman and Bruce both feel internalized. He's quiet, he whispers, he narrows his eyes. There's a pacing to his performance that suggests he's thinking about what to say, considering his options. I don't think it's terrifically deep, because I don't think Burton's two films give him too much to chew on, narratively speaking.
At the risk of repeating myself on this topic, what about his "it's complicated" relationship with Selina in Returns?:

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:26 pm

Pretty sure one of my very first posts on RT went something like "Come on guys, The Happening isn't THAT bad..."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:31 pm

Honestly, this thread has twisted me into some abnormal construct where The Happening is obviously Shyamalan's best movie. Kinda like Tetsuo turning into a giant techno-flesh monster

I'm no fan of Sixth Sense or Signs. Unbreakable is alright but... too stoic
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:05 pm

Stu wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:26 pm
At the risk of repeating myself on this topic, what about his "it's complicated" relationship with Selina in Returns?:
I think that "doesn't give him too much" =/= "doesn't give him anything."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:06 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:23 pm
This is true. As long as we extend it to present day. And stretch it back to include everything after 2000. Plus include an addendum that it's even better than Sixth Sense. By lots.

Now, let the shit talking commence.
Shyamalan's best movie is Wide Awake starring Rosie O'Donnell, fight me.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 pm

We need to talk more about the "non-canon" work from directors. Like, when we talk about JuhJahbrams, we never talk about his screenplays for Forever Young or Gone Fishin'.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:36 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 pm
We need to talk more about the "non-canon" work from directors. Like, when we talk about JuhJahbrams, we never talk about his screenplays for Forever Young or Gone Fishin'.
Hmm, yes, well, True Romance is QT's best film, and also Tony Scott > Ridley Scott for this reason. Also, top 10 musical score
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:51 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 pm
We need to talk more about the "non-canon" work from directors. Like, when we talk about JuhJahbrams, we never talk about his screenplays for Forever Young or Gone Fishin'.
For the most part I tend to enjoy 'great' directors' earlier works more than their latter works. I'm drawn to the rough around edges, less focused and more personal nature of these films. I feel like I'm the only person that thinks Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket is one of his top 3 works. It's unpolished but has a sense of urgency that I love.

Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill comes to mind as well.

The great directors' early works are a product of great talent and lack of resources. This produces fascinating ingenuity in storytelling.

Imagine Scorcese making Mean Streets in the prime of his career. I just don't see how a 100 million dollar budget and a more cynical (natural tendency) artist at the helm would result in a better film.

In addition to the cynicism, I would imagine that with more films under their belts, more money in their pockets, and a couple mansions on the hills, the great directors lose touch with their original reality. The one that drove them to take the risk of being a filmmaker.

I remember the first couple David Cronenberg films I watched thinking to myself how urgent the films felt. I felt everything was completely lived in, the visuals, sound, just enveloped in the zeitgeist. It's impossible to manage to sustain that over the course of a lifetime, IMO.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm

replican wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:51 pm
For the most part I tend to enjoy 'great' directors' earlier works more than their latter works. I'm drawn to the rough around edges, less focused and more personal nature of these films. I feel like I'm the only person that thinks Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket is one of his top 3 works. It's unpolished but has a sense of urgency that I love...

The great directors' early works are a product of great talent and lack of resources. This produces fascinating ingenuity in storytelling.

In addition to the cynicism, I would imagine that with more films under their belts, more money in their pockets, and a couple mansions on the hills, the great directors lose touch with their original reality. The one that drove them to take the risk of being a filmmaker.

I remember the first couple David Cronenberg films I watched thinking to myself how urgent the films felt. I felt everything was completely lived in, the visuals, sound, just enveloped in the zeitgeist. It's impossible to manage to sustain that over the course of a lifetime, IMO.
I agree with you about Bottle Rocket and much of this. Even someone like Spielberg, who had studio backing, there's a verve and hunger you see in Duel, Sugarland, and Jaws, an exciting fusion of naturalism, film brat energy, momentum. At times like the films are constantly daring themselves. Yeah, I'll do a movie with two characters on the road. Yeah, I'll make the biggest cop chase ever. The back half of this one is an exploration of machismo set entirely on boats. Fuck you, I'm doing it. And now he does Capra-esque stately potboilers. Which are fine (sincerely, I like them), but yeah. You almost always need new directors to capture that rawness.

Maybe the issue too is partly that, on a basic level, older filmmakers have made the mistakes. They know what not to do now. But as a result, there's less risk, and it's in artistic risk that you find that energy. (That's probably why I love Larry Cohen; he makes bad choices because he's making real, big choices.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:37 pm

I like Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight more than Boogie Nights up to Punch Drunk Love. Amazing debut
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:49 pm

I’m all for loving these early works but at the end of the day, I’m usually going to choose something formally and artistically accomplished.

I think the problem with most filmmakers is that they eventually run out of their own stories to tell and increasingly have to draw inspiration outside themselves. They often become impersonal and resonate less because they don’t have the raw authenticity of capturing “their story.”

However, I think it’s a bell curve and the filmmakers usually reach that level of filmmaking zen where they gain the formal deftness to perfectly capture their authentic story. That’s the sweet spot.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:15 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm
I agree with you about Bottle Rocket and much of this. Even someone like Spielberg, who had studio backing, there's a verve and hunger you see in Duel, Sugarland, and Jaws, an exciting fusion of naturalism, film brat energy, momentum. At times like the films are constantly daring themselves. Yeah, I'll do a movie with two characters on the road. Yeah, I'll make the biggest cop chase ever. The back half of this one is an exploration of machismo set entirely on boats. Fuck you, I'm doing it. And now he does Capra-esque stately potboilers. Which are fine (sincerely, I like them), but yeah. You almost always need new directors to capture that rawness.

Maybe the issue too is partly that, on a basic level, older filmmakers have made the mistakes. They know what not to do now. But as a result, there's less risk, and it's in artistic risk that you find that energy. (That's probably why I love Larry Cohen; he makes bad choices because he's making real, big choices.)
Could it be that with the knowledge gained from having made said mistakes, the directors naturally gravitate towards more general/broader audiences? Like they figure out what works on more people and they go with that.

As I was thinking/typing about this topic two images resonate in my mind: QT and racial violence. In Pulp Fiction there's the scene of the backward white pawn shop owners and what they do to Ving Rhames. And then we get Django Unchained and the scene of the black slaves being pitted against each other. It's a brutal, queasy scene. BUT I can't help but think what a younger, hungrier, less successful QT would have done with that scene. The Ving Rhames scene is so visceral. That image is indelible. When I first saw and talked about about it, its was like did you SEE that shit?!?! With Django Unchained, it's more like, so that happened and it sucks. It felt more showmanship like than Pulp Fiction.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:20 am

Keeping the same train of thought, that car accident scene preceding the Ving Rhames violation of epic proportions, it's so simple yet so effective. I haven't seen it in a few years but the simplicity of it still stands out. Now imagine that the carnage was kept to minimum because of budget constraints. QT doing that scene now would, I'm guessing, be a lot more involved.

Goes back to what I said about how the talented directors early in their career had to show ingenuity in storytelling in order to compensate for not having a lot of money to work with.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:22 am

Does anyone know how the heck David Fincher got his start, and I mean START, in filmmaking by taking the help of a huge franchise? Like he didn't do anything of consequence before and then boom, here you go Finch, huge studio budget directing en epic franchise.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:28 am

replican wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:22 am
Does anyone know how the heck David Fincher got his start, and I mean START, in filmmaking by taking the help of a huge franchise? Like he didn't do anything of consequence before and then boom, here you go Finch, huge studio budget directing en epic franchise.
He was responsible for a LOT of high-profile music videos in the 80s. Check out his IMDB. I don't know how old you are or if you ever watched MTV, but you'll see a lot of famous videos on the list.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by replican » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:31 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:28 am
He was responsible for a LOT of high-profile music videos in the 80s. Check out his IMDB. I don't know how old you are or if you ever watched MTV, but you'll see a lot of famous videos on the list.
I see. Studio sure must have enjoyed those videos in that case.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:40 am

replican wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:31 am
I see. Studio sure must have enjoyed those videos in that case.
His videos were very cinematic. I remember legitimately wondering if Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun" was from an actual film. Of course at the time I had no idea who was directing these things or that they were by the same guy. But looking at his output years later, holy crap.
Madonna's "Vogue", Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted", Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love". In a lot of those cases the videos were much more memorable than the accompanying song.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:05 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:10 pm
I dunno, he was very good at playing "confused actor out of his depth" in The Happening.
I like that his portrayal of a science teacher reeks so heavily of "wildly underqualified substitute who read the wikipedia article the night before." There's something weirdly confessional about how uncomfortable and awkward his performance is, like he's collapsing under the weight of the ill-fitting alpha male roles thrown at him over the years.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:19 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:25 pm
The Happening to me is basically a Larry Cohen thriller/comedy/social satire that doesn't have the ragged technique to contribute to the off-balance nature. He's too much a formalist. He can't help trying to elevate the thriller moments, which ultimately plays too hard against the comedy (I also think he needed a better or more knowing cast). But I like that he tried, and I don't think it's a boring movie to watch.
crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:30 pm
Yes, there is some intentional comedy in The Happening, but even that is tonally demented and off key. They are jokes told by a guy who doesn't seem to know what a joke is, and so while still often worth great amounts of laughter, it is not for any of the reasons the director might like to take credit for.

But who can blame the poor sod. Shyamalan has clearly never interacted with these things called organic life forms before, and so something is always destined to get lost in translation when he tries to engage with them through his films. Clearly making movies is his only portal to the outside world and the SOS signal he is sending out through The Happening is a particularly hilarious one.

The scene of the construction workers falling of the building is legit good though.
Agree with both of these, although I think I liked it more than you guys. There's something fascinating about how the movie can be so good (on a visual storytelling level) and so bad (on a human level) at the same time, in ways that seem so strongly commingled, that individual scenes seem at war with themselves. (I'm thinking especially of the scene where the lady is having a slowly unsettling conversation over the phone and Marky Mark shouts at her a hilariously exasperated warning but the scene keeps chugging along.) The "intentional" comedy and human interactions feel like an alien's approximation of the real thing, which is weirdly fitting for a movie about man being assailed by forces we don't fully understand, and the best moments are the ones that seem eerily distanced from humanity (suicides being captured in long shot or barely off screen). (I will say that I respected John Leguizamo trying his darnedest to play a recognizable human being.) But given how much I laughed and how well certain moments worked for me, I can't in good conscience hold its clumsiness against the movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:13 am

replican wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:15 am
Could it be that with the knowledge gained from having made said mistakes, the directors naturally gravitate towards more general/broader audiences? Like they figure out what works on more people and they go with that.
It could be. Almost a "survival of the fittest" nature to long directing careers; the survivors are the ones who've learned how to adapt to broad audiences, maybe? I don't know.
As I was thinking/typing about this topic two images resonate in my mind: QT and racial violence. In Pulp Fiction there's the scene of the backward white pawn shop owners and what they do to Ving Rhames. And then we get Django Unchained and the scene of the black slaves being pitted against each other. It's a brutal, queasy scene. BUT I can't help but think what a younger, hungrier, less successful QT would have done with that scene. The Ving Rhames scene is so visceral. That image is indelible. When I first saw and talked about about it, its was like did you SEE that shit?!?! With Django Unchained, it's more like, so that happened and it sucks. It felt more showmanship like than Pulp Fiction.
The irony of this is that there's no meaningful historical evidence of Mandingo fights, and in fact slaveowners wouldn't've pitted their strongest men against each other-- they needed them for, ya know, the slave work they were doing, as slaves. So not only is the scene less impactful in general, it's also a very odd invention that seems based more on QT's love for the film Mandingo than his consideration for violences slaves were most likely to experience. (Of course, the charitable response is that this fits with his similar reinventions in Basterds and Once Upon, deliberate ahistorical adjustment for dramatic effect.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:14 am

Rock wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:19 am
Agree with both of these, although I think I liked it more than you guys. There's something fascinating about how the movie can be so good (on a visual storytelling level) and so bad (on a human level) at the same time, in ways that seem so strongly commingled, that individual scenes seem at war with themselves. (I'm thinking especially of the scene where the lady is having a slowly unsettling conversation over the phone and Marky Mark shouts at her a hilariously exasperated warning but the scene keeps chugging along.) The "intentional" comedy and human interactions feel like an alien's approximation of the real thing, which is weirdly fitting for a movie about man being assailed by forces we don't fully understand, and the best moments are the ones that seem eerily distanced from humanity (suicides being captured in long shot or barely off screen). (I will say that I respected John Leguizamo trying his darnedest to play a recognizable human being.) But given how much I laughed and how well certain moments worked for me, I can't in good conscience hold its clumsiness against the movie.
Goddamnit, the movie's only available on DirecTV. I'll have to pay for a rental otherwise.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:34 am

Quick thoughts:

Shall We Dance (2004) - B
Slight but cute. Legitimately about the dancing, which helps. Fun to see a young Bobby Canavale, even if he's stuck in a predictable subplot about a homophobic dancer who might secretly be... well, I wouldn't dream of giving away the surprise. I gasped in delight when Richard Jenkins showed up.

Mona Lisa Smile (2003) - B-
Survives on the strength of performances from Kirsten Dunst (the standout), Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Julia Styles (and a few glimpses of Krysten Ritter-- yowza) as a variety of "types." Roberts is weirdly rote, insufficiently examined, which makes the Dead Poets Society sendoff unearned and dopey.

Walking Tall (2004) - C-
Fascist porn masquerading as a modern western. Johnny Knoxville (surprisingly good) even worries about The Rock (also good) and his extrajudicial similarity to the drug-running casino-bleeding mill-closing villains. But then it's back to kicking ass and banging the hot girl and keeping her shirt off during a vicious gunfight. Boy, what a coincidence, that these evil boys are responsible for every social ill in the town. How absolutely fucking convenient.

13th (2016) - B+
A mostly-strong overview of the American transition from deliberate slavery to quiet, complicit slavery masquerading as the prison-industrial complex. Given the scale of this subject, the runtime feels almost inappropriate, but Duvernay finds a wide variety of talking heads (including Republicans), she rightfully castigates all politicians (the Clintons get a lot of slaps, as well they should). My favorite bit of craft was how she framed talking heads as conversations by faking shot/reverse shot (the BLM person looks to the right, the ALEC defender "responds" while looking to the left). The dramatic camera swings around talking heads and overuse of negative space are less successful efforts to "creatively" shoot talking heads and juice the energy.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:19 am

DaMU wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:34 am
Walking Tall (2004) - C-
Fascist porn masquerading as a modern western. Johnny Knoxville (surprisingly good) even worries about The Rock (also good) and his extrajudicial similarity to the drug-running casino-bleeding mill-closing villains. But then it's back to kicking ass and banging the hot girl and keeping her shirt off during a vicious gunfight. Boy, what a coincidence, that these evil boys are responsible for every social ill in the town. How absolutely fucking convenient.
Haven't seen this version, but the original, while still pretty fascist, is appealingly hard edged and has a nicely forceful central performance from Joe Don Baker. I give it an ill-timed recommendation, as long as you don't mind a film demonstrating Miranda rights and excessive force in the same scene.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:44 am

Rock wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:19 am
Haven't seen this version, but the original, while still pretty fascist, is appealingly hard edged and has a nicely forceful central performance from Joe Don Baker. I give it an ill-timed recommendation, as long as you don't mind a film demonstrating Miranda rights and excessive force in the same scene.
Noted. I think a film like this makes more sense in that Death Wish / Dirty Harry-era context, and with Joe Don Baker instead of a buffed-and-polished apex specimen in Dwayne Johnson (it takes away from the film's already meager suspense that the antagonists think this guy can be taken down).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:08 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:05 pm
I think that "doesn't give him too much" =/= "doesn't give him anything."
I know, but some people would say that, even in a movie starring Batman, focusing on Bruce/Batman too much is always going to be a wasted effort to a certain extent, because he's always going playing the "straight man" to the crazies in his rogues' gallery, who almost always seem to overshadow him in one way or another anyway, so spending more time with Batman means giving more screentime to the least interesting main character in the film. And personally, I feel that Daniel Waters got it right with his screenplay for Returns, with the most time/development being given to Selina, who's certainly a more colorful character in that film than Bruce, but the dual personality/love-hate dynamic they have in common still ends up making Bruce a more compelling figure than he was in '89 for me, not unlike the way that Ledger's Joker being the chaotic yin to Batman's orderly yang made the latter a more interesting character whenever they were onscreen together.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:24 am

Stu wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:08 am
I know, but some people would say that, even in a movie starring Batman, focusing on Bruce/Batman too much is always going to be a wasted effort to a certain extent, because he's always going playing the "straight man" to the crazies in his rogues' gallery, who almost always seem to overshadow him in one way or another anyway, so spending more time with Batman means giving more screentime to the least interesting main character in the film. And personally, I feel that Daniel Waters got it right with his screenplay for Returns, with the most time/development being given to Selina, who's certainly a more colorful character in that film than Bruce, but the dual personality/love-hate dynamic they have in common still ends up making Bruce a more compelling figure than he was in '89 for me, not unlike the way that Ledger's Joker being the chaotic yin to Batman's orderly yang made the latter a more interesting character whenever they were onscreen together.
This reads a lot like someone who hasn’t read many Batman comics.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:28 am

My going through the four Batman films before it leaves Netflix continues...

Batman Returns (1992)

Burton's Batman films feel like an in-the-moment pastiche of pasting different parts of what he fancy for his own superhero films together. That handicaps the 1989 original when Nicholson distinguishes Joker as the only notable character for its darkly colorful, Gothic world, but work better here with all new major players being so distinctive in Batman's place, even Walken's relatively "subdued" character compared to the other two. Speaking of, bless DeVito and especially Pfeiffer both who make this one of the most psychosexual, openly horniest studio films ever.

It's still too random in thematic and plot's lurches and stops to be as emotionally involving as intended until the explosive finale. I feel like combining Penguin and Shreck (maybe eliminating the latter?) to give time to Pfeiffer, whose Catwoman feels almost criminally shortshrifted when she's both the most interesting thematic and character thread, might work out better. But that climatic showdown really resonates in how it compellingly pitches all these weirdos' anguished neuroses right up against each other, and then leave them messy, tragic, and mostly still emotionally unresolved afterwards -- the image of the penguins' Penguin funeral march into sewer water had stuck with me almost two decades later before this rewatch, and retains its melancholic power even now.

Following up from my Batman thoughts, this is as good as I remember, but still down one or more pegs in my yearly, superhero, and Burton's rankings due to the first two acts being more uneven than expected. Really curious how Batman Forever, the one that I have a (maybe misplaced) fondness the most out of the first three because of my memory of it as gleeful, unbridled fun, would fare now. 7.5/10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:35 am

I’ll forever love Batman Returns for essentially being Hizzoner the Penguin/Dizzoner the Penguin in German Expressionist clothes. Those ‘66 episodes and the movie carry newfound weight in the Trumpism era.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:53 pm

Speaking kindly on Returns, I dig the overall approach in creating three robust opponents who are dark mirrors to Batsy, with Penguin the grown-up boy broken from parental trauma, Schreck the two-faced billionaire, and Catwoman the dark avenger. It's a smart way to orient your mains when your story risks feeling overpacked.

(re: organizing multiple main characters, Batman Begins also smartly orients its antagonists as a stepladder of escalating threat, with Falcone < Scarecrow < Al Ghul. They rarely compete for attention. IIRC, there's only one scene where any of them directly interact.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:58 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:24 am
This reads a lot like someone who hasn’t read many Batman comics.
Yeah, I wouldn't worry about people who say Batman the character is inherently less interesting. Give them some Dennis O'Neill, Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb, et al, and let them get educated.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:19 pm

Rock wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:19 am
Haven't seen this version, but the original, while still pretty fascist, is appealingly hard edged and has a nicely forceful central performance from Joe Don Baker. I give it an ill-timed recommendation, as long as you don't mind a film demonstrating Miranda rights and excessive force in the same scene.
Yes, I grew up a fan of this version.
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